Second Part – Antipsoric Medicines
by Samuel Hahnemann
CONCERNING THE TECHNICAL PART OF HOMOEOPATHY1
Since I last* addressed the public concerning our healing art, I have had among other things also the opportunity to gain experience as to the best possible mode of administering the doses of the medicines to the patients, and I herewith communicate what I have found best in this respect.
A small pellet of one of the highest dynamizations of a medicine laid dry upon the tongue, or the moderate smelling of an opened vial wherein one or more such pellets are contained, proves itself the smallest and weakest dose with the shortest period of duration in its effects. Still there are numerous patients of so excitable a nature, that they are sufficiently affected by such a dose in slight acute ailments, to be cured by it if the remedy is homoeopathically selected. Nevertheless the incredible variety among patients as to their irritability, their age, their spiritual and bodily development, their vital power and especially as to the nature of their disease, necessitates a great variety in their treatment, and also in the administration to them of the doses of medicines. For their diseases may be of various kinds: either a natural and simple one but lately arisen, or it may be a natural and simple one but an old case, or it may be a complicated one (a combination of several miasmata), or again what is the most frequent and worst case, it may have been spoiled by a perverse medical treatment, and loaded down with medicinal diseases.
I can here limit myself only to this latter case, as the other cases cannot be arranged in tabular form for the weak and negligent, but must be left to the accuracy, the industry and the intelligence of able men, who are masters of their art.
Experience has shown me, as it has no doubt also shown to most of my followers, that it is most useful in diseases of any magnitude (not excepting even the most acute, and still more so in the half- acute, in the tedious and most tedious) to give to the patient the powerful homoeopathic pellet or pellets only in solution, and this solution in divided doses. In this way we give the medicine, dissolved in seven to twenty tablespoonfuls of water without any addition, in acute and very acute diseases every six, four or two hours; where the danger is urgent, even every hour or every half-hour, a tablespoonful at a time; with weak persons or children, only a small part of a tablespoonful (one or two teaspoonfuls or coffeespoonfuls) may be given as a dose.
(1 This preface was prefixed to Vol. III, of the Chronic Diseases, published in the year 1837.-Tr.)
(*In the beginning of the year 1834 I wrote the first two parts of this work and although they together contain only thirty-six sheets, my former publisher, Mr. Arnold, in Dresden, took two years to publish these thirty-six sheets. By whom was he thus delayed? My acquaintances can guess that.)
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In chronic diseases I have found it best to give a dose (e.g., a spoonful) of a solution of the suitable medicine at least every two days, more usually every day.
But since water (even distilled water) commences after a few days to be spoil, whereby the power of the small quantity of medicine contained is destroyed, the addition of a little alcohol is necessary, or where this is not practicable, or if the patient cannot bear it, I add a few small pieces of hard charcoal to the watery solution. This answers the purpose, except that in the latter case the fluid in a few days receives a blackish tint. This is caused by shaking the liquid, as is necessary every time before giving a dose of medicine, as may be seen below.
Before proceeding, it is important to observe, that our vital principle cannot well bear that the same unchanged dose of medicine be given even twice in succession, much less more frequently to a patient. For by this the good effect of the former dose of medicine is either neutralized in part, or new symptoms proper to the medicine, symptoms which have not before been present in the disease, appear, impeding the cure. Thus even a well selected homoeopathic medicine produces ill effects and attains its purpose imperfectly or not at all. Thence come the many contradictions of homoeopathic physicians with respect to the repetition of doses.
But in taking one and the same medicine repeatedly (which is indispensable to secure the cure of a serious, chronic disease), if the dose is in every case varied and modified only a little in its degree of dynamization, then the vital force of the patient will calmly, and as it were willingly receive the same medicine even at brief intervals very many times in succession with the best results, every time increasing the well-being of the patient.
This slight change in the degree of dynamization is even effected, if the bottle which contains the solution of one or more pellets is merely well shaken five or six times, every time before taking it.
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Now when the physician has in this way used up the solution of the medicine that had been prepared, if the medicine continues useful, he will take one or two pellets of the same medicine in a lower potency (e.g. if before he had used the thirtieth dilution, he will now take one or two pellets of the twenty-fourth), and will make a solution in about as many spoonfuls of water, shaking up the bottle, and adding a little alcohol or a few pieces of charcoal. This last solution may then be taken in the same manner, or at longer intervals, perhaps also less of the solution at a time; but every time the solution must be shaken up five or six times. This will be continued so long as the remedy still produces improvement and until new ailments (such as have never yet occurred with other patients in this disease), appear; for in such a case a new remedy will have to be used. On any day when the remedy has produced too strong an action, the dose should be omitted for a day. If the symptoms of the disease alone appear, but are considerably aggravated even during the more moderate use of the medicine, then the time has come to break off in the use of the medicine for one or two weeks, and to await a considerable improvement.*
When the medicine has been consumed and it is found necessary to continue the same remedy, if the physician should desire to prepare a new portion of medicine from the same degree of potency, it will be necessary to give to the new solution as many shakes, as the number of shakes given to the last portion amount to when summed up together, and then a few more, before the patient is given the first dose; but after that, with the subsequent doses, the solution is to be shaken up only five or six times.
