This section is from the book "The Chronic Diseases, Their Specific Nature And Their Homeopathic Treatment", by Samuel Hahnemann. Also available from Amazon: The chronic diseases, their specific nature and their homeopathic treatment.
Where, as is usually the case in chronic diseases, various antipsoric remedies are necessary, the more frequent sudden change of them is a sign that the physician has selected neither the one nor the other in an appropriately homoeopathic manner, and had not properly investigated the leading symptoms of the case before prescribing a new remedy. This is a frequent fault into which the homoeopathic physician falls in urgent cases of chronic diseases, but oftener still in acute diseases from overhaste, especially when the patient is a person very dear to his heart. I cannot too urgently warn against this fault.
*That the itch-patient during such a treatment must avoid every external application, however harmless it may appear, e. g., the washing with black soap, is not necessary to emphasize.
Then the patient naturally falls into such an irritated state that, as we say, no medicine acts, or shows its effect,* yea, so that the power of response in the patient is in danger of flaring up and expiring at the least further dose of medicine. In such a case no further benefit can be had through medicine, but there may be in use a calming mesmeric stroke made from the crown of the head (on which both the extended hands should rest for about a minute) slowly down over the body, passing over the throat, shoulders, arms, hands, knees and legs down over the feet and toes. This may be repeated if necessary.
A dose of homoeopathic medicine may also be moderated and softened by allowing the patient to smell + a small pellet moistened with the selected remedy in a high potency, and placed in a vial the mouth of which is held to the nostril of the patient, who draws in only a momentary little whiff of it. By such an inhalation the powers of any potentized medicine may be communicated to the patient in any degree of strength. One or more such medicated pellets, and even those of a larger size, may be in the smelling-bottle, and by allowing the patient to take longer or stronger whiffs, the dose may be increased a hundred fold as compared with the smallest first mentioned. The period of action of the power of a potentized medicine taken in by such inhalation and spread over so large a surface (as that of the nostrils and of the lungs) lasts as long as that of a small massive dose taken through the mouth and the fauces.
* That a homoeopathically potentized dose of medicine should ever fail of having an effect in a treatment conducted with care, I think impossible; I have never experienced it.
+ Even persons born without the sense of smell or who have lost it through disease, may expect equally efficient help from drawing in the imperceptible vapor (proceeding from the medicine and contained in the vial) through one nostril or the other, as those do who are gifted with the sense of smell. From this it follows that the nerves possessing merely the sense of touch receive the salutary impression and communicate it unfailingly to the whole nervous system.
Such medicated pellets kept in a stoppered vial retain their medicinal power quite undiminished, even if the vial be opened a number of times in many years for the purpose of inhalation; i. e, if the vial be preserved from sunshine and heat. This method of allowing the patient to be acted upon by smelling the potentized medicine has great advantages in the manifold mishaps which often obstruct and interrupt the treatment of chronic diseases. The antidote to remove these mishaps as quickly as possible the patient may also best receive in greater or less strength through inhalation, which acts most quickly on the nerves and so also affords the most prompt assistance, by which also the continuation of the treatment of the chronic disease is least delayed. When the mishap has thus been obviated most speedily, the antipsoric medicine before taken frequently continues its interrupted action for some time. But the dose of the inhaled medicine must be so apportioned to the morbid interruption that its effect just suffices to extinguish the disadvantage arising from the mishap, without going any deeper or being able to continue its operation any further.
If a homoeopathic physician, scrupulous at the wrong occasion, should ask me how he might fill up the many days after giving a dose, so that it may continue itsaction undisturbed during the above-mentioned long time, and so satisfy, without injuring, the patient who every day* asks for this medicine, I reply with two words, that he should be given every day at the usual time for medicine a dose of sugar of milk, about three grains, which shall be marked as usual with continuous numbers.* I remark here, that I consider the sugar of milk thus used as an invaluable gift of God.+ We cannot flatter ourselves that the antipsoric medicine given was rightly selected, or that it will will not expect more from to-day's powder than from yesterday's or that of the day before.
* No old established custom among the people, be it ever so hurtful, can be suddenly changed. So also the homoeopathic physician cannot avoid allowing a new chronic patient to take at least one little powder a day; the difference between this and the many medicinal doses of allopaths is still very great. During this daily taking of a powder, following the numbers, it will be a great benefit to the poor patient who is often intimidated by slanderers of the better medical art, if he does not know whether there is a dose of medicine in every powder, nor again, in which one of them? If he knew the latter and should know, that to-day's number contains the medicine of which he expects so much, his fancy would often play him an evil trick, and he would imagine that he feels sensations and changes in his body, which do not exist; he would note imaginary symptoms and live in a continual inquietude of mind; but if he daily takes a dose, and daily notices no evil assault on his health, he become more equable in disposition (being taught by experience), expects no ill effects, and will then quietly note the changes in his state which are actually present, and therefore can only report the truth to his physician. On this account it is best that he should daily take his powder, without knowing whether there is medicine in all or in a certain powder; thus he forward the cure of a chronic disease, if it quickly and entirely destroys as if by a stroke of magic the most troublesome symptoms, old, great, continuous pains, tonic or clonic spasms, etc., so that the patient almost immediately after taking the medicine, fancies himself as much freed from sufferings as if he were already restored, and as if in heaven. This deceptive effect shows that the medicine here acts enantiopathically as an opposite or palliative, and that in the days following we cannot expect anything from this remedy but an aggravation of the original disease. As soon then' as this deceptive improvement within a few days begins again to turn to aggravation, it is high time to give either the antidote to this medicine, or, when this cannot be had, a medicine which is homceopathic-ally more appropriate. Very rarely will such an enantiopathic remedy do any good in the future. If the medicine which is thus antipathic at once in the beginning, i. e., which seemed so to alleviate, is inclined to reciprocal action, it is possible that when the aggravation from this dose takes place, a second dose of the same remedy may produce the contrary, and thus bring about a lasting improvement, as I have at least perceived in Ignatia.
* Chronic patients who firmly trust in the honesty and skill of their physician will be satisfied, without any afterthoughts, to receive such a dose of sugar of milk every two, four or seven days, according to the disposition of each, and nevertheless retain a firm confidence, as, indeed, is only just and reasonable.
+ There were some anxious purists, who were afraid that even the pure sugar of milk, either in itself or changed by long trituration, might have medicinal effects. But this is a vain, utterly unfounded fear, as I have determined by very exact experiments. We may use the crude, pure sugar of milk as a food, and partake of considerable quantities of it, without any change in the health, and so also the triturated sugar. But to destroy at the same time the fear to which utterance has been given by some hypochondriacs, that through a long trituration of the sugar of milk alone, or in the potentizing of medicines, something might rub off from the porcelain mortar (silica), which being potentized by this same trituration would be bound to become strongly acting Silicea (1), I took a new porcelain triturating bowl in which the glazing had been rubbed off, with a new porcelain pestle, and had one hundred grains of pure sugar of milk, divided into portions of thirty-three grains, triturated eighteen times for six minutes at a time and as frequently scraped for four minutes with a porcelain spatula, in order to develop by this three hours' strong trituration a medicinal power either of the sugar of milk or of the silica or of both; but my preparation remained as indifferent and unmedicinal as the crude, merely nutritive sugar of milk, of which I convinced myself by experiments on very sensitive persons.