When I began with this little essay I meant it to be, on the one hand a contribution to the clinical history of Thuja Occidentalis, and on the other, a plea for the recognition of the clinical importance of vaccinosis, particularly in chronic neurotic headaches. But as I went on I felt impelled to say a few words on the subject of what I have called homoeoprophylaxis, and now I cannot bring myself to conclude without dipping a little into the dynamics of preventive medicine according to the law of likes.
Strewn about in literature there are examples of small-dose homoeoprophylaxis; see Hahnemann’s little essay on Belladonna, for example, at the very birth of Hahnemannian homoeopathy.
Then vaccine “lymph”-pus-has been dynamized more homoeopathically and given as a prophylactic against small-pox
in epidemic times, and apparently with effect. Thuja Occidentalis has been used in like manner by more than one homoeopathic practitioner, and they claim that it is effective. The eminent Dr. David Wilson, of London, has, I hear, long used Thuja, in dynamic dose, as a sure preventive of variola.
Speaking for myself, I have for the last nine years been in the habit of using vaccine matter, in the thirtieth homoeopathic centesimal potency, whenever small-pox was about, and I have thus far not seen any one so treated get variola.
Dr. Massoto inoculated the diphtheritic exudation in an epidemic of diphtheria, and that with success.
It seems to me that the requirement of the age is to systematize the prevention of disease according to the law of similars, AND IN DYNAMIC DOSE. Clearly the dynamic dose is ESSENTIAL, or at any rate the very small dose, for otherwise the homoeoprophylactic aggravation would be a serious detriment in every way. It is easy to see that M. Pasteur and his fellow- workers are sailing down straight on this rock, whereon they are sure to suffer shipwreck.
M. Pasteur’s latest communications to the Academie des Sciences are in substance as follows:
“If the virus of rabies be transmitted from the dog to the monkey, and then from monkey to monkey, it will be found that after each transmission the virulence of the virus has become enfeebled. If the virus thus enfeebled be re-transmitted to a dog, or an animal of that species, it will remain still attenuated. By a few transmission of the virus from monkey to monkey, there can easily be obtained a virus so attenuated as shall never communicate, by hypodermic inoculations, the disease to a dog. Inoculations by trepanning of such virus will likewise produce no result; but an animals will, notwithstanding, be rendered thereby proof against the disease. The virulence of the virus becomes, on the contrary, augmented in its passage from rabbit to rabbit. If a dog be inoculated with virus thus augmented in power, a far more intense form of the disease will be manifested than that apparent in ordinary canine madness, and it will invariably prove fatal.”
By applying these and other observations, Mr. Pasteur obtained virus of different degrees of virulence, and succeeded, by inoculations of the milder qualities, in preserving animals from the effects of more active and moral kinds. For example, after several days longer than the shortest incubation term, M. Pasteur extracted virus from the head of a rabbit which had died of the disease, and inoculated successively two other rabbits. Each time a dog was inoculated with the virus, which, as has been seen, would increase each time in virulence. The result was that the dog was ultimately rendered capable of bearing a virus of mortal strength, and became absolutely proof against canine virus. M.Pasteur anticipates that the time is still distant when canine madness will be extinguished by vaccination, but pending that consummation, he feels pretty certain that he will be able to avert the consequences of a bite from a mad dog He says: “Thanks to the duration of incubation after a bite, I have every reason to believe that patients can be rendered insusceptible before the mortal malady has had time to declare itself.” M. Pasteur stated, in conclusion, that he had solicited the Minister of Education to appoint a Commission to test experiments. He added:
“The principal experiment that I shall attempt will consist in taking from my kennels twenty dogs insusceptible to the disease, and placing the same in comparison with twenty ordinary dogs. I shall then have all these forty dogs bitten by a number of dogs in a rabid state. If the facts that I have enunciated are exact, the twenty dogs that I believe to be proof against the disease will remain healthy, while the other twenty will become affected. for a second experiment no less decisive, I propose to place before the Commission twenty vaccinated and twenty unvaccinated dogs. All the forty I shall then inoculate in the most sensitive parts with virus taken from a rabid dog. The twenty vaccinated dogs will resist, and the other twenty will all die of madness, either paralytic or furious.”
