Why homoeopathic research? Since homoeopathy is part of general medicine, why a special kind of research?.
The answer is: General medicine does not know that homoeopathy is part of itself, and therefore, has not devoted any research to its tenets. Homoeopathy is a science of therapeutics and is only incidentally related to any other branch of medicine. The purpose of homoeopathic research is to investigate this science and to facilitate its use.
It must be done by homoeopathists, not for sectarian reasons, but because only homoeopathists understand the factors to be investigated, and because on one else will do it for them.
The Homoeopathic Researcher.
The old masters in homoeopathy were true geniuses at finding the curative remedy. There are geniuses today, in the same branch, especially among those who were trained a generation ago. Their knowledge of the action of drugs in the curative sense is full and is based on the concepts peculiar to homoeopathy. The only thing that survives in homoeopathy is the work of such geniuses, and their talents should be cherished.
The homoeopathic researcher must have this same knowledge and must understand the homoeopathic concept; in fact, he must be a homoeopathist by temperament. He must learn the technique of homoeopathic prescribing so as to be able to concentrate, in his research, on that which pertains to homoeopathic science.
This ought to be self-evident. However, the problems of homoeopathic research are so different from those of the dominant school that the above conveys only an abstract meaning to the conventionally-trained medical researcher.
Consider the usually accepted concept of why drugs are given, based as it is on active physiological response and represented by the nomenclature of drug-classification such as anodynes, sedatives, cathartics, and so forth. Consider the size of the dose, limited as it is b y lethal possibilities. With but few exceptions, drugs are given with no curative intent but for palliative purposes only. Contrast the above with the homoeopathic concept of drug-giving, based on the selection of drug which causes symptoms similar to those with patient has. Also, the dosage, drugs being given in quantities so small as to have passed beyond physical measurements or material understanding. Drugs thus administered are expected both to give immediate relief and to cause actual cure, as well as to so affect the constitution as to remove susceptibility to disease.
Furthermore, keep in mind that the symptoms which indicate the homoeopathic remedy are those that are never considered or, in allopathic prescribing, either are never considered or are deemed trivial, reflect upon the subtleties of homoeopathy.
A man aged fifty had malaria following a vacation with his wife at the seashore. Usual prescribing had failed. He was cured by Staphisagria given from the following deductive reasoning. A middle-aged man, under the double stimulus of release from business cares and bracing sea-breezes, goes back to the conjugal activities of his early manhood, thus lowering the threshold of resistance. A malarial infection followed. Staphisagria causes symptoms similar to the symptoms of sexual excess. It also causes the same kind of symptoms as this mans malaria produced.
A young boy received on the eyeball the full impact of a fall on the knob of a kitchen chair. Local treatment with heat, ice, leeches, and so on, failed to relieve the pain or to reduce the swelling. Aconite brought relief in few hours.
A hard-living man of almost seventy years had stoppage of the urine. All efforts to relieve had failed and he had lapsed into stupor. Operation had been decided on. During the preparation and while waiting for the surgeon. Conium was given the patient and the response was astonishing. First, there was general improvement; next, the urine began to dribble, and then it came in full flow, deluging the bed. The patient lived for several years afterward.
The above-cited cures were made with high potencies. The ability to select Conium for the “old Sinner” and Aconite for the eye injury, and Staphisagria for malaria following sexual excess illustrates the subtleties of homoeopathy.
A homoeopathic researcher must have the same sort of insight as that of the old-time prescribers in order to carry his research into all the intricate ramifications of the finest homoeopathic indications. It is said that such prescribing is an art and not a science. Analysis of any expression of art shows it to be orderly relationship, which is science. The masterpiece in painting represents mathematical relationship among lines, angles and color-vibrations. From the art can be worked out the science. Drug – Proving.
The study of drug-effects was the first homoeopathic research. That which is established by experimental science becomes a part of the foundation of knowledge. This is why the old provings are standard for all time and the homoeopathic materia medica and repertories that were compiled years ago are as up-to-date as though written today. Provings should be under the control of the trained homoeopathic researcher. It is not possible for one without this training to develop the homoeopathic picture of a proving. The laboratory worker and the specialist in diagnosis are not fitted, by temperament or training, for the major control of provings. Their place is important, but secondary.
The most valuable part of a proving is the effects expressed in sensations and such physical manifestations as are obvious to the unaided senses. Such symptoms and observations should be expressed in the simple language of everyday use.
