Books » A Compend of the Principles of Homoeopathy for Students in Medicine by Garth Boericke » Evaluation of a Therapeutic Method

Evaluation of a Therapeutic Method


The Homoeopath, from his knowledge of drug proving, the application of the law of similars, and by virtue of the minimum dose, is able to treat all the symptoms at the same time without untoward effects.


This may be judged from several standpoints :

1. Consensus of opinion in general.

2. From experimental study and research.

3. Because the particular method is in agreement with prevalent notions of medical science.

4. Clinical results regardless of modus operandi.

5. Time test.

1. The first method is practical and safe, though faulty, from a scientific point of view. The time element enters here also. For what may be the medical consensus of opinion today is far different tomorrow. How differently now do we regard Mercury, Tuberculin, Salvarsan, and Iodine? What changes this? Obviously, it must be the minority. The few who were adjudged quite wrong in the first place. It has been said whatever fifty-one percent of the medical profession believe is endorsed and practiced and the other forty-nine percent are wrong.

To make an appeal to the majority of any denomination, the proposition must be overwhelmingly proved or overwhelmingly simple. There is no middle course. Otherwise, factors nearly equal are developed. Ordinary medical practice is certainly not overwhelmingly proved-we don’t know why the so-called specifics act-but it is overwhelmingly simple. The same is true regarding ordinary practice. If restless, give a soporific. If in pain, give an anodyne. If total output is low, give a diuretic. If exhausted, give a stimulant.

The type of man who is willing to go deeper into the art of Therapeutics is definitely in the minority-that is why Homoeopaths are in this class. Homoeopathy is by no means such a simple rule of thumb but it steadily becomes simpler and easier as we practice it. Although the Homoeopath recognizes the sublime simplicity of this method of using drugs, he claims that it is, in the main, Palliation – and the disease in order to be cured must be viewed from the totality of symptoms – not simply one outstanding symptom.

If those ignorant of Homoeopathy could, in a case of typhoid fever treat at the same time the headache, restlessness, diarrhoea, the abdominal distention, and the cardiac failure, Homoeopathy would have no reason to exist for this would be Homoeopathy.

Now why is this only done by the Homoeopath? Because the only way an ordinary medical man can use drugs is by capitalizing their physiological effects – i.e., to produce some functional or organic change. They have no one drug which will do all of the above things at the same time in such a case and, therefore, must use several which necessarily antidote each other either chemically or physiologically.

The Homoeopath, on the other hand, from his knowledge of drug proving, the application of the law of similars, and by virtue of the minimum dose, actually is able to treat all of these symptoms at the same time without untoward effects.

2. Regarding the value of a prescription in proportion to amount and accuracy of experimental data. There have been many drugs eliminated from the U.S. Pharmacopoeia simply because they did not yield positive experimental data when subjected to animal and physiological human tests. The changes and higher susceptibility of the body caused by diseased process is wholly and arbitrarily disregarded. Recognition of this by Homoeopathy on the other hand is a fundamental point. We make use of this sensitizing action of disease. That is one reason why we use a small dose and get an effect.

In other words, to say the a drug has no physiological effect is one thing – to assume from these experiments that it has no effect at all as a therapeutic agent is quite erroneous. Why?

1. Because the majority of such experiments are on animals. 2. The effects may be subjective and mental-of a functional character which is not capable of being transmitted to a smoked drum but is nevertheless present. 3. Records of Homoeopathic proving show symptomatology from the so-called inactive drugs.

3. This is also a very natural and logical method widely followed. The point against it is the same that Hahnemann pointed out many years ago and that Pathology, Physiology, and Immunology are constantly changing. What is true today is wrong tomorrow. To base our Therapeutics on such a foundation is to build upon sand.

Admitting this, the question comes up what in the world may we depend on as a guide to Therapeutics? Apply logic, the answer would be to use that in disease which is not subject to change. In short, we must deal in constants and the only constants of disease are the symptoms of disease. These never vary. The symptoms of cholera a thousand years ago were the same as they are now. The same is true of typhoid, of pneumonia, of rachitis. From a Therapeutic standpoint, the symptoms taken together, properly interpreted (by this we mean a knowledge of the mechanism of such symptoms) are the only reliable guide for a drug prescription.

Clinical Results Regardless of Mode of Action.- It avails us nothing to claim superlative results by any method of treatment from a scientific point of view.

Only a large series of cases, treated by different methods, would show any light. It is well known that patients, nevertheless, recover under many methods and testimonials mean absolutely nothing. We have but to recall Perkinism and many other classical medical fads.

It must be confessed that there have been Homoeopathic case reports where enthusiasm has run riot, and many recoveries reported as due to a certain medicine given might well have been the natural outcome of the disease or to other factors.

Notwithstanding, the Homoeopathic attitude of this matter of drug Therapy is in marked contrast to the guarded and often cynical comment of our old-school friends. Granting that there have been examples of exaggeration in these reports, nevertheless to an unbiased mind there is a marked difference between a Homoeopath and one not trained in this art. We are pleased to call this something, ” Morale.” There is no doubt that the knowledge of Homoeopathic Therapy is a substantial aid in sickness. One that repays study with large dividends. There have been numerous examples of the same disease treated in parallel cases by both methods, but this need not concern us here. Such point as are taken up about the two schools are debated in order to clear up misapprehension.

It is far easier to take a dark view of the treatment of a case by adherents of the regular school than adherents of the Homoeopathic school. Empiric prescribing and palliation fail to impress the conscientious old-school practitioner and they fail also to enthuse the Homoeopath.

Given a case, intensive study by our old-school friends as far as treatment goes avails little, for a drug is or is not indicated according to physiological standards and that’s all there is to it. There is no personal equation, no elasticity, no chance to capitalize the symptomatology, so that by case analysis, symptoms can be made as sign posts towards the selection of certain drugs.

In mathematics, we are taught that the relation between the diameter and its circumference can be made to differ by as little as we please. We can multiply by 3 1/7, 3.1416, and 3.14159, the more painstaking we are the more accurate the result. It is the same with a Homoeopathic prescription – a careful totality and evaluation of symptoms invariably leads to a better result.

Hence it is that professional Homoeopaths are optimistic – often to a degree that is misunderstood by others and almost invariably by men not trained in Homoeopathy. Put it in another way. Diligence is rewarded equally in the diagnostic field whatever school of medicine a man belongs to. But in the treatment field, only a knowledge of Homoeopathy can properly pay dividends on diligence.

Incidentally, this also accounts for the immense amount of work done diagnostically in these modern days and the relatively meagre amount of effort put on pharmacological research.