Homeopathic Family Practice
Homoeopathic Family Practice
Having prepared the way for an intelligent understanding of the working of human body in health, we now pass on to a study of it in diseased conditions. Preliminary to it we include herein an introduction to the same, as well as a brief narrative of the master, his life and his achievements.
Drugs: We often hear of the words ‘medicine’, ‘drug’, ‘remedy’ and also of the phrase, ‘Practice of Medicine’. It is important to have a clear conception of the terms. A drug is an original, simple substance, organic or inorganic, which when used on our system, in health, can produce illness; and, when used correctly in illness, can restore us to health. Opium, Arsenic, Mercury, etc., may be cited as examples. A medicine usually refers to a substance taken internally when we are ill and may be a simple original substance or a combination of one or more of them. A remedy is anything that can counteract or remove any defect in our health, and it includes spells, charms, fetish, etc. Practice of Medicine is that branch of the healing art, which seeks to cure diseases by other means than surgical.
What is Homoeopathy: Many people have an idea that medicines have the property of healing diseases and that they have no intrinsic action of their own on our system when taken in health. But the fact is that almost every medicinal agent, when taken in health, produces its own individual symptoms. Thus when an overdose of Arsenic is taken, vomiting, purging and thirst set in; when an overdose of Opium is ingested, it induces constipation, stupor etc. Now, there are certain diseases too, in the course of which we meet with similar symptoms. For example, in cholera we get incessant vomiting and purging with much thirst; in certain diseased conditions we get ‘coma’, or a state of deep unconsciousness and oftentimes constipation too. A homoeopath seizes hold of these two things— (a) the symptoms produced by a drug on a healthy man’s system, and (b) the various symptoms produced in course of several diseases; and intelligently fits in the two, finding out the largest number of their points of contact; and he does something—he uses a very tiny dose of a drug. A homoeopath for example, face to face with a case of cholera, will select a very small dose of arsenic, as soon as he meets with the. symptoms—incessant vomiting, purging, insatiable thirst. The three cardinal points of homoeopathy, thus are—
- Use of medicines, the totality of whose symptoms are similar to (but not necessarily the same as) those produced by the disease in question
- Use of a single drug at a time; and
- Use of minimum
Age of Homoeopathy: The law of ‘Similia Similibus Curentur’ on the ‘Law of Similars’ was accepted by the Hindus in their ancient medical works as it would be evidenced by the following expressions from the Nidana
समः समं शमयति हेतुव्र्याधि विपय्र्यवस्त विपय्यर्पस्त्र्थकारिणां
विषस्य विषमौषधम् ।
The Greeks too accepted this great law; but it remained for the great Hahnemann to plant for all times the immortal standard of the ‘Law of Similars’ more than two centuries ago.
Life of Hahnemann: The great apostle of the ‘Law of Similars’ was Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann. He was bom on 10th April, 1755, in the town of Meissen in Saxony (Germany). His father was a porcelain painter and young Samuel had to assist his father in the daytime and learn his lessons at night. Under such difficulties he pursued his studies of Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, Latin, Italian, Spanish, Syrian, French, German and English languages and gained his laurels in medicine and chemistry. “One small head carried all that he knew—and his prodigy of erudition easily acquired the pseudonym ‘Dophelkopf’— i.e., a double-headed prodigy of erudition and genius. In his 24th year he won his M.D. degree and in 1782 he married Henrietta Kuchler, an accomplished German lady. He was then appointed Senior Surgeon to the Dresden Hospital, which he quit for private practice in a small village near Leipzic. This he threw up in disgust, bom of uncertainty, of the action of the medicines then in use. He turned to his chemical studies and eked out a meagre living by translating scientific works into the German language. There was illness among the children in his family and as an agonostic in the medicines of the day, he let them suffer in silence rather than treat his darlings with the uncertain medicines.
Oh, the suspense, the fearful and agonising suspense, of sitting idle by the side, while the lives of those he so dearly loved trembled in the balance! Yet he did not lose heart. For he believed that in His providence God has surely remedies for his sickening sons and for suffering humanity at large. And he simply patiently waited for the time when God would reveal the remedies to him.
And the opportunity was not slow in coming. In 1790 while he was translating into German Cullen’s Materia Medica, amongst others, he came across Cinchona or the Peruvian Bark and noticed properties of it somewhat antagonistic to each other. And arguing by analogy, that Cinchona cured ague, he thought that Cinchona might give rise to ague like symptoms, if taken in health. He began to try its effects of Cinchona on his own system to be convinced that it produced symptoms similar to those of ague. This led him to try in succession several other drugs on his system and all these trails revealed to him the welcome truth of “Similia Similibus Curentur” Thus, like the discovery of ‘Law of Gravitation’ by Newton, Hahnemann easily discovered the law of similars.
