Ninety times out of one hundred the present day medical student approaches the college of his choice with his mind fastened on physiological and pathological problems concerning the human body. He wants to know all about diseases as such and how to eradicate them from their victims. He thinks about conquering diseases as diseases.
I venture to think he does not concern himself with how to cure the patient as a patient. Homoeopathy thinks of man as a feeling, thinking, acting creature who may be wholly in order, wholly in disorder or anywhere between these states. Homoeopathy seeks to understand the inner man, the man as a whole. It seeks to learn of the health or disorder of his mind and his soul as well as his body.
It recognizes that thought and feeling modify bodily ills, that functional disturbance precedes tissue change, hence that removal of diseased tissue cannot cure the man himself; also that cure of the inner man allows physical disorder to become orderly. Homoeopathy cure progresses from within outward, from mans spirit and his mind outward to his bodily tissues.
A homoeopathic diagnosis can be made through seeing the patient as a whole instead of a collection of parts. It is interesting to see how a diagnosis thus made compares with one made through laboratory methods.
This is a different concept from the one in general use in the present generation. Following this concept then in order to approach the heart of homoeopathic prescribing we are penetrating beyond the selection of remedies for present acute conditions alone, or for more or less local groups of symptoms, and reaching out to their background, feeling our way toward hidden causes and their effects. Following along the lines of such penetration there are certain fundamental statements to be made.
Homoeopathic prescribing is always constitutional, even in the most serious acute cases.
It is based on law with its corollaries and these never change.
It is carried out by correct case-taking, full detailed record keeping and free use of materia medica aided by good repertory study.
Homoeopathic drug prescribing is for the man sick emotionally, mentally, physically and every human disorder partakes of all these characteristics.
This sort of prescribing is based on inherited tendencies plus environment plus effects of former treatment. It becomes a study of resulting complexes of all three.
Let us put our minds on this concept of treating the sick and place on record some examples of cures resulting from various phases of it.
I. Mental Symptoms Lead to the Remedy.
Mr. G.B. a man about 50 years who all his life had a symptom complex which disturbed both work and play. Like many another victim he felt rather ashamed of his thoughts and feelings, so few acquaintances knew of them. He could not go into a crowd or a social gathering without fear that something would happen to him if he did not get out. If he did not escape he would become nauseated, wobbly on his feet, break out into profuse cool perspiration, turn pale, even feel faint. If he stayed on the edge of the crowd he might be able to stay through the gathering or meeting.
If he chose an aisle seat at church or a lecture he might not have to leave in the middle of the program. The fear of having to leave made him panicky. If he crossed a bridge he had uncontrolled fear of falling into the water. If in a high place he was attacked by fear of jumping off. If walking on a narrow street with high buildings a fear possessed him that these buildings might fall on him. And in every case came the same symptoms of nausea, pallor, sweat, trembling even to faintness.
Now this man had a certain type of indigestion, constipation or diarrhoea, insomnia, loss of appetite and weight, but these were symptoms common to so many remedies that one could not choose a remedy on them. It was the mental complex that solved the problem. This man has a fine character, is strong and courageous in general. I am not describing a weakling at all but a man with one uncontrollable mental complex which was spoiling his life and his happiness.
He received Argentum nitricum first in the 1m potency a single dose repeated when improvement stopped, then 10m, later 50m and cm. then back to 1m and the series over again. Each potency was repeated when improvement stopped as long as it would act, then the next higher as long as it would act and so on until cure was consummated. It is a great pleasure now to watch this man perfectly happy and at ease in his important work with groups of men. He is now full of confidence in himself.
Case 2. Mr. O.B.M. a tall slender bachelor man of 61 years, a conscientious government clerk whose diet had been restricted greatly by a former physician with suggestion of serious disease if he were not careful. He came to me with object fear written on his face and no amount of arguing with him would do any good. He had given up one food after another until he was half starved; he had lost thirty pounds, could not sleep much, dreaded meals in restaurants where nearly everything on the menu must be rejected for one reason or another.
This man, who used to be strong, healthy, a large eater of hearty food, was a puzzle until he confessed to “bad thoughts” on waking in the early morning. Finally I learned that he was sure he was incurable, that all attempts to get well would fail, that there was no use trying, he better go down and jump into the river. He struggled against such thoughts but became more helpless under the overpowering weight of them.
He was a pitiful wreck of his former self. I could see his remedy now. He needed Aurum and this in a series of potencies has brought him back to a well poised hearty eating man with no “bad thoughts” at all. I suspected a suppression somewhere and found it in the return of arthritis which was his condition long ago. This is responding now to Medorrhinum.
Case 3. Mrs. F.K.R. a middle-aged lady who had had good homoeopathic prescribing all her life and so was utterly devastated by the large amount of drugs given to her for a bladder ailment. A healthier type of person might have escaped unharmed but this lady had poor inheritance with tendencies to serious organic disorders. She was living where there was no homoeopathic doctor. When I reached her she had high fever, was delirious, excited, thrashing about. That same evening she attempted suicide by cutting her wrists with broken glass.
