A year ago the homoeopathic literature was enriched by a work of Dr. von Grauvogl on The Fundamental Principles of Physiology, Pathology and Homoeopathic Therapeutics. The author of the above work has again enlarged our literature by this new publication, he gives it as a monograph and completion to his former work, in which he only elaborated the law of Simile as it became connected with other subjects. Dr. von Grauvogl considers it a duty to refute all attacks made on Homoeopathy, especially when they are made in scientific works by scientific men.
The immediate cause of this open letter was a passage in Liebig's letter on Chemistry, first volume, fourth letter, page 105, in which Liebig says: who “can contend, that the majority of well informed and educated men of our “time possess a higher degree of knowledge of nature and her powers than did “the Jatrochemists of the sixteenth century, if he knows that hundreds of physicians who have been educated in our Universities, contend for principles ”which are a mockery to experience and common sense; men who believe that the “effects of medicines lay in certain powers and qualities, moved and strengthened by shaking and triturating that can be transferred upon inert substances; men who believe that a natural law admitting of no exception is not “true as regards medicinal substances, while they contend that the efficacy is “capable of increase although diluted and the active principle diminished 1 “Alas! one is induced to think that medicine, that most noble science, for the “investigation of nature and her powers stands among the inductive sciences “but on the lowest step.”
Dr. Liebig is first reminded that before he can form a judgment on any subject, he must first consider in what form of judgment or category the given conceptions, and ideas concerning it, can be united into a totality of the perceptions. There are four points of this form of judgment, fundamental conceptions of mathematical natural philosophy, those of quantity, quality, relation and modality. The accusation of the belief, that the efficacy of drugs is capable of increase, although diluted, and the principle diminished, is only taken from the single moment of quantity, in the sense of the physiological school of medicine.
But all matter, consequently all drug matter, possesses the various weighable and unweighable quantities, with which it fills any space in time, according to the moment of the quantity, likewise various specific qualities or virtues. According to the moment of modality, it is further impossible for any matter to exist in this world, if it did not stand with its quantities in qualities — in some proportion, i.e., relation to other matter; and here the problem is questioned according to which the medicinal matter (drug) and its virtues shall be brought into reciprocal action with the matter and forces of the organization.
All these points require mature reflection, when an opinion is to be formed which is to decide about the relation of any matter from the outer world, therefore in the case of a medicinal substance coming in contact with our organism, otherwise this opinion will be one-sided, therefore false. This will become at once clear if I leave the theory as such for the present, and go to facts, which will confirm what I have said.
Dr. Doppler, Professor of Physic in Prague, expresses himself in this manner: “It is in fact not to be denied that in order to judge of the greatness of a large number of effects the weight presents a very convenient and proper scale, as this is the case of all effects of substances in bulk. But it is apparent, that it would be going too far if it was supposed to be possible to reach all manners of action with the units of weights.”
Before one is permitted to determine a thing to be either large or small, or on account of its presumptive smallness to send it into the region of chimera, it is, according to my judgment, necessary to first refer and justify the unit on which the opinion is founded, to define by it whether it is necessary we should use for its determination the scales or the rod.
With regard to the delusions comes a quotation from a work by Dr. Jolly, Professor of Physic in Munchen, “On the Physic of the Molecular Power.” 1857. He makes the declaration of Copernicus, “that acular demonstrations are contrary to his assertions,” his own; while he showed by experiment and observation “that the traction of molecules between the molecules of a dissolvent and of a dissolved body, causes an approach of the points, therefore a contraction; that an addition of the dissolvent enlarges the sphere of action of each molecule of the dissolved body.”
The author farther states the experiments of the chemists Kirchhof and Bunsen who exploded half a grain of Natrum chloricum with sugar of milk in a room which contained 60c. m. of air, in a few minutes a flame at a distance showed Natron lines, this half a grain obtaining an immense surface, and in such a manner that the naked eye was able to discern with facility less than the trillionth part of a millegramme. This experiment demonstrates by diminishing and diluting an active substance an effect is produced, which until this present time has been denied by Chemistry. The author further illustrates the effect of mineral quantities by quotations of experiments; he then shows Liebig how he has contradicted himself in his own writings, and among other things quotes from Liebig, who says, “that glutin from grains is dissolved with case and rapidity by water scarcely acidulated by Muriatic acid, in a temperature equal to that of the body, but this solubility does not increase, but decreases when the quantity of Muriatic acid is increased, in such a manner that all the dissolved parts can be precipitated by middling concentrated Muriatic acid.”
