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.
It is advisable, however, especially in chronic diseases, not to continue the same remedy too long, even if the dose be changed, lest the organism should become accustomed to its influence, which cannot be useful in the treatment. Instead of repeating the same remedy too often, it would be better to select another remedy which should be as nearly as possible homoeopathic to the disease, and to repeat this remedy at suitable intervals, after which the previous remedy may again be given. We do not admit with Rau that in acute cases the higher potencies are more suitable on account of their action being more speedy and shorter in such cases; for it is known by experience that the higher potencies act more intensely and longer than the lower, that they excite the curative reaction of the organism much more tardily than the lower potencies, and are on that account much better adapted to the treatment of chronic diseases.
The last fundamental principle in homoeopathic practice is the diet and mode of life. This is of the utmost importance, considering the smallness of the dose, which ought to be regulated by the intensity and general character of every case. The strictness of the homoeopathic diet is appreciated even by the old school; it is estimated even beyond its merits, for our cures are attributed to it exclusively. There is no doubt that everything which might exercise a medicinal influence upon the organism should be carefully avoided during homoeopathic treatment, lest the action of the small doses should be impaired. Chronic patients particularly should be submitted to the most rigorous diet, inasmuch as their disease is frequently maintained and even aggravated by faults of diet or other artificial influences which might be avoided. A rigorous diet is sometimes even sufficient to restore the organism without any medicine; at any rate the susceptibility of the organism to the action of the remedial agent is heightened by keeping the organism free from all stimulating and disturbing influences. Every intelligent physician will at once perceive that not every patient can be submitted to such a rigorous diet, and that a man of sixty years for instance, who has been in the daily habit of taking coffee, tea, wine, brandy, or of smoking tobacco and using snuff, cannot be suddenly deprived of those things without detriment to his organism. Hahnemann allowed smoking and snuff; he forbade wine, brandy, and coffee, with great severity. This seems to be inconsistent, and leads us to suppose that in a more advanced age we may except some other things besides tobacco from the general rule of abstinence. But let the homoeopathic physician beware lest he should be too lenient in prescribing a proper diet to his patients, and let him be mindful of the proverb: Give him an inch and he will take an ell.
* It is asserted by some pathologists, that what has been hitherto considered different stages of croup, are four distinct varieties of that disease, each of which requires a special treatment; and has no connection with any of the other varieties. - See Horn. Examiner, Vol. IV., 5.
In acute diseases the diet ought still to be much more rigorous than in chronic, and the more so the greater the danger and the more rapid the course of the disease. The physician will not find it difficult to enforce that rigorous diet in acute diseases where the patient has scarcely any desire for anything, and the attendants are of themselves convinced that the strictest diet is of the utmost consequence. If the patient does not wish to eat anything, nourishment ought not to be forced upon him; on the other hand he ought to be allowed to quench his thirst, for which purpose the patient will generally prefer cold water; he may drink this without fear, provided he does not drink too much of it at a time. When the instinct of self-preservation has again been awakened, the internal sense of the patient is for him such a sure guide in regard to those things which he ought to eat and not to eat, that the patient should not be refused anything without very cogent reasons.