Read before I.H.A., Bureau of Homoeopathic Philosophy, June 25, 1936.
This article has been embodied in The Principles and Art of Cure by Homoeopathy, published by the Homoeopathic Publishing Company, London. — ED.
Criticism of Hahnemanns psora theory has raged for a century. It is not feasible to follow minutely Hahnemanns line of reasoning that led to his declaration of the psora theory, but we have his own statement that it took years to classify what he came to term the psoric miasm. Enough has been written to show that his reasoning in this respect was sound, and as far as it went, clear. It is not strange that in the light of modern knowledge new arguments have arisen to assail this theory. Let us examine it in the light of present-day knowledge.
We have considered the general symptomatology forming the psoric group. Now let us turn to Boenninghausens list of antipsoric remedies, and try to prove our problem along the same lines we should employ were we to prove a problem in arithmetic. This list, comprising fifty remedies, was published in Hahnemanns time, and has been used with remarkable success in the so-called psoric conditions from that time forward:.
Agaricus Bovista Euphorbium
Alumina Calcarea carb Graphites
Ammonium carb Carbo animalis Guaiacum
Ammonium mur Carbo veg Hepar sulph
Anacardium Causticum Iodine
Arsenicum alb Clematis Kali carb
Aurum Colocynth Kali nit
Baryta carb Conium Lycopodium
Belladonna Digitalis Magnesium carb
Bor. ac Dulcamara Magnesium mur
Manganum Phosphorus Silica
Mezereum Phosphoric acid Stannum
Muriatic acid Platinum Strontium
Natrum carb Rhododendron Sulphur
Natrum mur Sarsaparilla Sulphuric acid
Nitric acid Senega Zincum
Sixteen of the remedies listed belong definitely to the vegetable group, one definitely to the animal group; of the remaining thirty-three remedies, comprising the chemical elements or inorganic substances, or combined from these elements or substances (or reduced to almost elemental consideration, as the Carbos) we find only three (Baryta, Platinum and Aurum) that appear in the range of chemical elements higher by atomic weight than those essential to the construction of the human body. The three remedies having their source in the higher-than-body- construction elements may be considered as falling into the antisyphilitic class, and we may reasonably question their adaptability to the antipsoric condition when unmixed with a venereal taint.
Let us set aside for the time these three which seem to us questionably allocated to this group, and proceed with our hypothesis.
Some thirty elements, more or less, have been ascertained by different investigators as appearing in the human body. It has been definitely established that many of these are absolutely essential to physical construction. Iodine, number 53 of the elements, is regarded as the highest in atomic weight; and as we have pointed out, only the three that we have questioned appear in the antipsoric list beyond Iodine.
The following list of elements appearing in the human body has been compiled from several sources. It is notable that not all these elements have been assigned constructive roles, in the eyes of investigators; or rather, their presence in the body structure has not been determined. Nevertheless, all these come within the first fifty-three elements, as determined by atomic weight.
1. Hydrogen 6. Carbon 8. Oxygen
3. Lithium 7. Nitrogen 9. Fluorin
11. Sodium 19. Potassium 29. Copper
12. Magnesium 20. Calcium 30. Zinc
13. Aluminum 22. Titanium 32. Germanium
14. Silicon 25. Manganese 33. Arsenic
15. Phosphorus 26. Iron 35. Bromine
16. Sulphur 27. Cobalt 50. tin
17. Chlorine 28. Nickel 53. Iodine.
Morse tells us (Applied Biochemistry):.
It is seen that no inert elements, like argon,.
Argon accompanies air into the lungs as nitrogen does, but in both cases they play no part in the economy of the body.
occurs in the body; that radio-active elements and those that are undergoing decomposition are lacking; and that with regard to atomic weight, iodine is the farthest up the scale. Heavy elements, such as lead, and the noble metals, are not found. Two explanations may be offered:.
(1) The distribution of the elements in the human organism is an historical matter, representing the period in evolution when only those elements that are of lighter weight than iodine were evolved. This is not probable.
(2) The lighter kinds occurring in living things because these elements were relegated to the surface of the earth and were available for the use of the organism as it has undergone evolution. The geologist believes that the heavier elements lie toward the center of the earth, since the total weight of the earth demands heavier substances near the center of the mass.
So in reality we might add to our list argon (18) and nitrogen (7) as appearing with some regularity in the body. With our knowledge of the power of the infinitesimals beyond the range of laboratory analysis we dare not say that any element, however small its portion or vague its relationship, “plays no part”.
