The Eclectic Materia Medica.
No man in our school is more competent to present the status of our materia medica than the editor of the Medical Gleaner. In a recent article be makes some statements which I feel every one should read. I quote as follows: "To one not familiar with the eclectic materia medica, it would appear like vain boasting to assume that we have the richest materia medica extant. Yet we believe an unbiased judgment must accord with eclecticism such a possession. How it has become such, would form an interesting chapter, but space permits of but a few words.
Edward Dowden, in his "History of French Literature" has written of a great writer: "To present Victor Hugo in a few pages is to carve a colossus on a cherry stone. To tell why the Eclectic Materia Medica is the richest extant would be like a task. Four causative factors are very evident however. The eclectic investigators began. their investigations in the field and forest and ended them at the bedside. Laboratory works solely could never have arrived at the results which have made ours a rich materia medica.
The eclectic has never been content to study but one plant of a botanical family, upon the assumption that all species of the same genus possess only the same or similar properties, with no other variation than that of degree. Theoretical clinical results from the application of these plant relatives, with supposedly similar properties, are riot borne out by actual bedside tests.
Again, the eclectic doctor has worked out his therapeutic problems himself, and this has not been the work of a pharmacist. The eclectic pharmacist has not evolved medicines and speculated as to their therapeutic action, and then offered them to the all-too-trusting doctor as positive agents for certain diseased conditions. It has been the doctor's business to determine the uses of a remedy; the pharmacist's duty to arrive at the greatest perfection in the preparation of the agent so discovered.
Lastly, the eclectic has always demanded honesty, quality and power in his medicines, and he sees to it that he gets them. As a rule he dispenses his own medicines, and knows reliable preparations when he sees them. He knows the integrity of eclectic medicines. He knows, too, that the Federal government has never had to lay its hands upon a standard eclectic medicine.
Ellingwood's Therapeutist, Vol. 2, 1908, was edited by Finley Ellingwood M.D.