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It is scarcely too much to say, that through the centuries before the discovery of the homoeopathic law, that which passed for science, in the great business of curing the sick, was little better than the imaginings of prominent men, who by force of their genius or circumstances, succeeded in impressing their theories on the practice of their contemporaries, to a controlling extent. Each fancy in its turn, giving place to subsequent theories, after disappointment and scrutiny had established the fallacy of its predecessors.

This process was continued through many centuries, no one appearing ever to have suspected that imaginations, however brilliant, could never become the foundations of a true science. When Hahnemann suspected the existence of a law of cure, he made an immense advance from the standpoint of his scientific professional contemporaries, but when he proved its existence, and stated it in explicit terms, he was so tar beyond them on the pathway of scientific truth, that, though before honored for learning, honesty, intelligence and industry, he was to them henceforth only “as one who dreamed” That there should be such a law, was almost incredible; that it should be so simple, was incomprehensible; that such simplicity should, in so few words and at once, displace forever the long and labored series of ingenious theories, which habit had accustomed them to respect and trust, was impossible. Then there were a few, since increased to a multitude, who accepted the law with confidence, practiced successfully on the principle it declares, and by daily experiences demonstrated to themselves its truth over and over, till it remained with their most cherished convictions, and its discoverer was enshrined with those most honored. “Like cures like” became to them unquestioned law, has been so received by their successors, and as such is presented today by the whole homoeopathic school, to the confidence of the world, as the magic formula which has opened up the way to possible cure to a multitude of hitherto incurable chronic diseases, and deprived nearly the whole train of acute of their terrors. We accept this formula, and having accepted it, propose to enquire what are its precise teachings and requirements?

What does it teach? That that which in the effects of drugs on the living organism, is like to the phenomena of natural diseases, enables these drugs to cure these diseases by virtue of this similarity. This is the principle contained in the formula “like cures like.“What does this mean? Twenty years ago, on the occasion of the first introduction of the writer to that friend who has done more by his teachings and writings to advance the science of Homoeopathy than any other man in this country, the master put the question, ”What is like?“This was evidently to his mind, then, the strongest argument against the truth of Homoeopathy, or at least, a question the most difficult for its friends to answer, and he expressed the opinion that any successful opposition to the homoeopathic law must begin at this point. What is the like which cures? It was quite evident, at the time, that even Hering had no answer to his own question. It was not forgotten by the writer. At first it seemed easy of answer, but after years of unsuccessful puzzle, the difficulty was confessed, and it was not till a hint from the same master, in the introduction to his proving of Allium cepa threw light upon the difficulty, that an answer became possible. He there repeats his question, and replies “that which is characteristic? Here is the whole truth, plain enough. But it forces another question, the answer to which lies at the foundation of all intelligent success in practice. What is characteristic? This we propose now to attempt to answer and to show that it is this which cures.

Hahnemann, in his Organon, third American edition, § 18, says “the totality of the symptoms is the sole indication in the choice of the remedies” With this we have no difficulty, if by it be understood that the elements controlling the choice are found among these symptoms, and no where else. But this expression, “totality of the symptoms,” has been, taken in connection with the direction to seek in the pathogenesis of drugs their simillimum, a great hindrance to many, and the cause of much useless labor on the part of those who would conscientiously follow the directions of the master. These they have understood to require in the ascertained effects of the drug, a simillimum to the totality of the symptoms of the disease. And in most cases, after long search, they find, that for this they have sought in vain. It was not to be found. If, perchance, they did succeed, the cure certainly followed because the whole must have contained those elements which effect that result. But this is not the direction of Hahnemann, as is evident after reading § 153, p. 173 of Organon, where he gives instruction as to those symptoms which are of controlling importance in the choice of a remedy, and those which may be safely passed with slight notice. We are not quite satisfied with the lines of discrimination he here lays down. Those to which we are to attend “particularly and almost exclusively” are the striking, extraordinary and peculiar? To these, except the last, we cannot but somewhat object, as will be seen as we proceed, and to illustrate these objections, we propose to avail ourselves of the subject of Dysentery,

