Every disease is expressed by symptoms. When an outstanding group of symptoms are exhibited regularly in certain order by a sick individual, they are spoken of as a disease. Certain diseases are so well known that they immediately bring to mind a vivid and relatively constant picture as, for instance, Pneumonia. Others like Lethargic Encephalitis, although possessing a name, has such a varied and inconstant symptomatology that the name conveys nothing of a definite nature.
The recognition of these symptom-syndromes was of actual value only when medical research was able to determine the cause, whether infective, metabolic, or organic. The treatment is directed, if feasible, to the cause in the logical hope that eradication of this will lead to cure. When the cause may be treated effectively, Homoeopathy is in entire agreement with this doctrine of medicine.
Unfortunately, however, there are many diseases where the cause is well known but, in spite of this knowledge, they cannot be effectively combated directly in the sense that we combat Cretinism with Thyroid or relapsing fever with Salvarsan or Malaria with Quinine. Some very common diseases come under this class as : Pneumonia, Tuberculosis, Influenza, and Typhoid Fever. In these diseases, the etiology helps Therapeutics but little.
There are then many, indeed the majority of diseases, which can only be treated on a symptomatic basis, much as we deplore the fact. Now the point is that the only method which can properly capitalize this purely symptomatic approach and make this method curative rather than merely palliative is Homoeopathy.
It must be emphasized that where Homoeopaths treat symptoms it is always with a curative end in view. Immediately the query arises-by what right do we claim curative results from symptomatic treatment? Is not the only logical curative medicine that which is known to affect the cause?
Homoeopaths claim this right by using the symptoms of a case and applying the principle of Similia (See previous chapter). The cause is always removed or treated, if possible, and failing this, the only dependable alternative is a Homoeopathic prescription. This principle or law has been fully discussed else-where but, at this time, we reiterate that it enables us to turn the destructive and toxic action of drugs into a benign and curative force.
This is accomplished by the dynamic use of total drug influence. Or, putting it in another manner, making use of the surface development of a drug (potentizing) and the totality of the symptoms as a guide for administration. Now, if only physiologic use of drugs is recognized or practiced there can be no such result-as only certain gross symptoms or effects, particular to that drug, could be manifested and, while these might modify some complaints of the patient, such modification is usually accomplished only at the expense of untoward action on other organs or systems of the body. One medical author rather naively speaks of such actions as ” bye- effects.”
It is quite impossible by the physiological method to treat a totality of symptoms of any severity with one drug. For example, take a Syndrome that includes insomnia, headache, hypertension, deficient elimination. If we quiet the nervous system, we disorganize the renal system. If we endeavor to increase elimination, their insomnia becomes worse. If we try a vasodilator, the chances are the headache is intensified.
The statement made shortly before, that, by the application of the Homoeopathic principle, we can turn into a power for good a drug which to regular medicine is only known as a destructive agent, like lead, for instance, carries with it the question, ” Would a Homoeopath treat lead poisoning by giving a dose o lead? The answer is most emphatically, ” No.” This would not be Homoeopathy but Isopathy (the same ).
Discussed in chapter on Applied Homoeopathy. Homoeopathy established a similar relationship not an identical one. In the use of lead, for instance, he would use this agent as a remedy in a case of Interstitial nephritis because this disease resembles very closely the toxic action of lead on the kidneys but it follows always that such a case of kidney disease must be caused by some other agent, whatever this might be.
The intense practical importance to the Homoeopath of symptom groups is thus clear. He uses these not only to establish a diagnosis but also as a basis on which to select a drug for curative treatment, provided always that medical therapy seems indicated. For this reason, one studying Homoeopathy goes into the analysis and classification of symptoms much more minutely than regular medicine thinks necessary. They are the very life blood of a Homoeopathic prescription and the efficacy of such a prescription is usually directly proportional to the pains expended in taking the case.