E. W. BERRIDGE, M.D.
The following series of cases is designed to demonstrate the superior results which follow a strict adherence to the rules of Homoeopathy, as taught by Hahnemann; viz.:.
(1) The most similar remedy, selected according to the symptoms of the patient, and not according to pathological theories.
(2) The single remedy, not a mixture or alternation of medicines.
(3) The minimum dose of the dynamized drug, not crude drugs, or unnecessarily repeated doses. As a result of nearly thirty years’ practical investigation of Homoeopathy, I unhesitatingly declare that I have NEVER ONCE found Hahnemann’s practical teachings to be erroneous.
CASE I. –
Phosphorus. 1885, April 15th. Mr. B-, aged 55, consulted me for the following symptoms. In 1856 he had typhoid fever, treated allopathically. Ever since then, if he lies on his left side he has desire for stool; and if he persists a loose stool is the result. A few weeks ago he was in Boston, where he caught cold during cold weather. He has dry hacking cough on entering the cold air; the cough shakes him.
At first there was yellow sweet expectoration, but no sputa now. When on board ship returning to England, had much sweat on head, and the cough was worse when lying on back, better when lying on right side. Feels weak.
His history is as follows: Never was a strong boy. His father was a healthy man, and died at age of 70; his mother died at age of 49 from overwork. Has had five sisters, who have had good health, but one died from the acute effects of catching cold. In 1865 patient had rheumatic fever, from which he made a good recovery under Homoeopathy.
In 1884 had gastric fever, treated by a local homoeopath. He first consulted me on May 18, 1884, for dyspepsia, which was relieved by Carbo veg. cm. (F.C.); at this time he made no mention of the “thirty years’ war” which this troublesome intestinal symptom had waged in his organism.
Diagnosis of remedy. -Taking the most peculiar symptom, not as by itself an infallible and exclusive keynote, but as a valuable guide to the totality of the symptoms, I found in Bell’s Repertory of Diarrhoea, “Aggravation from lying on left side, Arm. Phosph.” Of these two remedies a reference to Lee’s Cough Repertory showed that Phosph, had all the cough symptoms, except the amelioration from lying on right side (it has aggravation from lying on right or left side); whereas Arnica has only the dry, hacking and shaking cough.
A further reference to the Materia Medica showed that Phosph. also corresponded to the sweat on head and the weakness.
I prescribed Phosphorus cm. (F.C.) every four hours for eight days.
April 29th. -Has had no medicine for about a week. Is much better; cough almost gone; much less weakness; he can now lie, and even sleep, on left side, without the stool symptoms being excited.
1886, Feb. 11th. -Has had no more of the abnormal desire for stool till some weeks ago, when it returned and has persisted. He also complains of rather sharp frontal headache, commencing on waking; with the headache, the mouth fills with saliva.
Diagnosis of remedy. -“Flow of saliva with headache” belong to Epiphegus (viscid saliva), Hippomanes, Indium, Kal bichr., Opium, Phosph., Sepia. As the same remedy was again indicated, I prescribed Phosphorus cm. (F.C.) twice daily for eight days.
March 30th. -Reports that the headache ceased soon after leaving my house. The stool symptom also caused before he had finished the medicine, and when I next saw him, May 8th, it had not returned.
From this time he remained fairly well till March 21, 1889, when he consulted me for a general breakdown from overwork, business worries, and heavy pecuniary losses. The desire for stool when lying on left side had lately returned at times, but never so badly as formerly. His stools were now thin in diameter and very long (they had been so for some years), soft but difficult to pass, had to squeeze and press abdomen and loins to assist the evacuation. He also had other symptoms of dyspepsia, which, not being characteristic of any one remedy, need not be detailed.
I prescribed one dose of Phosph mm. (Fincke) a still higher potency than the former. This remedy speedily removed the unnatural urging to stool, and the evacuations become more consistent, better formed and less difficult to pass. His other dyspeptic symptoms also improved. Whether the Phosphorus would have completely cured these other symptoms I am unable to say, as a change in his condition necessitated a prescription of Nux vomica; and later he required Arsenicum for an attack of the influenza epidemic.
Comments. -(1) The efficacy of Hahnemannian treatment is clearly demonstrated in this case, where a troublesome symptom which had lasted about thirty years after the unscientific treatment of typhoid fever, evidently showing some serious lesion of the intestinal canal, was rapidly cured by a few doses of the similimum in a high potency; not returning for about three years, and then only under the unfavorable condition of a breakdown of health from overwork and worry, and again quickly cured.
(2) The value of clinical symptoms is also proved. In the Encyclopaedia I am unable to find the characteristic symptom of this case, either under Arnica or Phosphorus; neither is the equally characteristic symptom of Phosph., “stool narrow, dry, long, difficult to expel, very like a dog’s stool,” to be found therein.
They are, at present, merely clinical symptoms. Such symptoms are often absolutely indispensable to fill up the gaps in our Materia Medica, till further provings produce them as pathogenetic symptoms. But it is necessary that they be used with caution. It does not follow because a symptom disappears under the action of a remedy, that it has been cured by the direct homoeopathic action thereof.
It is conceivable that a remedy may, without being homoeopathic to all the symptoms of the case, be so far homoeopathic as to remove a large number of them under the law of Similars; and that then, the chain of symptoms being broken, a few remaining links may drop of spontaneously, the organism being now sufficiently relieved for the vis medicatrix naturoe to complete the work. Hence clinical, far more than pathogenetic, symptoms require frequent verifications, under diverse circumstances, before they can be safely resorted to as guides in the selection of the similimum.
(3) The uselessness of the pathology, as a guide in the selection of the most similar remedy, is also evidenced by this case. What pathologist could declare with certainty the exact nature of the intestinal lesion which must have existed in this patient? And if he could, how could he distinguish pathologically the difference between Arnica and Phosph., which have both cured this symptom?
The true “method of Hahnemann” is that of the selection of the remedy by symptom similarity; and to accomplish this satisfactorily, we must habitually use the Repertory and the Materia Medica, consulting them in the presence of our patients, and, if need be, questioning them from the symptoms recorded therein. Our Materia Medica is too vast to be carried in the bread of any of us, even were he a Boenninghausen, a Hering, or a Wilson.
Fortunately for the rising generation of homoeopathic physicians, their work in this direction is being greatly simplified by the publication of Lee’s Repertory of Characteristics, which is without exception the best in arrangement and execution that I-have ever seen in my language.