History of substances

Hahnemann while experimenting on healthy man, was able to recognise their effects on the character and intelligence. Thus he was able to note the psychic indications of medicines, like use of Ignatia for sadness resulting out of concentrated griefs, that of Staphysagria against sadness coexisting with indigestion….


In a Treaty of Hygiene, not published, I spoke of six agents of moral and intellectual culture. Immaterial agents: Religion, education, instruction; and Material agents: Climate, food, medicines. Here I have tried to show the strange usefulness of one among them in this connection, that of the medicine.

In a memoir of 54 pages, entitled: How homoeopathic treatment can ameliorate the character of man and develop his intelligence. Memoir included in the v.l. of my “Questions on Clinical Homoeopathy” (in 252 pages, 1882, Baillere, Paris, Ch.4 of this work), I have reported more than fifty cases of different psychic diseases (moral and intellectual), and cured by different medicines.

Here I continue the popularisation of medicine as agent of moral and intellectual culture and show by some facts the tradition which in this regard, is as old as 400 years and probably more. In fact, every time and amongst all ancient and modern people medicinal substances were used and are still used for psychic treatment but in a less scientific way, more often unconsciously.

Historian Diodorus of Sicily speaks of a psychic medicine that the Egyptians used, about 3 to 4 thousand years ago. He calls it “Antidote of anger and of grief.” It was perhaps Stramonium mixed with Opium to weaken the toxic effects, because at that time they knew not how to avoid these effects by prescribing this medicine in infinitesimal dose. Homoeopathy teaches us that Stramonium could have been alone sufficient to calm down the anger and grief.

Homer says in his Odyssey (IV, 220, X): “Immediately Helene puts in the wine that TelemacHUS was drinking, the drug that calm down grief and anger and makes one forget all ills.’

Galen presumes that drug was the same as that which was used by the Egyptian polydemna.

Galen cites also hemlock which causes madness and the witness of Plato admits that some medicines cause the delirium, mania, dementia, loss of memory. These remedies used in infinitesimal dose will caused the opposite effects.

Galen could have also cited the following facts: Mandragora prescribed by Hippocrates against sadness ending in suicide (Tr. Gradeil, p. 272) and the observation of the daughters of Praestus, the Argos cured of their madness by Melampe who gave some milk of goat which has eaten Helleborus. The latter was then applied in infinitesimal doses. The same remedy was used in the antiquity against mania, and hypochondriasis.

Hippocrates prescribed Mandragora in sadness ending in suicide.

Aulus Gelius and Valeria, relate that the orators of ancient times, envious of real glory used to take, following the example of Carmade, a dose of Helleborus before the dispute, in order to strengthen the brain. Now-a-days, one takes a cup of coffee for the result.

By using the mineral waters, says Prof. Florence, while passing sometime in a mineral water resort the ancients did not use them for their curative effects, but they used the water for their plastic effects on human bodies and their psychic properties on the character and intelligence. Thus according to the Greek people, there were the two sources near the temple of Trophonius of which the one was called Mnemos, the water of which had the property of strengthening the memory and that of the other Lethe, had the property of weakening the memory. Varonus has mentioned a stream called Nous, of which the water increased the vitality and in the island of Ceos, a stream of water which made one stupid. The water of Lyncest, in Trace, caused a mild intoxication. And on the contrary, according Eudoxius, the water of Clitorius caused dislike for wine. Theopompus cites several others that caused intoxication. The Cyric, the fountain of cupid, cured love. At Colophone there was a fountain which vitality and perspicacity.

The waters of Hippocrene, Catali and many others inspired the poets.

Galen considered medicine as an agent of moral and intellectual culture. This teaching has been very badly transmitted by the medical tradition and very practically carried on by popular tradition as well as the use of philtres. The name of the latter is derived from the word philein (love), were generally used to kindle love and sometimes to extinguish it. They were therefore aphrodisiacs and anaphrodisiacs. While bantering the ancients about their philtres, the moderns use them still now, as for example, in the forms of wine, as was done by the two daughters of Loth ancient times with deplorable success.

From the time immemorial, on the head of young girls who were going to be married, a crown of orange flowers was placed. The odour of orange flowers is aphrodisiac and they did not put it on the head of widow because she has not the need of it. In countries where orange flowers were not available, mothers used to make orange flowers of wax of which crowns were made and put on the heads of young girls following unconsciously the tradition and not the young girls following unconsciously the tradition and not the true sense: such things happen as regards many other traditions.

In Germany on the first day of birth or that first communion of the daughter, a myrta is planted of which the branches, leaves and flowers will be used later on to make the crown for the child on the day of her marriage. But the mothers not even doubted that they were making a psychic treatment by utilising in aphrodisiac plant of which a branch passed form hand to hand of the invited persons who used to sing a line of erotic song in a banquet of Greece.

