« السابقةمتابعة »
from indolence; they will not give themselves the necessary trouble to investigate, and thus they throw truth and falsehood overboard together, and vainly try to rest upon a negative. But to the more active and industrious mind the same condition is stimulative to exertion. Truth is sought after with earnestness, and when found, is embraced with satisfaction and delight.
Among the medical enquiries of the day, Homoeopathy, in the judgment of many, is the most important which has yet appeared, while in the opinion of many more it is “ the biggest humbug that ever was !” It is proposed to consider, in a few words, what Homöopathy is not, and what it really is.
1. * Homøopathy is not a novelty. In a Sanscrit poem called Sringára Tilaka, written by Kálidása, who was one of the ornaments (or gems as they were commonly called,) of the court of Vikramaditya, king of Ujayin, whose reign, used as a chronological epoch by the Hindus, is placed about 56 years before the Christian Era, the following line occurs, which shews that the fact involving the principle of Homeopathy, had, in the East, even at that early period of time passed into a proverb ;
" It has been heard of old time in the world that poison is the remedy for poison."
HAHNEMANN observes that “the author of the book trepi TÓTWV των κατ' άνθρωπον, which is among the writings attributed to HIPPOCRATES, has the following remarkable words :- dià tà òuola νούσος γίνεται, και δια τα όμοια προσφερόμενα εκ νοσεύντων vylaivovtai, &c.* “ By similar things disease is produced, and by similar things, administered to the sick, they are healed of their diseases. Thus the same thing which will producd a Strangury, when it does not exist, will remove it when it does.”
These sentiments are thus expressed by Cornarius in his translation, in 1564.–“ Per similia morbus fit, et per similia adhibita ex morbo sanantur. Velut urinæ stilicidium idem facit si non sit, et si sit idem sedat.” mbi
The learned Dr. FRANCIS ADAMS, in his Translation of the works of Hippocrates, published in 1849, by the Sydenham Society, thus comments upon this passage :-“The treatment of suicidal mania appears singular,—Give the patient a draught made from the root of mandrake, in a smaller dose than will induce mania. . . He then insists, in strong terms, that, under certain
* Organon, translated by Dudgeon, p. 106.
circumstances, purgatives will bind the bowels, and astringents loosen them. And he further makes the important remark that, although the general rule of treatment be contraria contrariis curantur,' the opposite rule also holds good in some cases, namely, “similia similibus curantur.' It thus appears that the principles both of Allopathy and Homæopathy are recognized by the author of this treatise. In confirmation of the latter principle he remarks that the same substance which occasions strangury will also sometimes cure it, and so also with cough. And further, he acutely remarks, that warm water, which, when drunk, generally excites vomiting, will also sometimes put a stop to it by removing its cause.”*
HAHNEMANN further observes that “later physicians have also felt and expressed the truth of the Homøopathic method of cure." As for instance, BOULDUC, DETHARDING, BERTHOLON, THOURY, VON STÖRCK, and especially STAHL,—all these during the eighteenth century. But their observations were slightly made, and produced no permanent impression, either on their own minds or on those of others. We are indebted to HAHNEMANN for the full discovery and development of the law, and for forcing it with sufficient perseverance upon the attention of the world.
I have been asked if SHAKSPEARE makes any allusion to this method of cure. We have one in the following passage :
"In poison there is physic; and these news, Having been well, that would have made me sick, Being sick, have in some measure made me well."
HENRY IV., Part 2, Act 1, Sce. 1. 2. Homoeopathy is not quackery. The essence of quackery is secrecy. The individual practising it pretends to the possession of some valuable remedy-a nostrum—which he sells for his own private gain, but which he will not disclose for the public good. Homæopathy has no secrets — no nostrum-it courts enquiry, it entreats medical men to investigate it. This is not quackery.
