All pure experience, however, and all accurate research convince us
that persistent symptoms of disease are far from being removed and annihilated by opposite
symptoms of medicines (as in the antipathic, enantiopathic or palliative
method), that, on the contrary, after transient, apparent alleviation, they break forth
again, only with increased intensity, and become manifestly aggravated (see § 58 - 62 and 69).
There remains, therefore, no other mode of employing medicines in diseases that promises to be of service besides the homopathic, by means of which we seek, for the totality of the symptoms of the case of disease, a medicine which among all medicines (whose pathogenetic effects are known from having been tested in healthy individuals) has the power and the tendency to produce an artificial morbid state most similar to that of the case of disease in question.
Now, however, in all careful trials, pure experience,1 the sole and infallible oracle of the healing art, teaches us that actually that medicine which, in its action on the healthy human body, has demonstrated its power of producing the greatest number of symptoms similar to those observable in the case of disease under treatment, does also, in doses of suitable potency and attenuation, rapidly, radically and permanently remove the totality of the symptoms of this morbid state, that is to say (§ 6 - 16), the whole disease present, and change it into health; and that all medicines cure, without exception, those diseases whose symptoms most nearly resemble their own, and leave none of them uncured.
I do not mean that sort of experience of which the ordinary practitioners of
the old school boast, after they have for years worked away with a lot of complex
prescriptions on a number of diseases which they never carefully investigate, but which,
faithful to their school, they consider as already described in works of systematic
pathology, and dreamed that they could detect in them some imaginary morbific matter, or
ascribe to them some other hypothetical internal abnormality. They always saw something in
them, but knew not what it was they saw, and they got results, from the complex forces
acting on an unknown object, that no human being but only a God could have unravelled -
results from which nothing can be learned, no experience gained. Fifty years
experience of this sort is like fifty years of looking into a kaleidoscope filled with
unknown colored objects, and perpetually turning round; thousands of ever changing figures
and no accounting for them!
This depends on the following homopathic law of nature which was sometimes, indeed, vaguely surmised but not hitherto fully recognized, and to which is due every real cure that has ever taken place:
A weaker dynamic affection is permanently extinguished in the living organism by a stronger one, if the latter (whilst differing in kind) is very similar to the former in its manifestations.1
1 Thus are cured both physical affections and moral maladies.
How is it that in the early dawn the brilliant Jupiter vanishes from the gaze of the
beholder? By a stronger very similar power acting on his optic nerve, the brightness of
approaching day! - In situations replete with foetid odors, wherewith is it usual to
soothe effectually the offended olfactory nerves? With snuff, that affects the sense of
smell in a similar but stronger manner! No music, no sugared cake, which act on the nerves
of other senses, can cure this olfactory disgust. How does the soldier cunningly stifle
the piteous cries of him who runs the gauntlet from the ears of the compassionate
bystanders? By the shrill notes of the fife commingled with the roll of the noisy drum!
And the distant roar of the enemys cannon that inspires his army with fear? By the
loud boom of the big drum! For neither the one nor the other would the distribution of a
brilliant piece of uniform nor a reprimand to the regiment suffice. In like manner,
mourning and sorrow will be effaced from the mind by the account of another and still
greater cause for sorrow happening to another, even though it be a mere fiction. The
injurious consequences of too great joy will be removed by drinking coffee, which produces
an excessive joyous state of mind. Nations like the Germans, who have for centuries been
gradually sinking deeper and deeper in soulless apathy and degrading serfdom, must first
be trodden still deeper in the dust by the Western Conqueror, until their situation became
intolerable; their mean opinion of themselves was thereby over-strained and removed; they
again became alive to their dignity as men, and then, for the first time, they raised
their heads as Germans.
The curative power of medicines, therefore, depends on their symptoms,
similar to the disease but superior to it in strength (§ 12 - 26),
so that each individual case of disease is most surely, radically, rapidly and permanently
annihilated and removed only by a medicine capable of producing (in the human system) in
the most similar and complete manner the totality of its symptoms, which at the same time
are stronger than the disease.
As this natural law of cure manifests itself in every pure experiment and every true observation in the world, the fact is consequently established; it matters little what may be scientific explanation of how it takes place; and I do not attach much importance to the attempts made to explain it. But the following view seems to commend itself as the most probable one, as it is founded on premises derived from experience.