Among the common things that the homoeopathic physician is called on to treat is constipation and, unless the similimum is given, many cases will not be cured and the patient will leave the doctor in disappointment and voice a sour note for Homoeopathy.
There are cases where inveterate constipation goes on for years no matter how the diet and living conditions may be changed. These are the cases where the exact homoeopathic remedy must be given to effect a cure.
The main reason the needed remedy is difficult to find for this condition is the large number of proven remedies found useful in the various forms of constipation. Hence the physician must use his power of analysis to differentiate between many similar remedies for the one needed for each individual.
A case in point, that of a man who had been a victim of constipation for years. He had tried many doctors and taken many cathartics on his own account and on the advice of friends and advertisers and all to no avail. He used coffee in excess and considerable tobacco and alcohol in various forms.
He was fond of pepper, spices and condiments. He was thin, highly irritable and very sensitive to noise and drafts of air. His bowels would move only after taking a drastic compound cathartic and then only with severe pain in the bowels with great straining in the rectal region to pass a small stool of mucous and watery matter, which produced some relief of the cramps until the next cathartic was taken.
Any homoeopath would give this man Nux vomica, and that remedy in a single dose of the 10M effected a permanent cure with relief in twenty-four hours and made it unnecessary to resort to any more cathartics.
This same type of patient without any desire for stool (no peristaltic action of the intestine) would make one study two other remedies. Alumina and Bryonia. If the stool was dry, as if burnt, and the patient had considerable thirst at intervals, Bryonia would be the choice. Such is the way Homoeopathy must proceed.
In women who suffer with severe bearing down pelvic pains extending to the rectum with an ineffectual urge to pass the stool, Sepia would be the most likely remedy to cure. Alumina has extreme weakness and inertia of the rectal muscles of expulsion.
In bronchial and respiratory troubles, including asthma of infants, we have two very reliable remedies, Ant. tart., and Carb. veg.
In those cases whose bronchial tubes are loaded with mucous, which coughing does not loosen or dissipate, Ant. tart. will rarely fail to give quick relief and cure. Carb. veg. will be needed in cases where the voice shows involvement with hoarseness and huskiness and more or less severe paroxysms of cough. These remedies run together in the cyanosis, weakness, coldness and lack of thirst. Ant. tart. may have more drowsiness in the picture and in the beginning there may be a dry incessant cough.
An observation concerning Dulc., over a period of many years, has been confirmed repeatedly in its power to cure almost any case of impetigo contagiosa characterized by quickly forming yellow crusts that soon take on a brownish hue. These lesions clear up quickly after the remedy, and we all know how persistent and difficult this condition is under regular, routine treatment.
Another remedy with a peculiar characteristic is Lac can. This peculiarity, that has been confirmed by many prescribers, is its tendency to have complaints that alternate sides, a tonsillitis may alternate or shift from side to side, the same may be true of neuritis or arthritis. These conditions have been cured by the remedy Lac can. many times, as confirmatory proof of the great law of cure.
Nearly every spring and fall the homoeopathic physician will meet with epidemics of sore throats more or less severe in nature. It is surprising how frequently one of the following seven remedies will prove curative, quickly and permanently: Ferr. phos., Hepar sulph., Lachesis, Lycopodium, Lac can., Nitric acid and Phytolacca. Still more surprising are the few slight points of differentiation needed to select the curative remedy from this group and rarely is a second prescription required.
The following points of difference have been used to decide our choice of remedy over many years with highly satisfactory results; where the right side is chiefly affected Ferr. phos., Lyc., and Phyt. are first choice for further study. Where there is aggravation by swallowing hot and amelioration swallowing cold drinks, Phyt. becomes the remedy. Where there is great thirst with aggravation from empty swallowing, Ferr. phos. is the prescription and where better by hot drinks with little thirst or none for cold, then Lyc. is the remedy.
Strictly left-sided cases are best covered by Lachesis, although Lac can. has the same symptom, but the latter tends soon to shift to the other side. These remedies are both relieved by cold drinks.
Nitric acid has extreme sore, burning, shooting pain with a feeling of great dryness in the throat, worse by any attempt to swallow, especially fluids.
Hepar sulph. has very sharp, splinter-like pains, generally right sided. Better by swallowing hot drinks like Lyc., but Hepar sweats easily and profusely without relief and is extremely sensitive to cold air. Lyc. desires the fresh air. There is no chance of confusion between these two drugs.
It is true these are rather meager indications for the selection of the similimum, but years of successful clinical practice justifies them. Especially when the doctor has on an average of forty to fifty phone calls a day, and the aforementioned cases are largely by way of telephone and the remedy must be sent or called for; to these phone calls are added thirty to forty patients to be seen in a day, as well as some to be prescribed for by mail; thus it becomes necessary to conserve time, if all the days work is to be accomplished.
