It is only by guiding what still remains of the vital principle in the patient to the proper performance of its, functions, by means of a suitable medicine, that a cure can be expected, but not by enervating the body to death, secundum artem; and yet the old school knows not what else to do with patients suffering from chronic diseases, than to attack the sufferers with drugs that do nothing but torture them, waste their strength and fluids, and shorten their lives! Can it be said to save whilst it destroys? Does it deserve any other name than that of a mischievous [non-healing] art, It acts, lege artis, in the most inappropriate manner, and it does (it would almost seem purposely) alloia that is to say, the very opposite of what it should do. Can it be commended? Can it be any longer tolerated ?
In recent times the old school practitioners have quite surpassed themselves in their cruelty towards their sick fellow-creatures, and in the unsuitableness of their operations, as every unprejudiced observer must admit, and as even physicians of their own school have been forced, by the pricks of their conscience (like Kruger Hansen), to confess before the world.
It was high time for the wise and benevolent Creator and Preserver of mankind to put a stop to these abominations, to command a cessation of these tortures, and to reveal a healing art the very opposite of all this, which should not waste the vital juices and powers by emetics, perennial scourings out of the bowels, warm baths, diaphoretics or salivation; nor shed the lifeŐs blood, nor torment and weaken with painful appliances; nor, in place of curing patients, suffering from diseases, render them incurable by the addition of new chronic medicinal maladies by means of the prolonged use of wrong, powerful medicines of unknown properties; nor yoke the horse behind the cart, by giving strong palliatives, according to the old favorite axiom, contraria contrariis curentur; nor, in short, in place of lending the patient aid, to guide him in the way to death, as is done by the merciless routine practitioner, - but which, on the contrary, should spare the patient's strength as much as possible, and should, rapidly and mildly, effect an unalloyed and permanent cure, and restore to health by means of smallest doses of few simple medicines carefully selected according to their proved effects, by the only therapeutic law conformable to nature: similia similibus curentur. It was high time that he should permit the discovery of homopathy.
By observation, reflection and experience, I discovered that, contrary to the old allopathic method, the true, the proper, the best mode of treatment is contained in the maxim: To cure mildly, rapidly, certainly, and permanently, choose, in every case of disease, a medicine which can itself produce an affection similar to that sought to be cured!
Hitherto no one has ever taught this homopathic mode of cure, no one has carried it out in practice. But if the truth is only to be found in this method, as I can prove it to be, we might expect that, even though it remained unperceived for thousands of years, distinct traces of it would yet be discovered in every age.*
* For truth is co-eternal with the all-wise, benevolent Deity. It may long escape the observation of man, until the time foreordained by Providence arrives, when its rays shall irresistibly break through the clouds of prejudice and usher in the dawn of a day which shall shine with a bright and inextinguishable light for the weal of the human race.
And such is the fact. In all ages, the patients who have been really, rapidly, permanently and obviously cured by medicines, and who did not merely recover by some fortuitous circumstance, or by the acute disease having run its allotted course, or by the powers of the system having, in the course of time, gradually attained the preponderance, under allopathic and antagonistic treatment - for being cured in a direct manner differs vastly from recovering in an indirect manner - such patients have been cured solely (although without the knowledge of the physician) by means of a (homopathic) medicine which possessed the power of producing a similar morbid state.
Even in real cures by means of mixtures of medicines - which were excessively rare - it will be found that the remedy whose action predominated was always of a homopathic character.
But this is observed much more strikingly in cases where physicians sometimes effected a rapid cure with one simple medicinal substance, contrary to the usual custom, that admitted of none but mixtures of medicines in the form of a prescription. There we see, to our astonishment, that this always occurred by means of a medicine that is itself capable of producing an affection similar to the case of disease, although the physicians themselves knew not what they were doing, and acted in forgetfulness of the contrary doctrines of their own school. They prescribed a medicine the very reverse of that which they should have employed according to the traditional therapeutics, and it was only in consequence of so doing that the patients were rapidly cured.
