MANUAL OF HOMOEOPATHIC THEORY AND PRACTICE, with an elementary treatise on the Homoeopathic treatment of Surgical Diseases-Designed for Students, and Practitioners of Medicine, and as a guide for families, and an intelligent public generally, by C. J. HEMPEL, M. D., Prof, of Mat. Med. and Therap., in the Hom. Med. College of Pennsylvania, and JACOB BEAKLEY, M. D., Prof, of Surgery, in the Hom. Med. College of Penn., Philad. & New York. Radde, 1858.
We are well aware of the great difficulty attending the production of a Domestic Physician. In fact such a work, perfect in every respect, has never yet been written, and in all probability never will be. The inherent difficulties attending the composition of such a work, are, in the present state of our science, almost, if not altogether, insuperable.
We have had these domestic treatises usque ad nauseam, from the large work of Laurie, to the pocket manual of Malan, each and all containing something valuable, and each and all failing to be a true and perfect Domestic Physician. Nevertheless, we are of those who sincerely welcome them-since we are well convinced they have been of great service to our noble science, in introducing it to the notice of those who otherwise would have remained in utter ignorance.
The present work of Dr. Hempel, is an enlarged edition of his first, and is much more pretentious than either of the two former editions. It commences with an admirable, but concise essay on the most important Physiological functions and Anatomical relations of the human body, which will be perused by all with pleasure, and by the student with profit. This is followed by a short dissertation on the Homoeopathic law of cure, in which we perceive a master mind. The essay on Hygiene, which comes next in order, will be very valuable to the non-medical reader of this work, as well as to the inexperienced medical student-both will here find the experience of the most celebrated Physicians in a concise, but perfectly clear form.
The chapter on Diagnosis is sufficiently full and explicit to meet the requirements of the non-medical and other student. It is of course, not intended for Medical men in general, since a work on Diagnosis intended for them, would necessarily have occupied the entire volume.
The Special Therapeutics, with the description and treatment of diseases, commence with diseases of the mind and run through nearly every disease with which the human race is afflicted. This is very well for students, but is somewhat out of place, when intended for laymen, who will find it exceedingly difficult to comprehend the directions though they are in themselves sufficiently explicit. And here lies the insuperable difficulty in writing a Domestic Physician. If too concise, as is Malan, it becomes from that very conciseness almost useless for those it was intended for. If too diffuse, as is Laurie, it becomes again nearly useless to the lay-reader, because he lacks the necessary Anatomical, Physiological, and Pathological knowledge. Dr. Hempel has endeavored to hit the happy mean, and in many instances, he has certainly succeeded-in others, he, as certainly has not. Under the head of Menstrual Headache, after giving in a few lines, a very good description of this distressingly painful malady, he says:-“These Headaches require principally Acon., Aloes, Bell., Puls., &c.” with not a single clue to guide the non-professional reader, which is the one to be employed. The necessary consequence of this conciseness will be, that the patient will take the different medicines one after the other in the order mentioned. But will she be cured? We very much doubt it. Tis true indications are given a few pages onward, for every medicine mentioned, and many more, but even with these, the non-medical, male or female, will be terribly puzzled to chose the appropriate remedy. Dr. Hempel is by no means culpable in this. It could not be otherwise in fact, and is only another illustration of the inherent difficulty above mentioned. With the exception of these minor faults, we can cordially recommend this book to our readers-though our esteemed friend the author, has in this, as in his first and second editions, shown too great a predilection for Aconite, but this may be said to be an Idiosyncracy on his part. He is so fully alive to the admirable virtues of Acon., that he is unable to resist the idea of its almost panaceal virtues. As wo also are special admirers of this inestimable drug, we can understand the feelings which induce the author to eulogize it in the manner he has done. Tis very true, without Acon. we should be unable to practise Homoeopathy, without it we should be compelled to resort to venesection, and therefore we consider the use of it by Dr. Hempel in nearly every disease, a very venial fault.
On the whole we can sincerely recommend this work to the non-professional world, as one of the best which has yet appeared. Its faults are inherent, not in the author, but in the difficulty of any work of a like nature. Its virtues- and they are many-are all the authors own. To students and to young medical men, it will be of great advantage, and even to those who are well advanced, it will at times, be very serviceable.
The concise essay on Surgical Diseases and their Homoeopathic treatment is an admirable little brochure, and we were much pleased to find from the preface, that it may be looked upon as the precursor of an original work on the same subject, by Dr. Beakley, than whom, few in our ranks are more competent to write a work which will do credit to himself and honor to the cause of Homoeopathy.
This essay is distinguished throughout for brevity and clearness-its diagnosis is as complete as it was possible to be in so short a compass, and the treatment, though we think the author at times, runs too high in his potencies-is in our opinion all that could be desired. To the student, it will be in the first year of his career, invaluable, and we hope every student and every young practitioner will study it with attention. There is one paragraph in this essay which deserves to be written in gold, and we cannot resist the temptation to extract it entire.
“To tamper with symptoms and with remedies under such circumstances would be criminal, and finds no palliation in the puerile chimeras, that are too frequently substituted for sense, by the mere symptomatologists of our school, who seek a different remedy, for every sensation and pain, without regard to pathological conditions, and vainly hope, that by chasing each in quick such cession, though their erratic wanderings to overtake and exterminate them ere they shall have inflicted their death dealing blow upon their agonized victim, and vanquished him. These symptoms and their antidotes, are too often meteors of the brain. The characteristic symptoms of disease are based upon pathological conditions, and they only are confused, or confounded, who do not, or cannot comprehend the sympathetic relation of organs, and character of those sensations which are awakened through this peculiar relation, when a distant organ is invaded by disease.
|The AMERICAN HOMOEOPATHIC REVIEW Vol. 01 No. 02, 1858, pages 84-86
|Book review of MANUAL OF HOMOEOPATHIC THEORY AND PRACTICE by J. Hempel
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