This section is from the book "A Compend Of The Principles Of Homoeopathy", by William Boericke. Also available from Amazon: A Compend of the Principles of Homoeopathy as Taught by Hahnemann.
Now the next step was almost inevitable. If disease is but a disturbed condition of the vital force, and this far removed from the grossness of matter, so fine as to be almost spiritlike, surely crude drugs cannot possibly affect it cura-tively, and hence the need for purposes affecting this disturbed dynamis of the dynamized drug of the poten-tized remedy, one from which all crude, grossly material parts have been eliminated. * Such a preparation alone would approach in character and fineness that of the dynamis, hence the teaching in Organon, 16, 269, 275, 276, 288, where it is said that it is only by means of the spirit-like influence of a morbific agent that our vital power can be diseased; and in like manner, only by the spirit-like (dynamic) operation of medicine that health can be restored.
* The following quotation from Paracelsus is interesting in this connection, and may possibly serve as a clue to explain the action of the attenuated homoeopathic medicines.
"Matter is connected with spirit by an intermediate principle which it receives from the spirit. This intermediate link between matter and spirit belongs to all three kingdoms of nature . . . and it forms, in connection with the vital force of the vegetable kingdom, the Primum Ens, which possesses the highest medicinal properties". (Paracelsus).
"The homoeopathic system of medicine develops for its use, to a hitherto unheard-of degree, the spiritlike medicinal powers of the crude substances by means of a process peculiar to it and which has hitherto never been tried, whereby only they all become penetratingly efficacious and remedial, even those that in their crude state give no evidence of the slightest medicinal power on the human body". § 256 Organon.
Hahnemann discovered the fact that there existed a dynamic, vital principle in all drugs, a curative force, peculiar and individual and distinctive of each drug, that could be practically transferred to some medicinally inert substance and preserved indefinitely. This is not saying that it becomes separated from its material basis, but the particles of this material envelope, if present at all, must be capable of a subdivision infinitely beyond that accepted by modern science.
A drug as we preceive it, is the ultimate embodiment of a medicinal force, differing in kind and degree in every drug, and Hahnemann devised or accidently hit upon a method, probably the only practical method, of securing this inner, living, medicinal force for therapeutic purposes.
The same thought is expressed in the following extract of a lecture on the Evolution of Medicine by Prof. Thos. J. Gray, M. D., of Minneapolis.
"We say that Opium is obtained from the Papaver Somniferum, Pulsatilla from the Anemone, Belladonna from the Atropa Belladonna, and so following. Just what do we mean in these statements? What is Opium or Pulsatilla or Belladonna? These plants named will grow and come to perfection in the same square foot of earth, in the same season, under the same conditions of air, light, soil, heat and moisture, yet each retains its identity; there is no transfer of individuality, each remains itself. Each has transmuted the common environment into himself, without any confusion or mistake. Upon closer examination, not alone do we find a common environment, but the microscope reveals an essential identity in structure. The protoplasmic vegetable cell is, so far as we can see, the same in them all, nay more, though our subtlest methods of chemical analysis must be confessed as crude approaches to the inner sanctuary of nature's secrets, since in the very nature of the case we cannot know the essential changes produced upon the original substances by our solutions and calexes, and so must furnish from the imagination long links of connecting conditions, yet they all point to an essential unity of chemical composition as well. If we reason on the plane of our experiments and observations, we are obliged to assume that the slight differences in structure and composition that seem to be present, are sufficient to account for one of the most stupendous facts in the natural world, a clear case of laying too heavy a burden on the major premise of the syllogism. But still more, when we contemplate the hidden processes by which the various vegetable cells unerringly appropriate and assimilate the common air, water and soil, in certain fixed proportions, do we see the force of this fact. Is it not a mere figure of speech to call the form in space of green and other colors, which appears to the eye, or whose reality may be attested by the balance, that space-filling and time-perduring thing, the plant, rather is it not a body for the real plant, the real thing, the thing that has caused what we can see and feel? This real poppy, this real anemone, or deadly night-shade, evidently is neither red or black, neither short or long, neither heavy or light, neither penetrable or impenetrable - in short, it has not nor can have attributed to it any of the forms or qualities of bodies whatsoever. Hence, it cannot be measured or weighed, nor can the terms much or little be applied to it. The poppy is as truly in one seed as in a thousand. It is a dynamic energy, a force and not matter at all, unless we make the confusion of assuming matter and force to be one and the same thing. And so of every drug, each is an active dynamic self. We acknowledge this truth in thephrase,'the active principle of this or that substance.'
And so it comes about that what we really adminis-ter is a principle, a force; a thing of which absolutely no attributes of matter can be predicated".
The keynote to Homoeopathy is the Hahnemannian teaching of the Dynamis or vital force. Homoeopathy eliminates material causes of most diseases, material dosage of medicines and looks to the real cause of all disease in the disturbed vital force and selects a curative remedy corresponding to all the symptoms expressing the disturbance and administers it in a dynamized form, one in which the drug is free to all outward appearance of its proper material envelope. This view of disease does not countenance therefore, a removal of the products of a disease as a cure of the disease itself, any more than blowing and cleaning of the nose is a cure for coryza. Hence the mere excision of tumors is no permanent cure of the tumor disease. We must go back of the local manifestation and cure the condition which produced the tumor. Local astringent injections do not cure a leucorrhoea, although the discharge is made to disappear; cauterizing a chancre will not cure the syphilitic cause of that outward manifestation of a general infection; a Sulphur or Zinc ointment applied to a skin disease, or a corrosive sublimate wash does not cure, although the skin itself may be freed. These measures merely suppress the local and ultimate manifestation of the disease. Metastases (change in the seat of disease), are sure to appear sooner or later and invariably more serious than the primary disorder. To be sure, the physician pronounces these new diseases, and the patient submits to further suppression and palliation, but a cure is further off than ever. Bear in mind that it is a fallacy to believe that disease can be cured by the expulsion of material morbific matters - they cannot be so permanently cured, though of course, the immediate symptoms of discomfort of the patient may be thereby removed. The physician's duty therefore, is more than to be a medical scavenger, expelling supposed or real morbific matter. There is no question that the loathsome, vile or impure discharges in diseases are effete products of the disease itself, symptoms of the dynamic disturbance within and as such guides to the selection of the remedy not to be carelessly suppressed, for frequently they are a relief of the inner more dangerous evil. By suppressing these outer manifestations, curative efforts of nature, possibly, metastases towards other and more vital parts are likely to take place.
For further study consult Chapter X (Hahnemann'S Nosology), "Dynamization;" also, Chapter X on "Hahnemann's Doctrine of Chronic Diseases".
"The Genius of the Homoeopathic Healing Art;" preface to the second volume of the Materia Medica Pura by Hahnemann.
Teste's Materia Medica; introductory chapter.