He further quotes Liebig when he says that, “the manuring with Phosphoric acid earth in coarse powder, can not be compared to the effects produced by small quantities in a state of infinite division.”
He says Liebig is not clear in his assertions about the additional power Homoeopathy claims for her medicines when diluted and deprived of their bulk (diminished in quantity), while he treats them in regard to their quantities only, he disregards their other relations.
It cannot be denied that Homoeopathy generalizes when saying that the curative virtues of medicines are increased by dilutions, and Professor Liebig only in a subverted form states the same thing. As a very good instance illustrating the position of Homoeopathy, the author says, “the Physiological School of Medicine knows nothing of Colocynthes but its cathartic effects; now and then some trials were made if it could not be used as a diuretic and emmenagogue.” Homoeopathy has never contented that Colocynthes in the third dilution (the trillionth part of half a grain), only produces a local effect on the intestines, or was more cathartic than in its weighable quantity, but Homoeopathy did and still does contend that the effects of Colocynthes in the dilution assumes a reciprocal relation towards the whole organism, and that it is only on that account specifically increased in extent, but not in intensity as a cathartic; that therefore Colocynthes in the third dilution does not produce more diarrhea, but that it gains an extended sphere of action, and on that account cures a specific form of diarrhea, and also some forms of dysentery, ischias and asthma, and the verification of this assertion can daily be established on the sick bed.
The process of such a cure is analogous to those of the spectre analysis; according to the experiments and observations on the sick bed, the medicines, in the dilutions are conveyed into the interior of the organism to such an extent that if they come in contact with a pathological locality belonging to its sphere of action; similar to the Natron evaporation in a room by Bunsen and Kirchhof finding a flame, and show the effects with the same clearness as by the spectre lines here by the relief of suffering, showing itself in a short time, no matter how distant was the place of application from the place of reception.
He forcibly reminds Liebig that in the natural sciences the organic laws are super ceded by the vital power, the establishment of which determines the difference between organic and inorganic bodies. Dr. Grauvogl closes this open letter to Professor Liebig by telling him that the opposition he exhibits to Homoeopathy is a phantom, and void of all scientific foundation, that it may be reduced to an opposition made again and again by irresponsible ill informed opponents, destitute of the experiment, and only worthy of observation as coming from a man occupying such a high position among men of learning, and as it becomes evident that the opposition arises from a want of understanding, the information of homoeopathic doctrines are now submitted to his perusal. He says, “while communicating these pages to your judgment you will have either after mature reflection, to reject all the doctrines and natural laws on which Homoeopathy is based, and if so I beg for information and a refutation of all my accusations against the physiological school in a critic, based on natural law, not by a perusal of individual and indiscriminate judgments; or you will acknowledge the said doctrines and natural laws as true, and reject the allopathic, or the so-called physiological school of medicine, and if so I beg you at once to recant all accusations you have made against Homoeopathy, and to use your influence that all hindrance to the free practice of Homoeopathy may be removed.”
The philosopher and thinker appears on every page: his clearness of demonstration and his universal knowledge of medical and natural sciences is just as apparent as his exemplifications are convincing.
For the sake of our cause it is much to be hoped that this as well as the former work of Dr. Von Grauvogl will find a place in the English homoeopathic literature, and that the good time is coming when the great amount of trashy and inferior literature, now forced upon the American public, will give place to a better class of authors and translators. Dr. Von Grauvogl addresses him self altogether to the learned and the scholar, and he hopes by convincing them he will further the propagation of Homoeopathy more than by popularising a science, the merit of which cannot be made fully apparent in ordinary terms, and will not be appreciated by the ordinary understanding. Dr. Grauvogl strictly adheres to Homoeopathy as introduced by Hahnemann, and demonstrates fully and satisfactorily that all discoveries and scientific developments. all recently discovered laws of nature and unknown to Hahnemann, only add lustre to his merits, as all of them only add proof to the correctness of his theories and establish the doctrines on which Homoeopathy is based. Grauvogl and Wolf on the one side theoretically, on the other side practically confirm Hahnemann's doctrines, and do so because they have followed him and comprehended him An. Lippe.