In Dysentery, what is the “like” which cures, and how are we to find it? In other words, what are the characteristics, i. e., of the drug and the disease? It is obvious, at the first glance, that there are two classes of these. One, the generic, which determines the case yon have to treat as belonging to the genus dysentery, belongs alike to all the members of the genus, and without which no case is dysentery. The other, the specific, that which distinguishes individual members of the genus from all other members. It is also obvious these two classes must play a very different part in the discovery of the remedy for the cure. Now in relation to dysentery, what are the generic characteristics? Frequent, for the most part small discharges from the rectum, of blood or mucus, or of both, with colic pains, tenesmus and fever. These belong to every case and are essential to it as dysentery. Is it for the simillimum of these we are to seek, to find the prompt and safe cure, a compliance with the law insures? If so, we are met at the outset with a singular difficulty in the wealth of material before us. There are in the Materia Medica a large number of remedies, which present equally these generic characteristics, and so like are they in each, that the prescriber, if limiting his search to these, will be left, of necessity, to the bungling method of giving one after another of these remedies, beginning with that which he thinks likeliest to be the right, and proceeding to follow it with others, if not, till the right is stumbled on, if the patient be not dead before he finds it. Is this a compliance with the requirements of the great law, and this the best result it has to promise, to challenge our confidence, and excite our hopes? If so, its importance is far less than some have supposed, and the results of its observance are no great advance on those realized before its discovery.

If the declaration that “like cures like” means to assure us that the drug which produces symptoms like these generic ones, will be found to cure the members of the class they define, then I do not hesitate to say that the experience of every homoeopathic practitioner is adequate to the conviction of the declaration of falsehood. It is a lie and not a law. I say the experience of every practitioner — for all have tried it, and have been disappointed, again and again, by the failure, which a right understanding of the law would have led them to expect. But are not these the ”striking” symptoms of the case? Certainly they are the most striking. They stand on the very surface, and are the first to arrest the attention of the prescriber. They are plain, discovered without difficulty, unmistakable. And because they are so, are continually before his eyes, as the great facts with which he has to do, making it not a little difficult to get beyond them, to those which are the safer guides to successful practice. They have led, and do still lead, multitudes through the routine of remedies and disappointments which beginners never escape, and into which it is only too easy for those who are no longer beginners to fall. And hence the objection to the word ”striking“ in the direction of the Organon, as a distinctive feature of the symptoms to which we are to be “particularly and almost exclusively attentive.” Can any man tell by the examination of the blood, mucus, pain, tenesmus and fever, resulting from the taking of a drug, whether that drug were Aloes, Arn., Caps., Nux vom. or Sulph.? If not, how can he tell, when these result from natural disease, whether they are more like the similar results of this or that drug, of which each is so like all the others that they fail of distinctions. All attempts to do this, if serious, can hardly be better than a serious absurdity. Is there then a law of cure in cases like these! If so whence did it originate, and for what purpose? If there be such a law, it must have been instituted by the Creator of our race, when he first called it into being, and the intention of it must have been that it should serve as an instrument for the relief of human suffering and danger. Would such a Being, in instituting such a law, have coupled with it the necessity of perpetual blundering, which dependence on these generic symptoms necessarily involves.

It is worthy of remark that there are in the pathogenesis of all drugs a class of symptoms which in their relation to the law of cure are very analogous to the generic symptoms of disease. The allusion is to that class which is common to all or a large class of drugs, and which rather indicate that the organism revolts against drug assault, than point out the particular active agent in the assault. For the same reason that generic symptoms of disease can rarely be availed of as guides to the selection of a curative, these are of comparatively little value to the prescriber, The vomiting produced by one irritant poison is so like that of every other, that from this alone it cannot be told what that irritant is. So of the diarrhea, nausea, thirst, loss of appetite, headache, etc. These of themselves can never be guides to a prescription, though the elements associated with them may be. It is not then to the generic symptoms of either drug or disease that we are to direct our attention chiefly, in our search for the “like” which cures. We have seen that their very nature excludes them from the circle of curative relationship.

