THE prevention treatment of diseases is of supreme importance not only to the physicians but to the whole world. We all knew the great boon which Jenner’s discovery of vaccination has conferred on the world at large. Vaccination, properly speaking, is a true Homoeo-prophylactic. The ill effects of vaccination are solely due to its abuse. Prophylactic treatment of small-pox was long in vogue in India, and the system is known as inoculation. That inoculation is a surer prophylaxis than vaccination is beyond all doubt and cavil.
There is, however, one recommendation for vaccination, and the relative advantages and disadvantages of inoculation and vaccination, though it is a fact established beyond doubt that inoculation, although certain in its action, is dangerous in application, and had therefore to give way to the less dangerous method of vaccination.
Seven years ago Dr. Ferran, of Spain extensively tried his new method of inoculation of “cholera virus.” It is not yet known to the profession what “cholera virus.” is, and what was his method of inoculation. When, in 1885, cholera was devastating Southern Europe-more specially France, Spain, and Italy-Dr. Ferran astounded the world by his extravagant and bold assertion that of sixteen hundred inoculations there occurred not a single case of cholera. Physicians from neighboring countries at once repaired to Spain to see for themselves the astounding result of “Ferranization,” as well as to learn the method of Ferran’s inoculations.
The Madrid Academy of Medicine, on investigation, found “Ferranization” useless, and publicly declared it to be so. German and French physicians returned to their respective countries well satisfied that “Ferranization” was nothing but a snare and delusion.
Now comes the question, whether it is even possible to prevent cholera by inoculation? This question cannot, indeed, be answered satisfactorily in the present state of our knowledge. The specific “cholera virus” has not yet been discovered and demonstrated. I assert this in spite of Dr. Koch’s so-called discovery of comma-shaped “cholera bacillus” as the true ‘cholera virus.” Dr. Koch’s comma-shaped bacillus has been found and demonstrated long ago in aphthous sore mouth and in persons suffering from dysentery by Drs. Lewis and Cunningham. Drs. Klein and Heneage Gibbs also proved the innocuousness of Koch’s comma- shaped bacillus by drinking a whole lot of these bacilli, cultivated according to Koch’s method, with impunity.
Nor could Klein and Heneage Gibbs produce cholera in pigs and other animals by injecting the cultivated bacilli. Though Klein escaped from an attack of cholera by swallowing these bacilli, I must admit that this cannot be an argument against the non-specificity of these bacilli, for we all know that every one exposed to small-pox or any other infections disease, it requires a peculiar state of the system; or, in other words, specific virus of infections diseases is capable of infecting a person when it gets, as it were, a suitable nidus for propagation.
Very lately Pettenkofer largely experimented with the specific cholera bacilli. In all cases he failed to produce cholera in those with whom he experimented. He at last, on several different occasions, experimented on himself. Once or twice diarrhoeic stools were produced only. But on all occasions the stools were found swarming with the so called specific bacilli of cholera. Pettenkofer thus satisfactorily proved that these bacilli were not either the remote or proximate cause of cholera.
Prevention of cholera by inoculation, therefore, must be ineffectual so long as we are unable to discover and isolate beyond doubt the specific virus of cholera. Besides, if cholera be avoided by inoculation of cholera virus, I would call this method Iso-prophylaxis, and not Homoeo-prophylaxis.
Vaccination is a true Homoeo-prophylaxis. It is efficacious in preventing spread of small-pox those who are protected by its inoculation. Dr. Burnett admits this, but he at the same time raises questions which are, to my mind, very pertinent.
He says that vaccination has been able to protect some, but it has not been able either to decrease the mortality and morbidity of those who are attacked with the pox. It has, on the other hand, increased the morbidity, i.e., proneness to get diseases. Dr. Burnett’s statements require further verification.
If Homoeo-prophylaxis by inoculation increases the morbidity of the system, it would then be useless to adopt it. It has, however, been abundantly proved that Iso-prophylaxis, such as inoculation of small-pox and hydrophobic virus, has proved dangerous to human life. The celebrated French savant, M. Pasteur, has been trying, with the countenance of the medical profession of the world, inoculation of hydrophobic virus in cases of hydrophobia, with doubtful results well known to you all.
It is my belief, based on the successful preventive treatment of small-pox by vaccination, that Homoeo-prophylaxis is a safe as well as successful method of treatment.
The question which now crops up is whether Homoeo- prophylaxis is possible and practicable by administering Homoeopathic medicines? Our great master, Hahnemann, himself suggested two such medicines prepared according to his own method. These two medicines were Cuprum metallicum and Veratrum album. Drs. Quin, Dudgeon, Josttein, Humphreys and others believe in the efficacy of these two medicinal substances prophylactics of cholera; whereas Drs. Hempel and Rutherford Russel deny their efficacy.
