SELECTED APHORISMS OF HIPPOCRATES


SELECTED APHORISMS OF HIPPOCRATES.
WITH COMMENTS BY DR. VON BOENNINGHAUSEN Translated by S.W.S. Continued from the May, 19…


WITH COMMENTS BY DR. VON BOENNINGHAUSEN Translated by S.W.S. Continued from the May, 1943, issue.

BOOK VI, Continued.

APHORISM 42. In jaundice liver sclerosis is bad.

COMMENT: It is well known that a hardened liver, often associated with jaundice, especially a scirrhous liver is dangerous, and difficult to cure. Here we have again the condition that we possess not a paucity, but an abundance of possibly indicated remedies, which makes the proper choice difficult.

The following remedies have been used successfully: Arnica, Arsenicum, Aurum, Belladonna, Bromium, Bryonia, Calcarea carb., Cannabis, Carbo vegetabilis and animalis, China, Conium, Ferrum met., Graphites, Iodum, Kali carb., Laurocerasus, Lycopodium, Magnesia carb., Magnesia mur., Mezereum, Mercurius, Nux, Sepia, Silicea, Sulphur and Taraxacum. To these must probably be added: Agnus castus, Ammonium, Chamomilla, Clematis, Fluoric acid, Phosphorus and Plumbum.

It is easily understood that with this large number of widely differing remedies, also the sickness (with the prominent symptoms of liver hardening and jaundice) must differ in anamnestic and attending symptoms as to time, conditions, etc. And yet, the exact similarity between these and the remedy symptoms point to the correct similimum, stripped of actually unimportant, indifferent matters.

We cannot close this account without calling attention to the abuse of iodum preparations for external applications in all these conditions. The worst about it is, that iodum is of such intensive and obstinate action, that it is extremely difficult to find an antidote with which to overcome the damage done. Aside from Hepar and Arsenicum we have seen the best results from Iodum in the highest potency repeated in smallest doses dissolved in water, shaking the bottle forcibly each time a dose is taken, which increases the dynamization. Experience teaches that continuing the same remedy in the same potency is not well tolerated.

APHORISM 43. If persons with enlarged spleen are attacked by prolonged dysentery, dropsy or lientery supervenes with fatal result.

COMMENT: Every chronic diarrhoea means a chronically diseased intestinal tract and in such dangerous conditions we must first think of Anacardium, Asafoetida, Bryonia, China, Dulcamara, Ignatia, Pulsatilla, Rhus or Sulphuric acid.

APHORISM 44. Those who after strangury are attacked by ileus, die in seven days, unless fever supervenes and there is an abundant flow of urine.

COMMENT: An attack of ileus is generally fatal unless the causative, crampy intestinal condition can be overcome. Arsenicum, Belladonna, Chamomilla, Cocculus, Colocynthis, Lycopodium, Nitri acidum, Nux, Platina, Rhus, Silica, Sulphur, Thuja, Veratrum and Zincum have been of great aid in this fortunately not frequently occurring disease, when properly, i.e., homoeopathically selected.

The kind reader, we hope, will pardon us when in this connection we speak of ourselves.–It was in the latter part of March 1833 when we had an attack of ileus,This was probably an attack of appendicitis, which was unknown in the days of Von Boenninghausen.–S.W.S. situated in the right lower abdomen, lasting two weeks. Four homoeopathic colleagues (among them Dr. Aegidi, physician in ordinary to Princess Friedrich of Dusseldorf) hastened to help me. Only during the fourteenth terrible night were we fortunate in finding the right remedy, which had never before been used in this ailment: Thuja.

It was selected because of the unusual symptom: only the uncovered parts of the body perspired very much, while the covered parts were dry. A single globule of Thuja 30 relieved the pain in five minutes; in ten minutes a copious stool occurred, followed by a refreshing sleep from which we awakened the next morning as if new born. In a few days we reported this to our beloved Hahnemann, and from his letter of six pages I quote these words (as if divinely inspired): “Shall I now give you an advice for the proper restoration of intestinal action, then I call your attention to Conium and Lycopodium in addition to daily strolls.

Splendid that you give full credit to our so useful Thuja through your example.” And how wonderfully this advice corresponded with our already followed prescription before we received that letter; for, two days after we sent Hahnemann our report, changed symptoms made it necessary to take Conium, and later Lycopodium, which removed every vestige of our trouble.

APHORISM 45. If ulcers last for a year or longer, it must be that the bones come away, and the scars are deep.

