But it is rather with the extension of Hahnemann’s Chronic Diseases that we are concerned to day.
His dicta in regard to the Venereal Diseases are now amply confirmed. They are no longer stumbling-block. His psora theory (so long a rock of offence to his most loyal followers) still needs working out, but will doubtless obtain elucidation or confirmation in the end : because his most questionable statements and palpable absurdities have an uncomfortable way of turning out correct, after having been laughed out of court for the best part of a century.
Some day someone among the pathologists will demonstrate his perspicacity in regard to Psora also, by proving that the acarus is the intermediate host of some micro-organism responsible for one or more chronic diseases of manifold manifestations. For he gives numerous instances, from many writers, of itch, cured by outward applications, having been followed by chest troubles-asthma-epilepsy-gastric ulcer-dropsy-albuminuria-even eye troubles and cataract.
Itch, he avers, “is at the same time, and especially, an internal disease.”
In support of which statement I would like to say that it is possible to cure itch by internal treatment. I remember a case. The boy had it badly. I did not want to sulphur him, because I had recently seen a much-sulphured boy, whose whole body was repulsive and horrible with a pustular mix-up of itch and sulphur poisoning. As Dr. Clarke suggests Oil of Lavender as an application, I gave the boy Psorinum c.m. , and ordered oil of lavender to be rubbed in-for the sake of the people he might otherwise infect.
Then the Dispensary said, “Oil of Lavender was terribly expensive-did I know?” So the boy got nothing but the Psorinum, and when he again appeared was found to have cured himself-stimulated thereto, I presume, by Psorinum.
Mr. Evans, our energetic skin specialist at the Royal Free, used to get to work with a needle, and produce an acarus from a burrow, for our amusement. If only somebody would capture a few of these charming insects, and make cultures, and demonstrate the micro-organism!-which we doubtless already possess, potentized, in Hahnemann’s preparation.
But Hahnemann is not frightfully definite in regard to the aetiology of his Psora, which he seems to have associated with leprosy-taenia capitis-crusta lactea-herpes, etc., these all being “vicarious symptoms of an internal disease affecting the whole organism.” He challenges any reasonable physician to assert that these are mere cutaneous diseases which may be removed from the skin by external applications, because the organism is not affected by them.
Again, it may be noticed that his anti-psoric remedies are not one, as in the case of Syphilis, or the two that he designates to combat gonorrhoea; but a couple of dozen at least. There is nothing clear-cut when it comes to psora, except his conviction that chronic non-venereal diseases are also dependent on parasitic micro-organisms.
He talks about “that immense host of chronic affections which originate in the most fearful, the most common, and the most inveterate of all chronic miasms-Psora. And one cannot doubt that, were Hahnemann alive to-day, his chronic, parasitic, non-venereal disease, Psora, would long ago have sorted itself out into not one, but a dozen such.
Hahnemann stood only on the threshold of the homoeopathy of disease to cure disease, with his Psorinum : (though in the Organon he discusses at length Nature’s way of curing diseases by “like” diseases). And ever since Hahnemann’s day homoeopaths have followed on with preparations of disease products for the cure-or prevention-of disease.
For Hahnemann there were acute as well as chronic parasitic diseases caused by micro-organisms.
In both cases, he tells us that infection takes place in a moment. The distinction between the acute and chronic being that the acute semi-vital organisms, after having affected the vital powers at the moment of infection, each in its peculiar manner, and after having spread through the system like a parasitic growth, establishing each its own peculiar fever, and establishing upon the skin an eruption capable of communicating the disease, have the peculiar nature of becoming extinct in the body.
But we know that many of these acute infectious fevers, after having run their course, and having been, apparently, overcome and cast out by the unwilling host, may yet leave sequelae in their train : and from one’s experience one is led to suspect that at least many of them are capable of entering into the changed, latent state, and persisting as some of the unrecognized chronic, parasitic, microbic diseases with which one must reckon, if the best work is to be done.
What about nephritis and scarlet fever? Why do we not test the effects of Scarlatinum on our patients with nephritis?-especially those who have had scarlet fever at some time.
What about the illness of persons who have had smallpox-even forty or fifty years previously-which are astonishingly amenable to infrequent dose of Variolinum. One remembers a very neurotic patient in one of the wards, everybody’s despair, who was found to have once had smallpox, and who returned to comparative normality after Variolinum was administered.
Vaccination and Thuja
And now, what about the chronic disease that we are, all the time, industriously manufacturing for ourselves and for our neighbours?-the most widely distributed of them all (since the La w of the Land has ordained its distribution)-the disease Burnett wrote about, and termed vaccinosis.
As Burnett pointed out the material which we politely style “vaccine lymph” is pus, pure and simple. It is disease which we, with the best intentions, introduce into the patient, to protect him against disease.
