(From vol. iii, 2nd edit., 1825.)
(The alcoholic tincture of the root of Veratrum album.)
Though the subjoined symptoms indicate a powerful action of this medicinal substance on the human health, a great capacity for effecting changes in it, and consequently show that we may expect great things form its suitable employment, yet the investigation of all its medicinal symptoms is so far from complete, that the following can be regarded as only a fraction of its wealth of pathogenetic effects.
In the meantime, however, I have resolved to communicate to the world what I have been able to ascertain up to the persent moment, because even this amount is capable of being usefully employed.
I might certainly have adduced the symptoms recorded by the older Greek authors in corroboration of my own, but I have refrained from doing so in order to avoid the appearance of wishing to make a display of learning.
This much is, however, certain, that the ancients could not have obtained so much reputation for their hellebore treatment at Anticyra and other places in Greece, unless they had effected much with it, and unless they had restored many sick persons to health by means of this medicinal plant.
Our modern physicians do not know how to make any good use of this valuable medicine, and indeed, do not employ it at all, as they are unable to give it in a Justa-dosis, i.e. in drachms and ounces, without killing their patients.
Consequently they must leave uncured those diseases which cannot be cured without this root.
Physicians have no notion of the power possessed by this drug to promote a cure of almost one third of the insane in lunatic asylus (at all events as a homoeopathic intermediate remedy), because they know not the peculiar kind of insanity in which to employ it, nor the does in which it should be administered in order to be efficacious and yet not injurious.
As there can be no rapid and permanent cure of dynamic diseases, unless by medicines endowed with the dynamic power of producing similar morbid states, as I have shown often enough, so we have only to make ourselves acquainted with the peculiar kinds of insanity in the following observations, regard being pain to the other symptoms, in order to know in which of the manias white hellebore root may be homoepathically employed with good effect.
We must not imitate the ancients in their doses. No doubt many of their patients were cured, but not a few succumbed to their enormous doses. For even in those times, just as nowadays, the delusion existed in the medical art that diseases depended on a morbific matter in the body, and consequently that they could not be cured without the elimination of this (imaginary) morbific matter. Hence the ancients in their treatment of chronic diseases gave their white hellebore root almost in such doses (a drachm and more of the medicine in the form if coarse sifted powder) as were capable of exciting excessive vomiting, and at last also purgation; and (blinded by the above theory) even those cases in which the patients were cured of their diseases by white hellebore, without undergoing vomiting hot purging, failed to convince them that the cures were effected in quite another way than by evacuations upwards and downwards.
It is also quite false that the patients affected with emotional and mental diseases as a rule require and bare enormous doses of medicine, as our physicians still imagine. No doubt, allopathic and unsuitably chosen drugs, even in large doses, seem to have but little effect on the grosser part of the organism and the general health of such patients. But in such diseases the general health is but little implicated, and their subjects are often very robust in that respect; as a rule, the malady has settled in the fine invisible organs of the mental and emotional spheres undiscoverable by anatomy (which serve as the medium of the purely spiritual soul by which the grosser body is ruled). These subtle organs suffer most in those diseases, it is they that are most morbidly deranged.