[We have substituted the term Homoeopathician for “Homoeopathist,” as it was in the author's manuscript. For reasons given in a previous number, we shall hereafter adopt this term as being the correct one. [EDS]
In the July number of the Monthly Homoeopathic Review (London), I see an article from the pen of Dr. Lippe, of Philadelphia, reprinted, at the request of Mr. David Wilson, from the American Homoeopathic Review. To the question therein addressed to me regarding some observations I published in the English journal under the title “Who is a Homoeopathist?” I now propose to reply.
In the course of his critique, Dr. Lippe frequently writes of “Mr. Pope and his friends;” a description which seems to imply that I have officiously thrust myself forward to express not only for myself but on behalf of others, views for which I alone can be held responsible. This I most certainly have not done. At the same time I have good reason to believe, from intercourse with homoeopathic practitioners since that paper was published, that I am by no means singular in the opinions I entertain.
By the phrase “aggravation of the disease;” I do mean “aggravation of the symptoms,” or to be plainer, the increase in intensity of the expressions of disease, of those altered sensations by which we, in a great measure, judge of the nature of disease. I do not see how the symptoms could be rendered more perceptible if the morbid process giving rise to them was not itself increased or aggravated. It was, I have always understood, the fact of the symptoms becoming aggravated, in some cases, after a large dose - such an one, for example, as would be needed to carry out an antipathic theory - of a homoeopathically selected remedy; together with circumstances regarding the dispensing monopoly of the German apothecaries, that led Hahnemann to employ extremely infinitesimal doses. So far as my experience has gone, aggravations rarely occur either with the first, second or third dilutions. Dr. Cockburn, of Glasgow, says, “that he has seen sharp aggravations follow unmedicated globules.” This is assuredly the unchecked progress of disease. I can readily believe that such aggravation, frequently follow the higher and highest dilutions.
In the next paragraph Dr. Lippe misquotes an extract I made from Dr. Constantine Hering's preface to the American edition of the Organon. Dr. H. writes of the “practical rules 'of the master.'” Dr. L makes this “practical rules” a widely different affair. Hering here obviously alludes to the law “Similis similibus curentur;” and to that law only. To the practical rules of the chronic diseases he makes no reference.
In disputing the accuracy of my statement that “Homoeopathy consists simply and solely in prescribing for disease such remedies, and such remedies only, as produce similar disease in a healthy person, “Dr. L. makes what appears to me a very puerile play upon words. He asks “has (sic) Aconite, Bryonia or Phosphorus ever produced pneumonia.” I reply, Aconite produces an aconite disease; Bryonia, a bryonia disease; Phosphorus, a phosphorus disease; and, further, that these diseases resemble, among others, certain forms of pneumonia, that they are therefore homoeopathic to them, and consequently curative of them.
Dr. Lippe next takes exception to the proposition that the “dynamization theory may be true or false and Homoeopathy remain unaffected,” - most unquestionably such is the case. The truth of Homoeopathy does not depend upon the proving of Carbo vegetabilis being correct or otherwise. How the symptoms alleged to have been produced by this medicine were obtained, I am not aware, never having read the original experiments, but I do know, ex usu in morbis, that some of the symptoms, at any rate, said to have occurred from persons taking it in some form or other are correct. I do not deny that prolonged trituration may, in some drugs, develop power to affect the human organism; but no evidence that I have ever seen proves that it does so in all, neither can we show to what extent it does so in any. Dr. Lippe adduces nothing to prove that the dynamization theory is an indispensable part of Homoeopathy - he merely says that it is so; and this has been already done ad nauseam. That such a theory is not indispensable has on the other hand been shown often enough by perfect cures having resulted from the use of crude drugs in small doses, prescribed on the homoeopathic principle.
“It has been proved many a time and oft, that a low dilution or the pure substance has succeeded in curing where a higher dilution has failed.” In commenting on this passage from my paper, Dr. Lippe asks for the minute record of a case illustrating the truth of what I state. I confess that I can see no advantage that would be derived from such a detail. If my word that I have seen such cases, that medical friends of mine have seen such cases, is not sufficient evidence on which to ground this assertion the report of a case by me would be equally valueless. [See Dr. Diller on “Diphtheria.” - Western Homoeopathic Observer, March, 1864.]
Dr. Lippe asks what I understand by a cure; the Imperial Lexicon “interprets a cure” - “a restoration to health from disease, and to soundness from a wound.” I think that definition as good as any that could be given.
Dr. L. tells us that an Allopathist cures an accelerated pulse dependant on organic disease of the heart by Digitalis. I never heard of an Allopath pretending “to cure anything” of the kind. Relief for a time from organic disease of the heart, some may endeavor to secure from the antipathic action of Digitalis. But none but a quack or an ignoramus would ever presume to describe such an achievement, if affected, as a cure.
Dr. Lippe now writes as follows: “That crude drugs and low potencies cure, and cure according to the homoeopathic law of cure no one ever denied, and if this had not been the fact we would not have had Homoeopathy.” This is what I have, in the paper to which Dr. Lippe takes so much exception endeavored to enforce: and, as a natural consequence, that the man who so practices is a Homoeopathician. “Oh! but,” says Dr. Lippe, ” high potencies cure where the low do not.” Perhaps they do; but the cases illustrating this assertion are marvelously few; and were they legion, would not affect the argument one iota. Since the man who uses the crude drug according to the homoeopathic law, is every whit as much a Homoeopathician as he who prescribes the higher potencies according to the homoeopathic law.
