The homoeopathic physician should make a study of temperaments. We have the four classical classifications of temperaments: Nervous, bilious, sanguinous, phlegmatic. All these types are found in human beings of every race. Then e find many combinations of these types, with perhaps one basic type slightly predominating over the others, until sometimes we find an absolutely nondescript type. These temperaments are a part of the personalities of our patients. The temperament is cast in the very beginning of the combing of the parent cells, and once cast, there is no deviation from it.
Morbific conditions may be added to the temperament, but the morbific process is not a part of the temperament; it is a disease factor. Whatever is morbific to an individual is amenable to treatment and can be removed; but removal of the morbific manifestation leaves the temperament intact. Temperaments themselves ar not changed by the action of our remedies. Temperaments are natural physiological divisions of mankind; therefore, not being pathological, they are fixed to the personality. Morbific conditions, on the other hand, are not fixed to the personality.
In association with other homoeopathic physicians, how often we hear the expression. “That patent is a typical Pulsatilla patient”! or Phosphorus patient; or perhaps some other remedy is mentioned as being the type. So often is the Pulsatilla patient associated with the blue-eyed blonde temperament at first glance; likewise Phosphorus; is closely associated in thought with the tall, frail brunette. In selecting the remedy, it is undoubtedly true that some of our best homoeopathic prescribers do look somewhat to the temperament as having a bearing on the choice of the remedy, but this is regarded as only one symptom.
I would not leave you with the impression that temperaments cannot be modified by circumstances, for which man is mostly responsible, namely, heredity and the miasms, but these are really morbific conditions, rather than basically affecting the temperament itself.
Now in the proving of our remedies we have an entirely different presentation, because it has been found that the action of a given remedy will vary in different temperaments. For instance, the florid, phlegmatic temperament is easily affected by a remedy like Belladonna. On the other hand, the nervous- bilious temperament is easily affected by a remedy like Phosphorus. The dwarf is easily affected by Baryta; the intensely nervous temperament by Nux vomica. These people have the ideal temperament as provers of individual remedies, because they register more completely the full action of the remedy.
When morbific conditions are present in any of these temperaments, these conditions are amenable to the remedy indicated, regardless of whether or not they are of the temperament naturally associated with the best provers. For instance, Phosphorus produces tubercular symptoms in the spare, narrow-chested. Again, Phosphorus produces a group of vascular symptoms in the fat, rotund and florid. Yet Phosphorus acts on all types of people, producing varying images of its own character; and it will cure in all disease likenesses regardless of temperaments. Some of its complaints come out in one temperament, some in another, and some in the nondescript type.
Now what is true of Phosphorus is true of every remedy in our materia medica. In sickness we must not put a limitation on our remedies, when they are so broad as to cause an action on all kinds of provers, both men and animals, and are curative in all diseases of men and animals, whether or no they are of the classic types that produce the best provers.
What then shall be the basis of our prescription? “Let law direct and experience confirm” is an old axiom. In taking the case and applying the homoeopathic prescription, the totality of the morbific symptoms are the only ones to be considered, not partly morbific and partly temperamental. The physician must perceive in each case what it is that is morbific. The totality of the morbific symptoms is the sole basis of every homoeopathic prescription. When we are confronted with generals and particulars, we must first settle with the generals and then with the particulars.
It may be that the remedy that is indicated has not been sufficiently proven to bring out the particulars, or the particulars that have been brought out in the disease likeness are not so much indicative of the remedy as of personal idiosyncrasies. Where we can find no generals, no great things should be expected. Where there are many regions affected, and all aggravated or ameliorated by the same circumstances, that fact becomes a general. Where the symptoms of all regions work in contrary circumstances, you cannot cure until you find the generals.
The basis, then, in all of our procedure, is to find the totality of the morbific symptoms; the Law of Similars; the single remedy; the potentized remedy. Then we will have cleared the patient of the morbific conditions, and will have the temperament and personality left intact, as it was created in the image of God.
CHAIRMAN J.W. WAFFENSMITH: The conclusion of this paper certainly would stand the test of all the principles of pure homoeopathy and I thank the doctor for this valuable addition to our literature.
