I would like to tell you of an early experience of the celebrated Dr. Burnett in Homoeopathy: it is told in his brilliant little book, Fifty Reasons for being a Homoeopath.
He was out to prove Homoeopathy “a lying sham” – a “therapeutic Nihilism.” So he would try it at the bedside, and expose it – to an admiring profession.
(It is a curious fact that some of the greatest Homoeopathic doctors of the past started just that way. They looked into Homoeopathy – in order to disprove it – and of course they were caught.).
Burnett was then in charge of a ward where sick children were admitted and kept under observation till, a diagnosis made, they could be drafted off into the wards, as measles-pneumonia- rheumatism – or whatever it might be.
As feverish colds were just then prevalent, he put a few drops of Aconite tincture into a large bottle, and gave it to the nurse, with orders to administer it to all the children on one side of the ward as soon as they came in; while the children on the other side of the ward were to have no Aconite, but the customary treatment.
Next morning he got his shock. Nearly all the children on the Aconite side were feverless, and mostly at play in their cots: one only had measles; and he found that Aconite would not cure measles. Those on the non-Aconite side were worse-or no better- and had to be sent into hospital with localised inflammations – catarrhs, etc.
This went on for days. The Aconite children were generally convalescent in twenty-four to forty-eight hours, except where the seemingly simple fever was the early stage of some specific disease-scarlet fever-measles-rheumatic fever. But most of the cases were genuine chills, and those Aconite cured right off.
The nurse christened the bottle, “Dr. Burnetts Fever Bottle.”.
Burnett was simply dumbfounded. He began to spend long night- hours studying Homoeopathy.
Then, when he entered his ward after an absence of a couple of days, the nurse seemed rather quiet and informed him that all the cases, she thought, might be discharged. “Indeed? – Hows that?”.
“Well, doctor, as you did not come round Sunday or Monday I gave them all your fever medicine. I hadnt the heart to see you go on with your cruel experiments. You are like all the young doctors that come here. You are only trying experiments!”.
So all the children got the benefit of Aconite so long as Dr. Burnett was in charge in that place.
And here you see the enormous advantage of Homoeopathy on the spot, to abort promptly what, left alone, would be perhaps a serious illness.
I showed you the Aconite picture, of restless fever and agonising turmoil. Next you must have Belladonna, with its fiery red face-dry, burning skin-bright eyes with big pupils-twitchings and startings in sleep-even to convulsions. You may see the Bell. picture in teethings: or in the early stages of chest troubles: or in scarlet fever-where it works miracles, modifying and controlling the disease, or even aborting it. I have seen this; and Dr. Lambert, a very keen homoeopath, told me, some years ago, “Either I dont give Belladonna, or I dont notify.” Belladonna in scarlet fever had made a fool of him so often (in the eyes of Health Officers!).
Then Calcarea, for the difficulties of teething. It helps babies and it helps little pigs! For I get asked for Calcarea at our farm when little pigs are not doing too well. It makes them fine and strong I am told. The Calcarea baby is late in teething: a fat and flabby child: inclined to be rickety and to soak its pillow at night, so greatly does the head perspire in sleep. When I took over the out-patient children at the Hospital during the war I saw the marvellous effect of Calcarea in rickets – even in bad cases with much deformity.
Then Chamomilla, with the restless misery that takes the shape of vile temper. The child demands a thing-to hurl it away. Wants to be carried and screams if set down. Wherever you get this frantic, restless irritation – in babe or in adult – Chamomilla will be oil for the troubled waters.
Dulcamara – for the effects of cold damp-wet feet – chills and diarrhoea, when evenings are cold after a hot day – or when the weather becomes suddenly cold. It will often clear off the so- called “milk-crust” from a babys head: and it will not hard it, as the smearing on of skin preparations may do. You want to cure things, not to “drive them in,” for worse troubles later on.
