None of the departments of medical science during the last fifty years have been so rapidly developed as those of Physiology and Pathology. Modern investigation has not only given us an idea of the wonders of the human mechanism, but also of the seat and nature of disease. In our last we referred briefly to the facts of physiology as not merely sustaining but demanding only the doses of our school, in the present we shall mention some of the lessons of pathology or diseased physiology, with reference to the same.
When all the parts of the body are in health, and every condition is supplied for the proper performance of each function, there is nothing more beautiful than the uniform regularity with which each action is maintained, and nothing more wonderful than the endurance of these delicate parts to the irritating, oppressive influences to which they are subject.
From the external we have bruises and wounds, cold and heat, such as would destroy even mineral substances, and in the internal, miasm, noxious vapors, specific poisons of disease artificial stimulants and narcotics, continued violations of known physiological laws, and last though not least drugging the system with crude medicines; yet from the effects of all these it is the natural tendency, for parts to recuperate, to throw off their morbid action, and assume their normal condition. This tolerance is the Providential arrangement by which our lives are preserved. This is the peculiarity of the animal formation, that though it is susceptible to smallest influences and most delicate impressions, yet it will bear and apparently recover from the grossest imposition of foreign, substances. These are the facts when in health, but it is now our inquiry, with how much of an impression should a diseased organ be touched, or how much medicinal force does it require to remove disease.
Pathology, in a few words will answer this question, la our last article we showed that medicines in doses so small as not to be perceptible to the sight or touch, even on the healthy economy, prodiits.vi decided and permanent impressions, now let us see in what ratio the susceptibility of an organ is increased by disease or how much more impressible it is than when in health, and then we shall have the ratio by which the dose, even of these imperceptible medicines, should be diminished in order to produce a like impression.
Take the first example from the external. The hand when healthy, with proper surroundings, may bear the weight of 300 lbs. upon it without injuring a tissue or causing severe pain. But let it become diseased, let all the muscles, nerves, tissues &c. be brought to 3 high state of inflammation such as we constantly see by tumors, boils, and other local or constitutional affections, and what is the condition then. The sensibility is so far increased that the weight of a feather cannot be borne, even 1/2 a grain of the softest substance is really painful to the touch. This is not imaginary; it is not the raving of a deluded fancy, but something which everyone knows who has experienced these ills. What part of 300 lbs. is 1/2 a grain? It is 1/3458000 part of it. We find then that these tissues, which, when in a normal condition will bear a certain impression, when they are excited by inflammation they will only bear the 1/3456000 of that impression. This brings us unavoidably to the logical deduction, that where in health one grain of medicine has only a moderate action, these when diseased the 1/3458000 of a grain will produce even a painful sensation.
If we now take the case of Opium, mentioned in our last, which in common with many other medicines produces all its characteristic effects even in health, by merely smelling of the drug, in which process we perhaps receive the 1/500 part of a grain, we shall find that when the impressibility of that part of the brain, on which Opium has its specific action, is aroused by active inflammation, then the 1/1728000000 of a grain, will make quite as perceptible an impression, as the 1/300 of a grain did when in health. These figures cannot lie, and no one can object to the process by which they arc reached, for if there is this vastly increased susceptibility in, the tissues of the hand, in disease over that of health, then there is certainly a corresponding increase under like circumstances in any of the tissues of the body.
As another illustration of this principle let us look at the stomach. When that organ is in health, and ready for the digestion of food, it will receive and retail all that its size will admit; but when from either local or other causes there arises acute inflammation of its tissues, there it will nut retain. a particle of food. Every physician must have been at the bed-side of patients when they have said, I cannot take a drop of water without vomiting. It is common to see cases where even the smell of food produces nausea and emesis.
It is needless for us to compute the fractional part of the food thus received from the smelling, in respect to the quantity the stomach might contain, for invisibly small though it is, it is sufficient not only to more than satiate, but to be so repugnant as to be instantly dismissed.
