That most fascinating of books, the dictionary, defines a nosode as “a disease product used as a remedy”. Many of our homoeopathic doctors would describe nosodes in opprobrious terms; some use one to open almost every chronic case; others give them where the miasmatic history is clear and the symptoms are mixed or obscure; certain prescribers put them in as “intercurrents”; the French school combine or alternate the suitable miasmatic nosode with the most similar remedy for the top layer, or recent symptoms.
In cases where no drug stands out, after patient questioning and repertorizing, some give the nosode of the main miasm in order to stir up the depths and throw out indications for a curative prescription. We hear much of the role of the nosode when seemingly well chosen drugs fail to act or hold; and in the clearing up of recalcitant relapses. The strict homoeopath uses the exanthem nosodes for immunization often, although Merc. cy., Bell. and Dros. prevail, too.
The list of nosodes in current usage in homoeopathy is sizeable; in the precious fourth volume of Clarkes Dictionary of Materia Medica, the Clinical Repertory, we find mention of twenty-two, including such a well-known remedy as Secale. In Great Britain Bach developed a new group of the intestinal variety mostly. Certain ones from the exanthemata have been added, such as Scarlatinum and Pertussin. Some are rare to many, as Melitagrinum, Skinners nosode from eczema capitis, or Nectrianinum, the tree cancer remedy.
The big three, corresponding to Hahnemanns miasms, Psorinum, Medorrhinum and Syphilinum, are well known to all, as is Tuberculinum or Bacillinum. H.C. Allens book, The Nosodes, is a classic on these; but an adequate knowledge of them must be built up by study of J.H. Allens books on two of the three miasms, as well as modern sources such as H.A. Roberts masterly lectures to the American Foundation for Homoeopathy Summer School.
The best practice, I believe, gives the nosodes by their definite symptomatology, like any other remedy; and this truism has led me to make some brilliant results in acute cases. While driving on your rounds, ask yourselves the acute uses of Syphilinum or of Psorinum.
As an example let us take the case of Miss X. who was beside herself with agony at receiving an enema from a skilful nurse. Sensation of unbearable constriction at rectum, with pushing down pain, and actual prolapse of anus, clusters of hard tender piles with fissures and burning; history of obstinate constipation for years; habitually took an enema twice a week, and dreaded the ordeal to the point of hysteria. Luetic family history. Fears the night, when she is <, and the exhaustion of waking; and insanity. Such remedies of Aesc. and even Lach. had been given without relief. Syphilinum 1M., one dose; relaxation of the rectal spasm in a few minutes, followed by almost normal bowel action for the first time in her memory, with relief of depression, etc.
Or again, Mrs. M., in the knee-chest position, cyanosed, gasping and wheezing, her coarse unruly hair standing out in all directions, muttering, “If I could get to the seashore – if I only could.” Medorrhinum 10M., one dose, with relief in five minutes while I watched. (Previous adrenalin in other attacks with no help.).
An eleven-year-old boy in bed with fever of 103, room stifling but a woolly muffler wrapped around his head, pale, dirty skin, drenched in fetid sweat, slight thin discharge from ear which could be smelled on entering the room. No pain whatever unless his head was raised on a pillow, as I discovered on asking why the pillow was on the floor.
History of running ear on and off since scarlet fever at four years of age. Psorinum 10M., one dose. Fever dropped in two hours, ear discharged violently for a week; chilliness, sweat and odor gone. Three weeks later mother said boy was never so well; no ear discharge for ten months, when it became necessary to repeat dose.
The Bellevue-Stratford is hardly the olive grove at Colonas, nor Philadelphia Greece; yet there is a school of notable philosophers here as there, and though we may not be peripatetic, I hope we will all join in a deep and sprightly discussion of the uses and abuses of these unpleasantly important instruments of human correction, the nosodes.
NEW YORK, N.Y.
DR. BAKER: I agree with Dr. Hubbard, that you get your best results in using the nosodes where you can prescribe them as a regular homoeopathic remedy on the symptoms, only you cant always get the symptoms. Then you have to use them until you can get the symptoms – especially that case of the knee-chest position and the Medorrhinum. I have seen that work like a charm.
