Open main menu

Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/2137

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

have been thus proved, and the exact use of any new drug can thus be easily ascertained. At the introduction of homœopathy it was the general practice of medical men who adopted the new theory to give medicines in the doses usually employed, but it was found that these acted too powerfully and caused aggravations, because the law of cure adopted led to the selection of a medicine which acted on exactly the tissues of the patient which were diseased, and it can be easily understood that a diseased tissue is much more sensitive than a healthy one, consequently a much smaller dose is necessary to act on a diseased than on a healthy tissue. Thus it is that small doses have become the rule in homœopathic practice. These remarks also dispose of the fallacy, often urged against homœopathy, of supposing that doses too small to harm the healthy, can do no good to the sick.

The Practice Supported.—"The proof of the pudding is in the eating," and the value of homœopathy has been proved in giving a much lower death-rate in all the most severe diseases, i.e., cholera, yellow fever, typhoid fever, small-pox, pneumonia, and lately in plague, than the allopathic method. The success of homoeopathy in cholera in Austria in 1836 led to the repeal of the law prohibiting its practice in that country. And if it can more successfully combat such severe diseases as those mentioned, it can more successfully combat also mild ones.

Preparation of Homœopathic Medicines.—These are supplied in pilules, tinctures, or tablets. Soluble drugs are prepared homœeopathically by what is termed succussion or shaking, that is to say a mode of treatment which effects the dispersion of a drug through liquid, generally alcohol, until the drug is equally diffused through the whole of the liquid; and insoluble drugs by trituration, or rubbing up in some vehicle, generally sugar of milk, until the whole of the vehicle used is equally and thoroughly permeated by it. It is argued that the active power of any drug is enormously increased by this so-called extension of surface, as mercury, which may be taken in large quantities almost with impunity, has its active properties marvellously increased by rubbing it up with some vehicle so as to procure its equal subdivision or, in other words, extension of surface. It is, then, from this extension of surface that homœopathic medicines derive their power and active properties. By the process of repeated sub-division dynamic properties of drugs are developed which are not obtained in the crude form, and thus many substances like flint, salt, chalk, which in their crude form are practically inert, become potent medicines.

The strongest preparation of each drug is called the "mother" (?) tincture or trituration, from which succeeding potencies are made, 1x, 2x, etc. (i.e., 1 in 10, 1 in 100, etc.), or 1, 2, 3 (representing dilutions 1 in 100, 1 in 10,000, etc.).

Great care is needed in the preparation of : homœopathic medicines, and it is consequently important to get them from a good source,