Difference from Homoeopathy.
The question has been asked, "In what does your theory of specific medication differ from homoeopathy?" The question is a pertinent one, and I will endeavor to answer it briefly.
The law, similia similibus, upon which the Homoeopathic practice is based, is defined in two ways. One contends that the drug, used for cure, "produces the essential morbid condition" when proven in health. The other, "that it produces similar symptoms," but not the exact pathological condition.
The truth in this law of similia similibus, is, that certain agents, called medicines, act on particular organs, parts, and functions of the human body in a uniform manner. They act equally on the organ, part, or function, in health and disease; and thus acting in health, they produce such change in the phenomena of life as to render the action sensible to the person—symptoms. If an agent directly and uniformly produces an influence upon a particular part, it is more likely to be used as a remedy in disease of that part than another which does not influence the part at all.
Remedies are, therefore, those agents which directly and uniformly influence an organ, part, or function. The question then comes up, are they remedies because "they will produce a similar state of disease," or because they are opposed to diseased action?
The Homoeopaths will not admit any explanation of their law of similia. The remedy is a remedy because it will produce the exact diseased condition, or at least the exact symptoms of such condition.
I contend that a drug is a specific remedy : first, because it influences uniformly and directly the part or function diseased; and second, because it opposes such diseased action. I would, therefore, write the law of cure opponens opponenda, instead of similia similibus.
I find a late authority in Homoeopathy agrees with me in this. Dr. v. Grauvogl, in his "Lehrbuch Der Homoeopathy," says:—"The conception of a specific remedy expresses the mutual relation existing between it and parts of the organism, which has to be ascertained empirically by physiological provings of drugs. For some part of the organism is in a relation of immunity, for other parts of attraction, for others again one of repulsion, and always vice versa. For instance, there is a specific form of fever and ague which, for these very reasons, is cured by Quinine, a dose or quantity of Quinine being given which corresponds to the intensity of the attack."
Again with reference to the dose of medicines: "All we have to do is to determine, independently of all subjective persuasions and incomprehensibilities, what quantity of a substance is necessary in order to produce in any morbidly affected part of the organism a chemical or physical counter-movement of equal intensity, and in an opposite direction to the movement originated by the morbific cause, with a view of arresting, or at least, retarding this latter, and finally discontinuing it altogether by repeating the dose. * * * The problem is simply to determine what remedial movement quantities will antagonize as their equivalent the movements that had been excited by the morbific agent; for the measure of the force is the effect, nothing else. To solve this problem we have the natural law according to which quantity contains the measure of the movement and counter-movement; consequently for therapeutic purposes, the correct dose consists in a quantity of force of the indicated quality which is equal to the quantity of force of the morbific agent, and in its movements runs in a contrary direction to the quality of the latter."
In ordinary practice, whether it be Old School or Eclectic, there is no principle or law of cure. Remedies are not given because they are opposed to or agree with diseased action, but simply because they have been previously used with reputed good success. It is, in fact, pure empiricism. The old dogma of phlogosis and antiphlogistics, and the new doctrine of impaired vitality and restorative medication, guides the empirical use of remedies in the one or other direction.