This edition of the Homeopathic Echo , like the others, consists of sections on the progress of homeopathy, one on homeopathic principles, notes on hygiene, a Materia Medica, sections on domestic practice and veterinary practice, a popular lecture on physiology, and some “words to the wise”.
The Progress of Homeopathy
Dr Fischer, the editor of the Homeopathic Echo, wrote about the spread of homeopathy throughout various European countries. He starts with the statement “surely it is time to abandon the bigoted dogma of intolerance, and descend into the arena of fair and calm argument and logical reasoning”.
Homeopathy was practised and spreading in Austria, Vienna, Berlin and France. In France, a professor of medicine in Bordeaux had received the decoration of the legion of honour from the government, for his “successful labours in the terrific malady” of Asiatic cholera, which he had treated homeopathically. A number of doctors were practising and lecturing in Paris, and homeopathic treatment was spreading for the use of cholera, inflammation of the lungs, and other dangerous diseases.
In the Kingdoms and States of Italy, homeopathy had also made great progress. In Nice, there was a benevolent Hospital which dealt with orphans or children abandoned by their parents who were being brought up in great poverty, and homeopathic treatment was started there in 1838, with a number of cases of completes recovery, and the deaths were diminished by one half.
In India one clergyman ”introduced homeopathy to the notice of the natives” and, with the sanction and assistance of two native princes, established two homeopathic hospitals.
Small Doses Considered
In the section in homeopathic principles, Dr Fischer started by stating that the extraordinary smallness of the doses given in homeopathy was one of the startling objections to it, and stated that “the truth is, no direct reasoning can avail on subjects the mind cannot grasp. Matters may be too little as well as too great for the mind of man. We cannot comprehend the greatness of the creator, not the creation.”
He talks about th infinite divisibility of matter, the effect of minute particles of matter in water and electricity, and mathematical calculations. He gives a number of examples, talking about a musk rat, which will turn the beer if it runs over a beer barrel, or taint bottles of wins it if runs over them.
He even goes as far as saying “the softest breathing of an infant’s slumber must, in virtue of the law of universal gravitation, affect the whole universe and pulsate to the remotest region of peopled space.”
In this section, Dr Fischer gave his maxim as “prevention is better then cure”. He stated that the most important subjects affecting the well-being of an individual were food and drink, sleep, air, exercise, clothing and occupation.
Under the section on Food and Drink he states that “the constant exchange of our living organisms, must be supplied by suitable food and drink”. About hunger, he said that habit controls the want of food and persons who eat too much are much more frequently reminded by their appetite. Persons who do not satisfy their appetite, on the other hand, will become deadened to the sensations of hunger, and gradually a loss of appetite will set in.
He gave a chart of the digestibility of food, measured by how many hours it takes for food to be digested. This ran from one hour for boiled rice, soused pig’s feet and tripe, to five hours for suet beef and roast pork.
He also reported that lungs receive a greater quantity of oxygen in cold than in warm climates and seasons. This was thought to explain how it was that persons, accustomed in Scotland and England to take wine and spirituous liquors in large quantities without being affected, can in this country frequently not consume a few glasses without being intoxicated. He continued: “This will teach us that we must be very careful in this climate, not to depend solely on home habits.”
In the Materia Medica (condensed) Dr Fischer again gave characteristic, clinical and pathogenetic effects and indications of homeopathic medicines. In this issue he covered Bryonia and Mercurius.
In the section on domestic practice, Dr Fischer starts with talking about worms and worm affections. He starts by saying “perhaps no affliction is so prevalent in this country, and so distressing to children as that of worms. It may be calculated that one half of the total number of children here suffer from this malady.”
He gives quite specific details about the symptoms of worms, including pallor, dilated pupils, headache, irregularity of appetite, foetid breath, nausea and vomiting, fullness of the abdomen, fever, irritability, gradual emaciation, and bleeding of the nose.
For threadworm he recommended Aconite, Ignatiia, Mercurius and Ferrum met. For roundworm he recommended Cina, Spigelia, Cicuta vurosa, Ignatia, Stramonium, Chamomilla, Kali Carb and Silica.
Also in the section of domestic practice, colic is covered, with the remedies suggested being Nux vomica, Pulsatilla, Colocynthis and Cocculus.
Popular Lectures on Physiology 2
In this section on physiology, Dr Fischer discusses the question “What is vivaction (sic )?” to which he replies “we can give no other answer that it is one of those terms than that man has invented to conceal his ignorance of those profounder laws which pervade the whole organic world”.
He concludes with a statement: “Well may be said with wonder, what a world do we each carry about with us? How sublime are its wonders? Know thyself, is a sentiment which was aorthy of a divine origin and a heavenly descent.”
Words to the Wise
This consists of a treatise on the effects of alcoholic liquors. Dr Fischer starts: “In entering such a subject in this colony, wherein temperance is so widely and fatally diffused ... the mind shrinks back distresses and amazed before so vast and so terrible a subject.”
He discusses the origin of alcohol, and gives a quote from Dr Browne: “The drunkard injures and enfeebles his own nervous system and entails mental disease upon his family. His daughters are nervous and hysterical, his sons are weak, wayward, eccentric, and sink insane under the pressure of excitement.”
(Incidentally, it is interesting that the histories of Dr Fischer’s life state that he was not a particularly temperate individual, and that at one stage he had to flee Auckland, as he was so much in debt.)
This issue of the Homeopathic Echo ends with some information about Marshall de Saint Arnaud, Commander of the French army in the Crimes, who was cured of serious disease by homeopathy.
He wrote in 1853: “You do me the honour to ask me if it is true, that when lately affected with a serious disease I owe to homeopathy my restoration. In reply to this question, I am happy to acknowledge my debt of gratitude, and render homage to the truth ....
“My energetic and sincere testimony will not be awanting for homoeopathy. I woe it so much, that it is my earnest wish to see every thing done that may contribute all to frofit by the benefits it confers.”
Dr Rose Isbell