Hahnemann in his Chronic Diseases defines psora as follows:.
Psora is that most ancient, most universal, most destructive and yet most misapprehended chronic miasmatic disease which for many thousands of years has disfigured and tortured mankind. Just as tedious as syphilis and sycosis and therefore not to be extinguished before the last breath of the longest human life unless it is thoroughly cured.
In introducing his psora theory to the medical profession Hahnemann really started something. Heated debates on the subject have disturbed the peace and tranquillity of many a homoeopathic convention and even today one many a homoeopathic convention and even today one would have little difficulty in raising an argument with some of the old timers who still champion the theory in the original form in which it was presented. Yet a careful reading of the text of the Chronic Diseases will disclose the fact that the author never claimed a standing for psora beyond that of theory. Having presented it, naturally he prepared to support and defend his proposition.
It is a credit to the resourcefulness and insight of the Founder of our School that he recognized the progressive mutation and evolutionary development of various disease patterns.
Skin lesions of a gross character were far more common in Hahnemanns time than they are today and chiefly for two reasons, much less attention to bathing and the custom of wearing heavier, rougher homespun clothing. Even in this country a period of fifty years has produced a marked change along these lines.
That Hahnemann really meant scabies when he spoke of psora as the “itch disease” is perfectly plain, yet even today there are those who seek another origin and derivation for the word.
About forty pages of the Chronic Diseases are devoted to a brief listing of the secondary symptoms of psora or the “internal itch disease” and if anyone either here or elsewhere imagines he is suffering from new and unrecorded symptoms the chances are he will find them catalogued within those pages for they really cover about everything.
Travelling through Texas and Oklahoma one occasionally sees men of most startling bigness, men of superb physical development and power and we instinctively ask ourselves “Upon what meat doth this our Caesar feed that he is grown so great? Unfortunately these men are on the list of vanishing Americans. When the west was wild young men contacted life in the raw and when they died it was with their boots on. That was before the days of canned chicken noodle soup and French pastry and the enervating pastimes of our modern days.
The United States Army requirements for physical fitness including that of height have shown a progressive downward curve for more than a hundred years. Today a conscript army of adequate numbers could not be raised if the physical requirements were as rigid as those in force at the time of the Civil war.
How explain all this? If we ascribe it all to psora a difficulty confronts us immediately for Hahnemann says that this chronic miasmatic disease has tortured mankind for many thousands of years and that nothing will cure it except proper antipsoric treatment. How then did it spare young America and why has physical deterioration progressed so rapidly during the pass three quarters of a century? The psora theory cannot explain it.
When the country was new and sparsely settled the mineral content of the soil had not been depleted by ignorant and greedy methods of cultivation. Soil erosion was held in check by universal and luxuriant vegetation. Rainfall and the melting snows were balanced and regulated by vast forests of virgin timber. American had everything and it was all in the solid undeveloped and unexploited.
Foods in that day actually contained the vitamins and the organic mineral salts in their natural, normal proportion and relationship…
and they were simply prepared according to tradition and it was every housewife for herself. The diets were often faulty to be sure but the values were there.
The modern commercial methods of processing preserving foods are slowly but surely robbing us of vitality as a nation. It is more than probable that the tragic collapse of France may have been caused in part by nutritional deficiency and food toxemia for men cannot endure long periods of stress on foods which do not contain the essential vital elements.
It is a known fact that the science of nutrition has been more intensively studied for years in both Germany and Austria than in any other European nation and many of our present concepts of this vast subject originated in those countries. No doubt there was method in their madness for apparently they have thought of everything. We read that the Germans have been tightening their belts for years in preparation for the present conflict. Tightening ones belt may be a good thing if the meager rations actually contain the essential food elements in a relatively undisturbed condition.
There is practically no symptom which Hahnemann has listed under psora which cannot be duplicated by varying combinations of the deficiency diseases and the toxic effects of a habitually over burdened digestion. If anyone would care to experience that weak, faint, empty, hungry, gone feeling before meal time let him form the habit of indulging in a sandwich or two between means. Such people are often unable to wait for their dinner and then cannot enjoy it when it is finally set before them.
Let them suddenly break the habit of indulging in snacks between times and they are ready to pass out until a physiological readjustment takes place. We claim they are the logical result of a damn fool way of eating. The digestive process is a cycle and it should be completed before more food is ingested. This applies chiefly to foods which are unnatural and therefore difficult and slow to digest. If one were to confine oneself entirely to a breakfast of raw fruit he could keep on eating practically all the morning and suffer no bad consequences, for, if the fruit is in the pink of condition and free from spray material it can do no harm and is digested in a surprisingly short time and with a minimum of physiological effort.
Hahnemann gives a perfect picture of rickets and catalogued it under psora. He describes scurvy and beri beri and it is still psora as far as he is concerned. The master was no less great because he lived before the days of our present knowledge of the science of nutrition. Even today we are only scratching the surface of this vast problem. No one knows just how much of what he should eat to maintain himself in normal physiologic equilibrium. But one thing we do know-the more we partake of preserved and processed commercial foodstuffs the more are we undermining and poisoning our bodies. The closer we stick to simple foods as nature formed them the greater will our safety be.
A new era of freight transportation by airplane will soon be upon us. Tropical fruits and fresh vegetables can then reach us from far distant lands where soils have not yet been depleted nor eroded. In that there is promise of safety for the future.
