The object of the author in writing this book, was to give to the medical profession a work on materia medica and therapeutics with reference to the primary and secondary action of drugs as well as to the physiological action. To write an entirely original work on the subject embodied in this is an impossibility. By drawing from the best works at command and adding such original matter as the author has found of special value, a condensed volume of much practical value to the busy and thoughtful physician is herewith presented. In a work of this nature a few words of explanation are not only advisable, but a positive necessity. In this age of progress the progressive spirit demands a recognition of all that is good. More and more the intelligent practitioner realizes that medicine is a science. If we make mistakes it is not the fault of the science of medicine but of ourselves. The Eclectic school of medicine realized this long ago.
It is the school that was born under the stars and stripes, one that has gradually worked its way upwards, and we can now with pride point to the fact that our system is the most successful. The old school uses drugs for their physiological action, the homeopath for their primary action only. We, as a school, realized that the dosage of the old school of medicine generally is too large, and, for that reason, we use many remedies for their mild physiological or secondary action, while others we use for their primary effects. The Eclectic knows that many drugs are of value in the practice of medicine only in their secondary form; others again are too strong for medical purposes in this form and are only used for their primary effect. Again, other drugs have marked medical virtue in both their primary as well as secondary form. Should the progressive up-to-date physician ignore the value of a drug in its primary form because he has only used it in the secondary form, or vice versa? A drug must be studied in its entirety. The sooner the sectarian study of drugs is eliminated from medicine, and the sooner it is understood that the smallest dose with which it is possible to get an effect is to be preferred to large and irritating or depressing doses, the sooner it will be understood that medicine is a science. Should we condemn nux vomica, belladonna, glonoine and other useful remedies in their secondary form, when they are often our best friends in need?
Should we condemn arsenicum 12x; carbo vex 12x; colocynthis end; veratrum album end and others, when in emergency they are often our main reliance?
We should study the basic indications for all, and if they are plain we shall not be disappointed whether they point to the primary or secondary form. The study of drugs can be much simplified by comparison in general and in those that have an apparent dual action by using the physiological action basic symptoms as a key to the basic indications for the drug in its primary and secondary form. The following will serve as an illustration of the dual action of a drug where there is medical virtue both in the primary and secondary form. By getting the basic symptoms of the physiological action it is easy to know what the indications are for the drug in its primary and secondary form, viz.:
Glonoine: Physiological basic indication: Marked cerebral engorgement; face becomes very red, throbbing carotids and a general feeling of fullness in head followed by severe headache; cannot bear hat on; warmth or heat aggravates condition. Bending head backwards aggravates headache.
Secondary basic indications: In temporary cerebral anemia, anemic headache which is relieved by bending head backwards. Head may feel cool and warmth ameliorates to some extent. In sudden collapse, sunstroke, etc.
Primary basic indications: In the 12th dilution or higher. Flushed face with marked cerebral engorgement, throbbing carotids, which may be accompanied or followed by headache; cannot bear to have pressure or weight on bead: wants head uncovered, least jar aggravates headache. Warmth or heat will increase headache
As can be readily seen, the physiological action is our key to its primary and secondary use. The basic physiological symptoms are the indication for the drug in its primary form. In the secondary we have the reverse instead of engorgement there is anemia of the brain, etc
The selection of guiding indications on the basis of the physiological action is not outlined in this work; but above will serve as guide in the study of those drugs that have a dual action in medicine. No matter if we deal with remedies that have a dual action or not the basic indications should be learned. These can often be best memorized by comparison with another drug whose action is the reverse, or at least some of the leading indications are. The reason that the writer has given the treatment of some diseases and conditions, both in Part I and II, is that the general forms of treatment for those special conditions have been so much more satisfactory than others with the writer, that it almost appears to be a duty to give a short outline of the same. This is the only excuse I have for making these digressions in a Materia Medica and Therapeutics.
As the reader will see, this work is divided into two parts. Part one is devoted to drugs and their indications as used by the Eclectic school of medicine. Part two is devoted to the use of drugs in their primary form, mostly in potencies, except in a few instances where tinctures are specified. In the preparation of this work the writer has freely consulted all the best works on the subjects of our school of medicine as well as many others. However, those which deserve special credit are Ellingwood, Scudder, Webster, Locke, Watkins and H. B. Nash.
In the hope that this work will prove what it was intended to be, a guide for students and a handy reference book for the busy practitioner,
I am fraternally,
F. J. PETERSEN, M.D.