Page images
[ocr errors]


By Dr. Richard Hughes.

In the account I have given (vol. xxxi, p. 669) of the symptoms cited from Greding, I have said that SS. 262, 507, 648, 703, 704, 968, 1255, 1283 of Hahnemann's pathogenesis are referred to a paper of this author's on Stramonium, and have nothing to do with Belladonna. I made this statement upon the following data. The first symptom cited from Greding (S. 12) is authenticated thus: "Grading, in Ludwig's Adversaria medica Practica, vol. i, page 670." Subsequent symptoms are cited as from "Greding, a. a. O." (i. e. loc. cit.) with the page of each. When we come to S. 262, we find "Greding, a. a. O., p. 324." This should mean p. 324 of the same book; and my supposition was strengthened when I found that Greding was there also the contributor. S. 507 was similarly characterised, only as at p. 321; and I came to the conclusion that Hahnemann had through negligence incorporated into the pathogenesis of Belladonna symptoms he had excerpted for that of Stramonium. Under this (I think justifiable) impression, I classed the remaining symptoms of Greding's whose pagination seemed to refer them to his article on Stramonium with these two, and expunged them all.

But, some time after, I noticed in S. 648 an addition which had escaped my eye. It is credited to "Greding, a. a. O., vol. ii, part 2, p. 323." On referring, accordingly, to the second volume of Ludwig's Adversaria, I found a paper of Greding's on the treatment of jaundice by Belladonna, in which all the eight symptoms occur. I have, therefore, to shift to my own shoulders part of the burden of negligence, but must submit that I was led into the error by the incorrect reference given in SS! 262 and 507. (I may add that SS. 703, 704, 968 have also no distinguishing mark; but SS. 1255 and 1283 have II. 2 inserted.)

These symptoms have accordingly to be examined on their own merits.

They occurred, in three patients suffering from jaundice —not very favourable subjects, one would suppose, for a pure proving. The first, a woman of 32, presented SS. 704 and 1255. Of these, S. 704 (" green stool, with diuresis, and thereafter sweat") is quite inadmissible; for the green stools (which continued several days, with continuous decrease of the icteric tint of the surface) were simply the evidence of the reappearance of bile in the evacuations. S. 1255, however, seems a genuine effect of the drug; but it should have read "pulsations of the arteries, especially in the temporal region."

The second patient, a girl of 17, was the subject of SS. 507, 703, 968, and 1283. Of these, S. 703 must be rejected on the same grounds as S. 704. S. 968, moreover, is merely an aggravation of a symptom she had before beginning the Belladonna, and cannot be reckoned a certain drug-effect. The other two symptoms have nothing to forbid their retention, and S. 507 is of some importance.

To the third patient, a youth of 17, belong SS. 262 and 648. The first is, of course, a Belladonna symptom; but the second is very doubtful. On October 29th he complained of pain in the hypochondrium, back and loins; and then began the remedy, gr. j of the powdered leaves being taken twice a day. On the 31st "he felt a sense of considerable weight pressing in the lower belly, in place of the pains which had occupied the hypochondrium, back and loins." On November 1st this sensation was much less troublesome.

My conclusion is that SS. 648, 703, 704, and 968 are to be rejected; but the rest retained. As I was unable to make this investigation in time to incorporate its results in my arrangement of Belladonna for the Hahnemann Materia Medica, I will ask those of my readers who possess it to write in the following :—

750 a. Inflammation of the tonsils, which after four days suppurate; during the time she cannot swallow a drop (Greding, in Hahn.).

1190 a. Remarkable heat of the body, more violent and frequent pulsations of the arteries, especially in the temporal region, with dulness of the head, and subsequently profuse sweat (Ibid.).

1197 a. Great heat (immediately), followed by profuse sweat (Ibid.).

S. 262 is not required, as it is merely another instance of the action of Belladonna on the eyes, of which I have cited so many in my collection.

While I am referring to my Belladonna in the Hahn. Mat. Medica, I will ask those who possess it to make another emendation. From the list of the authors cited by Hahnemann the name of Wagner has accidentally dropped out. It should be inserted on p. 5, first column, between Vicat and Weinmann, thus:—" Wagner.(Misc. Nat. Cur., Dec. II, Ann. 10, Obs. 108.) A poisoning of two old women and four children by the berries (p. 206)."

