Drug action in disease is apparently a stimulative process despite our age-old idea of physiological action. This latter is real enough but its excitant can be best explained as stimulative; for instance, with sodium salicylate in iritis, potassium iodide in paralysis of the external rectus muscle and quinine in brow ague, all witnessed many times, a considerable quantity of the crude drug must be ingested before there comes abrupt release from pain and rapid return to normal.
The same result is achieved with sodium salicylate or quinine in finely divided state in very small dose. The greatly increased surface accounts for a more rapid release of energy. No case of external rectus paralysis has yet presented opportunity for this test.
The above suggests the thoroughly proven ArndtSchulz law, i.e., that poisonous drugs (most drugs are poisonous) in large doses kill, in small doses inhibit and in very small doses stimulate toward recovery. It is interesting to know that this law of nature applies in the vegetable world as well as in the animal kingdom.
The most important, the most outstanding law of drug action comes to us from earliest medical history and on down through different peoples. It is similar to the Arndt Schulz law and decrees that a curable disease may be removed by a small dose of a drug which given in large dose in health will produce a similar state.
Witness the difficulty distinguishing between belladonna poisoning and typical scarlet fever, for which in small dose belladonna is both belladonna is both curative and prophylactic.
This law, Similia similibus curantur, enunciated and used by Hippocrates, has, for a hundred years, seen daily application by homoeopaths in every nation of importance on the face of the earth and proved up to the hilt, and incidentally has been a great advantage to the users.
We now arrive at a third law of drug action and if any be incredulous of the two already cited, my advice is to stop right here. The third is far less welcome to usual thought habits. Even most homoeopaths halt at this one. In fact, this truth has come to us through experiment only and it seems the only approach is through experiment itself, which done with proper technique will give the answer if law it be.
Something over a century ago, one of the foremost analytical chemists of that time, also an M.D., reducing dose to avoid evil drug effects, ground in a mortar one grain of drug to one hundred of innocuous substance, to yield as he said a mixture every part of which was the same, grinding three or four hours, a laborious process. He found a small bit of this gave the usual curative drug effect. He then ground one part of this with one hundred parts of like substance and found a small bit of this gave a like drug result.
Repeating this many times he was amazed that he could not by this method get rid of the drug. Incredible as it may seem the action was increased. He could not understand it but the result was constant on repeated trial. Thus was revealed a hitherto unknown law, i.e., that repeated division of a substance into finer and finer particles, increasing its surface, evolves increased available energy. This, known as the law of potentization, followed hundreds of years after discovery of similia similibus curantur and has added immeasurably to the curative range of drug therapy.
It has been our good fortune to witness high potency action for relief of long standing apparently incurable conditions as well as to have prescribed the 2c. potency for a desperately ill child to palliate only, where the one thousandth brought prompt recovery and carried the little patient on to health without repetition of the dose.
For instance, acute gastritis in a young child, where after severe vomiting and purging there comes the deathly pallor of collapse and dehydration. In such state, so often fatal, one is dumb founded to hear from a master of drug therapy, “We do not lose these cases.” An overstatement no doubt. Usually, however, after a few doses of Arsenicum album CM., in an hour or two the little patient is sleeping quietly, purging and vomiting have ceased and in twenty-four hours quite our of it. This is not in the province of crude drug or low potency.
Also the symptom complex is a fine picture of arsenic poisoning and the cure a glowing demonstration of two eternal natural laws, Similia similibus curantur and Potentization.
But imagine yourself in the position of the discoverer of this law. He had already in experiments, hundreds of them, his own and of his followers, confirmed and set on a solid foundation the old but little used law of Similia. He had been able to stop an epidemic of cholera with that. But that less and less would not run out, contrary to all previous experience! Common sense settled that. Less and less finally comes to naught, as anyone knows.
One can understand now how, when at the height of his popularity, hundreds of physicians flocking to the homoeopathic standard, he remarked that those who really understood could be counted on the fingers of one hand. That few has in our day increased to quite a handful and high potency users have added considerable to the breath and depth of drug therapy since his time.
This cocksure world is in no hurry for real progress. In human relationships we are still in the Stone Age. Do we know even that Thou shalt not kill” is a law?.
When will we reach the greatest of all laws, “Thou shalt love”? With luck perhaps in a thousand years. AKRON, OHIO.
DR.BONNELL: I can recall, after I had practiced medicine seven or eight years, I tried to go up above the 30th and 100th. I tried out the 200th and 1000th. The longer you see potencies, I think the more courage and the more fascination you get with the higher potencies.
I want to give one experience I had. My wife is not here, so I can discuss it. She said she wanted to hear me read my paper, but I want to discuss another fellows paper. I have six working in my hospital, and there is one peculiar thing among potencies that no one in my office, not even my private secretary, has been able to figure out.
