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.
* Materia Med. Pura, by Dr. Hempel, Vol. IV. + Annals of Horn. Clinique, Vol. 111., No. 2, p. 127. ++ Allg. hom. Zeit , Vol. I., p. 43. § Chronic Diseases, Vol. 1., by Dr. Hempel.
A sick organism is much more vividly affected by external disagreeable impressions than an organism in a state of perfect health, which may be left entirely undisturbed by those impressions. The sick organism being so easily irritated by the least disturbing causes, it requires on the other hand very little to affect it favourably. It is upon this fact that we account for the efficiency of homoeopathic doses. The homoeopathic agent and the morbid force disturbing the organism in a similar manner, their disturbing influence must be directed primarily against the same central point in the organism, and, in disease, that central focus must therefore be readily influenced by the homoeopathic agents, so that the natural irritation will be easily, thoroughly and permanently counterbalanced and effaced by the artificial influence.
Although Hahnemann has shown that the inherent power of a drug is only properly developed by the dynamizing process, yet we believe that the real dynamic force of the remedial agent begins to act only when it meets the central focus of the disease, to which the homoeopathic agent conjoins itself as the seed does to an appropriate soil; if that central focus be not met, the dynamis of the homoeopathic agent remains in a latent state and the disease goes on increasingly; or else the remedy may develope its own pathogenetic symptoms, which become engrafted upon the disease without any benefit to the patient. This takes place in cases where the remedy is not homoeopathic to the disease, where it covers a few symptoms only without corresponding to the fundamental charac-ter of the disease, or where the dose was too powerful or the patient's sensibility too great.
To avoid either of those results the homoeopathic physician ought to possess a perfect knowledge of disease, in order to be able to distinguish essential from accidental symptoms, but he ought likewise to possess a complete knowledge of the symptoms of our drugs, in order to be sure that the remedy he selects is the true homoeopathic specific. If those conditions are fulfilled, the curative reaction of the organism will seldom fail to be excited in such a degree as will lead to the restoration of the patient's health in the most expeditious and safest manner.
We, no more than Hahnemann, comprehend how medicines can act for so long a period; and yet we sometimes let them act much longer than Hahnemann did, and sometimes we give them more frequently, even the antipsorics, than he advises in the Chronic Diseases. On that subject we beg leave to record our opinion as follows:
It has already been mentioned that the action of the homoeopathic agent is seen most brilliantly when it bears directly upon the central focus of the disease, which must always occur when the remedy is the true homoeopathic specific. If the remedy be homoeopathic to the disease, the organic vital forces will be powerfully roused in opposition to the heterogeneous influence of the drug. The vital reaction being once excited and having succeeded in overcoming the artificial disturbance, it does not at once compose itself to a state of rest, but it continues active until the normal condition of the affected organs shall have been restored. It is for this reason that the curative reaction sometimes continues for weeks and months, provided the remedy was perfectly homoeopathic to the disease. The curative reaction lasts much longer in a chronic than in an 4 acute disease; the former being more deeply rooted than the latter. The duration of the curative reaction may be illustrated by the vibrations of a musical cord which continue long after the cause which excited them has ceased. It may likewise be illustrated by the fact that a long and progressively increasing disease may be excited by a momentarily existing cause ceasing the moment after its influence upon the organism has been established.
As regards Hahnemann's views about the selection of the remedy, they have been considerably changed by experience. He thought that the medicines which he had proved first were more suitable to acute and the so-called antipsorics to the chronic diseases.* Experience however, which is the safest guide in medicine, has convinced Hahnemann and all homoeopathic physicians that such a division of our remedies into antiphlogistics and antipsorics is not founded in Nature, inasmuch as the antipsorics are frequently used in acute diseases, such as Phosphorus, Acidum phosp., Carbo veg. in cholera morbus, and the antiphlogistics in chronic, such as Chamomilla in cardial-gia, Acidum hydroc, Verbascum in chronic affections of the larynx. Hahnemann being convinced that his former views on that subject required modification, he incorporated a number of his first remedies in the second edition of his Chronic Diseases.
In regard to the treatment of Chronic Diseases we refer to some observations which have been communicated in the second number of the eighth volume of the Archive, p. 33, and which are still valuable to the practitioner. We there read: "Every physician knows that chronic affections in their incipient stage are so little troublesome to patients that they do not consult their physicians until, after a very gradual and sometimes scarcely perceptible development, the affection breaks forth in an acute form, acute rheumatism, acute gout, etc. Although these acute-chronic affections depend no doubt upon a chronic miasm, yet it would not be advisable to treat them with antipsorics from the very commencement, for this reason, that the antipsorics frequently occasion a considerable aggravation of the symptoms in the first two weeks, which it is very difficult to counter-balance by other remedies. The vehemence of the acute attack ought in the first place to be allayed by a remedy which does not properly belong to the class of the antipsorics, and after the disease has been reduced again to its former condition, then the antipsoric treatment ought to commence. After having instituted a number of experiments in regard to the best mode of treating chronic diseases, we have adopted the following views in reference to that subject: Do not begin the treatment of every chronic disease with an antipsoric, but sometimes with one of the former remedies, especially when the disease had been successfully, and, as may hence be inferred, specifically treated with one of those remedies previous to the antipsorics being known. Among them the principal are the polychrests, some of which are equal to the antipsorics in the treatment of chronic diseases; we may mention Belladonna, Nux, Rhus, Staphys., Asa., Dulc, Mezereum, Sarsap., Ars., Coloc, Hepar, Anac, Clem., Puls., Ignat., etc.*