Another illustration we might make is the eye. When all its parts are well and naturally formed, it is able to bear any quantity of light necessary for the most perfect vision, but when acute Ophthalmia ravages its parts, then every beam must be shut out from the apartment, if even a reflected ray enters the room where the eye is protected by the most careful bandage, the patient is immediately cognizant of it and cries out with pain. It is perfectly safe to say that the billionth part of the light which is agreeable and necessary in health will produce excruciating pain during the inflammatory stages of disease. In fact we cannot compute the quantity of light which is actually painful in Ophthalmia, that is, figures would fail us to tell what fractional part it is of that deluge of light which flows upon us in the ordinary process of vision, just as they say figures fail to tell what part of the crude mass is the 30th dilution.
We might multiply these instances much further, but these are sufficient to represent the facts. We have selected those which are plain and cannot be misunderstood or misconstrued, and they surely prove all that we ask of them, or else Pathology and Mathematics are a delusion, and pain a freak of the imagination.
In the foregoing instances we have shown that the susceptibility of an inflamed tissue, is, to the susceptibility of a healthy tissue, as 3,456,000 to 1, it consequently follows, that the medicinal impression upon the diseased tissue, must be to the medicinal impression upon the healthy tissue, as 1 to 3,456,000.
Let us now apply this principle to a few cases of disease, and see how large a dose Pathology tells us to give. Aloes and Colocynth are acknowledged by writers of the old school to have their principal, or specific effect upon the bowels, the first more especially upon the larger intestines and rectum. They give these medicines in doses of 2 or 3 grains each, and even in these doses they are comparatively harmless, for the reason that the bowels are in health at the time of administering. They prescribe according to the principle of Contraria Contrarias Curantur, and consequently purge the bowels when the disease is in the head, lungs, heart, throat, or any other part of the body. They can give these doses therefore with impunity, as the bowels are in a condition to tolerate even a larger amount. The Homoeopathist also gives Aloes and Colocynth, but he gives them when the disease is in that portion of the bowels on which these medicines have their specific action, that is in irritation and inflammation of the larger bowels and rectum, or in Diarrhea, Dysentery, &c; and because of the acute inflammation of these parts, their susceptibility to medicinal impression is increased in the same proportion as that of the hand we have mentioned. Consequently, if the healthy bowel is only moderately affected by two grains of Colocynth, the inflamed bowel will be just as much affected by the 1/1728000 grain. This we find not merely true in theory but also in practice. Those who give the 3d dilution or trituration of Colocynth, in Dysentery, (a dose of which is about equal to 1/1000000 part of a grain,) find that it is very surely curative in the cases where it is indicated, unless the parts are too much inflamed, in which case it will be entirely too strong, and evidently aggravate the existing disease. Ipecac will often produce nausea in the healthy person, in doses of one grain. According to the law of impressibility then, when the stomach is already diseased and nauseated, we can only give 1/3450000 grain.
I have just returned from seeing a case with intensely violent neuralgia, affecting the right side of the head, and face. The patient had taken huge doses of Narcotics, Stimulants, and Nervines, but with no effect, excepting to leave her in a more tremulous condition. She had slept none for 48 hours and was almost distracted with pain. A few doses of the appropriate remedy, amounting to not more than the 1/50000000 of a grain, relieved and cured in the space of two hours.
The reason why the massive doses of Valerian &c, had no effect was, because they did not touch the part diseased. Their action was upon other and healthy parts of the system. But the homoeopathic dose was as nearly as possible the Similimum. It had its specific impress upon the parts affected by Neuralgia, and therefore the smallest influence only was necessary to cause a response from the tender tissue. I have no predilection for the above or any size of dose, but gave that which, considering the conditions, would be most quickly curative. I might mention other cases of disease illustrative of the same principle, enough to fill a volume, but this is unnecessary as they will readily occur to any one who will follow out these reflections.