From then on for two weeks she went from Hyoscyamus symptoms to those of Stramonium to Opium and back again, suddenly changing from one symptom picture to another. She was brought to Washington against the advice of local doctors, placed in the hospital with two nurses and a doctor watching her most of the time. By giving the first of the three remedies, then the second and third as symptoms changed, she finally became normal mentally and did that suddenly. Weakness was pronounced of course and convalescence slow but no more delirium or even the original cystitis.
However, this patient went gradually into deep melancholia with suicidal thoughts and Aurum was prescribed most satisfactorily for that. Now for the climax of the whole case. While in the hospital nurses discovered advanced cancer of the left mamma, broken down and much tissue destroyed. Aurum, prescribed on the mental symptoms cured that cancer which had been pronounced inoperable and hopeless. Healthy breast tissue took the place of the hard mass, normal color returned, nothing was left but the deformity of lost tissue. The patient recovered good health, had eight years of real happiness, then suddenly developed cancer of the liver and died in five months.
II. The constitutional remedy causes quick recovery after epidemic attack.
Case 1. Mrs. D. W. a middle- aged, hard working housewife had to move on a certain date, with no one to help her. Preparations were well under way but far from finished when suddenly she came down with a hard attack of Flu with chill, hard aching, high fever and all the rest of it. This was six days before moving day and she went through it with flying colors because, after an acute remedy had cleared the actual symptoms away, her chronic remedy, Sulphur, furnished the pick-up she needed to feel almost quite like herself and do it quickly. If I had not known her chronic remedy, results would have been different.
III. Family chronic remedies help family disorders.
Polychrest remedies, those useful many-sided benefactors of mankind, often cure one member of a family with a characteristic group of symptoms and another of the same family with another very different group belonging to the same remedy. I recollect one case which puzzled me greatly because the symptoms given did not seem to “make sense”, until I remembered that another member, of the family had required Phosphorus and been cured by it.
Then this case fell in line as a Phosphorus case exhibiting another facet of this polychrest. I had the same experience with Silica in a family group, mother and two children needing that remedy but showing up different sides of it. Another family with highly nervous manifestations needed snake and spider remedies, two Tarentula and one Naja.
IV. Past history reveals the remedy.
For instance: any physician who has studied homoeopathic prescribing conscientiously for many years learns to recognize almost intuitively the insidious after effects of malaria dosed with quinine. Generally the malaria dates back to youth. Perhaps any suggestions of it in later years have been suppressed with more quinine. The result in middle or elderly life is pitiful and remedies apt to come to mind fail. These cases need to be unlocked, so to speak, freed from the dreadful suppression. A small group of remedies, skillfully handled will do it. Prominent among them are Sepia and Natrum mur.
V. Oftentimes a patient needs a series of remedies to accomplish cure, remedies which naturally follow each other in sequence. Suppose, for example, the patient needs Sulphur for a starter in treatment of deep chronic tendencies. Suppose this remedy fails after a while without a cure and the symptoms change.
Then the remedy now required by the new symptoms picture may be Calc. carb. and when this gives out very likely the new picture points to Lycopodium. For all three of these remedies Pulsatilla may be indicated in acute attacks and given in low potency will rarely interfere with continuing action of the chronic remedy in high potency.
Other related remedies are Arsenic and Sulphur, Arsenic and Tarentula; Sepia and Nat. mur. with Ignatia for an acute remedy to work with them Pulsatilla and Nitric acid.
Always the symptom picture is the guide but it is useful to bear in mind remedy groups. It often prevents spoiling a case and rendering it incurable.
VI. Epidemic remedies.
Nearly every epidemic reveals one or two or more remedies which will cure nearly every case. Discovery of them makes ones work vastly simpler and more efficient. Such epidemic remedies vary in different localities and climates in the same epidemic and also vary in different epidemics in the same locality. In the recent flu epidemic here in Washington Pulsatilla and Kali bich cured most cases, remedies with much in common but widely different characteristics. A doctor in Chicago writes that Eup. perf. cured most of his cases. Another announces Gelsemium as his epidemic remedy, so on.
VII. Nosodes as intercurrents.
We could not get along in treatment of our deeply miasmatic patients if we had not nosodes to help out in case one is needed. Many a time skin cases are cured by Psorinum, rheumatic cases by Medorrhinum and nervous cases by Tuberculinum. These nosodes stand in their own right as polychrest remedies but they might be the curative remedy used as intercurrent also.
VIII. Taking other drugs interferes.
Case 1. Miss A.D.B. middle-aged with unusually responsible hard work to do, was treated for several years for chronic ills with fairly good results, then for a time with quite unsatisfactory results. She suddenly developed a vicious sore throat which was something like “strep throat,” something like diphtheritic throat, something like quinsy but not a clear picture of anything.
Her vital force failed steadily under it and in spite of all endeavour to prescribe accurately she died after three days. The very day of her death I learned that she had been taking a strong drug secretly for her migraine attacks ever since improvement of chronic ills stopped thereby, suppressing the headaches and overpowering her vital force sufficiently to render her incurable when a menacing acute disorder came to her.
