THE STEPPING-STONE TO HOMOEOPATHY AND HEALTH BY E. H. RUDDOCK, M.D.
This Manual is issued as a “Stepping-Stone” to the domestic practice of Homoeopathy; a few remarks, therefore, explanatory of this system of medicine, may appropriately precede its practical teachings.
Life is the noblest gift of God, and health one of its greatest accompanying blessings. To recover health when lost, and to preserve it in its integrity to the allotted period of human life, are the objects contemplated in the publication of this little volume. The reader is requested to pause a few minutes before entering on the subsequent practical details, in order briefly to consider some of the more prominent features, and a few of the advantages that would arise from the more general and extended adoption of Homoeopathy.
Homoeopathy is a system of medicine for the cure of all curable diseases, first discovered and adopted over a century ago (A.D. 1790), by that great physician, HAHNEMANN. But we do not claim for that distinguished man the invention of Homoeopathy; he only removed the obscurity which had hitherto shrouded the subject of medicine, and unfolded to mankind a great law of nature, just as Newton discovered the principle of gravitation. Glimmerings of this science had been caught, many centuries before, by Hippocrates and others, but the illustrious Hahnemann was the first fully to grasp the principle, and to enunciate it is the law of healing and therefore of universal applicability. At first, its professors were few, and consisted of the immediate friends and disciples of Hahnemann; but, ever since, they have been steadily multiplying, so that now medical men of great intelligence and high moral principle are to be found practising Homoeopathy in every civilised portion of the globe. There are about three hundred avowed legally qualified practitioners in Great Britain; while if those who approve the system, and practise it in part or in secret, were added, the number would be far more than doubled. In the United States of America there are upwards of 10,000 practitioners, and many state-supported hospitals, universities and medical colleges.
Status of Professional Homoeopaths:
It is often represented that homoeopathic medical men occupy an inferior position to those of the old school. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The homoeopathic practitioners of Great Britain hold the same degrees and diplomas, have the same legal rank, and have passed through the same course of study, under allopathic professors, as their brethren of the old school. In some portions of the continent, and in America, Homoeopathy is practised coextensively with Allopathy. Moreover, there are many who practise.
Homoeopathically, but have not the courage to avow it: and many others who, impelled by the influence which this system is every- where exerting, are greatly modifying their practice. Even the Lancet occasionally opens its pages to the teaching of Homoeopathy: an Allopath describes the successful treatment of nausea, retching, and vomiting, by a drop of Ipecacuanha wine in a teaspoonful of water, repeated at first every hour, and after- wards every four hours. The writer states that he was induced by the recommendation of a medical friend (no doubt a Homoeopath) to use this treatment, that he did it with the greatest scepticism, and with the fullest expectation of finding these small doses useless. Repeated successes, after the failure of lengthened trials of the usual allopathic armament, compelled him to believe in their efficacy. Indeed, Aconite, and various other of our well-known remedies, are frequently prescribed; and cases successfully treated by them are quoted in the allopathic journals. The use of single remedies, in one or two-drop doses, or even smaller, by medical men of the old school, satisfactorily proves the growing influence of Homoeopathy: especially when, as we have seen, the remedies so used are prescribed for diseases to which they are homoeopathic. The good thus effected by the discovery of Hahnemann is immeasurable. Its influence is both direct and indirect, acknowledged and unacknowledged, but always beneficent. Not only medical men, but tens of thousands of intelligent persons, in every civilized portion of the globe, confide in Homoeopathy as the best and most natural system of cure.
Homoeopathy pirated by Allopathic:
But the most convincing proof of the advance of Homoeopathy is to be found in the more popular of the allopathic works on materia medica and therapeutics, such as Dr. Lauder Brunton’s Pharmacology, Therapeutics, and Materia Medica (Macmillan, third edition, 1891), and Professor Sidney Ringer’s Handbook of Therapeutics (thirteenth edition, Lewis, 1897). In these books homoeopathic remedies are recommended by the hundred, but no acknowledgment is made to Homoeopathy or Hahnemann. And this is what constitutes the dishonesty of their action. In science and literature to appropriate the works of another without giving due acknowledgment to the real author of them constitutes piracy; and the works of the writers we have named are at once an unintentional monument to the genius of Hahnemann, and an equally unintentional monument to the writers’ own disgrace.
Homoeopathy going down?