Again, I have been directed by a recent remark of Dr. Hering's to a collection of materials for the pathogenesis of Belladonna by Dr. Karl Hencke, in the 16th vol. of the Vierteljahrschrift. Had I known of this a year ago it would have spared me many a weary search, as it contains (in brief) most of Hahnemann's originals. It has given me three of those I had to leave as inaccessible, and has guided me to one more. The following are the facts elicited :—

59.* Dumoulin's original communication has turned up in Vaudermonde's Journal de Medecine, vol. xi, part 2, p. 119 (1759). It is an account of the poisoning of two little girls by the berries. The symptoms are correctly extracted, with these qualifications. 1st. The "staring look" of S. 297 should rather be "bold" (audacieusc). 2nd. The term "paralysis" applied in SS. 729, 763, and 971 to the state of the lower limbs and the sphincters hardly conveys the true idea. The sphincters were "relachees," and the legs "engourdies par une atonie paralytique •" but all passed off within half an hour of vomiting tbe berries. 3rd. S. 1404 is simply "elles begayoient des paroles hardies."

* The numbers are those prefixed to each author in my examination of Hahnemann's pathogenesis.

60. De S. Martin's case is that of a boy of four poisoned by the berries. The symptoms are correct.

67. Muller's two symptoms seem to be taken from a case in which a man of 50 took Belladonna for angina faucium. They are correct.

69. Wasstrberg's one symptom (S. 221) is derived from a proving on himself. After (' eyes" might have been added, "with burning in these and in the lids."

The following letter from Dr. Berridge relates to this subject; and seems to me of sufficient interest to warrant its publication here, with my answer to its arguments.

4, Highbuey New Pabk, N.;

May 23rd, 1874.

Mi Deab Sie,

Tou asked me some time ago to embody the ideas I expressed to you about our Materia Medica, in a letter which you said might be published in the British Journal of Homoeopathy, when your paper on Belladonna was finished, with some reply thereto. I have hitherto been prevented doing so, but having now a little more leisure, begin my say as follows.

The plan which finds favour with yourself, and the majority of the members of the Hahnemann Publishing Society, apparently is to exclude from the schema of the Materia Medica all symptoms which are (1) obtained from the sick, and (2) all symptoms which are only clinical and not pathogenetic; and in your article on Belladonna you entirely reject a large number of the symptoms which Hahnemann extracted from other writers, and correct many others. Now, I fully admit that by printer's or clerical errors mistakes have crept into our Materia Medica, and any one who points them out deserves the thanks of the profession; we also find that only some symptoms have been extracted from certain cases of poisoning—a fault of omission, as the other is a fault of commission. All these must be corrected, and it only shows the importance of always referring to the original sources. While saying this, however, I do not wish for a moment to accuse Hahnemann himself of this carelessness. My own opinion is that he either employed an amanuensis who was careless (and of this I have some strong proof), or that he had not when he compiled his Materia Medico access to the original sources of some symptoms, but only to copies thereof, or perhaps to brief and imperfect notes, which he may have taken years before when an allopath. As a proof of the former, we find that, in the later editions of his Materia Medica, certain symptoms (given correctly and fully in the earlier editions) are not merely condensed, but absolutely mutilated and perverted in a manner which neither Hahnemann himself nor any other man who loved scientific accuracy could ever have been guilty of. Several instances of this were pointed out by Dr. David Wilson, in the Monthly Homoeopathic Beview, vol. vii, pp. 664—688. In Bering's Materia Medica, under Spongia, we read, "By comparing Hahnemann's second edition with the first, six corrections were made, and three omitted symptoms could be added." (See also Symptom 521 in Hering's Materia Medica.)

With regard to my theory that Hahnemann had not always access to the originals, I may quote the following case :—

In Medical and Philosophical Commentaries, 1776, vol. iv, p. 73, we find a case of poisoning by the application of Sulphate of Copper to a wound on the back of the hand, reported by Dr. Simmons. Swelling of hand followed, a lymphatic vessel was felt painful, and inflamed a great way up the arm, and there was pain in axilla. In our Materia Medica we read, however (not to mention another slighter inaccuracy), "Heaviness of axillary glands," this symptom being unwarrantably separated from the remainder of the group. The mistake is plain. Schmerz was altered into Schwere, and this error has been copied not only into Hempel's Jahr, but also into two of the German repertories. But it is not Hahnemann's mistake. Cuprum is not mentioned in the ftrst edition of the Chronic Diseases, but is given in Stapfs Archiv, where I am told by a colleague who referred to the work the symptom is erroneously given as stated. Clearly, therefore, Hahnemann, not having access to the original, copied from the only source available.

I have written this to clear the memory of the master from the charge of carelessness or inaccuracy; and as for printer's or clerical errors, none know so well as authors how easily they occur in spite of all pains.

« PreviousContinue »