Introductory lecture delivered at the Post-Graduate School of the A. F. for H., July 1930.
EUGENE UNDERHILL, M.D.
In its totality, homoeopathy is so vast a subject that a whole lifetime of study could not exhaust it. It is something without limit in its possibilities for development and in its power to help and cure the many millions of sick and suffering in the world.
The homoeopathic materia medica includes practically all drugs and medicines used by the old school and many hundred other medical substances besides. There are, perhaps, around two thousand medicines used by homoeopathic physicians in this and other countries, but countless thousands, doubtless many millions, of others substances could be used and prescribed on the homoeopathic law were sufficient known about them to warrant their use.
Every mineral and metal, every flower and fruit, every weed and plant, every bird, beast or bug, every living and every dead thing, every substance known to man in all kingdoms of nature can be legitimately included in homoeopathic materia medica, and somewhere on the earth there may be some sufferer to match or require each and every remedy that was ever known or that can be known–surely the researcher has yet more worlds to conquer.
On the other hand, if often seems, and it is probably true, that one medicine can do the work of another and the materia medica may be overloaded with more or less duplications.
It is entirely possible that in time to come a correctly chosen group of one hundred remedies or less will cure every possible case of illness, or palliate where a cure is no longer possible–again, more work for the researcher.
Consider also the infinite divisibility and potency of medicines prepared according to the homoeopathic method. A drachm of any drug is more than sufficient to treat every patient in the world needing that remedy. To illustrate: Nux vomica is a frequently indicated medicine. One drachm of the tincture run up through a series of potencies–sixth, thirtieth, two hundredth, one thousandth, ten thousandth, fifty thousandth, and one hundred thousandth–could provide enough potentized Nux to treat every patient, requiring this remedy, who ever lived or who may yet live.
One drachm of the tincture in one hundred parts of water would be the first centesimal potency. One drachm of this dilution in one hundred drachms of water would be the second, and so on. If all of each potency were used each time in preparing the next higher, long before the one hundred thousandth, or CM, potency as reached, all the water in the oceans of the world would, doubtless, be inadequate. We have remedies not only run up to the CM but even to the millionth and two millionth and the end is not yet.
I have personally used the millionth and two millionth potencies of Nux vomica, Pulsatilla, Lycopodium and other remedies with such definite and striking results that I am as certain they acted as I am that the sun rose this morning.
A very few trials of these extremely high potencies, in cases where the symptom picture is sharp and clear, will suffice to convince any homoeopathic physician of their tremendous power.
We hear much these days about the energy latent within the atom and also of efforts being made to spilt the atom and the electron and thus liberate this latent energy. It is quite certain, moreover, that every atom is, in itself, a living thing. Every life has an identity of its own and it is forced to express itself in and through some form. All forms are encasing and limiting in their effect, are, in fact, containers and retainers of the life energy within.
The method of potentizing medicines has the effect of breaking up the form and the encasing envelopes and thus liberating, to a greater or lesser degree, the specific drug energy lying dormant or latent within each molecule. Potentizing a substance, therefore, is a means of raising the specific energy from the plane of bondage to the plane of liberation, from the finite toward the infinite.
But let us consider further. When kept well corked and sealed, away from heat away from sunlight and under all around good conditions, these potentized remedies will hold their specific energy and their power undiminished as the years roll on. How long would they retain their virtue? Doubtless, for centuries.
Many homoeopathic physicians today are using potencies obtained as grafts (a few medicated pellets placed in alcohol) from Hering, Boenninghausen, and other early masters of homoeopathy. Probably they in turn obtained some of those potencies from Hahnemann himself. When your brother physician wishes a graft potency of any remedy let him have it. You can share all your remedies and potencies with others and still have enough and to spare of each of them. Such is the resourcefulness, the boundlessness, the infinite of the potentized remedy as given to the world by Samuel Hahnemann.
The correct homoeopathic remedy when given in suitable potency will, in favorable cases, initiate a cycle of curative action in the organism. The momentum, duration and ultimate effect of this curative cycle depends on several factors among which are the nature of the disease, the corresponding nature and pace of the remedy, and the degree of vitality still possessed by the patient. Such a cycle of remedial action may last for minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and often, in chronic cases for years.
