In the August Journal of he A.I.H. are two very interesting articles; not only interesting, but if carefully read they are thought provoking. The one is by E. Wallace MacAdam. His subject is “The Future of Homoeopathy.” The other is by C.A. Weiricks. His subject is, “Have We an Objective and the Wisdom to Fight For It?”.
The former is the usual address, made at banquets whether of alumni associations, state or other societies. The object on all such follow or to assist in digesting the one just indulged in, according as the toastmasters address precedes or follows the “eats.” Everything said on such occasions should be light, rosy, cheerful, optimistic; nothing heavy, dark, gloomy or discouraging.
On such occasions, especially after the feasting of the inner man, the speaker is not expected to stick closely to his text, but may wander far afield; he is permitted “to stretch the truth;” he is allowed to give the imagination full play provided that by wandering afield, stretching the truth and seeing visions he adds to the pleasure of the occasion. Neither the address not its subject matter are formally discussed at the time, though both may be later.
Toastmaster MacAdam began by referring to a secret meeting of abolitionists held in New York City in 1860, at which meeting “Garrett Smith announced it was perfectly evident the abolition of slavery would not come in his own life” and “then called upon al those under thirty to rise and pledge themselves to continue the fight.” The toastmaster further states, “On September 22, 1862. Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and slavery was ended forever.” Following the above Dr. MacAdam sounds the key-noted of his address in the following sentence: “We never know what is just around the corner”.
Then comes a paragraph pregnant with truth to be used as a black background on which to paint a bright, gloriously illuminated picture. It reads, “We who have become discouraged about the future of our school, we who have seen our colleges swept way, our county societies disappearing, our hospitals changing their names-we often feel very sad and discouraged about the future”.
Then again with a quick rapid stroke of the brush he covers the black with white, “a white lie” as such statements are, especially the last two lines of the next paragraph, viz., “The message I bring to you as your toastmaster tonight is this: Any sorrow or discouragement as to the future of homoeopathy is based on a total misunderstanding as to what is actually taking place. Although sectarian homoeopathy is dying, scientific homoeopathy is growing stronger every year, every month, ever day”.
I wonder if there can be any misunderstanding about that paragraph? especially about the words “sectarian,” “scientific” and “stronger”?.
After referring to the relation between the homoeopathic and allopathic physicians at the beginning of the Spanish War and of his boyhood days, and showing that it was that relation which forced the homoeopathists of those days to become sectarian and build their own schools and hospitals “to save their professional lives,” Dr. MacAdam says: “We did not want to be sectarian then, nor should we want to be sectarian now.” “Has anyone here his sign- John Smith, M.D., Homoeopath? Why not” Because not one of us wants to be sectarian”.
A little further on the toastmaster says: “Yet I believe that we have suffered much because of the feeling of religious fervor actuating Hahnemann and many of our associates. Homoeopathy is a scientific truth, not a religion.
“As the years have passed we have gradually been able to live down the opprobrium of being homoeopaths. Gradually opposition has been withdrawn, gradually it has been recognized that the homoeopaths are scientists and successful in the treatment of the sick. Gradually medical societies have been opened to them, hospitals are no longer closed to them, the old school men are glad to consult with them. Gradually all the causes of the original division into school have disappeared.
Our men have been welcomed everywhere, in the Army and Navy, in the American Medical Association, in the College of Surgeons and the College of Physicians. We are not required to give up our belief; on the contrary, we join these societies and promulgate our faith. Homoeopathy is gaining in the profession at large. It has had a tremendous impetus in Germany, following the epoch-making pronouncement of August Bier.
“Sectarian homoeopathy is dying because we homoeopaths are association and co-operating with members of the old school. Scientific homoeopathy is growing stronger all the time because, mingling in friendly intercourse, we are spreading abroad our scientific principles.” Still further on he is quoted as follows: “Therefore, let us not be discouraged because we see our homoeopathic societies falling off.
They are growing weaker, not because of defeat, but because we have won the good fight. We have not failed, we have succeeded.” This is a remarkable statement, very heartily applauded. But still more remarkable is the last paragraph-the climax, viz., “Just as the Abolitionist PArty was killed when Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, so medical sectarianism was killed when August Bier published his defense and explanation of scientific homoeopathy!”.
