LETTERS TO AN ORTHODOX DOCTOR.
By DR. J. COMPTON BURNETT.
A NUMBER of years ago, on a dull, dreary afternoon, which I had partly occupied at B Hospital with writing death certificates, I suddenly rose and felt something come over me for the fiftieth time at that period. I hardly knew what, but it grew essentially out of my unsatisfactory clinical results. I had been an enthusiastic student of medicine originally, but an arrogantly sceptic professor quite knocked the bottom out of all my faith in physic and overmuch hospital work and responsibilities, grave beyond my age and experience, had squeezed a good deal of the enthusiasm out of me.
After pacing up and down the surgery, I threw myself back into my chair and dreamily thought myself back to the green fields and the early birds nesting and fishing days of my childhood. Just then a corpse was carried by the surgery window, and I turned to the old dispenser and enquired in a petulant tone, “Tim, whos that dead now ?” “Little Georgie, Sir.”.
Now little Georgie was a waif who belonged to nobody, and we had liked him and had kept him about in odd beds, as one might keep a pet animal. Everybody liked little Georgie; the most hardened old pauper would do him a good turn, and no one was ever more truly regretted than he.
It all came about in this way: One day I wanted a bed for an acute case, and I ordered little Georgie out of his bed in a warm, snug corner to another that was in front of a cold window; he went to it, caught cold, had pleurisy, and Tims reply gives the result.
Said I to myself: If I could only have stopped the initial fever that followed the chill by the window, Georgie had probably lived. But three medical men besides myself had treated Georgie all in unison and all hospital men; still pleurisy followed the febricula, dropsy followed the pleurisy, and poor little Georgie died.
Old Tim was a hardened man and I never saw him show any feeling or sentiment of any kind, or regret anybodys death, but I verily believe he was very near dropping just one we tear over Georgies memory, for I noticed that his attention was needlessly and unwantedly fixed on the surface of the bottles he was washing. Be that as it may, Georgie was no more, and I FEEL SURE THAT HE NEED NOT HAVE DIED, and this consciousness nearly pressed me down into the earth.
That evening a medical friend from the Royal Infirmary turned up to dinner with me, and I told him of my trouble, and of my half determination to go to America and turn farmer; at least I should be able to lead a wholesome natural life.
He persuaded me to study homoeopathy first, and refute it, or, if apparently true, to try it in the hospital.
After many doubts and fears very much as if I were contemplating a crime I procured Hughes Pharmaco-dynamics and Therapeutics, which my friend said were a good introduction to homoeopathy.
I mastered their main points in a week or two, and came from a consideration of these to the the conclusion either that homoeopathy was a very grand thing indeed, or this Dr. Hughes must be a very big . . . . No, the word is unparliamentary.
You dont like the word — ? Well, I do, it expresses my meaning to a T; on such an important subject there is for me no middle way. It must be either good clear Gods truth, or black lying. A fool the man could not possibly be, since it would be quite impossible for a fool to a write the books. And as he seemed to speak so eloquently from a noble soul, it lifted me right out of the slough of despond for a little while, but then came a reaction; had I not often tried vaunted specifics and plans of treatment, and been direfully disappointed ? So my old skepsis took possession of me. “What,” said I, ” can such things be ?” No, impossible.
I had been nurtured in the schools, and had there been taught by good men and true that homoeopathy was therapeutic Nihilism. No, I could not be a homoeopath; I would try the thing at the bedside, prove it to be a lying sham, and expose it to an admiring profession !.
I was full of febricula on account of Georgies fate, so studied the say of the homoeopaths thereon, and found that they claimed to cut short simple fever with Aconite. Ah, thought I, if that be true, Aconite would have saved little Georgie if given in time at the very onset.
Well, feverish colds and chills were common enough just then, and I had, moreover, a ward where children thus taken ill were put till their diseases had declared themselves, and then they were drafted off to the various wards, for that purpose provided, with pneumonia, pleurisy, rheumatism, gastritis, measles, as the case might be.