Where then are we to look for this? Evidently in the list of those symptoms which individualize both the disease and the drug. That which distinguishes the individual case of disease to be treated, from other members of its class, is to find its resemblance among those effects of the drug which distinguish it from other drugs. This is what we mean when we talk of ”characteristics“ as the great reliance of intelligent practice, and assert that with these the law of cure has chiefly to do. It is precisely in this relationship that the law exists. When we say ”like cures like“ this is the “like” we mean. Thus understood, the phrase declares a law established at the creation of man, which will endure as long as his pains require relief.

To apply the homoeopathic law, as spoken of in our previous article, to the treatment of dysentery will be the object of the remainder of this paper.

With a case before us, declared by its generic symptoms to be dysentery, how shall we proceed to this application? After this ascertained fact, the uses of these symptoms to the prescriber are nearly fulfilled. He has now to pass beyond these, and carefully examine and bring clearly out those less obtrusive ones, which are often too likely to be more or less masked by the violence of the group which presents itself to the first view, and seems to insist on his undivided attention. He has to shut his ears and his eyes to the outcries of his patient, the agitation of friends, and the front rank facts which pronounce his case a dysentery, and pass to the discovery and consideration of those of the second rank, often neglected, or judged of as insignificant, which declare what kind of a dysentery it is with which he has to do. This is his all-important work, for which there is no substitute, the neglect of which can only plead as excuse, ignorance or indolence. If he will do his duty, he must do this. Having brought these facts clearly to light, and in them exposed the true character of his case, let him next seek their simillimum in the pathogenesis of whatever drug in which it may be found, whether it has ever been prescribed for dysentery before or not. This is not of the slightest consequence. If this simillimum be found, as very likely it will be, among those facts which individualize the drug, which are characteristic of it, he need not be over solicitous to find in the same drug, a repetition of the generic symptoms of his case, in all their severity, for this is comparatively of little importance to his cure.

If, with the generic symptoms of dysentery, there are aggravation of the symptoms by acids; shooting and boring pains in the region of the navel increased by pressure; the lower part of the abdomen swollen and sensitive to pressure, the distension and movements in the abdomen are more in the left side and along the track of the colon, increased after food; fainting whilst at stool; frequent stools of bloody water; the tenesmus very violent; great repugnance to free air, which notwithstanding ameliorates the sufferings; hunger during the stool; cutting and pinching pains in the rectum and loins; heaviness, weariness and numbness in the thighs, there need be no hesitation as to the remedy. It is Aloes.

With constant sense of fullness and satiety in the stomach, with nausea; hard swelling in the right side of the abdomen, with pain as if cutting into a wound, when touched, relieved by escape of flatus; putrid and slimy taste and eructations; taste and eructations as of spoiled eggs; bitter and sour eructations; loud rumbling in the bowels as if empty; stools of blood and feces; bruised pain in the back; painfully increased sensibility of the whole surface of the body; perspiration smells sour; offensive flatulence, like bad eggs; swallowing hindered by a sensation of nausea; repugnance to animal food and broths; wishes to drink constantly, but does not know what, all drinks are alike offensive; tenesmus of the neck of the bladder; fruitless urgency to urinate; putrid smell of the breath; chill of the back and front of thighs. It is Arnica.

If there be great thirst while the patient drinks but little rat a time; blueish tongue; stools smelling like old foul ulcers; greenish urine; perspiration sticky; great restlessness, and tossing about the bed; pains relieved by external heat; despair of life; sensation as if the abdomen would burst, before the stool; sensation of contraction just above the anus, at the stool; burning in the rectum and trembling in all the limbs after the stool; heart beating and distension of the abdomen, after the stool; tenesmus with burning in the rectum and anus; face sunken, pale, and features distorted; great exhaustion after each stool; petechial, miliary, and nettle rash eruptions; cold dry skin alternates with cold sweat; pain relieved after the evacuation, we can hardly fail to recognize in each symptom the elements of distinction for Arsenicum. These are some of its characteristics, which may be found in any case of dysentery, none of which are found so clear and strongly expressed in the pathogenesis of any other drug. Where these symptoms are present Ars. will rarely fail to cure.