Just what will and what will not cut or divert such a remedial cycle is not fully known but there is sufficient evidence to show that the too frequent repetition of the remedy, and the indiscriminate employment of various potencies, constitute a most certain means of interference to the detriment of the patient. The rationale of the classical rules for repetition and potency selection is thus understandable on the basis of cyclic action.
When you have gotten all you can out of a given remedy in a given potency and improvement has ceased, and after waiting a reasonable time no further action of the remedy is observable in the behavior of the symptoms, then and then only is another step or perhaps a higher potency to be considered in order that a new rising cycle may be initiated to carry forward the restorative process.
Cyclic law operations in, and through, all nature. In applying the law of similars we must harmonize and time the application with the other fundamental laws of nature, and not attempt to force one law against another.
When, and how, is one to begin so gigantic a task as that of studying and applying homoeopathy? Fortunately, the study and the application can, and should go hand in hand. No study will pay larger or quicker dividends in results and satisfaction.
What are the essential steps in taking up the study of homoeopathy? In the first place, the mind must be prepared to receive the teachings, and this requires that preconceived notions and prejudices be laid aside while the new ideas and the new viewpoints are being acquired. A critical, skeptical attitude can only act as a barrier to the acquirement of new knowledge. Obstructive and destructive criticism are ever born of ignorance. Constructive criticism is needed and that can only come from the informed mind.
The study of homoeopathy includes:
1. Homoeopathic philosophy
2. Materia Medica
3. Case taking
4. Repertory study and remedy selection.
5. Case management.
If one desires to achieve success and to become a really competent Homoeopathic physician he cannot afford to neglect any of these five major lines of study. Successful practice hangs on this five-linked chain and no matter how proficient one may be in any of these if there is a missing link the chain will be too short to reach a large proportion of the cases treated and the physician will not rise above the level of mediocrity.
Homoeopathic philosophy requires, first of all, a full appreciation of the law of similars for on this law homoeopathy is founded. Other systems of medicine have their empiricism, their routinism, their accepted, accredited, recognized, regular and orthodox modes and methods of treatment, and these change, ever change, as the swift seasons roll.
Correct homoeopathic practice, on the other hand is founded on one of the simple and eternal laws of nature and as such it grows and broadens, is subject to further elucidation and definition, but is ever anchored to one and the same fundamental law.
But, you say, why then is not homoeopathy universally recognized and practised? Why is it not taught in all of our great medical colleges and universities if it is based on a simple, natural law and is after all, the really scientific method of treating the sick?.
In the Golden Verses of Pythagoras, written 700 B.C., we find this: “Even as Truth, doth Error have its lovers”; and we have Hahnemanns writings that “Indolence, love of ease and prejudice of mind preclude service at the altar of Truth”. These limiting attributes of the human mind in general and of the medical mind in particular explain in large measure why homoeopathy is not in the forefront and universally recognized today.
The simplicity, the truth, the honesty of homoeopathy do not particularly appeal to the coldly materialistic type of mind which predominates in so many branches of science and learning in our day.
Familiar illustrations of the law of similars, in the expressions of every day life, are not hard to find. How often have we heard this, “What he needs is a dose of his own medicine”- homoeopathic treatment, in other words; “Misery loves company”-someone in like misery or woe-again homoeopathic, and it helps.
When greatly over-heated, a drink of ice water has often proven most disastrous. A hot drink of ice water has often proven most disastrous. A hot drink of ice water has often proven most disastrous. A hot drink under such circumstances, is not only safer but more lastingly cooling in its effect.
It is much easier to row a boat down-stream than up-stream- smaller and less frequent doses of energy are required. Rowing down-stream is working homoeopathically, or in harmony with the law of gravitation. Working with nature is always easier and smoother than working contrary to the drift. When one is in health, he is approximately in a condition of balance or equilibrium. As soon as he is sick that poise is lost to a greater or less degree.
Symptoms are manifestations of natures effort to restore equilibrium. The similar remedy, harmonizing as it does with the symptom picture, may temporarily magnify the symptoms. This is what is known as a homoeopathic aggravation, and when not too severe is favorable and helps to prove the homoeopathicity of the remedy. Furthermore, the remedy, harmonizing with natures own effort, more quickly restores equilibrium where such restoration is still possible of accomplishment.
