Traditional medicine dates from time immemorial. In its long history it has outgrown innumerable practices and made countless new discoveries. The history of medicine, like the history of nations, records many glorious achievements and likewise many dismal and tragic failures.
In the realm of research, diagnosis and technique the regular school of medicine has made and is making phenomenal progress. In the matter of practical treatment of the individual sick patient the average physician has received very little help from his long and arduous medical training. He has had woefully little instruction in dietetics and practical case management and when it comes to drugs he may try this or try that, but he has no fundamental principle or law to guide him. True, he may prescribe a diuretic, cardiac stimulant, sedative, tonic or laxative, but that is prescribing for a single symptom or single part of a patient at a time and not for the entire patient as an individual entity. Moreover, such methods of prescribing are often suppressive in effect as the disease expression may be diverted or driven to a deeper level to the detriment of the patient.
There are also specific and glandular and serum therapies. Many treatment are founded solely on theory, some even on hypotheses and these ever change as the swift seasons roll.
The drug houses and biological concerns are continually covering the medical profession by means of letters, circulars, advertisements, samples and smooth and clever detail men. People who have never even matriculated at a medical college will come in and recite their piece, telling us the most up to date and accredited manner of treating our patients. Commercialism in medicine! Physicians, medical organizations and institutions, boards of health and the public, all are influenced, persuaded, boards of health and the public, all are influenced, persuaded, preyed upon, even coerced by large manufacturing interests, not for the welfare of humanity and the protection of the public as they so loudly proclaim, but in their own interest and solely for the cold coin of realm.
Homoeopathy, rediscovered by Samuel Hahnemann over a hundred years ago, is based on a law of nature, the law of similars. Homoeopathic practice has also developed the potentization of medicines. This is a process of liberating the drug energy from its limiting material vehicle or envelope, and finally the minimum dose-the least possible that is capable of producing a reaction.
A vast materia medica has been painstakingly built up through a system of drug provings on healthy persons. Minutes doses of a given drug are repeatedly given to a group of men and women until symptoms begin to appear. These persons are known as provers. A few controls are given blanks.
Before commencing the proving each individual, including the controls, lists any symptoms from which he may be suffering so as to avoid confusion of the symptom picture of the drug that is being tested and studied.
Take Nux vomica for an illustration, as it is a drug known, more or less, to physicians everywhere. If minute doses of this drug be repeatedly given to a group of provers they will in time, usually in days or weeks, begin to express symptoms which are characteristic of Nux. They will awaken in the morning unrefreshed, groggy and irritable and it wont do to rub the fur the wrong way. They will become oversensitive, easily offended and very touchy. They will tend to become chilly and averse to going out in the cool or cold air. Stuffing up of the nose may alternate with a thin, watery, irritating coryza. They will quite likely become constipated, with a frequent, ineffectual desire for stool. It at all feverish, instead of wanting the covers off they will want them piled high and well tucked in around the neck, the least movement or turning in bed causing marked chilliness. What is the matter with these people? They are giving forth symptoms characteristic of Nux vomica. The controls show no such symptoms.
No matter when or where such a proving is carried out on a group of individuals the same drug will always bring forth the same characteristic symptoms.
So we have something more than hypothesis or theory to work on. We have in fact, a materia medica composed of drugs, the pathogenesis or disease producing power of which is very definitely known, having been determined by repeated and verified scientifically controlled experimentation.
When a homoeopathic physician is called to see a patient he elicits all the symptoms, both subjective and objective. He then, from his knowledge of materia medica and with the aid of a repertory or symptom index, determines what drug in its provings has produced an essentially similar symptoms complex or ensemble. The indicated remedy is therefore homoeopathic to the case and properly administered will be expected to bring about a curative reaction in the patient.
The diagnosis or name of the disease plays a minor role in homoeopathic prescribing. Take pneumonia for example. In regular or old school practice the disease is, as it were, treated instead of the patient. The treatment is, if anything, too routine, too cur and dried and as a rule altogether too stimulating and the death rate admittedly, in fact appallingly high.