Dr. MacAdams address may be summed up about as follows: Our forefathers became sectarians from necessity; they put up a good and great fight; they won a beneficent, glorious and complete victory; they forced the allopaths to open the doors of their colleges and hospitals to homoeopathic students and practitioners; they forced the allopaths to admit us homoeopaths into their societies; they made the allopaths glad to consult with homoeopath; they forced the Government to welcome homoeopaths in the Army and Navy, etc. Our fathers did all this. Now there is nothing for us to do. Homoeopathy has fulfiled its mission. Let us show that we are worthy sons of such valiant, heroic, successful fighters by simply acknowledging that all is well “just around the corner”.
Ah! Would That This Were True. Would that I could even believe that this were true.
Before expressing my doubts in form of questions let us look at Dr. Weiricks short article. His first two sentences are as follows: “Carrying forward the work of its predecessors, the generation immediately preceding the present attained objectives: made the word homoeopathy a familiar term, known to millions of people; compelled physicians of the dominant school to recognize members of the homoeopathic school as physicians, to consult with them and admit them to their hospitals and societies; influenced public hospitals to place them on their staff; by their better therapeutic results caused the old school to abandon the basis, contraria contraribus curantur, upon which its prescriptions were made, and to change its name from allopathic to regular, also to use infinitesimals. Those ancestors made a successful, heroic, progressive fight.”
Then comes his first question, viz.: “Is there not objective for the homoeopath of the present?” He then states that “a defensive warfare such as our school is carrying on today is a losing one”; that the word homoeopathy is in the obsolescent stage: that “many of the young men and women do not even know what it is.” He then agrees with DR. MacAdam that our schools, hospitals, etc., are slipping away; that our literary output is “reduced to a low minimum.” He further states: “At present we have no definite objective, but are satisfied to try to hold our own and trail along in close proximity to the regular school. The strong position we have inherited from our fathers has destroyed our aggressiveness, our pep, our fighting qualities.
The regulars have given individual and quasi recognition of the homoeopathic law; we should make the effort to secure official endorsement of it by the regular school. The, as are all other medical laws, it would be taught and utilized by every medical college in the world and its status firmly fixed. 0Is the attainment of that objective feasible? Feasibility very often depends upon grit and ability. There are still in the school physicians of great and recognized ability. Will it not possible through them to secure such an official recognition of the law of similia? That is a worthy objective; if there be those of us who think otherwise, will they name another worth struggling to attain? If they cannot, what is the use of trying to maintain a separate school of medicine?”.
We not that both writers agreed that we have struck bottom. We also note the vast difference between the attitude of each toward our condition. Dr. MacAdam feels we should be satisfied with it. There is but little more to be desired and that little is “just around the corner.” DR. Weirick, on the other hand, feels that there is much ground to be secured- a great “objective.” Weirick then asks, “Is the attainment of that objective feasible?” And answers the question, “feasibility very often depends upon grit and ability”.
The object for which Weirick states we should fight is “to secure official endorsement of it (homoeopathy) by the regular school.” Weirick says that all the concessions made and favors granted by the old school are “individual and quasi recognition.” He wants general and actual recognition, such as would have homoeopathy “taught and utilized by every medical college in the world and its status firmly fixed”.
I want to ask every reader of this article to answer the following questions, viz.: Is the attainment of Dr. Weiricks objective a hard or easy task? Is his objective a great way off or “just around the corner,” as Dr. MAcAdams banquet address would have us believe? Let me give my reasons for thinking it is still a great way off and that much hard, skillful, conscientious work must be done by those of us who are “pledged to continued the fight”.