I buy the placebo powders, 500 and 1000, in the red papers and the white papers. A long time ago I decided that no one should know what potency those red papers and white papers were but myself. I have the most inquisitive secretary that ever lived. She has tried to find out what those papers are, because they are so effective. I have a woman patient who has been to Mayo Brothers and to two insane asylums and she has taken placebo while I am gone-a white one in the afternoon and a red one in the morning-and they are going to take care of her beautifully until I get back to Oklahoma.
The last thing my secretary wanted to know was, “Where do you keep those red papers and the white ones? You know, she has gone down and tried to drown herself, but since you have been giving those red and white papers, she never has tried another time to drown herself. I would like to know what they are.”.
I said, “Well they are high-potentized, energized powders.”.
She said she didnt know any more about it. She is reading a lot She said, “I dont know any more now than I did before.”I said, “There is even some of my personality in those red powders and those white powders.”.
She said, “If you would stay a week longer, we would be in a fix here without some of those powders,” so I left an extra package of red powders and white powders.
I expect that long before this time- I have been gone over a week-she is trying to locate where those powders are. I know she is going to find them. She would like to know what is inside of them.
They work mighty fine with your potencies, Doctor.
DR. RUST: Do you find those powders are any less potent since your hair is less red?.
DR. BONNELL: I think they get more potent. (Laughter).
DR. MOORE: I would like to say that Dr. Hayes was listening while you were talking and he was very much interested. He took some of us to an Italian dinner this noon, and I am still groggy from that, but he also read us a paper, which I wish you could all hear, because it is so good. It is on the use of the placebo. It is on the futility of trying to practice homoeopathy without the use of the placebo.
DR., SINK: We are all reticent to say anything on this paper because of a statement you have all read, that an axiom is a self-evident truth.
DR. WALTENBAUGH: Doctors do not realize that their force has gone into those placebo papers and been transferred to that patient mentally. That is where the doctor gets his results. He has put the potency in there, he has put the vibration in, and it has gone to this patient. I have found that to be a fact. I have a patient on hand and I will give her placebo, and she will get the most wonderful reaction you ever heard of. It has almost knocked her to pieces; pains in the spine, pains in the back of the head, weak in the knees, everything you can think of out of placebo, just the same as if I gave her a remedy. So I think your own personality goes into this condition.
DR. RUST: A number of years ago, I had a patient come in who was a very complicated case, and I wanted to study it out carefully, but he was not a good subject to start in on homoeopathy, so I give him some placebo powders. When he returned, he said, “Doctor, I never have had any such medicine like that in my life. Every powder I take, I feel better and stronger.” So I looked up in the book on sugar of milk, and I found that it is a great remedy in itself. I think that is where it is instead of in your personality. (Laughter).
DR. SPALDING: I think most of us hesitate to present a paper dealing with potency, because it has been a debatable question, and I have heard some pretty spirited discussions.
I want to say one thing, and cite one case. It so happens that I have an out-patient clinic in Boston that I have carried on for about ten years, which affords me an opportunity of treating cases with so called low potencies up to 6x. in the pharmacy. While I sometimes have used higher potencies on those cases, I have carried many of them with the lower potencies and with good results.
In my own practice, I almost invariably use the higher potencies. I want to refer to one case, because I think it is of interest and it may illustrate not only the action of the high potency but the matter of suppression. I saw a woman about a year ago with very bad rheumatism. In fact, she had deformed arthritis, hands drawn up like this, unable to straighten the leg, and she had been ill for twelve or fifteen years. She had been to everybody, of course, in various hospitals and was in constant pain. For two years she had to have some opiate of some sort every night.
I took the case with the understanding that I had a free hand and that if I didnt do anything I wouldnt charge anything, because I knew it was going to be a long procedure. I repertorized as carefully as possible. I couldnt see any remedy that really stood out. She had been well drugged. So I gave her Sulphur. At the end of three or four weeks there was absolutely no reaction and no improvement.
Then by going back further into her history, I found that thirty-five years ago she had a bad case of diphtheria. (This will interest the vaccination man.) She had received fifteen or sixteen innoculations of the antitoxin. There are some scar marks still showing on her legs. But after that she had several years of nose-bleeds, and after that the rheumatism began, so I gave her Diphtherinum, three powders, the 200th potency one night, the 1M. the next night and the 10M. the next night and, believe it or not, after three weeks I went back and there was no improvement whatever.
I said, “Well, after thirty-five years, we will wait still longer.” I went back three weeks later, and she hadnt had a pain in the past two weeks, and she hasnt had a pain now for eight months. She has not required any other remedy. She has been able to get out of bed. While she cannot straighten her legs, she can open a safety pin with her hands.
I am sitting and waiting, not giving placebo or any personality either, but there is an action of a very high potency in a very much suppressed case.