By DR. GEORGE W. MACKENZIE, Philadelphia.
(From The Hahnemannian Monthly, May, 1932).
EVERYONE can recall instances where the results obtained from the administration of drugs, homoeopathically prescribed, have approached the miraculous. My experience in this direction forces me to accept as truth those experiences cited by others which match up with my own, even though at times they may appear ridiculous to the uninitiated. I wish to report some outstanding cases selected from a large assortment.
During the summer of 1893 I had occasion to prescribe Sulphur 30x for an infant suffering from bowel inflammation, so common in those days. The particular symptoms which led to the prescribing of Sulphur were the excoriating stools, sore anus and rhagades in the creases about the buttocks. Amazing as it may seem, this triad of symptoms was decidedly improved within twenty-four hours and disappeared entirely within two days. Sulphur was prescribed in the 30x because no other potency was available.
The thirtieth potency of any substances is so dilute that it cannot be detected physically, chemically, spectroscopically, or any other way. On the other hand, neither is it conceivable that faith working directly on the child, or indirectly through the mother in a bottle-fed baby, is capable of working such a result. If faith was a factor then any other medicine should work just as satisfactorily and as frequently as the one prescribed homoeopathically. That it does not, rules out faith altogether.
A year later I was called to see a frail, weakly, inanimate, anaemic looking woman, forty-five years of age, suffering from copious bleeding from the sex organs. She had become so invalided from years of continuous loss of blood as to confine her to the bed and a chair near the bed. The parents had a trap door made in the bedroom through which to lower her down to the dining room once a year for Christmas dinner. She had been visited regularly by my predecessor twice a week and he was frequently called in between times. A cousin of the patient, a renowned gynecologist, was the consultant who directed the treatment.
Because of her timid nature I was disallowed the opportunity of making a physical examination and was compelled to rely entirely upon internal medication. After a few months of failure at prescribing, I began seriously to look up a remedy. Although I prescribed Ferrum on the totality of symptoms, there was one outstanding symptom, “flushing of the face from the least emotion,” that first led me to think of this remedy. It was prescribed in the 12x. It was not the potency of choice, but it happened to be the only one in stock at the time. The improvement was so prompt and recovery so complete that the patient was able to go down stairs within a week and inside of thirty days was able to do regular housework on a farm.
The second winter in general practice brought the following experience that indelibly impressed itself upon my mind. The case was that of a seventy-eight year old female patient, suffering from pneumonia. She looked withered up, feeble, pale, and was extremely short of breath, she did not “look good” for many hours more. It is difficult without the records (long since turned over to someone else) to recall all the details. However, there was one outstanding symptom told by the nurse in charge and that was, the patient was constantly “slipping down toward the foot of the bed.”
This symptom suggested Natrum muriaticum, which was supported by the other symptoms. Accordingly, it was prescribed in the 30x, the only potency at hand. Within a few hours there was a marked turn for the better and by the next day it would almost strain ones credulity to believe that it was the same patient, so pronounced was the improvement. She continued to live for many years and was fond of telling her friends of how “close a call” she had, with the usual embellishments that only a grateful patient can add.
A case that deserves a place in this limited group is one of arsenical poisoning. The patient, H. W., was a laboratory worker at the Zoological Department of the University of Pennsylvania, who did considerable taxidermy on the side, which brought him in contact with white arsenic. He eventually developed arsenical poisoning to a marked degree. After several months of severe suffering and fruitless efforts to get well, I was called in, not so much as a physician, but as a friend to console a hopeless individual. When seen in bed he was on the verge of suicide. After a good deal of persuasion, lasting two hours, he was soothed into allowing me time enough to figure out a remedy, which I promised to bring the next day. In the meantime he was given a Placebo.
After looking up the materia medica for several hours and thinking the case over carefully. Antimonium crudum was elected as the remedy best suited to the case. It was prescribed in the 12x trituration. It worked rapidly and effectually, clearing up a condition that was desperate and of long standing. The first sign of improvement to be noted was in the mental sphere, which was very apparent within a few minutes after its administration. The recovery was complete in a few days and there has been no return in spite of the fact that the patient continued using arsenic for taxidermy for years afterward.
The case which in my experience comes nearest the unbelievable is one of neuritis of the brachial plexus which was so fearful that it is better not to tell the whole story rather than run the risk of straining anyones belief in anothers veracity. Arsenic seemed to be the remedy indicated, since it matched up precisely with twenty-three symptoms manifested by the patient. It did improve him every time it was taken, like morphia is supposed to act, even after 1/4 grain of morphia sulph. had failed to bring the least bit of relief.
After nine months of severe suffering Psorinum was prescribed in the one-thousandth potency and within twenty minutes the patient went to sleep to wake up eight hours later in the same position in bed that he assumed on retiring. I have the courage to tell of this experience but not the nerve to ask you to believe it.
Has anyone here thought out just what one-thousand ciphers mean? I have, and it means this: That if you take one drop of medicine and mix it with a volume equal to the whole universe as accepted by Einstein, that is a sphere of two hundred and fifty million light years diameter, it would not reach the one-thousandth potency. Figure it out for yourselves! It is easier to accept SantaClaus as a reality than to believe in the effects of drugs administered even in the thirtieth potency. How many of us realise that one cubic inch of a tincture diluted to the sixtieth potency would require a volume of water equal to more than 100,000 miles cubed.
One of my first cases was that of a prominent Philadelphia physician referred because of failing vision. Ophthalmoscopic examination revealed multiple retinal haemorrhages in both eyes. Upon examining him further a dark red angry looking fauces was found. This together with other symptoms including vertigo led me to prescribe Lachesis 12x. The results were very prompt and satisfactory. This patient had diabetic retinitis. The improvement in his vision “believe it or not” was quite beyond the limits allowed by the best textbook authorities. He survived his diabetes about two years more. This was at a time, twenty- three years ago, when our knowledge of this disease was very limited.
