AS some writers in the REVIEW have expressed a desire that physicians should give their experience in regard to Lachesis as a curative agent, I will add mine unbiased by prejudice or the opinions of others.
Some fourteen years ago I obtained of my friend Dr. Pretsch, who had brought it from Leipsic, what purported to be the seventh alcoholic attenuation of Lachesis, and we had good reason to believe it was genuine. I carried it up to the twelfth and thirtieth, seldom giving it below the latter dilution. After prescribing it wherever I thought it indicated for some two or three years without any satisfactory results, I thought it might be owing to the fact that the attenuation was too low. I therefore carried it up to the two hundredth decimal, and a case coming under my care very similar as I thought to the third one reported by Dr. Hering, and published in the second volume of Jahr's Symptomen Codex, I prescribed it, but with my former lack of success. Seeing no improvement follow its administration after repeated trials, I came to the conclusion the preparation I was using might be spurious, and in consequence threw it all way; and some eight years ago procured from Dr. Sheek, of Philadelphia, what he assured me was the eighth attenuation. From this I prepared as before the thirtieth, determined to ascertain, if possible, what had been the trouble; and though my former ill success followed its first administration, I would again and again, after reading its provings, be led to prescribe it, until I very reluctantly came to the conclusion it was useless to try it further, and for the past three or four years I have not resorted to it oftener than that number of times, yet with the same results.
Now I would not prescribe the remedy entirely; others may not have been equally unfortunate in its use; it is possible I may never have given Lachesis, as I am inclined to believe the supply has always been somewhat limited. Still, I used what I had every reason to believe was a genuine article, and have to say I have never yet seen one patient relieved, much less cured, by it.
Other remedies, however, have served me in a similar way, one of which is the Crotalus horridus so highly recommended by Dr. Neidhard and others. A remedy, I remember, Dr. Williamson once charged his class never to use. Some five years ago I obtained of Dr. Rowley, of Louisville, Kentucky, what he assured me was was the pure virus, having taken it from the snake himself, and prepared it by saturating one grain of sugar of milk with a portion of the poison and triturating this with one hundred grains. Of this first trituration he sent me ten grains, and also ten drops of the first centesimal dilution prepared in alcohol. The latter I carried up to the sixth, twelfth and thirtieth.
The doctor wrote me he had been very successful with it, particularly in the treatment of whooping-cough, and I had long been anxious to find some remedy that would promptly control this sometimes very troublesome disease. I therefore gave it in numerous cases but never with any degree of success. The idea then presented itself that the poison might be neutralized by the alcohol, as it had long been a popular opinion that the bite of the snake could be cured by whiskey.
Here in the West it is still quite customary during the summer for hunting parties to carry with them a bottle or two of snake medicine, and if they do not chance to encounter any snakes, they think it safe nevertheless to sometimes take a little of the medicine. Reasoning in this way I carried the medicine up by trituration, and gave it, with no better success.
Now, can any one say I have not tried these remedies sufficiently? Perhaps I have not, and yet I have, I think, with much less trial seen the most marked improvement follow the administration of other medicines. As valuable as any number of symptoms said to be developed in the normal system by any drug may be, its clinical effects must, after the physician has repeatedly witnessed them, give him a greater degree of confidence in it then anything else can do, and numberless failures must in like manner tend to discourage.
I am glad that a discussion of this kind has been suggested and hope it may be conducted with candor. If our old remedies are what we have long been taught to believe them to be, let us not seek to supercede them with new ones. And here I would just state that of all the new remedies introduced into our Materia Medica and so highly extolled by some physicians within the last ten years, there is not a single one to which I resort with any degree of confidence.
|The American Homoeopathic Review Vol. 04 No. 05, 1863, page 210-212
|Lachesis As a Remedy.
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