COMMENT: It is evident that this aphorism is clouded in too general a form, and that the condition mentioned is usually found only in such ulcers which started in the periosteum, or latter attacked it and the bone substance itself. Such ulcers, especially of long standing and maltreated by external means like plasters, salves, etc., are often difficult of cure except by internal remedies, for which purpose we have: Asafoetida, Mercurius, Phosphoric acid and Silica, chosen according to sensations and conditions. Pus in these cases is always foetid. This bone disease usually happens in scrofulous patients or after abuse of quicksilver, and such cases frequently do not come under homoeopathic care till after surgical means have made the situation worse, and destruction is extensive. But nothing prevents a thorough cure like abuse of iodum, plumbum and zinc, which are rarely indicated and always have baneful effect, yet are extensively used by allopaths.

APHORISM 46. Those who become hump-backed before puberty from asthma or cough die from it.

COMMENT: If one does not lay stress on the mentioned causative factors of hump-back, then many instances in aged patients with this deformity seem to contradict this aphorism. If the Kyphosis is the result of asthma or cough as here urged, then the seed of the sickness which threatens life was previously in the chest, and the kyphosis only one symptom of it, not even an essential one, although it is testimony of the degree of such sickness. Hence, in all such cases not even the orthopaedic means can give much result unless they are able to conquer the original chest trouble.

To this end, as upon overcoming all other coexisting symptoms which are always of the nature of chronic diseases, homoeopathy is valuable in the treatment of the deformity, and can boast of thousands of cases where the desired result was obtained, especially where the patient was still young and growing. To this purpose we have a large number of remedies which correspond to the totality of the patients symptoms and to his individuality.

We mention only: Aconitum, Antimonium crudum, Asafoetida, Aurum, Baryta carb., Belladonna, Bryonia, Calcarea carb., Causticum, Cicuta virosa, Clematis, Colocynthis, Dulcamara, Hepar, Ipecacuanha, Lachesis, Lycopodium, Mercurius, Mezereum, Phosphorus, Phosphoric acid, Plumbum, Pulsatilla, Rhus, Ruta, Sabina, Sepia, Silica, Staphisagria, Sulphur and Thuja, which, however, does not end the useful list. Of course, one cannot just grab one of them, and after a few days disappointed expectation immediately grab another.

No, as stated so many times, only a remedy which is homoeopathically indicated in all directions can produce results; but when carefully chosen, and given in suitably high potency and small dose, and given the necessary time to unfold its action, then frequently results are produced which surpass all expectation. We were fortunate four years ago in curing a kyphosis with respiratory difficulty in a girl of eight, of weak constitution, very pale face, etc., by giving a single dose of Silica 200. The result was so total, that the formerly miserable child is now normal and healthy without any further medication. Of course, such really surprising results are infrequent, the total recovery often difficult, and in adults usually impossible.

APHORISM 49. Gouty affections (podagra), after inflammation subsides, terminate within forty days.

COMMENT: Physicians in our time have rarely opportunity to observe such cases because in their true form are seldom met. A few such cases which we treated have taught us that under homoeopathic care they are cured much easier and quicker than under allopathic medication, as recorded in many of our older medical treatises. Our patients were freed from their pains by: Arnica and Sabina, one by Causticum; Sulphur prevented recurrences as proved by two cases after four and six years.

But, as stated, this sickness is so seldom seen, that much experience cannot be gathered, and we have not had opportunity to use the other remedies indicated in this trouble, which mainly are: Aconitum, Ammonium carb., Arsenicum, Asafoetida, Bryonia, Carbo veg., Conium, Graphites, Guaiacum, Ledum, Nux, Phosphoric acid, Sepia, Silica, Taraxacum, Thuja and Veratrum. What Hippocrates states regarding the forty days siege of podagra, which in the previous century was so dreaded, most likely refers to cases left to themselves, which were neither shortened by proper medication, nor prolonged by improper treatment.

APHORISM 51. Healthy persons suddenly attacked by pain in head, loss of speech and stertorous breathing die within seven days unless fever sets in.

COMMENT: For apoplexy homoeopathy usually prescribes Aconitum in the beginning when the pulse is hard and fast, Opium has the slow and full pulse, Lachesis presents the weak but fast pulse. Aside from these remedies we also have: Belladonna, Camphora, Cocculus, Coffea, Hyoscyamus, Ipecacuanha, Lycopodium, Pulsatilla, Sepia, Silica, Stramonium and Thuja, to be selected according to anamnestic and associated symptoms. But the true homoeopathist has no favorite remedies, neither here nor in any other condition; he always selects those remedies which correspond most to the characteristic symptoms.

