ON this subject I consider myself qualified to speak: since I had the good fortune to be born into a Homoeopathic Nursery.
Our people have been homoeopaths for three generations.
Our Scotch Grandfather, Sir Charles Pasley, K.C.B.R.E. who died in 1861 used to come to Annual Meetings of this Hospital. I am told that his name appears in its annals, as moving resolutions. He became a very keen homoeopath, because he was a man of rare ability and intellect, and his life had been saved by Lachesis (one of our snake poisons) when he was desperately ill with pneumonia.
My Father and Mother were not only keen homoeopaths, but most successful prescribers: and that, not only for their own large family (there were twelve of us) but also for heaps of people, rich and poor. Where there is no homoeopathic doctor within reach, it is wonderful what good prescribers certain persons, gifted that way, become; and how impossible they find it, to keep the saving power to themselves. My parents had grasped not only the Homoeopathic Law of “Likes”, that is, the treatment of sickness by remedies that are capable of producing a like sickness (such as, Merc. cor. corrosive sublimate for dysentery, which in poisonous doses it can produce: or Arsenic for ptomaine poisoning, whose symptoms are absolutely the same).
But my people had gone further. They had mastered the rules of the game the “Doctrines of Hahnemann” in regard to the administration of the “like” medicine:- not only, what to give, but when to give and when to stop. I remember how my mother used to remonstrate with me when, first qualified, I was prescribing homoeopathic medicines in a way that she knew was wrong. “That is not homoeopathy. When the patient is better Stop.”.
Several times my mother saved the life of one of her children, when the case being too serious for her to take full responsibility an allopathic doctor had to be called in. I remember one such case. It is so stamped on my memory that I even remember the Gospel lesson that we had been reading that Sunday afternoon ! I must have been eight or nine years old. One of the babies, over-fed by a stupid old monthly nurse, and far too fat, was indulging in Broncho-pneumonia. I remember it so well. He was supposed to be dying, and I looked with awe on his blue lips and blue nails, as he gasped his little life out.
The doctor had had his innings, and failed. Then my mother, desperate, came in with her globules of Ant. tart. that marvellous remedy for little children and old people, when the lungs are filling up, and the end is near. When the doctor returned a few hours later, the change was so amazing, that he merely came twice a day to watch the infant till it was safe, whilst he left the prescribing to my mother. That infant survived to command the Heavy Artillery of one of the Divisions in the Great War, and Homoeopathy in the Nursery saved a Brig. General for the nations hour of life-and- death struggle.
Another time, of which my mother has told me, one of the small boys was ill with what was called English Cholera and not a bad imitation, apparently, of the real thing. The doctor a Homoeopath this time was at his wits end: the boy did not respond. At last he asked, “Is there any medicine that particularly suits this child?” “Yes, Phosphorus,” said my mother, and Phos. promptly ended that trouble.
Looking back, I realise that, except when babies were making their appearance, there have been very few times when I can remember a doctor in the house. The doctors bill was never an item of family expenditure and that with father, mother, twelve children and half-a-dozen servants!.
Among my mothers most terrible and successful experiences was when her whole little family (happily only six of us had at that time arrived in the world) went down with smallpox. Not all at once. The agony was prolonged. Every fortnight there was a fresh victim or victims. The eldest boy had brought it back from school, where there was a bad outbreak. The disease was probably modified by vaccination we had all been successfully vaccinated but not one escaped.
She ascertained that she could get a local doctor at need we were spending the boys holidays in the Isle of Wight– but she could not contemplate the loss of homoeopathy for her little people in such sickness. So she and an aunt worked through those nightmare weeks, with children smothered with horrible pustules sometimes delirious fretting and needing to be nursed and even carried about. She has told me how she had to nurse me in her arms through a whole night, singing a little German rhyme about the dead cat and the mice dancing for joy in the straw. But she got us through: and we were none of us really marked. That was indeed “some Homoeopathy”! in the Nursery.
She had great times with whooping-cough, measles, chicken-pox (for those who had not had smallpox), and these all came, “not as single spies, but in battalions” because our name was legion. Besides all the other minor ailments of a less serious character and more personal colds and coughs stomach-aches and sickness diarrhoeas my parents had abundantly proved the value of Homoeopathy in the nursery.
