« PreviousContinue »
announce, that he prepared homoeopathic attenuations "of exalted potencies " in a peculiar manner which he kept secret, and he or they boasted that the attenuations so prepared acted much more efficaciously than the dilutions prepared on Hahnemann's plan. It oozed out somehow that Jenichen made his attenuations not in successive small phials, but in one large bottle, and with a larger quantity of vehicle, not alcohol, but the water of a lake in the neighbourhood of Wismar where he resided. It was also known that he gave many more than the regulation two succussion strokes to each dilution, indeed, it was stated by some who were supposed to know, that he counted ten succussions as raising the medicine a degree of potency without further dilution. But, however much or little was known of Jenichen's " potencies," they speedily became the rage among those who considered themselves, or were held by others to be, the most faithful disciples of Hahnemann, such as Stapf, Gross, Bonninghausen and Hering. The bad principle of a departure from the methods of Hahnemann in the preparation of the medicinal attenuations and of the adoption of secret pharmaceutical processes, having been sanctioned by the enthusiastic praises of those who were generally credited with their fidelity to the master, could not fail to produce most deplorable results. Accordingly we had a number of rival competitors for the preparation of high potencies, asserting their attenuations as the very best out, and not only infinitely superior to those with which Hahnemann had astonished the world by his wonderful cures, but surpassing in efficacy all other high potencies. In Germany there was Lehrmann, who made all his dilutions of one medicine in a single bottle, but how else we have no information. He called his potencies 200ths. American ingenuity set itself to make still further innovations on the Hahnemannian method. Carroll Dunham set the bad example of preparing medicinal attenuations by automatic machinery and with service water as a vehicle. He was followed by Fincke, who took out a patent for the preparation of high potencies. His method has the merit of simplicity. It consists in putting a small phial containing a drop of the mother tincture under a tap and allowing a vast quantity of the common drinking water of the town to flow through it. His mode of calculating the degree of potency is simple in the extreme. His bottle has, say, a capacity of one drachm; when 100 drachms have flowed through it, that is the 100th potency, when 1000 drachms, that is the 1000th potency, and so on. No separate phial for each dilution, no succussions, no alcoholic vehicle here. He may call his preparations what he likes, they have nothing in common with those of Hahnemann. The same may be said of Swan's high potencies. The high potencies of Boericke certainly received five mechanical succussions each time the one phial received a new 100 drops of service water, so in this one respect the instructions of Hahnemann are not neglected; but Boericke, though he invented a most ingenious machine for his potencies, seems to have given them up altogether and gone back to low dilutions and common sense. Skinner thinks that the reason why Boericke gave up his high potencies was that his health broke down in consequence of making them, so "that," says Skinner, "I do not wonder at Dr. Boericke relinquishing the business—dropping the high dynamisation and going in for the mother tinctures and lower triturations, which do no injury to the health, and put much more into his pocket." Note the delicate insinuation of a mercenary motive—How these high-potency men love one another! In this country, we believe, the only maker of socalled high-potencies is Dr. Skinner, who has invented a machine for the purpose. He employs one phial only for each medicine, he uses no succussions, instead of which he allows the stream of service water (which is his vehicle) to rush with considerable force into the phial. His machine is automatic and can make 50 potencies per minute, 3000 per hour, 70,000 per day, 100,000 in 33 hours, and 1,000,000 in 14J days, running night and day. He says emphatically that his millionth potency is "the millionth centesimal potency of Hahnemann," but, not to mention that Hahnemann never had or heard of a millionth potency, Dr. Skinner's potencies, being prepared in a totally different
manner, in which all Hahnemann's directions as to vehicle, separate glasses and succussions are neglected, cannot be compared with Hahnemann's attenuations at all, as they are, like Jenichen's, Fincke's, Swan's, Boericke's, Lehrmann's, and Dunham's, something quite different and not in any way Hahnemannic.
We do not know if these very unHahnemannic so-called "high potencies" are used by many besides their own ingenious inventors, but no doubt each has its small circle of admirers, and, curiously enough, almost the only practitioners who employ these most unHahnemannic preparations are those who love to call themselves and be called "Hahnemannists," " pure homoepathicians," to enrol themselves in international societies, " Legions of Honour," and so forth, and to avow, whenever opportunity offers, their adhesion to the doctrines set forth in Hahnemann's Organon.