Belladonna is appropriate, especially in the early stage, of those cases where the inflammation extends to the serous tissues of the intestines, which is known by sensibility of the abdomen to external pressure, the sense of soreness being deep in the abdomen, while with Hyos. (Hyos. has both the superficial and deep-seated soreness). Puls, and Sulph., it is superficial. Bell. in this accords with Nux vom. and Verat. It is the more certainly indicated where there is constant pressing to the anus and genitals; the pains are more in the left side, and are aggravated by bending the body to that side; violent delirium; pains of a constricting character, relieved by bending forward; painless inability to swallow; sensation of dryness of the mouth while the tongue is moist.

Burning like fire in the anus, after the stool; dryness of the lips and thirst during the pain; loss of epithelium on the lips, tongue and palate; vesicles and canker in mouth and throat, are significant of Cantharis.

Capsicum has thirst after every evacuation, and shuddering after drinking; stool after drinking; taste like putrid water; tenesmus of the bladder; pains aggravated by cur rents of air, though warm; coldness of the body without shuddering; drawing pains in the back which with the tenesmus are continued after the stool. It is a further indication for Caps., if there be thin adhesive slime, mixed with black blood, with twisting pains about the navel. It is one of the important remedies in dysentery, being in its relation to this disease nearly allied to Nux v. and Merc. The distinctions between them will appear when we come to treat of those remedies.

Colchicum has cramps in the calves of the legs; prolapsus ani; constriction of the (Esophagus; great swelling of lower part of the abdomen; frequent shudderings down. the back. It is said to be curative when the stools are more mucus than blood, and after sublimate has failed in such cases.

Colocynth may be examined where there are fruitless efforts to vomit; weakness, paleness, and prostration after the stool; burning pain along the sacral region; the pains are cutting and squeezing and extremely severe, often accompanied by retching, and bending the body forward, and are somewhat relieved by pressure; with the severe pain there are shudderings on the cheeks, which seem to come from the abdomen, with relief of the pain; the pains are such as characterize neuralgic rather than inflammatory affections, are relieved by Coffea, and the relief is followed by immediate disposition to stool; cramps and cramp-like contractions of the muscles of the body; cold hands with warm feet. It will be found oftener called for in the first stage of the attack.

Cuprum metallicum may be considered if there be severe retching with the stool; cramps in the fingers and toes; sweet, stringy saliva; paralytic sensation in arms and feet; slimy mouth; sweet taste in the mouth; all food tastes like clear water; hiccough; retching, with cramp-like pains in the abdomen; downward pressure in the hypogastrium, like a stone; distension of the lower part of the abdomen; hardness of the abdomen, with great sensibility to pressure; severe cramps in the abdomen, and upper and lower extremities; comatose sleep after vomiting.

Mercurius has the following symptoms, which are not unfrequently met in practical examinations of dysentery. Excoriating discharges; cuttings in the lower part of the abdomen, at night; the abdomen is externally cold to touch; cutting stitch in the lower abdomen, from right to left and aggravated by walking; fecal taste in the mouth; putrid taste in the throat; salt saliva; nausea, with vertigo, obscured vision, and flashes of heat; offensive perspiration; the pains are increased before the stool, and during the stool, with violent tenesmus; the pains are rather increased than diminished after the stool, and sometimes then extend to the back; during the stool hot sweat on the forehead, which soon becomes cold and sticky; dry cracked lips; drawing pains in the lower extremities which impel to frequent change of position.

