We have so long been accustomed to consider the most prominent symptom attending any form of disease to be the disease itself, to destroy which all our efforts should be employed, that it will be somewhat difficult to present the subject in a true light, and be clearly understood.
The belief generally prevails, that each form of disease has a specific remedy, the knowledge of which may be obtained by study or experience. But I ask what specific remedy has the medical faculty discovered for any form of disease ? Have they a remedy for fever ? If so, why let it run three or four weeks ?--for consumption ? if so, why so many die ?--for dropsy ? if so, why fail to cure in nearly every instance ?--for dyspepsia ? if so, why send patients to the salt water, or some fashionable place of resort? Perhaps we must admit that the four thousand years' experience and study of the learned and wise have made the discovery that brimstone will cure the itch some times; but we are not quite sure that this discovery was not made by some old lady !
The reason why so much unwearied effort, so much experimenting, so much hard study and close thinking, as has been bestowed on this subject, has not led to the discovery of a cure for disease, is that, in their eagerness to grasp some mysterious theory, far above the comprehension of the unlearned, to discover some far-fetched and dear-bought remedy; they have overlooked plain, simple truth, that lies directly in their path, over which they have stumbled into darkness and error. They have trampled under feet the simple plants of nature's garden, and ransacked the bowels of the earth for poisons that would operate scientifically. But so long as the physical system is under the control of established laws, so long will such remedies fail to accomplish the object of medical science, viz. to prevent and cure disease.
We have said that disease was obstructed or diminished vital action, exhibiting different symptoms, according to the extent of the obstruction, the importance of the organs affected, and the vigor of constitution, etc., caused by a violation of the physical laws of our natures; the effects of which are fever, consumption, rheumatism, etc.
One or more of the following indications should be accomplished in the cure of every form of disease, viz.,relaxation, contraction, stimulation, soothing, nutrition, and neutralization. These indications assist nature in her efforts to remove obstructions, and regain lost energy.
The only remedial agents necessary to be used in the cure of any form of disease, are those that are innocent in themselves, acting in harmony with the laws of nature.
In order to make the subject plain, simple, and intelligible to all, we shall give a description of the roots, plants, barks, and other remedial agents and processes used in accomplishing the necessary indications, under the head of " Materia Medica;" also a description of a general process adapted to the cure of nearly every form of disease, with some variations; usually termed a "Course Of Medicine." And for the satisfaction of those who may expect to find each form of disease, as classed by regular physicians, treated upon separately, we will do so in a brief but plain manner.