EDITORIAL NOTES AND COMMENTS

Allan D Sutherland

 

Editorial Wanderlust.–The editor of THE HOMOEOPATHIC RECORDER, again enticed by the call of the East, left for the hospitable shores of Europe on April 19th. England, France, Germany, and perhaps Italy, will be the scenes of his meanderings, in search of rest and relaxation from strenuous months of activity in little old New York. During his absence, his stomach friend, the editor of the Department of Homoeopathic Philosophy, Stuart Close, will guide the destinies of the RECORDER.

Homoeopathy in Sexual Disorders.–A recent letter from an Indian correspondent moves us to comment in a desultory way upon the above topic. The Indian physician laments the fact that in his hands at least, homoeopathy has failed rather miserably in impotency, nocturnal emissions and prostatorrhoea. He also confesses frequent failure to cure dysmenorrhoea, sterility and leucorrhoea and asks concerning the power of thyroidin in the rejuvenation of old men.

The subject of rejuvenation has been an alluring one for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years and we back to Ponce de Leon, who so fondly hoped to find the fountain of eternal youth in our own hectic Florida. Age is a matter of the arteries, changes of which, chiefly of a degenerative nature, are sooner or later bound to occur in all of us. Arterio-sclerotic manifestations appear much earlier in some than in others and this fact depends upon many things, such as heredity and constitutional tendencies first of all, the stress and strain of life as qualified by occupation, work, the possession of worldly goods or their absence, worry, hardship, food, habits such as the alcoholic, tobacco, etc., the presence or absence of a proper philosophy of life, and finally, disease, especially syphilitic.

Hence many factors must be considered and to keep young therefore, is not merely a question of drugs, homoeopathic or otherwise. It is true that thyroid gland preparations frequently have a rejuvenating effect upon the metabolism, a fact which Arnold Lorand pointed out long ago in his “Old Age Deferred,” and other books. There is, however, no royal road to keeping young, each individual is a law unto himself and treatment, if such be necessary, must be selected and adapted with this idea in mind. Nature has provided that everything in life shall have its period of growth and advance, followed by one of gradual decline and ultimate death. We humans can often do much to slow the progress of decay, but we cannot prevent its final completion. Sooner or later we must all pass on.

Impotency is often a symptom of this natural decline, but may be premature and in all likelihood, then depends upon one or several causes. Among the latter, pathology of the generative organs may be present to such an extent, that internal remedies, homoeopathic in character, are quite unable to overcome it, in which case other measures, often equally unsuccessful, may have to be resorted to. The outlook is never certain. Psychologic causes are extremely common, as pointed out by Havelock Ellis, Kraft-Ebbing and others and are in turn, often found to exist in those of a badly balanced, neurotic constitution. It is, therefore, small wonder, that our Indian colleague has so often failed in his treatment of impotence, we all fail, though most of us dislike to acknowledge the failures.

Much the same may be said of nocturnal emissions and of prostatorrhoea, though to be sure, many of us have seen good results, or think we have, from such remedies as Phos. ac. Selenium, Digitalin, Caladium, Conium, etc.

Concerning dysmenorrhoea, sterility and leucorrhoea, there is much to be said; many causal and qualifying factors enter into these subjects and the treatment of these conditions by no means begins and ends with the attempted application of a homoeopathic remedy. Homoeopathy may and frequently does play a most important part in the treatment of leucorrhoea for example, or even in dysmenorrhoea, but diagnosis, that all important prerequisite, may reveal mechanical or pathologic conditions, impossible of betterment by a so-called homoeopathic remedy.

In all these clinical states, careful diagnosis, the exact recognition of the actual facts in each individual case, will indicate what can and should be done, how much can be done or reasonably expected and whether the law of similars can be successfully invoked. To apply the latter, in ignorance of what is going on, is very much like shooting at a target in the dark. A bulls-eye may be chance be made, but failure to even hit the target, is more often likely to be the result. So far as homoeopathy is concerned, it must depend upon the individuality of the case, the totality of the symptoms, the recognition of what is curable in the patient and it must go hand in hand with properly selected, mechanical or surgical, as well as psychic measures, where these are required. Teamwork of this character is likely to bring about the best possible results, because it is intelligently comprehensive of the real needs of each case in particular.

