Courting the Old School-Homoeopaths, early in their efforts to convince established medicine of the truth of their principles, were by force of circumstances compelled to be sectarian. Sectarianism was not therefore, of their own choosing and its sin, if such it be, should not be laid at their door. Ostracism, both social and professional, was suffered by the pioneers, to a degree, be it said, which is quite unknown today, except in a few perhaps, of the English provinces. In America, all this bigoted persecutions has happily long since passed away, but in its place has come a spirit of easy tolerance and fraternization which, though very agreeable when superficially looked at, does not necessarily denote the acceptance by established medicine, of the principles of homoeopathy.
Organized homoeopathy has, especially in the past, accomplished many things to its advantage and credit such as for example, the control of certain state insane and other hospitals and the establishment of separate examining boards in various states of the Union; these boards however, have of late years either disappeared altogether or have had their powers so curtailed by legislative or other enactments that, so far has homoeopathy is concerned, their influence is practically negative. New York State is a glaring example of this nullifications of all homoeopathic interest or advantage, for although the licensing board contains one or two homoeopaths among its members, these men have no opportunity to do anything constructive for the cause of homoeopathy itself. The State Board of Regents does not require of candidates for license to practice medicine, an examination in materia medica, hence, so far as the board is concerned, or the State which it represents, it is a matter of indifference whether a candidate be from the colleges of the old school or of homoeopathic persuasion.
Sectarianism is thus broken down in itself a good thing, but with its abolition comes the real danger of a loss of interest in the tenets of the homoeopathic school. Hence it is, that in keeping with this spirit of catholicism in medicine, but two homoeopathic medical colleges remain and numerous homoeopathic hospitals have lost their pristine homoeopathic medical colleges remain and numerous homoeopathic hospitals have lost their pristine homoeopathic characteristics., In its laudable desire to convince orthodox medicine of its of its right to exist and of its educational and professional equality, organized homoeopathy often stands so erect, that it is imminent danger of falling over backwards.
We in these United States, dearly love noise and show and are much given to hysterical fervor meeting; we are fond of fooling ourselves and of being fooled and thus exhibit a naive which for the foreigner at least, is difficult to understand., We invite to our national medical conclaves and banquets, men prominent in the professional and official life of the old school and then pat ourselves vigorously on the back, for the glory of our achievement. But do we really active anything worthwhile by these press-agent methods? Does all this diplomatic tomfoolery bring us anywhere? We doubt it and look in vain for evidence, Has any O.S. college seriously taken up the study and investigation of homoeopathy? If so, we have not heard of it.
On the contrary, the juggernaut of established medicine continues to roll relentlessly on and to flatten our all doctrinal differences. In keeping with every other department of American national life, we are undergoing a process of standardization, which is killing all individuality. We have become good fellows, who applaud vociferously every compliment thrown at us, but in our eager running after the glittering chariots of the old school, are divesting ourselves more and more of such shreds of principle as are left to us. The end is easy to foretell, unless we bestir ourselves at once and engage in a campaign, the object of which shall be the demonstration and acceptance of homoeopathic principles. Organized homoeopathy now represents itself, too often by means of the methods of the three-ringed circus; the tail is wagging the dog and the poor hybrid is threatened with an incurable palsy.
Perhaps we will do well to study the progress of homoeopathy in Germany. where chairs have been established in two universities; perhaps the German methods of thoroughness and devotion to principle, can be copied with advantage to ourselves.
If so, by all means let us adopt them; but in any event, let us adopt them; but in any event, let us cast aside the ridiculous camouflage which deceives no one, not even the professional booster from the precincts of Babbitry.
Ceanothus Americanus-In the present issue we publish a case report by Dr. Grace Stevens, reciting the successful use of Ceanothus. In this case, however, Natrum mur, was also prescribed and the author raises the question of just how far Ceanothus is to be credited with the favorable outcome of the case.
