Syndrome is an overshadowing word. The aggregate of symptoms associated with any morbid process and constituting together the picture of a disease, has been most useful in classification of disease. So that having before us a certain picture we can say, this is typhoid, that pneumonia, the other coronary occlusion. Syndrome sets a useful pattern in diagnosis and where an outstanding classical picture presents itself, one can most positively identify and put in its place a disease.
A certain preparation of mercury will give a fine account of itself in syphilis. Separating its cure from failures one finally arrives at the type of syphilis amenable to this form of mercury, the picture in which we may rely on its curative power. Not the same for different combinations of mercury and certainly not the
syndrome of arsenicals, bismuths or potassium iodide, each so useful in this disease, in its place.
Belladonna is the outstanding drug for scarlet fever, both for prophylaxis and cure. Its syndrome is the well known sudden onset, very high temperature, dry sore throat, intensely dry hot skin, strawberry tongue and active delirium. Following through dose, best frequency of repetition, when to stop medication, etc., etc., and we also come upon the limits of a drug’s sphere of action.
So we may speak of drug syndromes as well as of disease syndromes and the M.D. with these drug pictures in mind practises medicine at great advantage. Seeing the picture before him, he prescribes with the confidence of experience. Meeting a drug syndrome, for instance that of Belladonna in any disease he can rely on its favorable action. What advantage where no exact diagnosis is yet possible! Get the syndrome. Prescribe its remedy and favorable result is assured.
As great detail is involved in eliciting disease syndrome so also for developing drug syndrome. A drug must be pure to give been results. Our highly developed drug manufacturers see to that. Where a drug is from the vegetable kingdom, it must be properly selected, thoroughly cleaned of dirt, insects, etc.
Time of collection, part used and especially the soil from which it gets its nourishment are important. Proper dosage must be worked out as well as best time to give it, when to repeat and when to discontinue, etc., etc. All these details and others have to do with its applications in disease.
Instead of trial and error in evolving a drug syndrome it may be worked out by another method, quite as accurate and having some advantages: a principle or one may say a law of drug application, known from the dawn of history and coming down to us through different peoples in widely separated parts of the earth, yet today not in general use. This law, so thorough-going that it applies in the vegetable as well as in the animal kingdom, is simply that what a drug or poison can produce, can in greatly reduced dose cure, provided too much destruction has not been caused.
Anyone who has seen the picture of belladonna or of mercury poisoning, knows that of belladonna is like typical scarlet fever while that of mercury has the salivation, sore gums and inflammatory lesions of typical syphilis. This approach to drug syndromes has been most carefully worked out and used for over a century by painstaking M.D.’s, but for certain reasons is not yet available to the great majority, in the go-ahead world in which we find ourselves. Why? You figure it out. But I will say that our so-called ultra-scientific medicine might be tremendously more effective if it went along with the great Natural Law of Relief and Cure of Disease by Drugs.