This is the fourth consecutive year in which I have appeared before this body as an essayist. I hope you are not growing tired of it. As I have stated here before, I love to talk; and when the opportunity presents itself to speak on any subject connected with homoeopathy, I am more than eager to seize it.
Today I present you nothing new in homoeopathy, but merely add one more bit of testimony to the never-failing efficacy of the indicated remedy. If in your practises you have seen reason to doubt the efficiency of the homoeopathic remedy, do not place the blame on homoeopathy.
Place it where it belongs — upon yourselves. For if the results you obtain from the remedies you prescribe do not justify your choice of them, then the reason for failure lies, not with the principles by which they were prescribed, but with the manner of their choice and administration. Let me direct your attention to Paragraph 3 of the Organon, a part of which I quote:.
If the physician clearly perceives what it is in disease in general and in each case of disease in particular that has to be cured. . . . if he clearly perceives what is the healing principle in medicine in particular. . . .: if in the light of clear principles he can so adapt the healing virtue of the drug to the illness that is to be cured that recovery must follow, and if he has the ability to select not only the particular remedy whose mode of action is most suitable to the case, but also to choose the exact quantity of the remedy required . . . and the fitting period for its repetition . . . and in addition recognize in every case the hindrances to lasting recovery and can remove them, then truly he knows how to build up his work on an adequate basis of reason.
This relationship between the disease, the drug, and the doctor should be uppermost in our minds whenever we are called upon to prescribe for a case of illness whether it be acute of chronic in nature.
The homoeopathic prescription is predicted, first, upon a carefully taken history, and second, upon a thorough knowledge of the actions of drugs. The former is necessary because only in this way are we able to recognize what is curable in the disease for which the prescription is intended.
The latter is need because in this way only are the curative properties of drugs manifest. Having obtained, through careful observation and skilful questioning the symptoms of the disease and having selected through our knowledge of drug action the most similar remedy, the next question to be decided is that of dosage and repetition.
One of the chief laws of homoeopathic therapeutics is expressed in Paragraph 242 of the Organon as follows:
. . . the counter-force chosen as exactly as possible for the removal of a natural disease-force should be so calculated that it will only just attain its object and will do the body no harm in any way through unnecessary strength.
The reason for this is obvious. Since the smallest quantity of medicine disturbs the organism least, we should choose the minimal dosage, provided that it is a match for the disease. Experience has shown that the very smallest doses of drugs chosen for their homoeopathicity to disease are matches for the disorder for which they are chosen.
If the disease is not accompanied by actual pathological changes in the structure of some important organ, there cannot be a dose of the homoeopathically chosen remedy so small that it will not be stronger than the condition to be overcome. Hahnemann was led to this conclusion by his observation of the effects of drugs in ponderable quantity, even when homoeopathically indicated.
So many severe aggravations appeared following the use of the indicated remedy in crude form that he was led to the procedure of dilution in an attempt to eliminate these untoward phenomena. Yet even in the higher dilutions the indicated remedy will show an accentuation of the disease manifestations, though in a mild degree, within a short while after its administration. This initial aggravation is a favorable sign for two reasons; 1. Because it indicates that the remedy has been correctly chosen. and 2. Because it shows that the remedy is capable of cure.
Now we come to the question of the repetition of the dose. One could spend the whole afternoon in the discussion of this particular phase of the prescription. I believe that this aspect of our art has been a greater impediment to the advancement of homoeopathic skill in the individual physician that almost any other, the next is the minimum dose. The general rule is that the remedy should not be repeated as long as improvement is apparent. This applies both to acute and chronic conditions.
Frequently in the acute condition, repetition will be called for rather soon because the strong and active nature of the illness will quickly exhaust the action of the remedy. Yet even here the second dose should not be given as long as the favorable action of the first is evident.
Nothing in nature is so sensitive as the diseased cell to the action of the similar remedy, hence needlessly repeated dosage may call forth not only severe aggravations but also set up symptoms that are provings of the remedy and which if not recognized as such, will further complicate and cloud the disease manifestations themselves. A clear and undimmed picture of the diseased state must be present as a basis for accurate prescribing.
Concerning repetition in chronic condition the same rule is applicable. Since the power of the remedy is less quickly exhausted in these cases, one must be still more cautious not to repeat the dose too soon. Severe aggravations are apt to be the result of over-anxiety to DO SOMETHING for the patient. It must be remembered that if the case is carefully taken and the remedy well chosen upon the indications, more is being accomplished toward the cure of the condition than with any other method of treatment.
I believe that the use of the highly potentized drug is absolutely essential to the successful chronic prescription. It is surprising over how long a period of time the higher dilutions will act. Weeks and frequently months will elapse before it becomes necessary to give a second dose of the chosen remedy. It is remarkable, too, how well these cases get along in the meantime on placebo !!
I am convinced that the use of the repertory is an indispensable aid in the choice of the remedy for these chronic cases. The condition is usually so deep-seated, so long lasting, and will present upon examination so many apparently unrelated symptoms, which may not be characteristic of any particular remedy, that it is impossible to reach any opinion as to the indicated medicine without the help of a good repertory.
Before terminating this paper I shall cite a few cases which I hope will be illustrative of the points I have discussed.
At two oclock in the morning of Friday, February 1, I was called to see an eight-year-old boy who presented the following symptoms: Late in the preceding afternoon he complained of a sore pain in the tip of the left shoulder. At bedtime his mother noticed that he was hot and feverish. He was thirsty for cold water. His sleep was disturbed by restlessness and talking.
He had a deep harsh cough < at night. His throat was red and dry. His face and body were very flushed and gave the sensation of burning heat to the examining hand. The pupils were dilated. The temperature was 104F. and the pulse was proportionately rapid. One dose of Belladonna 200 was given. I saw him again in the afternoon. At this time his temperature had dropped to 100F. His left shoulder was sore to touch, but no longer pained him.
He was coughing only occasionally. He was thirsty. He slept most of the time and sweated profusely during sleep. There was no other complaints. I felt that the case was showing favorable progress and therefore prescribed Sac. lac. The next day the lad was completely well and was allowed to return to school on the Monday following.
This was the familys first experience with homoeopathy and to say that they were both astonished at the rapidity of recovery and pleased with the lack of intensive medication is putting it mildly.
At 2 a. m. on the morning of January 30, a little boy, aged three, suddenly became delirious and feverish. He was restless and wished to be held. His face was very flushed, his ears were red. The skin was hot and burning to the touch. The mouth was dry and he was thirsty. The pupils were widely dilated. The temperature was 104F. and pulse and respiration were both rapid. A single dose of Belladonna 200 was given. Within twenty- four hours the temperature was normal and the symptoms had subsided.
A young man of 21 came to see me with the following complaints; Sore throat < on the left side, < by empty swallowing, swallowing hot drinks, swallowing food. The left side of the tongue was sore and made more so by touch and the act of chewing. There was a sensation in the throat as of a lump which could not be swallowed. There was pain in the lower molars on biting.