Mercur. corr. — This very imperfectly proved remedy has been much used by Homoeopathists in the treatment of dysentery, and by many with a success which has been quite satisfactory. With others its use has been followed by frequent disappointment, and some have even failed of success in every case in which it has been given. This last has been the experience of the writer. He has in no instance seen relief to the pain, frequent discharges, or tenesmus, from its administration, though he has given preparations of the drug from different specimens and sources, in high, medium, and low potencies, and in all stages of the disease. This is stated, not to discredit the testimony of those whose experience is different, but as showing that its true use is not known, and that something more than a similarity to the generic symptoms of the disease, which only are given in the pathogenesis of the drug, is necessary to point this out. In this pathogenesis, as found in our Materia Medica, specific symptoms are almost entirely wanting; and wanting a knowledge of these, its use must be uncertain. The following symptoms derived from reported cases of poisoning by the drug (Frank's Magazine, Vols. I, II, III) are given to supply this deficiency, as far as they go.

Cold face and hands, with small and feeble pulse; lips dark red, and swollen; all the pains, but especially those of the rectum, are aggravated by motion; pulse small, hard and frequent; coma; cramps in arms, hands and fingers, legs, feet and toes; faintings; weakness and shuddering in the limbs; the limbs as if bruised and trembling; great anxiety and palpitation of the heart; wandering shiverings; sensation of coldness, pale face and slight nausea; coldness of lower part of the abdomen; abdomen tense, hard, and sensitive to pressure, especially about the navel; obstinate sleeplessness; dysphagia; astringent, metallic taste in the mouth; great prostration; great prostration after the vomiting of food; hiccough; frequent eructations; painful pinchings in the stomach; spasmodic, watery vomiting, without previous nausea; severe shooting pains in the stomach and liver, with vomiting of bile; drinks are immediately vomited, with great effort, mixed with tenacious, stringy mucus; severe pains in the rectum, which continue alter the discharges; the fruitless urgency to stool increases the pains; pain extends from the navel to the back; distension of the abdomen with borborygmus; evacuations very offensive; suppression of the secretion of urine; retention of urine.

The following from the practice of my friend and colleague, Dr. Carroll Dunham, is valuable as illustrative of the importance of Merc. corr. in cases with urinary complication, and seems to throw light on the question of the class of cases to which it specifically belongs.

“During a practice of several years in which dysentery was not unfrequently met with, and often in severe forms, I never prescribed Mercurius corr. in a single ease, nor do I recollect a single case in which I think it could have been given with advantage or with the result of expediting the cure at all. With Merc. sol., Nux vom., Colocynth, Capsicum, Sulphur, and Lachesis I have always succeeded, as it appeared to me, in curing as rapidly as was possible. And observations of cases under the treatment of my colleagues, some of whom gave Merc. corr. and, Coloc. as a standard prescription for Dysentery, satisfied me that the rapidity and ratio of my cures were at the very least as satisfactory as theirs.“During the summer of 1861, however, two [cases came under my treatment which presented certain features heretofore unobserved by me, and in which none of the remedies above named was clearly indicated and none did any good, but which both yielded most promptly to Merc. corr.

“The first was a widow of 25 years, who had just lost her only child of Typhoid fever. When I was called to her, she lay in bed, with constant heat of skin, quick, rather small pulse, tongue dry with a yellow coat, thirst not excessive, abdomen sore on pressure, somewhat distended; constant uninterrupted pressure to stool felt in the sacral and the hypogastric regions. This pressure though very distressing to the patient seemed utterly ineffectual, so far as the evacuations of the bowels was concerned it was not worse before a stool and no better after a stool — the stool consisted of bloody slime in small masses. There was great tenesmus vesicae, and the urine was scanty, hot and bloody. The disposition was quiet, slightly desponding — little disposition to sleep — on the whole the suffering which was evidently severe was endured with much patience, and this was a decided contra indication for Arsenic, between which and Merc. sol. my choice was at first divided. The general symptoms certainly did not correspond with the characteristics of Arsenicum. The character of the thirst, the absence of great restlessness, of nocturnal aggravation, of a paroxysmal character, of prostration greatly out of proportion to the severity of the symptoms, all contra-indicated Arsenicum. Mercurius sol. has pains of a paroxysmal character. It lacks the constant tenesmus and the tenesmus vesicae. I gave it however and in various potencies, but it exercised no influence on the disease. Belladonna, Colocynth, and finally Arsenic, were of no avail. Indeed I had given them without confidence of a favorable result, for it was evident they were not indicated.