DR. J.W. KRICHBAUM: I wonder if it is possible for us all to look at a person with the same vision. For years and years I have written down the temperament, and tried to find various ramifications in keeping a record of the case. I have had other people say that it was of no use whatever. Perhaps I am the worse for it, but half of my prescriptions or more are based on what I see and a few answers to questions I get from the patient. I cant sit down and put a half day on a case, especially if there is an epidemic of grippe or something of that kind going on. We must of necessity get to observing people.
We must take into consideration their temperament, their personality, their attitude when you approach them, and temperament plays an important part in the selection of a remedy. Suppose you get a placed, happy-looking blonde that you would expect to smile, and instead she is ready to snap you head off, it means more than that she is a blonde and that she should be in a good humor; it means that she is cross as two sticks, and it may mean Nux vom. So I think temperament is of vital importance. Another person may find it of no use whatever.
DR. I.L. FARR: This most excellent paper emphasizes one of the strong points in homoeopathic prescribing and that is the individualizing of the remedies to the individual himself. Temperament is nothing more than what makes Dr. Roberts not Dr. Royal or Dr. Krichbaum or myself. The difference between us is just a matter of temperament. It is the individual; it is the thing that stands out that makes the individual.
DR. A. PULFORD: I think Dr. Roberts has the right idea: That when homoeopathy is fully completed we will find remedies divided very much as we find them in the miasmata. We will find that certain remedies will act on different temperaments to the exclusion of others and a good deal better on the ones where they are indicated.
DR. C.M. BOGER: On this mater of temperament, I would advise our friends not to move too rapidly. Some of the most serious trouble I have gotten into has been in the prescribing on temperament I have a case now. I have tried repeatedly to take this womans temperament into account and each time it was a failure. I dont mean that I never take temperament into account because I do, but it is only one of the factors, that is all. You cant let temperament outweigh the symptoms.
This case, of which I am speaking, is one of tuberculosis, and if there ever was a woman who had Lycopodium symptoms she had them, but it didnt do her one speak of good. It seems to me that in those cases we nearly always come back to some miasmic remedy or one of the nosode. The only thing that has ever done her any good has been a nosode. That has been my experience quite a few times. I dont go so much on temperament usually, it is a small factor with me.
CHAIRMAN: J.W. WAFFENSMITH: I think that the case Dr. Boger speaks of is a superimposition of some series of miasmatic suppressions and I believe that when he works out that phase of it there will come a point or a time, if the patient stays with him long enough, when he will get back to the naturalistic correlation between temperament and natural miasmatic condition of that patient, because there is a natural correlation.
Take the Indians and the more primitive people. They had, for instance, a condition of simple urethritis which they knew how to correct and to cure, but when the alien, the foreigner, came in there was in intermixture and there developed a complicated sycotic condition, superimposed upon their natural miasmatic state which they could easily handle with the simple vegetable concoctions. There was a new, complicated state produced which it was extremely difficult to handle.
I believe that this question of temperament, like any of these other phases, will naturally fall in line and rather than being any disagreement today, it seems to me that in our bureau we are having a remarkable convergence of opinion, with each man adding his contribution to the unified whole, as it were, giving us a renewed concept of the superior quality of homoeopathy. We have a renewed conviction that we have something that has not been superseded by anything better, and I believe we will be better satisfied to go forward and follow along the lines of a higher and purer homoeopathy than we have been heretofore.
With us, the vexed question of dose has caused more discord and bitterness than any other; by it we are divided into hostile camps of materialists and dynamists; one side without actual experience with dynamized drugs, flippantly denying efficiency to all attenuations carried beyond the reach of material analysis, forgetting that the human organism supplies a more sensitive testing instrument than can be found either in the clumsy scalpel of the anatomist, the laboratory of the chemist or in the lens of the microscopist.
No one denies the limited range of curative action which dwells in crude drugs, nor in the appreciable doses of the low dilutionists, but the more subtle powers of highly potentized drugs are revealed only to those who faithfully observe the rules which are inseparable from Hahnemannian homoeopathy.-A.R. MORGAN, M.D., 1895.