Burnett’s “Vaccinosis” is rendered easily comprehensible by going back to Hahnemann. Even Burnett never seems to have grasped the true inwardness of the matter :-that vaccination can, to a certain extent, protect from, or modify, smallpox because the vaccinate has been endowed with a similar chronic parasitic disease, which renders him, more or less, immune from that “like” disease smallpox.
Hahnemann puts it thus : “Two similar diseases cannot repel one another nor can they, like dissimilar diseases, suspend each other, no can two similar diseases exist side by side, or form a double, complicated disease.
“Two similar diseases (different in kind, but very similar in regard to their symptoms and manifestations) will extinguish each other when they meet in the organism; the superadded stronger morbific potency, on account of its similitude of effect, takes possession chiefly of the same parts of the organism hitherto, affected by the weaker, which is consequently…extinguished.”
Probably the modern explanation would be, that the chronic disease, in order to be kept in abeyance, must call forth the protective mechanism of the body, which are therefore on tap for the repulse of a “similar” foe.
The manner of infection, and the after-history of the vaccinate, answers Hahnemann’s postulates regarding his chronic parasitic diseases…
Infection takes place in a moment.
Then follows a quiescent period, till the whole organism, being infected, reacts vigorously, and endeavours to throw out the disease on to the skin :-here, also, at the place of entry of the infection.
Then, after a more or less violet reaction, the body ceases to struggle, and accommodates itself to a sort of latent toleration, in which, though no longer infectious, the organism lives on, scotched, not killed, to influence adversely the whole life-history of its host, together with his reactions to diseases and drugs : -in such way that the latter, even when homoeopathically indicated, having helped at first, help less and less, and finally fail to cure; -because not corresponding to the occult cause of the patient’s continued ill-health.
Burnett has shown us what beautiful curative work can be done in many chronic conditions, by taking Vaccinosis into account, with its great remedy, thuja.
His Vaccinosis-a state of indefinite, chronic ill-health, takes different forms in different individuals according to their personal make-up : one becoming asthmatic-another epileptic-while others develop stomach or joint conditions-and others, again, neuralgias, or life-long headaches. Such cases are puzzling and baffling-terribly resistant to treatment-and never to be unlocked without the key that fits-Thuja… thuja that wonderful antidote to vaccination, alike in its acute and chronic forms; in those much vaccinated, or who have been excessively affected by vaccination; or again, those who have failed to “take”-i.e. , to react acutely to the implanted virus. These last, in Burnett’s experience, being the worst cases.
Dr. Burnett used to say that Thuja was worth $200 a year to him.
The realization of Thuja, as a great remedy for the vaccinial poison, whether acute or chronic, seems to provide the only possible explanation for the following experiences.
When first I became infected with these ideas, years ago, by studying Burnett’s vaccinosis and thuja, several interesting cases cropped up…
A little girl, subject ever since vaccination to epileptic fits, or, when these were better, to a pustular eruption on her legs. She was a miserable little specimen of humanity till she got a few doses of Thuja, which finished up fits and eruption, and the child bloomed forth-hardly to be recognized.
A small boy with purulent onychia-a terrible thumb nail. Silicea failed. He was admitted into L.H. H. where the nail was removed and thumb healed. Then began a series of abscesses-large-superficial-mere bags of pus-most puzzling. Then it came out! He had been 8 times vaccinated by a persistent and conscientious doctor, because it did not “take”. He ten got Thuja, and the last manifestation, on his forehead, died away without discharging and he remained well.
I am asked, How does Thuja affect acute vaccination?…It blasts it.
An infant, recently vaccinated and very ill : high temperature : a rash all over body, and the vesicles on the arm just pustulating. The baby got Thuja, and was practically well next day : while the pustules withered and disappeared, leaving no scars.
Burnett published a similar case, showing how Thuja antidotes vaccination in its acute stage…
He was called to see a dying baby, ten weeks old-ghastly white, and collapsed. Its wet-nurse had been changed two or three days before. She “was quite well”, and looked it : “only her arm was a little painful”. She had been revaccinated the day before she took charge of the infant. Burnett concluding that the baby was sucking the vaccinial poison with its nurse’s milk, gave Thuja 6 to both infant and nurse. The baby improved the same day, and was practically well next morning : and the vesicles on the nurse’s arm withered.
Clarke has a striking article on thuja in his Dictionary, well worth reading. He gives the fist of Burnett’s little book, with many observations of his own.
Hering’s Guiding Symptoms also gives interesting Thuja cases, some after vaccination.
But where I imagine that I am “going one better” than the lot, is by trying to put forward the theory that why vaccinosis is what it is, and why it can do what it can do in the way of vitiating health, is because it is one of Hahnemann’s chronic parasitic diseases. Nothing else will completely account for its course-or its cure.