I had some of Flemings Tincture of Aconite in my surgery, and of this I put a few drops into a large bottle of water and gave it to the nurse of said childrens ward, with instructions to administer of it to all the cases on the one side of the ward as soon as they were brought in. Those on the other side were not to have the Aconite solution, but were to be treated in the authorized orthodox way, as was theretofore customary.
At my next morning visit I found nearly all the youngsters on the Aconite side feverless, and mostly at play in their beds. But one had the measles, and had to be sent to the proper ward. I found Aconite did not cure measles. The others remained a day or two, and were then returned whence they had originally come.
Those on the non-Aconite orthodox side were worse, or about the same and had to be sent into hospital mostly with localized inflammations, or catarrhs, measles, etc.
And so it went on day after day, day after day: those that got Aconite were generally convalescent in twenty-four or forty-eight hours, except in the comparatively seldom cases where the seemingly simple chill was the prodromal stage of a specific disease such as measles, scarlatina, rheumatic fever: these were barely influenced by the Aconite. But the great bulk of the cases were all genuine chills, and the Aconite cured the greater part right off, though the little folks were usually pale, and had perspired, as I subsequently learned, needlessly much.
I had told the nurse nothing about the contents of my big bottle, but she soon baptized it “Dr. Burnetts Fever Bottle”.
For a little while I was simply dumb founded, and I spent much of my nights studying homoeopathy; I had no time during the day.
One day I was unable to go my usual rounds through the wards: in fact I think I was absent two days from Saturday till Tuesday and on entering the said childrens ward the next time in the early morning, the nurse seemed rather quiet, and informed me, with a certain forced dutifulness that all the cases might, she thought, be dismissed.
“Indeed,” and said I, “hows that?”.
“Well, doctor, as you did not come round on Sunday and yesterday, I gave your fever medicine to them all; and, indeed, I had not the heart to see you go on with your cruel experiments any longer; you are like all the young doctors that come here you are only trying experiments !”.
I merely said ” Very well, nurse ; give the medicine in future to all that come in. ” This was done till I left the place, and the result of this Aconite medication for chills and febricula was usually rapid defervescence, followed by convalescence.
But when the stomach was much involved, I at times found the Aconite useless, unless vomiting occurred, and so in such cases I administered a mild emetic, whereupon defervescence at once set in, and, though a homoeopath now for a good many years, I still think a mild emetic the right treatment when the stomach is laden and cannot unburden itself by natural vomit.
But still this is only by the way: I enter into all these preliminary, incidental and concomitant circumstances merely to put you on the same ground whereon I myself stand; they are not essential, for they only lead to this: Aconitum in febricula was, and is, my first reason for being a homoeopath.
Have you as good a reason for being a “regular?”.
Ah! my good fellow, I thought you would say that you also use Aconite for fever, and that therefore it is not necessarily homoeopathy. But do you not know of a certain French gentleman who spoke prose all his life without knowing it?.
A man that gives Aconite for febricula is a homoeopath malgre lui. But to my second reason.
When I was a lad I had pleurisy of the left side, and, with the help of a village apothecary, and half a hogshead of mixture, nearly died, though not quite. From that time on I had a dull, uneasy sensation in my side, about which I consulted many eminent physicians in various parts of Europe, but no one could help me. All agreed that it was an old adhesive something between the visceral and costal layers of the pleura, but no one of my many eminent advisers could care it. And yet my faith in them was big enough to remove mountains. So faith as a remedy did no good.
When orthodox medicine proved unhelpful, I went to the hydropaths (they were called “quacks” then !) an had it hot, and cold, and long; but they also did me no good. Packs cold, and the reverse; could compresses worn for months together; sleeping in wet sheets; no end of sweatings Turkish and Russian all left my old pleuritic trouble in status quo ante.
The grape cure; the bread-and-wine cure, did no better. Nor did diet and change help me.
However, when I was studying what the peculiar people called homoeopaths have to say about their Bryonia alba, and its affinity for serous membranes, I– what ? abused them and called them quacks ? No, ! I bought some Bryonia alba, and took it as they recommended, and in a fortnight my side was well, and has never troubles me since !