Dr. Lippe then remarks “that in every instance in which a lower potency has ever relieved, not cured, a case to which a higher potency of the same remedy had been given without success this relief has proved to be only the palliative effect, not the curative action of the remedy.” This is simply a roundabout way of saying that where relief only has been given by a medicine, that medicine has only palliated the patient's sufferings. This I apprehend applies equally to high and low dilutions where a cure is not effected, but some ease to the patient, some mitigation of pain, etc., only secured by the drug used.
What I understand by Homoeopathy I have stated, as clearly as I can, in the third paragraph on the eighth page of the January number of the English Review. I cannot do so more explicitly and therefore must ask Dr. Lippe to read this paragraph again. Having read the sentence referred to, I would like Dr. Lippe to tell me whether I, holding the therapeutic views therein expressed, am a Homoeopathician or not; and if I am not so, what am I? I care not one jot what I am called so long as I cure my patients, or how I cure them so long as I do so in the quickest, safest, and pleasantest manner known to me.
I find no fault with Dr. Lippe for his faith in potentization; for supposing that a case of intermittent fever of some standing is curable in three or four days with as many globules of the 2000th dilution of Belladonna; or with Mr. Wilson for imagining that Lycopodium200 cured a case of pneumonia all but moribund before that marvelous agent was, through the medium of aqua pura, introduced into the patient's organism.
What I do object to is the arrogance, the presumption which demands for those, for those only, who credit such extraordinary - I had almost written supernatural - assertions, the exclusive right to a title for which they can show no special or peculiar claim. What I still more object to is, that with so much remaining to be done in sifting the Materia Medica, with the urgent call for accurate translations of original provings, with the need so frequently expressed for an examination of the relations borne by well proved medicines to clearly defined forms of disease, with the whole superstructure of the science of therapeutics waiting its erection on the foundation laid by Hahnemann and his early disciples, that while all these works are unaccomplished, men, who, we would trust, are competent to assist in carrying them out, should expend their time and strength in dilating on the supposed extraordinary merits of 2000th and 10000th dilutions; and still further exhaust their energies in unmeasured abuse of all who will not accept their post hoc for propter hoc.
With the Wilson-Hempel dispute I have nothing to do. Doubtless in a work of such magnitude as the Symptomen Codex there are errors; but in spite of them, I feel that I am, and I think all English-reading homoeopathic practitioners ought to be, extremely grateful to Dr. Hempel for his untiring industry in placing before us in an English dress the records of the actions of many valuable drugs. If Mr. Wilson and those who have joined him in raising this hue and cry about Hempel's imperfections had only done one-fiftieth part of the work that he has accomplished, Homoeopathy would be much better understood, much more widely and successfully practised than it is. These gentlemen are critics and nothing more. They find fault with the work of others and do none themselves. But it is “never too late to mend,” and if Mr. Wilson really believes that Hempel's errors are as general and as serious as he has represented them to be, let him put his shoulder to the wheel and give us “a revised edition” of the Symptomen Codex “corrected from original sources;” such a work, well done, will earn Mr. Wilson the cordial thanks of all English Homoeopathicians; and further a great good will have grown out of a discussion, which hitherto has been productive of more evil to the progress of Homoeopathy than any other that has ever taken place.
Dr. L. complains that Dr. Hempel, when in a witness box, swore to having given one-fifth of a grain of Arsenic in cholera; that the patients did well; and that in prescribing, his habit was to endeavor “to stop short of symptoms of poisoning.” Of course all this is to Dr. L. very objectionable; Dr H. is objectionable; the fifth of a grain of anything, as a dose of medicine, is objectionable; but to state that any case of disease was ever cured by such a dose is in the highest degree objectionable; it is utterly subversive of all Dr. Lippe's ideas on the subject of Homoeopathy.
The most singular passage in this attack upon Hempel is that which declares that the symptoms characteristic of Arsenic, and those which are so of Asiatic cholera, are so very different, that “but in very few and very exceptional cases Arsenic may become the curative remedy in the above-named disease.” I would here ask Dr. Lippe whether he has ever seen a case of arsenical poisoning, whether he has ever stood by the bedside of a cholera patient? Or has he ever studied the published details of an instance of either? That he can have done so, and have failed to recognize the similarity of the two conditions seems almost impossible.
Dr. Rutherford Russell, an authority on the subject of Asiatic cholera, by virtue of his extensive clinical observations, his pains-taking investigations the nature and treatment of the disease, writes thus: “Arsenic is the remedy in which w have far the most faith after the period for the administration of Camphor has passed away. ”Epidemic cholera, p. 213 London, Headland 1849.
The dose employed by Dr. Hempel was unquestionably larger than is ordinarily necessary, and possibly a less quantity would have been equally successful in his case; but the fact remains the same, that what was given was successful - no small merit in any medicine in such a disease as Asiatic cholera.
By the phrase “we endeavor to stop short of symptoms of poisoning,” I apprehend Dr. Hempel to mean that while he prescribes sufficient medicine to compass his object - the cure of disease — he does so without risking the chance of an aggravation from giving an excessive dose — a contingency always to be kept in view in prescribing a homeopathically selected remedy. The phrase is certainly a bad one, but clear enough in its meaning, to all who understand Homoeopathy, and are free from any desire to misrepresent its author.
I trust I have now been sufficiently explicit to enable Dr. Lippe to understand what I mean by a Homoeopathician.“
|Source:||The American Homoeopathic Review Vol. 05 No. 03, 1864, pages 110-116|
|Description:||Who Is a Homoeopathician?|
|Editing:||errors only; interlinks; formatting|