DR. GRIMMER: The paper ought to be discussed. It is a valuable subject; it is a subject that has been handled a good many ways. There is no doubt but what the nosodes have been tremendously abused in the past. On the other hand there is no doubt but what they are very valuable aids to real curative work.
I agree with Dr. Hubbard that the most logical thing to do in the use of them is to get their symptoms and history, and there are cases where, with a very great paucity of symptoms, with other remedies or this remedy, with a family history and the personal history of the specific miasm to which they are related, you will sometimes get a brilliant unlocking of the case, if not a cure.
I think I can remember but very few real cures by the nosodes. My experience has been that they have helped, but so far as I can remember I dont know of but one case I really cured, and that was a case with Tuberculinum, a very bad case of migratory pneumonia in a child six years old. I went 2,000 miles to put a powder of Tuberculinum on this childs tongue when he was about moribund.
He had three other doctors in Seattle, Washington, the best “old school” doctors in the city, and they said there was no hope. The child had a few symptoms when I got there. He had had about two weeks of this, very high temperature and violent chills. Every time there would be a new area of infection he would have a chill followed by high temperature, little spots all through the lungs, pneumonic spots, a chain of the glands of the neck swollen and hard, bird-like claws, extreme weakness.
I got into the case with their consent. They said, “Yes, Doctor, we are glad to have you take the case if you think you can do anything. We cant.” They removed their medication. They were giving him expectorants. They permitted me to give the remedy and I gave him Tuberculinum 10M., and in twelve hours that case ended by crisis, not by lysis. He had a coughing spell and spit up about a pint of pus and then went down from a temperature of 105 degrees to 96 degrees. He had a drenching, very profuse sweat, and of course the doctors came in at the familys solicitation and they said, “Well, he is dying,” and they looked at him. I said, “No, he is not dying”.
He had a good pulse in spite of all this. I said, “It is merely reaction. He will be all right in a short time.” He was all right. He made a very brilliant cure and a perfect recovery without any further medication.
DR. MOORE: I am ashamed of myself for getting up so much, but I looked forward so long to coming to this meeting and I want to get things out of it. I cant give anything because I dont have things to give, but I realize that there are masters here.
I want to ask someone if they can remember the article – it is in some of our literature but I cant find it any more – right along the line on which Dr. Grimmer was talking. There is an Indian doctor, one of the masters in India; you know Indian has more homoeopaths, it is the dominant school in India the same as it is in Mexico, and some big things have come out of India.
This man had ten cases of pneumonia and all were terrible cases. They were at the end, and in some of them he went 100 or 200 miles to be in at the death because they were ready to go, and he cured every one of those cases with Tuberculinum. I dont know what symptoms there were, especially, but they were all desperate cases, and I wonder if anybody can remember the article. I have lost the article. I have looked and looked for it and I cant find it.
I want to find that article if I can. The Germans say, “Jeder Mann hat ein wenig Tuberculosis”.
I dont think we need medical history to give a dose of Medorrhinum. About three months ago I took many M. of Medorrhinum, and inside of two weeks I had a bit wart come out here (indicating), and I still have one on the side of my neck, and there you are!.
DR. LEWANDOWSKI: The totality of symptoms, as we all understand, is the deciding factor in the selection of the remedy, and along with my discussion I might add my experience with the nosodes. It seems that the totality of symptoms is not always true in the selection of a nosode. In the repertorization of any case it is very rarely that a nosode comes out. That struck my mind to where I did a little investigating, and since a nosode rarely comes out in a repertorial case I decided to use a nosode wherever it did.
This brings out the point that when you recognize a nosode, however, use it with caution, since we all understand that it is a very powerful missile. Again I repeat that the repertorization of nosodes is an extremely rare occurrence, and if and when it does come out it certainly stands some investigation, and invariably it turns out to be the similimum in the case.
DR. WAFFENSMITH: One point that has not been touched upon in this paper in my experience has been very valuable, and that is the euthanasia power of Tuberculinum. Very often after prescribing for an incurable acute condition one will find that the remedies, as indicated in series, fail to hold, and that of course is a positive diagnosis of incurability. As the patient progress toward the final stage the family is restless, the heat is applied, and something is expected to be done to neutralize the ultimate agony of death.