It is true, the statement is often made by its opponents, that the new system is on the decline. “Homoeopathy is going down,” once remarked a medical man of the allopathic school. It is going down. Not however, in the sense he wished. It is sinking deep into the understandings and hearts of the people. Almost every where they are directing their attention to the subject. They try it, and in the hour of sickness confide in it; and if not conversant with the scientific proofs of Homoeopathy, they recognize in it a power to heal superior to that which they have ever experienced under the old plan of treatment.
What is Homoeopathy?
It may be advisable to answer succinctly this question before going further. Homoeopathy is a system of administering medicines for the cure of the sick, based on the fact that drugs have the power of causing in the healthy diseased states similar to those they have the power of removing in the sick. Thus quinine, which cures ague, has the power of causing attacks of fever like the ague fits; and Belladonna, which mitigates and prevents scarlet fever, produces in the healthy fever, sore throat, and a rash very like the symptoms of scarlet fever.
Homoeopathy appeals to Facts.
It is deserving of remark, that in the discovery of Homoeopathy, Hahnemann did not first conceive a theory, and afterwards seek for facts with which to uphold it. No! At starting, and at each successive step, he relied solely upon facts. What he learned was from well-observed and unquestionable facts, based upon carefully conducted experiments. His assertions were grounded upon facts, the result of patient and oft-repeated investigations. For several years he kept his discovery to himself; at the same time he was arranging and accumulating evidence founded upon facts, which was diligently collected and closely scrutinized. At last he could speak with the confidence of a man who was well assured that the statements he made were true, that underneath the superstructure of theory there was not an uncertain foundation of supposition and probability, but the firm rock of natural and immutable reality. Homoeopathy is still upheld by facts. Its foundation cannot be shaken. Its position is firm in spite of all the storms by which it has been assailed, and all the tests by which it has been proved. It is because it has stood the trial of experience that it has been preserved to the present time, and will be transmitted to the latest generations.
Homoeopathic treatment is not only distinguished by its simple evolution from facts, but also by its simple exhibition of methods of cure. Only one remedy is given at a time, thus the pure action of each separate drug is ascertained, and the confusion resulting from mixing different substances in one prescription is avoided. Every remedy has an action peculiar to itself; and it cannot but happen, when several drugs are introduced into the system at the same time, that they interfere with each other. If, under such circumstances, good is effected, it is often impossible to determine which drug, or how many out of the number, have contributed to the result. Or if no good follows, and it be necessary to alter the prescription, then it must be also impossible to know what change to make, what remedies to omit, what new ones to add. Dr. Paris, a distinguished allopathic physician, says he was once told by a practitioner, in the country, that the quantity and complexity of the medicines which he gave his patients were always increased in the ration with the obscurity of their cases. “If”, said he, “I fire a profusion of shot, it is very extraordinary if some do not hit the mark.” “A patient in the hands of such a practitioner,” adds Dr. Paris, “has not a much better chance than a Chinese Mandarin, who, upon being attacked with any disease, calls in twelve or more physicians, and swallows in one mixture all the potions which each separately prescribes.” In Homoeopathy we only give one medicine at a time; its action upon the system is then simple and undisturbed; and we are no longer in doubt as to what is doing good.
Small Doses. 1 See article on “The Small Dose” in The Homoeopathic World, Oct., 1885.
Homoeopathy does not necessarily mean a small dose, as it is often erroneously supposed to do. The term is intended to designate a certain relation of medicine to disease, not a certain quantity of the medicine. The grand principle that which forms the basis of the science is, like cures like, irrespective of the quantity of the dose. Hahnemann, after he had discovered this principle, employed doses of the usual quantity. Experience and further investigation, however, taught him that smaller doses were not only sufficient and safer, but that, when frequently administered, they were more effective than large ones. Others have learned the same lesson, which is enforced by the testimony of all subsequent medical men who have fairly tested the point. The assertions of others who have not so tested it cannot claim confidence.
Apart from the greater curative power of small doses, it is a matter of perfect indifference to the followers of Hahnemann whether they administer medicines in large or small doses. If they found large doses more efficient in curing diseases than small ones, they would assuredly administer the former rather than the latter. We would suggest three reasons why small doses, administered in harmony with the homoeopathic law, are efficient: First, because they are exactly suited to the exalted susceptibility of the diseased part, and act upon the same class of functions that nature has already called to her aid. Secondly, because they act directly on the part which requires to be influenced, and not on other parts; their force is not, therefore, expended on healthy parts. And, thirdly, because only one remedy being administered at a time, its action is not interfered with by one or several others. Doctors who always administer drugs in combination have no idea of the power of single drugs in small doses.
