In Nos. 11 and 12 of the AMERICAN HOMOEOPATHIC REVIEW, Dr. James T. Alley gives us two articles on the teachings of physiology and pathology, in relation to Homoeopathy, which I may be allowed to say a few words about.
I do not find any fault with the author's very laudable effort to explain the action of our remedies, and to show the necessity of our employing them in such minute doses; for the public expects us to give some explanation or other in regard to this subject; but I deeply regret to see the author in giving this explanation, assume the position of a gross materialist who calculates by weight and measure the amount of gross matter which, although a very small fraction of a grain or drop may be sufficient to produce appreciable effects in our system, and I still more regret to see that this mode of reasoning is not peculiar to the author, but that our whole school is slowly but surely inclining to that gross materialism, which is at present quite the fashion in Europe, and which, if not resisted, will be the grave of Homoeopathy. For if we accept, unless as an article of faith, the doctrine of modern physiologists, that force is a mere property of matter and that the nervous or vital forces are but the results of the chemical action taking place in the animal or human organism, if we join with them in proclaiming, that chemical action is the cause of vitality instead of asserting that vitality is the cause of chemical action, then the time will soon come, when our homoeopathic dilutions and attenuations-the term potencies has already been discarded-shall, in spite of such arguments as we find in the above mentioned articles, appear as ridiculous to us as they do to our allopathic brethren.
“Corpora non agunt nisi solata” is an axiom in chemistry. If this is true, every attempt on our side to show that solid particles of crude drugs have been detected in our 3d or 6th potencies by the aid of the microscope, are simply ridiculous, for “solids do not act unless dissolved,” and when dissolved are perfectly invisible to our eyes, even if armed with a microscope of a thousand-fold magnifying power. Who ever saw the particles of salt or sugar, or any other soluble substance in their fluid state? Therefore it will never do to refer our opponents to the microscope in order to prove that there is “something” even in our 6th or 12th potencies, for they might tell us that the solid particles in these preparations are still solids, and as such incapable of acting on the organism, and that making them soluble by some chemical process, and giving a strong dose of it, is far preferable to laborious trituration, in which the solid remains a solid; no matter how finely it is divided. Nor will it avail us to point to the blood and nerve globules as a proof that solids will enter the system in a solid state, for we all know that these globules as such never enter, nor escape through the walls of their respective channels, unless they are first dissolved by some chemical hocuspocus. Some physiologists even deny that blood globules enter the smallest capillary vessels, and if such is really the case, we have to account for their reappearance in the vein, in a different way than by letting them pass mechanically through the capillaries.
But let us for once suppose it to be true, that solids in a comminute state really pass through animal membranes, how are we to give any satisfactory reason for our diluting fluid medicines? There is certainly no necessity for triturating or diluting them in order to enable them to enter the circulation. Here we change our mode of our argumentation, and we say: The tissues or organs, when diseased, are more susceptible for the action of our specific remedies than when in a healthy state. According to the calculation a diseased organ will be affected by the 1/345600 part of a dose, which will affect an organ in health. We could, therefore, not reasonably expect to produce any effect by using a higher dilution than the 6th or 7th decimal scale, or the 3d or 4th, centesimal scale. How then are we to account for the action of the 30th or 200th? A great many Homoeopathists will say: “These latter preparations have no effect at all!” and this seems to be about the only way to get out of the difficulty.
Frogs semen, also, has been brought forth to help us along in our argument. The one millionth part of a drop is said to fecundate an egg. But a less quantity, I suppose will not do, nor could a little more, perhaps even a whole drop be too much. I must confess that, in order to make fecundation sure, I should prefer drop-doses to the one millionth part of a drop, if I had the quantity to spare. This argument, like all the rest of them proves only the possibility of the effects of small doses, but not the necessity of using them in preference to stronger doses. If we cannot bring better arguments than these, how long will it be, till all homoeopathic physicians- some are doing it now-shall administer the pure tinctures by the drop or teaspoonful, vieing with each other, as the Allopathist did formerly, as to who can give the biggest doses without killing his patients, and taking along with them in their daily rounds, pocket-cases as big a traveler's hand-trunk.
Surely, we are inclining towards Allopathy. It is not, because we neglect the study of our Materia Medica, as we have been charged by some of the “earlier practitioners,” nor is it because a great many among us do not, unconditionally, subscribe to the doctrine that the law: “Similia Similibus is the only law of cure,” but use occasionally as adjuvants a poultice, or a wet blanket, or even a blister or a dose of castor oil, cure a broken limb by shingling it, instead by homoeopathic potencies, cover a burn with flour, or starch or cotton, open a panaritium with a knife, remove a poison from the stomach by means of a stomach-pump or neutralize by some chemical preparation; but it is because we are drifting every day more and more towards that materialism, which declares gross matter to be everything, and dynamic forces nothing but a mere property, increasing or decreasing as the bulk of matter is increased or diminished, and vanishing as soon as matter vanishes and becomes invisible under the microscope.
We can only save Homoeopathy from extinction by asserting, as it was asserted by Hahnemann and his earlier disciples, that by the agitation of crude substances, by trituration and shaking, a dynamic force, peculiar to itself, is developed which acts more speedy and more prompt, than the crude substance; that our medical preparations are really potencies, and not mere dilutions or attenuations. We must place ourselves in opposition to Allopathist and modern physiologist, instead of following in their van and accepting everything that drops from their months as self-evident truth and sound doctrine. If they are materialists,we ought to be dynamicists; if they proclaim matter the ruler and dynamic forces the slave; we must proclaim dynamic forces the master, and matter the slave; if they assert, that vital forces are the effect of chemical changes; we ought to assert, that chemical changes are the effect of vital forces, that whilst their medicines act chemically, or sometimes only mechanically on the fluids or solids of the system, our medicines act dynamically on the vital forces; that our medicines act from the centre toward the periphery-centrifugal-whilst theirs act mostly from the periphery toward the centre-centripedal. As long as we are following the train of modern physiologists and pathologists, worshiping the golden calf of modern materialism; as long as we are neglecting to create a physiology and pathology for ourselves, and continue tacking our Materia Medica to the tail of allopathic pathology; so long we shall, like Prometheus of old, be tortured by an eagle who is eating out our vitals as (quick as they are growing.
We shall never be a power among the scientific schools till we have learned to stand manfully on our own feet without bowing before the shrine of Allopathy, trying to please our allopathic brethren by doing as they do, talking as they talk, ridiculing our potencies as they ridicule them; calling those who use anything higher than the the 3d fools or visionaries, just as the Allopathists used to call all of us denying; the truth of their clinical records of diseases cured by the 30th or 200th potencies, just as the Allopathists do in regard to all homoeopathic cures; nor shall we ever prevent Homoeopathy from declining by declaring over and over again that, “Similia Similibus is the only law of cure.” We must maintain our ground in asserting that our preparations of medicine are really potencies; but at the same time, we must yield a point or two in regard to our therapeutic law, by admitting that it is only true in so far as the dynamic action of medicine is concerned, and that in order to treat successively each and every case of disease that is confided to our care, we must also have recourse to mechanical, chemical, and psychical means.
|The AMERICAN HOMOEOPATHIC REVIEW Vol. 02 No. 02, 1859, pages 62-66
|Potencies or Dilutions.
|errors only; interlinks; formatting