In 1796 he published his researches in the foremost medical journal of the time, the Hufeland’s Journal; it made a stir and brought him devoted friends and implacable but interested enemies. Nothing daunted, in 1805 he published the “Fragmenta De Viribus” in Latin the Homoeopathic Materia Medica, containing the “provings”(Provings are records of symptoms produced on the healthy body by single drug taken internally.) of twenty seven remedies; and in 1810 came out his immortal “Organon”, a very learned disquisition on homoeopathy and a slashing exposition of the rottenness of such barbarous modes of treatment as blood-letting, unfortunately too much in evidence at that time. All these achievements won him the newly founded chair on Homoeopathy at the Liepzic University which he occupied from 1812 to 1821, with credit alike to himself and to the chair, but his enemies and prosecutors ultimately hounded him out of Leipzic in 1821 into the humble town of Kothen. Here unexpected good fortune awaited him. During the fourteen years of his sojourn here, he won Royal favour by his professional skill and as a Royal Physician as well as a general practitioner, his skill was very widely appreciated. In 1828 he published his “Chronischen Krankhoiten”—which very easily earned for him world-wide fame.
To Hahnemann goes the credit of realizing the potentisation that drugs undergo while being divided and subdivided, in the process of trituration etc. Recent scientific researches have proved that when a chemical compound is dissolved in a large quantity of any solvent, or triturated or agitated, a dissociation of its molecules occurs and electrical energy develops in the solution: the originally inert chemical acquires thereby a force, the possibilities of which are immense (see Medical Era, 1901). With a prophetic vision, the great Hahnemann described these changes in his Organon hundred years ago as the theory of potentisation or dynamization. He was led to his discovery by noticing how drugs in large doses (doses that were, and even now are, considered medicinal by allopaths) at first aggravated diseases and then cured them.
The rest of his life is a melancholy-reading. In 1830 he became a widower, and in his 80th year he led to the alter Madame Melanie, an accomplished and rich French lady, who had silently learnt to admire Hahnemann when the latter was practising at Kothen. This lady was instrumental in getting Hahnemann to divide his princely fortune into a small portion of Rs. 30,000 for their own maintenance, the rest, which included a sum of over a lakh of rupees and two magnificently furnished palatial buildings, going over to Hahnemann’s children by his first wife. On 2nd July, 1843 Hahnemann breathed his last. His remains were interred in the Montmartre cemetery being transferred, in 1899, to Pere-la-chaise. In 1851 a brass statue was erected to him at Lepizic. He was a monotheist.
Triumph of Homoeopathy: Hahnemann is dead but his work lives. Today Germany, France, Austria, Italy, England, America vie with each other in their appreciation of Homoeopathy. In the United States of America alone, there are 102 Homoeopathic Hospitals accommodating at least 6,2500 inmates—all undergoing daily Homoeopathic treatment.
So far as India is concerned in 1835, Dr. Honigberger, a German, the Court physician of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the Lion of Punjab, made abortive attempts to introduce Homoeopathy in India. In 1851, Dr. Tonnere, a French man, the first Health Officer of Calcutta, made a similar attempt, but failed. Then we meet with a host of honoured names as the pioneers of Homoeopathy in Bengal. They are—Babu Rajendra Lal Dutta (of Bow-Bazar), Dr. Berigny, Pandit Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar, c.i.e. and his brother Dinabandhu Nyayaratna Babu Binod Bihary Bannerjee, Nobo Gopal Ghose, Shashi Bhusan Biswas, Kali Krishna Mitra (the sage of Barasat), Prof. Pyari Charan Sarkar, M.A., Dr. Mahendralal Sarkar, M.D., D.L., D.I.E.; Dr. Behari Lal Bhadhuri and Babu Bhudeb Mukherjee, C.I.E., Revd. Father Muller of the Deccan and Babu Loknath Mitra of Varanasi, deserving equal praise for the local effort. The Revds. Father Muller lived to found only a Homoeopathic Dispensary, but also a Refuge for the Homeless, Plague Hospital, Leprosy Hospital etc. His labours were many sided, for which he was honoured both by the Government of India and by H.I.M the Kaiser of Germany (Vide Catholic Times, 9th August 1907 and Statesman, 22nd November, 1910).
History has chronicled few such bloodless victories here or anywhere. No triumph has been so singularly beneficent, so broad-based on the peoples’ will or so abiding. And no wonder: for, the master lived a martyr’s life— exposing himself, now to the inactive tongue of slander, now to the killing effects of chill penury, and geopardising his life itself in the magnificently conceived daring attempts at proving the poisonous drugs with the zeal of a crusader. May his mantle fall on us and his life be to us a source of perceptual inspiration and joy.