Ceanothus was called by Burnett an organ remedy, which it undoubtedly is, since its chief sphere of action is upon the spleen. It is in splenic affections, hypertrophy and pain, usually of malarial origin, that this remedy is likely to be of service. Hence quite naturally, Natrum mur,m which is so pre- eminently useful in gun by Ceanothus. A little remedy, as the latter, has its own district place,but is rarely sufficient to work a complete cure; the more deeply acting antipsorics as a rule, must be depended upon.
There are very many little remedies in our vast materia medica, wonderfully effective at times; the difficult is, to retain them all in mind, more especially as they so often are distinguished by one or two striking symptoms only, whereas of the large remedies, we have broad general mental pictures. In spite of all the efforts at simplification of the materia medica and in spite of the fact of the great usefulness of the repertory, memory still plays a most important part in practical homoeopathic therapy. Drug proving along pathologic lines may perhaps, some day change this; we do not know, though even then, a good memory for symptoms, will always be an asset of great value.
Simple and Effective-In repairing a shingle roof, a man struck his had below the thumb, with a hammer; the thumb and dorsal region of the hand swelled rapidly and became very painful. Applications by a nearby O.S. physician were resorted to, chiefly strong, hot solutions of Epsom salts. No relief followed, but on the contrary the pain increased and inflammation of the cellular tissue began. Arnica 30th 1.4 hours, was now given and the inflamed hand was swathed in gauze saturated with a 1 to 8 solution of calendula tincture and glycerin.
In two days the trouble was over and the pain practically gone. A simple treatment and effective; glycerin is hygroscopic and being such, removes swelling and inflammation; in this case perhaps, the calendula was not needed; the use of arnica, internally, needs no defense. Calendulated glycerin has served a most useful purpose in many similar cases.
Causticum-Things that burn are suggestive of Causticum and to be sure, of Arsenicum, Phosphorus and Sulphur. All four are types and possess their distinctive peculiarities and spheres of action. An old burn, recalls Causticum and so does a paralyzed muscle., Burning sensations and paralytic weakness suggest Causticum and the Causticum patient as in the case of most of the potashes, is weak and on the road to paralysis. A paralysis of the vocal cords may need Causticum; a laryngitis with burning and rawness down the trachea, most certainly will, especially if the cough is non-productive and the patient is most uncomfortable in the morning.
An old tabetic may be palliated with Causticum, if his bladder is unreliable and his urine escapes mir nichts, dir nichts, at unconventional times.
The facial distortion of Bells Palsy, due to exposure to a dry cold wind, may need Aconite, if seen early enough, but the changes are that old man Causticum will be required before you get through with it. The costive youngster who wriggles and squirms in vain to have a stool, but defecates while on his feet and running around, will probably reveal the need of Causticum.
Causticum, like Asarum, Hepar and Nux vom, is aggravated in dry weather; moist weather seems to mollify and soothe. At this writing however, with the thermometer at 84 degrees F. and the humidity at the saturation point, we do not feel the need of any of these remedies-a glass of iced tea suits us better.
Causticum has much lumbo-sacral backache and weakness, reminding us of Kali carb., for instance. Ptosis of organs may be indicative of Causticum, especially when the upper eyelids are affected.
The heat is terrific, dear reader, so turn to your materia medica and read there, ever so much more; but do not forget that Causticum grows little, pedunculated warts and may thus be classed as an antisycotic, as well as antipsoric.
Seeing the Remedy-We are all in agreement that prescribing homoeopathically is an art and one which, incidentally, very few physicians ever master. Even the most expert among us have rests upon many things, chiefly however, upon a knowledge of materia medica and of natural disease, as expressed in the common language of the patient. To educate the physician in many of the medical sciences, pathology especially, is often to ruin a good prescriber, who is then too apt to think in terms of pathology cannot see the woods on account of all the trees! This, of course, should not be so, but the human brain is so constituted, that it spills over, if it be filled too full. Too much knowledge then becomes a hindrance, rather than a help.