It is here, if you will study Tuberculinum very carefully and find that there is or has been in the history of the case characteristic symptoms pointing to it, or a family history of tuberculosis, that you will often get a remarkable pre-death improvement. Very often your nurse will tell you she believes the patient will get well. Dont allow that to deceive you. It will be of short duration.
The patient, where previously he had been unable to even swallow the medicine you have given, or liquids, may for a very limited period of time ask for nourishment and will be able to swallow it, but again dont allow that to deceive you, as it is the pre-death euthanasia which comes from any similimum, but particularly from the nosode Tuberculinum in many of these cases. It has been of great value to me frequently in my work.
DR. FARRINGTON: As the last speaker has said, there are many interesting things that might be brought out in this discussion, but I presume you dont want to take up too much time. I believe that those cases our essayist reported were not acute cases at all, but acute manifestations of the chronic underlying condition. It is true that we seldom get a nosode in repertory work, and I think that is because the knowledge of the particular symptoms of these diseased products is deficient and the repertories contain comparatively few of them.
If you look deeply at Dr. H.C. Allens nosodes you will see that there is a wealth of symptoms, especially for Psorinum and Medorrhinum, and some of them which can not be found under any other medicine. That is especially true of Medorrhinum. If you have ever used Dr. Allens slip repertory you will have nosodes coming out more frequently. Many of the symptoms that are recorded in the other repertories in his are marked in high degree.
Dr. Allen has been accused of abusing the nosodes, but I do not believe it. He knew more than any other living man about those remedies, and like Guernsey with his keynotes and like some of the others who have had some special line or method of prescribing, they knew so much about clinical symptoms that with one or two symptoms they saw other things, and perhaps without realizing it themselves they prescribed really on the totality.
I have seen a number of cures with nosodes, especially with Tuberculinum, where it was the only remedy in the case. It is true, however, that as a rule they carried the case to a certain point and other medicines had to be given to complete the cure.
Another thought was this: Have you had many aggravations from nosodes? I have never had any. Dr. Grimmers case, where he gave Tuberculinum, he said got well by crisis. Isnt it possibly true that although under good homoeopathic prescribing lobar pneumonia gets well by lysis, if there is a hyperpyrexia that is not possible, that when the temperature is 105 degrees, or as in one case of “blue” pneumonia, so-called (which is not supposed to be pneumonia, I understand), a temperature of 105.5, after a dose of Phosphorus it came tumbling down in two hours to 101 degrees, the patient got cold and sweat and almost collapsed.
It was a young woman of twenty-six who had just recovered, after a long period of homoeopathic prescribing, from tuberculosis, and I dont know in this case whether it was galloping consumption or pneumonia. She recovered, but her hair all fell out. She got bald as an egg. Then the hair came in curly and my oldest son fell in lover with her and married her. I didnt know I was doing such a good job!.
DR. PANOS: The nosodes are a very wide field and take considerable space in our materia medica and should be studied more than they are.
Recently the wife of one of the best homoeopaths in Dayton suffered from what was termed colitis and, as usual, one goes to the symptoms. For two years he prescribed to the best of his ability and finally consulted a few other men outside of the city, and he asked me if I wouldnt help in taking care of her. He told me the remedies they had been giving: Arsenic, Lachesis, Carbo vegetabilis and a few others.
We decided on Arsenic. Arsenic brought some relief. We waited for two months, but there was no further progress. Then she got cold and the doctor prescribed, hurriedly, Aconite and Bryonia. then we decided a dose of Sepia might clear up something. Sepia was given with no results. The sweat and the characteristics of Psorinum were present and we gave a dose of Psorinum.
There was an aggravation for a week and then she came back with the previous line and stayed there for four weeks, when Lachesis became very nicely indicated, and one dose of 10M. cleared up the case very beautifully and she is very well today.
DR. WILSON: One aspect of the nosodes that hasnt been touched at all is the use of some of the nosodes against some of the prevailing diseases.
When I was a student at Hahnemann here the seniors had the privilege of going to the municipal hospital and seeing smallpox. I wanted to see smallpox because I thought I would never see it when I got into practice, and if there was a possibility of seeing it I wanted to see it.