Again, with our knowledge of the disturbing powers of the radio- active elements, we can see definitely why they were not included in construction, for they are essentially destructive. These correspond to the action of the syphilitic taint, and should be classed as antisyphilitic in action.
However, we are discussing primarily those elements which, in simple form or combined, are essentially constructive, to demonstrate the significance of our hypothesis that Psora, and Deficiency in properly balanced essentials, are one and the same; or if they are not identical problems, we must admit that here lies a significant key to the problem of psora, and one worthy of deeper study.
Without question there is some essential failure of the system to assimilate the necessary constructive materials that provides the background of the so-called psoric taint; yet we find that emotional or other stress develops the psoric symptomatology even in constitutions that have been sound and healthy. Here we find that our theory of psora as a deficiency of the proper elements is verified. For instance, those chest conditions with many functional symptoms: we are often able to trace these to improper breathing habits, and this again to emotional strain that has broken the habit of rhythm; or perhaps the breathing habit has been normal until the necessity of remaining long hours in close, unaired rooms has forced the system to unnatural and insufficient intake of oxygen.
The greatest asset of the body is that of adaptability, but this in itself, under unnatural or forced conditions, while permitting life to continue under emergent or hampered conditions, breeds a train of symptoms that Hahnemann described as psoric.
The body elements best known to the student of biochemistry are: Hydrogen, Oxygen, Carbon, Nitrogen, Fluorin, Sodium, Magnesium, Silicon, Phosphorus, Sulphur, Chlorine, Potassium, Calcium, Manganese, Iron, Copper, Zinc, Arsenic and Iodine. Chemists have been able to estimate the percentage of these elements present in the organism, even such small amounts as those of arsenic, with its sixth-decimal proportions in thyroid and brain, and 0.000,001,9 per cent in the liver.
It is comparatively easy to define the constructive purposes of many of these elements, such as calcium; yet there is some purpose aside from that of mere bricks-and-mortar for even the most obvious. Magnesium is found throughout the body, in the lungs, glands, brain, muscles and muscular organs such as the heart. This has been determined with a fair amount of the measurable accuracy; yet how do we account for the fact that a magnesium-free diet sends animals into convulsions? Or that tin, found in traces in the tongue and brain, is related definitely to the sense of taste? When cobalt and nickel, discovered in the pancreas, are lacking, just what influence does this have in the development of diabetes?.
Manganese is an accompaniment of iron in practically all human tissue. Scientists have discovered that manganese starvation in animals will produce sterility in the male and loss of mother- love in the female; this loss of maternal instinct incites them to refuse attention to their young, who die in a few hours. McCollum tells us: “When to the carefully prepared manganese-free diet is added as little as five thousandths of one per cent of manganese, all the abnormalities described are corrected.” Yet Reiman and Minot tell us: “Prolonged feeding of moderate amounts of its ores to dogs failed to produce significant changes in the manganese content of the blood and tissues or to cause any pathological symptoms”.
It is comparatively easy to determine the broader outlines of the constructive duties of these elements and inorganic substances, but it is the subtle and potential influences (as illustrated by the observations on manganese) that are most pertinent to our thesis. In other words, it is not the over- feeding or gross starvation of any element that provides us with the so-called psoric problem, but the subtle functional disturbance with many sensations. It is in this subtler sphere that we find the connection between the constructive essentials and the so-called antipsoric remedies. Since the so-called psoric conditions are largely functional and react pre-eminently upon the nervous and emotional plane, may we not regard these conditions as a lack of balance in the ability to assimilate, as well as a possible starvation of essentials?.
In a comparison of the constructive role of these substances (as determined by laboratory technique) with their more subtle manifestations (demonstrated through provings of the homoeopathic potentiations), let us look again at manganese:.
Reiman and Minot (J. Biological Chemistry) “found it to be present in practically all human tissue, the liver carrying more than any other”; J.H. Clarke (Dictionary of the Materia Medica) cites its ability to produce inflammation and fatty degeneration of the liver. We have seen its association with iron in the blood, and homoeopathically, it has its place in anaemic conditions when indicated. We have noted the laboratory observations of the loss of maternal instinct. Clarke gives as the first mental symptom: “Peevishness and taciturnity, with concentration in self.” Sterility has not been a proven symptom, yet Clarke gives: “Sensation of weakness in (male) genital organs”.
Speaking of the necessity for carbohydrates in the diet, McCollum (Food, Nutrition and Health) says:.
