Role of endocrine system in diseases. Few examples of syndromes caused by Endocrine system….

*** THE viewpoint of the modern physiology reflects the theory that the vast majority of human ills are traceable to dysfunctions of the glandular system; that most growth problems (over-and under-development of the whole body or parts) and many maladjustments of the child to its environment, and even of the adult to his relationships and problems, are related in some degree to endocrine imbalance. The modern student of homoeopathy may have learned to scoff at the philosophy of Hahnemann, yet how close the endocrinologist’s findings are to the teachings of Hahnemann-that the human being is a unit, mind, body and spirit- and that these are so correlated as to fact freely and without impediment when the vital principle, the spirit-like force or dynamis, is in equilibrium; yet if this equilibrium of health be thrown out of balance by the dysfunction of one member (or if this imbalance be manifest by the dysfunction principally of one organ) the whole is affected to a greater or less degree.

So it is also, the that function of some of the ductless glands it is secrete a minute quantity of specialized product into the system, a secretion that has a vital bearing on the health of the whole constitution. In many cases this secretion of a normal gland is so minute that it approaches the homoeopathic attenuation.

With this concept of the importance of the endocrine glands in maintaining health, and with the almost infinitesimal amount of some of these glandular secretions, we can hardly fail to see the important relationship the homoeopathic remedy may hold to the manifestations of endocrine dysfunction and to the balance of the ductless glands themselves.

In considering this vast subject it is apropos to quote from the book by August A., Werner, M.D., F.A.C.P., entitled *Endocrinology (Lea & Febiger, 1937):

There has been much complaint from physicians in general that the literature on endocrinology is technical and difficult to understand. There are several reasons for these seeming difficulties, among which may be mentioned (I) the newness of the subject; (2) the lack of definite information as to the possible number of hormones and their functions; (3) the intricate inter- relationship of the secretions of the ductless glands; (4) the difficulty in application of the results of animal experimentation to the human, which, aside from the scientific value of such work, is the ultimate object of these investigations; (5) the variation of potency of the hormonal preparations used, and (6) the difficulty of determining individual dosage, which is influenced by the degree of function of the glands of the patient, the individual susceptibilities of the patient, cellular receptivity, interaction of other endocrine secretions, and the effect of general metabolic factors and disease processes in each individual.

To be a good clinical endocrinologist one must first be a good internist, and the time is not far distant when, in order to be a good internist, one must be a good endocrinologist….

It is necessary to have:

1. A through knowledge of the anatomical structure and arrangement of the autonomic nervous system. Its division into two parts, viz. the parasympathetic and the sympathetic; a knowledge of the function of these two divisions which are diametrically opposed to each other when simulated.

2. Comprehension of the function of the endocrine glands, in so far as this has been definitely or reasonably established.

3. The recognition that the intricate vital life processes of the body over which we have no control, such as the regulation of normal growth and development, the digestion, absorption, and assimilation of food and its release from the storehouses, such as the liver and muscles for the production of energy, the continuation of cardiac action and respiration at a normal rate, our sense of well being; all these and more, depend in great measure upon the maintenance of a delicate equilibrium between the two divisions of the autonomic nervous system.

4. A knowledge that the maintenance of this functional balance between the parasympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system is markedly influenced by the internal secretions of the ductless glands which act as governors over it….

There is a great clamour from the medical profession for information on treatment of endocrine conditions. Before we can treat any abnormal condition successfully we must first have knowledge of the syndrome and its etiology (*here speaks the viewpoint of the orthodox school) and secondly, we must have potent preparations for treatment. Many endocrine syndromes have been recognized in the past before active principles were available for treatment. This condition still exists and the possession of active hormones does not always insure that relief can be given, for obvious reasons. With the desire and urge to alleviate these endocrine syndromes, all manner of glandular preparations have been utilized, many of which are inert, especially when administered orally….

In closing his Preface Dr. Werner gives credit to various members of the profession who have been of great help to him, and speaks of one member with the following significant tribute:

Where an understanding of the fundamental of endocrinology was acquired, and the lesson was inculcated to study the patient’s condition with every conceivable relationship to disease in mind and not as an aggravation of glands.

In his first chapter the author cites the influence of emotions, as well as the reaction of various drugs, on various functions, with the reflex action on the glands through the nervous system. His comments on the organs in sickness and health recall Hahnemann’s observations, but in this 1937 observation Dr.Werner does not achieve the practical application of Hahnemann’s’ logic and philosophy which seems so plain to us.

However, even a brief survey of this work astonishes us with the wide range of symptoms which Dr.Werner suggests are caused by glandular dysfunctions or are influenced by glandular preparations. These conditions range from acne to haemophilia, from anaemia to deformed and distorted skeletal formation in children or developing in adult life. The implies that a vast array, if not the majority, of constitutional afflictions are due to glandular dysfunction, and therefore we may assume that the constitutional homoeopathic remedy will have its usefulness here in the light of modern knowledge just as it has had in the past when we did not realize the importance of knowledge of endocrinology, but trusted to the totality of symptoms as our sure guide in prescribing.

There is little doubt that the majority of cases of over-and under-development of tissues or organs such as adiposis, obesity, inhibition of or precocious development of sex characteristics (whether traceable to the pineal, pituitary or thyroid glands or the gonads), and changes in the skeleton formation such as may come from dysfunction of the parathyroid, are, in the language of Hahnemann, manifestations of the miasms, either inherited or acquired. It may be circumstantial evidence for the miasm theory that certain types of manifestations are found among certain peoples, just as the types of obesity which are found largely in the Hebrew race; for one might argue with equal weight that centuries of prescribed diet might have had its influence. Nevertheless, in many cases of glandular dysfunction we are able to trace like tendencies through a family history. Sometimes in a case where no such evidence is available we may find a history, or definite evidence, of venereal infection, very often reported as cured by scientific treatment.

To the Hahnemannian homoeopath, the lack of laboratory corroboration has little weight because he realize that the miasms may persist after the organism has been suppressed, diminished or destroyed by treatments in the infected individual or by passing through successive generations.

In any case, while the orthodox school works on the basis of the objective symptoms, merely recognizing as concomitants the subjective symptoms which to them are extraneous for clinical purposes (even while they acknowledge their theoretically correct glandular extracts as inert!) the homoeopathic manifestations in accordance with Hahnemann’s logical development of the therapeutic principle.

Such a book as Dr.Werner’s offers us the most up-to-date discussions on the pathology, etiology and diagnosis of these conditions, but there is little real help here in the therapeutic field. Let us turn to such a book for such information as we may glean from the modern authors and research workers, but let us turn to a study of our rich fund of materia medica and philosophy when we wish to help the patient toward cure.

As an index to our cumbersome materia medica let us turn to our repertories with the constitutional symptoms of the sick individual in mind. Here we are not forced to trace the organ supposedly responsible for the manifestations in the patient; instead, we note the symptoms peculiar to the patient-symptoms mental and physical-and by meeting the symptoms of the individual with the corresponding symptoms of the indicated remedy we shall be able to meet like with like, and with reasonable assurance we can test the homoeopathic principle in these as in other cases.

H.A. Roberts
Dr. H.A.Roberts (1868-1950) attended New York Homoeopathic Medical College and set up practrice in Brattleboro of Vermont (U.S.). He eventually moved to Connecticut where he practiced almost 50 years. Elected president of the Connecticut Homoeopathic Medical Society and subsequently President of The International Hahnemannian Association. His writings include Sensation As If and The Principles and Art of Cure by Homoeopathy.