Read before the annual convention of the International Hahnemannian Association, New York city, june, 1925.
George E.Dienst, M.D.Aurora, Ill.
What is Materia Medica Teaching? Why teach the Materia Medica? Is it not enough to know the structure of the body, and the functions of its several organs, to be efficient in correcting abnormal changes? This is true as long as the changes are caused from external influences or accidents. As physicians, however, we are not concerned so much with normal functioning of the organism-for this is all that is required in health-as with a disturbed functioning.
The human organism is actuated by a force and when this force is unimpaired,the functioning proceeds normally; but when impaired by any cause, the organism is put into disorder. It is this correct. As disorder arises from within the organism, as it manifests itself first in impairment of life force or forces, which cannot be reached. successfully, by mechanical or external measures,and since, from the beginning of time the human family has been afflicted with a disturbed functioning of soul and body-the primary cause of death-men have sought for ages to find a substance or substances to correct the impaired force and set in order that which has been or is in disorder.
Centuries came and went, during which time men floundered in mazes of uncertainly and gross materialism, with no true success to find curative remedies, until during the past century it was discovered that the true cause of many ills was an unseen, intangible , disturbed force, and to conquer which intense thought was given to a study of the Materia Medica, not so much from a gross materialistic standpoint, as to the thought that in each material substance used as medicine, there was a force, which, if properly liberated, and administered in the form commensurate with the degree of vital disturbance, would not only hold in abeyance the ravages of a disturbed vitality, but would set in order the disorder and restore normal function.
To reach this point, so called provings were made on the healthy to see in how far a drug substance, when administered to the healthy, would produce sensations similar to a so-called natural disorder.
This was done with almost miraculous success, and for the first time in history, men began, with these minute substances to restore harmony, where there had been so much disorder. As rime passed they also learned that certain elements in nature, had certain affinities for certain people, and men began to compare the sensations produced by those liberated forces to symptoms caused by natural disorder. It was discovered that acute, as well as chronic disorders, differed in their manifestation in different individuals, Thus Jones and Brown each have typhoid fever, but the sensations caused by this fever were not alike in certain particulars in these two men. though the common symptoms which gave name to the fever were similar.
In proving drug substances on the healthy it was most carefully observed that remedies had peculiar affinities for certain individuals or rather, that a certain type of individual was more sensitive to the influence of certain substances than others,and that these substances would case a certain uniformity of sensations, one type of individual being more definitely afflicted than others. For instance, in the proving of Pulsatilla, it was observed that the blonde, rather well nourished, but very sensitive individuals, those given to easy tears, easily offended, but easily and quickly pacified, were more deeply affected by the remedy, than the brunette or those given to anger and hatred,and slow to forgive and forget.
With this fact before them, the provers observed that this type not necessarily blonde, but of mild disposition-was subject to peculiar sensations when ill, common to this type and not common to others, such as “As if beside himself. As if in a hot atmosphere. As if death were never. As if looking through a sieve. Limb as if bruised; as if asleep. As if one had turned in a circle a long times; as if he would fall; as if he were dancing. As if brain would burst and eyes fall out of head. As if skull of forehead too thin. As if skull were lifted up. As if one had eaten too much. As if a nail were driven into occiput. As if joints would be easily dislocated. And many other sensations”.
The one peculiar feature is this-practically all pains increase slowly to a certain degree of severity and then cease suddenly as with a snap.
Now, does this picture of a blonde fit all blonde individuals? No. Will not a brunette or one of a mixed type have some of the sensations found in a blonde? Yes. Such symptoms are usually secondary to other major colorings of the picture and do not exert a controlling influence.
It is when the type is blonde, of a gentle disposition, and where one or more of these strange sensations appear that we have a more exact picture of Puls. Do particulars always correspond to the generals, in complexion, a brunette my be cured with pulsatilla, provided the symptoms agree-viz, mild disposition, scanty menses, pale menses, and a general aggravation from heat. This applies to all conditions of mankind, and to all remedies, that there must be an agreement in provings of remedies. They must agree to be curative, for to picture a remedy as good for this or that symptom, regardless of their complexities, is but a shallow way of palliating instead of curing sick people.
In teaching the Materia Medica then, thought must be given to each and every remedy in its total pathogenesis, before one can comprehend its curative powers in particulars. In other words, the totality of symptoms must be the guide in selecting curative remedies.