There, friend, that is my second reason for being a homoeopath, and when I cease to be grateful to dear old Hahnemann for his Bryonia, may my old pleural trouble return to remind me of the truth of his teaching.
What you and the world in general may think of it I care not one straw; I speak well of the bridge that carried me over.
For my part, I make but one demand of medicine, and one only, viz., that it shall cure ! The pathy that will cure is the pathy for me. For of your fairest pathy I can but say –.
What care I how fair she be,
If she be not fair to me ?.
You can have what opinion you like of my old pleuritis affection: I had the wretched thing till I took Bryonia, and I have never had it since. Myself, I am sweetly content with my second reason for being a homoeopath. I never said the remedy was first used by the homoeopaths; that is not of the essence of my proposition.
Since going over into the homoeopathic camp, I have often had to treat pleurisy; that you will not find it difficult to believe. Aconite and Bryonia are the big guns of the homoeopaths for pleurisy, but I will remark, as the outcome of my own experience, that it is only in what I would call.
that they really hit the mark. Let me relate such a case to you as my third reason for being a homoeopath.
Some years since I was suddenly summoned to the suburban house of a city merchant, who had caught a chill two evenings before on returning from a political meeting. When I arrived, an exquisite case of pleurisy, pleuritis rheumatica, presented itself.
The gentlemans wife informed me that she was much exercised in her mind, as many friends had strongly urged her not to have homoeopathy in such a serious case. All very well, said they, perhaps, for women and children, but she surely was not going to risk her dear husbands life in the hands of a homoeopathic practitioner? No, she would have Dr. X., who lived near by.
But though, as a rule, L homme propose et la femme dispose, in this case it was the other way about. The husband flatly refused any other than homoeopathic treatment, and hence my presence. He was in a raging fever and much pain, and merely moaned, ” Doctor, give me relief from this pain, and procure me some sleep.”.
I gave Aconite and Bryonia–strong.
Next day he was already a little round the corner, and not in much pain, unless he incautiously turned. “Doctor,” said he, ” my friend Mr. —- in — road has, I am told, something of the same thing as I have, only more in the shoulder, and he has sent to me to beg me to give you up, and have his medical man, who lives near by, and who is considered a very clever man what am I to say ?” I replied, ” Tell him from me that I shall have you well in your city office in a few days at work, and that on your way home from the city you may call, and you will still find HIM ill, and then you can tell him your experience, and compare notes !”.
And so it happened, in a few days I do not remember the exact number my patient went to his city office, did a small amount of work, and on returning home called on or sent to his said friend, who was still in great pain, and remained so for some time.
Your note would infer that I was not dealing in my last letter with a case of true pleurisy.
Given a man who had pleurisy himself twice; who laboured twelve weeks in bed therewith; who went about all his student life with a painful sequel of pleurisy; who read all he could find in literature on pleurisy; who listened to lectures by Skoda on pleurisy for weeks together with personal interest; who saw scores of cases of pleurisy while walking the hospitals; who was, as it happened, examined at his “final” on pleurisy; and who, in his own subsequent practice, has treated very many cases of pleurisy I am that man !.
Well, now I must give you my fourth reason for being a homoeopath. The gentleman referred to in my last latter ( my patients friend), after he got over his acute sufferings went to a specialist for gout, but was still so stiffened in his shoulder and side that he was not able to do his office duty, and after remaining faithfully under his own doctor for a further period and still not getting well, finally What ? Came to me ! And what next ? Bryonia alba, Chelidonium majus, and Sulphur, cured him in a few weeks.
It seems to me that Aconite and Bryonia alone, if well studied and rightly used, would convert the whole world to homoeopathy, at least I see no escape for any honest unprejudiced man.
But prejudice is well-nigh almighty. As Bolingbroke says ” It may sound oddly, but it is true, in many cases, that if men had learned less, their way to knowledge would be shorter and easier. It is, indeed, shorter and easier to proceed from ignorance to knowledge than from error.
They who are in the last must unlearn before they can learn to any good purpose; and the first part of this double task is not in many respects the least difficult, for which reason it is seldom undertaken.”.