It is Origanum majorana, an aphrodisiac plant, the majorana with which the Greek mistresses covered their beds and of which the moderners made use of in a more ethical manner.

The canon of Cesolus, the founder of an orphanage in Nice knew the aphrodisiac property of that plant that the people of Nice called by the expressive name Carna-bouga (bouge-Chair). And knowing that a medicine in small dose produces contrary effect to what is produced in large doses they used to administer small doses of the medicine as anaphrodisiac against genital over- excitation.

The incenses were used in the antiquate in ceremonies before those of Catholicism. The priest utilised them following strictly the tradition because I have nowhere found that anyone among them knew that the incense calm down the anger, genital passion and develop religious sense.

The vapours of Benzoin burning on live charcoal gave to the Aissanouas before exercise an exaltation similar to those of a mad man, which make them insensible to pain, or rather destroys the sensitiveness to pains just like Cocain, Ether etc.

The following two facts show that the use of psychic remedies has been maintained by the popular tradition better than by medical tradition. It has been verified that the plants that were around the old castles of the warring period of the middle age, were vulnerary, excitants, cordials, while the plants around the castles of the renaissance period are depurative and aphrodisiac etc. Thus the first increased the courage of man and the second acted on the voluptuousness like the philtres of the ancients. (I’ Art Medical, v. XIV, p.236)

From an article of R.P. Richard (Annales de la propagation de foi, 1881, p. 9).

“Further away we were passing near twenty other tombs. This, said Ottoman, is not work of Chambas (warring people) but that of Falezlez (non-identified). Ten years ago, one of our Meslas (tribe) camped here. While collecting the Drinn grains (nourishing feculants) they gathered the grains of Falezlez, then Arida (soup) was prepared. All of sudden in the middle of the night everybody got up, sabres, daggers, lances, whatever they got at hand and began a real buchery. In the morning 20 dead bodies horribly mutilated were lying within the tents”. The Falezlez grains had caused that furious folly.

The wine was used as psychic medicine, by the ancient people as it is used in modern times.

The “wine” rejoices the heart of man, says the Bible. Wine taken moderately is the joy of the mind and body.

“The wine, writes Galen, dissipates manifestly all sorts of sorrows and weaknesses, because we use wine for that aim.”

In the 2nd book of “Laws”, Plato recommends the wine as a help against old out of sorrows, the wine that dissipate pains and moroseness of character, the wine that softens the rudeness of the mind and makes if easier to control oneself, is just like the fire that melts iron”.

“Is he a drunkard” says Horace “whom wine has not made eloquent? “Is he an unfortunate when wine has not delivered from griefs”. (Bk. I, Epistle 5).

Almost immediately after taking a moderate dose of wine, a man has an animated face, shining eyes, becomes gay, becomes benevolent, and affectionate. Everyone discovers with candour, sincerity and dissimulation, his customs, his character whence the phrase “in vino veritas”. Wine was also considered as a social drink for uniting the hearts, the intelligences, in a banquet in any feast”.

Men of al skills, even skilled labourers up to the diplomats, know to utilise as regards the paychic properties of the wine which may dissipate momentarily the defects of character which could have been prejudicial to them.

The former utilised wines on the field of fairs, in cabarets having before them some bottles of wine.

The latter, the diplomats, in order to obtain analogous effects on their interlocutors, used not the wine of a particular taste but some more fine and exquisite paychic medicines. With some appetising foods, some wine of Bourgogne or some champagne or some coffee etc.

But both, the diplomats and the peasants have undergone themselves and their incites a psychic treatment

The wine produces according to the dose used, some different and some opposite effects. Thus, taken in moderate dose it revives all the faculties of the soul, reposes the soul and the body from their fatigue.

But wine taken in large doses, give false courage, makes one indiscrete, quarrelsome, aggressive and angry that leads to brutalising and suicide.

Drunkenness transfers an active, laborious man who is careful for his own self into an apathetic, idle, unclean and even vicious one, tendency to debauchery, to jealousy, to hatred, to suicide and to homicide with hallucination.

Different kinds of alcoholic drinks produce different psychic effects. (The businessmen prefer wine as the best psychic medicine, which is demonstrated by the following fact). One of my friends while staying in strassbourg, wanted to procure himself with an art object and with this aim he went to one of the numerous intermediaries which is habitual in these commercial transactions. The latter told him: “I know the person who possesses the art object and I know in which cafe he generally goes”. Entering in the cafe he saw that man drinking beer and immediately he said to his friend: “Let us get out, we will not be successful with this man, he is drinking beer.” In order to proceed thus the intermediary had several times seen the psychic effects so different provoked by the wine and the beer. In fact, while wine produces the above mentioned effects, the beer provokes the diminution of tendencies which is natural in a man for sociability.