During digestion and absorption through the intestinal walls all of these (forms of carbohydrates) are converted into glucose. Glucose is the one sugar which always occurs in the blood. Although it is present in blood only to the extent of one part per thousand of blood, this sugar is the principal fuel which is burned by the muscles for providing energy for keeping the body warm and for muscular work.
Carbohydrates are the usual form in which carbon, the element, is found in the system and in which it is ingested. This is the physiological sphere; now let us turn to the role the carbons occupy in the list of antipsoric remedies. In Boenninghausens list we find Ammonium carb., Baryta carb., Calcarea carb., Carbo animalis, Carbo veg., Graphites, Kali carb., Magnesium carb., Natrum carb., Sepia; all these have the characteristic carbon influence, even though associated with another element. It may seem strange to the casual student of materia medica to include Sepia in this list, but to the homoeopathician Sepia is the animal carbon.
In spite of our belief that Barium belongs preeminently to the antisyphilitic group, Baryta carb. bears the family relationship of the carbons, which admits it to the antipsoric, or deficiency, group as well. Carbo an. and Carbo veg. manifest most markedly the characteristic homoeopathic indications for their use: “burned out” defines the condition in one word. This burned out energy and its end results of lack of body heat and muscular strength extends even into the mental sphere; and whether it comes from excesses, loss of animal fluids, from emotional, mental or physical stress, it is the red thread that runs all through the proven symptoms of the carbon combinations. This symptomatic thread runs all through the various spheres of action of each individual remedy of the carbon family, mental, moral, and all the varying physical fields in which it is applicable – and in as much as it is found in its physiological form throughout the system, so we find its symptomatology running through every part.
Calcium is an essential of bony structure and is a necessary, small but constant, essential of the blood. The homoeopathic materia medica indicates the Calcarea group in “scrofulous” conditions; rickety children; large heads with open fontanelles; and a host of symptoms we have already described in those conditions traceable to psora. McCollum tells us that calcium in the food is not enough: “Human infants often develop rickets when receiving a sufficiency of calcium and phosphorus provided they are deprived of sunlight and vitamin D”.
This last comment, provided they are deprived of sunlight leads us to meditate upon that comment of Hahnemann in relation to psora, to the effect that unnatural or unhappy surroundings are extremely dangerous to the vital energy.
It is not necessary to compare the symptomatology of many of our remedies with the body elements to bear out our contention that the problems of psora and deficiency are closely related. Any thoughtful student may verify further comparisons in the homoeopathic materia medica.
In these days one rarely has the opportunity to see a patient released from emotional and economic stress into simple and natural surroundings, with much out-door life and a simple, natural food supply free form adulterations and replete with the stored elements direct from Natures lavish supply. However, if such a case is observed, one learns many things about the resilience of the human economy under the proper conditions. It leads one to a different out-look upon psora and its relation to the undue stress of modern life and economic conditions.
We have stated repeatedly that emotional strain was an important factor in developing psoric conditions: the inability to relax for the natural and important functions demanded by Nature. Hustle and bustle take away our rhythmic, full, deep breathing; the hurry for trains and time clocks interferes too often with the excretory functions; the demands of society lead us to suppress natural perspiration; anxiety over almost every item of our lives gets in its dangerous work and often deprives us to necessary rest – certainly of chance moments of relaxation.
All these circumstances pressing upon a delicate adjustment of spirit, mind and body (especially if this be predisposed by inheritance to maladjustment) cannot but make confusion worse confounded. And at this point, if we pass on to our unborn children our inhibitions and suppression of the spirit, mind and flesh, what can we expect but to build for them a future lacking the ability to receive from natural sources these elements – not always measurable nor as yet defined – that are essential to health? And when we ponder that wrong living conditions and appalling plagues and seasons of famine have been cyclic since history began, we cannot wonder at an inherited tendency to disease that Hahnemann called psoric.
Whether this tendency to the psoric manifestations develops because of inability to assimilate or inability to relax to the point of assimilation, the end results are the same, and will continue to be until corrected through more healthy and natural ways of living plus the power of the potentized remedy to release suppressions and tune the maladjustments to order.
DR. UNDERHILL, JR.: Psora has been a Pandoras box, and we never found a key to it until now this illumination has unlocked it.
Dr. Roberts refers to the various elements present in the human body. Every now and again some scientist discovers something else that heretofore was not thought to be present. Probably there is no substance existing in nature but what is present also in our being. Some of them may be in such high potency that they have not yet been discovered, perhaps 200th or 10M.
