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.
* By antipsorics Hahnemann understands those remedies which he proved after the discovery of his psora theory and which are contained in the Chronic Diseases.
The reviewer of my first edition objects to the last proposition and would like to see it altered. Numerous experiments, however, have convinced me that my opinion is not altogether incorrect. Even before me many physicians have objected to any rigorous line of demarcation being drawn between antipsorics and the remedies for acute diseases; they have proposed that remedies should be administered with reference to the symptoms independently of that division. I propose the same thing, viz. that no remedy which has been known to act as a specific curative in a given disease, be discarded until we know a substitute for that remedy which will act still more specifically.
* Dulc, Mez., Sarsap., Ars , Coloc, Hepar, Anac, Clem., belong to the antipsorics.-Hempel.
It is an acknowledged fact that antipsorics are the best remedies for disorganizations and such affections as could not be cured by any of the non-antipsoric remedies, or when these are not indicated in the present case. In all such cases, the treatment ought to be commenced with Sulphur, the best preparation being the tincture of Sulphur, one dose a-day for 4, 6 or 8 days in succession, provided the Sulphur is at all indicated by a few or more symptoms, or the patient has a distinct recollection of having had the itch. The Sulphur may be continued until several symptoms make their appearance which the patient has not yet felt on any former occasion. After the action of the Sulphur has been distinctly perceived, it ought to be discontinued, and, as soon as the Sulphur has ceased to act, the patient ought to be given another antipsoric which is most homoeopathic to the symptoms. This will act with so much more certainty and success after the Sulphur has been given. This second antipsoric has likewise to be repeated, but less frequently than the Sulphur; the frequency of the repetition has to be left to the judgment of the physician. If a well-chosen antipsoric should not act as well as the physician had a right to expect, he then may again recur to a few doses of Sulphur to secure a more favourable reaction, and afterwards give the next suitable antipsoric; in this way the Sulphur may have to be repeated two, three or four times during an antipsoric treatment. In spite of this truly scientific proceeding in the treatment of inveterate diseases, especially when disorganizations have already occurred, the physician sometimes fails in accomplishing anything, and the disease goes on in its course. Under these circumstances the dose has to be increased, which is sometimes the only means left to benefit the patient.*
In the treatment of acute diseases, success depends entirely upon the proper selection of the homoeopathic agent; but there are cases in which the ordinary specifics have no effect. This deficient action of the remedial agents frequently depends upon an impoverished vital force, or upon an excess of vital energy in one or the other part of the disturbed organism, owing to which the curative reaction is either entirely or at least partially prevented; in such cases the patient is first to be mesmerized, after which the homoeopathic specific, which would not act before, will become a most efficient agent. Sometimes the want of action depends upon a latent dyscrasia having been excited by the acute disease, which requires a suitable antipsoric to be again reduced to a latent state. Sulphur is generally the best antipsoric to be employed for such purposes, it removes the symptoms which had appeared in company with the acute disease, or, at any rate, it restores the original character of the acute disease, and enables the previously employed remedy to exhibit its full action.
* Under these circumstances the most marked success has been obtained from the highest potencies. - Hempel.
The following observations relative to the treatment of acute affections may conclude our general remarks about the homoeopathic treatment of disease. If no change of symptoms occur two, or at most four, hours after the dose has been taken by the patient-provided the dose was of sufficient magnitude-this is a certain sign that the remedy is not homoeopathic to the disease, and that another more suitable remedy requires to be selected. But if an improvement commences a few hours after the taking of the first dose, if the consciousness becomes freer, the sleep is more quiet, the skin moist, no other dose or remedy ought to be given until the improvement ceases.
In acute diseases where life is in the most imminent jeopardy, the medicine may be repeated every fifteen minutes, half hour, hour, or every two, or three hours, provided the physician is sure of having selected the proper remedy. This frequency of repetition is especially admissible in inflammatory affections, asthmatic complaints, typhoid fevers, dysentery, cholera and diseases of a similar kind, etc. The attenuation ought, of course, neither be too high nor too low.
We now come to mention the fifth fundamental principle of homoeopathy, which is just as important as it is characteristic of our practice; it is this, that no more than one remedy at a time ought ever to be given. By mixing several remedies together, in old school fashion, the peculiar effects of each are easily disturbed, or even neutralized, or a compound effect results from that mixture which it is impossible to determine a priori, and which we can only ascertain by proving the mixture upon the healthy organism. This, however, will probably not be undertaken as long as there are simple remedies left of which the physiological action upon the organism remains yet to be ascertained. If the homoeopathic physician were to recommend, in company with the homoeopathic agent the use of herb-tea, herb-bags, fomentations, injections or ointments composed of medicinal herbs, he would commit the same mistake which we censure in old-school practice, and he could not rely upon the effect of the small homoeopathic doses.