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.

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.