The allopathy of the old school not only greatly overrated these efforts of the crude automatic power of nature, but completely misjudged them, falsely considered them to be truly curative, and endeavored to increase and promote them, vainly imagining that thereby they might perhaps succeed in annihilating and radically curing the whole disease. When, in chronic diseases, the vital force seemed to silence this or that troublesome symptom of the internal affection by the production, for example, of some humid cutaneous eruption, then the servant of the crude power of nature (minister naturae) applied to the discharging surface a cantharides plaster or an exutory (mezereum), in order, duce natura, to draw still more moisture from the skin, and thus to promote and to assist natureÕs object - the cure (by the removal of the morbific matter from the body?); but when the effect of the remedy was too violent, the eczema already of long standing, and the system too irritable, he increased the external affection to a great degree without the slightest advantage, to the origirial disease, and aggravated the pains, which deprived the patient of sleep and depressed his strength (and sometimes even developed a malignant febrile erysipelas); or if the effect upon the local affection (still recent, perhaps) was of milder character, he thereby repelled from its seat, by a species of ill-applied external homopathy, the local symptom which had been established by nature on the skin for the relief of the internal disease, thus renewing the more dangerous internal malady, and by this repulsion of the local symptom compelling the vital force to effect a transference of a worse form of morbid action to other and more important parts, the patient became affected with dangerous ophthalmia, or deafness, or spasms of the stomach, or epileptic convulsions, or attacks of asthma or apoplexy, or mental derangement, etc., in place of the repelled local disease.*
* Natural effects of the repulsion of these local symptoms - effects that are often regarded by the allopathic physiclan as fresh diseases of quite a different kind.
When the diseased natural force propelled blood into the veins of the rectum or anus (blind hæmorrhoids), the minister natura, under the same delusive idea of assisting the vital force in its curative efforts, applied leeches, often in large numbers, in order to give an outlet to the blood there - with but brief, often scarcely noteworthy, relief, but thereby weakening the body and occasioning still greater congestions in those parts, without the slightest diminution of the original disease.
In almost all cases in which the diseased vital force endeavored to subdue the violence of a dangerous internal malady by evacuating blood by means of vomiting, coughing, etc., the old school physician, duce natura, made haste to assist these supposed salutary efforts of nature, and performed a copious venesection, which was invariably productive of injurious consequences and palpable weakening of the body.
In cases of frequently occurring chronic nausea, he produced, with the view of furthering the intentions of nature, copious evacuations of the stomach, by means of powerful emetics - never with a good result, often with bad, not infrequently dangerous and even fatal consequences.
The vital force, in order to relieve the internal malady, sometimes produces indolent enlargements of the external glands, and he thinks to forward the intentions of nature, in his assumed character of her servant, when, by the use of all sorts of heating embrocations and plasters, he causes them to inflame, so that, when the abscess is ripe, he may incise it and let out the bad morbific matter (?). Experience has shown, hundreds of times, that lasting evil almost invariably results from such a plan.
And having often noticed slight amelioration of the severe symptoms of chronic diseases to result from spontaneous night sweats or frequent liquid stools, he imagines himself bound to obey these hints of nature (duce natura), and to promote them, by instituting and maintaining a complete course of sweating treatment or by the employment of so-called gentle laxatives for years, in order to promote and increase these efforts of nature (of the vital force of the unintelligent organism), which he thinks tend to the cure of the whole chronic affection, and thus to free the patient more speedily and certainly from his disease (the matter of his disease?).
But he thereby always produces quite the contrary result: aggravation of the original disease.
In conformity with this preconceived but unfounded idea, the old school physician goes on thus promoting* the efforts of the diseased vital force and increasing those derivations and evacuations in the patient which never lead to the desired end, but are always disastrous, without being aware that all the local affections, evacuations, and seemingly derivative efforts, set up and continued by the unintelligent vital force when left to its own resources, for the relief of the original chronic disease, are actually the disease itself, the phenomena of the whole disease, for the totality of which, properly speaking, the only efficacious remedy, and the one, moreover, that will act in the most direct manner, is a homopathic medicine, chosen on account of its similarity of action.
