Bönnighausen and high potencies

Dr Chirag Tamboli

Since Gross died and Stapf laid down his pen the opponents of Homoeopathy raise their voices louder and louder, since they are no more afraid of contradiction of any weight, and the voices of the American defenders of the faith (the Drs. Hering, Lippe and Haynel) only in part reach Germany, and are ignored there. Though here and there a modest voice in praise of high potencies is heard, it is soon drowned by the noise raised against it from all sides. In the meanwhile the anathema against high potencies becomes inrooted ever more deeply and we have at this day reached such a point that no one dares to loudly declare his experience with them, that he may not expose himself to the danger of being insulted and derided, a treatment of which some of out German colleagues are by no means sparing toward those of an opinion different from theirs.

Without assuming to put myself in a line with the worthies above named, I am nevertheless too conscious of the importance of a ten years’ faithful experience to show the reprovable cowardice of giving way to my opponents without maintaining my views. On the contrary, I have to fulfil a sacred duty, as I was the first man who (in the Neue Archiv f. d. h. Heilk Vol. I, No. 2, page 36) made mention of this subject. Whoever will take the trouble to peruse the article by Dr. Croserio there (page 31 sq.) will find a bold and false assertion most successfully refuted, and will fully convince himself that the author of Homoeopathy was even in his last years far from returning to the more massive doses and the more frequent dosing which belonged to the infancy of this science.

There are some homoeopaths among us who, in their wisdom, will allow the value of high potencies in chronic diseases, indeed, but who, probably owing to their lack of sufficient personal experience, warn against their use in other diseases. They cannot, indeed, find or give any reasonable grounds for this, and one would be inclined rather to suppose the contrary to be the case, since in most acute diseases the excitability and thus also the receptivity for the suitable homoeopathic remedy is apt to be much greater than in most chronic cases. But that assertion having once been made it continues like an axiom, founded on manifold so-called authorities, so that it may seem useless to say aught against it. But it may be granted me to limit myself in what follows to an acute disease, a sort of nervous (or typhoid) fever, which has for some months been raging in the rural surroundings of my home, and which under allopathic treatment has, as usual, called for numerous victims.

In all theses cases, without any exception, I used only the 200 potency, and each time only a single pellet as my experience of many years has showed me that my apprehension, that one or the other of the pellets might not be properly saturated, is altogether unnecessary. Only one times, when I ran out of the 200 potency of Tarax., I had to give the 30, but I found afterwards that the 1000 potency of Jenichen’s preparation was quite sufficient. Almost one-third of all the cases were cured with one single dose of the 200 potency of the suitable medicine; only very few received more than three such doses, and where this was the case, either the description of the case, had been defective and incorrect or mistakes in diet were made, or lastly, the patients had, before calling me, used all sorts of allopathic or domestic remedies. Of all these patients, only one dies, and I shall falthfully relate the course of his disease below. All the others were restored, not only in a comparatively short time, but none of them had the least prejudicial sequelae from this disease, as else is so frequently the case, or required any considerable time to regain their former vigor, excepting a few cases, where the reconvalescents, by not following my directions, had relapses.

These twelve cases, to which I might add more than thirty more, where a single dose of Bryonia 200 or Rhus 200 sufficed for a complete cure, will be sufficient to put the efficacy of high potencies beyond all doubt, and this would accomplish my present purpose. If anyone has been able with low tinctures and off-repeated doses to secure quicker and more perfect cures in this kind of disease. I would request them in the cause of science to make as open and faithful a communication about it as I have done here. But in case that massive and repeated doses should only reach the same goal as I have reached I would retain my small and rare doses, and only go back to the mother tinctures if these should be found considerable gain for the patient, for I consider it foolish to use much where little will do, and to knock a fly dead with a heavy stone where a slight pressure of the finger will suffice. Besides, my journals and extended experience will show that the patient will recover after well-selected high potencies more quickly than after the low dilution, which are often followed by a slow reconvalescence, an advantage which I also value highly.

This then proves two things, namely: First of all a certain kind of progress in science, and then also the discovery of a low of nature hitherto unknown, which shows that the medicinal force, in the strict science, is not at all one of the grossly material bodies, and, therefore, also it is not subject to the realm of chemistry. Some one, it does not matter now who, made the assertion: “The higher dynamizations are to to be used only in chronic diseases, but in acute diseases either lower dilutions or even strong tinctures have to be used.”