A drug helps to cure because it arouses a reaction against the causes of the disease. These causes lie deep in the constitution of the individual and are expressed by general rather than by local indications. Such symptoms characterize them as are characteristic of the individual constitution. Thus, one patient perspires easily; another does not. One likes physical activity; another, only mental. One is sensitive to heat; another, to cold. The skilled conductor of a proving seeks to discover such general constitutional effects from a proving, for these major modalities dominate all lesser symptoms.
Each age things its own addition to science, but it must be remembered that what is brought is an addition to, and not a replacement of, basic science. There are no better directions for drug-proving than those given by Hahnemann himself. But modern science has added new and improved methods of examination and the best technique of the day should be employed for interpreting modern provings. Alteration in secretions and changes in function can be determined that were not even known about at the time the older provings were made. That which belongs to the modern laboratory only serves to round out the basic knowledge obtained by the original method of Hahnemann. His provings are fully adequate for accurate prescribing. Include in a proving only laboratory-findings and the proving will be of little use for prescribing.
Most of the recent drug-research, under homoeopathic control, has been directed to the effects of drugs on animals. Knowledge gained through animal-experimentation is of but little use in homoeopathic prescribing.
Such knowledge is worth while, nevertheless, for it points out the organs for which drugs have affinities and the pathology which a drug causes. Its value is lost if it limit the vision to these gross effects.
The most important proving-effects are always physiological, Pathological changes represent the end-product-the last stand of nature. Any number of drugs may cause the same pathology, but the physiological effect of each drug will be different. It is contended that a drug, in order to be homoeopathic, must be capable of causing the same tissue-pathology as that from which the patient suffers. The relationship of the homoeopathic prescription to pathology is not settled by the consideration of tissue-pathology alone.
A high-strung young woman, who had had an unhappy childhood, was cured of pulmonary tuberculosis by Ignatia given by a master prescriber.
Another young woman, who had developed melancholia after influenza, grew increasingly worse for a whole year. She was cured by Psorinum.
A researcher who does not feel an intellectual glow of appreciation of the subtlety of these two prescriptions should not undertake homoeopathic research. The reasons for the prescriptions embody the true relationship between the curative remedy and the pathology.
As well set a color-blind expert watchmaker to sorting colors.
New provings have too long been neglected and they should again be systematically taken up. A logical start would be to prove all the known elements. The knowledge gained from the effects of this basic series of entities has far-reaching possibilities, for nature is always orderly and, when factors in any natural group are found to bear a definite relation to one another, such relationship manifests itself in many ways. It is highly probable that the mathematical relation between elements not yet discovered, will show equally striking physiological relationships. In plant drugs, the alkaloids make up an important natural group. The animal poisons also can be grouped. Then there are the bacterial products, the nosodes and the endocrines. It is possible that in a few basic groups will be found all the medicines required for human ills.
Compiling and Correlating.
An important part of research is the compiling of results of all workers who have produced anything related to he unable discoveries which have not been recorded. Some of the older homoeopathists have a store of knowledge which is priceless. This ought to be salvaged. A mass of precious material is buried in forgotten writings. All of these writings should be resurrected. Much information relating to occupational disease lies in the archives of the Smithsonian Institute.
Every occupational poisoning is an involuntary proving and points the way to proper proving. Through collaboration of the best prescribers in the world, the drugs related to various diseases should be complied and their indications be tabulated. Individual writers should be encouraged to put in printed form their experiences. The books produces by Case, Close, Edmund Carleton, Nash, Pierce, Rabe, Royal, Wheeler, and others are shining examples of individual effort. Investigating Principles.
The foregoing, which applies to the gathering of facts about drugs, has a bearing on the daily work of the physician, but the function of research is not only to seek facts. Provings of all the remedies in the world will not enable the physician to cure a patient unless he knows to select the right remedy. Definite principles must be followed in order to make a homoeopathic prescription and it is the function of the homoeopathic researcher to elucidate these principles.
This triad-the similar remedy, and the minimum dose-is basis for every homoeopathic prescription and each component of this triad furnishes ample material for research in ways heretofore never undertaken.
The similar remedy means drugs which cause symptoms similar to those suffered by the patient. What is significance of symptoms? Why is such a remedy curative? Broadly stated, all symptoms are the result of the various reactions caused by disease and they represent the curative effects of the body- cells. To the patient, they are summed up in his uncomfortable sensations.