Heredity many times causes structural weakness, and we are born with tendencies due to that structural weakness. Every one of us has the strongest link in our physiological chain, and also the weakest link. It is heart with some, lung with some, and nerves with others. When a chronic disease attacks us, from whatever cause, it will affect, naturally, the portions of the body where the structure is the weakest and the function the poorest. Everyone has defects, and they reflect themselves on every plane of being, mental and moral and physical.
Then there is the question of deficiency, which Dr. Roberts brought out, that is, vitamin deficiency, mineral salt deficiency, and glandular deficiency. Which is prior? Probably some times structural and glandular may be prior to the mineral salt deficiencies; again the organic mineral salt deficiencies, but deficiencies probably exist where less expected and perhaps in varying combinations. For example, in vitamin deficiency we know in beriberi the patients are deficient in vitamin B, and so on; but they exist in every possible grade and shade, so mild that we cant recognize them, so mixed that we couldnt possibly identify them.
One other angle I want to bring out and that is according to Hahnemanns psora theory, psora must have been an infectious proposition; according to his viewpoint, something entered the body from without.
It may be looked upon as an infection or deficiency or as a fault of some kind inherited or acquired, perhaps a toxemia. Hahnemann in his chronic diseases gives a vast list of symptoms due to latent psora or the flaring up of latent psora. One proof can be very nicely brought on by just starting in with almost any patient, ourselves or anybody else, and feeding them enough times a day and you will get a beautiful picture of what is a perfect psoric group.
There are those who advocate eating six or seven times a day, providing we dont eat any more than we do in two or three meals. In my observation, I believe that eating too often is just as bad as, if not worse than, eating too much. There is one advantage in eating too much, we finally get too full for utterance, but you can eat too often and keep nibbling any number of times a day.
DR. GRIMMER: This paper is really too deep to discuss offhand, just from hearing the paper; there is too much to it. It is a beginning toward unlocking some of these problems about the miasms. Many men found the miasm theory very difficult to accept, especially the psoric miasm. They see enough of the other two venereal miasms to convince them that Hahnemann knew what he was talking about there; but they think that Hahnemann was a little bit far-fetched and speculative when it came to psora, perhaps because they took just one viewpoint. They confused Hahnemanns idea of psora with the itch mite. Hahnemann said that is only one manifestation.
Deficiency is a timely subject. We hear a great deal of all kinds of deficiencies nowadays. Isnt it true that every case of disease is some sort of deficiency? We may need the homoeopathic remedy; they are deficient in something, at least a functional disturbance. Anyway, that doesnt permit the organism to take up the things they need. It can be illustrated by Natrum mur. in a child that is dying with marasmus and he will get all the salt he needs, he will get more than he needs in fact; he will prefer the salt to the sugar bowl. Yet he goes on to a state of marasmus, and will die if doesnt get a potency of Natrum mur., which corrects the whole thing.
The same is true of lime. We hear a lot about the giving of calcium. You give the homoeopathic remedy, and the patient gets enough calcium out of the food that he is getting, that is, if it is within reason and a fair balance, and so forth.
DR. SCHWARTZ: It seems to me a paper written as Dr. Roberts has written it should make a great appeal to the regular school because they are doing so much work on deficiency diseases. There is so much that is being done in biochemistry and in the homoeopathic college, too, that they should be more willing to accept and to realize what has been done by homoeopathic medicine as it is being proved today along those very lines that are acceptable to them, that is from those fields that they themselves are working on. when presented and amplified, it would seem that what has long been known to the homoeopath (that he did get results) now are being proved in a way that should be acceptable to them, and they will admit that our medicine is scientific.
DR. MOORE: I was going to say something that Dr. Stearns had spoken about on this deficiency. He told me this morning about how these substances we give as homoeopathic remedies are not detectable before in the system by the electronic analysis,but after they are given, they are detectable for a very long period, perhaps four months. That is a deficiency idea from another angle which I had not heard expressed. I am very glad Dr. Stearns is here. He can speak of that himself.
This electronic work has come along quite in the line of pure scientific work on a high plane, and it is bringing us something very definite and very interesting.
DR. A. PULFORD: I presume I am a freak in homoeopathy, but I have never been able yet to accept those theories. It reminds me of the adage that, “Differences of opinion show quite clear, that the truth lies somewhere if you knew but where”.