Since my interest in homoeopathy was aroused, twelve years ago, by my teacher, the late Doctor Joseph Frankel, I have attempted to formulate an explanation for the action of drugs in minute quantities in the cure of disease.
Many of my theoretical conceptions have been substantiated by discoveries made in the domain of the vegetative nervous system. The effects of inorganic salts in an ionic state in ionic state in the fluids of the body on the living cell with the aid of the vegetative nervous system give scientific proof of the law Similia Similibus Curantur.
The principles of the Dominant School and that of the Homoeopathic school though apparently diametrically opposed, are readily explained and made one of the proof of the inter- relationship of the neuro-humeral-cellular systems.
In macroscopic and microscopic pathology, in the physical and chemical changes in the fluids of the body, in disordered functions of the voluntary and involuntary nervous system, the dominant school attempts to explain disease and find means of its cure.
The homoeopathic school studies drug provings upon healthy individuals, thereby causing a reaction in the healthy human with subjective and objective manifestations. It uses these findings to cure disease on the principle that “like cures like”.
In one case the symptoms are produced in a diseased condition of the body; in the other the symptoms are called forth in a healthy body by inducing changes in the normal physiology. Disease is an abnormal physiology. Similar reactions occurring in the same living organism can be explained by one and the same mechanism.
A study of the normal physiology throws important light upon body reactions. All activities within the body, whether voluntary or involuntary are under the control of the nervous system.
The reactions within the body are modified by the endocrine glands and the state of the fluids therein. The condition of the individual, as well as previous diseases, immunities, operations, drugs, also influence the reaction ability of the body.
The importance of the vegetative nervous system to the maintenance of life and health is conceded. Nature has provided every tissue and organ with vegetative nerves. Perhaps every cell. With increasing fineness of investigation, nerve endings have been found where their presence was disputed. This system of nerve fibres takes care of all involuntary functions, motor for smooth muscles, secretory for glands.
It controls the cardio-vascular system, the sweat glands, pilomotor muscles, and influences trophic changes. through its connections with the cord and through the cord to the brain, as well as its connections with the mid-brain and medulla oblongata, it sends impulses to the exterior of the body as well as to the brain and, in turn, transmits impulses from the exterior of the body and the brain to the tissues which it inervates.
I shall touch upon the anatomy and physiology of the vegetative nervous system only as it directly affects the question under consideration. The vegetative nervous system is divided into two parts: the parasympathetic which arises from the mid-brain and medulla oblongata at the cranial end, and at the caudal end from the lower lumbar and sacral cord on the one hand, and the sympathetic which has its origin in the cord from the first dorsal segment to second and third lumbar segments. The two divisions are antagonistic in their action on the organs and tissues which are under their control. Where one stimulates the other inhibits. This antagonism is essential to the proper functioning of living matter.
Before reaching the tissues which they ultimately supply, their nerve fibres either pass through or end in and around plexuses of cells. There are a great many of these plexuses situated in the body. The first series or those nearest to the spine are called paraganglion. Those further removed from the spine are called posterior ganglion. Afferent and efferent impulses pass through the fibres of the vegetative nervous system via the gray and white ramus communicans. In the cord and in the ganglion plexuses, the impulses are sent through other relays of fibres through the usual dendritic connections found in the nervous system.
The hollow viscera are assured of their autonomy by ganglia within their walls, so that they can continue to function independently. In the gastro-intestinal tract there ganglia are represented by Meissoniers and Auerbachs plexus.
1 The fluids of the body surrounding and bathing the cells are of constant chemical composition, the cells taking from the fluid what they need and giving the fluids the results of their chemical activities. The cells have a semi-permeable membrane. Within the cells are many substances, the most important being those which are in a colloidal, state, chiefly the fats and proteids.
Substances, especially inorganic, in the surrounding fluids to penetrate the cell membrane and act upon the colloids within the cell must be in an Ionic state. Ionic dilutions are known to have a great chemical affinity for and effect upon colloids. The greater the dilution of a substance, the greater the number of Ions which are given off from the molecule.
Ions are electrically charged and are divided into Cations or negative and Anions or positive ions. The Cations are charged with positive electrons and wander to the negative charged substances and the reverse holds for Anions.
2 All substances in dilution apparently go into the ionic state. The acids, bases and salts have been most thoroughly studied in regard to their ionic activities. Natrum, Kalium, Chlor and Calcium are the Cations which interest us most, especially Natrium and Kalium, each carrying one electric charge, and their antagonist in their function on the cell, Calcium, carrying a double electric charge. As important as the antagonistic action of the vegetative nervous system is to the proper functioning of the cell, so it is of equal importance for the cell to have a proper antagonism between Kalium on the one hand and Calcium on the other.
The amount of these chemicals must be in proper proportion in the surrounding fluids. A disturbance in this balance causes a disturbance in cell physiology. Calcium has an effect on the cells similar to that of stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system, that is, the tissues that the sympathetic stimulates are stimulated by Calcium and where the sympathetic inhibits, a like inhibition occurs through the action of Calcium.
Kalium acts on the tissues in a manner similar to that of the parasympathetic branch of the vegetative nervous system, causing stimulation and inhibition as does the parasympathetic on a given tissue. Calcium and Kalium can act on the cell without the intervention of the nervous system, but the nervous system cannot affect the cell without the aid of Calcium and Kalium.
3 Quoting Dr. S.G. Zondek:.
“Not the Kalium stimulates the vagus (parasympathetic), the vagus stimulates, that is influences, the Kalium; and not the Calcium stimulates the sympathetic, but on the contrary the sympathetic stimulates, that is influences, the Calcium”.
The Ionic solution of a Cathode, therefore, by its quality of carrying an electrical charge and through the air or the vegetative nervous system or by its own power, enters into the cells and combines with the colloids of the cells causing a disassociation or chemical change. A Calcium or sympathetic action causes a dissociation of the H or acid state and a Kalium or parasympathetic action causes a disassociation into the OH group or alkaline state. All ions go toward the H or OH group, that is to one or the other side of the two principal Cations, or one or the other effect of the two antagonistic branches of the vegetative nervous system. The resultant effect can be measured quantitatively by the H-ionic state of a fluid.
The effect on the cell is to cause an electrolytic change within the cell, an addition or abstraction of its fluids, a change in its metabolism as a whole. A given tissue or group of cells has its optimum of ionic concentration in which it functions best. A disturbance in the relative ionic condition causes a disturbed physiology, a functional disturbance which produces symptoms.
4 Quoting Zondek again:.
“The cause of function disturbance in organs, though attributable to a disturbance in the function of the vagus or sympathicus, is in the last analysis to be looked for in a disturbance of the physiological electrolytic combination. The cause of the electrolytic functional disturbance lies in the pathology of the electrolytic”.
In experimental work a heart placed in Ringer solution and beating normally, will on the addition of Kalium have a longer diastole and finally cease beating in a dilated or diastolic state. Here we have an over-balance of Kalium and a condition similar to the effect of vagus or parasympathetic stimulation of the heart. The addition of Calcium will cause the heart to beat normally again.
The adding of Calcium to a Ringer solution in which such a heart is placed will cause a relative increase in the Calcium ion, an increase of the systolic state, a sympathetic effect which can be abolished by the addition of the proper amount of Kalium to the solution.