In homoeopathic treatment any of a number of remedies may be indicated by the symptom picture. In fact any drug in the materia medica may be indicated for the case in hand. If the patient has the symptoms listed above in considering Nux vomica then Nux is his remedy. If, however, he cannot endure the least motion or jarring of the bed, if he must lie on the painful or affected side, if he holds his hands to his sides when coughing, if hard pressure or tightly strapping the chest on the affected side relieves the stitching pains, if the cough is hard, dry and unproductive, if there is great dryness of the mouth and thirst for large quantities of water at long intervals, he needs Bryonia.
The next pneumonia patient may have Phosphorus symptoms, the next may present the symptom picture of Kali carb. (or Potassium carbonate) and so on, differentiating and individualizing in each case until the correct remedy is determined upon, for after all it is the sick patient we are treating and not pneumonia as a distinct entity in itself. Some patients have right-sided pneumonia, others left-sided, some have very limited areas of hepatization, others extensive consolidation.
Certain patients show marked pleuritic involvement, in others there is very little. One patient presents a besotted appearance and the symptoms of an overwhelming toxaemia and the next may be alert, restless, nervous and apprehensive. The diagnosis of pneumonia is fully justified in each of the above cases from the symptoms and physical signs, but would it not seem, to say the least, unreasonable to prescribed an identical treatment or remedy for all these patients?.
This process of individualization and the differentiation of remedies in pneumonia and all other acute conditions is not at all difficult. In fact an experienced physician can often “see” or know the indicated remedy in a very few moments and the death rate in pneumonia treated by the real followers of Hahnemann is definitely less than one per cent, believe it or not.
Pneumonia takes a terrible toll of valuable lives every year. As an experiment let any old school physician try treating a few cases without any medication whatsoever, only careful nursing and no food save perhaps fresh, raw, unsweetened fruit juices, and watch his death rate drop to well under ten per cent, perhaps even to five per cent. Having satisfied himself on this laissez faire policy plus good nursing and conservative and sensible diet management, let him then undertake careful homoeopathic treatment; let him become well acquainted with and proficient in, say a dozen of the most frequently indicated remedies in pneumonia and then see actual and severe cases of this disease quickly aborted and the death rate fall to not over one per cent. I have used pneumonia merely as an appalling example. I could as well have used any other acute disease, influenza, scarlet fever, diphtheria, or what not, the procedure is ever the same.
The death rate in acute disease under careful homoeopathy is almost nil.
I will not discuss homoeopathy in respect to chronic disease, except to suggest that one coming from old school medicine, as i did, should if possible first learn to treat acute cases as Hahnemann and his followers treated them. If careful, studious and painstaking he is absolutely certain to become completely sold on homoeopathy. As he gradually works into chronic cases, let me assure you he will not be disappointed in his results.
But there are many who call themselves homoeopaths who do not differ much in their practice or in their results from those following other systems or therapy. I grant you this is true, but let me regretfully say that such are unfaithful and unworthy followers of Hahnemann and Homoeopathy. The genuine and the counterfeit always coexist.
The minute dose of potentized drug used by Hahnemannians has for years been considered fanciful and of no more consequence than a placebo. In making this statement I do not wish to underemphasize the beneficent value of the placebo. Hahnemann himself said that a physician should have character enough to give a placebo when needed. Another physician, the late Dr. Stuart Close, called it “the second best remedy”, he, of course, inferring the best remedy in all cases to be the indicated or homoeopathic one.
When in doubt prescribe nothing. Give the patient at least an even break for his life. Remove the obstacles to recovery, correct the diet, improve, simplify and untangle the daily routine, bring him back close to the heart of nature and perchance nature may speak to him and infuse into him again the breath of life.