Did you understand anything about homoeopathy I would explain to you why I gave the Bryonia, why it was followed by Chelidonium, and why Sulphur had to be interposed; as you are, however, ignorant, you must take it empirically.
I LEAVE you to study the wide therapeutic bearings of Aconite in common feverishness and as preventive of inflammatory localizings, and also the specific elective affinity of the white Bryonia for the serous membranes, as exemplified in my own case, as well as in the other two; I did not promise you didactic lectures on the various points I bring forward, but only my Fifty Reasons. So now for my fifth: it is this–Homoeopathy lifts me at one stroke from the dependent position of a groping journey-man healer of disease to the proud position of a master of the healing art. Let me exemplify by quoting almost in full a case I once published, under this heading:-.
ON THE USE OF CHLORAL HYDRATE IN LETHARGIC SOMNOLENCY.
Those who have watched old chloral-eaters may have noticed that they slowly get lethargic, somnolent, and listless. Towards the end of the chapter of chronic chloralism there is a condition of fatty degeneration of a slow, lazy type, and the very mode of death seems peculiar. I have seen a case where the subject of chronic chloralism lay for days a-dying; she was for several days so that it was very difficult to determine whether she was dead or not.
Occasionally one comes across a remarkable case of somnolence, and then the narcotics are to be thought of by the therapeutist.
I will shortly relate two such cases from my own practices.
No. 1. A lady about forty-five years of age, stout, fresh- looking, and the mother of a family, was the subject of remark of her friends, on account of her lethargy and sleepiness. Her weakness was such that even crossing that street was almost impossible; the weakness was peculiarly lethargic, a kind of listless heaviness.
She was almost constantly asleep; she would get up in the morning after a good nights rest and, even while dressing, she seemed compelled to sit down, and no sooner seated but she would fall asleep. This state of things went on for weeks and months, and her allopathic adviser did his best in vain, After she came under my care I tried first Arnica and at then Opium, with but indifferent success, when all at once I bethought me of the great similarity of the case before me to that of a confirmed old chloraleater of my clientele.
Chloral in a low dilution cured my patient, and she again became brisk, active and wide awake.
No. 2. An elderly lady came under my care on April 21st, 1881, for lethargy, languor, and somnolence.
R, Trit. x Chloral hydrat., 6 grains in water every three hours.
May 7th. Under this date I find these notes in my case book:- “Feels a different creature; vastly improved; less lethargic, and decidedly less languid.”.
She then got the third decimal trituration in lieu of the second, and only two doses a day, and then needs no further treatment, as she subsequently informed me when calling with her husband.
Now you can see what I mean: I had before me cases that would not readily fit into any nosological cadre, and yet I was enabled to treat the case en maitre. This is therapeutic independence which I have, and affords, as I submit, a very sound reason indeed for beings a homoeopath.
Had I not so many more reasons to give I should very much like to dilate on this transcendental advantage of Homoeopathy: its law is a guide in the darkest disease of the this more in my next.
What I mean in my fifth reason requires to be insisted upon a little more, that you may perceive my meaning the more clearly. I said Homoeopathy raises one from the dependent position of a journeyman therapeutist to that of a master.
E.g.–Some years since, as you may perhaps know, a drug called Cundurango came up in your school as a cure for cancer, much as turpentine did subsequently, and, like it had its little day, and then passed out of sight.
Cundurango, thought I, will certainly only cure one variety of cancer, not all. How are we to know which? The clinical records of cundurango showed that it really has genuine curative power over some cases of cancer, particularly of the stomach. Hahnemann taught that the true way to define the curative sphere of a drug is to give it to healthy people, to see what it would do to them.
I procured some of the Cundurango bark, made an infusion, and drank quantities of it. You will find my report on the subject in Allen,s Encyclopedia of Pure Materia Medica. Well, I found that it causes (inter alia) cracks in the angles of the mouth.
Subsequently I had to treat a case of cancer of the left breast in a middle-aged woman, but patient had also a deep crack in the angle, probably of an epitheliomatous nature. I think you would have agreed with the diagnosis had you seen the case. I therefore reasoned thus:- We know empirically that Cundurango can cure some cases of cancer; I now know from the direct experiment on myself that it causes the angles of the mouth to crack; the homoeopaths maintain that likes cure likes, ergo, Cundurango ought to be the curative agent in this case.