Homøopathy, in its present form, was discovered by a regular physician, (HAHNEMANN,) and was first published in the leading medical journal of Europe, (HUFELAND's,) in 1796. It has been studied and adopted by several thousands of regularly educated and qualified practitioners, some of them Professors in Universities, and others leading men in their profession, who urgently call upon their colleagues to follow their example. They offer every facility in the way of instruction, by hospitals and dispensaries, and by private information which it is in their power to give. This is not quackery.
Homeopathy is no field for the St. John Longs and the Mori. sons—the patent medicine vendors. The unsettled, unsatisfactory,
* Works of Hippocrates, translated by Francis Adams, LL.D., Sydenham Society, -1849. Vol. i. page 77.
and unsuccessful course of the educated physician leads his patients to try quacks and quackery, whose means, it must be acknowledged, are very similar to his own, and sometimes more successful. Nothing would so effectually drive away all real charlatanry as the adoption, by the profession, of a recognized law of healing, and the carrying this out fully and fairly, so as to derive from it all the success which can in reason be looked for.
3. Homeopathy is not globulism. Globules are a particular mode of preparing medicinal doses, invented by HAHNEMANN and recommended by him ; but Homoeopathy is in no way dependent upon their reception for its successful practice. The association is accidental, and is simply a matter of convenience.
4. Homoeopathy is not an uncertainty. It is surprising how the opponents of Homoeopathy, and even some of its friends, bewilder both themselves and others, when they endeavour to explain what Homeopathy is. The impression is thus produced that the new doctrine is nothing more than a wild theory, very vague, and very worthless. The most common mistake is thus stated :-"A medicine, or a poison, which will produce a disease will cure it.” “ If I am fatigued with a long walk I must take a short one!” This is the same curing the same not like curing like. Similis is not idem. The remark about being fatigued was made by an eminent Greek scholar, but Greek scholars ought not to fall into such an error as to confound ouós with Quotos; they may be reminded of the controversy between Athanasius and Arius, in the fourth century, and the difference between ómooúolos and óuocoúolos.
Let me try to set this matter in a clear light. “Give," says HIPPOCRATES, in a particular case of insanity, " a draught from the root of mandrake, in a smaller dose than will induce mania,” that is, if taken in health. In both cases there is an alienation of mind, the symptoms are similar, but the causes are different, and the cases are not identical.
The preparation of mercury called corrosive sublimate is one of the most violent poisons; two or three grains are sufficient to destroy life, as has happened when it has been given by mistake for calomel. The symptoms it produces are well known to be those of inflammation of the stomach and bowels, accompanied by diarrhæa with bloody stools ;-in the words of TAYLOR,* symptoms “ like those of dysentery,-tenesmus and mucous discharges mixed with blood, being very frequently observed.” In March, 1852, I saw J. C., a tall spare man, about thirty, suffering from a severe attack of dysentery ;-his countenance much distressed, a great many stools for three days consisting of blood and jelly-like mucus, with considerable pain in the abdomen increased by pressure, and a quick pulse. I dissolved one grain of corrosive sublimate in half-an-ounce of water, put four drops of this solution into two drams of dilute
* Medical Jurisprudence. Article Corr. Subl.
alcohol, and gave him six drops of this tincture in four ounces of water, directing him to take a dessert spoonful every three liours till the symptoms abated. He immediately improved, had no other treatment, and in three days he was quite well. Here the symptoms of the dysentery were like those which this preparation of mercury produces, but they had not been occasioned by corrosive sublimate, therefore it was a proper remedy on the principle of similia,—that like is to be treated with like.