In this connection we cannot abstain from reporting a cure which converted an old allopathic physician to homoeopathy. Drs. Fuisting and Lutterbeck (the latter physician in ordinary to Prince Bluecher) usually spent their Saturday evenings with us to talk about homoeopathy. On one such evening our cook suffered an apoplectic stroke. The elder allopath insisted upon doing a phlebotomy quickly, but we prevented it and gave the here indicated Aconitum, a small dose. In a short time patient regained consciousness, but was totally paralyzed on the entire left side. My assertion that this paralysis would soon be overcome if no phlebotomy were done was doubted by Dr. L. Meanwhile patient was placed in bed and received a small dose of Cocculus. At seven the next morning Dr. L. called to see the result, and was astonished when the patient answered the door bell. During the night the paralysis had disappeared, and patient was feeling as well as ever. Dr. L. became a zealous and true homoeopathist.

APHORISM 52. One must also consider what can be seen of the eye in sleep; if with closed lids a part of the white is visible it is, should diarrhoea or purging not be responsible, a bad, if not an absolutely fatal, symptom.

COMMENT: Remedies presenting this symptom are: Antimonium tart., Arnica, Belladonna, Bryonia, Capsicum, Colocynthis, Ferrum met., Helleborus, Ignatia, Ipecacuanha, Laurocerasus, Opium, Phosphoric acid, Sambucus, Stramonium, Sulphur, Thuja, Veratrum and Zincum. But of these only Belladonna, Ipecacuanha, Opium, Stramonium and Thuja correspond to apoplexy. The experienced physicians knows that this symptom is also met in other conditions, e.g., worms in children, in certain attacks of hysteria, etc., that even apparently healthy persons sleep with half open eyes.

The physician will not lay much weight on this symptom; yet, only experience teaches which symptom must be considered in selecting the indicated remedy.

APHORISM 53. Delirium with laughter is less dangerous than if patient is very serious.

COMMENT: Aside from the risus sardonicus, which hardly belongs here, we find in a number of dangerous diseases delirium and mental aberrations with laughing, which points to: Apis, Belladonna, Cuprum, Hyoscyamus, Stramonium or Veratrum, and in this symptom they are a very important indication of the one or the other of these remedies. We believe that in this aphorism Hippocrates referred to hysterical convulsions with laughing. These find their medicine according to accompanying symptoms in: Alumina, Ammonium mur., Antimonium tart., Apis, Arnica, Aurum, Belladonna, Calcarea carb., Cannabis, Carbo animalis, Cocculus, Conium, Crocus, Cuprum, Hyoscyamus, Ignatia, Lycopodium, Natrum carb., Natrum mur., Nux moschata, Phosphorus, Platina, Secale, Selenium, Silicea, Stramonium, Sulphur, Valeriana, Zincum and a few others, which latter are not often indicated. Such conditions are, however, not dangerous.

APHORISM 54. In acute affections with fever, sighing respiration is a bad sign.

COMMENT: Also this aphorism cannot be considered as generally accepted, for the sighing respiration is often found in patients who are not dangerously ill. This is easily seen by a homoeopathist when he looks at the remedies which have this symptom in their proving. Here belong: Aconitum, Antimonium crudum, Argentum nitricum, Arsenicum, Belladonna, Bryonia, Caladium, Capsicum, Chamomilla, China, Cina, Cocculus, Cuprum, Euphorbium, Graphites, Ignatia, Ipecacuanha, Kali carbonicum, Lachesis, Laurocerasus, Mercurius, Muriatic acid, Nux, Opium, Pulsatilla, Ranunculus sceleratus, Secale, Selenium, Silica, Squilla and Stramonium. Even though several of these are indicated in serious conditions, that is not case in all, and it would be incorrect to make an unfavorable prognosis for that reason. Moreover, this symptom is so unimportant that the experienced homoeopathist seldom gives it much weight.

In this connection we think we are permitted to emphasize that a complete knowledge of their proving in the healthy enables a homoeopathist to truly evaluate such single phenomenon and symptom in the sick. Some single symptoms however are important both for prognosis and remedy selection. In other instances, if not in most, this applies less to the single symptom as to its connection with others. Therefore, homoeopathy, in this regard, has the advantage here over allopathy, which in its generalizing tendency regards more the generality, and misses the indications taken from the totality.

