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.
We have shown above that the first essential requisite of a cure is, a thorough investigation of all the perceptible symptoms of a disease. This investigation is so much more necessary as, according to Hahnemann, the symptoms which reflect the internal disease in a visible and tangible form are the only part of the disease which we can perceive with our senses and therefore know. If the symptoms are removed the disease no longer exists. We do not entirely admit this proposition as may be inferred from our mode of examining the patient; but as our object is not to remark upon Hahnemann's theories, we have contented ourselves with showing the mode of arriving at a correct diagnosis and at a knowledge of the specific means by which the disease will be most permanently and thoroughly cured.
We doubt, however, whether such a cure is possible in every case. How often is our treatment baffled by disorganizations which have lasted a sufficient length of time to produce functional disorders and an excessive irritation of the sensitive sphere; we may mention headache depending upon an exostosis of the cranium; epilepsy, occasioned by tubercles in the brain; dropsy, by organic degenerations; organic difficulties about the heart; cardialgia, and chronic vomiting, depending upon tubercles, cysts in the oesophagus, or carcinoma of the pyloric orifice; metrorrhagia, occasioned by carcinoma; haemoptysis, from disorganization of the lungs, etc.: all such affections are incurable under any treatment. Under this head belong exhaustion of the vital energies by marasmus, profuse evacuations, excessive exertions; diseases which set in with a sudden and overpowering violence, such as: hospital-typhus, pest, violent cases of poisoning; and we may lastly class under this category the unavoidable and permanent presence of hurtful influences, such as: grief from disappointed love, cares, chagrin, remorse, living in a climate which is injurious to the patient, etc.
We have already spoken of the necessity of investigating and, if possible, removing, the exciting cause of the disease, and we here allude to it again in order to impress that necessity upon the minds of our readers as emphatically as possible. Even when the exciting cause is no longer present and the disease goes on in its course, we ought to select our remedies with reference to it. To the examples which we have furnished above and which were principally intended to illustrate the fact that the remedial agent ought to be selected with a particular reference to the exciting cause, we subjoin a few more with a view of showing the necessity of submitting the patient to a particular diet, avoiding all those things which, although the patient may have been in the constant habit of using them, might injure the good effects of the specific remedy. If the physician is at the same time the friend of his patient-which he ought to be, inasmuch as the physician is initiated into all the secret cares and difficulties of his patient, - he may frequently do more good by a kind word, a consolation, or a friendly mediation, than by medicine; at any rate, the medicine which is administered by the hand of a friend, will do more good than a superficial, formal consultation. In some cases the cure may be facilitated by transferring the patient to a more wholesome abode, by changing the bed-chamber, taking off the corset or any other hurtful piece of dress, etc. The physician ought likewise to insist upon his patient correcting all bad habits, such as sitting crooked, eating too fast, swallowing food which is too hot, eating hot and cold things in rapid succession, excessive use of tobacco and snuff, indiscreet bathing, washing the head and eyes with cold water immediately after rising, sitting in a current of air, etc.
All injurious external influences have to be removed or neutralized before the real treatment of the disease can begin; and this treatment is to be based upon the principle "similia similibus," which is the only true law of healing and has now been confirmed by the experience of a vast number of the most acute and intelligent practitioners.
The specific treatment as we understand it in our school, consists in selecting a remedial agent the pathogenetic effects of which upon the healthy organism are similar to the symptoms of the natural disease. This is the homoeopathic law of cure, a law which is founded in nature and is the only true guide for the administration of such remedies as will secure a successful reaction of the organism. If we conceive the law "similia similibus" in its true scientific extent, we will at once be led to admit the necessity of not restricting the application of that law to the mere external symptoms; for there are diseases where those symptoms are wanting or so feeble that we are scarcely able to distinguish them, as may be the case when organs that are but poorly provided with nerves and are therefore not very sensitive, are the seat of the disease; or the symptoms of the original malady may be so deceptive that the concomitant sympathetic symptoms may be much more distinct than the former; or the symptoms of the. principal disease may be obscured by accidental violent complications. This shows that a mere comparison of the symptoms is not always sufficient to obtain a correct diagnosis and that it frequently requires a good deal of combination and reflection to attain a true and complete image of the disease with all its external and probable internal phenomena.
The selection of our remedial agents in accordance with the symptoms of the disease, is the great difference which exists between the old and new school. The greater the similarity of the symptoms; the more exactly the remedy corresponds to all the peculiarities of the disease; to the period when it makes its appearance; to the exacerbations and changes occurring in the course of the disease; to the mode how and the period when it disappears; to moral emotions, etc.: the safer, and the more certain and permanent is the cure. In comparing the symptoms of the malady with those of the remedial agent, the general symptoms are of not so much importance as the particular characteristic symptoms, for instance, whether the symptoms are aggravated or excited by motion; whether they are excited or gradually increased by rest, and whether they disappear again by motion; whether the symptoms are most violent in the morning, at noon, in the evening, night, etc.; whether they are modified by the cool open air or by warmth; whether a slight, apparently trivial occurrence, such as nausea, vomiting, a slight attack of rheumatism, etc., induces great prostration of strength, obliging one to lie down (we remind the reader of Ars., Verat., Ipec, Sec), etc. It is of the utmost importance for the selection of the true remedial agent that all those points should be carefully considered. We are frequently led to a knowledge of the specific agent by considering the relation which it holds to the peculiar moral or physical disposition, the temperament or sex of the patient, (Nux vom., Ignat., Puis., Sep., Phosph., etc.)