If we deduct the cases in which the specific remedy for a disease of never varying character has been made known to physicians of the ordinary school (not by their own investigation, but) by the empirical practice of the common people, wherewith they are enabled to effect a direct cure, as for instance, of the venereal chancrous disease with mercury; of the morbid state resulting from contusions with arnica; of marsh ague with cinchona bark; of recent cases of itch with flowers of sulphur, etc. - if we deduct these, we find, that without almost any exception, all the other treatment of the old school physician, in chronic diseases, consists in debilitating, teasing and tormenting the already afflicted patient, to the aggravation of his disease and to his destruction, with a great display of dignified gravity on the part of the doctor and at a ruinous expense to the patient.
Blind experience sometimes led them to a homopathic mode of treatment,* and yet they did not perceive the law of nature in obedience to which cures so effected did and must ensue.
* Thus they imagined they could drive out through the skin the sudatory matter which they believed to stagnate there after a chill, if they gave the patient to drink, during the cold stage of the catarrhal fever, an infusion of elder flowers, which is capable of removing such a fever and curing the patient by its peculiar similarity of action (homopathically), and this it does most promptly and effectually, without causing perspiration, if but a small quantity of this infusion, and nothing else, be taken. To hard, acute swellings, in which the excessive violence of the inflammation prevents their suppuration and causes intolerable pains, they apply very warm poultices, frequently renewed, and behold! the inflammation and the pains diminish rapidly, while the abscess is rapidly formed, as is known by the yellowish shining elevation and the perceptible softening. In this case they imagine that the hardness has been softened by the moisture of the poultice, whereas it is chiefly by the greater heat of the poultices that the excess of inflammation has been homopathically subdued, and the rapid suppuration been enabled to take place. - Why do they employ with benefit in many ophthalmiae St. Yve's salve, the chief ingredient of which is red oxide of mercury, which can produce inflammation of the eyes, if anything can? Is it hard to see that they here act homopathically? - Or why should a little parsley juice produce such evident relief in those cases (by no means rare), where there are anxious, often ineffectual, efforts to urinate in little children, and in ordinary gonorrhoea, which is well known by the very painful, frequent and almost ineffectual attempts to make water, if the fresh juice of this plant had not the power of causing, in healthy persons, a painful, almost fruitless, urging to urinate, consequently cures homopathically? With the pimpernal root, which causes great secretion of mucus in the bronchia and fauces, they successfully combatted the so-called mucous angina - and quelled some kinds of metrorrhagia with the leaves of savine, which can itself cause metrorrhagia, without perceiving the homopathic curative law. In cases of constipation from incarcerated hernia and in ileus many medical men found the constipating opium, in small doses, to be the most excellent and certain remedy, without having the most distant idea of the homopathic therapeutic law exemplified in this case. They cured non-venereal ulcers of the fauces with small doses of mercury, which is homopathic to such states - stopped some diarrhoeas with small doses of the purgative rhubarb - cured hydrophobia with belladonna, that causes a similar affection, and removed, as if by magic, the dangerous comatose state in acute fevers with a small dose of the heating, stupefying opium; and yet they abuse homopathy, and persecute it with a fury that can only arise from the stings of an evil conscience in a heart incapable of improvement.
Hence it is highly important, for the weal of mankind, to ascertain what really took place in these extremely rare but singularly salutary treatments. The answer we obtain to this question is of the utmost significance.
They were never performed in any other manner than by means of medicines of homopathic power, that is to say, capable of producing a disease similar to the morbid state sought to be cured; the cures were effected rapidly and permanently by medicines, the medical prescribers of which made use of them as it were by accident, and even in opposition to the doctrines of all previous systems and therapeutics (often without rightly knowing what they were doing and why they did it), and thus, against their will, they practically confirmed the necessity of the only therapeutic law consonant to nature, that of homopathy - a therapeutic law, which, despite the many facts and innumerable hints that pointed to it, no physicians of past epochs have exerted themselves to discover, blinded as they all have been by medical prejudices.
For even the domestic practice of the non-medical classes of the community endowed with sound observant faculties has many times proved this mode of treatment to be the surest, the most radical and the least fallacious in practice.