* In direct opposition to this treatment, the old school not infrequently indulged themselves in the very reverse of this: thus when the efforts of the vital force for the relief of the internal disease by evacuations and the production of local symptoms on the exterior of the body became troublesome, they capriciously suppressed them by their repercutients and repellents, they subdued chronic pains, sleeplessness and diarrhoea of long standing by doses of opium pushed to a dangerous extent; vomitings by effervescent saline draughts; foetid perspiration of the feet by cold footbaths and astringent applications; eruptions on the skin by preparations of lead and zinc; they checked uterine haemorrhage by injections of vinegar; colliquative perspiration by alum; nocturnal seminal emissions by the free use of camphor; frequent attacks of flushes of heat in the body and face by nitre vegetable acids and sulphuric acid; bleeding of the nose by plugging the nostrils with dossils of lint soaked in alcohol or astringent fluids; they dried up discharging ulcers on the legs, established by the vital power for the relief of great internal suffering with the oxides of lead and zinc, etc., with what sad results experience has shown in thousands of cases.
With tongue and with pen the old school physician brags that he is a rational practitioner, and that he investigates the cause of the disease so as always to make radical cures; but behold, his treatment is directed, in these cases, against a single symptom only, and always with injurious consequences to his patient.
As everything that crude nature does to relieve itself in diseases, in those of an acute, but especially those of a chronic kind, is extremely imperfect and even actual disease, it may easily be conceived that the promotion by artificial means of this imperfection and disease must do still more harm; at least, it cannot improve the efforts of nature for its own relief, even in acute diseases, because medical art is not in a condition to follow the hidden paths by which the vital force effects its crises, but attempts to produce them from without, by violent means, which are still less beneficial than what the instinctive vital force left to its own resources does, but on the other hand are more perturbing and debilitating. For even the incomplete amelioration resulting from the natural derivations and crises cannot be obtained in a similar manner by allopathy; with all its endeavors it cannot procure anything like even that pitiful relief the vital force left to itself is able to afford.
It has been attempted to produce, by means of scarifying instruments, a bleeding at the nose, in imitation of that sometimes occurring naturally, in order to mitigate, for example, the attacks of a chronic headache. By this means a large quantity of blood could be made to flow from the nostrils and weaken the patient, but the relief afforded was either nil, or much less than the instinctive vital force would procure at another time, when, of its own accord, it would cause but a few drops to flow.
A so-called critical perspiration or diarrhcea, produced by the ever active vital force after a sudden indisposition excited by anger, fright, a sprain or a chill, will be much more successful, at least for the time, in relieving the acute disease, than all the sudorific or purgative drugs in the pharmacopoeia, which only make the patient worse, as daily experience shows.
But the vital force, which of itself can only act according to the physical constitution of our organism, and is not guided by reason, knowledge and reflection, was not given to man to be regarded as the best possible curative agent to restore those lamentable deviations from health to the normal condition, and still less that physicians should slavishly imitate its in perfect morbid efforts (to free itself from disease), and that with operations incontestably more inappropriate and severe than its own, and thereby conveniently spare themselves the expenditure of reasoning, reflection and judgment requisite for the discovery and for the practice of the noblest of human arts - the true healing art - while they allege their bad copy of the spontaneous efforts of doubtful utility made by the crude natural force for its relief, to be the healing art, the rational healing art!
What sensible man would imitate the efforts of the organism for its own preservation? These efforts are in reality the disease itself, and the morbidly affected vital force is the producer of the visible disease! It must, therefore, necessarily follow that all artificial imitation, and likewise the suppression of these efforts, must either increase the disease or render it dangerous by their suppression, and both of these allopathy does; these are its pernicious operations which it alleges to be the healing art, the rational healing art!
No! that exquisite power innate in the human being, designed to direct in the most perfect manner the operations of life while it is in health, equally present in all parts of tile organism, in the fibres of sensibility as well as in those of irritability, the unwearying spring of all the normal natural functions of the body, was not created for the purpose of affording itself aid in diseases, not for the purpose of exercising a healing art worthy of imitation. No! the true healing art is that reflective work, the attribute of the higher powers of human intellect, of unfettered judgment and of reason selecting and determining on principle in order to effect an alteration in the instinctive, irrational and unintelligent, but energetic automatic vital force, when it has been diverted by disease into abnormal action, and by means of a similar affection developed by a homopathically chosen remedy, to excite in it a medicinal disease somewhat greater in degree, so that the natural morbid affection can no longer act upon the vital force, which thus, freed from the natural disease, has now only the similar, somewhat stronger, medicinal morbid affection to contend with, against which it now directs its whole energy and which it soon overpowers, whereby the vital force is liberated and enabled to return to the normal standard of health and to its proper function, 'the maintenance of the life and health of the organism,' without having suffered, during this change, any painful or debilitating attacks. homopathy teaches us how to effect this.