Why then, does the Allopathist continue to ridicule our doses, and say there is nothing in them? Let him discard the theory of administration if he choses, let him say there is no such law of cure, but for his own honor and intelligence, let him no longer disregard the invincible, unmistakable teachings of Pathology, which should be stronger than even his own prejudices.
He does not sit down by the bed-side of a patient when suffering from Gastritis and say, “you are foolish and imaginary to vomit the few drops of water you have taken.” He knows this irritability is an effect of the disease, and marvels not at the vomiting of the smallest quantity of water, even though he has seen him drink a quart of it when in health, He does not say to the patient with Ophthalmia, “you only fancy you cannot bear the light, but he knows the fact that what was before pleasant and necessary, is now in the billionth part of its strength excruciatingly painful to the eye; accordingly he sends him into a chamber perfectly darkened until the peculiar susceptibility is removed. Since then, he regards these pathological conditions, and graduates the disturbing influences to their impressibility, why should we not in every disease regard these eloquent teachings and graduate the strength of our remedies to the sensitiveness of the organ affected.
Admitting that we are sometimes compelled to carry our dilutions so high as not to be calculated with figures, why should we any more doubt their efficacy, than we do the numberless analogous facts in nature, and the lessons of other departments of Science to which medicine is so closely allied. In the present state of Homoeopathy, it may very occasionally be expedient to use medicines as low as drop doses of the tincture. But these can only be used as expedients, and we trust that soon this apparent necessity will be removed by the development of the powers of the other drugs which will be nearer the similimum than any we now possess, and consequently can be given in doses far removed from the tinctures.
Those who use the attenuations, high or low, will cure their patient much more surely and promptly than those who use the crude drug. 1st. because they who find it a necessity to use the crude have not selected the truly indicated remedy, and 2nd. because of the permeative size of the preparations of which we have spoken. There are also other reasons which we cannot here notice. It is undoubtedly true that the untriturated doses of the Allopathist, especially with the medicine which he calls specific, do cure some cases of disease and that without producing medicinal aggravations but these cure not because of the large quantity given, but by virtue of the very few atoms contained in the mass which happen to be sufficiently small to reach the part diseased. The bulk of such a dose is of no specific value and were better not administered, as it only acts as a foreign substance in disturbing healthy parts, and the few comminuted particles which wise nature selects are all that is necessary to produce a healing impression. If physicians will regard the lessons of Pathology and exercise a proper carefulness in selecting the remedy indicated, they may even now be done with the grosser materials with which the human system is still abused, and practice that which alone is rational medicine.
We are aware that some who have half investigated Homoeopathy are looking and waiting for the day when its doses shall become more appreciable. They desire that it shall be “liberalized,” so as to meet the concessions of modern Allopathy. This can never be done. If allopathists change, they must drop arms and march in our ranks. No concession can be made. On the contrary, the size of the dose will continue to recede from that of all other systems of medicine, until the true remedies are found which meet every condition of disease. The Homoeopathy of Hahnemann and of today is the Medical Science of all time. It will be shorn of the inconsistencies which have gathered around it, and pruned of the imaginative powers of drugs, but its principles will govern all future discoveries, and appropriate them to their proper use. This is not sectarian or illiberal. It is not the invention of any man or class of men; but the imperative demands of the arbitrary laws of Nature. The law of healing and the pathological conditions are the antecedent, the doses the consequent.
The homoeopathist, for reasons which we have mentioned, could not if he would, give any larger doses than are now employed. On the other hand, the allopathist, if honest, can never give smaller doses than those he is now, and has been using for years.
It takes the same quantity of Rhubarb to purge, the same of Ipc. to vomit, the same of Cantharides to blister, the same of Nitre to produce diuresis, 'that it ever has, in any age of the world, and unless the constitution of man is changed, their doses can never be altered until they give up the contrary and adopt the similar doctrine.
|The AMERICAN HOMOEOPATHIC REVIEW Vol. 01 No. 12, 1859, pages 541-548
|Teachings of Pathology in relation to Homeopathy.
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