MODERN MEDICATION AND THE HOMŒOPATHIC PRINCIPLES by H.A. Roberts
The homoeopathic physician is likewise trained to realize the dangers of suppressed or masked symptoms…
***LIKE all principles, those of homoeopathy have been discovered and evolved through the crucibles of time, experimentation, and increasing enlightenment. Like all principles, too they stand whether or not they have the ascription of those who profess to be their adherents. They are principles that, to those who understand and seek to apply them and to those who benefit from their application, stand pre- eminent, unchangeable, in spite of all changes in therapeutic fashions. To principles there is no time element. Natural law knows no ancient, no modern, Time offers only the greater opportunity for examination of the results of applied principles, the action of the natural laws; and evolution knows not the meaning of fashion.
The word *modern must always be used in a comparative sense. This never appreciated more keenly than when considered in the light of medical practice, and those elements of the practice of today that have survived the crucible of time have rightly become recognized as the principles of the art.
Medicine, while always dealing with the ills of mankind has passed through a continuous barrage of “modern” discoveries. Greater possibilities of investigation of the functions of the body have increased our knowledge of life processes and the circumstances of living; and this increase in knowledge has been of inestimable value in dealing with human suffering. But therapeutics, as demonstrated by modern medicine, is still in a state similar to that of the past, in that the discovery or development of the day is the seeming answer to almost all therapeutic problems. This is another way of saying that in spite of the increased knowledge of the mechanism of the body, no guiding principles have been discovered by the dominant school of medicine that are sure and certain indications in the field of therapeutics. That means there is no test but that of experience for any therapeutic agent, and modern medicine, despite the period of its discovery, still finds itself on a basis of empiricism rather than of true science.
Consider the discovery of the synthetic group of drugs. There has been a continuous procession of these substances over a period of years. Aspirin, luminol, the phenols, the sulphanilamides, the vitamins and numerous others. Each discovery has been hailed as a modern development of science for the conquering or alleviation of the ills of mankind. Sober investigation of the claims of these therapeutic measures astounds us with the conviction that in almost every instance the target at which these measures are aimed is a single symptom or, at most, a small group of symptoms, and not at the patient himself. In most cases the discovery of such a therapeutic agent has been met with loud acclaim and ardent advertising; its use became widespread very shortly. Soon the sincere students of science perceived through their laboratory research and from clinical observations, that there was another face to the seeming curative action of the substance, that was not without danger to the patient; and therefore warnings were sent out that there should not be too free use of the substances except under the most careful observation. In the meantime the fashion of use had spread, especially among those who always seek the easy road in therapeutics, the uninstructed and those who are addicted to self-dosing, with a corresponding amount of further damage to health.
Such as agent was aspirin. First advanced for its harmless sedative properties in the control of pain, it was widely used and in considerable amounts, by physician and laymen alike, until its depressant properties came to be respected by careful therapeutists. The American Medical Association found it advisable to publish warnings against the use of this substances which was commonly sold under the trade name of aspirin; but the use of the substance was not curtailed to any marked degree except by the most careful prescribers. It had become a cure-all for domestic use and all too often in hospitals and by physicians who sought first the suppression of the distressing symptoms rather than the cure of the patient.
Homoeopathic physicians have long known the dangers of suppressive measures, and have always had due respect for the innate powers of any medicament. It was Hahnemann who observed that any drug was poisonous if dangerous dosage were given. Therefore it is to be expected that homoeopathic physicians early recognized the dangers of the synthetic drugs, among them the coal-tar derivatives. The ability of the trained homoeopath to observe and correlate symptoms made it a foregone conclusion that he would easily trace the depressed vitality, the heart attacks, and many collapsed conditions, to the frequent use of aspirin and like pain-killers.
The homoeopathic physician is likewise trained to realize the dangers of suppressed or masked symptoms; that pain has its beneficent aspect as a guidepost, and that the discomforts of an acute cold or grippe cannot be suppressed without grave danger to the ultimate health of the patient The prevalence of the symptom, “never been well since.’ is proof of this.
The phenols, and easily phenobarbital, were hailed loudly as curative, and especially as palliative of many ills. It was not long before their deadly nature was discovered, and the warnings were posted against their use. They are still used extensively, but much more conservatively than formerly. In many of these instances, it is the early dangerous action that is discovered and the later, more insidious and long lasting effects are undiscovered or ignored until too late; these become constitutional and therefore are unrecognized.
