Homoeopathic Treatment Of Tropical Infections

The question of hill-diarrhoea had always been interesting because one looked upon it very often as the precusor of sprue. Patients with sprue often said that it began with hill-diarrhoea. It was not know what caused hill-diarrhoea but he was glad to hear Dr. Overmans suggestion about the water supply. Hill- diarrhoea had to be treated symptomatically, but the treatment of sprue had vastly improved.


DR. FOUBISTER thanked Dr. Overman for coming so far to give his paper. He found it a little difficult to express an opinion about Dr. Overmans treatment of acute conditions, as his treatment was contrary to homoeopathic philosophy. Dr. Foubister had found Pyrogen useful in many cases of the non-specific tropical diarrhoea which went under different names in different places, and in a few cases of severe reaction to T.A.B. inoculation; Gelsemium had fitted the symptoms perfectly.

He had spent three years in India and Assam during the war, but had not nearly so much experience in the treatment of acute tropical conditions as Dr. Overman had. He agreed that in the treatment of severe cases of malaria, quinine, and sometimes intravenous quinine, in cerebral cases was the best method of treatment. In epidermophytosis he had tried the orthodox treatment of Whitfields Ointment, gentian violet or potassium permanganate to kill the fungus, and this was satisfactory in most cases. When there was an excessive tendency to epidermophytosis and it was difficult to clear up, constitutional treatment had been most effective. Graphites and Silica had often been indicated.

He had spent over a year on a hill station (Murree) dealing with convalescents from malaria, dysentery, typhoid and typhus mainly. In many cases removal from the plains was all that was necessary; in others constitutional homoeopathic treatment had been very useful. There were two remedies he would like to mention: Psorinum in cases making a very slow recovery, especially if the well-known mental symptom “despair of recovery” was present; the other remedy was Medorrhinum. The mental symptom of apathy, a complete indifference to any form of pleasure was often found in cases needing Medorrhinum. When this was coupled with amelioration at the seaside, Medorrhinum was strongly indicated.

Dr. COOKE said that he was the last man who should speak because he was not a homoeopath, he was of the ordinary school, but he was very glad to have heard Dr. Overman and to have had a little encouragement from him when he said that there were allopathic medicines which seemed to act more quickly than homoeopathic drugs. There was no doubt at all that advances were being made in the treatment of tropical diseases.

The discovery recently by Colonel Short, that the interval in the malarial infection period between the time that the parasites were injected into the blood by the mosquito and then disappeared, and when they re-appeared again in the blood in ten or twelve days was occupied by the parasite in developing in the liver. This explanation of the interval should also explain why, in some patients, malaria remained latent for a considerable time and then re-appeared. Here was an opportunity for homoeopathy to find a drug to deal with the infection in the liver. If that could be done malaria would be cut short much more rapidly.

The question of hill-diarrhoea had always been interesting because one looked upon it very often as the precusor of sprue. Patients with sprue often said that it began with hill-diarrhoea. It was not know what caused hill-diarrhoea but he was glad to hear Dr. Overmans suggestion about the water supply. Hill- diarrhoea had to be treated symptomatically, but the treatment of sprue had vastly improved.

He had been struck during the last few years with the tremendous improvement in the treatment of bacillary dysentery. He could remember during the first world war having a whole ward in the Hospital for Tropical Diseases full of patient suffering from bacillary dysentery and these unfortunate people went on suffering for years, from bowel irregularity. The use of sulphaguanidine and other sulpha drugs had totally changed the outlook in bacillary dysentery, now one could promise most of these patients rapid amelioration and freedom from post- dysenteric effects.

Amoebic dysentery was often chronic. It is not often seen in this country in its acute stage but many people suffer from the chronic condition. Recently, however, instead of hospitalizing them he had treated them with dihaloquin or savorquin, and found that this cleared away the cysts from the faeces. it did not in all cases give a cure. It was easy to take, could be taken at home and saved the patient having to enter hospital.

Dr. FRASER KERR thanked the lecturer for his stimulating paper. One thing Dr. Overman had said seemed to him to show one simply way of viewing, and possibly solving, that rather difficult problem of the bacteriological theory of disease in contrast with the homoeopathic concept of the vital force and Holism. It would seem that the body cells and the microbe cells live in symbiotic harmony during ordinary health, when we receive no harm from the microbe cells and they no harm and probably some good from us. In disease this happy state of balance is lost.

Dr. ALVA BENJAMIN said that the only experience he had had was in the first world war when he was not homoeopathically inclined but he wondered how far Dr. Overman was justified in making a distinction between the diseases due to mankind and those due to influences other than mankind. In quite a number of diseases due to other causes there was just such a general reaction as in the ordinary infectious diseases passed from one man to another.

He would like to compliment Dr. Overman on his excellent English, that was the only point which might have led to confusion.

He did not quite follow the statement that the patients reactions to his infection worked out to a drug other than those drugs associated with that condition. Looked at from the homoeopathic philosophical point of view he did not think homoeopathic physicians did as a rule associate any particular drug with any special pathological condition. The drugs one chose for ones patients were not generally based on the pathological conditions. If a drug were indicated why should it not be given? Dr. Overman said that he had proved from his experience that it was best to do otherwise, perhaps he could explain a little more.

The CHAIRMAN asked what was Merc. aurat.

DR. OVERMAN: It is a compound of mercury and gold.

A MEMBER said that he had not had much experience of tropical diseases and Homoeopathy. He though the difficulty of getting the remedy in a case of disease in Dr. Overmans second group, that is, the group which came from infection by other living animals, was the patients suffering from any of these diseases produced a typical picture of the disease. It was very difficult indeed to find the symptoms of the patient, which were very much more important to the homoeopath.

