Read before the Annual Meeting of The International Hahnemannian Association, Philadelphia, July, 1926.
Complaint is repeatedly made that homoeopathy does not progress at a pace that keeps time with dominant practice. The latter is, of course, materialistic in every sense of the word, treating the human patient, as it does forcefully, as a mechanism only, the workings of which are studied, hypothetically in detail, but not as a whole, so that a focus of disorder in respect to its location is accepted and treated as the disease.
Now, homoeopathy has nothing to do with this concept, except to reject it wholly and uncompromisingly. Were acceptance possible, on the other hand, there would be some sense in the increasing talk of laboratory foundations that propagate and promulgate the intensive study of sections of the body as providing a key to specific treatment. The laboratory of homoeopathy is the human patient, in which laboratory, no violence is enacted – the human individual even before he is a patient. It is only when the organism is in order that its needs can be determined when out of order.
There is no impropriety in reiterating this truism, axiomatic as it is with the homoeopathist, because it is the foundation of what-ever success accrues to medicine. There is another timely reason for its reiteration, and that is the fact, that it entirely disposes of the plaint of non-progress. There is no lack of essential and brilliant progress wherever and whenever the homoeopathic prescription is made. Until medicine is general, grasps and utilizes this truth, broadcasting of medical progress is an empty jest.
Progress in homoeopathy has been constant. Moreover, it is permanent. Adherence to it has not halted science in any particular. It has advanced science. To the tenet of the similar remedy has been added the minimum dose, not to specify more than two of the great fundamental principles of practice and cure. The similar remedy lends itself to all grades of selection. In all it accomplishes its work. When its selection is of the highest appropriateness, its action is truly wonderful. When it is but partially appropriate, it does not fail to do some good. It is always safe when its rules of exhibition are respected.
How is it with potency? Our literature fails to tell us much in this field. We have the high-potency cults, and the low-potency, and less conspicuously the physician who considers and selects both. He, then, is the one to explain the method of selection. However, he may say, as we have often heard, “There is no rule for choosing any potency”.
Is there none? If we go back to the basic proposition, that it is vital reaction we are seeking, that we employ a remedy to arouse the inherent sum of all the bodily forces, the ego of the whole organism as it were, is it not wholly logical that we estimate not only the right remedy to meet the totality of symptoms, but also the right strength of that remedy to meet the exact grade of deflection from health? It is intuitive with us, that we discern how sick a patient is. Very well, it may be intuitive that we measure the demand of that grade of illness.
According to too many of us, the potency gives no rule for its selection in the sense that the remedy does. We choose the right remedy by reason of the correspondence between proving and symptom totality. Choosing the right potency of this remedy is confessedly a still finer proceeding. But surely, we have method in our effort. Let us examine a few of its features. For many reasons, perhaps invisible, latent, unexpressed, we prescribe definitely as to potency. It is true that in some reports of great interest the prescriber has suddenly turned form a high to a low potency, and vice versa. Why, we are not told. Yet there was, we may venture to say, a good reason.
Let me submit for your discussion the following:
1. The potency must fit the gravity of the case. Age, vitality, reactive power of the organism, cause, chronicity, these and all other factors to be measured.
2. The low potency fits the simple case. It may require repetition. Higher may be demanded for complete cure.
3. Low potencies range from the 6th to the 60th. Medium potencies from the 200th to 1000th. High from 1000th up.
4. It would be a mistake to prescribe the highest potency of the remedy in extremist, when the power of reaction is low. The medium potency is preferable.
5. For the lower grades of disorders, or when the disorder is apparently limited to structures and tissues outside the mental and nerve functions, low potencies often cure speedily.
6. The larger the mental side of the case, whatever the bodily ailment, the higher the potency required, when the remedy is well chosen.
7. The accurately-chosen remedy may require no repetition. This, however, depends on the chronicity, with other possible factors.
8. In any case of any grade, the lower potency used at first with benefit, may need to be followed by the higher or even the highest.
9. In many families the children respond best to medium and low potencies.
10. The more complex the case as to history, successive illness, bad treatment, bad effects of surgery, the less medicine, but the most care in selection of appropriate remedy and its potency.
11. The essential intercurrent should be infrequent : minimum number.
12. If the high potency gives little or no result in a reasonable time, it should be superseded by a lower.
13. As soon as improvement is at standstill under the low, a higher should be chosen, provided, of course, the original picture persists.
14. If the picture has changed and a new remedy is selected, the potency should fit the new aspect of the case in respect to the patients habit of reaction as disclosed and studied.
15. Examine visually the patient, noting every characteristic discernible, forming as far as practicable a general opinion of personality, mind, and body. In any case, with rare exception, the prescriber will be able to determine the similimum in potency as well as the remedy similimum. An exact estimate of the case, provides a safe and effective choice of potency.
16. The finer indications for treatment, as opposed to gross generalities, will determined remedy potentiation. The finer the characteristics in total symptomatology, the higher the potential energy demanded. Hence the high potency.