No wonder that they were keen homoeopaths! When my father, late in life, spent six months in Peru on behalf of the Peruvian Corporation, of which he was Chairman, he went armed with a little homoeopathic medicine chest: and he told us how people used to come up to him after Sunday Service in Lima, “Oh, Sir Henry, I want you to prescribe for me!” He had learnt his Homoeopathy in the nursery and had the common medicines at his finger tips.
He was for many years on the Board of this Hospital, and as Chairman of the House Committee took a very active part in its management: and his last great act really the outcome of Homoeopathy in the nursery! was to provide for its extension. He said to me, “I have done my part, in enlarging the Hospital you must do the rest!” the rest being, to man it with homoeopathic doctors. So you see I have inherited a great task, which I have toiled for many years to discharge.
In our nursery there were two devoted nurses sisters who were with us for many years. My mother was very lucky, for they were a farmers daughters, and vastly superior to the run of nurses in conscientiousness and intelligence. In their day there was always a small homoeopathic nursery medicine chest, in whose use for emergencies they became very proficient. They had Aconite for sudden feverishness, Dulcamara where the little ones had been caught in the rain and got wet, and so on. I remember that Nux was dubbed by them “temper medicine” not a bad description of the action of that remedy.
But medicine have opposite actions. Nux only helps temper because of its power to evoke it in sensitives. And my mother has told me how, in church one Sunday, she suddenly remembered that she had given Nux that morning to one of the children, and how that “poor child” was always upset by Nux, and how she came home to find, as she expected, that he had been a perfect little demon. He was hypersensitive to Nux, and had “proved” it.
One of the amusements we used to provide for our mother and the nurses so long as we lived by the river at Hampton Court was croup, to which most of us were, on occasion, addicted; wet feet or currant buns were supposed to be among the exciting causes.
And here the celebrated “Croup Powders,” Aconite, Hepar and Spongia, saved the situation every time. For years these three homoeopathic remedies, in the 200th potency, were sold by homoeopathic chemists as five powders to be taken in a certain order should so many be required Acon. Spong. Hepar Spong. Hepar “Boenninghausens Croup Powders.”.
I was not long out of the nursery when I made my own first experiment with Homoeopathy. I was always a bit “uppish,” and used to think, in my abyssmal ignorance, “Why do we have these funny little globules? Why dont we have doctors and proper medicines, like other people?”.
Well, we were living at Wyvenhoe Hall, an old Domesday Book house in Essex, and my mother was away for a days shopping, and I perhaps fourteen years old was the eldest at home; when word came through that one of the housemaids was ill, in great pain, and that her ailment was “spasms.”.
I consulted my mothers books and discovered Spasms whatever they might be! and for Spasms Nux. This was fine! So the housemaid got Nux, and I sensed POWER for I had promptly cured my first case.
I remember a very humorous cook of ours an Essex woman telling me about a small boy and his results with Homoeopathy. His mother had a garden partly, and one of the guests was taken ill: “So blessed if that little nipper didnt run off and get her some Pulsatilla, and it cured her too! What do you make of that, now?”.
That is what Homoeopathy is! so simple so sure so rapid in action where you get the right remedy: and a child may find it! that is to say, in the simple illnesses of healthy people. In the chronic sickness of diseased people it is not quite such a simple proposition.
Now what I would plead for is a return to the good old days of our mothers, with a homoeopathic medicine chest in every house: certainly in every house where there are children.
What should it contain?.
First and foremost, Aconite. That quick-acting remedy perfectly harmless in homoeopathic potencies. It comes in for the effects of chill fright strain: such as restless feverishness tossing and sleeplessness bounding pulse agonising turmoil. In adults and in children, in sudden, superficial ailments, it is priceless. The sufferer turns over and sleeps his way back to health. Or, if some deeper condition is threatening, it will be modified by starting with Aconite for such symptoms.
In these days everyone seems to resort to Aspirin, which masks symptoms temporarily dulls pain and cures nothing.