This section is from the book "Botanic Drugs Their Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics", by Thomas S. Blair. Also available from Amazon: Botanic Drugs, Their Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics.
If you don't know what a drug does, leave it alone. We no longer "cure" our patients with drugs. Our work is case-management, in which some drug or drugs may play a major or minor role.
We no longer expect to get some mysterious curative effect from a drug.
Fitting drugs to symptoms is a forlorn hope of the incompetent doctor. Modern medicine makes, first of all, a diagnosis. This made, a plan of campaign must be laid out, which may demand much nursing, careful dieting, stomach washing, and no drugs at all. Or it may, as the prominent factor, demand the most intensive of medication, with little else besides. In modern case-management we demand drugs to do certain defined things, and we don't expect more of them than just that. A doctor must know disease. If he does, he can readily select the drug needed; but he may be intimately acquainted with the whole range of materia medica and still be utterly useless in the sick-room, because he does not recognize the signs of septic infection, the sudden incidence of appendicitis, a failure in cardiac compensation, or have the laboratory findings before him.
So, gentlemen and fellow practitioners, we must eliminate the useless in drug treatment, or be eliminated ourselves.