As homoeopaths we often find in the results of researches of modern medicine a vindication of the homoeopathic tenets which daily guide us in our routine practice. No student can gainsay the truth of this statement, and yet it is extremely doubtful whether homoeopathy as an art or as a scientific principle will be given any recognition by these same research workers.
In any case, it is my purpose in this paper to note in an abstract way which of these principles of homoeopathy have been academically substantiated or disproven, and to note in the course of doing this what changes in medical philosophy we may find in orthodox medicine today. In doing this, specific examples will be avoided as they have been admirably worked up in our literature and are probably an old story to the majority of my listeners.
Kent asserts that there are NO principles in regular medicine, and that in their study of diseases by ultimates the gap between the two schools is made. The present day medical scientist is still studying ultimates although the trend toward the study of the sick individual is coming to the fore. Further, one notes that observations of perverted physiology in disease is assuming an importance hitherto unknown. But in general the lack of a law for the study of the cure of disease makes todays research still empirical experimentation.
Kent remedies us of the old division between the schools when he states in his lectures, “In medicine there are two kinds of study, one with a bearing towards the classification of disease, and the other one with reference to the remedy the patient needs.” Kents disregard for the necessity of diagnosis in instituting adequate treatment is no longer the enigma it once was, particularly since it has been definitely demonstrated at autopsy that 50 to 75 per cent of diagnoses are incorrect.
Today the average doctor will often treat patients on a physiological basis without any attempt at a complete diagnosis. Thus the old dictum that a diagnosis must be made before treatment could be instituted has become a relic of the past. While the nature of the prescribing may not be homoeopathic, nevertheless such work is a beginning parallel to the homoeopathic type of thinking.
To date the homoeopathic method of case taking with the object of arriving at the one similar remedy is unique with us. However, one cannot escape the fact that in “old school” circles today certain objective findings and some symptoms are being grouped together for the exhibition of single agents. Vitamin and mineral prescribing, while not of a homoeopathic nature, falls in line with this Hippocratic viewpoint.
Again, in the treatment of sick individuals who elicit symptoms but no demonstrable pathology, attempts are being made by our “old school” brethren to relieve these people before fundamental damage has set in either by pseudo-homoeopathic means such as light, heat, nonspecific therapy, or vaccines, or along nutritional lines with minerals and vitamins.
The “old school” yet allows no distinction between cure and recovery as done in Hahnemannian circles. Likewise, the relationship of suppression to later disease pictures has made little headway to date. The external treatment of eruptions, discharges and perspiration is still part and parcel of orthodox treatment. Unfortunately, outside of purely clinical assumptions we have no material proof to bear out our knowledge of the ill effect of suppression. We can hardly expect an “old school” man to take our word for it against what he has been taught.
The basic causes for disease still remain in obscurity. Neither the philosophy of the homoeopath nor the theories of the allopath have contributed anything tangible. The theory of altered dynamic force may satisfy the Hahnemannian student, but is no better and certainly less tangible than the modern conceptions of the origin of disease.
Kents picture of disease as a lack of coordination between will and understanding links itself with certain modern religious conceptions and, for the real thinker, offers satisfying possibilities, but also tends to lull us into a dangerous smugness.
The image of bacteria as the result of disease appears not to hold water in the light of modern bacteriologic investigation. Certain as it is that bacteria are not the sole cause in microorganic disease, it is folly in this day and age to assert that they are the result of disease wherever found. Epidemic infections can hardly be enveloped in this broad idea simply because during any epidemic there are those that escape infection.
As pointed out by Kent himself, individuals suffering very severe chronic disease may escape all acute infections for years. Too many other factors account for the relative immunity of the majority in an epidemic than to allow for the broad statement that all those affected were affected because of previous disease and that the bacteria found on them were secondary to this primary disease. In recurrent chronic infections there is more reason for Kents postulation.
In the notation of and attention to premonitory disease syndromes, orthodoxy has improved. Many excellent and enlightening papers have been presented concerning precancer states, prehypertensive types, etc. The idea behind these papers is to urge treatment prior to the establishment of a diagnosis.
Perusal of Kents chapter on what is curable in disease and medicine makes doubly clear to us that the values therein cannot be appreciated by science today since it has no standard whereby a differentiation between cure and recovery is possible. Undoubtedly, our finer prescribers can realize these delicate shadings which confront one in difficult cases. However, experience dictates that the majority of Hahnemannian homoeopaths, as a group, expect too much of homoeopathic remedies in fatal or incurable cases.
At least, modern medicine has given as prognostic knowledge of great accuracy and it should help those confronted with this problem to distinguish those cases calling for symptomatic relief from those still within the curative realm. Admitting that the “old school” cannot help us to determine what is curable in disease, we too must clear our skirts and perfect ourselves in this distinction since we certainly feel that we do have excellent criteria to judge by.
