Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/170

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The method for making fluid dilutions is the same, but instead of sugar of milk alcohol is used. The scrapings and triturations are exchanged for shakes of the bottle in certain directions. Toward the close of his life Hahnemann reduced the number of his shakes. He says, "A long. experience and multiplied observations upon the sick lead me within the last few years to prefer giving only two shakes to medicinal liquids, whereas I formerly used to give ten."

Now to give one an idea of the potency of these drugs: to obtain a grain of the original substance in the third attenuation, one would have to swallow four hundred-weight of sugar; or, to get a drop of the original tincture, a barrel of alcohol would have to be imbibed. Now, this is only the third dilution. In the eighth dilution, to obtain a drop of the tincture the whole Atlantic Ocean full of alcohol would be necessary. Dr. Black, to whom I have referred, says he uses the first, third, sixth, ninth, up to the thirtieth dilution. Imagine the effect of one-drop doses of the thirtieth dilution! The finite mind can not comprehend the infinitesimal when thus expressed.

Homœopathy, although not yet deceased, retains hardly anything of its original character but the name. The efficacy of infinitesimal doses is doubted by the leaders of the school, and even the doctrine of slmilia similibiis curantur is not now considered universal. Dr. George Wild, Vice-President of the British Homœopathic Society, in a letter to the London "Lancet," June, 1877, says that he believes "palpable doses of medicine are generally more efficacious in the treatment of disease than infinitesimal ones." Also, that "some diseases are best treated by similars and some by contraries."

The third dogma, with regard to the psora, or itch, has been, since the discovery of the itch-insect, effectually disposed of forever. As Dr. Holmes remarks, "What there is left of the three-legged stool after one of its legs is pulled out, and the other two sawed half or three quarters through, seems hardly worth sitting down on."

The name homœopathy has a charm for the public, and so is retained to juggle with. When, in 1833, the edition of the "Organon" from which I have quoted was published, the translator, in the preface, mentioned that this new system of medicine was spreading through the Continent of Europe with the rapidity of lightning. In 1880, in an address read before the Institute of Homœopathy, in Milwaukee—"How can we best advance Homœopathy?"—the author says: "It can not be denied that homœopathy has not advanced, and is not advancing, as rapidly as we once had just and reasonable grounds for expecting. In Great Britain there are but two hundred and seventy-five homœopathic physicians, and in the United States there is not one legally recognized school of homœopathy." He concludes by saying that there seems to be everywhere stagnation, if not retrogression. Dr. Smyth, in his book on "Medical Heresies," mentions that a short time since the County Hospital, Sacramento, was in