No definite rule can be given as to the amount of the dose in all cases. Difference in age, sex, temperament and constitution renders variation both in the quantity of the dose and the frequency with which is repeated absolutely essential. The idea would be preposterous to give the infant, with its highly excitable nervous organization, the same quantity of medicine and at the same intervals as at a much later period of life, or who who would think of giving the highly excitable and nervous temperament or those possessed of acute and exceedingly sensitive feeling the same strength of medicine as would be required by the cold and phlegmatic constitution and temperament?
During the few years of infancy and early childhood the patient is usually quite susceptible to medicinal influence and generally requires the higher potencies. Females are for the most part much more susceptible to medicines than males, therefore the higher potencies may as a general thing be used with them in preference to the lower.
The sanguine and nervous temperaments are usually quite susceptible to remedies, and may therefore require the higher potencies, while the bilious, where there is less susceptibility, requires the lower potencies, given at longer intervals. The lympliatic also, being but slightly, in comparison with other temperaments, susceptible to medicines, requires the low potencies given at short intervals.
Some persons are much more susceptible to one class of remedies than another, rendering it absolutely essential that those particular remedies should be given in the high potencies. As a general thing in acute diseases, excepting perhaps in young children, tinctures, and the low potencies should be used, while in chronic cases more benefit may be derived from the higher attenuations.
In my own practice I have generally confined myself to the tinctures, and the potencies ranging from the first to the twelfth, more frequently giving the tinctures or the first, third, sixth, or twelfth attenuation. I am satisfied that in domestic practice the lower attenuations may be used with much greater safety than the higher. In the preparation of the medicines, if tinctures are used, one drop may be placed in a tumbler full of cold water, if intended for a child or a person quite susceptible to medicine, and a teaspoonful given at a dose. If intended for an adult or one not as susceptible to medicine two drops may be prepared in the same way. If the remedy is stronger than is necessary, producing an aggravation of symptoms, a teaspoonful of the mixture, prepared as above, may be mixed with a tumbler full of cold water, a teaspoonful of which may be given at a dose. In the preparation of the remedy, pure water should be used, such as rain, or spring water, and great care taken that the tumbler and spoon are perfectly clean. Both should be thoroughly rinsed several times in pure water, and then left to dry.
The medicine should be dropped into the tumbler first, and then the water poured in, turning it from one tumbler into an other several times, or stirring it with a spoon until is thoroughly mixed. The same spoon ought not to be used for more than one remedy until it has been cleanly washed.
If the triturations are used, the size of the dose should be about as much as could be placed on a three cent piece, or taken up by the point of a knife. The remedy should be placed dry on the tongue, and left there until dissolved.
If the globules or pellets are used, unless more specific directions are given in the body of the work in connection with the disease, six of them may be dissolved in a tumbler of water, and a tablespoonful for the adult, and a teaspoonful for the child, given at a dose. The same directions as it regards the tumblers and mixing the medicines may be observed as given in connection with tinctures.
The globules may in some cases act more promptly when given dry on the tongue, hence it is often advisable to give them in that way. By the adult, in these cases, three globules may be taken dry on the tongue. To the child one or two globules may be administered in the same manner.
In acute cases especially, the symptoms should be watched with the utmost care, and the remedy be continued as long as benefit results from its employment. The medicine, if carefully selected, should receive a fair trial, and not be changed frequently, unless there are positive indications that it is doing harm.
Often a medicinal aggravation may be seen and it is important that the aggravation produced by medicine be readily distinguished from that occasioned by disease. The medicinal aggravation comes on suddenly and without previous amelioration, while that occasioned by disease is more gradual in its progress and generally follows an amelioration.
In mild cases one dose will often be sufficient to remove the disease. In the chronic case a long continued administration of a certain remedy may, notwithstanding its clear indication, render the system less susceptible to its influence. In these cases, a few doses of sulphur, or some other remedy closely resembling the one previously administered may be given, and in a short time, if it be necessary, the patient may again return to the old remedy.
If, either in acute or chronic cases an amelioration follows each administration, the intervals may be gradually increased, and if, as is sometimes the case, susceptibility to its influence should also increase, a higher potency may be given.
The medicines should not be taken within a half hour or an hour of eating, either before or after a meal. The medicines should be kept in a clean dark place, free from odors. Camphor and perfumery of all kinds should be avoided in the sick-room, as they have a tendency to antidote the remedy given, or complicate the symptoms of the disease.