Correct homoeopathic medication cuts short many cases of illness, cures many that nature, unaided, could never restore to health, and finally, it palliates where the pathological condition has gone too far to be overcome.
Homoeopathic philosophy, correctly understood thoroughly perceived and appreciated, will lead one unerringly to a firm belief in the power of the potentized drug, and finally, to the efficacy of the remedy in initiating a cycle of curative action when truly homoeopathic to the case in hand.
THE SINGLE REMEDY.
THE POTENTIZED DRUG.
THE CYCLIC ACTION OF THE REMEDY.
Let these burn into your consciousness!.
The unfaithful alternate remedies and mix drugs. The careless jump around from the tincture to the CM potency and back again. The ignorant give a new remedy every time the patient is seen. Such are unworthy and false followers of Hahnemann and homoeopathy.
Homoeopathic philosophy includes all essential points in case management. The removal of obstacles to cure is a most important subject for consideration.
Of what ultimate avail is it to give Nux vomica to a patient and allow him to continue the habits and routine of life that have so largely been responsible for producing a Nux vomica state?.
If sex excesses and sex vices have been largely responsible for bringing a patient into a Natrum phos. condition to be sure Natrum. phos. will do wonders. It will quiet the nerves and pep and energy are wasted in more and more sex vice, why blame homoeopathy because the remedy will not hold?.
If coffee drinking to excess has been largely responsible for bringing about a Chamomilla, an Ignatia or a Nux state, it is surely as important, perhaps more important, to stop the coffee than to give the remedy.
Homoeopathic philosophy is inextricably bound up with common sense. Blessed is the physician who has his share of common sense. He has, indeed, the makings of a philosopher.
Correct first the routine of life. Correct the diet when faulty. Remove the obstacles to cure, and then give the remedy. You will seldom be disappointed, provided, of course, your remedy selection has been correct. To give the correct remedy and to allow obvious obstacles to remain in the way of cure is to fulfil only half of ones duty.
Homoeopathy will often work wonders when given scarcely half a chance. Give it all the chance there is! Give it a square deal! Then watch results.
The law of similars, the single remedy, the potentized drug the question of repetition, the suitable potency to employ, the removal of obstacles to cure, all essential details of case management, the proving of drugs, the building of the materia medica, the building of the repertory, the classification and evaluation of symptoms, the principles and methods to be employed in case taking-all these are proper studies, are in fact, part and parcel of homoeopathic philosophy.
Give me a man well grounded in homoeopathic philosophy, even if he has still much to learn of the materia medica. The best have yet much to learn.
A materia medica expert, if not well grounded in the philosophy, is a dangerous man to have around. He is a menace to his patients and to the cause of homoeopathy. he probably does more harm than good.
Study The Organon and The Chronic Diseases. Study Kents Homoeopathic Philosophy. Study Closes The Genius of Homoeopathy. Study Kent s Lesser Writings and his Materia Medica, both of which contain many gold nuggets of sound philosophy.
Learn all you can about the philosophy and rationale of homoeopathic prescribing, and when you think you have mastered these, study them all over again.
Begin at once to put your knowledge into active practice. Begin with your first case. Your knowledge of philosophy and materia medica must ever increase as your work grows. Successful practice is an almost inevitable result of sound knowledge correctly and honestly applied. PHILADELPHIA,.
Calcarea is one of the most frequently indicated remedies to prevent phthisis, and in the earliest stages of that trouble its tendency is to cause the tubercular deposit to become calcareous. The tubercular deposits will shrivel and becomes cramped and remain in that state to the end of his life. In the many thousands of post-mortem made by Rokitansky, one of the old pathologists, he describes a very large number of encysted tubercles, which had gone through a process of development somewhat resembling the Calcarea condition.
This shows that the process was one of natural progression under favorable circumstances, that this calcareous deposit is one of the methods of cure, instituted by Nature; and it is highly probable that they who go to climates favorable to recovery, recover somewhat after this fashion. It is the very highest aim of the physician to bring about this state of affairs rather than to introduce such remedies as will cause suppuration about every little nidus and deposit that take place. Just so sure as you live, if you should use Calcarea and cause one of these deposits to take place in your patient, and then turn about and give a dose of Sulphur, you will kill your patient. Silicea will do the same thing.-KENT, 1895.