This assertion, which so far lacks as yet any actual demonstration and is in no way confirmed by experience, has for a long time been considered as an axiom, and is still so considered by many, and what is yet more, one repeats it after the other, without thinking or asking for any experience about it. But the latter is the more important, as Hahnemann has so decidely pronounced for the opposite view. For in paragraph 287 of the Organon (5th ed.) at the conclusion there is a remark, in which we find the following words: “The higher the attenuation by means of potentizing (by two concussive strokes) is carried the more quickly and penetratingly the preparation seems to transform the vital force, and to change the state, and the strength is but little diminished, even if the potentizing is carried very far, instead of carrying it on, as if usually the case (and as is usually sufficient) to the tenth, even to the twentieth, the fiftieth, the one hundredth and higher, only that the duration then seems to be less enduring.”

The swifter and more penetrative the action of the higher and highest dynamization, here so expressly emphasized, has shown itself most decidedly during the fifteen years during which I have used them almost exclusively; and I can confirm it with the fullest conviction on the basis of many thousand fold experience. While referring to the examples adduced in the article mentioned above, I herewith add the following: In all the many contests waged with allopathy for so many years homoeopathy has always victoriously maintained the standpoint of experience.

This was the indestructible bulwark which offered an irrefragible resistance to all attacks, and which, therefore, with us, is the sole and only form and protection against all presumptions and heresies. In this high esteem which we all pay to experiment and to experience we must, indeed, wonder that this internal conflict keeps merely revolving around assertions and counter-assertions, and, as it were, intentionally avoids experiments. And yet no homoeopath will deny that all a priori deductions, all suppositions and probabilities, yea, even all so-called incomprehensibilities and impossibilities have no place where experience contradicts. Why, then, should this contention about high potencies not be finally settled in this manner?

These experiments demand only two essential cautions, which may easily be fulfilled, namely:
1. The assurance as to the reliability of the medicinal preparations, concerning which all that is needful has already been said above, and

2. The correct homoeopathic application of the same.
With regard to this second point it will suffice for the present to indicate with a few words that every experiment which is to be submitted to the homoeopathic public must be presented with such clearness and definiteness as to all its essential and characteristic momentum that not the least doubt as to the correct (homoeopathic) choice of the remedy can exist. There are, as is well known, cases, and these are not so rare, where, on account of the insufficiency and defectiveness of the symptoms, which cannot always be sufficiently completed, there remains considerable doubt, and where the choice of the remedy is not assured. But such cases are not suited for such experiments and may be excluded, the more easily as there will always be a sufficient number of cases which do not involve such defects.

Let the latter alone, therefore, be selected, to prove on them the effects of the high potencies, and let the image of the disease as well as the medicine given be communicated, as also the results and effects of the latter, both to the affirmative and the negative side; but everything with such clearness and completeness that everyone conversant with the matter may be able to form to himself a reliable judgment about it. In this way, and only in this one way, of experiment, the truth will come to light in a short space of time, supposing that a sufficient number of practiced hands be put to work, sand then, at one and the same time, all doubts, as well as all disharmony and contention, will be dissolved into conviction and unanimity.

Since I, among living homoeopaths, have had the greatest and most extended experience with high potencies, and since my carefully-conducted journals remove all uncertainty as to the results, I consider myself sufficiently equipped to give here, first of all to my friends, the chief results in concise and general outlines. The advantages of these higher dynamizations as compared with the lower potencies, and even with the thirtieth potency, which have appeared to me ever more clearly for the least fifteen years, have alone induced me to use them almost exclusively, not only in chronic, but also in acute, cases, not only with men, but also with animals of all kinds, and everywhere with the most favorable results. If under such circumstances I may believe that some regard ought to be paid to my faithful assurance, I may also be permitted to call the attention of such as intend to put this subject to the proof to some of the essential advantages of the high potencies as developed in my experience, so that they may not overlook them in the experiments which they may institute.

These advantages as observed also by others are especially the following:
1. The sphere of action of a medicine continually enlarges the higher the dynamization is carried. This is most striking in those remedies which in their raw state excite few symptoms, e. g., Calcarea, Silicea, Natrum mur.,Aurum met., Argentum met., Alumin. met., etc. While these effect already more in their thirtieth potency than in their first or second trituration, which no attentive observer will deny, their powers develop further with every additional dynamization. The immediate consequence of this is that they correspond to an ever-increasing number of ailments as their homoeopathic simile, and therefore in chronic ailments they hasten the cure.

2. In acute diseases the after-effects or curative effects appear more quickly. This peculiarity of the high potencies, which has frequently been denied, is so certain that everyone will find it verified. Besides the few facts adduced above, I might bring innumerable more out of my sick-journals.

There is therefore nothing worse to be found than the exclusion of high potencies from the treatment of acute, and even of the most acute, cases, and whoever has had the opportunity of witnessing their rapid effects will soon see the baselessness of the opposite allegations. Whether their effect in chronic cases is more prolonged I do not yet dare to affirm as so much depends on other circumstances in this matter. I can show cases where one dose has continued to act for three months; but this not only in the 200th potency, but also in the 30th, generally used.