Every one knows that the Spanish fly, cantharides, even when only applied externally in the form of a blister, very often acts injuriously upon the bladder, causing strangury and other painful symptoms connected with that organ. I hold in my hand a little book with the following title_" Tutus Cantharidum in Medicinâ Usus Internus, per Joannem Groenevelt, M.D., e Coll. Med. Lond. Editio Secunda. 1703." This book is full of interesting cases of strangury and other affections of the bladder very successfully treated by the internal use of cantharides. Here is a special case of Homeopathy,—of like curing like-or in the words of the old translator of Hippocrates already quoted, “ V'elut urinæ stillicidium idem facit si non sit, et si sit idem sedat." The drug produces the complaint if not there, but if it be there, (arising from another cause), it cures it. For this method of treatment, the author tells us in his preface he was committed to Newgate, on the warrant of the President of his own College - The Royal College of Physicians of London—“Chartâ quâdam manibus propriis signatâ, sigilloque firmatâ me sceleratorum carceri (Newgate vulgo dicto,) malæ praxeos reum asseverantes, tradiderunt !” This happened in 1694– just a century before HAHNEMANN. It is worthy of remark, before quitting Dr. GREENFIELD, that the dose of cantharides which he gave was such as to oblige him to give camphor along with it, as an antidote to correct the otherwise aggravating effect of the fly. The present method of reducing the dose, which we owe to HAUNEMANN, has enabled me to cure similar cases of diseased bladder without the addition of the camphor, and without fear of aggravating the symptoms.
One instance more. Belladonna, when swallowed as a poison, produces a scarlet rash, a sore throat, fever, headache, &c., all which symptoms appear in scarlet fever, Belladonna, as was first discovered by HAHNEMANN, not only generally cures, but often preserves from scarlet fever. Belladonna does not produce or cause scarlet fever, but it does produce symptoms similar to those of scarlet fever. Whoever will carefully study these examples will no longer charge the doctrine of Homeopathy with vagueness and uncertainty.
5. Homøopathy is not an infinitesimal dose. This is another popular mistake, diligently, though perhaps ignorantly, fostered by the opponents of Homeopathy. Like curing like-similia simili
bus curantur-says nothing about the dose. All that is essential to the carrying out of this principle—all that the general fact or law of nature requires for its fulfilment is announced by HIPPO CRATES; give the poison in a smaller dose as a remedy in the natural disease, than would be sufficient to produce similar symptoms in a healthy person. A smaller dose-how much smaller is a matter of experience. If twenty grains of ipecacuanha will make a healthy person sick, the twentieth part of a grain may be required to cure a similar sickness. If twenty grains of rhubarb will act as a purgative, one grain may cure a similar diarrhæa. If two grains of arsenic or corrosive sublimate might bring on fatal inflammation of the stomach or bowels, the thousandth, or the ten-thousandth part of a grain may be sufficient to cure—not that inflammation brought on by itself,—but a similar inflammation arising from other causes.
It should not be forgotten that Homoeopathy, as a principle, was discovered by experiments made with ordinary doses, and a man may be a true Homoeopathist though he never prescribe any other. The nature and effect of the so called infinitesimal doses, are separate questions; those who make use of them find that they are (from whatever cause) efficacious, and generally sufficient, but no man is pledged to use them exclusively, though many do, being satisfied from their experience that they are the safest and best mode of administering medicine. No one will deny that they are the pleasantest, and if success follow their use, why should they not be used ? Because, it is said, they appear absurd, and their action cannot be explained. But if a fraction of a grain will cure a disease is it not more absurd to give a poisonous dose? And who can explain the mode of action of the large dose any more than of the small one? If diseases disappear of themselves under suitable diet and regimen, or if the small doses afford all the aid required, why should patients be " encumbered with assistance," or their recovery be retarded or jeopardised by the unwieldy and often injurious interference of large doses of poisonous drugs? Why has it so often been said that “the remedy proved worse than the disease ?"
6. Homoeopathy is not a “humbug.” Neither are those who profess it “knaves or fools, swindlers or donkeys.” Were the matter a piece of deceit, it is not likely to have had the steady success which its opponents are constrained to acknowledge attends its practice. A short time, at any rate, would expose its fallacy. An ingenious and plausible advocate might make an hypothesis popular, but he could never obtain extensive belief in the statement of a supposed fact which every day's observation proved to be untrue. As to the hard names, they are no arguments, and therefore must remain unanswered, except by the observation that they generally betray a weak cause on the side of those who use them. Men conscious of integrity can afford to despise them. We are forbidden,