Under the methods of treatment of the old school I have just detailed, no small number of patients certainly got rid of their diseases but not of those of a chronic (non-venereal) character; only such as were acute and unattended with danger; and even these they were only freed from by such circuitous and tedious ways, and often so incompletely, that the results of the treatment could never be termed cures effected by a gentle art. Acute diseases of a not very dangerous kind were, by venesections or suppression of one of the chief symptoms through the instrumentality of an enantiopathic palliative remedy (contraria contrariis), kept under, or by means of counter-irritant and derivative (antagonistic and revulsive) remedies, applied to other than the diseased spots, suspended, until the natural time for the duration of the short malady had expired. These methods were, consequently, indirect, and attended with loss of strength and humours, so much so that in patients so treated the greatest and most important measures for the complete removal of the disease and for the restoration of the lost strength and humours remained to be performed by Nature herself - by the life-preserving power which, besides the removal of the natural acute disease, had also to combat the effects of improper treatment, and thus it was able, in cases unattended by danger, gradually to restore the normal relation of the functions by means of its own energy, but often in a tedious, imperfect and manner.
It remains a very doubtful question whether the natural process of recovery in acute diseases is really at all shortened or facilitated bv this interference of the old school, as the latter cannot act otherwise than the vital force, namely, indirectly; but its derivative and counterirritant treatment is much more injurious and much more debilitating.
The old school has yet another method of treatment, which is termed the stimulating and strengthening system* (by excitantia, nervina, tonica, confortantia, roborania). It is astonishing how it can boast of this method.
* It is properly speaking, enantiopathic, and I shall again refer to it in the text of the Organon (§ 59).
Has it ever succeeded in removing the physical weakness so often engendered and kept up or increased by a chronic disease with its prescriptions of etheric Rhinewine or fiery Tokay? The strength gradually sank under this treatment, and all the lower, the greater the quantity of wine the patient was persuaded to drink, because the source of weakness, the chronic disease, was not cured by it, because artificial stimulation is followed by relaxation in the reaction of the vital force.
Or did its cinchona bark, or its amara, so misunderstood, so multifarious in their modes of action, and productive of quite different kinds of injury, give strength in these frequently occurring cases? Did not these vegetable substances, said to be tonic and strengthening under all circumstances, as also the preparations of iron, often add to the old disease new sufferings, by virtue of their peculiar pathogenetic effects, without relieving the weakness proceeding from an unknown disease of long standing?
Has any one ever succeeded in diminishing in the very least the duration of the incipient paralysis of an arm or a leg, so often arising from a chronic dyscrasia, by means of the so called unguenta nervina or any other spirituous or balsarnic embrocations, without curing the dyscrasia itself. Or have electric or galvanic shocks ever been attended with any other result in such cases, than a gradually increasing, and finally absolute, paralysis, and extinction of all muscular and nervous irritability in the affected limbs ?*
* Those affected with hardness of hearing were relieved by moderate shocks from the voltaic pile of the apothecary of Jever only for a few hours - these moderate shocks soon lost their power. In order to produce the same result he had to make them stronger; until these stronger shocks had no effect; the very strongest would then at first excite the patientsÕ hearing for a short time, but at length left them quite deaf.
Did not the renowned excitantia and aphrodisiaca, ambergris, lacerta scincus, cantharides tincture, truffles, cardamoms, cinnamon and vanilla invariably bring about complete impotence when used for the purpose of restoring the gradually declining sexual power (which always depended on an unobserved chronic miasm)?
How can credit be taken for the production of a stimulation and invigoration of but a few hoursÕ duration, when the result that must follow and which is permanent - according to the laws of all palliative action - is a directly opposite state, the rendering of the disease incurable?
The little good that the excitantia and roborantia
did for recovery from acute diseases (treated according to the
old method) was a thousand times outweighed by their ill effects in chronic maladies.