Many an amateur with a little wooden box of homoeopathic remedies, has wrought a remarkable cure which might have been beyond the reach of the professional. But often the amateur never knew what he had cured. Hence a well balanced mind is a great advantage; one which, with all its impediments of learning, can still bring the imagination of the artist to bear upon the medical problem before it. Each case is a problem, peculiar to itself alone, even though, diagnostically considered,it may resemble many others. Imagination is important, for it gives us the ability to visualize, to perceive more clearly and more deeply, what is before us.
The prescriber must, intuitively as it were ask himself such questions as-what is wrong with this patient; what ails him; to what extent has his perverted physiology progressed; how much is it reasonable to believe, can be done; can this patient be cured at all or if not, can he be helped to some extent? Most of all, must the physician as himself the question, what does this sick mans symptoms resemble and here indeed, his knowledge of materia medica must come to the front. Some little, very trivial circumstance or thing, may unlock the door to success, but how often do we hunt for the key in vain ! Here again is where the importance of a knowledge of types, is of advantage; why try to fit Nux vomica to Pulsatilla for example? What Kent called the generals is here of importance and the word pictures of Kent, Dunham, Farrington, Tyler and others, enable us to differentiate the types.
The bold broad outlines give us the cue,the little particulars may or may not always fit in; but the generals rule. to see the remedy then, often requires an unusual genius, even cockeyed at times, much to the amazement of the too scientific physician, who, in his scholastic erudition, has lost the viewpoint of the artist and must needs deal solely with the rough stones of concrete knowledge.
There are few real artists and this is why homoeopathy progresses slowly. The way of art is long and arduous indeed!.
How Much Shall We Claim?-Some months ago, an overgrown, pasty-faced youth of seventeen years was brought to us for advice and treatment; his history was uneventful, except for an attack of diphtheria during his sixth year. His principal complaint was that of fatigue and consequent lack of ambition and vigor; his appetite was fickle and inclined to be poor; he lolled about the house most of the time and after school hours, refused to play, because of fatigue. Physical examination proved to be negative, through his blood pressure was too below. Examination of the urine showed a large amount of albumin and the characteristic evidence, such as casts, etc., of a chronic croupous nephritis. He was put upon a milk and graham cracker diet exclusively, was forbidden any but the simplest exercise and was given Calcarea arsenica 12th, q.24 hours.
Under this dietary and therapeutic regime he soon improved in appearance, appetite and strength and some dietary concession was now made, by permitting him chicken once a week well cooked vegetables and ripe raw fruits. Meat and salt were interdicted, with the exception of chicken, as above stated. After four months he has become active and rugged, fond of playing tennis, even on hot days, eats his food with a relish, and feels no fatigue. His urine shows no epithelia or casts and but the most minute trace of albumin. Surely, thus far, happy result!.
The question at once arises, how much to the diet? This is difficult to solve; it is easy to ascribe the successful outcome to one or to the other therapeutic measure, or to both. Both do we really know ? Frankly, we do not; one swallow does not make a summer! Both Calcarea and Arsenicum are powerful and deeply acting remedies. Undoubtedly the arsenite of calcium is equally powerful and so far as we know, has a decided action upon the kidney as well as upon the heart.
But, before we can make great claims for its therapeutic ability in nephritis, we must observe its action in other and similar cases, for obviously,not all cases of nephritis will be favorably, not all cases of nephritis will be favorably influenced by this remedy. Here is where our remaining homoeopathic hospitals can serve a useful purpose, in experimenting with such a drug as this one, in a series of cases of nephritis, under proper diagnostic control and observation. But in so doing, they must not be guilty, as they so frequently have been in the past at least of the sin of polypharmacy. Many of our hospital case records are for this every reason, useless for the purpose of homoeopathic demonstration.