Studies of soil requirements are being made on a vast scale and in this there is a new hope.
In laying aside Hahnemanns psora theory we are not detracting so much as one iota from the value of his life and work. Everything he did still stands and will forevermore endure. The antipsoric remedies are to be prescribed in the same manner and upon the same indications as always and they will continue to cure in the future as effectively as in the past.
In the words of our fellow member and Vice president of our Association, Dr. F.K. Bellokossy, just substitute the term polyhypovitaminosis or multiple alimentary deficiency for the word psora and we will bring Hahnemanns Chronic Diseases right down to modern times.
DR. GRIMMER: We should thank Dr. Underhill for bringing this to us. There can be no doubt of the value of food to those of us who study chronic diseases. We know that one who is indulging in the wrong dietary routine will not get anywhere with our chronic remedies. Many of our prescriptions fail or fall short of their expected action by reason of injudicious dieting, or as much from that reason as from any other one thing. I think it behooves us to go into the study of that phase, as the doctor has brought out, and in that way we will get far deeper and far better action from our remedies. It takes a little bit of nerve to bring in something that apparently is antagonistic to what Hahnemann thought, but, as the doctor said, it is in no way antagonistic to the principles Hahnemann gave us. It is simply an addition we should avail ourselves of.
DR. RUST:It has been very interesting to me, in studying over the vitamin situation, that we have so many drugs that experimentally bring about the same picture as a deficiency of vitamins in the food bring about. How does it do it? Does it affect the digestion in such a way that they do not get from the food the vitamins in it, thereby producing a lack of vitamins? And if that is so, why should we not first take the picture that has been produced experimentally and give the patient a trial of that drug, rather than experiment, giving vitamins which we think may be deficient, because it may be, as has been proven in many cases, the vitamins are in the food but they have an indigestion which does not allow them to get the vitamins from the food.
There is recorded the case of a doctors child who was advancing toward rickets, and they gave the scientifically selected vitamins for that condition. The baby went right on to a rickets, just the same as iron does not make red blood corpuscles, but where it does help the patient it is the remedy for the indigestion the patient has, and correcting that, they get from the food the things that make red blood corpuscles. And when iron is not the remedy, they find copper is, and then they say, “Well, iron will not work unless copper is with it.” It is all nonsense. Some very beautiful cases of anaemia in my practice have been cured with Natrum muriaticum.
So, I think that before we condemn some things we know to be true and take up some things that are purely experimental, we had better give what we know has worked a good trial first.
DR. BOERICKE: I would like to ask Dr. Underhill if he considers evaporated milk a processed food, to say nothing of irradiated evaporated milk or any of the synthetic milks, such as put out by Meade, Johnson and other firms, and whether he would use those in baby feeding cases. If not, what does he use in baby-feeding cases?.
DR. UNDERHILL: In the first place, synthetic vitamins are a snare and a delusion. We have synthetic Vitamin B1, but it is no substitute for the natural foods containing the essential vitamin. In fact, synthetic vitamins are very deadly and dangerous.
They will apparently stimulate and overcome a condition temporarily, but then, underneath it all, the trouble progresses, and often more rapidly, to fatal termination.
The question arises whether, when the remedy is indicated, like Natrum muriaticum, as it often is, for nutritional derangement, is it better to prescribe the remedy? I would take the latter viewpoint. If the diet is faulty and erroneous, it stands to reason that we should correct it and bring it more in harmony with nature, then prescribe the remedy. We will turn the patient more quickly in the right direction, modify his body chemistry, and we will hold the cure much longer.
As to the question which Dr. Boericke raised regarding evaporated milk, this whole milk problem is an enormous one. In the first place, milk is a food for babies and not adults. Therefore, I think in the main it is not essential for adults to have milk. It has though, in its raw, natural, unprocessed state, certain values. It has good coverage in case one is on a deficient diet. You stand less chance of running deeper into deficiency if fresh, raw milk, unpasteurized, is included.
Among primitive people in all times, fresh, raw milk has been soured as quickly as possible. That caused proliferation of lactic acid bacillus with a protective organism in the milk and prevented, therefore, the benefits of the milk by putrefaction, disease producing bacteria. At the present time we have pasteurized milk, which robs the milk in part of its calcium content and phosphorus content, the two in combination being precipitated in the form of milk snow inside of pasteurizing containers, a snow-white product which shows we have really been “gyped” out of the real values. also vitamin C is weakened and destroyed by heat in the pasteurizing process. Lactic acid bacilli have been destroyed largely by pasteurization.
Evaporated milk undoubtedly does contain some values. I am not questioning that. Nevertheless it is a processed milk, unnatural product, and therefore not of the same value as fresh milk.
Lately we have homogenized milk, which is a further stop in the wrong direction. They are making ice cream of homogenized milk which gives the false impression of richness which is after all not there.
I had as a patient some time ago a veterinarian in Philadelphia, who was head of the laboratory in one the large milk companies in Philadelphia. After I came well enough acquainted with him to propound this question to him, I said, “Doctor, I would like to get the low-down on the question of pasteurized milk versus raw milk. Just as man to man, what is your opinion on the subject?”.
He said, “I will tell you. Professionally, I am 100 per cent for pasteurization. Personally, I wont have a drop of pasteurized milk in my home.” That was really the low-down, he said.