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contrary states, cold and heat, or heat and cold, and most frequently of three states, cold, heat, and perspiration.
The best time for the application would be immediately, or at least very soon after the paroxysm. It would be a gross mistake to give the remedy before the fever paroxysm, because it excites the system to a too active reaction. In many dangerous fevers, which may endanger life in the first paroxysm, the attack has to be prevented, such are the febres comitatae stipatae, apoplecticae, febres cephalalgice comatosae.
Febres intermittentes whose apyrexy is very short, the homoeopathic remedy has to be exhibited as soon as the sweating, or other symptoms indicating the termination of the attack, begin to decline.
From the first year of my homoeopathic practice, I had been so strongly impressed with the law of similarity, that I do not consider it only as the best guide for the choice of a proper remedy, but as the surest way to become acquainted with the rules of its application.
This proposition requires some explanation to be clearly understood.
We have said, that the remedy ought to excite in a healthy person, phenomena analagous to the disease it intends to cure.
But to fulfil this condition, it will be necessary that the remedy be adapted to each individual, as well with respect to the symptoms as with respect to the strength of the dose, and its repetition.
Each case must be studied by itself, each must be treated distinctly, and the nature of each must lead to the discovery of the remedy, the dose, and the repetition.
It is thus that the physician must display his most enduring attention, and give proof of his practical talent. There is, among homoeopathic physicians, difference in opinion in relation to the selection of a higher or lower dilution of a remedy; but the truth is, that cures may be effected with all kinds of dilutions, with decillionths as well as with drops not diluted.
The main point is, that the dose be adjusted to the excitability of the patient. In this nice point it is, that the talent of the physician reveals itsolf,-a talent which can neither be imparted or reduced to any final rule, but which must be acquired by experience and observation.
In chronic affections, the symptoms are often confused, obscure, and difficult to appreciate, and require the minutest attention. The enquiry must be most rigidly conducted, and the minutest details must be entered into.
In these maladies, the patients have become so habituated to their condition, that they attach little or no importance to slight symptoms. These, however, not unfrequently characterize the complaint, and necessarily assist to determine the remedy. It would be superfluous to point out the difficulties incidental to this minute, exact, and severe system prescribed by Hahnemann, and confirmed by experience as essential to success.
Practice alone can convince the physician how acute must be his observation in tracing the countless varieties and shades of difference in diseases which afflict our species.
This mode of investigation, the outlines of which we have just proclaimed, is, in some measure, adopted by every close observer, but by none so fully as Hahnemann. He it was, whe first indicated the propriety of noting the distinct and peculiar characteristic of each case; and thereby conferred upon each an individuality.
This method, then, being at once the most precise, as well as the most complete, must be put in force.
The practitioner, however, while studying the rules laid down by Hahnemann, will not be able, at all times, to follow, undeviatingly, the order prescribed, but will occasionally be induced to invert this methodical sequence. He will, therefore, vary his measures according to circumstances; and by his tact determine the particular form which the enquiry should assume.
It is important, however, that he be guided by the spirit of the method, and he will invariably achieve his aim, provided he bear in mind, that it is comprised under the three following heads:
1. The information furnished by the patient and his friends.
2. Their replies to the questions of the physician. 3. The changes which the physician himself will be enabled to detect.
Although the aggregate of symptoms constitutes our guide in the treatment of diseases, it does not follow, when those symptoms have been collected the investigation is at an end. To form a correct diagnosis, it is not alone sufficient to observe a confused mass of symptoms: we must study their connection and combination—their natural influence-relative worth. In studying disease, experience teaches that morbid symptoms are far from possessing uniform importance. Their relative value must, therefore, be weighed by the physician, and each arranged under a distinct catagory. Certain symptoms are inherent or fundamental: others incidental and dependent upon the former.
Fundamental symptoms are those which, correctly speaking, constitute the disease itself, indicating the organ, apparatus, or organic system first and principally attacked, in which the affection, though general, may have more particularly taken its stand, and from which it pervades the frame.
The symptoms which are not permanent, and which are termed incidental, are numerous, and occupy the next station in the enquiry. They are developed in consequence of other more important lesions. They are indicative of organs not deeply affected, but suffering sympathetically: they appear, disappear, and return: they assume other forms; and frequently, in dissimilar ailments, they exhibit the same phenomena.
Notwithstanding the versatility of these symptoms, the
practitioner must not leave sight of them, if at times they avail little in detecting the actual malady. At other times, by their sympathetic relations, the physician is enabled to individualize the case; and they prove serviceable in exhibiting the constitutional tendencies of the patient, and in determining the choice of a remedy. As it is an acknowledged truth, that the discovery of the cause of the disease is the first step towards the cure, the physician will naturally apply himself to that object; and if successful, will endeavor to remove it.
Notwithstanding the importance of an enquiry into the cause of a disease, we must guard against the conclusions derived from this branch of medical study. The exciting causes, in many instances, are unknown; and we have but little or no acquaintance with the origin of epidemics, of measles, scarlet fever, smallpox, cholera, etc.*
*Among those, says Dr. Ticknor, who have been contending for victory and notoriety in the profession, there have occasionally been seen some honest laborers after truth;-those whose primary object it was to clear away the rubbish of former theories, and amid their wreck, to seek whatever material there might be fit for a more durable edifice, and lay its foundation upon a wider, firmer, and more permanent basis. The theories that have been framed to account for the proximate cause of typhus fever, and the consequent treatment of the disease, may be adduced as the fate of all or nearly all fabries of a kindred character. The humoral doctrine of Boerhaave (which erroneous, most disgusting practice, alluding to purgatives, keeps its sway even in the present time.) was succeeded by the nervous doctrine of Cullen, whose splendid reign was, in its turn, terminated by the appearance of the cerebral doctrine of Clutterbuck, which was again destroyed by the omnipresence of the gastroenteric doctrine of Broussais, whose glory is suffering a partial eclipse by the dothinenteric doctrine of Brettoneau, Boullaud, Andral, Louis, and others of the French masters. The contrariety of practice consequent upon such discrepent theories, the antiseptics and antacids of one school, the antispasmodics and diaphoretics by another, the cordials and stimulants by a third, whilst the whole of these remedies are condemed by a fourth class of physicians,