« PreviousContinue »
reason, medicinal equivalents or substitutes, aro in no way admissible in practico; and every medical man ought to distinguish, as exactly as possible, the different medicaments, both as causes of disease and as means of cure.
Of all the pure experiments relative to the changes which simple medicines produce, and the morbid symptoms they excited in healthy persons, those are always the best which a physician, enjoying a good state of health, free from prejudice, and able to analyse bis sensations, makes on his own person, observing, at the same time, the precautions that has just been prescribed. A thing is never more certain than when it is tried on ourselves.
The experiments that are made on our own persons have one advantage above all others. In the first place, they furnish a conviction of this great truth, that the curative virtues of medicines depend solely on the power they possess in creating changes in the physieal economy of man.
In the second place, they teach us to understand our own sensations, mind, and disposition, which is the source of all true wisdom, and exercise our power of observation, an indispensable talent in a physician. All observations on others are by no means so interesting as those made on ourselves.
Do not suppose that the slight inconveniencies which every one subjects in trying, on his own person, can be detrimental to his health. On the contrary, experience, has shown us that they render the body more apt to repet all natural and artificial mobific causes, and harden it
Against their influence. The same experience also teaches that the health becomes more firm, and the body moro robust.
The materia medica of Hahnemann is free from all conjecture, fiction, or gratuitous assertion. It contains no thing but the pure language of nature the results of a careful and faithful rosearch.
Various methods of medical treatment. Every remedy must act in one of the two ways-either indirectly or directly- either upon a different organ from that which is diseased, or upon the diseased organ
itself This is the first and greatest distinction.
The second and subordinate one is, that, in acting directly upon the diseased organ itself, the effects of the remedy must either be contrary or similar to those of the disease. Hence, the action of medicines may be considered under three different heads; and on an examina. tion of all our medical doctrines, it will be found that the different systems which are followed in the art of curing, may be arranged into three classes :
1. The method which employs such means as act upon a different
organ from that which is diseased, and which may be named revulsive, antagonistic, or derivative.
2. The method which acts directly upon the diseased organ, but produces effects contrary to those of the disoase, being expressed by the axiom, contraria contrariis cute rantur:
3. The method which both acts directly upon the dige based organ, and produces effects similar to those of the disease, ng founded on the law of nature - similia similibus curantur.
These three methods are respectfully denominated, according to Hahnemann's divison,
1. The Allopathic.
The first method, which we have called revulsive or derivative, and in which the medicines prescribed affects directly, and, in reality, produces a new derangement in a different part from that which is suffering, is founded upon the sympathy of remote parts, and upon their an. tagonistic re-action.
To ensure the success of this method, the new derangement which is created must be stronger than the old one.* The stronger irritation subdues the weaker. Duobus dolori. bus, etc. The main object is, to produce a powerful coun. tor-irritation. It accordingly embraces all the means which are capable of turning the course of the blood, and the humors formed from it, and affecting the vitality of the parts subject to the malady. The moans employed are medicines which operate on the alimentary canal, emetics, drastics, sudorifics, bleeding, blisters, cautorios, moxas. Tartar emetic ointment is used for the same purpose.
*Une irritation forte en fait toujours cesser une plus faible. Toute la medi. cation revulsive, repose sur cette loi. Produire une irritation artificielle sur un tissu, donc l'intention cst de detruire l'irritation, qui en occupe un autre c'est essayer une revulsion. La pean, la membrane muqueuse des voies digestives, tous les organes secreteurs et principalement les reins, sont les parties sur les quelles on opere les revulsions. Cette medication est dune emploi presque general, mais elle peut avoir des effets funestes lorsquelles n'est pas appliquee par une main excercee. - BROUSSAIS.
In this way, some endeavor to relieve diseases of one symptom by that of another.
Thus a disease is temporarily transferred from the nervous to the vital system, when mania is relieved by exciting a violent action in the intestinal tube. When irritation of the lungs is relieved by excitement of the skin, or when determination of blood to the head is relieved by synapisms, blisters to the legs and feet. The use of hot iron in coxalgia, and the application of the moxa at the paralysed spine, are equally antagonistical.
The revulsive method does not attack the disease diroctly, but only transfers it to a less important organ, and by so doing, enables the vital power to re-establish its equilibrium.
We cannot doubt the success of this method, in very acute cases, when it becomes sometimes necessary to remove the danger by means of revulsions from a principal organ to a less important one. But in a great majority of cases, as it attacks the very source of lifo, by reducing the quantity of the blood and humors, and as the loss cannot always be repaired, the patient roceive not unfrequently a fatal blow,
In chronic maladies, the revulsive method very seldom effects a permanent relief. A great injury is often done to the system, arising from the excessive irritation which the daily use of powerful medicines keep up in the system, and the extreme debility occasioned by the profuse excretion induced by them.
The ingenious Brodie says (Lancet, vol. 2) that the protracted application of issues, blisters, antimony ointment, never benefits pulmonary disoases, or even retards the progress of the malady. While constitutional affection of the lungs is supprossed in one place, it will break out ngain in another. That a like argument is applicable to many other cases, cannot be denied by the impartial observer.
2. Tho second method is the antipathic or enantiopathic, founded on tho axiom, contraria contrariis. Extremes neutralize each other. According to this method, diseases aro cured by remodies which produce opposite symptoms ; and its "usoful application has boon recognized from the most remote period.
To carry into effect this principle, heat is opposed to cold, warmth to congelation, narcotics to wakefulness, exciting medicines to enfeebling diseases.
In this way we see inflammatory affections cured by blood letting, or by purgatives, sudorifics, etc.; and indeed the successful treatment of disease has hitherto been supposed to be very frequently effected upon this principle.