But to return to the potentized drug. There are two potency scales used in homoeopathic practice, the decimal and the centesimal. In the decimal scale one part of drug is triturated in nine parts sugar of milk, making the 1x trituration. In making the next higher potency one part of the 1x would be triturated with nine parts sugar of milk and so on. Above the third trituration water is used instead of sugar of milk and the vial succussed to insure diffusion of the drug throughout the solution. In the last dilution or potency taken off alcohol is employed instead of water in order to prevent deterioration.
In preparing potencies on the centesimal scale the process is exactly the same except ninety-nine parts sugar of milk or other vehicle or diluent is used each time instead of nine parts.
Potencies are marked 1x, 3x, 6x, 12x, 30x, and so on in the decimal scale and 3rd, 6th, 30th, 200th, 1000th, 10M or 10,000th and so on in the centesimal scale.
It can readily be seen that the 200th, 1000th, 10M and higher potencies contain and inconceivably small amount of the original drug substance, although mathematically absolute zero could never be reached though the process were carried to infinity.
Now theoretically just process were carried? the real power of the drug was never the crude material per se. An invisible intangible, yet specific drug energy is imprisoned as it were in the material encasements which we see and handle. The process of potentizing merely serves to remove the limiting material envelope thereby setting free to an ever increasing degree the specific chemical, electro-chemical or medicinal energy. I say specific for the energy or vibration of Digitalis differs from that of Belladonna, each as it were being an entity in itself.
Now why does not the liberated drug energy contained in he higher potencies escape altogether and vanish into space? That potencies retain their virtue or power undiminished for many years in corked bottles kept under ordinarily suitable conditions has been vouched for by many reliable observers and in recent years confirmed by delicate laboratory tests.
These medicines have acted so promptly, so decisively as to leave no room for doubt as to their inherent energy. How can this be explained? Recall that no mater how far the potentizing process be continued absolute mathematical zero cannot be reached even in respect to the material drug substance. The least possible even an infinitesimal portion of the material will continue indefinitely to act as a focus, centre or retainer, if not actually a container of the specific medicinal energy.
The high centesimal potencies use in homoeopathic practice are not things to be trifled with. Correctly used according to the principles and the rules laid down by the great masters of the homoeopathic art they are tremendous forces for good and have saved countless lives from an untimely end. They have restored health and vigor in thousands of cases pronounced hopeless by medical experts they may do irreparable harm; they may bring on a terrific reaction or aggravation which it may be impossible to control. Use these high potencies intelligently and handle them with care.
In considering the action of the potentized homoeopathic remedy the question of susceptibility must be taken into consideration. a person must be susceptible to measles for example, or he could not contract the disease. Just how large a dose of what does one receive when he is exposed to measles and contracts the disease? It is nothing that can be seen, touched, weighed or measured, again we find ourselves in the realm of the infinitesimal.
A number of years ago a German woman came into the clinic and said, “Doctor, I half never been well since I had die influence.” I had never thought before about the derivation of the word influenza, but it comes from the Latin “in” and “fluo” to flow into-hence an influence, and the lady was right after all. Again an elusive, imponderable, infinitesimal something but it does the business in epidemic years wherever it contacts those who are susceptible.
Now if an infinitesimal can make the susceptible sick, why should not a highly potentized remedy capable of producing symptoms similar to those of the individual sick patient make him well? I affirm that it does and furthermore that any earnest, sincere and unprejudiced physician can prove it for himself to his lasting satisfaction and with ever-increasing joy and success in the practice of his profession.
A true chronic disease may be ameliorated for a time by diet, hygiene, etc., and these aids to cure should never be omitted, but the vitiation of the Life Forces in true chronic disease is too intense to permit of healing by these methods alone. They are usually not sufficient. Some one or more vital functions of the body are acting wrongly, and if the evil is not merely superficial, it requires a proper and deep acting stimulus to correct the wrong acting function. FRASER MACKENZIE, C.E.I.