It always makes one feel good to get the best of bargain and when a fellow from one of the Provinces gets the better of the deal over some one from New York and a New England Yankee at that, the feeling is so much the better. When Dr. Hubbard was asked for a paper in the Bureau of Surgery, she graciously accepted and asked for one in return. Neither you or I will long to figure who won.
When she asked for a scientific presentation of a remedy, preferably a metal, it set me to wondering what kind of presentation I could make and also made me cogitate upon what a scientific materia medica would be like. Had I the intellect and the background, what would I say?.
Taking Plumbum metallicum as the victim of my intellectual butchery, where would I begin? Would I start out with its geographical sources, its mining and refining, then its industrial uses, its chemical and physical nature, and last, and more narrowly, with its effects upon the organism and its homoeopathic application in the treatment of disease?.
To really understand a thing we should know about it fro every possible angle; it should really become a part of us. Such knowledge would guide those who lack intuition and should be of the utmost value to those possessed of intuition.
Time and space prevent a complete discussion of all of the phases mentioned above, so these thoughts will be narrowed down to our particular interests and these cover plenty.
Plumbum was chosen because it is one of the by-products formed by the splitting of the atom, this process being our latest scientific deity. It apparently must be relatively stable with most of the energy knocked out of it, and, being stable, must also be all the more inert. Please know that I am speaking only in relative terms. That it is not absolutely inert is shown by the fact that we can produce salts of lead and that these are more active than the metal. It is more probable that the effects most seen on man come from these salts and yet we know from experience that the metal affects him too.
To understand Plumbum thoroughly, we must know how in produces its effects upon the human economy. Where does it make its point of entry into the system? What part does it apparently affect first? Does it spread over the whole body and produce the many symptoms we find in the proving, or does it affect only one or two parts and the others result from what might be called a “chain reaction?” Is its method of action chemical or physical? Does it act by catalysis? Is it electronic?.
Right here we are stymied, since the action of the organism itself is so imperfectly known. A perusal of books trying to explain the mechanism of pain alone, while showing advances, are pitifully lacking in many respects, making us aware of the brick walls we are up against. As to other symptoms we are wandering about in a such deeper forest.
When we come to treatment we are in a predicament even worse than the above. The modus operandi of cure is far harder to explain than that of the drug effects, and that, God knows, is hard enough. “Where there is smoke, there is fire,” and where there are a lot of theories, there is ignorance. We have had theories galore on how the remedy acts curatively; how the unbelievably small doses act; and yet we must honestly admit that we do not know a thing about it. Like cosmic rays, we know they are there, but from whence they come, we know not. We know that we get favorable reactions from our therapeutic agents and from high potencies, but that is all we do know.
After thinking it all over on the basis of what we do and do not know, it seems that our present Materia Medica is about as scientific as we can make it at present. To make it more so is desirable and we could add to it some of the known facts that come to light. Whether to do so would merely be gilding the lily is up to each one to decide for himself.
Our great aim is to eliminate as much as possible the error in prescribing and true knowledge does cut down this error. The various means tried to find the remedy so as to do away with the personal element show a desire for such accuracy.
In the last analysis, if all the above factors were perfectly known, we should still have to use judgment and mix our scientific paint with brains.
320 ONTARIO STREET