When the theory of atoms which we have been discussing, is applied to the preparation of homoeopathic medicines, it will soon become apparent that we have not been treating of mystical and incredible arithmetical decillionths, or even infinitesimal fractions of a medical body, of which particles one or two are said to be solved or even suspended in the thirtieth dilution, whence they must be carried into the blood; but we have rather been considering the liberation of the specific electricity (force) of a drug by means of trituration and succussion. Such is contained in all bodies, more or less free, and is undoubtedly rendered more active where it is already free by a more complete solution* [I had a drop of perfectly clear second dilution of Aconite tincture magnified by the solar microscope, and perceived that dark molecules, surrounded by the clear alcohol, collected from the circumference toward the centre, whence I concluded that the Aconite matter was not completely dissolved.] and increased expansion of matter, †[But also this must have its limits, just as electricity cannot be conducted into endless space.]
This needs no further proof, and only the seeming paradox, dividing homoeopathic physicians into two parties, remains to be solved, that medicines are at one time weakened and at another strengthened or potentized by dilution; this is a contradiction, which next to Hahnemann's calculations by fractions, has injured Homoeopathy in many respects. But Hahnemann's fractions were merely an unessential formula, selected by him for the sake of equality of the dose [ Medicines operate in the twelfth as well as in the thirtieth dilution, their difference being imperceptible; at the same time it is immaterial whether medicines have been prepared in the proportion of one to ninety-nine, or five to ninety-five. The result is the same in practice.] and that this contradiction is only an apparent one will be shown hereafter.
I. The fact is well known that there are substances in nature, so incompatible with life, that they will destroy the same in their normal condition or at least disturb it in a high degree, i. e., produce disease. This is affected in a three-fold manner. First, by local destruction or irritation of the point of contact. Second, by producing changes in the composition of the blood. Third, by direct changes in the nervous system. These effects do not permit of a strict distinction, because blood and nervous system, being so closely connected, are at once made to participate in the local destruction or severe irritation, so that morbid processes of the one must call forth morbid actions in the other, as has been sufficiently proved by the most recent discoveries.§ [Thus, irritation of a certain portion of the brain may call forth formation of sugar in the liver; or, irritation produces congestion, inflammation, &c.]
Nevertheless we may still adhere to the above classification of drug-effects, because we know the locality first affected by many of these substances, the most violent of which we call poisons. Thus, all substances acting according to the laws of inorganic chemistry, belong to the first class; such as concentrated acids and alkalies, some salts and metallic oxides, also, some kinds of acrid vegetable matter. As belonging to the second] class may be considered hydrocyanic acid, some kinds of contagious matter and products of disease, and some gases. Lastly, those which stimulate and over stimulate the nervous system, such as Nux vomica, Opium, Belladonna, &c, rank in the third class.
Hahnemann has never asserted that these condensed, and at the same time free, forces could be intensified by the dilution of their material vehicles, but he has maintained and proved that, from dubious and uncertain drugs, they are converted into mild and certain remedies*[Is it not a right down folly to reject and disregard a powerful medicine as Arsenic is proved to be in many diseases, instead of making the same useful by refining the dose.] by dilution, i. e., by weakening their purely chemical, corroding properties, which stimulate the body into an unwieldy process of elimination; furthermore, that these medicines, being no longer ejected by vomiting and other means, and no longer exciting tempestuous revolutions in the system, gain a far greater expansion in the same; instead of their producing single violent signs of poisoning, they now call forth a great variety of nicer pathological effects, and are known to cure even in much finer doses according to the homoeopathic law. For instance, if we take a most corrosive poison, such as Arsenic, a severe inflammation of the stomach will be the consequence, in which case a small quantity of Arsenic is discharged by vomiting and diarrhea; if we take only one thousandth part of a grain the effect will often be scarcely perceptible; but if we continue to take one thousandth part of a grain, which can be done with care, a series of phenomena will be elicited, such as could never be produced or which will be overlooked in the violence of reaction induced by a large (poisonous) dose, while these minute particles of Arsenic can actually be conveyed into the circulation and thus to the various organs without producing violent symptoms.
