This section is from the book "Hartmann's Theory Acute Diseases And Their Homoeopathic Treatment", by Charles J. Hempel. Also available from Amazon: Theory of acute diseases, and their homoeopathic treatment.
§ 1. According to Hahnemann, the symptoms of a disease are the only portion of the disease of which we can take cognizance. This is accomplished by means of our senses. The internal nature, the essence of a disease, cannot be known with certainty; it can only be conjectured. Hahnemann considered the usual names of diseases as collective names for very different conditions of the affected organism; according to him those names are of no value in the treatment of disease. He considered fever a purely dynamic disturbance of the vital force, affecting both its action and sensibility, and being most distinctly perceived in the vascular system. The principal characteristic of fevers is the changeable nature of their symptoms. Reil (On the Diagnosis and Treatment of Fevers, seeded., Vol. I., § 24,) says: "Any classification of disease is the work of man, which Nature does not always confirm; on this account we are unable to draw a definite line of demarcation between fevers and those diseases which are not fevers." Von Hilden-brand expresses the same idea in the following words: "Logica definitio febris dari non potest."The great difference which prevails among febrile diseases, and the frequent changes occurring in the symptoms of the different kinds of fevers, make it very difficult to offer a definition of fever that will be applicable to all its varieties. We are not prepared to believe with Eisenmann, Henle, and others, that the spinal marrow is the focus of every fever; we believe, however, that it is that focus in all cases where spasmodic symptoms of any kind form the commencement of the fever, and the fever is not seen in a distinct form, except after the spasmodic symptoms have been removed. When spasms occur, the spinal and cerebral irritation is evident; but it would be improper to assert that, because such an irritation exists whenever the febrile paroxysm is accompanied with spasms, the spinal marrow must be the primary seat of every fever. This cannot be admitted as long as we do not possess more data to base such a doctrine upon; for the allopathic physician such an admission would be especially hazardous, inasmuch as it would mislead him in his treatment.
The homoeopath needs not to embarrass himself with a definition of fever; he is satisfied with Hahnemann's view, which neither injures nor benefits the treatment.
§ 2. The common symptoms of fever which have to be regarded as a reaction of the organism against the morbid cause, are: Increased frequency of pulse and breathing, not depending upon an accidental cause, such as fast running, but upon a disturbance of the vital principle. Increased warmth of the patient, although the temperature of the surrounding air is the same as before the attack; orgasm of the skin, which becomes warm, hot, dry, turgescent, and exhibits a vivid red colour; bright redness of the tongue and mucous membrane of the mouth; vivid and glistening redness of the eyes, etc. Excessive desire for drinks, with dryness of the mouth; diminution of the secretions and excretions, strong odour and high colour of the former. Alternation of warmth and coldness, sometimes at regular intervals. The above-mentioned complaints are accompanied with a general sick feeling of the organism, headache, weariness and debility of the limbs, arrest of the animal functions, increased sensitiveness of the organs of the senses, delirium, spasms, great restlessness, and in general various kinds of disturbances indicating a powerful excitement of the organism.
However, the pathognomonic symptoms, which have been mentioned in the preceding paragraph, would furnish but a very imperfect diagnosis if the physician did not possess the requisite talent to put a proper estimate upon the concomitant symptoms.
§ 3. In treating fevers it is of importance to the homoeopathic physician that he should know the causes of the fever, the local symptoms, the type, duration and period of the paroxysm; he should know whether the fever is continuous, remittent, intermittent, or alternating - that is, whether it occurs alternately with morbid conditions of another kind. The proper appreciation of these characteristics is of great importance to the selection of the remedy, which can only cure the fever if the group of symptoms which characterizes the fever is likewise peculiar to the remedy; in proportion as the remedy corresponds more minutely to all the peculiarities of the disease, the cure will be effected so much more rapidly and permanently.
§ 4. We ought not to pass unnoticed the critical phenomena which are observed in fevers. Although we do not, and owing to our different treatment, cannot attach as much importance to them as the physicians of the old school do, yet the homoeopathic physician ought not to neglect studying the phenomena by which a crisis is generally characterized, inasmuch as they may occur to him just as well as to an allopathic physician, and he might be misled in his treatment if he did not know them. It is not advisable to endeavour to establish such critical changes by artificial means, for this reason, that we are ignorant of the mysterious processes which Nature, untrammelled and unbiassed by treatment, establishes in disease for the production of such changes. But suppose we knew both the process which Nature adopts in their realization, and the operation of the remedy which is intended to bring about a similar result, in that case it would nevertheless remain a proceeding of highly questionable propriety to substitute an incomplete and often dangerous crisis, obtained by artificial means, in the place of those critical changes which indicate a favourable but frequently insufficient or even powerless reaction of the organism against the disease. We do even believe that those critical changes may be greatly moderated, or even subdued, by homoeopathic treatment, without the curative action of the drug being diminished in the least. Those changes, when fully developed, frequently constitute peculiar diseases, which the physician is called upon to treat and to remove. This being our view of a crisis in disease, we shall treat the subject a little farther in detail, and shall, at the same time, mention the therapeutic measures to be adopted when a crisis occurs.