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.
The medicines which have been found most suitable and excellent in chronic diseases so far, I shall present in the following part according to their pure action on the human body, as well those used in the treatment of the diseases of psoric origin, as those used in syphilis and in the figwart-disease.
That we need far fewer remedies to combat the latter than the Psora can not with any thinking man form an argument against the chronic miasmatic nature of the latter and still less against the fact that it is the common source of the other chronic diseases.
The Psora, a most ancient miasmatic disease, in propagating itself for many thousands of years through several millions of human organisms, of which each one had its own peculiar constitution and was exposed to very varied influences, was able to modify itself to such a degree as to cause that incredible variety of ailments which we see in the innumerable chronic patients, with whom the external symptom (which acts vicariously for the internal malady), i. e., the more or less extensive eruption of itch, has been driven away from the skin by a fatal art, or in whom it has disappeared of itself from the skin through some other violent incident.
Hence it seems to have come to pass that this half-spiritual miasma, which like a parasite seeks to inroot its hostile life in the human organism and to continue its life there, could develop itself in so many ways in the many thousands of years, so that it has even caused to spring forth and has born modified offshoots with characteristic properties, which do not indeed deny their descent from their stock (the common Psora), but, nevertheless, differ from one another considerably by some peculiarities. These changes are due in some part to the varying physical peculiarities and climatic differences of the dwelling-places of men afflicted with the Psora,* and in part are moulded by their varying modes of life, e. g. children in corrupt city air develop rhachitis, spina ventosa, softening of the bones, curvatures, cancer of the bones, tinea capitis, scrofula, ringworm; adults exhibit nervous debility, nervous irritability, gout of the joints, etc. And so also the other great varieties in the mode of living and in the occupations of men with their inherited bodily constitutions give to the psoric diseases so many modifications, that it may easily be understood, that more numerous and more varied remedies are needed for the extirpation of all these modifications of the Psora (antipsoric remedies).
I have often been asked by what signs a substance may beforehand be recognized as antipsoric? But there can be no such external visible marks in them; nevertheless while proving several powerful substances as to their pure effects on the healthy body, several of them by the complaints they caused showed me their extraordinary and manifest suitableness for homoeopathic aid in the symptoms of clearly defined psoric diseases. Some traces of their qualities leading in this direction gave me in advance some hint as to their probable usefulness; e. g. the efficacy of the herb Lycopodiiun, much praised in Poland for the plica polonica pointed me to the use of the pollen of lyco-podium in similar psoric ailments. The circumstance that some hemorrhages have been arrested by large doses of salt was another hint. So was the usefulness of Guaiacum, Sarsaparilla and Mezereum, even in ancient times where venereal diseases could not be healed by any amount of mercury unless one or the other of these herbs had first removed the Psora complicated with it.
* E. g. the Sibbens or Rade-Syge commonly found in Norway and in the northwest of Scotland; the Pellagra in Lombardy; the plica polonica (Koltun, Trichiasis) in Poland and Carinthia, the tumorous leprosy in Surinam; the raspberry-like excrescences (Frambosia) in Guinea called yaws and in America pian; the exhaustive fever in Hungary called Tsomor, the exhausting malady of Virginia (asthenia Virginensium), the human degeneration in the deep Alpine villages called cretin, the goitre in the deep valleys and at their entrances, etc.
As a rule it was developed from their pure symptoms, that most of the earths, alkalies and acids, as well as the neutral salts composed of them, together with several of the metals, cannot be dispensed with in curing the almost innumerable symptoms of Psora. The similarity in nature of the leading antipsoric, sulphur, to phosphorus and other combustible substances from the vegetable and mineral kingdoms led to the use of the latter, and some animal substances naturally followed them by analogy, in agreement with experience.
Still only those remedies have been acknowledged as antipsoric whose pure effects on the human health gave a clear indication of their homoeopathic use in diseases manifestly psoric, confessedly due to infection; so that, with an enlargement of our knowledge of their proper, pure medicinal effects, in time it may be found necessary to include some of our other medicines among the antipsoric remedies; although even now we can with certainty cure, with the antipsorics now recognized, nearly all non-venereal (psoric) chronic diseases, if the patients have not been loaded down and spoiled through allopathic mismanagement with severe medicine-diseases, and when their vital force has not been depressed too low, or very unfavorable external circumstances make the cure impossible. Nevertheless, it need not be specially stated that the other proved, homoeopathic medicines, not excepting Mercury, cannot be dispensed with in certain states of the psoric diseases.
Homoeopathy, by a certain treatment of the crude medicinal substances, which had not been invented before its foundation and development, advances them into the state of progressive and high development of their indwelling forces, in order that it may then use them in curing in the most perfect manner. Some of these medicines in their crude state seem to have a very imperfect, insignificant medicinal action (e. g., common salt and the pollen of Lycopodium). Others (e. g., Gold, Quartz, Alumina) seem to have none at all, but all of them become highly curative by the preparation peculiar to Homoeopathy. Other substances, on the other hand, in their crude state are, even in the smallest quantities, so violent in their effects that if they touch the animal fibre, they act upon it in a corroding and destructive manner (e. g., Arsenic and corrosive sublimate) and these medicines are rendered by the same preparation peculiar to Homoeopathy not only mild in their effects, but also incredibly developed in their medicinal powers.