The Teaching of Therapeutics. Elsewhere in this number of THE HOMOEOPATHIC RECORDER, we publish with trifling omissions, a most illuminating article by Hobart Amory Hare, M.D., taken from the Journal of The American Medical Association for February, 7, 1920.
Anything which Prof. Have has to say, is entitled to the great respect his distinguished service to medicine must compel. It is, therefore, with much pleasure that we reproduce his observations upon the teaching of therapeutics in the O.S.
In our own, the teaching of therapeutics and of materia medica is given much greater prominence, but by no means the prominence which the importance of this great subject deserves. If the hours devoted to the description of impossible operations or to the laborious teaching of useless technical specialities were devoted to materia medica and therapeutics, the graduates of homoeopathic medical colleges would go out far better equipped for their lifes work than is at present the case.
Homoeopathy is losing ground for this very reason and large majority of the homoeopathic graduates are floundering in hopeless ignorance of the tools with whose use they ought to be familiar. It is really pathetic to see the unscientific, incongruous therapeutic medley of remedies, applied in the treatment of patients who are finally brought to the hospital, after surviving the onslaughts of these so – called doctors. Small wonder, then, that so little homoeopathy is practiced by present day graduates. These must be reform soon or as a school will be lost!
Rumex Crispus. This remedy is chiefly of use in affections of the respiratory organs, particularly in laryngo – tracheitis or in a bronchitis of the larger bronchi. Certain guiding symptoms stand our prominently and must be present if this medicine is to be given. A recent striking case will serve to illustrate its sphere of action very clearly. A brunette of nineteen years and a sufferer from hay fever, had been coughing for nine weeks without respite and in spite of treatment. She had been examined physically by competent physicians, but with negative findings, except for the ordinary signs of a bronchitis of the larger bronchial tubes.
A skiagram of the lungs proved negative also, as did a bacteriological examination of the very scanty sputum. Some surgical work had been done in the nose, to remove an enlarged middle turbinate; but the cough went blissfully on. The latter was dry, choking, spasmodic, often causing vomiting of the food previously eaten. Cough < when going into the cold open air, from inhaling the cold air of the bed – room at night, from laughing, talking, exertion, or from anything which increased or disturbed the respiratory rhythm. Cough > by keeping the mouth covered at night, by warmth in general and by quiet. Tickling in suprasternal fossa.
Pallor, some sense of weariness and loss of appetite were present. Temperature at the time of examination 99. Rumex crispus 200, in repeated doses for a few days, produced a decided improvement. The underlying constitutional state will, of course, require further treatment; in all likelihood Psorinum will prove to be the basic remedy.
Benzol in Leukaemia. The following extract from J.A.M.A. is of importance. Benzol should receive a careful homoeopathic proving, as no doubt it would prove to be a valuable addition to our materia medica. At present, from the standpoint of homoeopatherapy, we can say nothing about it. In the O.S. Bastedo and Wilcox do not mention it in their work on materia medica and pharmacology.
BENZOL IN LEUKAEMIA. Pignetto reports two cases of myelogenous leukaemia marked improvement followed Benzol treatment. The first patient was a woman of 45; the erythrocytes increased from 2,000,000 to 5,000,000 by the eighty – third day, the hemoglobin from 60 to 88 per cent., while the leukocytes dropped from 600,000 to 7,500. She took 2 gm. Benzol daily at first and increased to 5 gm. without any sings of intolerance except at first and toward the last, compelling brief suspension of the treatment. A total of 256 gm. was thus taken.
She kept well for three months after the close of the course of treatment, and then returned to her home in the country and further details are not known. The second patient was a woman of 55, and the leukaemia subsided somewhat under roentgen exposures three times a week for a month, the leukocytes dropping from 200,000 to 120,000. Then increasing weakness and other symptoms compelled abandonment of the exposure, and Benzol was given, a total of 150 gm, with improvement as in the other case. It has persisted during the two years to date, with nothing left of leukaemia except the anaemic complexion. This patient takes arsenic twenty days each month.