Any unprejudiced physician will therefore consider it justified that we lay so much stress upon the peculiar actions of our remedies, which are unchangeable, and which we evaluate much higher than all pathologic and therapeutic theories which change so often, and which have not caused much progress in the cure of sickness from that of the previous century. The constantly changing treatment, e.g., of cholera, typhoid conditions, dysentery and croup, etc., and nowhere pleasing results nor certainty!.

APHORISM 57: Apoplexy occurs chiefly between the ages of forty and sixty.

COMMENT: In addition to the Aphorism 42 of Book II we have the following remedies: Antimonium crudum, Antimonium tart., Arsenicum, Aurum, Belladonna, Calcarea carb., Coffea, Ferrum met., Hyoscyamus, Ipecacuanha, Nux vom., Phosphoric acid, Pulsatilla, Rhus, Sambucus, Sepia, Stramonium, Thuja and Veratrum.

APHORISM 58. If the omentum protrudes, it must surely become gangrenous and suppurate.

COMMENT: Hippocrates here evidently refers to epiploceles, which are more difficult of reposition than intestinal herniae, and which become gangrenous more quickly than entero-epiploceles.

Homoeopathy cures all kinds of herniae like any other disease by internal use of remedies indicated by the symptom totality, and in only a few cases does taxis become necessary, made superfluous by proper recumbent position of the body. We have for this condition a large number of remedies, and it is practically impossible not to find among them the similimum for the essential symptoms of the patient.

The most frequently indicated hernia remedies are: Aconitum, Alumina, Asarum, Aurum, Belladonna, Bryonia, Calcarea carb., Capsicum, Chamomilla, Cocculus, Colocynthis, Guaiacum, Lachesis, Lycopodium, Magnesia carbonica, Nitric acid, Nux vomica, Opium, Phosphorus, Plumbum, Pulsatilla, Rhus, Sepia, Silica, Staphisagria, Sulphur, Sulphuric acid, Thuja, Veratrum, and Zincum. Of these the choice of remedy for incarcerated hernia fluctuates between: Aconitum, Alumina, Aurum, Belladonna, Calcarea carb., Capsicum, Chamomilla, Colocynthis, Lachesis, Lycopodium, Nitric acid, Nux, Opium, Plumbum, Silica, Sulphur, Sulphuric acid or Veratrum.

The decision for the one or the other depends partly on the location of the hernia, but much more on the sensations, the external appearance, and most important are the associated symptoms. A hernia is not an isolated local disease, or at least not for long, but almost always, often severely, involves the entire organism; the nature and therapeutic indications are soon clearly discernible.

It is self- evident that we do not favor operation when we are called early enough, and if gangrene and suppuration have set in we can only reluctantly consent to operative means. If however, allopathic treatment has preceded the debacle, double action is imperative, and whenever possible it is best to refuse taking the case. This last advice is especially aimed at the younger homoeopathists who have not yet an established reputation, for it is in this late stage of the disease the often unavoidable death of the patient will be laid to the physicians door and to homoeopathy.

APHORISM 60. In cases of chronic hip-joint disease with protruding head of the femur, the leg wastes and the patient becomes lame, unless the part be cauterized.

COMMENT: The recommended cauterization is also today the allopathic treatment of coxalgia, if not the alpha, at least the omega, and it cannot be denied that in this frequently seen malady, as in so many other conditions allopathic treatment leaves much to be desired.

If the case is of long duration, then even the homoeopathic cure is difficult and uncertain, when “everything had been done,” including the use of the moxa, and adhesions have formed; but it is easily accomplished and certain in the beginning, and if it has not yet been treated, neither by internal nor external means.

In such cases there are many remedies at our disposal, and according to conditions the following may be indicated: Aconitum, Ambra, Apis, Argentum, Arnica, Arsenicum, Asafoetida, Aurum, Belladonna, Bryonia, Calcarea carb., Cantharis, Causticum, Chamomilla, Colocynthis, Digitalis, Drosera, Graphites, Hepar, Kreosotum, Phosphorus, Pulsatilla, Rhus, Ruta, Sabina, Sepia, Silica, Staphisagria, Sulphur, Thuja and Zincum. The kind of pain, the modalities, as to time, position and condition make the remedy choice easier.