The patient took a homoeopathic preparation of the remedy steadily for about three years, with gradual, slow amelioration , and eventual perfect cure. Since then eight years have elapsed, and she is still in excellent health. I think it must be manifest that, had it not been for Homoeopathy, this cure could not have been wrought, and patient must long since have died of the dire disease.
Therefore, please accept this as my sixth reason for being a homoeopath. And, learned brother, what a proud position, too ! Of course i is not “regular”. Alas ! that it is not.
This shall also be in further elucidation of my contention that Homoeopathy turns the groping, bungling treater Disease into a master of the healing art.
Ever since the year 1878 I have been in the habit of using Vanadium as a remedy in a class of cases that, outside of Homoeopathy, you cannot touch–I mean in certain cases of atheroma of the arteries, and fatty degeneration. I had been in the habit of using Phosphorus, Antimony, Arsenic, and the like, but was not satisfied with my result in certain cases : nothing satisfies me but a cure.
So I went further afield, and thought I had found what I wanted in Vanadium, Whose physiological effects I studied in the Proceedings of the Royal Society. I got the Differential points from an article in the Journal of Physiology by Mr. G. F. Dowdeswell entitled ” On the Structural changes which are Produced in the Liver under the Influence of the Salts of Vanadium” In a Word, let me say that it consists in true cell destruction, the pigment escaping, the liver being hit hardest.
I had a case on hand of fatty liver, atheroma of the arteries, much pain corresponding to the course of the basilar artery, large deeply pigmented patches on forehead, profound adynamia, and so forth.
Well, my patient was then over seventy, and was very clearly breaking up and going to pass the big bourne whence no man returneth. Thanks to the use of Vanadium (I used the soluble ammonium salt) in homoeopathic preparation, chosen according to the homoeopathic law, the lady got quite well, and remains so, being now hard upon eighty years of age, and hale and hearty.
This is what I call being a master of the art of healing, and that you may truly realize the entire independence of my proceeding, I may tell you that thus far Vanadium (so far as I know) has never even now been used in medicine at all, except by myself.
Of course, as you are a “regular”, you would not so far have forgotten your dignity as to go in quest of a remedy for your case, holding on humbly and hopefully to the Hahnemannic law.
Please allow the now by me clinically proved homoeopathicity of Vanadium to a certain form of fatty decay stand as my seventh reason for being a homoeopath.
My other vanadium cases I will not trouble you with–they only prove the same point; besides, I have still forty-three reasons to give you.
A lady living not far from your uncles Kensington, came to me on June 5th, 1882, with a sore, gnawing pain in her left side, the pain being at time sharp and darting, and seated just under the ribs, in the region of the spleen: worse at night when she got warm in bed.
Concomitantly herewith the left eye is involved; its puncta lachrymalia are very red. This is a comparatively simple case of disease, yet withal very painful, and patient came to me to be cured, I am sure as a ” regular” this case would completely baffle anyone. Without a scientific law to guide you, you would not be able to tackle the case curatively at all.
It offered no particular difficulty to me and I cured it with an essence of the common European walnut ! Fancy the walnut tree for such a case ! We call it Juglans regia, and I gave five drops of the first centesimal dilution in water three times a day. would you like to know the scientific “why” of this case ? Only Homoeopathy and the mundane mundane doings of the late Clotar Muller can tell you.
Here again, you see how the law of similars gives executive potentiality to ones knowledge of drug physiology and moreover, affords me my eighth reason for not being a “regular”.
You object to my “jeering offensive tone”. May I remind you, my “regular” friend that you the “jeering” ? At your uncles plumed yourself upon being a “regular”, and thought you were looking down from a mighty height upon the homoeopaths ! You insisted upon having my fifty reasons, and I am sending them as fast as I can, and if I parenthetically do a little jeering, you will please remember that I have the most absolutely unspeakable contempt for you ignorance, from the top of which you had the brazen effrontery to call the homoeopaths quacks ! You, the grossly ignorant, prejudiced ” regular”, call flippantly upon me to justify my professional position. When I speak of ignorance I mean your ignorance of the art of heading; of other kinds of knowledge I know you are full.