Another case somewhat similar was seen about a year later. A man of sixty-seven years of age was referred because of vertigo., The diagnosis of haemorrhage in the left internal ear was made. This patient also had a purplish red irritable looking throat. Examination of the eye grounds revealed haemorrhages into the retina. Lachesis was prescribed with even happier results than in the previous case. This patient is still living and over eighty years of age. How much Lachesis had to do with prolonging this mans life one can merely conjecture.
The next case put me in an embarrassing situation, that is hard to forget. It was that of a middle-aged man of sedentary habits who was suffering from a stopped-up nose, worse when lying down. He was referred for the removal of nasal polyps. Examination revealed their presence. An appointment was made to have them removed ten days later. While talking to him and arranging for the operation there were casually elicited symptoms which suggested Nux vomica as an interim remedy.
When he came for the operation no polyps could be found. This caused an unpleasant embarrassment which made me doubt my original diagnosis; however, that was not the answer, for his case had been diagnosed as polyposis by at least three experts. At this second visit the patient reported that there was marked improvement in his symptoms following the taking of the medicine; and furthermore, the improvement seemed to begin almost immediately after taking the first dose.
About this same time another very interesting case was presented. It was referred by another ophthalmologist because of vertigo that developed following an overdose of atropine. The ophthalmologist had prescribed homatropine, one grain to forty- minims of water. The druggist made the mistake of substituting atropine, which is vastly more toxic. After the instillation of six drops in each eye at ten minute intervals the patient was made seriously sick. He came out of the acute poisoning but much the worse for it and he was not himself again for six weeks. Vertigo was his most outstanding symptom.
His vertigo was ameliorated when he closed one eye, the one afflicted with a paretic internal rectus muscle. He was a man of brilliant mind and he had become exceedingly loquacious. Lachesis administered in the twenty-fourth potency was followed by a prompt and complete clearing up of all symptoms. After that experience I could not lose him as a patient. He would come to see me for all kinds of complaints in spite of my efforts to refer him to better men for particular ailments.
Another case of vertigo after resisting all forms of treatment over prolonged period, cleared up promptly after one dose of Conium in the thirtieth potency.
The next is one of pure fraud, practised by the writer. After hearing the details I ask for your leniency in judging me because of the good that was done. In the spring of 1912 I was called in to see a very desperate case of vertigo in a woman forty-three years of age. The gentleman who called me was an authority in the old school ranks of national and international reputation.
He invited me to see the case as a consultant to determine the cause of the vertigo; however, knowing that I was a homoeopathic graduate he let it be known from the start that he did not care for any therapeutic suggestions. Included in the examination was a refraction of the patients eyes under homatropine as a cycloplegic. During the post-cycloplegic check up, the eye muscle balance was tested and a slight imbalance uncovered. I naturally studied the case most carefully, desirous of leaving a good impression on the old school authority, who had called me in.
The vertigo was so pronounced, at least according to the patient and her sister who was in attendance, that she had to have someone to hold her head fixed with the hands when making the slightest motion. She was rich in symptomatology. The old school doctor was giving her massive doses of iron, hypodermically. I saw the patient about six times at intervals of a few days. By the fifth visit I was satisfied that the totality of symptoms matched up with Theridion. The next question to arise was how was it to be administered. The mere suggestion of a homoeopathic remedy would have spelled “exit” for the prescriber.
I decided to put one drop of the thirtieth potency in water and have it used as an eye lotion. After several months the patient had the family call up for more eye drops. Boric acid solution was sent. The patient insisted that these last boric acid drops did not answer the purpose, since they did not stop the vertigo as the first had done. I then sent more Theridion, which did the trick. This experience was repeated twice after that. On one occasion boric acid was sent, followed by the report that it did not help her vertigo.
A second supply of boric acid was sent purposely, to eliminate any possible guess work on the part of the patient. She called up again to tell of my second mistake. Theridion was then sent. The following day she reported that there was decided improvement after using the first drop. I have seen this patient regularly every three years to refract her eyes and she has had no vertigo for the last eight or nine years and is able to go about with as much comfort as her arthritis will permit.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS.
Running through the entire group of cases reported there are to be found certain common factors. These are: (a) Bonafide ailments of a rather severe character with demonstrable objective manifestations; (b) improvement that was prompt (within twenty minutes in most cases); (c) results that were lasting.
In none of the cases can the satisfactory results be explained upon any other basis than the action of the homoeopathically prescribed remedy. Faith was excluded in every case.
Psorinum as a remedy for neuritis is not so far fetched when we consider the fact that neuritis is frequently of focal infection origin in which the infecting micro-organism is the staphylococcus which happens to be also the particular germ common to all original stocks from which Psorinum is prepared. On the other hand, how to account for the rapid and lasting improvement of neuritis from the administration of a single dose of Psorinum in the thousandth potency is almost beyond comprehension.
Did the Psorinum act as a remedy homoeopathic or isopathic to the case? It would seem to be isopathic, but not necessarily so since the case referred to here was one in which neuritis was due to the yellow staphylococcus about a tooth socket, whereas, the lesion from which the Psorinum is prepared is more likely to be the common skin variety the white staphylococcus. Careful laboratory control is the only key to the correct answer of this question.
Nux vomica is not a drug that one would think of “off hand” as a remedy for nasal polyps. In fact, it was not prescribed for the nasal symptoms per se, but for other symptoms tangent to the particular condition for which the patient came. This experience would be less valuable if it were merely an isolated one, but since having seen many others of a more or less similar character, it then takes on the proportion of corroborative experience.