Speaking causually about medicine, as we so often do  socially, if Homoeopathy comes into the conversation at all it  is likely to be taken as just another set of tricks with remedies. The weighty and desperately vital subject of medicine gets lightly past the easy-talking social light as a lot of expedients or techniques from which you can choose if you want to be
bothered or you can leave it to the experts and chatter on. And with what result? One result is that already more than one in five of all Americans, rich as well as poor, are chronically ill in more or less degree and lacking anything better than shifting expedients will never recover. That proportion, instead of diminishing, is on the increase. At its present rate it will
not be long before it will reach the proportion of one in four. A second result is the habit of taking ideas about medicine off the air and out of the popular press. A third is the socially correct notion that the more money is spent and the more different diseases money is spent to investigate and the more different ways are devised to combat the more different diseases, the better for everyone. And a fourth result is in the current ideas about medicines themselves and what they are.
Coming down from the distant past is a die-hard presumption. If a little medicine does a little good, so it is presumed, more medicine will do more good. That seems offhand plausible enough, but it took medical history some seventeen centuries to catch up with it and discover that plausibility by
itself is a frail support. Another look at the issue for February and Dr. Bellokossy (The Inquisitive Patient, Page 44) gives a neat explanation. As he so aptly shows, the presumption, plausible as it may seem, leaves out any clear perception of what it is in medicine that does the work. Though medical history caught up with this false presumption a century and a half ago when Homoeopathy located its error, many still do not wish to give it up and doggedly persist in it while all modern research gradually is being compelled by the raw necessities it faces to revise what it once took for granted.
As for Homoeopathy, that is very much more than a set of tricks with remedies, but it does, if you like to think of them as tricks, have some. A central problem in the classical researches of Homoeopathy was if possible to discover precisely what makes drugs work as remedies. In order to explore that question in every possible way, the effect was studied of reducing the amount of material by even steps in a medium that is not medicinal and using violence enough at each step to break it down thoroughly. If there is some form of latent energy within material substance that might be put to work, such a process might reveal it. It was in this way that in the end drugs were found best prepared to serve remedially, and on this scientifically experimental basis arose the potentization of remedies. Only in Homoeopathy are drugs potentized.
In that way Homoeopathy won its freedom from the fallacy of thinking that the strength of a dose can be measured by the quantity of the drug. Homoeopathy replaced that fallacy with a clear perception of the energy latent in ponderable substance, how to release it, and how to employ it. If these discoveries were to commend themselves generally, then surely the boom in the drug business would come to a halt, and for that reason the commercial interests have always wanted to suppress Homoeopathy and have always slanted their public relations to convey the happy announcement that Homoeopathy is long since dead.
As with every discovery fundamental to science, this one can be less than fully understood. One phrase crops up in homoeopathic literature that can puzzle the eager layman:
“The Minimum Dose”. The minimum dose is one of the very principles of Homoeopathy. As a principle it is often explained in this way: To produce the best and most lasting result,you administer the smallest amount of the indicated drug that will show effect. Taking this explanation by the sound of the words, one would suppose that homoeopaths are timid. One would gather from the sound of the sentence that the homoeopathic physician approaches his case in fear of doing too much, so he pares down his dose to the point that it will just barely do anything at all. Yet, if that governs him; if he actually does the weakest thing open to him; how does that same homoeopath refer to his minimum dose as “potentized”, which by
derivation must mean “made strong”?
The practical fact is that if the homoeopath selects the right remedy for the case and then gives too much of the substance – by choosing too low a potency – the effect is not strong enough or long enough lasting. He has not overshot his mark. He has fallen short. What he is dealing with is not an amount of substance but, as Dr. Bellokossy so well shows, a charge of energy. If latent energy is locked up in a material substance, and you wish to release it, the more you break down the substance the more fully is the energy released. Nuclear fission of the most modern researches is a parallel. And probably it is no more than a start. Knowledge about the latent energies within matter has only begun to filter toward the human mind, but a vital part of it came to light from the classical experiments of Homoeopathy 150 years ago and is as true today. By using the minimum dose, the homoeopath uses the most completely released energy and obtains the
strongest, most lasting, reaction. He is facing up to his case, doing what the case requires, and he is not so timid, when you understand what he is doing, as he might have looked to you before.