This is as far as M. Pasteur has got at present, and his labours clearly tend in the direction of homoeoprophylaxis and homoeopathy; but time and dose are not duly reckoned with. The fatal fallacy underlying the whole thing is regarding the immunity produced by Jennerian or Pasteurian vaccination as a constant factor, whereas it is a constantly diminishing one, and must in the nature of things be so.
As a last word I would put in a plea for homoeoprophylactic vaccination, or what might be termed homoeopathic vaccination. That is to say, the vaccine matter is to be prepared as a homoeopathic remedy, and to be given by the mouth, in dynamic dose as the homoeoprophylactic. Pasteur’s attenuating it by poisoning a series of animals is very serious proceeding; an ordinary vial will do just as well if only attenuation is wanted. It is with virus thus attenuated that I used to treat myself when I was attending small-pox instead of being re- vaccinated. I used to treat my family and others with whom I was compelled to associate in the same way. None of us ever took small-pox.
But here many grave questions crop up, a consideration of which would carry us too far away from our subject. Although very much has been done by the Pasteurians during the past decade, we still see no light whatever, notwithstanding all the pushing, noisy advertisings of the entire fraternity. All the same there are amongst them many honest hard workers, who at times seem to be just going to put a pinch of salt on Birdie Truth’s tail.
In regard to homoeoprophylaxis, I have here and there been written to know if I recommend any special mode of applying the law of similars to the prevention of disease. I should like here to briefly answer the question as falling well within the scope of our inquiry.
Does Belladonna-the red-rash-producing Belladonna-really prevent the evolution of the red-rash-producing virus of scarlatina? The question has been kicking about Europe for the past hundred years, and is mostly rejected of men of science, and yet I more than once raised the ire of our late (alas! that it should be late) friend, Dr. John Drysdale of Liverpool, for calling in question this prophylactic virtue of Belladonna. Drysdale thoroughly believed it after forty years of practice behind his back, and yet Drysdale found it very, very difficult to believe anything unless supported by very much evidence indeed-I, too, require a good deal of evidence before I inwardly believe. And though I have also used Belladonna in this sense, and very often with seeming success, yet I somehow would like a little more positive proof!
It seems so hard to believe it, and yet we cannot disbelieve it. When it comes to animal viruses it is easier, of acceptance even a priori. And then comes the question of how long the preventive power of -say vaccininum against vaccinia, or against variola, would be likely to last? for it, too, must be a constantly decreasing quantity just as any other force-effect. And with the data from the work of the Pasteurians we do not know what to do: are the various viruses as passed through divers animals still the same in a diluted form, or all different but allied bodies, and, if allied, how?
Koch’s experiments with Tuberculin I have dealt with in my “New Cure of Consumption” though here anent I may be pardoned for just a little crowing. Very early in his investigations I published the statement that though I knew from my own experiments with Bacillinum that Koch was on right lines, yet I was sure it would all end in a terrible fiasco, and so it has. I said he would give too much, and he did, and so did his followers and the result is that the whole thing has become discredited.
Koch came to this same view later on, and tried his hand afresh to produce a new milder tuberculin in which he succeeded so far as obtaining the preparation itself, but its practical application has had the same result.. the milder preparation is still too terrible, for it aggravates and kills just as the other did.
So Kochism is dead, as dead as a door-nail. And all because they will not, cannot, accept Hahnemann’s dosage.
But Koch’s tuberculins will become and remain great homoeopathic remedies. Oh, the irony of the thing! Pretty well all the best work of the orthodox’ school ends in-what?
In securing the ultimate triumph of homoeopathy.
In magnis voluisse sat est.