Homoeopathic Symbols. A correspondent asks the meaning of the symbols or signs commonly employed by homoeopathic physicians in their case reports. The sign < is used to denote “growing worse,” “made worse by,” “becoming worse.” It is synonymous with the word aggravated or aggravation. It corresponds to the word crescendo as employed in music.
The sign > is, of course, the opposite in meaning, signifying a betterment or lessening of the condition. Hence “made better by,” “ameliorated by,” “becoming better from or by,” will explain its use. It corresponds to the word crescendo as employed in music.
The letter x is used to denote the word “decimal,” and when used after a number such as 30x means that the thirtieth decimal potency is intended. The Greek theta (O) is the symbol used to denote a tincture. Thus Arnica O means the Tincture of Arnica.
A Common Misconception. In making rounds in the hospital ward we recently met a case of pleuropneumonia of the left side with a accompanying meningitis. Clinicians had examined the patient, a neurologist had passed upon him and a lumbar puncture had been done. The question of therapeusis was now to be considered. Coma, hot sweat, abolition of all reflexes, very sluggishly reacting pupils, constipation, all pointed to but one remedy and that one Opium. This is given in the thirtieth potency” produced a favorable reaction, but the patient died some thirty six hours later. How long the patient had been ill before his admission to hospital we were unable to discover. The question of one of the interns interested us immensely and was, “which do you consider the more important, the pneumonia or the meningitis, and which will you treat first.”
The same intern upon his own responsibility had in the first place, upon the admission of the patient, given one drop of croton oil. Hence it is quite consistent to expect almost any exhibition of crass ignorance from such a man. When will embryo homoeopathic doctors learn to treat patients and not diseases? To this intern the symptom – complex of the patient meant nothing. Presumably he had never heard of the totality of the symptoms and yet his instructor, during his years of undergraduate study, had emphasized time and again the importance and truth of Hahnemanns basic principles.
Where lies the trouble? Right here in that our present educational system is radically wrong; our boys and girls are not taught to think, but acquire knowledge in a parrot – like fashion. In New York State the regents require a certain arbitrary number of points before a student can quality for the study of medicine. Heaven knows how or in which manner the points are obtained, but they might as well be representative of a knowledge of Hotentot for all the real intelligence which is signified by their imposing array.
Not long since, a female student who lacked a few “Points” necessary to make up her Freshman course, was told by the register in all seriousness, that she could make up the deficiency by taking up automobile mechanics. Is anything more asinine than this, conceivable?
Our whole American educational system has one grand characteristic and that is superficiality. What we need in this country of ours, is to get down to good old fashioned fundamentals, to teach a few subjects and to teach them well; to teach pupils to think; to abolish the fads and fancies, such as teaching boys how to prepare chocolate souffle and the number of calories which it represents. Let our boys and girls learn how to spell and speak the English language correctly. Scarcely one New York stenographer in ten appears to be able to do either. Lastly, so far as medicine is concerned, let it be understood that many useful chauffeur or grocery clerk, has been spoiled to make a poor doctor.
Rhus Tox. the Epidemic Remedy. In the present epidemic of
influenza in New York, Rhus tox. has been very frequently indicated and its administration followed by very prompt relief. A good composite picture of the average case is about as follows: Headache, flushed face, heavy eyes, tongue red or brownish – red, cracked, red tip, at times triangular; dryness of the mouth and throat with soreness of the latter > by warm drinks. Thirst, however, for cold water. Cough harsh, racking, loose, with bronchial rales or the signs of typical broncho – pneumonia (influenzal pneumonia), scanty, yellow, bloody or blood – streaked sputa, at times blood alone is coughed up, with violent effort. Restlessness, due to general aching and soreness of the body and limbs will complete the picture. In our hands, Rhus tox. 200 q., three hours, has worked marvelously well.
