Now the adherents of the ordinary school of medicine saw all this for so many centuries; they saw that Nature herself cannot cure any disease by the accession of another, be it ever so strong, if the new disease be dissimilar to that already present in the body. What shall we think of them, that they nevertheless went on treating chronic disease with allopathic remedies, namely, with medicines and prescriptions capable of producing God knows what morbid state – almost invariably, however, one dissimilar to the disease to be cured? And even though physicians did not hitherto observe nature attentively, the miserable results of their treatment should have taught them that they were pursuing an inappropriate, a false path. Did they not perceive when they employed, as was their custom, and aggressive allopathic treatment in a chronic disease, that thereby they only created an artificial disease dissimilar to the original one, which, as long as it was kept up, merely held in abeyance, merely suppressed, merely suspended the original disease, which latter, however, always returned, and must return, as soon as the diminished strength of the patient no longer admitted of a continuance of the allopathic attacks on the life? Thus the itch exanthema certainly disappears very soon from the skin under the employment of violent purgatives, frequently repeated; but when the patient can no longer stand the factitious (dissimilar) disease of the bowels, and can take no more purgatives, then either the cutaneous eruption breaks out as before, or the internal psora displays itself in some bad symptom, and the patient, in addition to his undiminished original disease, has to endure the misery of a painful ruined digestion and impaired strength to boot. So, also, when the ordinary physicians keep up artificial ulcerations of the skin and issues on the exterior of the body, with the view of thereby eradicating a chronic disease, they can NEVER cure them by that means, as such artificial cutaneous ulcers are quite alien and allopathic to the internal affection; but inasmuch as the irritation produced by several tissues is at least sometimes a stronger (dissimilar) disease than the indwelling malady, the latter is thereby sometimes silenced and suspended for a week or two. But it is only suspended, and that for a very short time, while the patient’s powers are gradually worn out. Epilepsy, suppressed for many years by means of issues, invariably recurred, and in an aggravated form, when they were allowed to heal up, as Pechlin1 and others testify. But purgatives for itch, and issues for epilepsy, cannot be more heterogeneous, more dissimilar deranging agents – cannot be more allopathic, more exhausting modes of treatment – than are the customary prescriptions, composed of unknown ingredients, used in ordinary practice for the other nameless, innumerable forms of disease. These likewise do nothing but debilitate, and only suppress or suspend the malady for a short time without being able to cure it, and when used for a long time always add a new morbid state to the old disease.
1 Obs. phys. med., lib. ii, obs, 30.
III. Or the new disease, after having long acted on the organism, at length joins the old one that is dissimilar to it, and forms with it a complex disease, so that each of them occupies a particular locality in the organism, namely, the organs peculiarly adapted for it, and, as it were, only the place specially belonging to it, while it leaves the rest to the other disease that is dissimilar to it. Thus a syphilitic patient may become psoric, and vice versa. As two disease dissimilar to each other, they cannot remove, cannot cure one another. At first the venereal symptoms are kept in abeyance and suspended when the psoric eruption begins to appear; in course of time, however (as the syphilis is at least as strong as the psora), the two join together,1 that is, each involves those parts of the organism only which are most adapted for it, and the patient is thereby rendered more diseased and more difficult to cure.
When two dissimilar acute infectious diseases meet, as, for example, smallpox and measles, the one usually suspends the other, as has been before observed; yet there have also been severe epidemics of this kind, where, in rare cases, two dissimilar acute diseases occurred simultaneously in one and the same body, and for a short time combined, as it were, with each other. During an epidemic, in which smallpox and measles were prevalent at the same time, among three hundred cases (in which these diseases avoided or suspended one another, and measles attacked patients twenty days after the smallpox broke out, the smallpox, however, from seventeen to eighteen days after the appearance of the measles, so that the first disease had previously completed its regular course) there was yet one single case in which P. Russell 2 met with both these dissimilar diseases in one person at the same time. Rainey3 witnessed the simultaneous occurrence of smallpox and measles in two girls. J. Maurice4, in his whole practice, only observed two such cases. Similar cases are to be found in Ettmuller’s 5 works, and in the writings of a few others.
Zencker6 saw cow-pox run its regular course along with measles and along with purpura.
The cow-pox went on its course undisturbed during a mercurial treatment for syphilis, as Jenner saw.
1 From careful experiments and cures of complex diseases of this kind, I am now firmly convinced that no real amalgamation of the two takes place, but that in such cases the one exists in the organism besides the other only, each in pairs that are adapted for it, and their cure will be completely effected by a judicious alternation of the best mercurial preparation, with the remedies specific for the psora, each given in the most suitable dose and form.
2 Vide Transactions of a Society for the Improvement of Med. and Chir. Knowledge, ii.
3 In Edinb. Med and Phys. Journ., 1805.
4 In Med. and Phys. Journ., 1805.
5 Opera, ii, p.i, cap. 10.
6 In Hufeland’s Journal, xvii.