An amusing note in this connection is given us by Kent. He predicates that no cure of chronic disease is possible in man or woman employing contraception. We wonder what modern homoeopaths would subscribe to this. It would be our thought that the cure of many women would be impossible so long as the fear of repeated pregnancies was not removed through adequate knowledge of this subject.
The Kentian concepts of psora, syphilis, and sycosis as the causes of all chronic disease are confusing to discuss. While there is much in modern work that could be construed as tending to substantiate some of these ideas, still the recent works of Mackenzie and Tyler on psora, and that of the French schools along this line have made the homoeopathic stand far from clearly defined.
To the “old school” these three titles only mean that the crackpot homoeopaths have gone off the handle and ascribed to itch, hog warts, and promiscuity the causes of all chronic disease. We had better leave psora saying that it represents usually those inherited weaknesses in any given line of descent which tend to the production of chronic disease. For this we can find much substantial modern evidence. As to the development of psora in a given individual during his lifetime, no scientist could agree.
Sycosis is equally a mystery to the allopath. However, he has admitted that gonorrhoea is not necessarily a purely local phenomenon by reason of its modern treatment through systemic medicines, and the occasional development of internal invasions. However, as a cause for asthma, warts, etc., orthodoxy cannot comprehend, nor can we prove it.
The appraisal of older homoeopathic ideas on syphilis with the modern conceptions of the disease is not possible. For here science will deal only with demonstrable laboratory reactions or bacterial phenomena and sees no occult disease in lues. Homoeopaths might do much for medicine to show that a luetic constitution with its various disease tendencies does exist although not demonstrable in the laboratory sense. Might it not prove embarrassing to run Wassermann reactions on some of the cases enthusiastically reported as cured by homoeopathic potencies ?.
Kent speaks of drug diseases and contrasts those produced by the simpler physiologic drugs with those brought on by the coal tars and synthetics of his day. At present, in general, the situation relative to the use of the ever more intricate synthetics remains a serious problem. Drug diseases as complications are in the limelight now and even mild substances have been shown to produce intractable conditions from their long continued exhibition. Such conditions as agranulocytosis, cataract, dermatitis, etc., express the “old school” conception of untoward effects.
The broader scope of the homoeopathic viewpoint in this regard is not appreciated even by the best of the “old school”, although these men decry bitterly the haphazard use of dangerous drugs as practiced by the average doctor. To the homoeopath, not only is cure by homoeopathic medicines made nearly impossible when complicated by physiologic medication, but the notation of certain troublesome or even dangerous symptoms which persist without other demonstrable cause and are difficult to eradicate, prove the truth of this contention.
Incidentally, we must not allow ourselves to forget that physiologic drugs in incurable states may aid in recovery where the homoeopathic medicines would fail. Later it is quite possible that the homoeopathic agent may be able to manifest its curative action.
In a similar vein of thought comes the question of the treatment of single symptoms or manifestations of disease. It is safe to say that a great many men frown on such procedure, but that the everyday physician still relies on medicines to remove small parts of the totality is all too true. This state of affairs is made the more grievous by the fact that his remedies now are infinitely more potent than in earlier years.
Mention is made of mental cures. Certainly nothing could be more dramatically homoeopathic in practice than modern psychiatry. This field of endeavor represents the “old schools” closest approach to the totality, in that the physician realizes the intimate relationships between physical symptoms and mental aberrations. But here, although the whole is approached, the homoeopathic sense of the whole is not appreciated.
Chronic diseases are spoken of as often protecting one from acute or epidemic forms of disease. Notation is made, however, that if the epidemic disease be strong enough, it will suppress the chronic state and go through its usual picture. During the chronic state and go through its usual picture. During this phase the symptoms of the chronic state may become more or less temporarily relieved. Following the subsidence of the acute symptoms a gradual return of the chronic ones occurs. We may feel quite satisfied that this concept was born in homoeopathy many years before recognition by the modern scientist, but now the malaria or fever treatment for cerebrospinal lues proves its true worth.
It seems to us notable, though, that a goodly percentage of patients so treated do not get back their old chronic luetic symptoms, as would be expected according to the homoeopathic concept. Kent mentions, however, that very severe acute disease may alter the chronic symptoms. Possibly this modern treatment is just suppressive, and though the neurologic picture subsides there is a deeper, more dangerous, although less annoying disease being set up. At least here is food for thought.
Symptom recording and homoeopathic type examination of patients is still more or less completely unique with our school.
Human provings and the homoeopathic study of drugs are, as a whole, completely unobserved in orthodox pharmacology.
On the other hand, many of the more obviously reasonable tenets of homoeopathy — the cream, so to speak — are taken from it piecemeal to become objects of old school research, lose identity and are submerged in the maelstrom of orthodox sophistication.