IX. Past ailments are the key.
Case 1. Mrs. H.W. a young married woman of good health developed rather suddenly terrific pain in right parietal region affecting vision somewhat. Two physicians consulted said tumor on brain and recommended surgery as her only hope. Her husband brought her to me with this report. Symptoms were few and confusing until I secured the statement that she had had such a profuse offensive footsweat for years that some months before she started using a powder on them and in her shoes.
This suppressed the footsweat entirely and soon after the headache began. Sure enough this cleared the confusion of symptoms and I prescribed Silica with the result that headache grew lighter and after several weeks the footsweat returned and increased to the old quantity and quality. Gradually pain in head disappeared entirely and later the sweat diminished though it remained in milder form. This was more than seven years ago and general health has been excellent since. Vision in that right eye remains somewhat blurred, the only sign of what threatened so seriously.
Case 2. Mr. T.P. had severe malaria in early manhood suppressed by quantities of quinine. In middle life he developed epilepsy which grew worse as years went on. A fine prescriber gave him the remedy he would have given for the malaria where-upon the malarial chills reappeared and the epilepsy grew very much lighter though never entirely cured. Malaria attacks soon vanished and general health remained good, with the one exception, until old age.
Case 3. A woman was given up to die from uterine cancer pronounced incooperable by her former doctor and a good surgeon. This same fine prescriber was called in as a last resort. There were no symptoms evident upon which to prescribe. The picture was all pathology and failing vitality. On proving into past history an acute attack of haemorrhoids was revealed which was suppressed by local treatment. Fortunately, the patient could remember clearly the symptoms of that attack. The remedy then indicated was given with the result that haemorrhoids returned and uterus was cured. I never knew the after history of this patient.
X. A combination remedy furnishes the key.
Case 1. M.C. a five years-old girl began to lose strength in her muscles. This continued, with wasting of muscle tissue, until she could not climb up on a chair, pulled herself upstairs by both hands on the bannisters, could not turn over in bed, tumbled down trying to walk, etc. She was taken to the Johns Hopkins clinic where the diagnosis of muscular dystrophy was made with hopeless prognosis and life up to perhaps ten years.
Whereupon the father committed suicide. The child was brought to me with this pronouncement. I could find few functional symptoms and these suggested only two remedies. Calc. c. and Phos. I tried each without success. Then I tried Calc. phos. and behold the whole case began to clear up. Over the next nine months muscles filled in, color improved, strength returned until next year she was more athletic than her play-mates, climbing fences and tearing about with the best of them. She is seventeen now, a healthy active girl.
XI. When nothing else will serve in an incurable case a remedy based on its reputation for that malady may serve well for palliation.
Case 1. Mrs. S.L. a woman in her early eighties developed cancer of the tongue. There were no symptoms upon which to prescribe evident in present condition or past history. Nitric acid was prescribed upon its reputation in these malignancies and it surely calmed the distress and eased the patient down to an easy death.
XII. Suppression is the key.
I have already dwelt upon this hydra-headed source of chronic ills but here are two more illustrations given for mental characteristics.
Case 1. D.W. a boy of five had an ugly facial eruption four years before which was suppressed violently by a skin specialist who wrapped the whole head in bandages after applying some salve.” So strong was natures tendency to throw out eruptions that the boys face and head were wrapped a second time. That was enough and the skin remained clear but when I first saw him he was pale, languid, dull mentally, lacking in the gaiety of normal childhood.
He had to lie down frequently and was not fit to hold his place in school. This boy received Zinc for a remedy in a series of potencies and during the next two years it made him over permanently. The eruption did not return, however. His older sister received the same remedy for chronic symptoms; fits of high temper, great restlessness, sleeplessness, frequent acute attacks with high fever and slow recovery. It acted most favorably with her also although indication for it might never have been seen except for the family relationship.
Case 2. Mr. W.E.G. in his late fifties developed delusions of persecution, lost much weight, could not eat or sleep normally, aged rapidly and evidently was approaching need for institutional treatment. A negro woman across the street, a policeman on the beat, fellow workers in the office, fellow travellers on the street cars all knew something evil in his past life and would show it to him in their expressions and behaviour toward him. Now this man had always been over-sensitive, had suffered intensely from it in childhood.
He had developed his one great talent to a high degree of perfection but not quite high enough to attain his goal. He had married a woman who heckled him and attempted to debase him in the eyes of others. The patient was quiet, uncomplaining, plodding but evidently was a fine example of emotional suppression from early childhood. Zinc fitted his symptoms well and this remedy has a wonderful reputation for overcoming suppression. It cured that case completely ten years ago with no return of symptoms.
In conclusion I would like to say that it is my firm belief that this is the medicine of the future. I say medicine because a patient must be classified as to whether he needs medicine or surgery or mechanical treatment or only advice. If he needs medicine and most people do then the deep study of pure Homoeopathy becomes the medicine of the new age now dawning.