VIS MEDICATRIX NATURAE) TO PATHOLOGY AND TO DIAGNOSIS.
HAHNEMANN’S UTTERANCES ON THE HEALING POWERS OF NATURE IN HIS WRITINGS OF 1796-1809.
In 1796 he says in his writings “Essay on a New Principle, etc.”: In acute diseases if we can stave off for a few days the obstacles to recovery Nature will largely conquer by itself.
In 1797 he writes on the question: “Are the obstacles to the attainment of certainty and simplicity in Practical Medicine insurmountable?”
It cannot be a question of dietetic treatment without medicine, the effect of which, when very simple can well be estimated, and from which in special cases a great deal of benefit could be expected.
If great alterations in diet and in the mode of living have to be made, it would be better if the physician first saw how far he could remedy the disease by this change alone, before he prescribed any medicinal remedies.
In 1801 he asserts in his “Fragmentary Observations on Brown’s Elements of Medicine”:
Beneficent Nature and youth will, assisted by such appropriate regimen cure diseases having far more deeply seated causes than deficiency or excess of excitability, which the unprejudiced observer witnesses daily, and which must be explained away, or denied, by Brown in order to support his scholastic system.
In 1801. In “observations on the Three Current Methods of Treatment,” Hahnemann says again about Brown:
Nothing is to be left to the powers of Nature; we must not rest in our application of remedies; we must continually either stimulate or deplete. What a blasphemy against Nature, what a dangerous suggestion for the ordinary, already far too busy, pseudo-physician! What pride is instilled into him as a master over Nature!
In 1805. “AEsculapius in the balance”:
The majority of cases, for the treatment of which a physician is called in, are of acute diseases, that is, aberrations from health which have only a short course to run before they terminate either in recovery or death. If the patient die, the physician follows his remains modesty to the grave; if he recover, then must his natural strength have been sufficient to overcome both the force of the disease, and the usually obstructing action of the drugs he took; and the powers of nature often suffice to overcome both..In epidemic dysentery, just as many of those who follow the indications afforded by Nature, without taking any medicine at all, recover, as of those. (who are treated by anykind of physician-R.H.). What is the inference? Certainly not that the physicians were all correct in their mode of treatment, but perhaps that they were all equally wrong. What presumption for each to claim the credit of curing a disease, which in the milder cases uniformly recovered of itself, if gross errors in diet were not committed.I could run through a number of acute diseases and show that the recovery of those who were treated with such opposite methods were not cures, but spontaneous recoveries….I often say, regretfully, that patient frequently recover from very serious acute diseases as by a miracle, as soon as they put away or secretly discontinue the….medicines prescribed by their physicians. In numerous instances, many a prostrate patient has miraculously cured himself, not only by refusing the physician’s medicine, but by secretly transgressing in his artificial and mischievous system of diet, and freely following his own inclinations, which is in this instance an imperious instinct, impelling him to commit various dietetic paradoxes.
1808. In the essay “On the present want of Foreign Medicines,” the sentence occurs:
Do not the poor, who use no medicine at all, often recover much sooner from a similar kind of disease than the well-to-do patient, who has his shelves filled with large bottles of medicine?
HAHNEMANN’S STATEMENTS ON THE POWERS OF NATURE (VIS MEDICATRIX NATURAE) FROM THE PUBLICATION OF THE “ORGANON” ONWARDS.
“Organon” (Introduction, page 52, annotation 2): It is only the slightest acute diseases that tend when the natural period of their course has expired, to terminate quietly in resolution, as it is called, with or without the employment of not very aggressive allopathic remedies; the vital force, having regained its powers, then gradually substitutes the normal condition for the derangement of the health that has now ceased to exist. But in severe acute and in chronic diseases which constitute by far the greater portion of all human ailments, crude nature and the old school are equally powerless.
And page 68: Diseases were treated by physicians of the old school in such a way that.