In recent cases of frost-bitten limbs frozen sour crout is applied or frictions of snow are used.*
* It is on such examples of domestic practice that Mr. M. Lux founds his so-called mode of cure by identicals and idem, which he calls Isopathy, which some eccentric-minded persons have already adopted as the non plus ultra of a therapeutic method, without knowing how they could carry it out.
But if we examine these instances attentively we find that they do not bear out these views.
The purely physical powers differ in the nature of their action on the living organism from those of a dynamic medicinal kind.
Heat or cold of the air that surrounds us, or of the water, or of our food and drink, occasion (as heat and cold) of themselves no absolute injury to a healthy body; heat and cold are in their alternations essential to the maintenance of healthy life, consequently they are not of themselves medicine. Heat and cold, therefore, act as curative agents in affections of the body, not by virtue of their essential nature (not, therefore, as cold and heat per se, not as things hurtful in themselves, as are the drugs, rhubarb, china, etc., even in the smallest doses), but only by virtue of their greater or smaller quantity, that is, according to their degrees of temperature, just as (to take an example from purely physical powers) a great weight of lead will bruise my hand painfully, not by virtue of its essential nature as lead, for a thin plate of lead would not bruise me, but in consequence of its quantity and massive weight.
If, then, cold or heat be serviceable in bodily ailments like frost-bites or burns, they are so solely on account of their degree of temperature, just as they only inflict injury on the healthy body by their extreme degrees of temperature.
Thus we find in these examples of successful domestic practice, that it is not the prolonged application of the degree of cold in which the limb was frozen that restores it isopathically (it would thereby be rendered quite lifeless and dead), but a degree af cold that only approximates to that (homopathy), and which gradually rises to a comfortable temperature, as frozen sour crout laid upon the frost-bitten hand in the temperature of the room soon melts, gradually growing warmer from 32ű or 33ű (Fahr.) to the temperature of the room, supposing that to be only 55ű, and thus the limb is recovered by physical homopathy. In like manner, a hand scalded with boiling water would not be cured isopathically by the application of boiling water, but only by a somewhat lower temperature, as, for example, by holding it in a vessel containing a fluid heated to 160ű, which becomes every minute less hot, and finally descends to the temperature of the room, whereupon the scalded part is restored by homopathy. Water in the act of freezing cannot draw out the frost isopathically from potatoes and apples, but this is effected by water only near the freezing-point.
So, to give another example from physical action, the injury resulting from a blow on the forehead with a hard substance (a painful lump) is soon diminished in pain and swelling by pressing on the spot for a considerable time with the ball of the thumb strongly at first, and then gradually less forcibly, homopathically but not by an equally hard blow with an equally hard body, which would increase the evil isopathically.
The examples of cures by isopathy given in the book alluded to -
muscular contractions in human beings and spinal paralysis in a dog, which had been caused
by a chill, being rapidly cured by cold bathing - these events are falsely explained by
isopathy. What are called sufferings from a chill are only nominally connected with cold,
and often arise, in the bodies of those predisposed to them even from a draught of wind
which was not at all cold. Moreover, the manifold effects of a cold bath on the living
organism, in health and in disease, cannot be reduced to such a simple formula as to
warrant the construction of a system of such pretentions! That serpentsŐ bites, as is
there stated, are most certainly cured by portions of the serpents, must remain a mere
fable of a former age, until such an improbable assertion is authenticated by indubitable
observations and experience, which it certainly never will be. That, in fine, the saliva
of a mad dog given to a patient laboring under hydrophobia (in Russia), is said
to bave cured him - that 'is said' would not seduce any conscientious physician to imitate
such a hazardous experiment, or to construct a so-called isopathic system, so dangerous
and so highly improbable in its extended application, as has been done (not by the modest
author of the pamphlet entitled The Isopathy of Contagions, Leipzic: Kollmann,
but) by its eccentric supporters, especially Dr. Gross (v. Alg. hom. Ztg, ii, p.
72), who vaunts this isopathy (aequalia aequalibus) as the only proper
therapeutic rule, and sees nothing in the similia similibus but an indifferent
substitute for it; ungratefully enough, as he is entirely indebted to the similia
similibus for all his fame and fortune.