Editor of THE HOMOEOPATHIC RECORDER:.
Owing o circumstances not under my control, I was unable to attend the 72d annual convention of the I.H.A. at Swampscott in June of last year. For this reason I read your editorial in the August issue of The Recorder with especial interest. It emphasizes the fact those who have “denied themselves the privilege of at tending” and particularly those who were prevented from being present for legitimate reasons, should be given and adequate account of the proceedings. But what impressed me was what you said concerning the discourtesy on the part of many of those in attendance in not taking their seats promptly in the assembly room.
It is a discourtesy, although the majority of the offenders would be indignant if this is pointed out to them. The primary use of a convention is the promotion of the cause to which it is dedicated, and those who make use of it merely as a pleasure jaunt should go elsewhere an let the proceedings be conducted in an orderly manner. While carelessness in this respect is by no means new, the tenor of your editorial seems to indicate that it was more evident at the Swampscott meetings. In the past it had resulted in the curtailment of discussions, though I cannot recall any instance when there was no time for the actual reading of some of the papers on the program.
Perhaps this is the reason why there was no discussion of Dr. Julia Greens excellent essay, “On Evaluating Our Remedies, ” published in the December Recorder, while Enstams “Non- surgically yours,” in the same issue, is followed by three full pages of interesting and informative remarks. Dr. Enstams paper is a unique contribution to this much discussed subject, but Dr. Green analyzes one of the most vital problems of the art prescribing. A paper of this sort deserves more than simple reading of it, and if you will bear with me, I should like to make some comments of my own with the hope that others of your readers will do likewise.
The pathogenesis of a remedy is,in reality, the picture of an individual, but one who is sick and, as such, quite a different person, mentally and Physically. While his heart continues to beat, his digestive organs continue to prepare food for absorption and the elimination of waste, his kidneys, liver and endocrines continue to function, he can think an will, but he is subject to the laws of disease instead of to the laws of health. He is “not himself,” as is shown by the new and unwanted characteristics he exhibits. Recognizing this, the prescriber is able to avoid the mistake of trying to cure peculiarities and traits that have been a part of the patients life ever since he was born.
Many years ago, a French physician boasted that he could change the character of a child if he got him early enough. In my humble opinion this is a fallacy. It is a fundamental tenet of Homoeopathy that disease is a state of disorder due to a deranged dynamis, which is, in effect, the vice of the soul, not the soul itself which is far beyond the reach of anything of a material nature.
That Hahnemann was aware of this is proved by the fact that, though at times he calls the dynamis the “life force,” in only one instance, as far as I have been able to find does he call it “spiritual”. Whenever elsewhere he qualifies it with an adjective, he uses the word “geistige,” spirit-like, not “geistig”. Several translators of The Organon have overlooked this important distinction.
But Dr. Green treats her subject from the teachers standpoint and her paper is really a lesson in the study of materia medica. It goes without saying that the remedy must be homoeopathic to the totality of the symptoms, but the tyro is liable to overlook the fact that the nature of the disease, its affinity for certain tissues, its pace and length of duration are an essential part of the picture. For instance, Aconite cease to be the similimum when pus begins to form; Belladonna, Mercurius, Hepar and even Pulsatilla are most often the remedies when suppuration has developed.
The Calcareas, Fluorides, Mercurius, Silica or Sulphur have a special affinity for bony tissues, but As afoetida, Phosphoric acid and Pulsatilla may be equally well indicated; Belladonna, Bryonia seldom, Aconite never, Rhus tox., Fluoric acid, Ruta and Guaiacum stand at the head of the list for the affections of fibrous tissue, but Bryonia, Phytolacca and Kali mur. may be most similar to the symptoms of the case. Bryonia, Kali carb. and Belladonna favor serous membranes, perhaps to a lesser extent, Cantharis, Arsenicum of Ferrum phos.
Aconite, Belladonna, Cina and Ipecac are said to be short-acting remedies. Alumina and Sepia, for instance, are shown by the provings to be slow-acting but of long duration. This has been confirmed by clinical experience. Yet these and many others belonging to the same group may show remedial action in a few minutes to half an hour.
Belladonna and Aconite are seldom indicated in cases where there is no fever. But the former has cured violent palpitation with stabbing pains coming and going quickly in the region of the heart, with no temperature at all; and Aconite, the after effects of a fright sustained twenty years previously.
We speak of deep-acting and light-acting remedies and quite properly. In deep all these general classifications are helpful, provided the characteristics of the case are considered paramount, bearing in mind the fact that a deep-acting remedy of long duration may act quickly and for a short time in acute cases, and a so-called short-acting drug maintain its curative effect for months in a chronic disease. This may be explained by remembering that the remedy acts as soon as it touches the tongue and that the reaction of the organism to it does the curing. I have always urged my students to study a remedy as though it were a living human being.
It cannot be denied, however, that the general classification of our remedies as deep-acting, light-acting, long-or short-acting, is not legitimate but is often of great help in their evaluation. Suppose for the sake of illustration, that two remedies seem to be about equally well indicated in a given case, but that on is evaluated as deep-acting and the other as light- acting. In an acute disease or a chronic affection without complications, we would naturally select the lighter acting drug; whereas in a patient who has been ill for many years and especially where there is evidence of suppression, we would favor the drug that reaches more deeply into the economy of the organism.