Read before the Southern Homoeopathic Medical Association, Cleveland, Ohio, November 18, 1925.
Great as is the value of prevention, few will contend that the race is greatly advanced by perpetuating the unfit. Nature never either forgives or forgets, and demands that her plans be not interfered with. If she he thwarted in one direction, she exacts full compensation in another. Sanitation seems to have almost wiped out certain zymotic diseases and reduced infant morality to a minimum, yet others less easily prevented have shown an almost identical decrease, while the more deeply rooted constitutional affections are advancing by leaps and bounds. Typhoid epidemics have about vanished, but cancer is getting quite out of hand. Let us not deceive ourselves, nature is in deadly earnest and gives no quarter. It can hardly be a source of satisfaction to find ourselves helping in the exchange of relatively manageable diseases for a scourge.
If left to itself natures house cleaning is most relentless, but when guided in her readjustments by the gentle hand of similia it can be made one of the very greatest blessings.
The terms sickness and illness tacitly admit the existence of an adaptive and reacting life power, our vitality. It is this governing force which we attempt to regulate when we treat disease, by first removing all mechanical hindrances, then appealing to the available inherent reactive power present. If it be carefully estimated, it need not often be said that our prescription was a success, but the patient nevertheless died. To accomplish this we administer the most similar remedy so that a new adjustment of the expenditure of vital energy may take place, and life again move forward more harmoniously.
To do this well requires great delicacy of appreciation must always remain a poor doctor and a still poorer homoeopath. Our vitality is our higher life unit. Coming into the world in a state of great activity, it increasingly activates the matter which it contacts up to a certain point, then gradually declines, finally ceasing as old age comes on. A disturbance of this process is oftenest called disease. The normal rhythm of life has been interrupted and certain signs in a tongue, which is not the spoken word, appear. This oldest of languages is a universal sign language speaking objectively to those able to read. The way the patient acts and looks is then of vastly more importance than what he says. Diseases of infants illustrate this very well, indeed.
The oncoming of a change of function may prompt us to call the doctor who removes such mechanical obstacles as he can and then tries to excite a restorative reaction. The idea of bringing about a general response that will sweep all before it does not usually occur to him, although the picture actually shows but one generalized reaction taking place; inferentially but one remedy can actually be indicated. The apparition of cancer completely illustrates this, for all medical history recites scattered cures, generally each one made by a different remedy. Nothing can be clearer than that every sick person responds in the fullest measure to but one certain drug, which must be found and properly given to insure decisive results.
The selection of the most appropriate remedy depends upon our ability to pick out the distinctive features from the whole life history of the invalid. These placed together like beads on a string make up the red strand of his individuality and point unerringly toward the indicated constitutional remedy.
In one case they stress periodicity, in another right-sided effects,some particular system of organs or kind of sensations or process and so on. This is the basic element and is fundamental, therefore must be reckoned with first of all, when we start out in our investigation. Once found it serves as a sure guide in tracing out disease and its ramifications.
Speaking of the value of symptoms Hering said “Characteristics are everything,” a statement not quite as plain as it looks. If we take it to refer to remedy keynotes its field of usefulness is sharply circumscribed, but if it means that every one has a personal way of showing forth distress and that we must see this very clearly before attempting to find its counterpart within some susceptible of such offhand hospital. In the understanding of any symptom picture the mental attitude counts for most, so much so, that an identical array of symptoms with opposite mental states calls for a quite different remedy. A recently superimposed array of symptoms may almost completely hide the underlying constitutional ones and unless removed first make a final cure very unlikely. Here the mistake of prescribing in the reverse order is very hare to correct. However if the proper order is followed the second prescription will be of epochal importance to the patient.
The reactions which follow giving the indicated remedy must be clearly understood if we wish to finally cure. A mild aggravation followed by gradual improvement is most encouraging. Varying from this we have very grade of aggravation up to the most violent with the corresponding danger and uncertainty of result. The manner in which repeated wave like reactions come on and subside again governs the repetition of the dose, which may very from a few minutes to many months, according to requirements. The greatest and commonest mistake in practice is the too frequent giving of the remedy, for the vital force once thrown into disorder requires the most acute discernment, careful handling and endless patience to bring into harmony again. Those who practice in such a manner are not practicing homoeopathy but rather practicing at homoeopathy, which always ends in confusion.
It strongly reminds one of a blacksmith trying to repair watches.
With all this, the fault is not entirely with those who often vainly, endeavors to do correct homoeopathic work. Many are entirely mistaken in their calling, being inherently incapable of inductive and deductive reasoning. Again, in spite of herculean efforts, our indices and repertories cannot be worked with any great degree of facility, which is after all the first mark of efficiency. The most useful things in the world are those easiest op operation: simplicity is the key of usefulness,and until our difficulties in this direction are fully solved, we cannot advance as we should.
In a great variety of conditions it is not feasible to review deeper constitutional states. It may not be the most ideal, yet is certainly the only practical thing to do. I am here tempted to point out a few prescriptions of this nature, that have been evolved by modern homoeopathy. When stools of too large a diameter appear, in the constipation of infants, a dose of Sanicula 50m. cures; such stools are also exceedingly heavy, as if containing lead, at times., Medorrhinum 50m. will stop pernicious vomiting of pregnancy oftener than all of our remedies combined. Impetigo contagiosa is a pretty tedious thing to cure unless you give Arum triphyllum 200 daily for about three doses then less frequently. Ten days suffice to complete the cure.
Before the means of controlling pregnancy became well known the treatment of miscarriage was a rather every day affair. Strong drug treatment had made a failure and while homoeopathy did some better the difference was not great enough to be startling, and the use of the curette became general, but unless done by an expert results were not ideal. For years I have not found it necessary to make over one or at the most two brief calls on these cases. A few doses of Viburnum opulus 12 stops the hemorrhage, eases the pains and causes expulsion of the secundines, leaving no after effects worth mentioning.
In capillary bronchitis a single dose of Antimonium tart. Cm., with plenty of flesh air, is about all that is necessary. The earlier it is given, the better. To await the appearance of drowsiness or stupor with respiratory rattling seems almost criminal. Gall stone colic is frequently relieved by Belladonna, Bryonia, Colocynth, Dioscorea or Leptandra, as indicated. If the stone is then passed, all is well, but often the pain has only been lulled and in a day or two inflammatory or septic symptoms arise, knowing this, when ever a case does not promptly clear up after the first prescription I follow it with a single dose of Sepia Im. which has yielded a number of beautiful cures,the symptoms reversing themselves in the regular curative manner.
International Hahnemannian Association the fact that Lachesis would cure nearly all cases of laryngeal diphtheria. Up to this time no case has been lost under this treatment and there have been over twenty-five consecutive success. Only a few other remedies have occasionally been needed as intercurrents. For the best success I change the potency once or twice a day; using the same one only as long as the exudate is loose, and changing as soon as it tightens up.
Lack of control over the formation and violently painful passage of urinary calculi remains one of the weak spots of medical practice. For me the very favorable action of Polygonum sagitatum in checking then actually stopping the pains caused by the passage of these bodies has been very gratifying. Even the constant distress due to the presence of stone in the kidney or bladder has been entirely relieved. As yet I have no evidence from X-ray examinations to prove that it will so alter the urine as to slowly dissolve out these bodies but from other evidence I am led to believe that it does do so. Its action is certainly much deeper than that of a mere diuretic.