The Dentist and the Homoeopathic Prescriber-We often wonder what has become of the old-time homoeopathic prescriber, who studied out a case of toothache and cured it with a well selected remedy. Apparently, in the large cities at least, he is as extinct as the dodo; patients now fly to their dentists, at the slightest sign of trouble and in so doing, often get into still deeper trouble. The old Domestic Physician of Hering, gave many symptoms of dental difficulties and remedies for their alleviation. “Infected” teeth were helped and even saved and pain was quickly relieved. Many a toothache has been helped by Belladonna, or by Chamomilla, Coffea, Mercurius, etc.
The sensation as though the teeth were too long, has often led to the happy use of Mezereum in many a case of alleged neuralgia; perhaps the allegation was unfounded and not based upon good diagnosis or correct pathology, but the pain was nevertheless removed, which after all, was what the patient wanted. We wonder, whether in some respects, we are not becoming too infernally scientific and in danger of atrophy of the organs of common sense. If our simple homoeopathic remedies cured these dental troubles years ago, why cannot they do so now? Are we not running specialism into the ground and in so doing, losing opportunities for doing good with our well tried, simpler and more general measures?
While on board ship, returning from Europe a few weeks ago, we were called upon to prescribe for a swollen face. Inspection revealed a commencing abscess above one of the upper molar teeth on the left side. Pain and tenderness were of course present; a few doses of Mercurius sol. 1000 quickly removed every vestige of the trouble; simple enough-for homoeopathy, but had the patient been in the hands of the average dentist, quite a clinical dental drama would have been unfolded.
The lesson of all this is, that we physicians should assert our right to be active and of use in a sphere in which we know our remedies may be active and of use in a sphere in which we know our remedies may be relied upon, always co-operating with the dentist, and leaving to him the purely mechanical or surgical part of the work, which we do not pretend to be qualified to do.
He Cannot Lie-This is not dissertation upon honesty nor an attempt to be jocular at the expense of the legal profession, though lawyers are said to be able to lie on either side.
Phosphorus cannot lie on the left side, finding his cough and distress of breathing greater when he does so. Not can Spigelia, on account of stitching cardiac pains, assume the left- sided position. Carbo animalis and Stannum are distressed and cough more when lying on the right side and Kali carb. finds his lungs and pleuritic pains to be worse when he attempts it. Mercurius joints this group, cough and other symptoms becoming more severe when he rolls over to the right or painful side.
Bryonia on the other hand, prefers to lie upon the affected side, for by so doing motion is lessened, hence chest and other pains are relieved; thus this remedy cannot lie upon the unaffected side. Pulsatilla finds herself to be more distressed when she attempts to lie upon the left side, which she often therefore, cannot do. Rhus tox. frequently cannot lie in any position, at least with comfort, for more than a few minutes, pains and physical restlessness compel constant changing of position; but in lumbago Rhus does find some comfort by lying upon his back and upon something hard. Natrum mur. does this trick also, finding it easier to lie flat upon the back, thus relieving lumbar pain. Aconite cannot lie at all, thrashing are constantly about the bed, but mental anguish, fear and restlessness the compelling causes.
Chamomilla cannot lie, at least still at night, from sheer cussedness and anger, as pains arouse his ire and compel him to get up and move about for relief. Arsenicum album, weak as he is, is a poor one to lie, mental anxiety and restlessness compel him to be everlastingly on the move, all over the bed and from the latter to the chair and back again. Coffea cannot lie, but is incessantly on the go, howling and weeping in desperation at his neuralgic or dental pains; a mouthful of ice water,that national drink of these arid United States, gives him temporary relief, but once the water is warm or has been swallowed, the circus begins again.
And thus we go on, watching the sufferers who cannot lie, this way or that, trying to discover the reasons why and the remedies which will bring relief. There are many of them,all deserving of study; the better we know them, the sooner can we relieve our patients. The peculiarities are numerous; for example,. there is Medorrhinum, whose cough is better when he lies flat on his abdomen and Psorinum, who cannot lie, unless his limbs are spread apart and away from his body, even his fingers must not be permitted to touch each other. Tis a strange world this, or shell we say,the people in it? We think so, for we cannot lie!.