I have lived and practiced homoeopathy in Des Moines over forty- four years. I have had access to all the members of the old school frequently. I have had access to all the hospitals of the city, one of which was founded by homoeopaths and sold out by them to allopaths. In these hospitals I have worked side by side with not only old school members but also eclectics, osteopaths and with not only old school members but also eclectics, osteopaths and chiropractics. It has been my privilege to see and know what the allopaths and eclectics have prescribed. Since reading the two articles I am discussing I have asked several old school physicians, and also several nurses who have worked under both allopathic and homoeopathic physicians, if, as the result, “Our men have been welcomed everywhere, in Army and Navy, etc.”; if the homoeopathic remedy is used homoeopathically in the old school,. hospitals, in Army and Navy, by allopathic physicians? The result?
Not one has answered in the affirmative. Some of the physicians have answered frankly and said, “In my office work in the home of my private patients, I use your remedies, but I never send a prescription to the druggist for them or order them for patients at the hospitals.” In answer to my question what homoeopathic remedy do you use most frequently, those referred to above reply, “Mostly Luyties and Boericke & Tafel. Combination tablets for constipation, pneumonia, and nervous prostration.” One of the old school men with whom I have consulted most because we have different members of the same families on our individual lists would say to this patients, “Dr. Royal has confidence in his remedies.
He does not know as much of diagnosis as I do but knows more about therapeutics.” “Now, Dr. Royal, go ahead.” But he never knew or cared to know anything about Lyc. 30 m., Carbo veg. 1 m. or Cactus 1x. In fact in one desperate case of his to which he had called me and for which Carbo veg. was indicated he so far forgot himself when I took out my vial to make up some powders, that he blustered out, “Oh, hell! White Charcoal!”.
I would like the experience of my readers in another respect. How many of you since “the barriers between the schools are giving way” and you have become members of old school medical societies, have held offices in said societies, or read papers before the members explaining the principles and practices of homoeopathy? If the latter, what was the reception of your paper by the old school members?.
The Linn County Homoeopathic Society was the first county society of Iowa to go bodily into an old school society. Ten years later I asked a prominent homoeopath of Waterloo the above questions. I shall never forget his expression and the tone of his voice as he answered, “None, never”.
Again. What about recognition of homoeopathy in the journals and books of the old school? Do my readers find the pages filled with directions for the use of homoeopathic remedies and with the results obtained from their use? There come to my office five journals of the old school; one German, one French, and three american. I scan them fairly closely, but do not find much on homoeopathy. What was the comment of old school journals on Biers article?.
I also have a fairly good opportunity for inspecting the new or recent books of that school. Does homoeopathy have a fair and full recognition and presentation in the recent publications of the old school? Two such books which I have read within the past month are Wm. A, Whites last edition of “Outlines of Psychiatry” and “Curschmanns Clinical Neurology,” by Strecker and Meyers.
I failed to find a single reference to a homoeopathic prescription for the treatment of any of the diseases considered in either book. On page 365 of the latter I do find the following for the treatment of Menieres syndrome. “Quinine sulphate 0.1, 0.2 or 0.3 Gm. three times daily in increasing doses.” Also careful dosage, damage to the acoustic nerve need not be feared.” And, finally, “bromides, iodides, pilocarpine, arsenic, hydrotherapy, even lumbar puncture have been recommended”.
Wm Boericke in the index to the eighth edition to his Materia Medica does not mention one of these remedies for Menieres disease. Under chininum sulph, he gives the following under ear: “Violent ringing, buzzing and roaring in the ears, with deafness.” In my Text Book of Homoeopathic theory and Practice of Medicine I put chininum sulph. at the head of the list, but instead of giving the largest dose possible that will not “damage the acoustic nerve,” I use the smallest does that will cure the patient. I have recently had a most brilliant result with B. & T.s 30th of that remedy.
I want to make the point here and that it is not the remedy but the reason for and manner of administering the remedy that makes its use homoeopathic or allopathic.
It want to make the point here and that it is not the remedy but the reason for and manner of administering the remedy that makes its use homoeopathic or allopathic.
It might not be out of place to ascertain whether this failure to recommend homoeopathic therapeutic treatment could be due to the fact that the allopathic therapeutics is better. Do they have more confidence in their drug therapy than we do in ours? Have they a large number of remedies which they have used for a long period of years, in which they have confidence and recommend because they know they will produce the desired results? Let us take a few sentences, at random, from the two books just mentioned: “There is no pharmaceutical treatment for this disease -paranoia.” Outlines of Psychiatry, page 122. Also in same volume:.
