By C. M. Boger
The better we know our original materia medica the less will we feel the need of newer and but partially proven drugs, although the best prescribers have, at times, been compelled to resort to them for special occasions. Hahnemann gave Dictamanus for leucorrhoea and Boenninghausen used Bursa pastoris for haemorrhage in just this way. The former also mentions Nux moschata in 1798, 1810 and 1829, although Helbig’s monograph did not appear until 1833. Empirical prescribing may have a certain place in our work, but it should be a very subordinate one.
It is really surprising to see the number of doctors who are trying the impossible, to do good work with but a mediocre equipment. It makes one doubt their appreciation of the magnitude of the task they are attempting or suspect them of being too ready to take unwarranted risks with human life.
Students should not only be taught and trained in correct curative methods, but afterwards enabled to acquire the working tools needed to put into practice what they have learned. At present the proper preparation may be had, but the scarcity of the right kind of books and works of reference is most deplorable. The sum of Hahnemann’s incredible labours is before us and we should not fail to avail ourselves of this great store-house of homoeopathic knowledge, that we may actually cure and not trifle with disease.
Only by means of its masterful materia medica, has homoeopathy been able to meet every emergency and weather every storm without changing its basis of action. This alone stamps the development of the law of cure as one of the world’s greatest achievements, and also as sadly discredits the peculiar shiftiness so characteristic of regular medicine which by the way is the delectation of the punsters as well as the despair of suffering humanity.
Detecting obscure mental twists is a very helpful part of our work, especially because these things permeate and colour the whole fabric of the patient’s being. Be he secretive, prideful, arrogant, cynical, careless, amative or what not, his traits betray his basic predilections and largely motivate his actions, thereby affording one of the surest indications for the most suitable remedy. A mind used to weighing intangible values does not readily adjust itself to the newly rich, whether in wordly goods, social aims or mental advancement. Its clear, direct thinking and unbiased judgment does not appeal to persons of indirection. Such a mind soon develops an almost unerring intuition for the path of right action.
Disease expresses itself as an altered phase of action and still represents a unified, although changed movement, and may not be regarded as a disassociated congeries of effects, which idea accounts for the many and diverse ways of trying to cure. In other words it encourages tinkering with that which at best cannot be fully comprehended, in its entirety. Unless we can think of the human economy as a unit of force whose amplitude of action moves back and forth incessantly between health and sickness, we can have no true conception of what the curing of disease actually implies.
The prescriber who habitually uses remedies in a special way is but one removed from the avowed specific and polypharmacist both of whom are being rapidly and deservedly consigned to the scrap heap of medicine. From this you conclude that I do not favour clinical experiments and empiricism overmuch and that you will do well to let this sort of thing remain in the hands of those accustomed to such things, but for fear that you will think of this only as a lecture on philosophy. I may mention that the functional amenorrhoea of puberty yields very nicely to Senecio aurens. It is just as efficacious as Pulsatilla, where the modality is just the reverse and the patient is worse from cold.
Urticaria combined with pale stools and pinworms points toward Urtica urens which acts well.
The unctious softness of clay reminds one of the stools of Alumina, passed with difficulty and of the smoothness to touch of this remedy.
The vile odour of cancer generally yields to Tellurium.
Solidago virgaurea is a favourite when the kidneys are irritated, sore and substantially inflamed, along with severe backache. It acts well in the highest potencies.
Sepsis and a disassociated pulse rate have been regarded as the surest indicators for Pyrogen.
“When the best indicated remedy fails”, of H.C. Allen, is only another way of calling attention to it for the concealed focal infections of our alloeopathic friends.
I might fill many pages with this sort of thing, but it is not genuine homoeopathic work, which should use partial effects for differentiation only. We should also reason from above downward, from within outwards and in the reverse order, of the coming of the symptoms. If the symptoms leave in that way it is also our duty to trace them out in the same order, otherwise we do not follow a logical and defensible course.