“Remembering now Hahnemann's remarks in the introduction to the proving of Merc. sol.:*[* Materia Medica Pura, Vol. I., p. 855, German edition.] “I have found a very small part of a drop of the quintillionth, or still better of the decillionth potency of Merc. corr. given alone in a single dose, almost a specific cure in the ordinary Autumnal Dysentery.” I turned to the few symptoms of Mercurius corrosive, which Hahnemann gives in the same volume of the Materia Medica Pura, and found among others which corresponded to the case in hand, the following symptoms:

“24. With almost constant cutting pains in the abdomen and intolerable, painful, almost ineffectual, pressing, straining and tenesmus, frequent scanty discharge of bloody slime, day and night.

” 17. Immediately after stool, pressing downwards in the front of the abdomen, below the umbilicus.

“28. Tenesmus vesicae.

“I concluded to give Merc. corr. and remembering Hahnemann's injunction that those who follow his directions in the hope of gaining results like his, should follow them accurately (“Machen sie nach, machen sie aber, richtig nach” — I gave one single dose, namely, two small globules,) of the thirtieth potency of Merc. corr. at eight, p.m., and awaited the result. This was in every way so satisfactory that I gave the patient no more medicine at all. She was clearly convalescent on the following day having no more of the characteristic pains and stools of dysentery, no more fever and being able to begin to take nourishing food. After two days of pure expectant observation I was able to dismiss her cured.

“The second case which presented itself to me within the same month was similar in all respects, though much less severe as regards intensity. I gave Merc. corr.30 as before in a single dose, and the patient was convalescent the next day.

“Since this period I have treated about twenty-eight cases of well marked Dysentery, but have had no difficulty in curing them with Nux vom., Merc sol. or Coloc, and have seen no similarity in them to those in which Merc. corr. had been So very successful.”

Since the above was written an exception to the stated want of success with this remedy in the treatment of Dysentery has occurred in the practice of the writer, in which suppression of urine with tenesmus of the bladder were prominent symptoms. The case was promptly relieved.”

Nux vom., evacuations small, frequent, with violent tenesmus; pressing pains in the loins and upper part of the sacral region, with sensation as if broken; great heat and thirst, with redness of the face. The importance of this remedy in the treatment of dysentery is hardly second to that of any other. In this latitude the proportion of occurring cases to which it is appropriate is very great, and in these it is all but absolutely specific, though utterly powerless for good in others. It is not because it is dysentery, let it never be forgotten, that it cures, but because of that “like” to the individualizing symptoms of the case, by virtue of which it and all other drugs cure. The great resemblance of some of the most prominent of these to those of one or two other of the most important remedies in the treatment of this disease, may render a word or two on the distinctions of them not altogether useless. The allusion is especially to the symptoms of Caps. and Merc. These with Nux vom. constitute a group of the first importance, but the symptoms of each are very like to those of the others; so like that without careful attention there will always be a liability to the mistake which results in giving the members of a group successively, the hope being that the right will be hit upon at last. If care on the part of the practitioner can avoid this, he should be held responsible for its exercise, by the protracted torture of the patient which is necessarily its attendant, and by his increased danger, consequent on the administration of wrong drugs in the early stage of the case, which must always embarrass the subsequent treatment, and render a cure more difficult even by the administration of those which are right.

These drugs are alike in the character of their discharges, the quantity being small at each evacuation. Merc., at times, making the only exception. The discharges of each are preceded by similar severe pains, which are continued through the period of the evacuation. In all they are attended by severe tenesmus. In all they recur at short intervals, with pains extending to the back. The distinctions are these: with Nux vom. the pains and tenesmus cease with the evacuation; while those of Caps. and Merc. are continued after. The pains of Nux vom. in the lack are pressing, as if broken, and like a bruise; of Caps., drawing; Merc., like a bruise. With a recollection of these facts, and careful attention to the symptoms given under the separate heads of each of these remedies, there need be no confusion or mistake in prescribing them, on account of their resemblances.