For Arteriosclerosis, page 230, we read: “treatment-for the insomnia-alcohol in the form of a small dose of whisky and water at night is excellent, but should be give with great care and it administration carefully guarded, as these patients are especially susceptible to it and often develop periods of confusion from very small doses”.
From Clinical Neuralgia, page 46, we quote: “treatment: None of the forms of Friedreichs ataxia is responsive to treatment, and care of the patient is largely symptomatic.” For cerebral haemorrhage, page 185: “After all the treatment can only be protective, and it is quite important to treat the haemorrhage before it occurs. Medication should be used, though it is doubtful how much medicine in itself may accomplish. The iodide of potash is usually administered, and sometimes the nitrites.
A mixture may be of R. Potassium bicarbonate 1.8 Gm., Potassium nitrate 1.2 Gm., and Sodium nitrite 0.03 Gm. Such a powder is given in a glass of water every morning before breakfast. The never remedies for hypertension need not be discussed here. Recently, studies have been made which indicate that extract of liver MAY be useful. However, at the present time the chief weapons of the physician are reduction in physical and mental work, and sensible dietary restrictions”.
On the treatment of epidemic encephalitis, page 171, we read: “A glance at the great number and diversity of therapeutic agents which have been used in the treatment of encephalitis epidemica bears testimony to the indifferent results which have been obtained.” For cerebrospinal fever the author says (page 123): “fortunately treatment is now able to be specific. The results following lumbar puncture and injection of the anti meningococcic serum of Flexner have been very brilliant. It is customary to use urotropin, but it is doubtful if it accomplishes very much”.
On page 120 we read: “tuberculosis meningitis is a fatal disease and treatment is powerless to avert death”.
I will quote just one more passage for the purpose of giving them credit for their attempts, their groping in the dark, for something “safe,” “sane” and “sure” in therapeutics; also to show that always they go as near the edge of the precipice as possible. “More recently some variety of iodides has been administered with seemingly good results. However, in the use of iodides and iodine preparations, chiefly Lugols solution (Liquor Iodi Comp. U.S. P.), in doses from three to five minims three times a day upwards to as much as 15 minims t.i.d., caution is required. Used indiscriminately in adenoma of the thyroid they may set up iodine hyperthyroidism-a grave form.
They are probably more efficacious in ophthalmic goitre than in in toxic adenoma. It is doubtful whether digitalis or strophanthus helps the heart. Quinidine sulphate 0.2-0.4 Gm. t.i.d., has been recommended. Sedatives such as bromides and hypnotics such as veronal, luminal, and allonal are often needed. The alleged specific antisera have largely failed, although recently there has been a revival of interest in them.” (Page 307, Clinical Neuralgia).
How many times those of us who are in general practice have been called to save the life of a patient on whom experiments with the new remedies have been made.
“Personally the American authors have grave doubts as to the efficacy of the arsenical preparations. They feel that a revision of our therapeutic beliefs is not unlikely, and it may be that the arsenicals will in the future be used and less frequently.” (Page 44, Clinical Neuralgia).
Let us sum up as follows: The old school as a school of medicine, have not adopted homoeopathy. The individuals, and there are many, who are using it are mere tyros in the theory and practice of it. The old school have neither law to guide them in their application of drugs nor confidence in the efficacy of more than a half dozen remedies.
Therefore we must agree with Dr. Wierick that we should have an objective. Personally I can think of none better than the one he suggested; but I would add a few hints as to the methods of reaching that objective.
First. The public must be educated so that they will demand homoeopathic treatment. This must be done through the secular press and magazines. The A.I.H. should do this through a press committee.
Second. We should establish a post-graduate college for the benefit of the individual members of the old school who sincerely desire to familiarize themselves with the principles and practice of Homoeopathy. This post-graduate college should be manned exclusively by homoeopathists, not a mongrel faculty.
Third. We, who have gone astray, should return to the fold and “do work meet for repentance,” and practice as good and pure homoeopathy as possible.