Kent was right when he said: “This drug as used by the old school has done more mischief than anyone drug in their materia medica.” He could have truthfully included many “modern” homoeopaths.
This drug touches at three points in the male-the heart, the liver, and the prostate gland. The individual mark or stamp is expressed in profound atonic muscular weakness of the heart and arteries, the heart being too weak to throw a forcible volume of blood into the arteries, and the muscles of the arteries too weak to contract on and hurry the blood after it enters them. Thus we get the symptom-slow, weak pulse, slower than the beat of the heart.
The essential symptoms to an accurate Digitalis prescription, from a curative position, are, including the above identification mark: sore, tender, uneasy liver; sluggish bowels with light colored, putty-like, grayish bileless stools; a tendency to jaundice; and a gone, sinking sense in the stomach as if one would die. Those essentials will indicate Digitalis in any disease, and unless present Digitalis is never indicated no matter how slow, weak or irregular, or how rapid the pulse may be.
In all cases where Digitalis is positively indicated, and it is not indicated if not positively, the higher dilutions or potencies will act more promptly and effectively, and more to advantage than the grosser material doses of the crude drug from both a curative and a palliative standpoint. We have been compelled to take case after case off the crude drug and either antidote and then give a higher potency of Digitalis itself, where it had been or was indicated, or select the proper remedy. We have never, as yet, restored to crude Digitalis, much less when it was the similar remedy.
In clinical cases Digitalis is often indicated in the hands of the allopath, as well as in the hands of many so-called modern homoeopaths, but in the majority of cases in which it is used, it is not indicated. Its use in rapid heart beat, in massive doses, is as foolish as sitting on the safety valve of a boiler when it is so full of steam that it is about to explode, the one is just as dangerous as the other. For that kind of a use of Digitalis there is no possible excuse. Think of the number of patients who die from this inexcusable ignorance.
With the above characteristic mark, plus the above essentials, we took a postmaster, in an inland town, who was fast failing and unable to attend his duties, off of excessively large doses of crude Digitalis and sent him back to his occupation by infrequent doses of the 1M. A case of prostatic trouble with the above mark and essentials was promptly restored with the 1M. The husband, whose wife we relieved of gall-stones colic with a single dose of Acon. 30x, came to us. His heart was failing under massive doses of Digitalis. He had to give up a large part of the territory over which he had supervision on account of his condition.
Digitalis was indicated in the first place. The 1M at long intervals soon put him on his feet and allowed him to take back his abandoned territory, made a new man of him and helped him to gain his normal weight back. We could recite many more such cases, but those are sufficient to show some of the clinical uses and results of Digitalis when given in cases which include the identification mark and the essentials of the drug. In all other cases in which they are not included in the make-up of the prescription, the drug must be physiologically, ignorantly and dangerously used, as the following quotation from International Clinics, 1931, p. 200, will attest:.
Hare, in commenting upon this work (the use of Digitalis in pneumonia), states that under some circumstances digitalis is positively contra-indicated in pneumonia, as, for example, in those instances where partial heart block seems to be a cardiac condition. In instances where the general condition of the patient is manifestly one of grave toxemia, the question as to whether digitalis should or should not be used may be answered in the negative in a fair proportion of cases: an electrocardiogram may show digitalis to be contra-indicated.
The electrocardiogram has shown, according to Stecher, that digitalis is definitely contra-indicated in diphtheria, as has been generally maintained by pediatricians. Stecher reports nineteen cases of heart block occurring in patients with diphtheria all of whom were over twenty years of age. All had received early administration of antitoxin. Death occurred in every one of those cases of heart block within ten days.
So we see the danger of using a dangerous remedy in a manner clouded in ignorance. And where is the electrocardiogram that can give us the positive indications for Digitalis? And where is the cardiogram, electric or otherwise, that can nullify the ignorant application of a drug, or the evil results which must of necessity arise from that use? TOLEDO, OHIO.
DR. J. HUTCHINSON: If we refer to Hahnemanns provings of Digitalis in Materia Medica Pura we find Dr. Pulfords statements corroborated. Or if we take our own cases, particularly those of Digitalis toxicosis from the drug long continued, in what we should consider wholly improper treatment, we are able to confirm all of the doctors findings. Personally, I have never seen or known of a single case that has received the drug in the popular professional manner which was ever benefited by it; rather, injured indubitably, and usually permanently with the permanent outcome.
The toxic cases we have to deal with present different phases of the same problem. Digitalis poisoning leaves not all patients in the same systemic condition. Each may have been affected at his weakest point, and it remains to be determined what is the most serious disturbance. Usually it is multiple.
There will be many evidences of disturbed organs. And this reminds one eloquently of the fact that Digitalis in potency is not only a heart remedy, but is a remedy for conditions in which any or all of those organs in intimate cooperation with the cardiac control can be profitably cared for by the indications for Digitalis as they have evolved in the provings. In fact, Digitalis, from the homoeopathic standpoint is a great deal more than simply the heart remedy per se. It is undoubtedly needed in cases otherwise diagnosed that too often fail to receive it.
One of the most painful facts constantly thrust upon one;s attention, either professional or social, is the fearful misuse of the drug on incorrect indications, when Digitalis in potency when suitably prescribed would heal and not destroy.
The correct judgment of the actual susceptibility in the given case implies not only the careful examination of the case, considering the morbid symptoms of the organism, in its present state as well as the aetiological symptoms of previous health and habit and disease, and including the physical method of inspection, palpation, pressure, succussion, percussion, auscultation, menstruation, chemical and microscopical investigation, and the like; but also the perfect knowledge of the mode of action and power of the medicine upon the healthy and sick organism, and its probable ratio to the organism in question, derived from the above elements, being eliminated.
The susceptibility therefore, serves as the diagnostic principle of homoeopathy.-B. FINCKE, M.D.