We must mention here, and in all similar cases, that such drugs are weakened by dilution, but rendered available for the purpose of proving and healing; and, inasmuch as they produce a greater number of more delicate symptoms, when given in refined doses, the diminution of the dose can be called potentization. If a well person should receive a quadrillonth part of a grain of Arsenic several times, no effect would become visible, while the same weak dose, only charged with Arsenic atoms or Arsenic force, would heal the symptoms of a disease most similar to those of Arsenic disease by inducing a beneficial re-action.
No one, therefore, will persist in saying that remedies like Arsenic, Belladonna, Prussic acid, &c., are made stronger by dilution, even if this be combined with severe shaking or friction, but their sphere of action on the sick and the well is greatly expanded by comminuting their bulk (dilution). They are weakened interiorly while they gain extensively in action, and only in this sense is it correct to speak of potentization of these substances by means of dilution.
II. But there are substances whose cohesion is so great, and whose usual condition so inert (indifferent), that they do not manifest the least force while in an unchanged condition, or their effect on the human system is only a chemical one. Thus, e.g., metallic gold, silver, tin, vegetable coal, silicia acid, &c, are totally indifferent; even if taken in large quantities, they are scarcely noticed and are discharged again unchanged through the primae via; carbonate of lime and magnesia combine with the gastric acid but hardly leave any other marks of their presence.
When these apparently inert substances, which are, however, charged with a latent, bound force, are triturated with a non-conductor of electricity, for instance, with sugar of milk, their inert, indifferent condition, is changed into an active one. The more successfully their surface is atomized by trituration, i. e., their atoms are liberated, or, according to the above representation, the more their latent, peculiar electricity is developed and at the same time transmitted to another vehicle as it is done with every electric-machine: then do they deserve the name of medicinal potency, i.e., medicinal force rendered active through the solution of cohesion. All such substances are, therefore, decidly potentized or their latent force liberated in their first alcoholic dilutions as well as their first triturations, for each of which Hahnemann directed two whole hours to be consumed. It is readily understood that this liberated force may still be too strong for a human system, the morbid symptoms of which are similar to those of the medicine; which, therefore, from a certain point, only to be determined by experience, and not alike in all cases, must be reduced by progressive dilution to a dose proportionate to the increased susceptibility of the patient for a medicine similar to his disease.
III. There is still a third class of medicinal substances, whose active principle, though naturally free, is easily overcome and equalized by the body, which even may become inured to them by their continued use just as it can become accustomed to articles of diet, not only natural to it, which is the case even with such articles having at first a decidedly disturbing effect. It is a remarkable fact that some of these substances have equal constituents, even in quantity, with some exceedingly virulent poisons; e. g., Coffeine and the alkaloid of Nux vomica, on which account they can not be borne by some persons. What has been said in a former paragraph regarding the position of atoms, has reference to this topic. The majority of these substances belong to the vegetable kingdom, such as Valerian, Camphor, Chamomile, Achillea millefol., Coffee, Tea, &c.; others are derived from the animal kingdom, such as Musk and Castoreum; Iron also belongs to this class of substances. These remedies do not, stand in need of development of force, nor a high dilution but they are best applied, homoeopathically, in very small doses of the mother preparation, that is in the first or second dilution or trituration.
The contradiction, then, is not real, but only apparent, that the action of some remedies is lessened by their comminution while that of others is developed by the same process; it is a difference founded in the individual nature of each.
The potentization of indifferent substances, such as gold, silicea, lime and others, not only does not contradict the known laws of nature, but rather harmonizes directly with the development of glass and resin electricity, or, to express it in another form, it corresponds with the transmutation of glass or resin into etherized glass, or resin atoms, by friction of their surfaces For one of these two kinds of electricities lies in a modified state in each body, as its peculiar force more or less bound and undeveloped.
It is self-evident that this medicinal force, after and during its development, must be prepared in non-conductors of electricity; hence we select sugar of milk and alcohol, glass and porcelain for its preparation; glass and paper are used for the preservation of homoeopathic medicines for a length of time.
|The American Homoeopathic Review Vol. 02 No. 10, 1860, pages 443-448
|Medicinal Matter and Force.
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