A letter answered by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann regarding the useless advice of the physicians of that time for cleansing the body by using purgatives.
Friends of Health Part I, 1792. (The Lesser Writings of Samuel Hahnemann by R.E.Dudgeon)
AN OCCASSIONAL PURGATIVE, SURELY THAT CAN DO NO HARM
My dear Doctor,
I have been advised to apply to you, as you have the character of always telling people in a pretty straightforward manner what they ought to do. It occurs to me, and my family-surgeon also has often reminded me, that it is surely high time for me, my wife and my children, to take a good dose of purgative physic. “Your honour,” he is always saying, “only think what a quantity of dirt must accumulate in the abdomen in the course of half a year, if the refuse be not swept out and cleansed away at least once a month.” The like of us, to be sure, do not understand it, but one would think, that of all the food and drink we take, somewhat must occasionally stick in the body, though it may not be so desperately bad as my surgeon alleges. Thinks I to myself, if everything collects in the body in that way, then my shepherd, who is in his seventieth year, and has never taken any medicine in his life, must carry about with him in his belly an accumulation of impurities enough to fill a barrel. But my surgeon ought to know more about the matter than I do. The fellow has, as he assures me, had great experience during the seven years’ war; he has amputated a fearful number of arms and legs in the military hospitals, and helped to extract many bits of broken skulls. Do not blame me, doctor, for adopting his views; the chap makes an impression on one with his talk. He looks as fierce as a savage, stammers out horrible Latin and Greek words, gesticulates with his arms, and distorts his features to such an extent that one cannot help being moved when one listens to him. And what he says may be perfectly correct; and is there any greater blessing than health? What a lot of diseases with Greek and Latin names one might get in one’s gullet by neglecting the proper precautions! My wife and children are very precious to me; they are all lively and ruddy, and as sound as a nut. May God bless them so! But all my household must lend a hand, and work according to their abilities. After being busy all day in the open air they get a brave appetite for their meals. None of them ail in the least that is true. If we could but prevent their suffering hereafter! If you should think a good purgative advisable for us, please do send us our portions, and say how we should take them. The chemist will tell the ages of myself and family. You may send the stuff to us by the brewer’s cart.
I am, &c.
W. von TEUTON,
My dear Captain,
It is well that you have not given the preference to the idle talk of your Bramarbas of a surgeon over your sound judgement, as so in your situation do.
You appear to appreciate the truth of that very sensible maxim, “The whole need not the physician, but they are sick.” Who would take medicine if there was nothing the matter with him? Is there any better preventive of diseases than a robust state of health? That you enjoy, as I perceive from your letter, along with your family; do you wish for anything better?
It is only in cases of excessive over-loading of the stomach in delicate persons, and such as are afflicted with chronic diseases, that the circumstance occurs of nature being too weak to expel the ordure at the right time, and we require to assist her by means of a purgative medicine. But in the healthy state, nature is able of herself to evacuate the useless refuse of her food, and not infinitely better than can be done by our good art.
Therefore, trust me; take no physic, neither you nor your family. Anything else that you have to ask I shall be happy to inform you of. Let your barber- surgeon stick to your beard; the inferior class of these gentry usually understands the art of making people less healthy, and the sick worse than they were; they bring nothing out of military hospital with them but disregard for the sufferings of others.
ALLOPATHY: A WORD OF WARNING TO ALL SICK PERSONS.
Published as a pamphlet. Leipzic, 1831.
…….Thus we see that in inflammations of the lungs and acute pleurisy, the allopathists pre-supposed an excess of blood (plethora), of inflammatory blood, as the fundamental cause, and they did nothing but draw off blood, and go on drawing off blood, from the veins,….according to their old destructive routine treatment, by venesections and leeches, to rob the patient of this innocent, indispensable life’s-juice, and, consequently, of all his strength, which after this mistreatment he could either, as was most usual, never regain, or only after a long indisposition.
It is incomprehensible how the allopaths can consider it a great sin, if, in inflammatory diseases, e.g., pleurisy and inflammation of the lungs, blood be not drawn off, and that repeatedly and in large quantity, as they most injuriously, according to their stiff observances and agreeably to their stiff observances and agreeably to their art which has grown grey in gross material notions, make it an invariable rule to do, and would wish to make it the same for better physicians.
But if this is an efficacious sort of method, how can they reconcile it with the fact that of all that die in a year, a sixth part of the whole number dies under them of inflammatory affections, as their own tables prove! Not one twelfth of these would have died had they not fallen into such sanguinary hands, had they been left but left to nature, and kept away from that old pernicious art.
Hundreds and thousands more die miserably every year – the most promising youths of the country, in the bloom of their age – of wasting, consumption and suppuration of the lungs! You have their death on your consciences! For is their one among you that has not laid the seeds for it by your fine mode of treatment, by your senseless bloodletting and your antiphlogistic appliances in a previous inflammation of the lungs, which must thereby infallibly turn into pulmonary congestion and prove fatal? This irrational, antipathic, barbarous mode of treating inflammation of lungs by numerous venesections, leeches and debilitating substances(termed by you antiphlogistics) yearly sends thousands to the grave, by fever from deprivation of the forces(nervous fever), general swelling(dropsy), and suppuration of the lungs! Truly an excellent, privileged mode of covertly destroying wholesale the flower of mankind.
Can that be called curing, curing rationally, treatment of the cause?
“Extract from a Letter to a Physician of high standing, on the great necessity for Regeneration in Medicine” (1808).
The following words were addressed to Huefland, the highly cultured scholar who encouraged Hahnemann’s effort without prejudice:
For eighteen years I have been deviating from the ordinary practice of the medical art. Attending to patients in a way our books suggest,
It was to me a piaculum- (an action which demands propitiation or revenge) – that I should thus be continually groping in the dark and, according to this or that (imagined) opinion, be prescribing treatments, which were only contained in the Materia Medica according to the degree of fitness.
My sense of duty would not easily allow me to treat the unknown pathological state of my suffering brethren with these unknown medicines…….The thought of becoming in this way a murderer or a malefactor towards the life of my fellow human beings was most terrible to me, so terrible and disturbing that I wholly gave up my practice in the first years of my married life. I scarcely treated anybody for fear of injuring him, and occupied myself solely with chemistry and writing.
Preface to the Fifth Edition S.Hahnemann, March 28th , 1833
Homoeopathy sheds not a drop of blood, administers no emetics, purgatives, laxatives or diaphoretics, drives off no external affection by external means, prescribes no warm baths or medicated clysters, applies no Spanish flies or mustard plasters, no setons, no issues, excites no ptyalism, burns not with moxa or red-hot iron to the very bone, and so forth, but gives with its own hand its own preparations of simple uncomplicated medicines, which it accurately acquainted with, never subdues pain by opium, etc.
The Chronic Diseases : Allopathy has, so far, not been able to do any more than this toward a genuine cure of the chronic diseases; it could only imitate the unreason in corporeal nature in its palliatives. It caused, therefore, more than the other, a hastening of the general ruin, without being able to contribute anything to the extinction of the original malady. To this class belong all of the many, indescribable purgatives the so-called dissolvents, the venesection, cupping, the applying of leeches now so insanely frequent, the sudorifics, the artificial sores, setons, fontanels, executories, etc.