By Milton Powel, M. D., and John Hutchinson, M. D. New York, N.Y.
There is no evidence that any of the principles of Homoeopathy have changed. Heeded or not, they still remain established as they were when and before Hahnemann outlined them. They give us the privilege of dealing with the positive in medicine, with facts of the highest practical utility, and we may insist that this state of the case is stronger to-day than ever before.
The real question to consider is: “Where are WE to-day in respect to Homoeopathy and its principles?”
It is easier or more satisfactory for some minds to study one detail of organic life than to consider the unity of all functional details. Accordingly, the mechanistic view of life has a more widespread appeal than the vitalistic. There is constantly an attempt to get away from the idea of a vital principle that animates the bodily forces.
But we do not know the exact physiological reason for single processes. They have been explained in as many different ways as there are years in which they have been studied.
The physician who has grasped Homoeopathy has a respect for the united expression of all the forces of the living organism. The combined expression of its need emphasizes the value of symptomatology elicited by provings, which are the support of every therapeutic effort.
From a readable book, entitled Mechanism, Life, and Personality, by J.S. Haldane, M.D., LL. D., F.R.S. (1914), we quote as to the “exquisite delicacy of physiological reactions.” “This delicacy was hardly even suspected in former times. It is only quite recently that we have come to realize the astounding fineness with which the kidneys, respiratory center, and other parts regulate the composition of the blood.” Again –
“The fundamental mistake of mechanistic physiologists was to treat such processes as secretion, absorption, growth, nervous excitation, muscular contraction, as if each were an isolable physical or chemical process, instead of being what it is, ne side of a many-sided metabolic activity, of which the different sides are indissolubly associated.”
So much for the change of view in favor of the “exquisite” delicacy of physiological reactions” that the principles of Homoeopathy are based upon.
While many counterfeit results are brought about to-day in the name of Homoeopathy which are extremely unfortunate, a general survey of medicine is convincing that the law of similar s is being constantly verified. It is the perpetual working out of the fact that nothing is the matter with Homoeopathy, while a great deal is the matter with those who bungle it. Misconceptions obtain in two great classes of physicians represented by those who assume to use it without knowledge, and those who assume to reject it without being able to suppress the evidence of its working power. Of course it cannot be expected that the latter class will be able to discern the meaning of its phenomena when expressed, any more than it is possible for the tyro to avail of it successfully when need is greatest.
Logically, there can be no longer ridicule of the small dose. Medical announcement reeks with its rediscovery. But because our friends have discerned that one-tenth grain of calomel is better than two grains at once, do they apply that knowledge to other prescription?
One would suppose that admiration for massive doses had ceased, in the light of recent reform literature and the precept of practitioner. Yet 30000 units diphtheria antitoxin are favored at one dose. How much further than the diphtheria this reaches may be observed.
Edward Jenner had this to say in his book:
“In constitutions predisposed to scrofula, how frequently we see the inoculated smallpox rouse into activity that distressful malady! This circumstance does not seem to depend on the manner in which the distemper has shown itself, for it has as frequently happened among those who have had it mildly as when it appeared in the contrary way.” Jenner had some courage of conviction. His prophylactic for smallpox was inoculation of cowpox. But he did not stop there; he proved his case by a second inoculation, this time with the smallpox virus, and so found that the cowpox did protect.
There is a pretty general impression that there has been no such test on those supposedly immunized from typhoid. If they have been given water contaminated by the typhoid bacillus as a test, it is not generally known. But it is generally known that since the use of typhoid vaccination in the armies of the United States of America, of England, and France there has been increase in tuberculosis. Which seems to show that jenner was right.
We are all familiar with the dictum in respect to the selection of patient for the exhibition of a vaccine or serum that the subject should be in health. It may be submitted, however, that it is very rare to find any person in perfect health.
There was an epidemic of smallpox at Niagara Falls from November last (1963) up to the end of February. There were between four and five hundred cases, according to the health board.