Hahnemann’s directions for the use of Cuprum was to take a small globule of the 30th potency of Cuprum or Veratrum once a week during an epidemic. The medicinal action should not be disturbed by dietetic irregularities and smell of Camphor. He also urged moderate diet and cleanliness.
Dr. Quin’s experience showed that these two substances preserved a good many persons from attacks of cholera. Dr. Humphreys says, “It is the general experience of Homoeopathic physicians that among those who took the medicines (Cuprum and Veratrum), and were attacked with the disease, it showed itself in its mildest form, while those who had omitted this preventive treatment were attacked with great violence.
Dr. Constantine Hering says that “the surest preventive against cholera is Sulphur. Put half a teaspoonful of flowers of Sulphur into each of your stockings, and go about your business. never go out with an empty stomach; eat no fresh bread nor sour food. This is not only a preventive in cholera, but also in many other diseases. Not one of the many thousands who have followed this, my advice, has been attacked by cholera.”
Dr. Dudgeon says: “It would be wrong to neglect the means which the genius of Hahnemann and the labors of his disciples have put within our reach, when the means are so simple and efficacious, whilst the cure is so difficult hazardous”.
Some physicians of the Orthodox School recommend an ounce of brandy two or three times a day after meals, as a preventive against cholera. Others of the same school urge the use of dilute sulphuric acid, ten to fifteen drops every day in empty stomach, as the surest preventive of cholera.
I have thus quoted many highest authorities in our school about the prophylaxis of cholera. All those whom I have quoted are only partially right. I have put Cuprum, Veratrum, Sulphur, Camphor, etc., to the crucible of practical test, with results neither positive nor negative.
As India is the home of cholera, so I have had immense opportunities to try these prophylactics repeatedly. I had sometimes success, other times failures. At last I found that of all physicians Dr.Dudgeon struck the right key-note regarding the use of these prophylactics. He truly says “that prophylactics that were useful in the previous epidemics might not prove equally useful in the next Consequently we can determine upon a prophylactic only when we know the actual character of the epidemic the same rule guiding us in the selection of preventive as in the choice of a remedy viz, a comparison of the symptoms of the disease, with the physiological effects of the remedies”.
This is is the right explanation of failures and successes of prophylactic. We must study the genus epidemics before we can hit upon a prophylactic. All cholera epidemics are not of the same character, neither do all cholera cases present similar symptoms. As there cannot be any specific medicine for any disease, so there can never be any one single prophylactic medicine for any disease. Many physicians, therefore, are mistaken in their notions about specific medicines, both curative and preventive, for diseases.
Every one of us should bear in mind the sage advice of Dudgeon in the selection of prophylactics of cholera. I have had very satisfactory results since following Dudgeon’s advice. Those who have had experience of several cholera epidemics must have noticed that the type and character of all the epidemics are not the same throughout their course. My object in noticing this fact is, that with the change of type and character of the prevailing epidemic we must as well change our prophylactic medicines.
The object of prophylaxis is one of considerable moment both to physicians and the public, though it has not been hitherto worked out properly.
Dudgeon remarks “if we can by means of the Homoeopathic principle discover preventives for such diseases as scarletina and cholera morbus, the discovery of medicinal preventives for other diseases of an equally fixed character seems to be feasible. As yet I cannot say that such preventives have been discovered, for it by no means supported by evidence.”…. “The we shall ultimately succeed in discovering more prophylactics for fixed diseases I do not doubt. In the meantime it can be said that we have advanced in this direction beyond the point Hahnemann brought us to.” Now, it cannot be gainsaid what Dudgeon asserts.
Is it not, therefore, our imperative duty to duty the epidemics of cholera more carefully, more scientifically and more patiently with the view of combating it more successfully? “Prevention is better than cure” is better applicable in this dire disease. As physicians trained in the school of Hahnemann, unfettered by any dogmas, and not bound down by any orthodox line of treatment, I think it should be our primary duty to study the Homoeo-prophylaxis of diseases, and more specially of cholera, which every now and again causes so much havoc, alarm and mischief.
To sum up:.
1. Homoeo-prophylaxis is possible, as it has been proved abundantly in many cases.
2. Before selecting any prophylactic medicines, we should study the genus epidemicus.
3. As the type and character of the same epidemic very with its progress, so we shall not rest content with the same prophylactic medicine throughout its course, but change it with the change of the character and type of the epidemic.
4. The action of prophylactic medicines should not be disturbed by irregularity of diet, smell of Camphor and insanitary surroundings.
5. For the success of the prophylactic treatment, observance of general hygienic rules are absolutely necessary.
6. The prophylactic medicines should be administered in as small a dose as possible, and should be repeated at longer intervals.