I have given you case of pain in the hypochondrium cured by Juglans regia; not many weeks after that case was cured, as stated, a young lady cane to consult me in regard to a very similar pain, but hers was of the right side, at the bottom of the right lung. she had had it for three months, and was pulled down by it a good deal, having become weak and anaemic.
Chelidonium majus 1, five drops in water night and morning, cured it specifically in just a fortnight. I should like to discuss with you the reason why I gave Juglans regia in the one case of pain in the one side, and Chelidonium majus in the other; but I have not the time so this must end my account of my ninth reason.
You are quite mistaken i saving that what rendered me, after my “manner of speech”, a master of the healing art, is limited in its application. That is just what it is not, else where is the mastership ? Getting a firm grip of the homoeopathic law affords me a guide under almost all circumstances. Let me further exemplify my my meaning by adducing a case of–.
To being with, if you have no experience with really bad cases of hiccough, ask your older partner, nd he will tell you that they are very troublesome at times and by no means easy to cure. And hiccough is again one of those cases that do not fit easily into any nosological system.
In the early part of 1883, a young lady was brought to me suffering from a number of morbid symptoms, the most promising of which was Singultus (hiccough), She would get in the attacks lasting about half an hour each, and of these there were generally four a day.
In view of the concomitants–emansion considered that the hiccough was reflected from the uterus. You know something of the views I hold on vaccination and the theory of vaccinosis, which I have elsewhere sought to establish and defend. well proceeded on these lines and gave thuja, but it did no good.
I followed with Sepia which is a classic remedy with the homoeopaths for leucorrhoea, but it also did not help. what did I do ? I went to the law of homoeopathy and to the prophet Hahnemann ! Now my patient was thirsty; her tongue was collated; she had nausea; her mouth filled with fluid; she had headache; she complained of great weakness, and of fatigue in all her limbs; and altogether her symptoms were vary much like those of Cyclamen, as given in Hahnemanns Medica Pura, and THEREFORE if the old seers notion of similitudes was anything, Cyclamen ought to cure my patient, and so it did.
The third decimal nearly cured her, but not quite; and so I went down to the second decimal when the menses appeared. But the second decimal dilution did not seem to act so well as the previously used third, and hence I harked back to the third.
Then, as the hiccough was not quite well, I went down to the first decimal, and then for the same reason shot up to the thirtieth centesimal, when–repeat it only a whisper to your friends– no more remedies were needed for the hiccough ! So please accept as my tenth reason for being a homoeopath the fact that with aid I can cure hiccough safely and pleasantly: this time the cure was wrought with Cyclamen.
LETTERS TO THE ORTHODOX DOCTOR.
I WOULD fain beg you to allow me to give you as my eleventh reason for being a homoeopath also a most singular case of hiccough. It has already been published in my Natrum muriaticum, whence I will transcribe it.
A clergymans wife of about 50 years of age consulted me on February 20th, 1878, complaining of severe dyspepsia with other symptoms of Natrum muriaticum. My visit was a hurried one, so I did not entry very fully into the case. Nat. mur., 6 trit., vj. grains in water twice a day was the prescription; it cured in three days these symptoms: “Hiccough occurring morning, noon and night for at least ten years, which was brought on by quinine; it was not a hiccough that made much noise, but shook the body to the ground; it used to last about ten minutes, and was very distressing.”.
“How do you know that the hiccough was really produced by quinine ?” I enquired. She answered: “At three separate times in my life I have taken quinine for tic of the right side of my face, and I got hiccough each time; the first and second time it gradually went off, but the third time it did not; when the late Dr. Hynde prescribed it I said, do not give me quinine as it always gives me hiccough, but he would gave it to me; I took it, and it gave me the hiccough, which lasted until I took your powders; it is more than ten years ago since I took the quinine.”.
The cure of the hiccough has proved permanent.
This patient is a most truthful Christian woman, and her statement is beyond question.