No one has treated the subject of “Significance of symptoms” more intelligently than Sir James MacKenzie, but what he meant by this is vastly different to what is meant when the phrase is applied to the symptoms which form the basis for the homoeopathic prescription. MacKenzie was always thinking of diagnosis.
Timothy Field Allen is credited with the aphorism : “The more diagnostic a symptom, the less indicative is is for a homoeopathic prescription; the less diagnostic, the more indicative is it of the remedy.” The homoeopathic researcher must, then, first-know and be able to classify the symptoms which are useful for prescribing. To do this, he must have learned the art of prescribing. Then he is prepared to investigate symptoms from the angle of the homoeopathist.
The field covered by such research can be indicated by a few interrogations : Why is one person constitutionally sensitive to cold, and another to heat? Why is one persons condition aggravated by wet weather and anothers by dry weather? Why do electrical disturbances affect one individual and the rays of the sun another? Why do people have cravings for special food, such as salt, sour, sweet and to cold, to wet weather, to dry weather? Why does Natrum Muriaticum cause an aggravation of symptoms at 10 A.M. and Arsenic at 1 A.M.? Why do people, when ill, duplicate exactly the symptom- complex caused by drugs?.
No biological exhibition is more impressive than a sick person who is presenting symptoms in the form and sequence of a drug proving. A student of materia, on obtaining one strong keynote-symptom frequently can tell a patient all the rest of his symptoms. Take, for example, a woman with the well-known characteristic of Sepia-a yellow saddle across the nose. Anyone who knows Sepia, observing, this, can tell her what are her menstrual symptoms, her state of mind, her digestive symptoms, and so on.
The similarity between drug-action and disease-action represents a law of life and the study of this law is worthy of the efforts of the best researchers. The law can be expressed as follows : Any stimulant causes a reaction of the organism as a whole each part reacting according to its function, the total reaction being a protective effort. A stimulant which causes a reaction similar to that caused by disease helps to restore health. Different bacteria have special affinities for certain tissues.
Drugs have the same sort of selective affinities. It has even been shown that certain drugs cause the same antibodies to be formed as are caused by different bacteria. When an infection occurs, the nature of the symptoms depends upon the tissues which are first attacked. From the point of attack, the effects ramify through the rest of the organism. The homoeopathic remedy must have the same tissue-affinity as the infecting organism and the effects must develop in the same way through the organism. This selective affinity and the unity of action of all parts of the organism show the reason for both the similar remedy and the single remedy. A researcher working from the angle of the above law is bound to produce compelling evidence that will influence the trend of medicine. The Minimum Dose.
The third member of the homoeopathic triad-the minimum dose- has caused more controversy than any other problem in homoeopathy. Its controversial aspect alone should have made it, years ago, a subject of research.
Many homoeopathists quote Arndts law to explain the action of homoeopathic dilutions. This law may be expressed thus: A small amount of a drug stimulates reaction; a moderate amount modifies reaction, while a large amount suppresses reaction. In expressing this law, Arndts concept of a small dose was different from the homoeopathists concept of a homoeopathic dilution. Arndt was thinking in terms of quantity. The high dilutions are beyond anything describable in terms of quantity; in fact, the term “dose” as applied to a dilution is a misnomer.
Hahnemann considered that his discovery of the power inherent in high dilutions was the greatest discovery of the age. Our provings and clinical experience during the past century are sufficient proof to satisfy any reasonable mind of the validity of his discovery. Nobody has ever been able to refute the power of the infinitesimal, although nobody has ever been able to explain it any more than he can explain gravitation.
The homoeopathic school has never made enough of it. Studying crude drug-effects is like studying the tracks of an unknown animal. The effects are only on one plane. Potentised drugs arouse reactions in deeper planes and thus reveal a third dimension in drug-action. The extension of the specific qualities of a remedy into all degrees of dilution enables us to make cures which are not possible wit the crude drug alone.
To be sure, no instrument has been devised sufficiently delicate to detect the 200th potencies. The fact that, thus far, only living organisms react to them simply indicates that the biological reagent is the only reagent known for their detection. Probably the response of living cells is the most delicate detector of energy in existences.
Milliken says : “Experimental science at least never takes anything back. It is an ever-expanding body of truth.” Since experimental facts, as they relate to instruments of precision, fail to detect the potency in high dilution, experiments must be expanded either in the direction already proved-that is to say, biologically or into the realm of physics.