Nature herself-by the life-preserving power which, besides the removal of the natural acute disease, had also to combat the effects of improper treatment, and was thus able, in cases unattended by danger, gradually to restore the normal relation of the functions by means of its own energy, though often in a tedious, imperfect and painful manner.
These recognitions of self-recovery can be found in Vol. I. of “Materia Medica Pura” (page 272) of the year 1811 (Ist Edition):
Diseases which have suddenly arisen, disappear with or without medicine; obviously through the vitality of the organism; these acute diseases, if treated with medicines must yield much more quickly and more fully than they would if left alone if we are to call it a cure.
And in 1826, in Vol. II of “Materia Medica Pura” (p. 395 ff), Hahnemann says about the typhus epidemic which devastated the countries of Mid-Europe in the summer of 1813, after the Russian retreat:
No treatment of this typhus, that is based upon inferences derived from ordinary therapeutics, as also no other mode of treatment whatever, could anything for the worst cases (the slighter cases would in any case have recovered by the power of beneficent nature, though but slowly and with difficulty).
And on a small undated sheet of paper, which we have before us, Hahnemann writes:
In chronic affections it is much safer to use no kind of medicines and rely entirely upon the vital forces, than to be treated by the harmful and destroying allopathic treatment.
We further read in a letter of Hahnemann giving advice to Dr. Schreter of Lemberg dated January Ist, 1829:
His (the important patient-R.H.) very difficulty recovery lies much deeper, that is, in organic crippling and material effects which the powers of Nature have gradually been forced to produce internally, in the most delicate parts of the organism, essential to movement and sensation, for the sake of protecting and preserving it against the violent attacks of allopathic remedies; in the same way as the stone-layer, or workman who uses dyes containing sulphuric acid, develops a horn-like skin in order to protect the blood-vessels and nerves of the hand from the attacks of these hurtful substances.-These internal organic and material changes, produced by the vital power to save and to preserve life from protracted treatments and wrong and harmful remedies, impede the free and easy movements of the limbs for a long time afterwards until the vital forces become able to dissolve and remove them, in the same way as the stone layer would stiff fingers for years even is he discontinued this rough occupation in order to undertake finer work-The physician cannot remove the horny skin of his hands for him, only nature can gradually accomplish this.
And he writes to Dr. Aegidi, on April 24th, 1831, in connection with the condition of the Princess Friedrich of Dusseldorf:
Now we see almost only the artificial chronic symptoms produced by medicines, the removal of which is left to nature’s powers.
In 1834, Dr. Kammerer of Ulm-on-the Danube, published a small book: “Homoeopathy cures without venesection.” In this little book the powers of Nature are much and frequently mentioned.
Page I: Venesections are a degradation and a slight to the great powers of nature.
On Page 7: Venesection depletes the organism and disturbs the natural forces.
On Page 17: The powers of Nature frequently accomplish wonderful, quick and beautiful cures…. Serious illnesses very often get better of themselves also in chronic affections this marvellous power of healing asserts itself.
On Page 18: No other power, no other effective remedy can be a better friend to the organism than its own internal power of healing.
On page 21: Diseases are as rapidly and often more rapidly removed by the power of Nature than by the most excellent remedies, etc.
Hahnemann wrote an introduction recommending this little book which closes with sentence: Our friend Kammerer of Ulm, whose sensible essay I herewith present to the public with pleasure.
And still in year 1838 the old man of eighty-three wrote in the preface to the fourth volume of the second and much revised and improved edition of “Chronic Diseases,” on page 4:
The vital powers are not even capable of healing the chronic, miasmatic diseases, and of substituting health in their stead, without inflicting a loss upon the organism. But it is certain that although the vital forces may achieve a victory over acute as well as miasmatic diseases without inflicting such losses upon the organism, provided they are assisted and directed in their action by a properly selected homoeopathic agent, it is nevertheless those forces that conquer, in the same sense as the native army is said to have beaten the enemy, although it may have been assisted by auxiliary troops.