Along the lines of sensitivity and idiosyncrasy, allergists are making many close approaches to true homoeopathy. It is unquestioned that homoeopathy goes far beyond the scope of their concepts, but many Hahnemannian ideas are being unearthed.
The approach of individualization is bringing with it a new concept of symptoms. The old objective and subjective classification can no longer fill the bill, yet the homoeopathic system of generals, particulars, and commons is not appreciated.
Since cure is not comprehended as we know it, so too, the directions of cure clearly taught us by Kent have not received any scientific recognition.
The homoeopathic aggravation, as such, is actually recognized and appreciated by up-to-date “old school” practitioners. While, to the homoeopath, this phenomenon is divisible into ten or eleven types, no such complicated notations have been brought to our attention from the “old school”. Vaccines, for example, are administered in good hands only when the effects of the first dose have fully passed off; and, further, the more accurate the vaccine, the smaller its initial dose, and the less frequent its administration. In the filed of immunology as practiced, there are many obvious confirmations of basic homoeopathic principles.
The question of dose had made little progress since the work of Bier. There is no conception of a sensitivity to medicine as construed by the homoeopath. Small doses can be visioned to accomplish physiologic acts but this is not the principle in which we are interested. Nothing is proved by the fact that 6x. Adrenalin can constrict blood vessels or that 22x. Botulinus toxin will kill mice. These are physiological. The dose of vaccines has been forced lower and lower, but this is by reason of clinical pressure rather than a realization of true homoeopathic sensitivity.
Furthermore, we are at fault in the preparation of higher dilutions which are not scientifically compounded. For practical purposes they may work, but to prove the activity of a 30th one must first be able to show reasonable assurance that it is the 30th dilution under test. Until we can get research men to work with a consciousness of sensitivity in the homoeopathic meaning, we will still be dealing out innocuous sugar pills to our patients in the eyes of modern didactics.
The works of Hahnemann and Kent are like the Bible — they contain the truth. While, in many details, homoeopathic principles as interpreted by these men may be found now to have flaws, still basically in its pristine state, similia has assumed a place among natural laws comparable to that of the law of gravity. Obvious ramifications in daily medical research have proven it so. That the homoeopaths great popularity has been built on partial cures along the lines of this law shows the breadth of its scope even when incompletely employed.
That in many startling and significant ways single homoeopathic principles are being accepted and used by modern experimentors, and that the trend of medical times in general is toward an individualistic conception of disease, these things, should in no way lead us to believe that medicine is evolving an homoeopathic type of reasoning. Striking as are the many papers pointing out clear instances of confirmation of things homoeopathic, not any of these can we allow to convince us that homoeopathy is again to bloom by itself.
Too many facts confuse the leaders of medicine to expect them to evolve from the mass of data at hand any true conception of the whole of homoeopathy. Unless homoeopathically trained researchists come forward with the correlated principles and their experimental proofs in hand and clearly demonstrate the value of the principles and the practice, can we see any hope at concerted rise in the use and development of similar medicine. We may be lulled into false hopes because much of the scientific values in medicine show to the homoeopath its homoeopathicity; but no gains can be made until this homoeopathicity is demonstrated to the scientist couched in his own terms.
Having compared our homoeopathic tenets, by dissection, with the modern concepts, we are proud that we believe in principles which have justified their existence through 100 years of practice, in facts which are daily being proven correct in the laboratories, in thoughts that are only now issuing from the mouths of great medical leaders; in short, in that great science and art of curative medicine which has stood the test against all who tried to disprove it.
DR. GRIMMER: The paper was a very fine presentation of the facts, but if the Doctor can only tell us how we can put this thing over to the “old school” we might get a little farther along. The methods of reasoning and the concepts of the old school minds are such that they can hardly take up with our finer concepts of things. The “old school” refuses to believe anything that their crude fingers cant touch or their ultramicroscopic eyes cant see, and homoeopathy begins only beyond the ken of those things.
DR. DIXON: It seems to me that the way to convert the allopaths is to show them the difference between homoeopathy and allopathy. It seems to me that the aim of the allied and kindred societies is to try always to correlate homoeopathy with allopathy. It is entirely different, and I think we miss the biggest selling point we have trying to correlate our treatments with so-called modern medicine. If we would emphasize the difference and make it outstanding, as it was fifty years ago, we would get somewhere. We are different; we have to admit it.
DR. BOERICKE: In answer to Dr. Grimmer, I dont know how to answer his question because I dont know how to put it over. It is a great problem. We only hope that something will come up gradually that will enable general medicine as a whole to appreciate homoeopathy. It does seem time when we had something such as we have got that is not universally practiced, but how to accomplish that I dont know any more than Dr. Grimmer or the rest of us.