These facts are mentioned to show that with experience the doctor will develop an awareness of the great resources of the Materia Medica and find the key to rapid and accurate prescribing by by persistent study and use of its vast storehouse of knowledge.
I am sure every busy homoeopathic physician could add a great many more simple but useful applications of our remedies to every class of disease, both acute and chronic, as the Materia Medica contains within its covers everything needed for the relief and cure of suffering humanity.
No matter how many times we see them or how simple they may be, we all are always delighted and interested in beholding confirmations of cure brought about by the action of the homoeopathic remedy.
I will close this little paper with an apology to my learned colleagues for taking up their time listening to a primary account of remedy action. I am sure this could be transcended by any one of them with accounts of difficult and unusual cures much more interesting and instructive to both profession and laity.
DR. ROGER A. SCHMIDT [San Francisco, Calif.]: I dont think that a paper such as this needs any apology. If we have rare cases and outstanding cases that we like to present and which are always very interesting to consider, I think those common complaints that we have every day and that are not always so easy to solve need, also, some consideration. I think a paper of that sort synthesizes and crystallizes the main remedies that are indicated in everyday practice.
I can only endorse every indication that Dr. Grimmer has brought forward. I could add to the problem of constipation, which is one of the most frequent. I think in ten patients who come in your office, I am sure nine have to complain of constipation, which is a result of our absurd diets and mode of living, and in which the remedy is not enough to consider but, also, correction of diet. I am sure Dr. Bellokossy will bear me out on that.
Alumina has that tremendous dryness of the rectum, outside of the weakness and the inertia.
You spoke about asthma, Ant. tart. and Carb. veg., which are, of course, the main and the deepest indicated remedies in the tragic side of it. We have, at least in San Francisco, a great many of those asthmatic cases in children. I would say that eight or nine times out of ten, Ipecac has been the one that has given me the quickest results in those children.
DR. HARVEY FARMINGTON [Chicago, Ill.]: I feel, with Dr. Schmidt, that this paper needs no apology. I think it is the kind of paper that we need. It forms just a sort of a little layer of jelly between the two big hunks of dry bread that we have choked down our throats every now and then.
Now, isnt it a fact that in ordinary practice and the general run of cases, we prescribe on very, very few symptom in acute ailments? Only from experience and from knowledge of an easy like Dr. Grimmers, those few things are selected which are the real essence of the case and form the legs of the stool that the dairyman used to talk about, that they had to have three to make them stand. There are very few men or women who know how to generalize. This is, in a measure, generalizing, prescribing on broad grounds, with one or two little particulars. [Applause].
DR. A. W. HOLCOMBE [Kokomo, Ind.]: I dont want to take up too much of the time if these boys want to get home to their families, but I never consider constipation a disease, so- called. To me, constipation is just one phase of a constitutional condition. When you prescribe just on one symptom or one phase, you are very often fouled out. Some people are naturally constipated and are not diseased.
My office girl was with me for twenty-four years and her bowels moved every Sunday morning before she went to church, and no other time. I had an old man ninety-two years old that had what I called an acute mania. He didnt know anything. Now dont call me a liar, but his bowels went sixty-seven days without a movement. On the sixty-seventh day his bowels moved naturally and moved every day thereafter.
DR. J. W. WAFFENSMITH [New Haven, Conn.]: How was he eating during this time?. DR. HOLCOMBE: He was eating all right. He wasnt eating like our banquet, but he was eating three time a day.
I havent heard anybody mention Blatta orientalis for asthma. That gives in kids about the quickest result of any that I can get. Then, of course, there is Ipecac and Antimonium tart., which will give relief even in grown people. I give it in the 6x.
I dont know how it would work in a higher potency because I never thought it was a curative remedy but a quick ameliorative.
Another remedy I have thought of and used in constipation is Sanicula. It is a remedy, I think, that is very often too frequently overlooked, not only in constipation but in chronic troubles. It seems to be a combination of several of the mineral remedies that we use singly. It has had a very thorough proving.
DR. GRIMMER [closing]: I simply wish to thank the men who have added to the paper, for their kind remarks. Of course, Dr. Schmidts addition of Ipecac is a good one, especially in infants.
When I mentioned Antimonium tart. and Carbo. veg., it was mostly in cases of the young, but Ipecac is very closely related. Dr. Kent, in his writings, advised Ipecac first and Antimonium tart. afterwards, as a follow-up.
I am glad to get Dr. Holcombes suggestion about Blatta. I have always thought of Blatta more in the chronic forms, but if he has had experience in the acute forms, it is an addition. It is a good thing for us to have, and I thank him for bringing it forward.
Dr. Farrington spoke of the essential things to get hold of. It is very important. It does save a great deal of work. After the busy physician has gotten a number of our polycrests, knowing their aggravations, ameliorations and modalities well, he can make rapid and accurate prescriptions. Rarely will he have to make a second prescription.
I thank you all. [Applause].