(*In treating acute cases of disease the homoeopathic physician will proceed in a similar manner. He will dissolve one (two) pellet of the highly potentized, well selected medicine in seven, ten or fifteen tablespoonfuls of water (without addition) by shaking the bottle. He will then, according as the disease is more or less acute, and more or less dangerous, give the patient every half hour, or every hour, every two, three, four, six hours (after again well shaking the bottle) a whole or a half tablespoonful of the solution, or, in the case of a child, even less. If the physician sees no new symptoms develop, he will continue at these intervals, until the symptoms present at first begin to be aggravated; then he will give it at longer intervals and less at a time.
As is well known, in cholera the suitable medicine has often to be given at far shorter intervals.
Children are always given these solutions from their usual drinking vessels; a teaspoon for drinking is to them unusual and suspicious, and they will refuse the tasteless liquid at once on that account. A little sugar may be added for their sake.
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In this manner the homoeopathic physician will derive all the benefit from a well selected remedy, which can be obtained in any special case of chronic disease by doses given through the mouth.
But if the diseased organism is affected by the physician through this same appropriate remedy at the same time in sensitive spots other than the nerves of the mouth and the alimentary canal, i.e. if this same remedy that has been found useful is at the same time in its watery solution rubbed in (even in small quantities) into one or more parts of the body which are most free from the morbid ailments (e.g. on an arm, or on the thigh or leg, which have neither cutaneous eruptions, nor pains, nor cramps) -then the curative effects are much in creased. The limbs which are thus rubbed with the solution may also be varied, first one, then another. Thus the physician will receive a greater action from the medicine homoeopathically suitable to the chronic patient, and can cure him more quickly, than by merely internally administering the remedy.
This mode of procedure has been frequently proved by myself and found extraordinarily curative; yea, attended by the most startling good effects; the medicine taken internally being at the same time rubbed on the skin externally. This procedure will also explain the wonderful cures, of rare occurrence indeed, where chronic crippled patients with sound skin recovered quickly and permanently by a few baths in a mineral water, the medicinal constituents of which were to a great degree homoeopathic to their chronic disease.*
The limb, therefore, on which the solution is to be rubbed in, must be free from cutaneous ailments. In order to introduce also here change and variation, when several of the limbs are free from cutaneous ailments, one limb after the other should be used, in alternation, on different days, (best on days when the medicine is not taken internally). A small quantity of the solution should be rubbed in with the hand, until the limb is dry. Also for this purpose, the bottle should be shaken five or six times.
Convenient as the mode of administering the medicine above described may be, and much as it surely advances the cure of chronic diseases, nevertheless, the greater quantity of alcohol or whisky or the several lumps of charcoal which have to be added in warmer weather to preserve the watery solution were still objectionable to me with many patients.
(* On the other hand such baths have also inflicted a proportionally greater injury with patients who suffered from ulcers and cutaneous eruptions; for these were driven by them from the skin, as may be done by other external means, when after a short period of health, the vital force of the patient transferred the internal uncured disease to another part of the body, and one much more important to life and health. Thus e.g. may be produced the, obscuration of the crystalline lens, the paralysis of the optic nerve, the destruction of the sense of hearing; pains also of innumerable kinds in consequence torture the patient, his mental organs suffer, his mind becomes obscured, spasmodic asthma threatens to suffocate him, or an apoplectic stroke carries him off, or some other dangerous or unbearable disease takes the place of the former ailment. Therefore the homoeopathic remedy given internally must never be rubbed in on parts which suffer from external ailments.
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I have, therefore, lately found the following mode of administration preferable with careful patients. From a mixture of about five tablespoonfuls of pure water and five tablespoonfuls of French brandy – which is kept on hand in a bottle, 200, 300 or 400 drops (according as the solution is to be weaker or stronger) are dropped into a little vial, which may be half-filled with it, and in which the medicinal powder or the pellet or pellets of the medicine have been placed. This vial is stoppered and shaken until the medicine is dissolved. From this solution one, two, three or several drops, according to the irritability and the vital force of the patient, are dropped into a cup, containing a spoonful of water; this is then well stirred and given to the patient, and where more especial care is necessary, only the half of it may be given; half a spoonful of this mixture may also well be used for the above mentioned external rubbing.
On days, when only the latter is administered, as also when it is taken internally, the little vial containing the drops must every time be briskly shaken five or six times; so also the drop or drops of medicine with the tablespoonful of water must be well stirred in the cup.
It would be still better if instead of the cup a vial should be used, into which a tablespoonful of water is put, which can then be shaken five or six times and their wholly or half emptied for a dose.
Frequently it is useful in treating chronic diseases to take the medicine, or to rub it in in the evening, shortly before going to sleep, because we have then less disturbance to fear from without, than when it is done earlier.
When I was still giving the medicines in undivided portions, each with some water at a time, I often found that the potentizing in the attenuating glasses effected by ten shakes was too strong (i.e., the medicinal action too strongly developed) and I, therefore, advised only two succussions. But during the last years, since I have been giving every dose of medicine in an incorruptible solution, divided over fifteen, twenty or thirty days and even more, no potentizing in an attenuating vial is found too strong, and I again use ten strokes with each. So I herewith take back what I wrote on this subject three years ago in the first volume of this book on page 149.
In cases where a great irritability of the patient is combined with extreme debility, and the medicine can only be administered by allowing the patient to smell a few small pellets contained in a vial, when the medicine is to be used for several days, I allow the patient to smell daily of a different vial, containing the same medicine, indeed, but every time of a lower potency, once or twice with each nostril according as I wish him to be affected more or less.