She has been a homoeopath for many years, and my patient off and on for more than three years, during which time I have had to treat her for chronic sore throat, vertigo, palpitation, and at one time for great depression of spirits.
She had also previously mentioned her hiccough incidentally, but I have forgotten all about it, and on this occasion she did not even mention it; so far as the hiccough goes the cure was . . . a pure fluke ! But it set me-a-thinking about the Hahnemannian doctrine of drug dynamization for the thousandth time, and has seriously shaken my disbelief in it.
Hiccough is a known effect of Chininum sulfuricum: Allens Encyclopedia, Vol. 111, p. 226, symptoms 370 and 379.
We note from this case that:.
1. The effects of quinine, given for Tic in medicinal doses to a lady, may last for more than ten years; that:.
2. Natrum muriaticum in the sixth trituration antidotes this effect of quinine, while:.
3. The same substance in its ordinary form, viz., common salt, dose not antidote it even when taken daily in various quantities and in various forms for ten years. Inasmuch, then, as then crude substance fails to do what the triturated substance promptly effects, it follows, therefore, that:.
4. Trituration dose so after a substance that it thereby acquires a totally new power, and consequently that:.
5. The Hahnemannian doctrine of drug dynamization is no myth, but a fact in Nature capable of scientific experimental proof, and inasmuch as the crude substance was taken daily for many years in almost every conceivable dose, in all kids of solutions of the most varied strength, it results:.
6. and lastly. That the Hahnemannian method of preparing drug for remedial purposes is not a mere dilution, or attenuation, but a positively power-evolving or power-producing process, viz., a potentization or dynamization.
This case is probably as good a one as we may ever expect to get, and it might here fitly close the subject as far as its simple demonstration is concerned, but I have others in my casebook, both corroborating it and presenting new features.
Before leaving this Case X1 let us us reflect for a moment on the certainly immense number of modifying and perturbating influences this lady has been subject to during those ten years, as well as living at the seaside, and including the daily use of salt, and yet her hiccough persisted until dynamized salt was given.
Before coming to these conclusions I exhausted all my ingenuity in trying to explain it away, and that backed by no small amount of sepsis, not to believe it than to believe it.
I am thus in a dilemma: either I must believe in the doctrine of drug dynamization, or disbelieve the most incontrovertible evidence of facts, which is the province of the demented.
Or canst thou, critical reader, being more ingenious and more sceptical than I, help me out of the dilemma ? Fain would I believe thou canst, for this doctrine of drug dynamization seems to take away firm material ground from under ones feet, and leaves one standing in the air.
This rather a long account of a case of hiccough, but it taught me much, and that must be my excuse for not curtailing it.
As you have not acknowledged my last communication, I will inflict a third case of hiccough upon you, and that will be my twelfth reason for being a homoeopath.
On March 29th, 1887, a young lady of 10 was brought to me, her mother complaining that she suffered from bloodlessness, languor, biliousness, sore throat, nausea, faintness, frontal headaches, matutinal lassitude, poor memory, sour breath, risings inn the throat, hiccough, white and scant motions, pain in the left side on going up hill.
I found an endocardial bruit, best heard at the base, and very notable enlargement of the spleen. Patient could not stand cold, had been only vaccinated, had varicella and measles.
You know I consider vaccination a disease, and I have ventured to call it vaccinosis, and have written a small book on the subject; however, I am not concerned with that them here, but with the greater subject of homoeopathy, which leads to the same prescription as my theory of vaccinosis.
Thuja occidentalis 30 in infrequent dose cured the hiccough, reduced the spleen by about one-half, oddly enough, the hiccough by Thuja is, however, the point I desire to call your attention to more particularly. Now note that I have offered you three cases of hiccough, one cured by Cyclamen europaeum, the second by Natrum muriaticum, and the last one by Thuja occidentalis; this diversity of remedial measures for a symptom such as hiccough exemplifies alike the spirit of homoeopathy and the immensity of its mastership over disease.
Nevertheless, to an outsider who dose not understand Homoeopathy, this diversity of remedial measures constitutes a great stumbling block, and has prevented many able, conscientious investigators from understanding it, and yet this is the strength of the system, rendering, however, its practice disgustingly difficult.
