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The idea of specifics is one which has connected itself with medicine from the earliest ages to the present time, calling into action the mental energy of the learned physician, as well as of the ignorant empiric. When medicine first found an origin, and entered herself among the rising sciences, this idea was the one to which the whole attention was directed, and to its attainment the whole energy bent. Long and patient were the investigations by which the early disciples of medicine endeavored to discover and bring to light this, to them, the grand secret of nature, upon whose development depended the health of succeeding ages. But the panacea, so much sought for and So earnestly desired, they failed to find. The midnight lamp had burned in vain, and necromancy with her dark rites and sacrifices, and her wonderful oracles, had also failed to bring to light this one power, by whose agency the whole list of diseases should not only be controlled, but for ever after held in subjection, till the silvery headed sires of medicine, discouraged and baffled in their endeavors had, at least apparently, abandoned utterly all such investigation, considering all such endeavors as useless, and condemning the person in such endeavor at once to the rank of the ignorant and degraded.

Can we then find such a thing as a specific? To this question the answer comes to us decidedly in the negative, and, though apparently strange, with equal emphasis in the affirmative.

In the early ages of medicine the specific then sought after was one whose influence should know no bounds, and one which should be to them the universal panacea; at whose touch disease, in whatever form or suffering, in whatever guise, should at once vanish, and whose presence should for ever prevent any interruption in the harmonious course of health. Long and patiently was this sought for, and when its abandonment could no longer be deferred, it was done reluctantly, and then only to adopt and follow the same idea as presented in a different aspect, for instead of abandoning the whole idea of specifics, they abandoned it only so far as the specific being universal, and continued their investigations with renewed energy, to discover now the different specifics which should meet the variations in the course of disease, which they had chosen to distinguish by distinct names. Nor can the hope of the successful discovery in this latter division be said, even at this time to be abandoned, though all endeavors in this direction have up to the present time uniformly ended in a failure, still the allopathic physician though outwardly denouncing all investigation tending in this direction, by his writings and his course of action, shows too clearly that this is even now the great point which he by his labor endeavors to attain. And it is only to glance over the pages of allopathic literature, to find that the success so far in this direction is but failure.

We see, then, that so far, the idea of specifics in medicine is uniformly negative. The hope of success in the discovery of any substance of force which should act as a panacea for all diseases, having faded away. And the long series of years in which the specific for their separate classifications in disease has been sought for unsuccessfully, we may with safety conclude that all future endeavors in this direction will, as their predecessors, prove but a failure. So far then we find but the negative, and now can we find an affirmative to this great question.

When the immortal founder of Homoeopathy discovered and gave to the world the great law “Similia Similibus Curantur,” and upon this erected his system of medicine, he built a system whose foundation was laid in specifics. He showed definitely and clearly that disease was to be removed in accordance with the teaching of this great law, and this to be brought about by means of specifics. But it was not a single remedy or force by which all classes and divisions of disease were to be eradicated at one sweep. Nor could it reach all cases, if such were to be decided merely from the name by which these had been classified by some preceding physician, but it was only when disease, in its progress, gave rise to such symptoms as the remedy to be used corresponded to in the most minute particulars in its pathogenetic developments, that the remedy became indeed the true specific.

This was the great law whose development was to revolutionize the whole medical world, and bring about a new era in the practice of physic, and though comparatively recently developed has made rapid strides into advancement. The truth of the law supported as it is by the accumulating proofs of years, can no longer be doubted by any who may investigate her principles, or follow her precepts.

Why then is it that we so frequently find filling the pages of our literature, the heralded accounts of some great remedy which is to prove the specific for this or that disease? Or why the reported failure of the homoeopathic physician when using the remedies as pointed out by our guiding law, and because of their failure, resorting to destructive doses and drugs of the dominant school? Does the law of specifics, the law of Similia fail in its application, or is the failure on the side of the physician, in his lack of care in the investigation of the symptoms in each given case, and in his prescribing more from the name than from the indicating symptoms, or does he fail after a close observance of disease, on account of his glancing in a mere careless way over the various remedies and making his selection without that close study and comparison, which should ever characterize the homoeopathic physician?

Perhaps there is no one class of diseases which the physician has been called upon to treat, which in our ranks has caused more to be written or more speculation, than that class known as intermittent.