We went up to see diphtheria, scarlet fever and then smallpox at two-day intervals. The first day we went in to see either diphtheria or scarlet fever, and the intern asked to see our vaccinations. I happened to be the oldest man in the class and he looked at them all and passed me by. I dont know why. I finally said, “Dont you want to look at mine?” I had one that was done way back in the eighties. He said, “How long ago was it done?”.
I said, “Twenty or twenty-five years ago”.
He said, “I would have one or two scratches made if I were you”.
Some of the other fellows were vaccinated. Some of them didnt go in when the critical time came, but I began taking Variolinum, and took it for a period before I went in and after I came from seeing the case of smallpox.
Again, last year, in the town of Englewood, N.J., they had quite an epidemic of typhoid fever, and the school authorities insisted that all of the children in the schools should be inoculated against typhoid. Dr. Powers had a family in Englewood with whom I had seen them in consultation. I knew something of the children, and some of those children went to school, and of course the question came up of inoculation and I kicked. So did Dr. Powers, and I came down and got some powders, a CM. of typhoid and paratyphoid from Dr. Stearns. I sent the powders over with instructions to given each one of the children a powder of a CM. of typhoid.
They insist in New Jersey, or try to insist, that all the children be Schick tested. You know there is Schick and Dick and God knows what they dont do. They insist on Schicking all the children in school, and there was one little one in my practice. My attitude toward vaccination has always been that the more healthy the child, the less fit he is to be vaccinated, and as a consequence I never have vaccinated anyone and I wouldnt be vaccinated myself if I could help, so I sent some powders of a CM. of Diphtherinum to the mother of this child in place of having her Schicked by injection.
The health authorities called me up and wanted to know about it. I didnt tell them what I had done, but I simply said that in my estimation the child was thoroughly inoculated against diphtheria.
So I have used those things, the Variolinum and the Typhoid and Diphtherinum, in that way, though of course, as Dr. Hubbard says, we have used them where we think there lies (and under all of us lies some) tuberculosis, some syphilis, some gonorrhoea. We cant help it. It is somewhere around, and lots of times an intercurrent of one of those nosodes help out a lot.
DR. VAN NORDEN: With regard to the nosode Tuberculinum, Dr. Allen used to tell us that when people were weak they got tired easily, and where you could not get results with other remedies, Tuberculinum would often do the work. I have followed that out many times in practice and I have found it to work almost invariably.
DR. CAMPBELL: When you look through the old Recorders, you find that almost every year there is a discussion on the nosodes, and each year there are some aspersions cast on these remedies, namely to the effect that they have never been known to cure completely without the use of some other remedy. Why the nosodes should be singled out in that fashion I dont know, because they are used mainly in chronic conditions, and if you will think over the cases that you have treated over a good many years, chronic cases, and recall the number of them that you have cured with one remedy alone, regardless of what the remedy is, I think you will be surprised at how few they were, and to say that the nosodes fail to cure alone in singling them out improperly, because there are few of our remedies that cure chronic conditions unaided by other remedies.
DR. MOORE: On the nosodes, I would like to advertise just a little Dr. Margaret Tylers monthly magazine, Homoeopathy, which is one of the best in the world, recommended to me by Dr. Boger, and I have it from the very first copy. Right now, running through that on the nosodes, is Dr. Burnett, who is one of the greatest users of the nosodes, and you would be surprised at the number of cures he has. He was one of the brilliant homoeopaths, and he had a tremendous practice, and used nosodes right and left.
I feel that what Dr. Campbell said is correct, that we can get tremendous results from nosodes and they shouldnt be singled out. From his reports it looks as though Dr. Burnett has had cures from nosodes alone repeatedly.
DR. MC LAREN: Variolinum will cure smallpox and it will prevent you from getting smallpox. I have tried it out. I was called to see a man suffering from smallpox and he had three children. This man had a beautiful case of smallpox and they lived in a very small house. The three children had never been vaccinated and they were exposed to the smallpox. I gave them all Variolinum. The eldest child had smallpox pustules without any pus in them and only one day of temperature; the second child had one day of temperature and one or two fleeting nodules or pink spots, and the third child didnt have anything at all.