In addition to this, another factor helps out: In the often occurring shortening of the leg, we are reminded of: Ambra, Colocynthis, Mezereum, Oleander, Phosphorus and Sepia, and where the leg has lengthened our choice is among: Colocynthis, Kreosotum, Rhus, and Sulphur, provided the other accompanying symptoms do not form a contraindication. At any rate it is self-evident that the symptom totality is the deciding factor.

We have stated that the cure of old and allopathically treated coxalgias is difficult and uncertain, but we must add that these obstacles do not make a cure impossible, no, it is sometimes even quickly accomplished. In our journal we have several such cases, of which we shall only relate the following, because it created a sensation: Anna, three years old, had suffered from this trouble for six weeks. The left hip was enormously swollen, hard and painful, the skin showed large blue blood vessels, the leg three inches elongated; constant hectic cough, continual diarrhoea worse at night; emaciation to a skeleton, etc., a picture of most abject misery.

Since many external and internal remedies had been tried, the moxa was now to be used, even though the attending physicians were in doubt whether or not the weakened child could stand that operation. Therefore this was an exquisite case as a trial of the much ridiculed young homoeopathic science. Of the treatment we shall just mention that Sulphur cent. 60 was first given, followed by two doses of Aconitum, two of Rhus, and two of Colocynthis with surprising results; later two doses of Sulphur again were given, and one of Mercurius, all in the 30th cent. potency.

The result? In seven weeks the little patient could be dismissed completely cured. We have later often seen her as a blooming girl, totally free of the least reminder of her previous suffering. It is perhaps superfluous to mention that also in this apparently external disease absolutely no external means were applied.

END OF BOOK VI.

 

BOOK VII.

APHORISM 1. It is bad when in acute diseases the external parts become cold.

COMMENT: A well known, unfavorable sign which also may occur in chronic diseases when the exacerbations set in, which often are accompanied by internal intense heat and burning. This is a symptom, while it alone does not enable us to select a remedy, yet it is valuable and should not be overlooked. This symptom does not refer to hands and feet alone, but also to the face, ears, nose, chin, etc., even to tongue and eyes.

The remedies which here present themselves are: Aconitum, Antimonium tart., Apis, Arnica, Arsenicum, Belladonna, Calcarea carb., Camphora, Carbo vegetabilis, Chamomilla, Cicuta virosa, Cina, Digitalis, Drosera, Hyoscyamus, Ignatia, Iodum, Ipecacuanha, Kali carb., Mezereum, Moschus, Nitri acidum, Nux v., Phosphoric acid, Platina, Rhus, Sulphur and Veratrum. This proves that the serious symptoms can occur in many conditions. But when the properly selected remedy is given, one will see that the case is not hopeless.

APHORISM 2. It is bad when in bone disease the tissues become livid.

COMMENT: Not only in poorly treated fractures, or in persons who are unhealthy, but also in malignant bone ulcers may we find this livid discoloration of the skin and tissue, which often presages gangrene. Then it is imperative that the here indicated remedy be quickly given, especially: Arsenicum, Asafoetida, Aurum, Conium, Hepar, Lachesis, Mercurius, Silica or Veratrum, under strict observation of the accompanying symptoms.

Then it is possible every time to prevent gangrene, or when gangrene is established, to shed that part and to prevent further spreading. From our journal we could quote several cases where amputation had been decided upon and where thus the involved member was rescued. To save the provider of a poor family is indeed the best recompense for all trouble and diligence, without which no one can attain to a knowledge of remedies, which is necessary to obtain such results.

This livid discoloration of skin and tissue must not be confounded with that which follows contusion of blows, which lasts only a few days, and can be cured quickly by: Arnica, Belladonna, Conium, Lachesis, Pulsatilla or Sulphuric acid. A livid skin from other causes in affected parts is often a fine indication for the valuable Lachesis.

APHORISM 3. It is a bad symptom when after vomiting the eyes become red, and sobbing sets in.

C. V Boenninghausen
Dr. Boenninghausen was born to one of the oldest noble families of Westphalia, Germany. His full name was Clemens Maria Franz Baron Von Boenninghausen. He was Baron by inheritance, a lawyer by profession, and an agriculturist by natural inclination. After his successful treatment with homeopathy, Boenninghausen took deep interest in studying homoeopathy and devoted his remaining years to the cause of homeopathy. Most of his systematic works concerning homoeopathy were published between 1828 and 1846. Boenninghausen died at the ripe age of 79 in 1864.