The proving of some drug is published and this shortly becomes the much desired specific for chills. A few may use it with success, and this is then given in confirmation of the advanced statement, while others using the same with less success, condemn it as of no value, and in their disappointment resort either to massive doses of quinine or to some nostrum. It certainly seems that the Homoeopath should cease to follow this “ignus fatuus” which has so long been the guiding star of Allopathy, leading invariably into greater darkness and uncertainty. Why not follow in this, as in the treatment o other diseases, the promptings of the great law, and be guided by the developed symptoms in each case?

We cannot longer expect to find in any one drug or combination of drugs, that which is to remedy the different varieties in this disease with unvarying certainty. The law of specifics is confined in its action to those cases in which the existing symptoms of disease correspond with the symptoms as developed by the drug, and beyond this limit the medicine either ceases to act or its action is not that of a specific. The great number of medicines in whose pathogenetic developments we find the febrile symptoms forming a prominent part, is evidence of at least an equal variation in disease assuming this type, and shows clearly that all that is required in order to find the true specific in any case, is a careful investigation and close study, I would not be understood as condemning the use of quinine in all cases of intermittent disease, for we can not but conclude that this drug will relieve this variety of disease if we take but a single glance at its pathogenetic symptoms, but it is the use of the drug indiscriminately, when any form of intermittent disease makes its appearance that should be disapproved of by all who pretend to be guided by the law Similia.

If this drug approaches so nearly the true specific in all cases of this disease, why is it that it differs so widely from all other of our specific remedies, or differs in its action with the change of disease in regard to the amount required to o rest the course of disease? With other drugs when specifically indicated, we find the desired result brought about by the action of infinitesimal doses, and even when quinine may be indicated in other ailments we find the administration of the medicine in minute doses sufficient to bring about speedy and satisfactory relief. Then by what course of reasoning do we decide to administer the massive dose whenever disease may assume the intermittent type?

It is true that with our limited number of remedies and the limited knowledge of such as we have, there may be cases in which it may be difficult to decide with certainty as to the true specific, but if the case be carefully investigated and the remedy carefully selected, we shall find these cases to appear but rarely — and seldom will the remedy fail us in its action.

To conclude this article we will give the indication by which we have been enabled to decide as to the remedy in such cases as have appeared through the past season.

1st. As to the time of day at which the attack appeared etc., in the morning, Eupatorium, Lobelia, Podophyllum.

Eupator. Chill appearing early in the morning, followed by heat lasting most of the day, perspiration at night, thirst before and during the chill, also during the fever, vomiting at the close of the chills.

Lobelia. Chill appearing about the middle of the forenoon, attended by difficult breathing and oppression of the chest.

Podophyl. Chill appearing early in the morning, mental depression and confusion of mind, marked gastric bilious symptoms, constipation.

When the attack made its appearance at noon Elaterium.

Coming on in the afternoon I gave principally Cedron, the indication I looked for being especially coldness of the hand and nose, face red during the chills; coldness of the nose continuing during the fever.

2d. The remedies used without so much regard to the time of the appearance of the chills were Arsenic, Cimex, Menyanthes, Nux, Opium, Pulsatilla and Rhus.

Arsenic. Lips blue during the chill, other symptoms corresponding.

Cimex. Pains in the joints, especially in the front of the knee joint during the chill. Hunger during the sweat. Musty smelling sweat

Ignatia. Anticipating type. Thirst only during the chill. Bash on the skin.

Menyanthes. When the cold stage was decided, constituting almost the whole paroxysm.

Nux. Blueness of the finger nails during the chill, also Sleep, but more from the attending symptoms generally indicating this remedy.

Opium. Deep sleep attending the chills and continuing during the fever.

Pulsatilla. Chills irregular in appearance and severity in persons of mild temperament.

Rhus tox. Tertian. The chill accompanied by a nettle rash which continued into the fever. A good deal of pain in the limbs.

These remedies were given in potencies varying from the 6th to the 200th, and in frequent repetition, usually every hour. The Ars. was used almost exclusively in the 200th potency, and almost invariably with success when following the indication. As for the high potencies in the treatment of this disease we can say that they are certainly deserving of a trial. Though our use of them has been limited, still when given, their action has seemed to be more prompt and effective than that of the lower. When the disease has been arrested by these, there is much less liability to return.


Source: The AMERICAN HOMOEOPATHIC REVIEW Vol. 02 No. 03, 1859, pages 111-116
Description: Specifics.
Author: Rowley, WM.
Year: 1859
Editing: errors only; interlinks; formatting
Attribution: Legatum Homeopathicum
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