By RUDOLPH F. RABE, M.D., U.S.A.
THIS is a subject of the utmost importance to the Homoeopathic School, for upon its solution depends our future progress; that it is a serious question for consideration, admits of no doubt, if one stops to think of the wide divergence of opinion, as expressed in homoeopathic literature of the present day. From a school of “symptom chasers,” we have become a body of specialists, whose diagnostic skill and surgical attainments are on a par with those to be found in the orthodox school, and the chief business of homoeopaths today consists in the removal by surgical or other mechanical means, of the pathologic end- products of disease; this is particularly so in the United States, whose citizens are invariably inclined to go to extremes in everything they do and who measure all things by the yardstick of material achievement.
Hence it has come to pass that the general practitioner, with his calmer outlook upon disease, finds himself in a rapidly diminishing minority, whose influence is daily growing weaker. No longer is any attention paid to the purely philosophic side of homoeopathic medicine, whose fundamental principles are now undergoing revision and interpretation, in what is loftily regarded as the shining light of modern medical science. The old fashioned Hahnemannian notions, concerning chronic diseases, for example, have been thrown out entirely by those who profess to be the custodians of the welfare of homoeopathy and who condescendingly tell us that homoeopathy now demands a new type of mind, if its modern significance is to be grasped by those who profess to study it.
Psora, syphilis and sycosis, in the strictly Hahnemannian sense, no longer have an interest for these moderns and are, for the most part, looked upon as almost childish conceptions, no longer worthy of serious consideration. In substantiation of the truth of this assertion, one has only to read the reports of the treatment of cases of syphilis and gonorrhoea, by homoeopathic specialists, reports, incidentally, which compare favourably with similar ones of the old school and, if anything, outdo these in the multiplicity of formidable weapons of cure used.
Of late years, our friends of the orthodox persuasion, have been bestowing more and more attention upon the study and consideration of the constitution, thus emulating, in a sense, the laudable efforts of Hahnemannians, who still possess the temerity to show their faith in this elusive thing.
The study of the patient himself, is now receiving attention which heretofore has been bestowed upon his pathologic expressions only, yet after all, for the average medical man, the only thing which possesses any interest for him, is a diagnosis of the status praesens, its bacteriology, if any, and the purely pathologic changes which have taken place. The latter immediately become the object of attack, and their conquest, in his mind, means the cure of the patient.
In spite of all the allegations of progress in modern medicine, there is a crying need for old fashioned Hahnemannian conceptions and treatment, for there is still such an individual as a patient, who needs to be looked upon as entirely worthy of human consideration, and not as an animated test tube, into whose tissues and organs are skillfully deposited, the latest products of the pharmaceutical laboratory. However much we may disagree upon the subject of Hahnemanns chronic diseases, nevertheless, it is one which cannot be lightly thrown aside in the belief that we have outgrown its century-old tenets.
Whether we choose to believe in Psora or not, the fact remains that we ignore it at our peril, unless in our ignorance, we fail to observe the connection which exists between a chain of morbid events, which sooner or later show themselves as a result of disease suppression. The same observation applies to syphilis and sycosis, no matter how much we may stand in awe of the spirocheta pallida or of the elusive gonococcus of Neisser; for Nature has a way of hitting back, when she has been thwarted in her oftentimes crude efforts at elimination and cure.
Today, State Medicine has enormous police powers and can, therefore, impose its will upon a helpless public; medical supervision and care of school children undoubtedly has much to commend it, but at the same time there is much to condemn, especially in the attitude of the sanctified activities of physicians and nurses, who, with fanatical zeal, carry out the orders of their superiors. Thus it is that, adenoids and tonsils are ruthlessly sacrificed, with absolutely no regard to the constitutional peculiarities of their unhappy possessors, of whose subsequent history we are rarely told, until perchance, some victim has been brought to a Hahnemannian physician for treatment.
Kent, as well as other Hahnemannians, taught that before tonsils or adenoids are removed, the child should first be constitutionally cured and that very frequently, in the course of such cure, the tonsils returned to normal or the adenoids disappeared; the truth of this dictum admits of no question. It is only when tonsils have entirely lost all power of function and themselves, by virtue of pathologic or bacteriologic change, have become a menace to the health of their possessor, that they should be removed.
