Though Homoeopathy is more than a century old, its rationale is not yet so widely understood and appreciated as it deserves. It would not be out of place, therefore, to present a brief exposition of Homoeopathy’s view-point regarding the origin, nature and treatment of disease.
In the healthy condition of man, the spiritual vital force, the dynamis that animates the material body, rules with unbounded sway, and retains all the parts of the organism in admirable harmonious vital operation, so that the indwelling, reason-gifted mind can freely employ this living healthy instrument for the higher purposes of existence. This state is characterized by a feeling of comfort and case, by the absence of any morbid sensations, even a consciousness of our various organs.
The vital force or vital energy is present from the very inception of life; it brings about development and growth in the mother’s womb, and after that throughout the rest of life till it is extinguished at death. It is the power house that supplies the impetus of growth for the whole economy, the whole individual.
It should now be easy to understand what is disease.It is a state resulting from a deranged functioning of the vital force, a state in which the healthful ease and harmony have been disturbed by some force inimical to health, and man begins to feel morbid and painful sensations (disease). The vital force gives indications of this invasion of its harmony by producing many symptoms and sensations,and, if these indications of this invasion of its harmony by producing many symptoms and sensations, and, if these indications given by the vital force labouring under disease are not needed and the trouble not remedied, how can it carry on its functions in normal harmony and peace? The various functions of the body and its organs become adversely affected, tissue changes are brought about and in course of time organs and the endocrine glands become affected and involved.
Thus it can be easily understood that pathological changes come about some time after the man has been actually sick,as evinced by the subjective symptoms could be properly assessed and acted upon. Now it can be appreciated whether a man is sick because some organ has undergone a pathological change or is not functioning properly or whether it is just the other way round, viz., that the organ has undergone the change or is misfunctioning because the man is sick, that is, because his vital force is deranged.
Homoeopathy maintains that signs and symptoms are the only visible index of disease, and there is no other way in which disease can make itself known. The nature of disease is as spirit like and dynamic as that of the vital force. If that were not so, how could sickness result from emotional causes, e.g., from a fit of anger, from fear, or from the shock due to the death of some dear friend or relation ? To become sick there must exist in man susceptibility to these dynamic influences.
Examples are known of persons becoming sick by merely getting a whiff of air from a Rhus vine and of getting lead colic merely by sleeping in a room newly painted with lead paint. If a man is not susceptible to small pox, he will pot get it even if he should go near the worst cases.The test-tube and the microscope never reveal the real cause and nature of disease. It is common experience to find the laboratory reports negative in cases with plenty of signs and symptoms and a history running into several pages.
Now we come to the problem of treatment. Having become disgusted with the vague,untenable and daily changing theories and the purely speculative and lawlessly empirical methods of treatment prevalent in his time,Hahnemann set himself to thinking if,in the realm of medicine also,there was some law of Nature which could give a simple, quick and dependable method of healing the sick.His quest was not in vain. After laborious, accurate and extensive investigations, he formulated the famous LAW OF SIMILARS which in plain language enunciates that drugs can cure in the sick such symptoms as they have the power to produce in the healthy, provided that the drugs are administered in sufficiently small and potentised doses.
This is a law of nature as true, universal and immutable as the Law of Gravity, and it has stood the test for over a hundred years. This is the solid rock on which HOMOEOPATHY stands,firm and secure and unshaken by the millions of medical tempests and blasted which have blown away theories after theories and hypotheses after hypotheses. Besides this principle of similarity, there are other important principles which have to be taken into consideration while prescribing. It has to be seen that the nature, velocity and pace of the drug dynamis correspond with those of the disease dynamis. Then there are the laws regarding the direction of cure to which we shall revert later. Thus Homoeopathy emancipates us
from the lawless empiricism of the old school, and offers a system of treatment based on definite, precise and well-tested principles.
The drug so selected is administered in a dynamised form and in the smallest possible and infrequent doses. Here again we have to bow in reverence before the mighty genius of Hahnemann for giving us the method of graduated potentisation (or dynamisation) of drugs, a method of releasing the dynamic forces residing in drugs and increasing their potency according to a graduated scale of decimal or centesimal measurement. The dynamic forces released from the drug according to the Law of Similars act on the vital force by stimulating natural reactive defences to fight and repel the disease forces.
The drug so selected, and administered according to Natural Laws,is sure to bring about a cure in curable diseased conditions and an effective palliation in incurable conditions. The most painful conditions are efficiently palliated or cured with a rapidity which is possible consistently with the nature of the disease. Quicker and longer-enduring results are achieved in relieving pain than with morphia, aspirin etc., and without any injurious after-effects. The physicians’ high and only mission, according to Hahnemann, is to restore the sick to health, to cure as it is termed.
And the highest ideal of cure is “rapid, gentle and permanent restoration of health, or removal and annihilation of the disease in its whole extent, in the shortest, most reliable and most harmless way and on easily comprehensible principles.” If a system of medicine cannot do this, it is no art of healing, howsoever grand and scientific it may appear to be. It may be noted,however,that no science, not even Homoeopathy, has so far claimed that all patients can be cured.There are incurable conditions where palliations is all that can be done, and it can be done effectively according to he Law of Similars.
What is the criterion of curability or incurability of disease? As we have seen, all diseases express themselves through signs and symptoms. A disease would be deemed incurable when there are no symptoms to prescribe on, or when the vital energy fails to find out the symptoms, or whether the patient conceals the symptoms or whether there are no symptoms, as often happens in malignant growths or to far advanced organic diseases, they are unknown to the prescriber. Fortunately the sphere of incurable disease is very small under the homoeopathic system of treatment as it secures maximum harmony with the disease is very small under the homoeopathic system of treatment as it secures maximum harmony with the laws of nature.
