CALENDULA, HYPERICUM, SYMPHYTUM.
By DR. Petrie Hoyle.
THE manufacturing chemists teach the medical profession their business, and force their laboratory products upon doctors and surgeons. The compound drugs which they advertise are boomed for a time, then disappear from view, and are replaced by other boomed products. This state of affairs is not funny but bewildering. The allopathic experiments have evolved the Carrol- Dakin solution for treating wounds, which, I grant, makes a surgical field practically germ-free, but I emphatically declare that Calendula officinalis, a homoeopathic herbal simple, will heal wounds, including those with fractured or injured bones, much more quickly than the Carro-Dakin solution.
What is more important to the patient, it does so without any of the very great discomforts caused by the C-D solution to the surrounding skin, for it irritates the skin so much as to prevent sleep. It excoriates the surrounding skin to rawness, notwithstanding all attempts at protecting it with paraffined strips, sterile or otherwise. Think also of the cumbrous technique of the C-D drip method of irrigating wounds, which is possible only for the very rich or in first class hospitals.
The marvellous simplicity and certainty of our Calendula wet dressings is therefore worthy of thought and consideration. I have had over fifty years experienced with Calendula, sometimes under the roughest conditions of backwoods service. Yet I have never had Calendula fail.
God has filled the world with herbal simples, ready to any mans hand, which are much safer, quicker, easier, and even cheaper, than any chemical compounds eternally changing because ultimately wanting. Calendula has been known for hundreds of years to medical men.
In May 1915, I was placed in charge of a French War Hospital, near Melun. Therefore I could employ the drugs and dressings I wished. For one whole year, when I resigned the post, I used for all sorts of compound fractures and very large wounds only wet dressings of Calendula, alternating them occasionally with normal saline dressings, to prevent wounds becoming too accustomed to the stimulus of Calendula, thus slowing down repair.
The French soldiers asked me: “Doctor what is this wet dressing which, when used, is water clear, yet next day the bandages are yellow?” I replied ” I use Calendula,: which meant nothing to them. They shrugged their shoulders, but they were satisfied with results. Very soon I found a sample of the plant Calendula growing in a nearby cottage garden, and I showed it to the men, who had much to say about it. It was to be found in every garden, and it had been used from time immemorial as a dressing for every kind of wound of men, women, children and animals.
It was most valuable, it was sure to help, and its name, known everywhere in France, was Souci. So they were very contented with those wet dressings, which contained from one-half to one teaspoonful of Calendula tincture to 16 or 20 ozs. of water.
But, please read on, very soon by work was ” inspected” by a French Army Inspector and staff, and my inner senses were somewhat disturbed when I noticed said General sniffing in each of the wards. What had his keen and trained nose noticed that my own senses were dull to ? When, in the third ward, the General said abruptly: ” What is the medicament you are using for the wet dressing?” I must confess I felt somewhat anxious as I was among absolute strangers, and I replied, “Calendula officinalis”. Said he, ” I have never heard of it.” I gave him a little bottle, taken from a dressing wagon, fully labelled.
He read the name of the tincture, and the address of the homoeopathic chemist in Paris, who supplied the same, and turning to me, he said : ” I compliment you on having the cleanest-smelling wards I have ever inspected. There is no odour at all in your hospital.” Turning to his secretary he said : “Put down the name and address.” As half the cases were compound fractures and as bone wounds can smell very badly if incorrectly treated, this was a splendid recommendation in fact the best tribute to our homoeopathic Calendula imaginable.
The plant Calendula grows everywhere. Any small garden can have it. Many have it already growing at their doors. Any isolated settler can take a packet of its seeds with him to the ends of the earth. Besides, every homoeopathic chemist stocks it, and it is cheap enough for anyone. And it is non-poisonous and non- irritating, and it can be used in the mouth freely after extractions, etc. It stops local pain, and prevents the slough after extraction swelling, which is otherwise the case. It wont hurt the baby.
In killing germs with chemical compounds there is likely to be injurious action which destroys or inhibits the beneficent forces of nature acting towards repair. I assert that the quicker healing power of Calendula points to a too far-reaching and too drastic action on the part of all chemicals habitually used for wounds. It is because Calendula is so common and so cheap that it has been ignored by the orthodox profession and slighted by the vested interests of the manufacturing drug houses.
The journals and advertising pages of allopathy teem with compound chemicals recommended for treating wounds, often, nay always, changing, and often these recommended substances are very expensive, which must be considered even by the purchasing committees of hospitals, who are expected to be economical.
Before the War I visited the great homoeopathic pharmacy of Wilmar Schwabe, of Leipzig, and I saw there large vaults full to the ceiling with 15 litre glass jars of this Calendula tincture, proving the value and extent of their trade in this one medicament for wounds. With the testimony of France and Germany to back it, we may be sure that this vulnerary has a respectable history dating back centuries.
Of course, with employing Calendula for the wounds, I always gave the indicated homoeopathic internal remedy as well in every surgical case. no homoeopathic doctor would do otherwise.
For nerve pain and shock I gave Hypericum perfoliatum internally. It overcomes pain better than morphia, without any ill after-effects.
To stimulate normal granulation of bones and tissues, I gave Symphytum officinale, the Comfrey of old folk lore. By the way, the allopaths once tried to steal this drug from us without honourable mention of our prior use and knowledge. We homoeopaths know that it stimulates both tissue and bone repair. Its action on fractured bone is to directly stimulate bone callus into true and sound bone without flail- joints and long drawn out convalescence, which means time and money saved by homoeopathy.
Many other special homoeopathic remedies which served well for war wounds could be mentioned, but space prevents. Take it from the homoeopaths who know that every surgical case should be treated as a medical case at one and the same time. Medical stimulation is necessary. It overlaps every phase of surgical recovery, but the remedies must be chosen according to the rule of similia similibus.