Occasionally with a right – sided pneumonia, bloody sputa, flushed face, especially the right cheek in the afternoon, delaying resolution, Sanguinaria canadensis will be required. A few doses of the 200th have proved all – sufficient. Where, after an influenza, a myocarditis is in evidence, with irregular or intermittent pulse, becoming much accelerated upon slight exertion, goneness at the stomach and facial pallor, Digitalis will be useful. The first decimal potency, in tablet triturate form, one tablet four times each day, will soon, together with rest in bed, put matters right.
Rhus Tox. and Eupatorium Perfoliatum. These remedies are both likely to be indicated influenza. Do not forget certain useful differential points. Both remedies are restless, both are full of pain, both complain of the aching and soreness. Eupatorium feels this soreness deep in the bones, as though these were broken. But the restlessness or Rhus tox. is > temporarily by a change of position, whereas that of Eupatorium is not.
Both are thirsty, but Eupatorium complains of a bitter taste and may vomit. The vomitus is bitter. Rhus tox. is worse in the evening and especially at night. Eupatorium is worse in the morning, generally from 7 to 9 a.m.
The tongue of Eupatorium is coated white; that of Rhus tox. is brownish – red and cracked. In Eupatorium the patient holds the sides of the chest when coughing, a symptom not found in Rhus tox.
Remember that Bryonia is to be differentiated from Eupatorium by the fact, that in the former the pains compel the sufferer to keep quiet, whereas in the latter, they make him restless, Bryonia, furthermore, has free sweat, which is lacking in Eupatorium.
Bactericidal Power of Various Plant Juices. A subscriber sends us the subjoined clipping from the Therapeutic Digest. The observations made are of much interest, particularly to homoeopathic physician, who depend upon fresh plant tinctures for their therapeutic results, or upon potencies made from such tinctures. Old Mother Nature does some truly wonderful things in her great laboratory, and it behooves us to employ her products much more than many of us do.
The modern craze for synthetic coal tar drugs is productive of immense harm, particularly in the hands of uneducated physicians whose ignorance of drugs is as deep as the sea.
“A study of certain aspects of this subject has recently been made by Sarti, of Modena, Italy, who writes in Annali dIgiene January 32, 1919. The juices particularly investigated were those of the orange, mandarin orange, lemon, onion, and garlic. The experimental procedure followed was to dip silk threads in suspensions of bacteria in saline solution, dry them in the incubator, place them in contact with the various plant juices, leave them of a definite time in empty, sterile receptacles, and finally wash them with saline solution.
After this contact the latter solution was innoculated on agar plates and the bacterial growth watched. The bacteria used in the experiments included the streptococcus, staphylococcus, colon bacillus, typhoid bacillus, comma bacillus, anthrax bacillus and spores, and the oidium albicans. The conclusion reached was that all the plant juices tested had some bactericidal power. This was especially the case with lemon and garlic juices; it was less pronounced with orange and onion juices, and very slight with mandarin juice.
In the case of the lemon, orange, and mandarin, the bactericidal property seemed to be connected with the acid content of the juices, as it was found to disappear when the juices were made neutral. In the case of the garlic and onion, the bactericidal power is ascribed to allyl sulphide or related compounds. Treating these two juices with ether almost entirely removed their bactericidal property.”
The same subscriber sends us an editorial comment upon the value of Calendula a san antiseptic dressing, also taken from the Therapeutic Digest.
“Suitable preparations of Calendula have long been recommended as a dressing for bruised and lacerated wounds, and it has been stated that however contaminated or unclean these wounds may be, suppuration would not set in if Calendula were applied promptly. Dr. Wm. M. Gregory confirms this statement, saying that he has found that Calendula prevented suppuration not only in contaminated, lacerated wounds, but that large burns would remain permanently clean and aseptic if dressed with an extract of Calendula and a saturated solution of boric acid.”
The uses of Calendula are well known to homoeopathic physicians, who would be most unwilling to part with this valuable remedy. There are still some surgeons in the homoeopathic school, who use and depend upon Calendula in suitable conditions and the elder Helmuth was wont to frequently extol its virtues.
One part of Calendula tincture to eight parts of glycerine makes an excellent dressing for open wounds or for burns. Chapped hands are made smooth by the same preparation.