Three Ways of Utilising Drug Action
Why the allopathic section of the profession should be so wrathful with Hahnemann is not a little surprising. For not only did Hahnemann discover homopathy, he discovered allopathy as well. Allopathy existed before his time, just as homopathy did in a way, but it was unconscious of its own existence. The profession had been practising allopathy all its life – as M. Jourdain had been talking prose – without knowing it. It was Hahnemann who gave it its name ; and if he is the father of homopathy he is at least the godfather of allopathy as well, and on that account deserves to have his bust in the medical school of both sections. Hahnemann pointed out there were three principal ways of using drugs – the homopathic, the allopathic, and the antipathic or enantiopathic. The homopathic is the like – to – like method, in which a medicine is given to a sick person because it is capable of producing similar state when given to healthy one – similia similibus. The allopathic method is that in which the drug given, being “without any pathological relation to what is naturally diseased in the body, attacks the part most exempt from the disease.” The enantiopathic is the opposite of the homopathic, and is the treatment by contraries. This treatment is palliative merely. When a large dose of opium is given to overcome sleeplessness ; or when an astringent is given to arrest diarrha, or a purgative is given to remove constipation – these are examples of antipathic treatment. But many diseases, such as inflammation, for example have no “opposites” except health, and these can not be treated by this method, and must be treated, if at all, in one of the other two ways. When an emetic is given to relieve a cold on the chest, an action is produced different in place and kind from the condition treated, and this is allopathic. Again, when a patient treats himself for headache by taking an aperient, he practises allopathy ; and again, when a medical man puts a blister behind a patient’s ear to cure inflammation of his eye, the treatment is allopathic. When on the other hand, in a case of headache we give a drug like Belladonna or Glonoin (nitro-glycerine), both of which produce produce a variety of headaches of great intensity when taken by the healthy, then we are practising homopathy. It is true that the majority of the medical profession scorn the idea of there being any rule to guide them in practice, and for this reason, I suppose, on the lucus a non lucendo principle, insist on being called nothing else but “regular”. If they did not scorn logic as well as rule, these practitioners would call themselves medical anarchists.