Plumbum has great violence of tenesmus; frequent and almost fruitless efforts to stool; cutting pains, with violent outcries; retraction of the abdomen; constriction and retraction of the anus.

Phosphorus may be appropriate if there be paralytic relaxation of sphincter ani; and relief of pain from taking food.

Pulsatilla belongs rather to dysenteric diarrheas than to real dysentery but may be appropriate with slimy evacuations, slight tenesmus, and nocturnal aggravations.

Rhus tox. This remedy is rarely called for in the early stage of the disease, but is often valuable in the later, especially when there are nocturnal exacerbations; and also in the diarrheas which sometimes follow dysentery. The case is marked for Rhus if there be constant tenesmus and urging to stool, with nausea, and the passing of but little bloody water. It is appropriate also in the last stage of dysentery with nocturnal exacerbation.

Sulphur. — Spasmodic, constricting pains, extending to the chest, groins and genitals; cutting pains while urging at stool, from pressure on the abdomen, or bending the body backwards; prolapsus ani at stool; cuttings in the abdomen, lower part of the loins and upper part of the sacrum, after midnight; pains relieved by the application of dry heat to the abdomen; the blood in the stool is in streaks. Sulph is especially appropriate in attacks attended with difficult breathing at the outset, and also in those of hemorrhoidal subjects. It is seldom in place at the commencement of an attack, but in the later stages is often of great value, and some times indispensable; especially in such cases as are threatening ulceration of the mucous membrane of the intestines. Where this great evil has actually occurred, Sulph. is still one of our chief reliances for a cure, and in this is related to Arn., Ars., Lach. and Merc. A right selection from these for a given case is only certain after a careful consideration of their individualizing symptoms, and a like careful comparison of them with those of the case.

We have endeavored to present in the foregoing groups of symptoms, those in connection with each medicine, which individualize that medicine in its relation to our subject, and are, consequently, those which decide the choice of the remedy in the treatment of cases which present similar symptoms. We have presented this group of medicines not as the entire series of those from which the prescriber may have to seek the required simillimum, but as a group by which the proper method of proceeding in this search might be the most readily illustrated. We state this method to require, first, a proper distinction between those symptoms of the disease which are generic, and those which are specific; and also to make the same distinction in the recorded symptoms of the drug; and, second, to find in the specific symptoms of each, that similarity on which the law of cure is based; and we add to this, that till these distinctions and this comparison are made, no man can tell what his remedy is to be in any case, and further, that these distinctions and this comparison are a necessary part of every intelligent homoeopathic prescription, whether for dysentery, or for whatever other disease. They underlie the whole of Homoeopathy as a system of practical medicine. That knowledge of diseases and of the Materia Medica which enables the physician to make these clearly, is indispensable to his best success, and is just that acquisition which raises the physician above the level of the blunderer.

If this exposition of the law of cure be a truth, it lays bare the whole doctrine of specifics, and exposes clearly the absurdity of the idea of a specific remedy for a generic disease. It demonstrates the fact that specifics can only exist for individual cases, and that the true object of each intelligent prescription is to find the specific for the individual case, according to this law. That Quinine can never be a specific for ague, or sublimate for dysentery, but are only specifics for those cases, in each class, to which their similar specific symptoms render them appropriate remedies.

It may not be amiss to note the complete individuality of the groups of symptoms, here presented, in connection with the different drugs. There is, with many of them, no resemblance to the others, and where there is an apparent similarity, it is immediately resolved into distinctive elements by the searching analysis a true prescription requires.


Source: The American Homoeopathic Review Vol. 03 No. 03-04, 1862, pages 97-102, pages 163-174
Description: Dysentery.
Author: Wells, P.P.
Year: 1862
Editing: errors only; interlinks; formatting
Attribution: Legatum Homeopathicum
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