Of course all these effects, from first to last, are homoeopathic proof of the potentialities of cure that lie in these synthetic drugs. To the homoeopath, however, there should be but one criterion for their use-the similarity of symptoms produced in the healthy for application to like ills in the sick.
The popular sulphanilamides are one of the best instances of the powers and dangers of synthetic drugs. They have been hailed for their powerful action in infections of many-one is tempted to say all-kinds. It is true that in laboratory and clinic they have proven this power. But along with the proven power of destroying invading organisms they have a like danger to normal cell balance; this has been recognized by those who developed the drug to the point where careful therapeutists will not use these agents without keeping careful laboratory check on the blood stream and other functions of the patient.
Probably more variations of this group of drugs have been developed than of any other that has become popular When sulphanilamide was first publicly recognized and marketed, it was permitted to fall into the hands of laymen who had read glowing accounts of its value and who decided that they could cure themselves of all their ailments with this wonderful panacea. Numbers of these hopeful sufferers purchased, and many deaths resulted. Manufacturers of the products were obliged to keep a closer watch on the production and distribution, and research chemists set about developing less dangerous combinations.
The fact remains that where medicinal agents are capable of eradicating organisms by any other method than by stimulation of the dynamic force to the point where nature itself balances the scale, there is danger to the patient, sooner or later.
It is no doubt true that sulphanilamide and its variations have a comparatively good record in such conditions as pneumonia and like infections. That is, a good record compared to that of the dominant school where pneumonia is a dangerous and often fatal disease. The sulphonamides have so far given a more creditable record than the serum treatments of pneumonia which were so well sung only a few years ago; and in the use of the sulphonamides only prompt use is necessary-one may omit the typing and thus save time. In fact, it has been said by eminent authorities on the use of the sulphonamides that in infections they must be used promptly in the onset of the infection of whatever kind, or they are useless.
Let us analyse this situation. Here we are given a therapeutic agent that will kill the invading organism, with a corresponding dangerous action against normal functions of the body; yet potent as this is, it is of no value against the invading organism after that has become established. Are we to believe that its danger to the normal cells of the patient has diminished in proportion to its possibilities of help against the invader?
It has been many years since the possibility of sterile death has been acknowledged-the blood stream being sterilized of invading organisms, yet death results. This is s true now as then; and the danger may be imminent or retarded in relation to the amount of the crude dosage or the frequency of its administration. Careful observers in both schools of medicine have noted the slow return to normal health of patients “cured”, i.e. the acute infection having been overcome, by heroic methods- or as we may better say, by the application of forces outside the normal functions of the body. Therefore although the invading organisms have been limited in action, the system has to overcome the effects of the infection plus the toxic effects of the treatment.
Now let us consider the sulphonamides in relation to the homoeopathic principles. We might consider, in the light of our thesis, any or all of the synthetic drugs, but so far as we know there has been no effort to exhibit the potential powers of the substances through the well-known and thoroughly tried method of Hahnemann-that of proving the remedy on the healthy human being. Such an attempt has been made in the case of sulphanilamide, notably by Dr. Allan ***D. Sutherland; the results of this fragmentary proving were published in the *Homoeopathic Recorder for September 1940.
Dr. Sutherland’s conclusions were that this substance, potentized, has great possibilities as a homoeopathic remedy when we have more clearly demonstrated its field of usefulness by the sure guide of the symptomatic outlines that our principles demand; these are the only guides which provide safety in cure rather than uncertain palliation of a condition that the patient later has to overcome through his natural vitality, or else succumb to in some other and more deeply constitutional form at a later date.
The homoeopathic adage that we try to cure the patient rather than the disease might well be supplemented by the statement that we do not presume to snatch the patient from an acute illness from which, by the grace of his dynamic energies, he might well recover (acute illnesses being always self-limiting) to foist upon him a constitutional condition plus the imposed drug illness, from which he may never recover.
The results of the homoeopathic remedies in such infections as pneumonia, grippe, streptococcus, staphylococcus and other generalized or local infections have been more remarkable than in any other system of medication. This is a simple way of saying that the natural laws, upon which homoeopathy is founded and upon which our principles are based, work just as surely in serious, swift-paced onslaughts of disease as in any other condition. It is true that in some of these conditions the system is more deeply involved and death more imminent than in many conditions we are called upon to treat. It is also true that many of these serious infections were cured before the laboratories were at hand to furnish accurate diagnosis, and that very often the most prominent result of a laboratory diagnosis is to weaken the courage of the physician, the patient, and the patient’s family.
