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.
Shooting pain from temple to temple through the forehead, occasionally a neuralgic pain in a small circumscribed spot of the left parietal bone ; but his greatest trouble was an abominable coating of the tongue, which was at least one line in thickness, and had a most horrid appearance; when I saw it for the first time it positively sickened my stomach. That gentleman enjoyed for six months in succession the treatment of a distinguished homoeopathic physician, under which he got worse instead of better. I cured him with the 200th and 300th potency of Aconite, bowels, head, tongue and all; his tongue now looks as clean as any man's.
Why should we close our eyes to such facts 1 No honest practitioner does, but alas! how few are there among us who are honest and devoted inquirers. Most physicians look upon themselves as accomplished artists, who cannot learn anything of anybody, and who ought to reject and deride the experience of their fellow-practitioners if it should at all appear strange and some exertions should be required in investigating and verifying it. How an experimental science is to be benefitted by such want of application and by so much impudent conceit, is difficult to understand. Fortunately the interests of true medicine are not jeopardized by the neglect of a few men, and, besides, there are plenty of brave men in the homoeopathic ranks who will never shrink from fulfilling their high trust.
The character of the disease, which we are called upon to treat, is likewise an important consideration in the selection of the dose. Erethism and torpor cannot possibly be treated with the same dose. In a state of erethism the vital functions are carried on with great rapidity, and require for their regulation the higher! potencies; in torpor, on the contrary, the vitality is very much depressed, and requires to be roused into reaction by larger and stronger doses. Inflammatory and spasmodic affections soon show a favourable reaction after the use of high potencies, etc.
The magnitude of the dose is also determined by the seat of the disease, for the greater the sensitiveness of the affected organ, the smaller ought to be the dose, and vice versa. In general we may lay it down as a rule, that affections of the vegetative system, unless they are of a decidedly inflammatory nature, require larger doses, as do likewise affections of the mucous membranes.
The intensity with which the drug of its own nature is prone to act, seems to require a particular consideration in determining the dose. It is true that in his later years Hahnemann and the admirers of the highest potencies have overlooked that rule. What a difference there is in respect to the intensity of action between Sambucus, Viola-odorata, Verbascum, Leontodon, Euphrasia, Dulcamara, Crocus, etc., and Belladonna, Arsenic, Rhus Phosphorus, Corr. subl., Lachesis, Pso-ricum, and many more.
Does not the affinity of certain remedies to certain organs require a particular consideration? Undoubtedly it does. The more homoeopathic the remedy is to the disease, the smaller ought to be the dose. Sulphur is a specific to many diseases where its best effects are exhibited by the high attenuations, whereas in scabies repeated doses of a lower potency do more good than the higher attenuations. In many catarrhal diseases to which Dulcamara is a specific, the lower potencies of that drug will do more good than the higher. Rheumatic paralysis for which Bellad. is indicated, requires a much stronger dose than encephalitis. In inflammatory fevers large doses of Aconite may be given when it is not homoeopathic to the local inflammation; whereas, if this homoeopath-icity exist, the higher potencies of Aconite are required.
* The best means to relieve the organism of the influence of such medicinal poisons is the hydropathic treatment, which ought to precede the homoeopathic treatment.-Hempel.
In some cases the higher potencies of the specific remedy are without any effect; this makes it necessary that we should employ the lower attenuations except when there is a peculiar idiosyncrasy toward one or the other remedy, as is known to be the case with Nux, Arnica, Crocus, China, Mercurius,* of which the higher attenuations are required in all such cases.
If in prescribing a remedy, we consider carefully the various conditions which have been indicated in the foregoing paragraphs, we shall in most cases be enabled to give a dose which will be just sufficient to excite the necessary curative reaction in the affected organ. From all this we see that the dose ought to be strong or weak according to the nature of the case, and that even a weak dose may yet produce an exacerbation of the symptoms. This exacerbation, however, is not a necessary occurrence, since it frequently happens that the patients, instead of experiencing an exacerbation of the symptoms, feel a peculiar quietude, a disposition to sleep; sometimes even they fall into a sound sleep which lasts a longer or shorter space of time and is generally very refreshing, and from which the patients sometimes wake cured, if the nature of the case admit of such a speedy change. Both the medicinal aggravation and the soothing effect of the remedy are sure proofs to the homoeopathic physician that the remedy is well chosen. Although that remarkable phenomenon occurs both in acute and chronic diseases, yet it is seen much more frequently in affections characterized by a morbid excitement of the organic life, especially when the higher organs are involved, in nervous irritation, spasms of every kind, erethism of the vascular system, including pure inflammation, erethism of the lower organs, such as the mucous membranes, glands, bones, etc. (but much less frequent in the latter), in irregularity of the sleep. Children, in whom the vegetative system prevails, are especially apt to sleep after taking the true homoeopathic specific.*
* I have had a female patient who could not take Aconite or Digitalis, which she required to take for a nervous disorder, without experiencing a most distressing nausea, which would sometimes be felt even after taking the 200th potency. Whenever her nervous system had become excited by fright or by other causes which seemed to require the administration of Aconite, she expressed an utter aversion to Aconite. Coffea soothed her in a moment. - Hempel.