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gle, and yield to its morbid assailant, when the action of medicine is necessary to excite reaction, or to support the sanative powers of nature.
In conformity with what has been mentioned, the fol lowing foundation of law may be regarded as natural:
The affectability of the living organism by natural morbific causes, is incomparatively feebler than its affectability by medicaments.
According to this law, perpetually acting morbificcauses have no power to destroy health, except under peculiar circumstances; but every simple medicament, under all circumstances, and at all times, exercises its peculiar action, and effects the organism in its peculiar manner. Morbific causes have only an occasional and conditional power to disturb the organism;-medicinal powers have an absolute one. This dogma can be admitted only in a very limited sense. The human body is not unconditionally disposed to be easier affected by medicaments than by other inimical impressions. Reference need only be had to the frequent abortive attempts to prevent the spreading of, and the difficulty of curing many contagious maladies: how often are large quantities of medicine taken, without any change of the disease. The easier affectability of the organism to medicine than to other morbific causes, refers, principally, to the homoeopathic remedies, homogeneous powers, (similia) which bears a great relation or affinity to the organs diseased..
The more violent a disease, the less is the susceptibility of
the system, for heterogeneous, and the greater is it for homogeneous influences.
A man disposed to anger, becomes most passionately affected by some unpleasant circumstance, while it requires some very agreeable occurrence to excite his feelings.
When in a state of fever heat, a great deal of fluid is wanting to satisfy the thirst, which becomes enormous by the use of little more than ordinary soasoned food.
The hardy Russian, when drooping with the sweat of vapour bath, has a bucket of the coldest water thrown upon him without experiencing any deleterious effect. He will continue to sweat, notwithstanding the quick impression of the cold water; which is owing to the great excitation of the skin; but a slight damp will throw a shivering person into fever chills.
I observed that a lady, not accustomed to wines, or spirituous liquors, on her reconvalescence from a lingering fever, exhibited an uncommon desire for wine, of which, for some time, she used daily, two bottles of a strong quality.
As she progressed in health, tho desire for wine gradually diminished; and when completely recovered, she could not take a single glass of wine without feeling greatly excited. It is well known, that what are commonly called hard drinkers, become quickly intoxicated by a small
quantity of wine, when they are in a passion, (which, of itself, is a kind of intoxication.)
Habitual tobacco smokers, when attacked by a fever, will be most violently affected of giddiness by the use of the least quantity of that article.
Of two similar affections, the stronger invariably extinguishes the weaker.
Thus a complication of diseases may exist at the same time; or of two diseases which are dissimilar, the more violent may merely suspend the woaker; but when two diseases affect the body similarly, the organism being unable to support both, the weaker naturally disappears.
This proposition is evidently the basis of the homœopathic doctrine. Hahnemann has not been idle in reporting a number of instances by which the truth of this dogma might be proved. Much controversial writing has been occasioned by this difference, on the subject of the resemblance and dissimilarity of diseases. From the opportunities of carefully observing diseases, during the numerous years of my own practice, says Dr. Rau, I can boldly, and without fear of self decoption, assert, that it is only in their fundamental dynamic features, that similar diseases neutralize and destroy each other. To agree upon this point, is, indeed, not very easy. Misunderstandings have been occasioned by Hahnemann himself, in his too violent zeal against the investigation of the proximate cause of the discase, (considering it in most cases, a fruit
less attempt, which leads the practitioner often ad absur
And yet respect must be paid to such an investigation, to which the author of the Organon was obliged to refer himself in stating the similarity of diseases. Hereto belongs, for instance, the case cited from Klein, where a blindness of two years' standing, originating from a suppression of scaldhead, was removed by the smallpox. Blindness is not a constant symptom of the smallpox, but only sometimes a consecutive one, and appertains to it as little as the sometimes succeeding arthrocace. But the blindness arising from the suppression of the eruption, has, in its origin, a similarity with the smallpox, and to remove it antagonistically, it required such a similar cutaneous eruption.
A woman, in her thirtieth year, was affected with a rash, which left a cutaneous disease, showing itself at the slightest cold, or even during a mere change of temperaturo. Her whole face, neck, and arms, were covered with it, and she continued to suffer on that complaint for nearly six years. At the close of that time, she was attacked with the measles, which, after her recovery, removed effectually her old complaint.
A boy, from childhood, was subject to violent headache, caused by congestions of the blood to the brain. In his fourteenth year he was attacked with typhus fever, which
commenced with severe headache. The disease having been cured, all traces of this habitual malady disappeared.
I treated a case of typhus, from which remained a paralysis of one arm. Four years afterwards, the same patient was, for the second time, attacked with typhus, in which she again acquired the use of her arm.
Robert Whytt relates the case of a woman who was subject to hysteric fits: and she had experienced no inconvenience from this complaint, when one of her children was dangerously diseased.
Boerhave notices a particular case, of a child, in the orphan asylum of Harlam, who was cured of epilepsy by some frightful accident. The malady having probably originated from some psychical cause, was again psychically removed.
It is remarkable, that during the critical movements of a disease towards health, generally an increased action in the suffering parts takes place. A struggle of nature, as it were, to eradicate the disease at once, by a powerful counter spasm.
We see that maladies having been seated in the system for months, will often disappear instantaneously by a more violent paroxysm.