DIET AND REGIMEN DURING HOMOEOPATHIC TREATMENT.
A good homoeopathic physician should not only select an appropriate remedy with care and administer it in a very small dose but should also remove from the diet and regimen of the patient all such things as may extinguish or disturb the action of the medicine. A physician who wishes to cure diseases, especially chronic diseases, must inquire into the diet which the patient is taking during homoeopathic treatment. A faulty diet is a kind of obstacle to cure. During treatment of chronic diseases the following instruction of Dr. Hahnemann should be closely followed:.
“Coffee; fine Chinese and other herb teas; beer prepared with medicinal vegetable substances unsuitable for the patients state; so-called fine liqueurs made with medicinal spices; all kinds of punch; spiced chocolate; odorous waters and perfumes of many kinds; strong scented flowers in the apartment; tooth powders and essences and perfumed sachets compounded of drugs; highly spiced dishes and sauces; spiced cakes and ices; crude medicinal vegetables for soups; dishes of herbs, roots and stalks of plants possessing medicinal qualities; old cheese, and meats that are in a state of decomposition, or that possess medicinal properties (as the flesh and fat of pork, ducks and geese, veal that is too young and sour viands), ought just as certainly to be kept from patients as they should avoid all excesses in food, and in the use of sugar and salt, as also spirituous drinks, heated rooms, woollen clothing next the skin (which should be exchanged in warm weather, first for cotton, then for linen garments), a sedentary life in close apartments, or the frequent indulgence in mere passive exercise (such as riding, driving or swinging) prolonged suckling, taking a long siesta in a recumbent posture (in bed), sitting up long at night, uncleanliness, unnatural debauchery, enervation by reading obscene books, subjects of anger, grief, or vexation, a passion for play, over-exertion of mind or body, dwelling in marshy districts, damp rooms, penurious living, &c. all these things must be as far as possible avoided or removed, in order that the cure may not be obstructed or rendered impossible. Some of my disciples seem needlessly to increase the difficulties of the patients dietary by forbidding the use of many more, tolerably indifference things, which is not to be commended.”.
In acute diseases the diet should be according to the nature of the disease. Solid or liquid diet is to be allowed according to circumstances. The rules of diet given in all books on practice of medicine should be our guide. Here common sense plays an important part. Some patients cannot tolerate milk. In such a case a milk diet will only aggravate the symptoms. In all acute diseases the diet should be according to the needs or requirements of the patient and also according to the nature of the disease.
In cholera, diarrhoea or dysentery we do not usually allow our patients to take forbidden diet. These patients require such liquids as may not cause an aggravation of symptoms. In all acute diseases where medicinal aid is absolutely necessary we always give such diet as has no power to extinguish or disturb the action of medicine. In all such cases we should only see that the prescribed diet agrees with the patient and that it may not cause an unnecessary aggravation or a complication. Dr. Hahnemann advises us not to refuse anything the patient urgently desires in the way of food. The desire of the patient is the voice of nature.
The desires of the patient in acute diseases should be satisfied. This desire must be strong and persistent. Gratification of this desire in moderation will assist the medicine in curing the disease. In acute diseases not only the diet but also other requirements of the patient must be arranged according to the wish of the patient. Starvation, if not absolutely necessary in some particular diseases, should not be encouraged. Overfeeding or frequent feeding should also be guarded.
The physician must study the situation with all possible care and allow the patient such kinds of foods as may not do any harm to him. The habitual diet of the patient should be taken into consideration. The climatic conditions often play an important part in the matter of selection of diet. Study of climate, habit, natural tendencies, peculiar character, and longings of the patient is absolutely necessary before prescribing the diet. “One mans food may be another mans poison.” It is a very valuable proverb and one must remember it at the moment of giving diet.
The chief aim of giving medicine is to cure or to mitigate the sufferings of patients. The diet is necessary to maintain the strength of the patient and therefore withdrawal of all or many of the articles of diet is not rational, as such an act or rigid restrictions will only weaken the patient. Liberal diet is often advisable. Starvation causes strength to fail and in many cases paves the way to some serious diseases or complications. Of course the diet in each case can be given in moderation as excess of anything is bad.
It is indeed imperative that articles of food which are absolutely necessary for maintaining the strength of the patient should be allowed liberally. But on the other hand things which can be excluded from the diet without impairing the vitality of the patient should be prohibited during the course of homoeopathic treatment.
Articles of unimpaired medicinal power or with strong medicinal properties are to be withdrawn from the food of the patient without any mercy, as they are likely to cause unpleasant developments of new symptoms which can confuse the judgment of physicians, or because they may disturb or destroy or restrain the action of the indicated remedy causing unnecessary delay in the cure or barring all possibilities of cure. Every individual case requires separate consideration for this purpose.
Homoeopaths often make homoeopathic treatment unpleasant to the patients by forcing them to follow a very rigid restriction in matters of diet or in matters of personal habits and customs. Chiefly because of unwise and needless restrictions many patients try to avoid homoeopathic treatment. Imposition of restrictions, if not very necessary, is an unwise act which brings in the minds of people suspicion about the truth of the new system of treatment and tends to create in their hearts a natural aversion to Homoeopathy. Hence in our zeal to cure we must not cause any serious difficulty to our patients in the matter of food or drink and bar all chances of progress of Homoeopathy.