The works before us contain all that has been published in the journals with considerable addition. Those who were interested in the subject as it appeared in series, will be glad to have the whole matter in one volume as convenient as the above, rather than be obliged to refer to several volumes of journals for information on the subject.
This work of Dr. Gross is the third of the kind published in this country. The first was published by Dr. J. Thacher in 1828, the second by Dr. S. W. Williams in 1845. There are published the biographies of several, such as Rush and Warren, whose names are known not merely as connected with the medical profession, but who have figured considerably in our country's history, which gives to the work additional interest.
As the Author intimates that another volume may be published, we would suggest that the work would be rendered doubly interesting to the whole profession, as well as to the public, by publishing the lives of those who have, by their success in its practice, caused Homoeopathy to be so favorably regarded by the community.
This able and highly interesting history includes the lives of Aesculapius, Hippocrates, Galen, Avicenna, Dioscorides, Roger Bacon, Cardan, Paracelsus, Lord Bacon, Van Helmont, Harvey, Des Cartes, La Boe, Boyle, Sydenham, Stahl, Hoffmann, Boerhaave, Haller, Cullen, John Brown, Jenner and Hahnemann.
The distinguished founder of Homoeopathy occupies about one-fifth of the volume. We doubt whether there can any where be found a more graphic and philosophical account of the men who have principally distinguished themselves in the medical history of the world. It should be found in the library of every physician.
This truly homoeopathic and valuable work gives a graphic and familiar description of the structure and uses of the lungs, the organ affected, a history of consumption and of the pathological phenomena, including extracts from ancient and modern writers, a history and explanation of the different stages of this disease, the cachectic state, lung debility, the prevalent ideas respecting the incurability of consumption, and his own views of the curative means for different stages. In regard to this last topic he gives the symptoms of different medicines adapted to its different stages, pointing out their relation to the symptoms of this malady. Next come general remarks on the treatment, auxiliary means and illustrative cases.
The plan and execution of the work is such as to render it highly valuable to the homoeopathic practitioner and in its general exemption from unnecessary technicalities, it is adapted to, intelligent laymen.
Dr. Epps has been bold and felicitous in the selection of topics in each of his two larger works. In the first he attacked the system of purgation which is undermining the health of nearly all mankind in civilized countries except to far as Homoeopathia has extended her beneficent reign; so in his last the volume under consideration, he has selected from among natural diseases, as his mark, the arch-destroyer — consumption, of all maladies that which has the most numerous victims. The general prognosis of our author slightly abbreviated is as follows:
Homoeopathy opens up the legitimately founded hope of the cure of phthisis; legitimately founded, first, because Homoeopathy presents a law by which the action of medicines on the diseased body is regulated — a law which makes it certain that if a medicine can be found which has the power of producing symptoms similar to those present in the disease, it will cure the disease so medicinally homoeopathized; secondly because Homoeopathy presents, by the vicarious sufferings of Hahnemann and his followers, a knowledge of the pure effects of medicines; and thirdly because the law being true and the knowledge of medicines being sufficiently extended to embrace those which produce pathogenetic effects that cover the special phenomena present in every special case of phthisis, the use of such medicines must be curative.
The author throughout aims to be true to the law and the Materia Medical In the seventh chapter, the first on treatment, he points out minutely the relation between the symptoms of the different stages of phthisis and those of the most efficacious remedies for them; i. e. Calcarea, Lycopodium, Nitric acid, Sulphur and Sepia, and gives a more general statement of some features of Kali carbonicum, Causticum, Arsenicum &c.
The scientific and pains-taking method of this conscientious and benevolent physician is worthy of imitation by all who attempt to write practical homoeopathic books; and the world is greatly indebted to Dr. Epps for his judicious labors in this direction.
|The American Homoeopathic Review Vol. 02 No. 12, 1860, pages 571-576
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