Beer produces heaviness of mind and of the body. It benumbs the high sentiments and the inclinations are debased.

Ceders and wine of white nuts produce the same effects.

Absinth in small dose makes one quarrelsome and wicked.

Brandy makes one angry and aggressive.

The Aniseed cordial in small dose, dissipated cloudiness of the brain and embarrassment.

The Kirsh acts like Aniseed.

The drunkenness i manifested by some psychic symptoms as different as alcoholic drinks that cause them. Thus alcohol of potatoes, of grains produces a comatose drunkenness, whereas the wine alcohol produces gay, noisy and coleric drunkenness.

“Do not give wines to kings, because there is no secret where reigns drunkenness; for the fear they do not drink and forget justice and they would not do equity in the cause of children and poor.”

“Give to those who are afflicted, a liquor capable to make them intoxicated and some wine to those who have bitterness of heart. Let them drink and forget for ever the memory or their pains.” (Solomon: Proverbs).

The treatment of psychic symptoms, or to speak more briefly, the treatment by means of medicines is in such a way in the human nature that in all times, in all countries, men used them unconsciously. It is with this end the Cocoa and Paraguay tea are used in South America; bi-chloride of mercury in Columbia, betel in Hindustan, Opium in Asia and specially in Persia where, by its application they used to get thee pleasure which they want to enjoy. Arsenic in Syria, infusion of mushrooms mixed with musc in Lapons. Alcoholic drinks, tea, coffee, tobacco in all parts of the world.

To show the reality of this psychic treatment thus effected by all the people, it will be sufficient for us to shorten the demonstration by citing Prof. Moleclotte and Prof. Fonsagrieve in order to explain at first the paychic effects of tea and secondly the psychic effects of coffee.

“Tea” says Prof. Molechott, “increases the power to occupy with the impressions received. It is help pensive meditation and inspite of a more lively movements of ideas, the attention stops more easily on a determined object. A sense of well being is experienced, the creative activity of the brain gets more impulse which is maintained within the limits necessary for the attention instead of wandering to the pursuit of strange ideas. United around tea, the educated people become capable to carry on a regular conversation, to examine thoroughly the question and the calm gaiety that provokes tea, leads them to the satisfactory solution. (Of food and regimen, 1858,. 169).

His description of the intellectual drinks, which are given regarding coffee, indicates its exhilarating action on the brain writes Fossangrieves. There is no one who has not himself experienced and with a sense of complacency the effect that produces this drink. The brain is slowly stimulated: one escapes, to some extent, the weight of the sense of reality of the life and the yoke of lassitude. The senses become more sagacious and precise function. The imagination becomes more clear and the work easier. Combinations of meanings become rapid which may be less solid, but more prompt and clearer. The memory becomes unusually active, the ideas flow with unprecedented fluidity. The mind is free from painful preoccupations, becomes free and gay and at the sometime a well-wishing sentiment spreads over the whole economy. There is not doubt a toxic effect in coffee, which is more distinct but less dangerous than that of alcohol but which also calls for, to a certain extent, the warning and watching over the hygiene. Persons who do intellectual works are more addicted to this vice and when they abuse it they have a state of nervous erethysm and emaciation.

I know persons whose brains work slowly and are embarrassed so long as the sting of the tea is wanting to them. I also know persons who cannot give up the habit of this drink without having migraine. From this point of view it is bad like all other addiction. Another question related to its which coffee can give to their thoughts. It causes a cerebral excitation no doubt, but all the faculties are not stimulated inn thee same degree, whence there is certain incoherence in the combination of ideas of which coffee force the emission. They are according to my experience more rapid than solid, they are more numerous, so they are less fundamental; one is less free from his idea; one cannot master them but with difficulty. The judgment and the will are weak and as regards myself, I have given up since long time this uncomodious habit when I have to speak in public. Let the poets continue to drink this liquor which is dear to them (de l’Isle), but let the philosophers and the learned men, avoid it. They will be benefited (Dict. Encycl des Sciences Medicales, t. II, p. 491-95).

But what motivated the use of psychic medicine, is medicine, is that there is in the nature of man to pass alternately from a period of life when his activities and his moral, corporeal and the intellectual activities and the feeling of well-being is in the decline subject to an ennui and always in search of a happiness more or less ideal he is forced to have and prolong that period of so pleasurable physical and psychic uplift and to re-establish the very unstable equilibrium of their moral and intellectual condition, they use some factitious means, the popular psychic medicines (alcohol, coffee, tea, tobacco, opium, hashish etc.).

