====== Editorial Correspondence
This city lies in a basin on the South side of the Island of Cuba. It is surrounded by lofty mountains on all aides except the South, in which direction the bay, on which it lies, finds its way to the ocean about six miles distant, Being thus sheltered from North, East and West, the Northers which cause such sudden changes of temperatures on the North side of the Island and are so detrimental to invalids, pass over St. Jago almost without effecting any appreciable change in the atmosphere, and there results a uniformity of climate which is in the highest degree desirable for invalids. On the other hand, the heat is great, and inasmuch as the city lies at the head of a bay into which empty a number of small and rather sluggish rivers, the air at night and in the early morning is quite damp and there is a good deal of malaria. These objectionable features do not obtain in the climates of the suburbs on the slopes of the adjacent mountains. As we are informed and from what we have been able to observe, these afford just the climate, which invalids who seek to avoid the cold of the North, need. In cases of pulmonary weakness the atmosphere of the sugar-houses in which at this season the cane-juice is being boiled is said to be peculiarly beneficial, as is likewise the habit of drinking the hot cane-syrup, freely, in the early morning.
The highest temperature noted here during the latter two-thirds of January was, at noon of the 20th, 86°. The dew-point at that time was 78°. Taking the period, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., as constituting a day, the mean temperature has been 78° and the mean dew-point 73°. The extremes of temperature have been 86° (dew-point 78°) and 75° (dew-point 70°). This latter temperature was during the prevalence or a Norther. There has been rain but once in two months, a sudden shower on the evening of the 22d, lasting two hours.
The accommodations for strangers are fair, according to the customs of the country, which, after all our prejudices to the contrary, it is always safest, in a strange country, to respect and follow. Expenses about as in New York.
Homoeopathy thrives better in St. Jago than elsewhere on the Island of Cuba; chiefly because of the great success it has achieved in the treatment of cholera in 1851, and or the yellow fever which is endemic here every summer. There are three homoeopathic physicians here, one of whom is the Subdelegado of the district or the head physician; the one through whom all communications from the government to the medical profession are made. Besides these three, there is a priest, who is a strong Homoeopathician and a learned and successful practitioner. He has practised here for fourteen years past.
The physicians here all use high potencies more or less, from the 80th to the 600th. All use globules, and indeed I am told that if a patient should see his physician prescribe a drop of the tincture or a mass of a trituration, he would decline the treatment as not being homoeopathic. It is also the custom to give infrequent doses, waiting the effect of the dose before repeating.
Physicians here are of opinion that the residents of such warm climates respond very readily to attenuated remedies, and do not bear well the low potencies and massive doses. Let me remark, in passing, that these experiences controvert the assertions of some of our colleagues in the Southern states, who are went to assure us, that though the high potencies may do in the mild (?) diseases of temperate regions they are not strong (!) enough for the violent maladies of the torrid zone. And yet what disease more violent than yellow fever, which is here easily and promptly controlled by one or two doses of the 12th, or 30th, or 200th, as I am assured by my colleagues here? Or, what disease more sudden, more violent, and more to be dreaded than tetanus, which is very prevalent here and uniformly fatal under allopathic treatment, but of which one of the homoeopathic physicians here has cured twelve cases out of thirteen, with high potencies of Secale cor.
A few years ago a Dr. Iturraldi practised in St. Jago, a Spaniard and a very zealous Homoeopathician. He made extensive investigations of the properties of the plants indigenous to this region. Among those which he proved was one which he conceived to be a specific for the yellow fever, as it appears in this district. His success in the treatment of yellow fever with this remedy was very remarkable. He gave the remedy freely to his colleagues, whose success with it was equal to his own. From that time, yellow fever in at Jago has ceased to be a formidable disease under homoeopathic treatment. It is a very rare thing to lose a case. Dr. Iturraldi died without having informed any of his colleagues what was the remedy which he and they, following his example, found so efficacious. It is supposed that his son, who is a lawyer, in Spain, possesses the desired information, and efforts are making to obtain it from him. Meanwhile the medicine is to be obtained here in the potencies.
Besides the Mancinella and the Guao of which we have already some knowledge, there is a plant said to be used by the negroes to poison their obnoxious overseers or comrades whom they wish to destroy. It is a slow poison, producing dropsy and finally death by default of nutrition.
In its relations to the Government, Homoeopathy has little to complain of here. None are allowed to practise medicine here without a diploma or license from the University of Havana. But, this once obtained, no distinction is recognized, based on varieties of practice. Homoeopathic physicians are eligible to offices in the appointment of the Government and do, in fact, obtain them.
During one severe epidemic or yellow fever, they obtained control of a charitable hospital and met with a success which attracted the especial notice or the Government, so that permission has been accorded to establish a homoeopathic hospital here, an enterprise which, it is hoped, may soon be carried into effect.
|The American Homoeopathic Review Vol. 06 No. 08, 1866, pages 316-318
|Homoeopathy in Cuba
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