Homoeopathy not opposed to Experience:
The results obtained by homoeopathic practitioners with small doses have been said to be opposed to all experiences. But the truth is that, prior to the researches of Hahnemann and his followers, we had no experience whatever in the matter. It is, consequently, just as absurd for medical men to deny that homoeopathic remedies can effect the cure of diseases because such cures are contrary to the experience of those who have never tried them, as for a certain King of Siam to have treated as false the statement that in some countries, and in some seasons, water, under the influence of frost, becomes changed from a fluid to a solid, permitting persons to walk upon it, because in his country no such phenomenon had ever been witnessed! Siamese philosophers are not yet extinct.
Faith not Homoeopathy:
That the efficacy of Homoeopathy is not dependent on faith or imagination, is proved by its curing the diseases of infants, of patients in delirium, and of inferior animals. The writer is personally acquainted with many intelligent farmers who employ none other than homoeopathic medicines in the treatment of their sick animals. It must be admitted that the farmers of this country are generally shrewd, calculating men, not easily deceived in matters affecting their interests, and moreover, usually conservative in their notions; nevertheless great numbers of them declare that Homoeopathy cures diseases that were incurable by the old method, that it cures more quickly, at less cost, and without damage to the constitutional powers of animals. We have in such declarations as these the best evidence that the success of Homoeopathy is not the result of mere faith, but of valuable medicines, properly administered.1 Mr. Lord has given the results of five years’ trial of Homoeopathy, not on the horses of private persons, but on those of the Cavalry Depot at Canterbury, and at Her Majesty’s Riding Establishment. Here Mr. Lord had full opportunities of trying our system before the open eyes of the military authorities, with their consent, and at the Government expense. Veterinary Homoeopathy is officially recognized in the British army, and this circumstances is due, in great measure, to the efforts of Mr. Lord, and his success in treatment.
In truth, the success of Homoeopathy is anything but the result of faith in those who practise it. Persons are generally slow to believe in it, and seldom have recourse to it, at first, without doubts and misgivings. Yet benefit is derived, in spite of their unbelief. Cure overcomes their incredulity. Faith comes and grows only as the cure progresses and is complete. The very improbability of a dose so small and so unlike what had been formerly given, acts, so far as the imagination has any influence upon the cure, unfavourably, instead of the reverse. Conviction does not heal, it is the healing that produces the conviction.
Diet not Homoeopathy
Neither does Homoeopathy consist in dietary measures, as often stated. All the interference of the homoeopathic doctor in this particular only amounts to the discouragement of the use of such articles as are needles or injurious, and just such as any accomplished and faithful physician would prohibit. As physician for many years to a large dispensary in Reading, the author often remarked that some of his most successful cases had been cured without any reference to the question of diet at all, and never prescribed the moderate use of coffee, tea, or anything else that agreed with the patient. In many cases, a strict set of dietary regulations would be useless, for dispensary patients have generally but little choice of food; yet none have benefited from Homoeopathy more than the poor.
Medicines in Health
A story has often been told of a child’s swallowing the contents of a tube of globules, which created great alarm but took “no effect.” Supposing the statement true, it doses not at all compromise Homoeopathy. Homoeopathic medicines, in the form in which they are usually administered, are prepared with view of acting on the constitution in disease, when the parts are far more sensitive, and much more easily affected, than in a state of health. A healthy constitution has no susceptibility for attenuated drugs; to ensure their action in health they must be administered in a low or crude form, so as to produce unnatural effects in short, a kind of poisoning.
For instance, a ray of light falling upon a diseased eye will cause pain, or even become intolerable, although in health the same eye might be unaffected by the broad light of day. The susceptibility of the eye has, in fact, been heightened by disease. Millions of rays of light afforded pleasure in health: now, one ray gives pain. Just so in reference to the tubes of globules, that which will produce no disturbance in health will, in disease, with heightened sensibility, act powerfully.