This may perhaps throw some light on the puzzle of “The Minimum Dose” from the side of the drug. But there is energy, too, in the patient. In him it goes by some such name as “Vital Energy” or “Vital Force”. By the process of potentization, Homoeopathy comes as near as <anyone yet can to revealing a type of energy to be compared with the vital energy of living man. The sick man is disturbed, or in the more frequent term disordered, in vital energy. He does not feel right. His parts do not function right. He suffers. He communicates the nature of his vital disorder by his symptoms and it is the trained homoeopath who knows how to observe these symptoms.This communication is so good by way of the symptoms that the patient identifies to the homoeopathic physician, with his facts about the remedies, the one remedy suited to that one patient. Now, if the doctor should give that one indicated remedy to another person who is not sick, he would have to repeat it regularly and persistently before he would produce any effect at all, and then, the effect would be to make a well person sick. There are rare exceptions, where the well person is by nature susceptible or sensitized toward that particular drug, but as usual the exception proves the rule. Or again, if the doctor should give the right remedy to the wrong sick man, give it to some sick person other than his patient for whom he knows it is indicated, once more he would produce no effect unless he stubbornly and persistently repeated. Then the effect would be to make a sick person sicker. Here, too, there would be rare and similar exceptions, which again
when examined would prove the rule. The point is that the latent energy revealed in the drug by potentization, when that is the one drug for the individual sick person, matches in character and peculiarity everything about the patient showing his character and peculiarity, and so intimate is the agreement that only this one sick person will respond; and where such an intimate agreement exists, the response is not to make the sick person sicker but to make the sick person better. The sickness (vital disorder) of the sick person has sensitized him toward the latent energy of the one drug that is right for him. The doctor, having identified that drug, works in his prescribing toward that potency which most exactly fits, working downward on the scale of quantity which is upward on the scale of potency until he arrives at the degree which produces the best and longest lasting benefit. This working upward in potency is more often mental on the part of the doctor than experimental, and does not involve actual trial by a series of
doses, for experience sharpens the doctor’s judgment and gives him the power to choose well the first time. But what he chooses some call “The Minimum Dose” and others call it “The Highest Potency”, and if that seems strange, they both mean the same thing. Homoeopathy is the only branch of medicine where remedies are potentized. That induces another puzzle for the eager layman. He will hear of “homoeopathically potentized” remedies. This on the whole is a true enough phrase, if it does not lead to the idea that remedies are homoeopathic by reason of being potentized. That idea is wrong. Precisely that idea gained so much vogue through the 1800’s, especially here in the United States, that it did as much as anything else in the world to hamper and retard the legitimate growth of Homoeopathy. Those who fell for it accepted a doctor as a homoeopath if all he had was a case of “homoeopathic” remedies.
Doctors fell for it too. With those little sugar pills in their little black medicine cases, they felt secure in the thought that whatever little good they might do they would not do much harm. These doctors excused themselves from the labor of homoeopathic case-taking and fell to using their bland little white pellets to act against symptoms, to do what the allopaths were themselves doing only with less risky medicines. Unless the public knew enough to make the distinction, and actually recognize it when they saw the Law of Similars employed, there was no way to separate wheat from chaff and to see that they got the wheat. The fact is, potentized remedies can be wrongly prescribed. They can be applied in cases of sickness alIopathically quite as well as homoeopathically. Or the doctor can work with them somewhere in between, according to some kind of compromise. The remedy does not become homoeopathic, whether potentized or crude, until it is used homoeopathicalIy. The remedy is used homoeopathically when the doctor’s remedy selection accords with the Law of Similars. If a remedy is the one remedy most similar to the patient, that remedy is homoeopathic to that patient. That is what the word means. That is the scientific principle.
– A. B. G.
Source: The Layman Speaks, March 1954.

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