“We have seen that a substance, in order to produce a homoeopathic curative effect, must make a morbific impression on the body, that is, it must be perceived by the same; not exactly, as is self-evident, by the senses, but through the nerves in general. But there are three kinds of peripheral nerves: — 1, The nerves of the special senses and those of general sensation conveying impressions to consciousness; 2, the nerves of motion leading to the muscles, and 3d, the nerves of nutrition which, in union with the blood, control the formation and degeneration of matter, and whose impressions are only brought to consciousness in a morbid condition It is particularly the latter kind of nerves which perceive and convey morbific and medicinal impressions, transmitting the same to an, as yet unknown, central organ, whence they may again be reflected to other parts of the body. We, therefore, do not speak of such medicinal particles, which must first be carried into the current of the circulation, in order to exercise their morbific influence on one or more portions of the body; but, for reasons already explained, we can only think of the etherized medicinal substance, medicine-electricity, streaming along the course of the nerves from the point of contact. We have a very accurate illustration of this process in the perceptions of the organs of smell and taste. Like the olfactory nerve, spread upon the surface of the nasal mucous membrane, perceiving the etherized-electric exhalations of odorous substances in the air, and like the tasting properties of the tongue, a small galvanic chain, composed of the end of an artery and a nerve, perceiving the galvanic (chemical) changes in water,*[Only soluble substances can be tasted.] every sensitive surface will be able to perceive and transmit to the corresponding central organ any medicinal-electric or medicinal-galvanic impression without its necessarily coming to our consciousness, as it is the case with the impressions of the special senses.†[By smelling of the medicine.]Thus we are infected by disease without knowing when and where; in fact the majority of diseases attack us, while we have not the least conscious perception thereof. The nature of the process is not known; but if we do become conscious of such impressions occasionally, we are forced to assume the existence of central points adapted for their reception, from which the seat of the higher functions of the soul have the power of isolating; in a similar manner the ganglia (knots into which nerve fibres pass and again emerge) may be considered as isolating organs placed between the various organs and the spinal cord, and whose isolation can only be overcome by morbidly increased sensations. Thus we neither feel the peristaltic intestinal motion, nor the contact of substances in the intestines, while colic and ulceration of the bowels are connected with excruciating pain.
Impressions of the special senses generally produce voluntary motions, while impressions received unconsciously produce reflex or involuntary motions. The actions of medicines then belong to the latter class; making themselves manifest after producing the primary impression, according to the peculiarity of each drug, or, according to the individual state of the body, either sooner or later, oftentimes immediately; sometimes, as in contagious diseases, after the lapse of several days; their action becomes apparent in a diversity of directions, being at one time directed back toward the original point of contact as in vaccination, at another toward any one of the different organs. Even pains can be reproduced in this centrifugal manner, as is proved by the phenomenon of so-called irradiations (radiation of nervous force), a pain being produced in a nervous point, when another portion of a nerve is irritated lying in a part remote from the point where the pain is felt.
With Hahnemann we call all these actions medicinal primary effects, and medicinal aggravations when they fall together into a disease similar to them, which, as has been already shown, appear stronger and more lasting in proportion to the size of the dose.
After these shorter or longer primary effects the reaction (counter-action) invariably sets in, also proceeding from a nervous centre (spinal marrow) and necessarily spreading over the same nervous course through which the primary impressions are conveyed, and in all those organs lying within the sphere of these nerve courses, the exact opposite of the primary effect is produced.
We have already seen that, without this vital force and its medicatrix, the existence of which has been so often denied of late, the organism would speedily be destroyed by the physical and chemical forces of the great nature surrounding it, as is the case in death. The continuance of life is made possible only by the union of all forces of the living body in a unit or central point whence they derive their sustenance. Life itself is a continued strife against outward forces.
Even in the so-called inorganic nature we see someoccuring thing like primary and counter-actions, in the facts that one pole of the magnet demands the other, positive electricity demands the negative, an alkali demands and calls for an acid for its counterpart: in the latter case even elements must combine to form such, for instance, nitrogen and oxygen combine to form Nitric acid, provided free alkali is in contact with the air. Thus, and not otherwise, an explanation of the action of homoeopathic atomized medicines is possible. It consists of a morbid action of nervous force with its manifold consequences as produced in substance and tissue and its subsequent equalization by means of the aroused vitality. That also chemical changes can here be produced and consequently cured, is sufficiently proven, as e. g. diabetes is immediately produced by a lesion of the medulla oblongata.
Let us, for example, suppose a drop or part of a drop, impregnated with particles of Belladonna tinct. in contact with an absorbent and sensitive surface and then suppose it simply absorbed; it would pass in the current of venous blood into the lungs where it is exposed to air, which essentially changes the venous blood and purifies it of all foreign evaporating ingredients, after which complicated course so deleterious to their existence, the particles in question at length arrive in the different parts of the body. How can we expect an effect in this way? The impression on the contrary made by the Belladonna upon the sensitive nerves of the place of contact, can he immediately propagated to the centre and thence reflected with equal rapidity in all directions, which, among numerous other examples, is illustrated by the quick dilatation of the pupil. In this manner and if the effect is continued a sufficient length of time and sufficiently intense upon the healthy body, head ache, vertigo, insanity, likewise cramps, pain, erysipelas, fever, etc. can be produced without the necessity of absorption of Belladonna.
We do not intend to deny, that, under the use of massive doses of medicine, as they are customary in allopathic practice and also with some homoeopathists, besides the effect produced by contact there is also absorption, directly producing chemical changes, particularly in the composition of the blood. Thus, if we still adhere to the above example, when the counter-action of the vital force against the effect of the Belladonna coincides with a disease similar to the symptoms of this drug, for instance, inflammation of the brain or facues, cutaneous erysipelas, or a spasmodic cough, this disease will give way, particularly after the administration of very fine doses, overcome by the surplus of organic counter-action, which is then denominated curative action.
|The American Homoeopathic Review Vol. 02 No. 11, 1860, pages 490-494
|How Do Homoeopathic Medicines Act?
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