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appearance. That it has reached a second edition in a short time is sufficient evidence of its usefulness. It is best described as a supplement to the usual domestic practices, adding to the older stock of homoeopathic remedies therein mentioned our recent importations from America. It is written in a chatty and somewhat desultory style: but contains a great deal of useful information. It hardly serves as an epitome of Dr. E. M. Hale's book for practitioners, as it makes no attempt at a physiological and therapeutic study of the "New Remedies/' but for amateurs it is all that they could desire.
We note one point requiring correction, p. 15. "Words ending in in or ine denote the alkaloids of the drugs whose name they bear." This might be correct as regards medicines in general, but would mislead if understood of the "New Remedies." Apocynin, Gelsemin, Macrotin, &c., are not alkaloid "active principles" like Atropine; they are preparations purporting to contain all the active ingredients of each plant, divested of woody fibre and such like inert matters.
We recommend Dr. Massy's little volume to all whom circumstances force into amateur prescribing, but who are unable to master larger works.
Taking Cold (the cause of half our diseases): its Nature, Causes, Prevention, and Cure; its frequency as a cause of other diseases, and the diseases of which it is a cause, with their diagnosis and treatment. By John W. Hayward, M.D., M.R.C.S., L.S.A. Fourth Edition, enlarged and improved. London: Turner, & Co.
This work originally appeared some years ago as a much smaller volume. It was then entirely devoted to the subject of " taking cold" as the most frequent causes of illness and to the recommendation of Aconite as the one specific remedy for this casualty. Its scope is more enlarged, to take in the diseases of which "taking cold" is a cause, with their diagnosis and treatment. This addition has rather spoilt the structure of the title, as may be seen above, but it has enhanced the value of the book. It is now one of the best manuals we have of the treatment of acute diseases, so far as this can be safely conducted by amateur hands. We think that both doctor and patient will have reason to be thankful to Dr. Hayward if he can impress upon all who follow homoeopathy the primary importance of Aconite in these disorders. If every one who has "taken cold," and feels himself growing ill in consequence, would take this medicine until his doctor could see him, time would always be gained, and not uncommonly an arrest of further progress procured.
Physiologico-Pathological Basis of the Materia Medica. By W. H. Burt, M.D. 652, West Washington Street, Chicago, 111.
Under this heading (which seems to English eyes to specify rather too much) Dr. Burt (known hitherto as an indefatigable prover of "new remedies," and as the author of a 'Characteristic Materia Medica' already reviewed in these pages*) has sent us a chart of the Materia Medica, fashioned for hanging up in our studies. It is arranged upon the following theory :—" All medicines have for their starting-point or centre of action the nervous centres, either animal or organic. Those that have this centre of action in the animal (cerebro-spinal) nervous system are the true remedies for acute and sub-acute diseases; and those that have this centre of action in the organic (ganglionic) nervous system are the true remedies for sub-acute and chronic diseases." Under one or other of these headings all our medicines (with some new ones of which we have never heard) are arranged, and they are farther subdivided according to the tissues or organs specially affected by them. Dr. Burt considers that this classification "is as much a science as Similia, in fact it is the completion of that great law."
* Vide vol. xxviii, p. 178. VOL. XXXII, NO. CXXVII. JANUARY, 1874. L
We wish we could endorse his sanguine estimate. But facts compel us to allege that this "physiologico-pathological basis of the Materia Medica" has itself no basis in physiology or pathology, and is welluigh valueless practically.
In the first place, there is no foundation for the sharp distinction here made between the cerebro-spinal and the ganglionic centres, as the nervous system respectively of animal and organic life. In Bichat's time this seemed to be, and perhaps was, a brilliant generalisation, but physiology has since left it far behind. The ganglionic nervous system is now recognised as mainly vaso-motor, and in such additional functions as it subserves its influence is always directed upon muscular fibre, as in the heart, uterus, iris, and so forth. It has no direct influence, so far as is known, upon nutrition and secretion; if there are any" trophic" nerves, they are cerebro-spinal. Moreover, the two systems (if such they be) have so many points of contact that it is impossible to draw a hard and fast line between them. The pupil can be dilated by irritating either the spinal cord or the cervical ganglia; and so with the blood-vessels of various parts, with the heart, and with the intestines. The "great sympathetic" is rather a supplement to the cerebrospinal system than a system by itself; its sphere is not "organic life," which could go on (as it does, in plants) excellently well without it, but involuntary muscular fibre.
It is impossible, therefore, to find a physiological basis for the Materia Medica in the action of drugs on the cerebrospinal or ganglionic centres respectively. As a rule, most medicines which influence the musculo-motor act also on the vaso-motor functions. We ourselves should go farther, and say that the majority of medicines have no neurotic power at all, and act directly on the tissues or organs they influence. But this is only theoretical, and our criticism of Dr. Burt is limited to comparing his hypothesis with the facts of the case.
Its illusory character becomes still more evident when we consider its pathological assumptions. We begin here by eliminating the unfortunate word " sub-acute " introduced by Dr. Burt as a sort of middle ground between acute and chronic disease, which may belong to either. This is surely a misconception. When we speak of "acute" disease as distinct from chronic, we mean by "acute" that it is recent in origin and rapid in course. But when we speak of "sub-acute" we are using the word "acute" in its proper sense of sharp, and we simply mean "mild." However, putting aside this error (which does not touch the essence of the matter), we have before us the theory that all acute disease originates in the cerebro-spinal centres, and all chronic disease in the ganglionic. Now, even were we to admit (which we should be very indisposed to do) that all diseases are primarily neuroses, no such classification of them can be considered tenable. Diabetes is essentially a chronic disease; but if it have a nervous origin, this is found in the floor of the fourth ventricle. Pericarditis is an acute disease; what warrant have we for supposing any cerebro-spinal starting-point for it? It is needless to multiply instances; the theory is entirely without foundation.
So far, then, as Dr. Burt's chart embodies a new and ambitious classification of the Materia Medica, we must pronounce it valueless. But its grouping of the medicines according as they act on the mucous or serous membranes, the glands, bones, skin, &c., is an attempt in an important direction, and may often be helpful in comparison and choice. It is beautifully printed, and, were such errors as "Lachnantes," "Na^a," "CAancalagua," "Eleterium," "Mephitws," and Petelea" corrected, would be externally unexceptionable.
Action des Médicaments Homoeopathiques, ou, Eléments de Pharmacodynamique. Par le Dr. Richard Hughes; traduit de l'Anglais et annoté par le Dr. I. Guekin Meneville, Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur, &c. Baillière.
We can, of course, only notice the fact of the appearance of this translation; but we may add that it seems excellently done.