The following table shows the mortality from certain diseases throughout New York State for that period of FOUR months. That is, in the whole State there were exactly three death from smallpox recorded, including, of course, unvaccinated Niagara Falls, and the other figures are in round numbers, to wit:
Small – pox…………………… 3
Whooping Cough………… 200
Scarlet Fever………………. 300
Typhoid Fever……………. 400
Other Causes…………… 30000
Since the later discoveries in physics, the better appreciation of forces exampled by radium, and the dire consequences of brutal therapeutic fads, there is scientific awakening to other powers than the grossly material. Yet, while this is so, curiously enough, the menace of inappropriate agents of cure is not fathomed. It would seem that nothing in physics, nothing in chemistry, nothing in life nor death will make it clear. We believe the statement may be maintained that only when the facts that pass review are studied in the light of Homoeopathy can the menace be realized. No other philosophy appears to supply the truth as to the reaction of the human organism to medicinal agents. Until such reaction is comprehended, assumption to the contrary will not depart.
Dr. Leon Vannier say: “L’Homoeopathie n’est pas un procede therapeutique, elle est la therapeutique qui, procedant del’experimentation sur l’homme sain, repose sur la loi de similitude et emploie la dose-infinitesimale. Elle est la therapeutique de l’avenir, la seule qui puisse repondre a l’ evolution de la science contemporaine.”
(“Homoeopathy is not a therapeutic process, it is therapy, which, preceded by experimentation on the healthy man, rests on the law of similarity, and employs the infinitesimal dose. It is the therapy of the future, the only therapy which is able to answer to the evolution of contemporary science.”)
Again, curiously enough, it would seem that the majority of men of science reject both carelessly and obstinately thee method of exact proving elucidated as well as formulated by Hahnemann, and that bears to-day more than ever the seal of basic truth which our cult is supposed to respect. As suggested, there is every reason why our school in this decade of the twentieth century should embrace it anew.
In point of fact, the method is faintly regarded and its advantages largely rejected. The school of medicine known as the homoeopathic is by no means the distinctive body that it is privileged to be. When a so-called homoeopath uses, drugs as irregulalrly as the third-rate allopath, at the same time defending his position as “up-to-date,” the most charitable conclusion forced upon us is that he has not completed his education in Homoeopathy. Then, what is to be said of the practitioner sheltered by Homoeopathy who declares that christian Science contains more good than high potencies do And again there is the group of prescriber who see in vaccine therapy the latest application of the principles of Homoeopathy, the fact that salvarsan has occasioned many tragedies, that antitoxins have swelled the ranks of paralytics, that prophylactic serums count their fatalities and chronic victims in increasing numbers does not impress. What a pity that “Safety First” should not be chosen as the slogan for medicine as well as for railroads!
We venture that the following will be admitted by any one: We do not know that an exudation, or a secretion, or a single product in any diseased condition represents the disease in to; any more than hydrogen represents water. It may not represent the disease at all. If it does represent some or any of the disease, we do not know just what part it does represent. It amounts to an extension of the problem suggested by Virshow:- That as to bacteria, they are not necessarily the cause of disease, and may in many cases, if not all, be merely consequences of disease.
Where, it may be asked, is the future understanding of Homoeopathy to be lodged? Whence is it to be reinforced? One would naturally answer, “From the Homoeopathic College.” Will it be? We have in mind the policy and output of the college as a whole; not of individual chairs. Would that some of these chairs had fuller control. The college turns out a majority of its men having the smallest conception of the principles on which the practical workings of Homoeopathy are grounded. The man from old school medicine is more likely to make the best practitioner of Homoeopathy. He thinks things out. He knows that patients in the long run can tell a cure when they see it.
Despite rich endowment, imposing buildings, and material equipment, if the institution lacks the aim to inculcate essential principles it no the character of men, its work fails. This is exactly the state of things to-day. Our teaching lacks emphasis against the allopathic method of applying homoeopahic remedies. It lacks emphasis against quantitative drug toleration, which has no relation to cure if it does have to metabolism. And why should emphasis ever fail on the elementary considerations of – never repeating medication after reaction is established, of avoiding the compound prescription, and of rejecting adjuvants that are unsafe and useless otherwise, however much they are labeled harmless and beneficial?
If the Homoeopathy of to-day were the real thing, it would provide the only therapy aole to respond to the demonstrated fact of contemporary science. The proper attenuatin of remedies and the consequent development of their potency, while constantly attested, reflects a correspondence in the activities of agents less well understood. Unconscious homage will continue to be offered in circles quite outside our own. But without the formulated and orderly conception of curative therapeutics it is hard to tell when any intellignet general progress will begin.
Homoeopathy to-day is all about us. Its treasures await the key of recognition, the key of knowledge, that will unlock them for universal, practical use.