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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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, impedingthe 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 indispensible 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.
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.t 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.*
* 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.