In a case of bilharzia infection, which was common in Egypt and in the Sudan, the patient knew what he had got, he saw the blood in the urine, most of the symptoms were related to the pain in the bladder and the increased micturition. In order to find the homoeopathic remedy far more was needed than that. That was where the difficulty arose with malaria, rickettsia infections and so on. The diseases were too overwhelming sometimes to find the proper homoeopathic symptoms.

Dr. NEWELLS asked whether Dr. overman gave the orthodox remedy with the protozoal type of infection, and the Homoeopathic remedy with the micro-organism type of infection.

Dr. MARWAHA asked if the two drugs which Dr. Overman had mentioned had been proved and if so what was the result? What was the basic underlying principle on which Dr. Overman gave certain remedies?

The CHAIRMAN said that we were indebted to Dr. Overman for reminding us that there were two very important aspects of tropical diseases. His own theory of “natural” and “unnatural” human infections brought out two aspects which interest us as homoeopathic physicians. One aspect is the physical and the other is the dynamic. Where parasites quite foreign to the natural flora of the human body are introduced and are very active, something of a physical nature must be employed to deal with them for their immediate and urgent symptoms. Having done so, the subsequent constitutional treatment by homoeopathic measures would certainly accelerate recuperation.

The physical aspect had become the arena for modern research in the old school with some quite encouraging results. This was a challenge to homoeopathy. Mother tinctures and very low potencies of proved drugs had not been given sufficient study by our school to show their possible merits. Dr. Overman had given us examples of a very few-there must be very many more. We were indebted to Dr. Overman for reminding us that low potencies can relieve acute states when the drugs employed have strong confirmation of the acute symptoms in their provings. This, of course, was not Homoeopathy.

It was a method of employing potentized medicines to ameliorate acute symptoms. When these drugs were judiciously selected the state of the patient became safe enough to allow the physician to select the simillimum. Such a procedure required great skill so that our treatment with the palliative potency would not introduce proving symptoms (artificial drug disease) to confuse the issue.

Dr. OVERMAN, in reply, thanked the Chairman for his kind words and said that he was very glad the members had been able to understand him and to give him new ideas. He thanked Dr. Foubister for mentioning his cases in India and Assam. He had some experience of typhoid and malaria, but the speaker did not think he had so many acute cases in the hills. It was same experience he had with chronic cases of malaria, one had many, but there was no time to experiment with the acute cases.

Dr. Cooke had many interesting points to make. The synthesis of the orthodox school and the homoeopathic school showed the way they must go in Homoeopathy. It must be made understandable to other physicians not accustomed to homoeopathic ideas. He had heard that there would be students present who would afterwards be going to the tropics so he prepared his lecture in a more practical way. Perhaps it would be possible to cure many of the diseases not due to mankind homoeopathically.

Homoeopaths had the feeling when they saw the cases coming out of allopathic hands that they must not use penicillin for pneumonia. The fever was going in three days, but the patient was in bed for three weeks, six weeks, sometimes after three months he was still not very well. He thought many lives could be saved in this way but when there was a well-defined picture of a homoeopathic drug one could do more with it than with an antibiotic. He had tried to put forward a mode of action wherein antibiotics were not needed.

When he said that one must not give an indicated remedy, that was not quite correct; one came to a remedy, looked in the Materia Medica and one found under Sulphur over-protected cases of pneumonia”. and one thought, “this is the first day, perhaps it will be right in the last days of the pneumonia”. There were many good Homoeopaths who had met that experience.

One must give the indicated drug but in coming to drugs which were not common for that special infection one felt that it was not the ordinary course of the vital forces of the normal body acting against that special infection, therefore he would say that in that case one did better to give the complimentary medicine and not the indicated drug as it was not known as being the drug for the ordinary case of pneumonia.

Dr. Cooke spoke of sulphaguanidine. He had tried it and liked it more than injections of serum of bacillary dysentery but as with other sulpha preparations it was always a long time before the patient fully recovered. The patient came, one made the diagnosis and he had the sulphaguanidine in his pocket, he had bought it and the doctor knew he would take it, so he told him to take one day and come back the next. One did these little tricks to try to treat the patients homoeopathically. He would like to have a big homoeopathic hospital in the tropics and then homoeopaths could speak in the same way as other physicians.

Dr. Benjamin spoke of the differentiation and said that there were diseases not due to mankind which gave other symptoms. He knew that. As Dr. MacNeill said, the differentiation was that a special part of the body reacted in all patients in the same way so that it was a complete picture of a disease. Sometimes it was easy, but with malaria he had not found a medicine which would cover its special symptoms. With malaria and with most of these infections there were very useful differences in the subjective symptoms, the sweats and chills came in the morning, the afternoon, or the evening and this enabled one to try different remedies.

One had to be very swift and the patient must be intelligent enough to understand he had to have two, three, four or five goes of fever before it finally disappeared. A good medicine for one case of malaria did not help the next case but when the whole condition of the patient was better one could be sure that one had the right medicine. One had to have courage when the whole family was standing there, say ten persons, round the bed!

With regard to the remark if the differentiation was possibly easier made as protozoan for the infections not due to mankind and bacterial for the infections due to mankind, he could not accept that differentiation. Sure there are many protozoan, but also bacterial infections among the infections not due to mankind. The differentiation has also a deeper sense. All infections due to mankind are connected with bacteria living as normal parasites in the healthy body, so this body has the time and the chance in forming a short of immunization against these germs, before the specific disease develops.

Whereas with the infections not due to mankind, these protozoas and bacteria are not found in the healthy body, so when there takes place an infection by the sting of a gnat or a flea, there is something like the explosion of an atom bomb. The body does not find the good reaction against the invasion, because there was no opportunity to immunize. The body was not accustomed to these kinds of germs.

C. L. W. Overman