“Those who take hashish say that human language cannot express the absolute experiences that they have. (Dr. Mure)

But, to this end, they use some primary effects of these psychic medicines, which are pleasurable but their effects are very temporary and followed by some disastrous and persistent effects. Thus for example by the help of coffee, there is a moral and intellectual excitation which are very pleasurable; but to this primary effect which is very temporary, succeeds the secondary effects much more durable and characterised by mental and intellectual weakness.

Hahnemann, and then Claude Bernard have shown that the medicines produce some successive effects, the primary and the secondary effects which are contrary to each other, Prof. Fonssgrieves has just shown the successive effects of coffee. At first mental and intellectual excitation, and shortly afterwards, the following day, mental and intellectual weakness: this last effect is felt by the men of letters who can no more write without the help of coffee.

Mme de Sevigne said that coffee “makes me stupid “. She was referring not to the primary effect of that drink but to its secondary effect characterised by cerebral inertia.

Prof. Malechott has seen, in the action of tea, only the primary effects: tendency to gaiety and to a greater activity of the intellect. But he has not perceived that, to that repeated mental and intellectual excitation, often succeeds the secondary or reactional effect: indifference then egoism, tendency to become annoyed, then the spleen. These effects are seen in the Englishmen and in Chinese people who consume the largest quantity of tea.

We homoeopathic doctors, do not use the primary effects of medicines for psychic treatment which is always very temporary, but their secondary effects, having sometimes indefinite persistence. Thus for example, while coffee by its primary effects favours the intellectual work for few hours only, Nux- vom. or any other indicated remedy, given once and in very high dilution may often, by their secondary effects favour the same work for weeks together, years and months.

Hahnemann while experimenting on healthy man, was able to recognise their effects on the character and intelligence, i.e. to say their psychic effects. Thus he was able to note the very numerous psychic indications of medicines, as for example, the indication of Ignatia against sadness resulting out of concentrated griefs, that of Staphysagria against sadness coexisting with indigestion, that of Ignatia against unfortunate love with concentrated grief, that of Hyoscyamus against unfortunate love with jealousy etc.

“It will be enough to take a trituration of Aurum metallicum for a melancholic person in whom the disgust of life is so much so great that he pushed to suicide, so that the unfortunate person is delivered from the evil spirit and finds charm if life” (1821).

It is regrettable that Hahnemann stopped short in so fecund a path when he advises to leave in their unfortunate fate the people who are continually in prey of griefs and who have not sufficient philosophy, religion and control over themselves to bear their griefs patiently, because, he adds, the medicines are of no use in case of these people. It is here he made a grave error. I was able to develop the will power in a young girl with Calcarea carbonica 30; cured with Staphisagria a young girl who became phthisic after having missed a very desired marriage; dissipated with Nux 200, the grief of a father who knew not whether his son, a young military man was dead or alive; give Lachesis 30 then Colocynthis 30 to an old man, not only irreligious, but doing anti-religious propaganda and thus could recite spontaneously a Pater and an Ave, two prayers which he has not said probably since 30 years.

In similar cases the medicine does not create mental or intellectual disposition, but, develops it when it exists in a latent stage in the subject to be treatment. A doctor here fulfills the role of a gardener who by smoking and watering the ground makes to germinate the seeds if they are there.

What prevented Hahnemann and other homoeopaths to do such cures, deep and durable, is because in special cases they have used and still use the medicine very frequently and in very low dilutions. For obtaining cures, one should use a single dose of medicine at least in the 30th in children, in old men, in businessmen and from the 200th up to 20,000th in robust adults and should leave the medicine to act more or less for a long-time. The following example will convince the readers about the superiority of this last method of treatment.

Dr. Compton Burnett, the editor of the periodical “The Homoeopathic World” and the prof. of Materia Medica in the School of Homoeopathy of London, sent me at Lyon a gentleman suffering from hypochondriasis, vainly treated for 4 to 5 years by more than 100 homoeopaths of England (case reported in Medical Advance, Ch.VI). The gentleman had his pockets full with medicines of lower dilutions.

Jean Pierre Gallavardin
Jean Pierre Gallavardin (1825 – 1898) was a French orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy to gain international renown. Gallavardin was a Physician at the Homeopathic Hospital in Lyons.
Gallavardin set up a homeopathic Dispensary for the cure of alcoholics, often working in conjunction with priests, and he wrote several books on this subject.
Jean Pierre Gallavardin wrote Psychism and Homeopathy, The Homoeopathic Treatment of Alcoholism, How to Cure Alcoholism the Non-toxic Homoeopathic Way, Repertory of Psychic Medicines with Materia Medica, Plastic Medicine, and articles for The British Journal of Homeopathy, On Phosphoric Paralysis, and he collated the statistics on pneumonia and other cases for the United States Journal of Homeopathy, and he contributed widely to homeopathic publications.