This removal ought only to be undertaken, after careful constitutional prescribing for the patient himself, when, if the offending tonsils are still present, they may safely be looked upon as end-products, serving no further purpose. The same observation may be made of adenoids, and in this connection may be mentioned, the frequently marvellous usefulness of such remedies as Agraphis nutans, Calcarea phosphorica, Lycopodium, Tuberculinum, etc., etc.
That there is a point in pathologic progress, at which the usefulness of our internal remedies must and does come to an end, is of course, not to be denied; the difficulty lies in a determination of the presence of this point; in a general way, it may be said that, where symptoms relating to the patient himself are pronounced and dominate, the possibility of a cure of his pathology is great; right here comes in the importance of Hahnemannian casetaking, an art which is possessed by few homoeopathic physicians in this ultra-scientific age, and the danger is real, that we may easily succumb to the blandishments of pathologic prescribing, in the mistaken belief that we are aiming directly at the seat of the trouble.
Hence it is necessary to look upon the patient with philosophic eyes, and in so doing to observe and note his modalities, his personal reactions to external influences, his mental peculiarities, his likes and dislikes, and the hundred and one things about him, which go to make him what he is, an individual, differing from every other individual and therefore, to be considered in a purely personal way. On the other hand, where pathology dominates to the virtual exclusion of everything else, and where, by its presence, it is causing symptoms directly to be attributed to its presence alone, it is safe to assume that the limit of homoeopathic achievement has been reached, and that we must with a clear conscience and understanding give way to some extra-homoeopathic procedure.
Usually, the latter will be found to be palliative only, leading to a prolongation of a tolerably comfortable existence, but one which the patient has every right to expect and to demand. Where surgical or other procedures are without promise or for other reasons not available, homoeopathic palliation must be resorted to, and will always prove itself to be far superior in relief of suffering or in the production of euthanasia.
Thus, many years ago, a young woman rapidly going from bad to worse in the grip of an acute pulmonary tuberculosis, from which she died in exactly three weeks, complained of terrible, bruised pains in the chest, as well as all over the body and evinced a dread of having anyone touch her, however lightly; a few doses of Arnica 30th promptly relieved her and even caused all pulmonary rales to miraculously disappear; she went on to her death in a state of tolerable comfort, without the stupefying effects of morphine or other narcotic drugs.
In another case, one of carcinoma of the intestines, in which complete obstruction had supervened, Raphanus sativus 200th caused the evacuation of an apparently normal stool, as well as relief from the painful tympanitic distension of the abdomen; operation quickly demonstrated the hopeless involvement of the entire contents of the abdominal cavity and a merciful death soon closed the scene.
Discouragement is often voiced with the immense number of our homoeopathic remedies and with the alleged impossibility of mastering a working knowledge of their symptoms. It is true that the materia medica contains many remedies but partly proved, as well as many whose symptomatology seems of doubtful authenticity and value; on the other hand, the possibilities of the remedies handed down to us by Hahnemann himself and subsequently verified by numerous of his loyal followers, are marvellous indeed, provided they are used in strict accordance with Hahnemanns directions and with subsequent extensions of the art of homoeopathic prescribing, as e.g. repertory analysis.
Here and there, in the field of Hahnemannian homoeopathy, are men who are demonstrating the hitherto unknown powers of our remedies in such usually hopeless diseases as cancer, and their results give promise of great accomplishment as time goes on; others are busy with unusual methods of remedy selection, methods which may, perhaps, turn out to be available for all of us and which may open up a way of easy and certain remedy choice, in cases where we are now so often at sea.
The field of the homoeopathic materia medica is, therefore, inexhaustible and the nuggets of gold to be unearthed, beyond belief; the pity of it is that so many of us are wasting opportunities and time, in extraneous fields which have no real bearing on the work which is crying to be done. Instead of playing in the garden of orthodoxy, we ought to be busy in our own back-yard, sweeping up the leaves of uncertainty and doubt and picking up the glistening pebbles of truth, which are waiting for deliverance.