The well accomplished cure of a case of cerebro-spinal meningitis in the Homoeopathic Hospital at Leipzig, by the use of Zincum cyanatum, brings the question to our mind, if the use of such compound remedies [as is of late frequently done on the part of homoeopathic physicians] is in accordance with the principles of homoeopathy, which tell us that to cure diseases only such remedies should be used as had been proven on healthy persons. And may we adopt such substances as Arsen. jodat., Stibium arsenic., Ammonium brom., Calcarea brom., Ferrum hydrobrom., Natrum subsulph., etc., as our remedies?
The strict followers of Hahnemann will decidedly deny this question. They will argue that the remedies in this composition had not been tried on healthy persons, and that it had not been proven that they unite in themselves the effects of both proven substances, of which they consist, in the same manner in which the trials revealed them. They will be placed in the same category with the so-called double remedies, once so severely rejected. Besides this, it will be argued, that there is no need of them, and moreover, that the proven remedies in our possession are sufficient for the cure of all curable diseases, if given in the proper doses and in accordance with the circumstances. To do this, a most thorough knowledge of remedies is necessary.
Acknowledging that adhering to the principles established by Hahnemann is a vital condition of homoeopathy, it is nevertheless not necessary that we should ruthlessly reject a new idea which originated within those principles, though it might vary from the letter thereof, if it only promises to contribute toward the advancement of Hahnemann’s doctrine. We have considered it our duty to examine in the most impartial manner every new idea of this kind as to its value and its claims on homoeopathy.
We have acknowledged the empiricism of Rademacher, the enlargement and revision of the same from the pen of Weihe by means of his doctrine of epidemic remedies and the points of pain, the biochemistry of Schussler, as being related to homoeopathy, and well calculated for the furtherance of the same.
We have gladly welcomed and pursued with interest all works of Prof. Jager, our indefatigable, brave co-worker, as far as they contribute to a better foundation and understanding of Hahnemann’s doctrine. We have as far as possible brought to the knowledge of our readers all publications of the entire medical literature, which confirmed the truth of similia similibus. In short, we have made an effort to keep aloft from that orthodoxy which hinders all progress, and which ultimately leads to a standstill and to annihilation.
This standpoint we shall also take towards the use of compound metallic remedies of a more recent day. Hahnemann himself has sanctioned them by taking Hepar s.c., the different preparations of Mercury, Ammonium mur. and others, among his homoeopathic medicines, even if he demanded a previous proving on healthy persons. The fulfillment of this condition was in those days not very difficult by reason of their limited number. But since the progressing chemistry of later days is capable of producing such medical substances in larger numbers, it is almost impossible to keep pace with it. We would consider it an unjust adherence to principles for principle’s sake, if we should deprive us of the advantages which are connected with the use of the same.
We admit that we, by doing this, do not conform to Hahnemann’s positive demand of experiment; but we dispute the violation of homoeopathic principles thereby.
The question at issue is only a different use of the material gained by experiments on healthy persons, not the recommendation of remedies which have been invented by this one or that one at the sick-bed as therapeutic. We should decidedly protest against the adoption of such into homoeopathy, since by doing so we would leave the firm ground already gained, and the doctrine of Hahnemann would soon entirely disappear.
Those who consider mechanically looking for symptoms the only true and all-sufficient way will not agree with us.
But we dare to assert openly that this would not answer in all cases; each of us who considers this question seriously will have to confess that he has experienced this. Hahnemann admitted this in his treastise of chronic diseases. Medical science cannot be based simply upon arithmetic. We cannot dispense with mental activity as to combination and speculation, if it shall not be lowered to a common trade, as particularly v. Grauvogl has laid it down with energy in his work. But it must under all circumstances be maintained that this speculative mental activity can only be based upon facts, which have been gained by experiment.
In connection with our argument, therefore, the use of compound metallic remedies is only justified if done on the principle of similia similibus and the existing medical proving. The use of Mercurius cyanatus against dyphtheria by Drs. Beck and v. Villers, Sen., in Petersburg, has broken the road in this respect. An examination of Mercurius cyanatus as a single medical body did not exist, but one of Mercurius and of Acid hydrocyanic. These two provings offered almost the complete picture of severe diphtheria, so that the thought suggested itself to unite them in one medicinal body and to try their curative power against said disease.
The experiment was rewarded with a splendid result, which since has repeated itself in thousands of cases, and has forced our opponents – though against their will – to recognize it. That this process in homoeopathic has, as far as we know, never been contradicted. Why should not two medicinal bodies, united in one, do in other cases what the union of these two remedies in one body has accomplished? There is no reasonable cause against it, and the experience at the sick-bed has given numerous proofs of the correctness of this treatment. We do not hesitate, therefore, to recognize an addition to our medicines in these compound metallic remedies.
But we would like to guard against the dangerous error, that by the use of these, our old well-tried remedies would gradually become superfluous, and that the tiresome study of the same be unnecessary. One would thereby commit the folly to neglect an old valuable acquisition for a new one, however much the latter might promise. My caeterum censeo therefore stands good.
(Translated from Allg. Hom. Zeit., bd. 118, No. 19, in the Homoeopathic Recorder, July, 1889, Vol. IV, No. 4, page 156.)