Small doses may be taken without producing effects, just as seed may be sown without yielding fruit. It were as reasonable to expect a plentiful harvest from seeds scattered on the seashore, or on a beaten path, as to expect “effects” from infinitesimal doses when the natural accessories are wanting. As seed will not grow unless the soil is congenial and prepared, so small doses will not act if the symptoms calling for their action are absent.
To borrow another illustration: The disease must have the same attraction for the medicine that the magnet has for iron. You could not tell by touching the loadstone with a piece of copper that it had any power of attraction; neither could you tell by taking an attenuation of Aconitum in a state of health, that it had any power. But try the magnet with a piece of iron, and Aconitum with a quick pulse, and then their respective energies will be demonstrated.
When it is said that the globules took “no effect,” the meaning is, no such “effect” as follows allopathic doses, viz., vomiting, purging, extreme pain, etc. And here we have an illustration of the safety of homoeopathic remedies, and see how favourably they contrast with the strong drugs and severe measures often employed under the old system of treatment. Well, indeed, would it have been for thousands of allopathic patients if bleeding, Mercury, blisters, purgatives, etc., had also taken “no effect.”
Advantages of Homoeopathy:
We are thus led on to the consideration of the advantages arising from the adoption of homoeopathic treatment, but we have only space to refer to a few.
Economy is secured chiefly from the shortened duration of diseases. Bleeding, blistering, purging, and other debilitating measures are discarded, so that, the disease being cured, the patient soon regains his strength, because it has not been expended by exhausting treatment. Tedious convalescence and permanently shattered health too often follow allopathic drugging. Patients often suppose they have not fully “got over” the disease, when in reality they are suffering from the effects of drugs administered to master the disease. To the industrial portions of the community, whose livelihood depends upon continuous work in their calling, a speedy restoration to health is of great importance. Now it is a fact of too common occurrence, that much inconvenience, and even destitution, often results from the injudicious and protracted measures of the old system; for the poor patient is long in recovering. On the other hand, there is no medicinal exhaustion from which to recover, when the disease has been overcome by homoeopathic remedies.
In respect to successful treatment, Homoeopathy is immensely superior to Allopathy. Patients who have been under both systems are best able to judge of their comparative merits, and such almost always give the palm to Homoeopathy.
Is the Public a competent judge?
It may be said, the public are incompetent to judge of such a matter; but it is not so; and although they might for a time be deceived, the deception could not last long. In matters affecting their personal interest, the public are remarkably shrewd, and seldom fail to arrive at a sound conclusion. Not only the general public, but also physicians among the most highly educated of the profession, after due investigation and experiment, have renounced the old for the new system of practice; while some of the most profound scholars and greatest nobles in the land are Homoeopaths. The clergy and ministers of all denominations are rapidly embracing the system. So, we venture to affirm, will all those act who have the moral courage to inquire, investigate, and think for themselves.
Homoeopathy and Cholera:
The superiority of homoeopathic over allopathic treatment applies both to acute and chronic diseases. Under the old system, when Cholera prevailed in this country, two out of every three patients were LOST; on the other hand, under Homoeopathy, two out of every three were SAVED. A medical inspector appointed by the Board of Health to investigate cases of Cholera, one who was always strongly opposed to Homoeopathy, thus wrote to one of the surgeons of the London Homoeopathic Hospital:
“I need not tell you that I have taken some pains to make myself acquainted with the rise, progress, and medical treatment of Cholera; and that I claim for myself some right to be able to recognize the disease, and to know something of what the treatment ought to be; and, that there may be therefore no misapprehension about the cases I saw in your hospital, I will add, that all I saw were true cases of Cholera, in the various stages of the disease; and that I saw several cases which did well under your treatment, which I have no hesitation in saying would have sunk under any other.
“In conclusion. I must repeat to you what I have already told you, and what I have told every one with whom I have conversed, that, although an Allopath by education, principle, and practice, yet, were it the will of Providence to afflict me with Cholera, and to deprive me of the power of prescribing for myself, I would rather be in the hands of a homoeopathic than an allopathic adviser.”
Take a further illustration of the superiority of Homoeopathy, as seen in the treatment of Constipation of the bowels. Allopathy cannot cure this complaint. It can only give aperients or purgatives; and these, so far from removing the evil, in the long run generally aggravate it; whereas, by a little perseverance in the use of her remedies, Homoeopathy cures it, even in the most inveterate cases.