The human body appears to admit of being much more powerfully affected in its health by medicines (partly because we have the regulation of the dose in our own power) than by natural morbid stimuli – for natural diseases are cured and overcome by suitable medicines.1
1 The short duration of the action of the artificial morbific forces, which we term medicines, makes it possible that, although they are stronger than the natural diseases, they can yet be much more easily overcome by the vital force than can the weaker natural diseases, which solely in consequence of the longer, generally lifelong, duration of their action (psora, syphilis, sycosis), can never be vanquished and extinguished by it alone, until the physician affects the vital force in a stronger manner by an agent that produces a disease very similar, but stronger to wit a homoeopathic medicine. The cures of diseases of many years’ duration (§ 46), by the occurrence of smallpox and measles (both of which run a course of only a few weeks), are processes of a similar character.
The inimical forces, partly psychical, partly physical, to which our terrestrial existence is exposed, which are termed morbific noxious agents, do not possess the power of morbidly deranging the health of man unconditionally1; but we are made ill by them only when our organism is sufficiently disposed and susceptible to attack of the morbific cause that may be present, and to be altered in its health, deranged and made to undergo abnormal sensations and functions – hence they do not produce disease in every one nor at all times.
1 When I call a disease a derangement of man’s state of health, I am far from wishing thereby to give a hyperphysical explanation of the internal nature of disease generally, or of any case of disease in particular. It is only intended by this expression to intimate, what it can be proved diseases are not and cannot be, that they are not mechanical or chemical alterations of material substance of the body, and not dependant on a material morbific substance, but that they are merely spirit-like (conceptual) dynamic derangements of the life.
But it is quite otherwise with the artificial morbific agents which we term medicines. Every real medicine, namely, acts at all times, under all circumstances, on every living human being, and produces in him its peculiar symptoms (distinctly perceptible, if the dose be large enough), so that evidently every living human organism is liable to be affected, and, as it were, inoculated with the medicinal disease at all times, and absolutely (unconditionally), which, as before said, is by no means the case with the natural diseases.
In accordance with this fact, it is undeniably shown by all experience1 that the living organism is much more disposed and has a greater liability to be acted on, and to have its health deranged by medicinal powers, than by morbific noxious agents and infectious miasms, or, in order words, that the morbific noxious agents possess a power of morbidly deranging man’s health that is subordinate and conditional, often very conditional; whilst medicinal agents have an absolute unconditional power, greatly superior to the former.
1 A striking fact in corroboration of this is, that whilst previously to the year 1801, when the smooth scarlatina of Sydenham still occasionally prevailed epidemically among children, it attacked without exception all children who had escaped it in a former epidemic; in a similar epidemic which I witnessed in Konigslutter, on the contrary, all the children who took in time a very small dose of belladonna remained unaffected by this highly infectious infantile disease. If medicines can protect from a disease that is raging around, they must possess a vastly superior power of affecting our vital force.