It has already been noticed how early disease can be diagnosed according to the homoeopathic principles. The homoeopath does not diagnose disease by giving them names or by attributing their causation to organic or functional changes in organs or the endocrine glands,but by ascertaining the morbid symptoms and by finding out from a study of the materia medica the drug which has produced in the healthy symptoms most similar to those of the patient.
The drug is the diagnosis. By diagnosing the remedy from symptom similarity before the pathological changes have become pronounced, the homoeopath can often cut short the whole course of disease, and the pathological effects (which the old school considers to be causes) can be
promptly averted. When the latter have come about, the disease has already advanced quite far, and may already have become incurable. Dr.Nash has aptly remarked that while the old school physician is busy carrying out the laboratory tests to arrive at a diagnosis, the homoeopath is often able to cure the patient in the meanwhile. Regarding these tests,m their advocates themselves hold that positive results have a diagnostic value while the negative results are of no value.
Regarding prognosis, the homoeopath has scientific rules for guidance. Inferences can be drawn accurately from the effects of the drug administered, from the way the patient’s vital force reacts to the similar remedy, and from the direction which the symptoms take.The law of direction of cure may be briefly stated thus; Cure takes place from above downwards, from within outwards, from an important organ to a less important organ; symptoms disappear in the reverse order of their appearance,the first to appear being the last to disappear.
As Dr.H.A. Roberts has so nicely ex;pressed it, HOMOEOPATHY studies man “as an individual in relation to his environment and circumstances more than any other school of medical thought, for it takes into consideration not only his immediate heritage but the more subtle and complex burden that is heritage of long ages or struggling and developing ancestors.Homoeopathy seeks to relieve the individual as much as possible from the heavy burden of hereditary tendencies he carries, and to guard against increasing this load by enabling his vital energy to provide its own immunity against disease”.
We have taken a passing note of the fact that Homoeopathy treats patients with drugs on human being. It is not very scientific to test drugs on animals and to except the same results on administering them to human being.In a limited field this method has its own utility, for example, in regard to investigation on food, vitamins, hormones, etc. But the claims of the experimental pharmacologist that of the results of these experimental methods an objective materia medical with be built up which can be utilised on objective indications for the treatment and control of morbid processes, are far too excessive. The reasons are:
1.These experiments can throw light only in respect to a few human functions which are human functions which are common to animal and man.
2.In experiments on animal we deal with artificially produced condition and it would not be rational to transfer the results to the treatment of naturally excited diseased conditions in human beings.
3.The human organism, especially in diseased condition, does not in reality show constancy.
4.Some of the effects of drugs on animals may be altogether different from what they are on human beings. In man adrenalin at first retards and later on furthers the gastric movements while the movements of the dog’s stomach are influenced in the reverse manner. Hypophysis extracts provoke diuresis in cats and dogs, but oliguria in rabbits and guinea pigs.
Homoeopathy stands unrivalled in the treatment of CHRONIC DISEASES. Hahnemann has left us a most precious gift in his discovery of the factors which give rise to and keep up the progress of chronic diseases, viz., Psora, Syphilis and Sycosis.A detailed exposition of these would be beyond the scope of the present work, and the readers who are interested in this branch of study are referred to Hahnemann’s Chronic Diseases and other leading works on Homoeopathic philosophy.
LIMITATIONS OF HOMOEOPATHY.The reader is, however, warned against concluding that Homoeopathy has no limitations. Hahnemann has clearly said that a physicians duty is to understand and remove the cause of the disease, which may at times be purely external or mechanical. the internal and dynamic causes are to be treated by internal and dynamic means, while purely external causes have two be dealt with by external means,.
Thus in cases of external injuries, in cases of foreign bodies having got into the eyes, ears, nose or other cavities, in cases of poisoning and in so many other cases, we cannot and should not rely exclusively upon the law of similars, though a stage may come after the external cause is removed to utilize the law for correcting the internal dynamic troubles, if any should arise, e.g., in chronic effects of poisoning, or blood poisoning from wounds, etc.
Again, in the class of diseases where malnutrition results from lack of proper foods, instead of lack of powers of assimilation, HOMOEOPATHY cannot be expected to take the place of a correction of dietetic deficiencies and defects. All obstacles to cure must be removed, according to Hahnemann, before we proceed to apply the indicated remedy.
While narrowing the sphere of surgery, Homoeopathy never claims to do away with it altogether. Let the patient be treated as a whole first, according to the natural laws,and then, if anything remains which must be removed, let the case be handed over to the surgeon. Or, if suppuration has taken place in an internal organ, naturally surgical aid must be called for. But tonsils, abscesses, carbuncles,tumours, etc. are not to be operated upon as a general rule as they are amenable to treatment. Their causes are internal and dynamic and should be corrected by dynamic means.
In the realm of THERAPEUTICS, however, homoeopathic laws reign supreme. If symptoms,the language of disordered vital energy, are properly understood, if the symptom-image of the patient is intelligently and correctly matched with the symptom image of the drug, or in other words, if the genius of the case and the genius of the drug are similar, and if the other homoeopathic laws are carefully followed, the patient’s restoration to health should be certain, if recovery is possible. the basic truth under lying Homoeopathy was hinted at by the ancient Hindu sages, by Hippocrates, Paracelsus, Stahl and other throughout the course of medical history.It is the expression of divine Law in the universe. May it guide us as a lamp in our sacred task of relieving the physical and mental suffering of our fellow being.