ROBERT L. EMERY, M.D.
So MUCH has been written of late concerning the curative beliefs of sulfanilamide, sulfapyridine, etc., as a “cure-all” in different infections, that it might be well for us to review a few of our many remedies for infection.
There is no doubt that sulfanilamide and its derivatives have a very serviceable place in medicine when applied and used correctly. They seem to be of especially great benefit in pneumonia, gonorrhea, and other infections. In order not to be prejudiced without reason or knowledge, I purchased 1,000 each of sulfanilamide and sulfapyridine and in selected cases used them in pneumonia, gonorrhea, and some acute and chronic infections. Possibly my technic was not perfected, as it was fairly early in their introduction into the medical armature. In pneumonia I had fair results.
In gonorrhea it acted very quickly, but there was a recurrence. In other infections it reduced the severity, but did not bring about an absolute cure. Perhaps I am a coward perhaps I did not have the patients in a hospital where I could have them under good control but I made up my mind that if, in order to bring about a cure I must first poison or bring my patients to deaths door, I would let somebody else do the experimenting for a while, as my experience in bringing about cures with remedies has been much more pleasant, more normal, more permanent, and nearer to natures way.
Possibly some day when I tire of studying our many remedies, in order that I may know how to apply them according to “similia similibus curentur.” I may go back to sulfanilamide, etc., and see if I have better and more lasting results, but not until the “chaff has been separated from the wheat.”.
I wish to speak of hepar sulphur in respect to the sinuses : frontal, ethmoid, sphenoid, antrum, and mastoid. In reviewing the articles on treatment of accessory sinuses in the two leading homoeopathic magazines the JOURNAL of the American Institute of Homoeopathy, and the Hahnemannian Monthly including 1937, 1938, and 1939, very little appears on their treatment except surgically.
Most of the writers feel that drainage by physical means, local applications, or surgery are the leading requirements. One writer speaks of several remedies, but fails to mention one which I believe leads all others, and which in my hands during thirty-two years of general practice has saved me from ever having an operation on the frontal, ethmoid, sphenoid. maxillary, or mastoid; nor has there ever had to be drainage by puncture, and the best of all, there have been no deaths or even near deaths by this method.
I have seen frontal sinuses bulging half the size of an egg; I have seen the antrum of Highmore so swollen and tender that you would think pus was very near the surface. I have also seen the mastoid so painful, so swollen, and so tender that you would almost think the bone had decayed through, but with the persistent exhibition of hepar sulphur 2x, all bad symptoms had disappeared and the tissue returned to normal in a few days.
A few years ago when we were having quite an epidemic of mastoids, I w as talking with one of my old school friends who had just had one of his patients operated on for a mastoid, and I told him of my use of hepar sulphur and how I had avoided all operations. He said, “Some day you will have a brain abscess, meningitis, and death.” I told him that I would let him know when it happened. As yet I have not had to break the unfortunate news.
Always giving hepar sulphur may not be good homoeopathy, but in several cases I have given other remedies which seemed indicated, but I cannot recall a case being cured without hepar sulphur, especially in the acute stage. In a number of chronic infections of the frontal sinus and antrum, I have given such remedies as silica 30th to 200th, calcarea sulphur 3x to 30th, but at some time during the treatment have given hepar sulphur 6th to 200th so I cannot say which had the most influence. There is no doubt but that in the chronic cases the higher potencies should be used.
About two years ago, a woman came to me from a distant town. Two years before she had had a very acute antrum. It had been punctured by three different specialists. The last two told her that nothing could be done to cure her but a radical operation and curetting. When she first visited me, the tissues over her right antrum were badly swollen and boggy, and there was continuous pain.
On holding her head to the left, a green, foul- smelling pus would run freely from her right nostril. After she told me she had been treating for two years with a specialist, I asked her to give me six months to bring about a cure. I gave her three remedies : sulphur 200, hepar sulphur 200, and silica 200. My records prove to me that hepar sulphur did the most good. She was entirely cured in four months.
Twenty-two years ago I took a years work with one of the leading nose and throat men in the hospital, then called “The Massachusetts Homoeopathic Hospital.” I fully intended to specialize in nose and throat work, but I saw so much of unnecessary cutting of the sinuses, turbinates, septum, etc., that I became disgusted and continued general practice.
It is true that the many specialists could not exist if they did not cut, and merely depended on medicine. It is true that the greatly increasing number of hospitals could not exist if surgery were not rampant. (Not that I am opposed to surgery if it is absolutely necessary, but God did not make the human body to be cut at will; he gave us other means, and that is the application of the right remedy, chosen according to homoeopathic principles.).
Let us now discuss where hepar sulphur is indicated in infection of the respiratory tract below the sinuses : In a cold following an acute inflammation of the nose and post. pharynx, we find it indicated where there is a thick, pusy discharge or where that discharge blocks the nose so that first one sides and then the other is blocked; the whole head feels full and heavy; the patients are very chilly and feel that every bit of air is cold or sends a chill through them. At night they are sweaty and have a clammy feeling.
In the throat and larynx there is a rough, harsh voice; a tight feeling as if the mucous surfaces were swollen; a thick, heavy pus will be raised with difficulty; there is choking with the cough and of course the outstanding aggravation of a worse cough when any part of the body is uncovered or gets very chilly from the slightest draft. Right here I would like to compare hepar sulphurs nearest similar remedy, and that to my mind is calcarea sulphur, especially in conditions following the prevailing colds of this winter.
Where there is a thick, yellow, lumpy discharge, very tenacious and sticky, that just wont seem to respond to any remedy. Also most of the cases have inflammation of the eyelids with thick yellow matter. The great difference between the two remedies is that the hepar patient is very chilly and feels the least draft of cold air.
Our picture of real infection remedies with suppurative processes would not be complete without mentioning silica, which in most cases should be given above the 6th. This remedy has been called “the medical lance.” I like to think of the person who needs silica as lacking in physical grit; they become tired very easily; they cant stand any mental or physical strain; they are chilly all the time; their hands and feet are cold and probably clammy. They have a general infection which may manifest itself on the surface at any time by pus in the kidney or bladder; an abscess or boil in most in any part of the body. In women there is likely to be a thin, milky discharge which causes redness and itching in vagina and labia.
Nash, one of the men who had a deep understanding of remedies, says, “Silica ranks among the first of our remedies for inflammation ending in suppuration. It seems to come on at a later stage than hepar sulphur or calcarea sulphur which expedites the discharge of pus already formed, while silica comes in for healing after the discharge has taken place.”.
I began this article by speaking of sulfanilamide. About a year ago a Boston urologist did a prostatotomy on one of my old patients. The pus in his bladder would not clear up and was as thick as mud. The surgeon advised me to give a course of sulfanilamide, which I did for a long time. At first it did reduce it and then was of no avail. I gave him hepar sulphur 3x with a grand response and his urine became free of pus.
Many of us think of silica as a great constitutional remedy. We have seen, under its continuous use in different potencies; a weak, frail, pale body made over into a robust, disease-resisting person. When properly indicated, I have seen the same happen with hepar sulphur in persons who had been susceptible to infections of different kind for years.
Recently I saw an article in which the writer was trying to determine the action in the body of sulfanilamide in bringing about a cure. Finally he came to the conclusion that he did not know. Gentlemen : Do we have to admit the same ? I think not, for we have a scientific law for each remedy, “similia similibus curentur,” which, if every homoeopath knew and studied accordingly and taught to all of his patients, could make us one of the strongest and most influential medical bodies in the world.