A study of dilution, from the angle of physics, leads of a consideration of the ultimate properties of matter. To visualize the present-day concept of this, it is best to start with what Milliken characterises as “celestial mechanics.” Everyone has some idea of the mechanism of our solar system and is accustomed to think of it as merely an insignificant unit amongst a great multitude of infinitely larger solar systems. We are accustomed to consider immense distances, such as are measured by light- years. For our concept to approximate atomic dimensions, we must imagine space as being as immensely small as light-years represent the immensely great.
The usual concept of the atom is a group of negatively charged particles, called electrons, revolving about a central, positively charged nucleus, much as the planets revolve about the sun. The earth travels around the sun at a speed sufficient to balance the gravitational pull of the sun. The electrons revolve in their orbits at a speed great enough to overcome the pull of the nucleus. Their speed is comparable to that of light. The earth is a compelling fact to our senses and only intellectually do we realize that its bulk and its influences are infinitesimal as compared with that of the sun.
Similarly, the electrons are the compelling fact of the atom, because they are interposed between us and the nucleus.
As a matter of fact, the nucleus is the dominant factor in the atom, just as the sun is of the solar system. Soddy expresses it like this: “We are led to view the atom as consisting essentially of a very small, dense nucleus at the center of a relatively enormous and almost empty sphere of influence containing only electrons.” Sir Oliver Lodge estimate that, if an atom be represented by a room 100 feet square, the electron occupies the space of a punctuation period on a news-page. Imagine the nucleus, probably smaller than the electron, of such great density and carrying so large a positive charge as to compel its satellite-electrons within the radius of fifty feet revolve at a speed of thousands of miles a second, in order to resist its centrifugal pull. Such is mechanism that is conceived to compose the atomic structure.
The electrons are in intricate concentric orbits around the nucleus. The radii of the orbits, from within out, are in the ratio of the squares of 1,2,3,4,5, etc. The great speed with which they revolve almost makes every electron be in every part of its orbit at the same time. Thus, the atom is practically a solid, consisting of concentric rings of revolving electrons held in place by a central attraction so tremendous as to be, itself, essentially solid.
How do our homoeopathic dilutions fit into the theory of the structure of matter? Some attempt to explain them on the theory of dissociation of ions. Others use, as an explanation, the electronic structure. Neither of these explanations applies, because it can be mathematically proved that neither ions nor electrons are left by the time the 30th dilution is reached. Not only this, but the electrons are supposed to be all alike and to have been a part. Quoting from Soddy: “It is the nucleus and not the electron which impresses upon an atom its chemical character.” It is most likely that the secret of high dilutions will be found in the nucleus, for metaphorically it is the nucleus that contains the soul of the atom. Either there is something in matter which can be infinitely attenuated or the process of attenuation imparts to a diluent certain of its peculiar qualities.
The foregoing represents not merely a theoretical treatise on homoeopathic research. In 1921, the Foundation for Homoeopathic Research was established in New York for the purpose of approaching, in a scientific way, the problems of homoeopathy.
It has plodded along with its work, with only slight endowment, and has accomplished certain things. During two years it supported an experiment at the New York Homoeopathic Medical College in which 212 guinea-pigs were used to determine if high dilutions of Natrum Muriaticum can affect healthy animals. The fact that they are affected was definitely proved.
The Foundation supported Dr.Mary Starks work in connection with certain potencies given to a strain of fruit-flies which has hereditary lethal tumors. The result of this last experiment was very significant, for in a certain number of cases the tumors failed to appear among the progeny of he flies to which the remedies were given. The Foundation has always realized that experimental work in medicine is not complete unless it is checked up clinically and the Foundation therefore has clinic at its disposal.
In its clinic, it has been treating children who were affected with adenoids and diseased tonsils, in the endeavor to work our remedies which will cure these conditions and prevent the children having to resort to surgery. The Foundation is in touch with many allopathic physicians, who, through the Foundation, have become interested in homoeopathy. It also has done a certain amount of post-graduate teaching.
It is carrying on the work of compiling, through collaboration of physicians all over the world, the indications for remedies most useful in different disease-groups. One of the most important works conducted by some of its members is that relating to radiant qualities inherent in dilutions. This work is not yet complete but, when sufficient experimenting has been done, it will prove conclusively the presence of energy of a specific kind in each remedy in any dilution, no matter how high.