Open main menu

Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/2136

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

The Principle of Homœopathy.—It is possible that some persons may entertain an idea that the medicines given by the homœopathist would produce in a healthy person precisely the same diseases as those which they are given to counteract in any one suffering from disease. This is altogether erroneous, for the symptoms produced by any particular drug or medicine in a healthy person are only similar or like those resulting from the disease itself, and not in any way the same as the symptoms excited by the disease or identical with them. It must be noted that the great principle of homœopathy is that Likes cure likes, not that Identicals cure identicals, and this must never be lost sight of. The morbific matter, state or condition, call it which you will, which has caused the disease, or generated the sickly state into which the patient has lapsed, is counteracted and neutralized by the action of the drug which, in a healthy person, would produce symptoms similar to, but not identical with, those which are excited by the disease.

The Principle Supported—The principle of homœopathy having been enunciated, it is now desirable to see if any results of general experience can be cited in its support. In the case, for example, of a severe burn, is it the custom to applycooling lotions or any substance that happens to be a good conductor of heat to the part affected? Certainly not, must be the reply; for although cooling applications of any kind may be soothing for a time and a source of comfort to the sufferer, it is well known that they tend to increase inflammation in the long run and to render the pain of the burn more acutely felt. Then the theory that, "Opposites are cured by opposites," does not hold good in this case.

No; but the contrary theory that "Likes are cured by likes" does most assuredly, for such burns are most quickly cured by the application of oil of turpentine or heated spirits of wine, both of which, when applied to the skin, cause a burning or tingling sensation, and by wrapping the part affected with wadding or cotton wool, which is a non-conductor of heat, and maintains warmth in the part burnt, preventing the access of air to it. Again, in cases of frost-bite the best thing to be done is to rub the part that is frost-bitten with snow, which is frozen water, and not to hold it to the fire or bathe it with warm water, which would spoil any chance that might otherwise exist of restoring the injured part to its former condition. Now what are these but direct evidence in favour of the homœopathic theory "Likes are cured by likes," and in opposition to the allopathic theory that "Opposites are cured by opposites."

The Practice of Homœopathy.—The homœopathic method of procedure with any drug is first to "prove" it on a number of healthy people, and so find out what symptoms it produces. These symptoms are called the "provings" of a drug, and they are a guide to the selection of that drug when produced by disease. All poisonings by drugs are of similar use to the homœopath, and the homœopathic materia medica is made up from these two sources. A large number of drugs