– TESTE A, GROUP REMEDIES,
– Precisely that which I invite my colleagues to do with me.
– Let us suppose, that we can count upon the aid of fifteen or twenty provers of both sexes, intelligent and dvoted.*
– Each of these provers, trying upon himself, in previously determined conditions, the same drug in the same attenuation,* has only to not faithfully, from hour to hour, and from day to day, the symptoms which he perceives in himself, in order to be able, after a certain period, to furnish for the study of others, the complete history of the drug disease, at least with reference to his age, sex, temperament, etc., conditions which should be scrupulously mentioned in front of his report.
– Let us now suppose, that these fifteen or twenty individual observations, instead of being all mixed up in one incoherent list, according to the common usage, are arranged and combined by an experienced nosographist, a generalizing mind, another Hahnemann, provided nature were a little more prodigal of men of such calibre ; is it not true, that, by this means, we shall arrive at the true synthesis of a drug disease, the imaginary type of which will be found sketched in the general synopsis, and will be necessarily elucidated by the fifteen or twenty individual observations that have served to establish it, and to represent all its shades ?* Let us suppose moreover, that the same method of investigation is successively applied to all drugs, and the Materia Medica will then become a true nosology, entirely independent of the old pathology, and thenceforth susceptible of a systematic arrangement in the closet of the physician.
– We readily comprehend the immense advantages which would result to practitioners from such a revision of the Materia Medica.
– The more immediate of these advantages seem to emanate from the following considerations.
– All drugs, whatever may be the special nature of their action, give rise in every part of the organism where this action manifests itself, to two orders of symptoms, which are generally, if not always, opposed to each other.
– Hahnemann attributed no other symptoms to the drugs directly, except those which he had seen develope themselves under their influence, and which he therefore called primary symptoms, whereas, he considered as simple reactions of the organism, all those symptoms that succeeded the former, and which he therefore designated as secondary. I shall not stop to inquire how far this theory of organic reactions is founded.
– This is purely speculative, and I attach only a mediocre importance to it.
– But the fact itself, is undoubtedly, one of the most interesting which the founder of Homoeopathy has observed; and the striking contrast which it implies, seems to merit a profound study.
– It would be curious to know how far the secondary symptom is always the contrary of the primary, and how this contrary is understood and realized by nature in certain cases. What we know positively, is, that such a drug which primarily causes diarrhoea, is secondarily followed by constipation, whereas, such other drug gives rise to phenomena of an inverse order.
– One drug, first occasions stoppage in the nose, and a dry cough, afterwards a fluent coryza and bronchial catarrh, whereas, another drug causes precisely the reverse symptoms.
– Here is a drug which fist slackens, afterwards accelerates, the circulation, whereas another occasions first an increased speed, and afterwards an increased slowness of the pulse ; opium first makes one drowsy, afterwards wakeful, whereas coffee makes one wakeful fist, and afterwards puts one to sleep, etc.
– Since I have named two drugs, the alternate effects of which are generally known, at least in their totality, I will avail myself of them in order to show how important it is for us to discover by pure experimentation the opposite effects of all therapeutic agents.
– This simple proposition which seems to me self-evident, that natural maladies, as well as drug-diseases, have their primary and their secondary symptoms, would render all demonstration superfluous, for, if this be true, who does not comprehend that it is not sufficient to a given disease, should be capable of producing symptoms similar to those of the natural malady ; but that the alternate effects of the drug and those of the disease must develop themselves in the same order. For instance,
– Somebody complains of sleeplessness ; he is restless, talkative, the cheeks are flushed, the extremities cold, etc.
– Is it coffee that he should take ? Perhaps.
– In questioning him we learn that this state of agitation has followed a sort of coma, or even somnolence only, which had lasted one or two days, etc.
– Well, on this simple hint, I affirm that it is not coffee that he must have, opium alone will quiet him, and will restore his sleep ; I say this from my own experience. Another patient, on the contrary, is sad, depressed in spirits and strength, drowsy ; he is moreover costive, chilly, irritable, etc. ; but this group of symptoms was ushered in by an excess of foolish mirth.
– Hence, I conclude that, notwithstanding these present symptoms, it is coffee he must have, and not by any means, opium. I need not say why.
– These cases evidently imply a general rule, and explain the fact that in a number of cases where not coffee or opium, but the foxglove,* especially in phthisis, or musk, belladonna, henbane, etc., were given, and effected a cure, the contraria principle may have seemed to succeed, but where in reality the cures were effected in conformity with the law similia similibus.
– This shows how valuable for the homoeopathic physicians would become all indications derived from a historical report of drug diseases, with an accurate distinction of the primary and secondary effects of drugs.
– Unfortunately the elements of such a scientific organization of our Materia Medica were wanting ; for, I regret, the history of drug diseases, as I understand them, is only confessedly and obscurely perceived from the provings in our possession.
– It seems therefore as though the classification which I offer, were rather premature. However, I may do myself the justice to believe that, in reference to the totality of the effects of each of the drugs of which I have spoken in this work, I possess notions sufficiently correct, not to have committed any considerable errors in the formation of my categories or groups, according as either term has been adopted by me. Besides the provings, which I have subjected to a careful study, I have consulted the following sources in the arrangement of my materials : 1st.
– The natural history of drugs. 2nd Their known effects on animals of different species. 3d. Lastly, and principally, the history of their empirical applications.