A Note Upon Antimonium Tartaricum.–Christopherson and Gloyne, of the City of London Hospital for Diseases of the Heart and Lungs, give a scholarly account in the London Lancet for January 30th, of the biochemical action of intravenous injections of antimony tartrate. In speaking of the physiologic effects of this drug they observe:

“Discomfort or pain in the chest and a dry cough mark its presence in the mucous membranes of the bronchioles, a feeling of constriction in the throat its effect on the laryngeal mucous membrane, nausea, sickness, colic–and later diarrhoea–its presence in the mucous membrane of the bowel, a desire to micturate its effect on the urinary system, and dizziness or headache its effect on the cerebrum. These are all striking results indicating rapid and early physiological action, and yet when contrasted with the immediate physiological effects of oral, hypodermic, or intramuscular administration of the drug they are insignificant.

There is, however, one alarming biochemical action which may follow intravenous administration–viz., shock. This effect is apparently not due to an overdose in the ordinary accepted use of the term, but rather to individual susceptibility or possibly true anaphylaxis. In such a case it may happen that an adult injected three times a week will, after a dose of 1 1/2 gr., become clammy with perspiration and pale, will exhibit dilated pupils, sighing shallow respirations, general weakness, and painful extremities. If the dose be repeated after two days these signs and symptoms recur; in fact, once having upset the patients antimony tartrate equilibrium in this way he appears to remain hypersensitive.

“A later physiological effect of intravenous antimony injections is shown by rheumatic pains in joints–sufficient to prevent sleep–and even paresis of muscles”.

All this verifies the result of our own homoeopathic provings and for this reason, has important interest for us. Among certain curative effects, these experiments noted, that after some months, certain cases of psoriasis improved. From our homoeopathic standpoint, Antimonium tart. has never been looked upon as useful in the treatment of psoriasis patients. Perhaps the explanation given by the authors is correct; they state:

“There is nothing sensational about these cases. The antimony acted probably not directly on the psoriasis–it does not act when applied locally–but indirectly through its general physiological effect on body tissues through which it produced a marked improvement on the clinical condition of the patients. Antimony has a marked effect on the liver, and it seems possible that some alternation of protein metabolism may be produced. A small dose may cause increased cellular activity, a larger dose cellular degeneration, and an actual toxic dose cellular destruction”.

The last sentence (italics ours) will cause every ardent homoeopath to get up on his hand legs in sheer exultation and boyish enthusiasm, for this statement is of course, nothing more or less than a restatement of the Arndt-Schulz law, so well known to all of us. Finally let it be said, that we homoeopath are permitting the golden moments to slip by, when we should be emulating such splendid research work as that produced by Christopherson and Gloyne. Will our American homoeopaths ever emerge from their present Nux moschata lethargy?.

That Infernal Cough.–February and especially March has produced its annual crop of coughs, simple or complex, with or without severe bronchitis, influenza or even pneumonia. We venture to say, that almost any homoeopathic physician will agree with the statement, that it is far easier to prescribe for the severe case, than for the simple one. The pneumonia or the influenza patient, as a rule, presents evidence of severe turmoil and reaction, the symptoms of which stand out bodily, making of prescribing a comparatively simple thing. Not so with the symptom of mere cough, often presented by the otherwise disgustingly healthy individual, whose only complaint is that he cannot get rid of his annoyance.

Try as we may, we fail too often to find the open sesame; we catechize and cross-examine, split hairs and thumb the repertory, while the devilish cough goes blissfully on its way; eventually, the lack of success becomes an obsession with us; we dread to see the patient come into our presence; that infernal cough haunts us and makes us wish that we might consign our patient to Kamchatka or any other equally remote region. Even the thought of homicide comes into our distressed minds, anything would be better than listening to this diabolical, mocking cough.

Of course, some one will say, as we ourselves are wont to say it, treat the patient and never mind his cough! True, beautifully true, but unfortunately not always possible, for reasons unnecessary to state. To us it seems as though much useful work could and should be done, in the revision of that part of our wonderful materia medica, which relates to coughs. There is at present too much confusion, of remedies listed under the rubric cough, too many things stated that aint so.

Simplification is necessary, if the combination tablet and the suppressive heroin are to be driven from their illegal intrusion upon the sanctity of the homoeopathic field. We must be helped to pick the needful remedies more rapidly, as well as unerringly. We all know the joy of making a bulls-eye prescription, the glamour of it far outweighs any consideration of the fee; but the humiliation of repeated failures, is apt to arouse in us a consciousness of an inferiority complex, that bodies no good to anyone and is fatal to future success.

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