But Arsenicum must not be forgotten. A great remedy for ptomaine poisonings. The Ars. picture is: great prostration – coldness-restlessness – fear-diarrhoea and vomiting – sometimes simultaneous – a remedy of sudden, desperate illness. Arsenicum should be in every house for prompt use: and that not only in the nursery! It is marvellous to see how rapidly the sufferer reacts to Arsenicum. The diarrhoea stops: the patient becomes warm and peaceful – the storm is over. I have seen several cases of this absolute magic.
Bryonia, again. Pain anywhere – head, chest, joints; but everything better at rest, and intensified by every movement. Tongue white: thirst: and the patient wants to be let alone.
Mercurius, for complaints with profuse, offensive perspiration; foul mouth, filled with offensive saliva. You may see this condition in influenza and fever – in sore throats – in rheumatism, etc. Your nose and eyes will not miss it, even if your knowledge does not go so far!.
Nux. Constipation with stomach ache, and pinching, spasmodic pains. Nux is cross-quarrelsome-very shivery-has perhaps eaten too much.
The Pulsatilla child likes to be petted. Far, fair, fretful: jealous and wants attention :- often selfish. Cries easily: and can be made to laugh again easily. Indigestion, in such a child. It hates fat; is not very hungry or thirsty. A great remedy for measles: in chilblains, where they are more painful when hot: – in earache-in inflamed eyes.
The children who respond best to Phosphorus are the tall, thin, delicate children who are afraid of so many things- as, the dark- of being alone – of thunder. They are apt to crave salt and to be thirsty for cold water. For such children Phos. is a great remedy for colds and all chest complaints: also for diarrhoea with a little blood in the motions.
Sulphur. A rather greedy child-hungry, anyway! eats everything, so long as its something to eat. Likes fat:- kicks off the bedclothes. Sulphur has often fair, unruly hair: is argumentative-the little, grubby, ragged philosopher. Not too clean: not at all tidy: and not fond of a bath.
But Arnica must not be forgotten! – for falls – bruises – sprains – for all injuries, slight or serious. It must be given internally always: and applied externally, but only where the skin is not broken. Where skin is broken use Hypericum (or Calendula) externally.
Then Drosera for whooping-cough: I had much experience with this during the war, in the childrens department. One dose of Dros. will generally cure, or greatly modify, whooping-cough in a week to fourteen days: Hahnemann tells us that it should be left to act, and not repeated-if the miracle is to work!.
Influenza may need Gelsemium – or Baptisia. Gels. is the shivery, heavy-eyed and heavy-limbed type: Baptisia the dull, besotted condition, dull-red and drowsy. All these remedies you should have at hand.
Lycopodium may come in where there is sand on the diaper: or where the urine is acrid, and makes the baby sore wherever it comes in contact with the skin. A Lyc. child is very fond of sweet things, and gets a lot of indigestion with much distension and flatulence.
Ah, but you have not the gift of prescribing? You would distrust yourself? You would want help?.
And please dont run away with the idea that I want you to start treating smallpox!.
In these days there is the telephone. What a comfort the telephone would have been, times without number, to my anxious mother in her isolation: who did not dare to commit her precious children to an allopath when she knew that Homoeopathy could cure them so much more quickly-surely-and safely.
That is Homoeopathy – quick – sure- safe.
But in these days you can ring up the Homoeopath doctor if he is out of reach, and he will ask symptoms and tell you the remedy to give. And you will not have to wait and send round and round the world to get it. You will be able to give it, at the time when it will help most – and that is, at once. You will open your little box and put a few globules on the sleeping infants tongue, and it will suck at the sweet nothings without waking, and find healing.
But-one word of warning. Get your medicines at a homoeopathic chemist. Dont go to just any chemist who, “Yes! he does sell homoeopathic medicines,” and get strong tinctures. The potencies are safe: not so the strong tinctures. Homoeopathic Nux, in strong tincture, is actually stronger than allopathic Nux, and Dr. Burnetts experimental babies, treated with crude Aconite, though cured of their fevers were, he tells us, rather pale and had perspired overmuch.
Get your remedies at a good homoeopathic chemist. And let them be not less than the 6th or the 12th potency.