If high potencies (so-called) were to remain confined to the so-called Hahnemannists, who, like the coneys, are "a feeble folk," no great harm would be done; but we see every now and then in our periodical literature cases treated by other practitioners with the pretended high potencies, sometimes with the name of the maker after them, but as often without any indication of their source, and with only the Roman numerals attached, indicating the potency as "c," "m," "cm," "mm." Now, this is very deplorable, for chaos is introduced into homoeopathic pharmaceutics where hitherto order and simplicity reigned. There is nothing more certain than that none of these preparations are made according to Hahnemann's directions, and there is more than a suspicion that most, if not all of them, are not even dilutions of the strength, or we should say the feebleness, their number is meant to denote, even according to their own imbecile method of preparation. In fact, we have seen the rival manufacturers exposing the fraudulent nature of each other's attenuations, and claiming that their own preparations are alone really Hahnemannic.
But none of the new attenuations offered to us under the name of high potencies have the slightest claim to be called Hahnemannic, as in these preparations all the directions of Hahnemann are utterly neglected. We cannot see that Hahnemann's processes are improved upon by the shipshod plan of using one bottle for all dilutions, by omitting the succussions Hahnemann attached such importance to, and by substituting for pure alcohol the ordinary unfiltered service water of towns with all its impurities, organic and inorganic. For our part we have confidence only in the Hahnemannic method, and in that variety of it in which the decimal is substituted for the centesimal scale. Medicines prepared thus are everywhere and always the same. We know precisely the amount of drug they contain and we can repeat the experience of those who employ them in our own practice. But when we read of cases in which the medicines used are so-called high potencies, the figures denominating them convey no idea to our mind, for the only thing we can be certain about regarding them is that they do not represent medicines according to the Hahnemannic or the decimal scale. Even where the denominating figure is followed by the name of its sponsor, Jenichen, Fincke, Lehrmann, &c., we are not a bit the wiser, for either the mode of dilution is concealed from us, or what is revealed of it convinces us that it is not what it is called.
Why should we accept the preparations of amateurs, patentees and notoriety hunters as being an improvement on the time-honoured and well-tested medicines prepared according to Hahnemann's method? Has any of these high-dilution mongers adduced any reasons for condemning Hahnemann's careful and well-considered method? Have we had any arguments or facts to show that it is better to prepare all dilutions of a medicine in one bottle, in place of in a bottle for each, that succussions of the diluting-phial are useless or injurious, that dirty water is a better vehicle than pure alcohol? Until the futility of Hahnemann's method is proved to us, and the superiority of the new methods is demonstrated, we prefer to maintain our preference for the former. Who are Fincke, Jenichen, and the rest that they should take upon themselves to abrogate the plain directions of Hahnemann and adopt quite another method for preparing our medicines than that he devised, and by means of which homoeopathy has gained all her triumphs?
There are now before the profession—we know not if all in the market—some seven or eight different pharmaceutic preparations called high potencies, each recommended as the very best article to be had for love or money. We have in our periodicals cases treated by all these different preparations, and held up to us as examples for our imitation and as testimonies to the superiority of each of the articles employed. Are we expected to encumber our shelves with complete sets of medicines prepared according to the methods of Jenichen, Lehrmann, Fincke, and the rest? Are our pharmacists expected to keep complete sets of them all? Are we to abandon the divine simplicity of Hahnemann's method and to have our medicines all prepared in half a dozen different methods? And if there are now not many more than that number, what assurance can we have that the bad example thus set by so many men flooding us with their new and superior preparations, may not be speedily imitated by as many more, and we shall have all the Dicks, Toms and Harrys of homoeopathy courting a cheap notoriety and rushing into the market with their very superior methods. It may be said that no one will mind the preparations of obscure practitioners, but, with the exception of Carrol Dunham, is there one of the high-potency mongers who can claim to be the very smallest authority in homoeopathy? And yet their preparations seem to be valued in the inverse proportion to their homoeopathic reputation. The horse-trainer Jenichen still bears away the palm for high potencies, while Dunham's preparations were, we believe, never used by any but himself.
What a chaos has been created in practice by these unseemly struggles to supersede Hahnemann's pharmaceutic method? And the offenders are without exception those who arrogate the title to themselves of " Hahnemannists." Is Hahnemann a myth? And have already dogmas become engrafted on the Hahnemannic legend, which find no countenance in the master's writings, of which this high-potency delusion is one?