The homoeopathic physician recognizes another important principle in these serious states; the more acute the case, the more the infection strikes at the life of the patient, the more clearly indicative are the symptoms. Obscuration of symptoms (unless produced by crude drugging) is very rare in case of acute infection. The homoeopathic remedy works regardless of the name of the disease, and works, moreover, toward a true and complete cure, without sequelae or constitutional involvement.
The value of vitamins in the diet has been a burning subject among research chemists and therapeutists alike. The source of vitamins in natural foods, especially raw fruits, has been recognized for some time; and of course sources of synthetic vitamins have been discovered and their use urged through the drug houses. One simple but obvious fact seems always to be overlooked by the manufacturing chemists-that while chemically the synthetic product may vary little from the natural, there is a difference which is recognizable in results, sometimes far removed in time from the experimental stage. It is hardly likely that a patient would suffer from too many vitamins through a normal diet; the vitamin is normally balanced with the other food values.
With the increased regard for vitamins as a necessity of life, we are now under a barrage of foodstuffs where added synthetic vitamins are an ineradicable part of the diet. Since it has been found that these substances are necessary to life and development, argue the laboratory chemists, therefore as a nation we must take advantage of this source of increased energy and vigour; and since the synthetic vitamins have the same chemical construction and are easily available at a comparatively low cost, we must use these vitamins to the fullest extent, therefore they are introduced into many basic foods such as flour etc. Thus we have a business venture which is very profitable to the producers of the vitamins, and it becomes almost impossible for an individual to escape a diet heavily laden with synthetic vitamins.
Now, however, the careful research men who investigate carefully all sides of the question and take time to correlate facts, are beginning to voice the conclusion that after long and critical study they find there is as great danger from too many vitamins as from too few, and perhaps more. This is a statement in accord with homoeopathic principles, and with the laws of nature governing balance in all things : ” The amount necessary to effect any change in nature is the least possible “; “Action and reaction are equal and opposite.”
The manufacturing chemist states in his literature that it has been determined that the normal vitamin requirement is from 3 to 25 milligrams per day. We may expect that overdosing with vitamins, which have a constructive and maintenance value, would have two definite reactions: first, a destructive action proportionate to its normal constructive action; and second, the permanent disability of the system to react to normal vitamin intake. This latter is comparable to the effect of insulin administration in the diabetic patient; he soon loses his ability to produce the necessary secretion in his own economy. This is another illustration of the loss of a function by the need being supplied through no effort of the patient, and evolution bears witness to the fact that what a creature does not use he must lose. Thus the excess supply of vitamins robs the body of its normal reception of the natural vitamins.
One can hardly conceive of the effect of a high vitamin in take on the younger generation in the light of this conclusion. And we can hardly fail to consider the results of the unrestricted administration of these elements in future generations : will they be able to assimilate them from natural sources, or will there be, after a time, some radical changes in the human economy to compensate?
In particular, we may inquire regarding the reactions in the special functions : will these functions be permanently affected? For instance, it has been demonstrated that vitamins ***C and ***D help to overcome rickets, and that a certain amount of these are necessary for the proper growth and development of the bony structure. It has also been demonstrated that excessive does will cause rickets. Since vitamin E is supposed to stimulate the generative function? We might continue this analogy through the list of vitamins so far isolated and studied.
It is well for us, as homoeopathic physicians, not to overlook the potentialities of the synthetics in the field of therapeutics; but we must examine them carefully in the light of our well-proven homoeopathic principles, remembering also that the findings of the clinic do not necessarily bear the same relationship to the human patients as to the laboratory animal, and that the secondary results may vary widely from-nay, be directly opposite to-the primary results which appear to be so brilliant and satisfactory.
We must remember that our homoeopathic laws, it they are natural laws, as we have every reason to believe, are still worthy of our consideration and that no sure guidance has yet been found that is not in accordance with those those laws; and that the rest of time must be applied in every instance of a new discovery that has not been tried according to know law. It is foolish to reject the new just because it is new, but it is even more foolish to accept every new finding blindly without fully testing its validity when we have at hand all the means for sound procedure, means which the dominant school so far has failed to accept.