All nature is our pharmacopoeia-that is, for any homoeopath who has grasped the subject, and who has learned to walk without crutches, and who is WILLING TO WORK ! And although I have thus narrated three cases of hiccough cured by as many different homoeopathic remedies, still if you were to ask me what remedy I would recommend you to try for hiccough, I should only be able to say, “that remedy (not necessarily either of my three) which can be proved to be pathogenetically like the to-be-cured case of hiccough,” I fear I am firing over your head !.
Quite so; I did not maintain that hiccough was a mortal malady; what I do maintain is that it is often very troublesome, and that homoeopathy can cure it pleasantly and safely. More than a safe and pleasant cure I ask of no system of medicine. But let me pass to my thirteenth reason, viz.:.
CURE OF APHONIA BY Arnica.
A well-known soprano singer came to me with Aphonia: the throat was what is commonly called follicular and congested. You may have heard that the homoeopaths think a good deal of Arnica for the effect of bruises, hurts, sprains, and the like; in fact, for trauma in general. Well, after using numerous remedies in vain, it slowly became manifest to me that the aphonia in question was from an overstrained state of the vocal chords. Moreover, patient had a small pustule on the nape, and mattery pimples on the skin.
Arnica cured the case, affording in its physiological action symptoms similar to it.
You will perhaps say that this aphonia case is also not a mortal malady. Will you once for all disabuse your mind of the very vulgar professional and popular error, according to which the homoeopaths are said to claim to cure the incurable ! Just note, at least for your own information, that the homoeopaths make no such claim; what they say is this; homoeopathy cures what can be cured much better than any other system of medicine hitherto made known to the world.
The homoeopaths do not maintain that other systems are valueless, or that the homoeopathic system is faultless, only that thus far in the art-treatment of disease by remedies, homoeopathy, by very long odds, beats all the records. Do you see ?.
Be that as it may, I trust that curing an old case of singers aphonia with Arnica is a fairly sound reason for being a homoeopath; any way it is my thirteenth.
P.S.-When I say that homoeopathy dose not claim to cure the incurable, that leaves the question of curability an open one; homoeopathy dose not accept anything as incurable certain physicians who are “regular” declare it to be so. Incapacity to cure dose not render thee uncured incurable. Kindly take a mental note of this, because what you “regulars” consider incurable may, or may not, be so considered by the homoeopaths. My old pleuritis trouble was declared and proved to be incurable by and for the entire faculty, and yet the Bryonia alba of the homoeopaths cured it !.
You “do not believe that Arnica is any good for injuries and, moreover, it is a poisonous drug, causing very dangerous, or, at least, very severe, erysipelas”. I have nothing to do with your beliefs: clinical facts are what I am concerned with. I cured an old case of aphonia with Arnica, and an account of that I have sent you as my thirteenth reason for being a homoeopath. Whether you believe in the anti-traumatic virtues of Arnica or not is your affair: I fearlessly affirm that your sepsis would not have cured it, anyhow.
Further, I did not deny that Arnica causes very severe and even dangerous erysipelas. Indeed, I know it well, and have seen it, and out of your own mouth will I take my fourteenth reason for being a homoeopath.
OLD CASE OF ERYSIPELAS CURED BY Arnica.
Some years since eminent member of the Society of Friends wrote to me, stating that he had for a number of years been suffering from erysipelas of the face at odd intervals. I ordered him Arnica in a rather high dilution and in infrequent dose, and thereupon his erysipelas faded and came no more. Long afterwards he wrote me a very grateful letter, giving me much undue praise for having wit enough to see that the Almighty has His laws in therapeutics for the guidance of His poor, sick children.
I have it form you that Arnica causes erysipelas; I will not doubt your statement; you may now take it from me that Arnica cures erysipelas, and this I offer you as my fourteenth reason for being a homoeopath. You know the bad character of Arnica in that it is apt to cause erysipelas; I tell you of its good fame, viz., that it possesses the power of curing erysipelas, and the intellectual link that completes the little chain is the law of likes that God put into the mind of one Samuel to explain to the world.