But most striking was the abuse which all physicians over the whole world down to the present time (Although as long as twenty years ago, I showed incontrovertibly in these very words (in the first edition of the ORAGNON, 1810), the misuse universally made by physicians of opium for pains to be a palpable injury to the well-being of patients, yet we have not seen that their conscience was the least touched, and that they abandoned a practice that is as stupid as it is criminal. To such remonstrances they only exclaim that their routine is interfered with, and they abuse and persecute the man who calls attention to their erronous practice, just as the sinner who feels himself hit the words of a sermon on repentence only abuses the preacher, without reforming his own conduct. But why should I, who feel an inward call to enunciate such important verities, and who have truth and nature on my side, why should I bother myself about these incorrigible sinners?) have made of opium, in prescribing it as a powerful remedy for pains of all sorts, be they ever so old and deeply rooted, it is obviously contrary to common sense, and is almost equal to the folly of a universal remedy, to expect from one single substance the cure of all pains which differ so infinitely among one another. Seeing that the various kinds of pains in diseases differ so much from one another in their seat, in the time and conditions of their occurrence, recurrence, increase and diminution, &c., it might be supposed that the Creator would not fail to create a large number of different medicines for their cure; for every finite thing can only have a finite, limited sphere of action. But opium is precisely not one of those pain-allaying and curing remedies. Opium is almost the only medicine that in its primary action does not produce a single pain. Every other known drug, on the other hand, produces in the healthy human body each its own kinds of pain in its primary action, and hence is able to cure and remove (homoeopathically) similar pains in diseases, especially if the other symptoms of the disease correspond in similarity to those observed from the administration of that medicine. Opium alone is unable to subdue homoeopathically, i.e. permanently, any one single pain, because it does not cause in its primary action one single pain, but the very reverse, namely, insensibility, the inevitable consequence (secondary action) of which is greater sensitiveness than before, and hence a more acute sensation of pain.
Therefore all pains of any duration allayed in a palliative and temporary manner by opium by means of its stupefying and pain-subduing power, return immediately when the stupefying primary action is exhausted, and that at least (Thus WILLIS in his Pharmacia rationalis, p. 298, says: “Opiatas generally allay, the most excruciating pains, and produce insensibility – for a certain time; but when this time is past the pains are immediately renewed, and soon attain their ordinary violence;” and p. 295: “When the duration of the action of opium is over, the abdominal pains return, having lost nothing of their excruciating character, until we again employ the magic power of opium.” )as severely as before, as the experience of all observant physicians testifies, These pains, indeed, generally return in a worse degree, and as long as no better plan than this old injurious routine is adopted, they must be again and again allayed, not only by repeated, but by larger doses of opium, whilst it developes other worse ailments, from which the patient did not suffer previously. Suppressing pain of any considerable duration and intensity by opium is therefore nothing but quackery – nothing but an imposition on the patient and his friends with illusory relief, to be followed by injurious results that are often disastrous, and not unfrequently fatal, but which are alleged by such practitioners of the non-healing art to be new diseases that they have had no hand on producing. (The true (homoeopathic) physician never sees in his practice any inflammation of the brain, except at the commencement of the most dangerous forms of typhus fever, which he cures along with its cerebral inflammation; nor does he ever encounter inflammation of the bowels, except in cases of poisoning and strangulated hernia or ileus; but fatal cerebral and intestinal inflammations frequently result from the efforts of the allopaths to suppress severe headache and intolerable colic by increasing doses of opium.)
Chronic diseases only are the test of the genuine healing art, because they do not of themselves pass into health; slight ailments that have come quickly pass away with or without medicine – evidently by the inherent powers of the organism; but with medicines acute diseases must distinctly yield more quickly and permanently than when left to themselves, if what can be called a cure is accomplished.
If opium sometimes seems to remove pains in a acute diseases, this is owing to the very obvious fact that such diseases, if they do not kill, run their course spontaneously in a few days, and disappear together with their pains.
Opium can only seem really to cure pains in those rare cases where it corresponds homoeopathically in its other primary effects to the symptoms of the disease, and so removes the disease itself, for then the pains also must naturally depart; but this is only an indirect cure of the pains. For instance, as every dysentery depends on a retention of faeces in the upper part of the intestines, some varieties of it accompanied by heat and stupefaction can be cured by opium, because these symptoms will be homoeopathically removed by the similar primary action of opium, and as a necessary consequence their attendant pains also, because these generally depend on spasmodic retention of the faeces in the bowels.
In like manner opium cannot stop the pains of lead colic until it has homoeopathically removed the obstinate constipation produced by the lead by virtue of its constipating primary action; in this case also the cure of the pains is indirect and not owing to the stupefying power of the opium, as it is given in small, not stupefying, doses. But opium is never able to remove pains directly without injury; on the other hand, it is a principal remedy in those stupefactive diseases where the pain of a serous malady in those stupefactive diseases where the pain of a serious malady is not felt by the patient, as for example, in dangerous bed sores, where the patient, in the stupefied state of his consciousness, cannot complain of any pain, &c.
The painful diseases of acute and chronic character can (whatever the whole worldful of anthipathic and allopathic physicians may allege to the contrary) only be cured and altered into health of a permanent character by a medicine which, besides corresponding in similarity in its other primary effects to the symptoms of the morbid state, is at the samtime able to excite pains very similar in kind to those observed in the disease. If such a medicine be selected then pain and disease disappear together in a marvellously rapid and permanent manner, when the smallest dose is administered, as is taught in the Organon of Medicine, and as experience will convince every one.
But as this method was not employed, and as all kinds of pains were anthipathically treated by opium alone, many injurious results were observed from its use; stupefaction, constipation, and other troublesome and dangerous symptoms which naturally resulted from this inappropriate anthipathic employment of it, and these are the peculiar effects of opium, without which it would not be opium. But these inevitable disastrous effects of such an employment of opium were not regarded as being what they actually are, to wit, the essential characteristics of opium, but as a kind of bad behavius inherent in it, which must be eliminated from it by all sorts of devices, in order to render it innocuous and well-behaved. Under this delusion attempts have been made from time to time, for now nearly two thousand years, to do away with this pretended improper action by means of so0called correigenta, so that it should henceforth be taught to allay pains and spasms without producing deliruim or constipation, check vomiting and diarrhoea without exciting heat, and without leaving behind it headache, trembling, exhaustion, chilliness and prostration.
Hence pungent spices were combined with it in order to prevent the chilling propensity observed in the secondary action, and purgatives and salines were added in order to counteract its constipating misconduct, &c. More especially was it sought to separate from it its crude, and alleged useless and hurtful resin by repeated solution in water, filtration and inspissation, and also to deprive it of the volatile, and supposed poisonous, narcotic quality attached to it by macerating it for months; and practitioners even went so far as to attempt to refine it and render it mild by roasting it over a fire, and in this way they imagined that they had produced a precious penacea for all ailments and troubles, for pains, sleeplessness, diarrhoea, &c., which was free from all the well-known evil propensities of opium.