3. By continual dynamization, remedies are more and more withdrawn from the laws of chemistry. Hahnemann calls attention to this in vol. I. of the Chronic Diseases (second edition, page 181), and adduces the following fact as an example: A dose of Phosphorus thus highly potentized can lie in a paper envelope in a desk, and will, nevertheless, show, if taken after a year, the full medicinal power, not of Phosphoric acid, but of the unchanged, undecomposed Phosphorus itself.” I have frequently had opportunity to make the same experience with the croup-powders, which many families keep on hand, because their effect many be expected to be earlier and more complete the sooner they are employed. Such powders, preserved in simple paper envelopes, and protected from the wet and from strong-smelling substances in a bureau, have proved their undiminished virtue even after twelve years and more, and had their full success.

4. A defective diet, which especially in cities and in the higher ranks frequently spoils the best cures, always does less damage the higher the dynamization is, and least of all if a minute dose, dissolved in water, and every time shaken anew, is taken several days in succession. I am very glad to see that my learned friend, Dr. V. Meyer, of Liepzig, stated this advantage of high potencies in the session of “Free Union for Homoeopathy,” May 10 of this year, and this without contradiction, and that he published this in No. 13 of this Journal.

5. The avoidance of the first effects, which are merely material, and thus the avoidance of all the dangerous concomitant symptoms, which lie outside the symptomatic sphere of the disease in question. Especially will it be found that only the specific dynamic poser (which in provings on healthy people generally manifest themselves later than the others) will become active, while the gross material (poisonous and destructive) properties are not manifested. How great this advantage is must be manifest to every one who knows how injurious for the life and health even the smaller but unpotentized doses of these medicines prove, which are numbered among the most virulent poisons.

6. Finally, it must yet be considered a particular excellence of the higher dynamizations, that they can never be used as deceptive palliatives, which are useless as to any real curative effects, and always extremely injurious. All these advantages, to which I might add several others, which are not yet quite surely proved as constantly present, must, as I think, appear important enough to more and more draw attention to them. If these really exist, as can assure from my fullest conviction, since I daily see them before me, they deserve in the fullest measure the predicate of a true and significant advance in Homoeopathy, and they should be carefully proved by all those who truly have at heart the welfare of suffering humanity and the development of our science so rich in blessings.

The great medicinal virtue and curative efficacy of the high and highest attenuations, or, more correctly speaking, dynamization of conscientiously-prepared homoeopathic remedies have been so thoroughly and convincingly tried and proved by some of the most experienced and honorable practitioners, that one really cannot help feeling some surprise at the strange obstinacy with which so many professed homoeopaths not only refuse to employ high attenuations in their practice, but even pronounce them a priori, as totally inefficient, and endeavor to ridicule the notion that would ascribe the slightest medicinal action or virtue. And yet no one who has impartially put the question to the only reliable test, that of experience, will deny that the discovery of the high dynamization is one of the most marvellous progresses of the homoeopathic science, and that no other improvement in homoeopathic technics can compete with it.

The immortal Hahnemann, whose talent really looks sometimes like an inspiration from above, had, in the last years of his life, arrived at a profound conviction of the efficacy of high attenuations, and had accordingly for some time followed, in the preparation of his remedies and in his doses, a method different from that which he had recommended to the public in his former works; the modifications then introduced he intended to publish to the world in the last edition of his “Organon.”

I have this very year commenced a series of comparative experiments on the influence on vegetation which matters, indifferent in themselves, may acquire by being shaken or strongly rubbed together with substances exercising a certain action upon vegetation. These experiments, which I intend to continue, even not already give the most positive and conclusive results, showing that vegetable life is highly susceptible of being acted upon by high attenuations. I intend shortly to publish my experiments on this subject, and the results to which they have led. I have a sanguine hope that these results may finally lead to the deduction of a new hitherto unknown law for animated nature, as startling as the “similia similibus”. All experiments of this, intelligently and accurately conducted, are questions asked of nature, and to which “the honest inquirer” is sure to receive an answer; they are of infinitely higher value than all the “opinions” and theoretical views in the world, which, it the truth must be confessed, are worth mostly the one as much as the other- i.e., nothing. Mindful of the motto of our great master, “Audete sapere,” every homoeopathist, sincerely desirous of furthering the progress of our sublime science, ought, therefore, at least, to condescend to subject to the rest of experiment the statement and suggestions of his professional brethren, instead of rejecting them a priori, and for no other reason than that they do not happen to accord with what he may be pleased to call “common sense,” and of combatting them with weapons such as the ultra-allopaths of former days used to wield against Homoeopathy, and which surely, are not fair, and often even  scarcely honorable or decent.

We have never dreamt of exacting or demanding a blind faith in the truth and correctneas of our statements and allegations; all we ask of our professional brethren is, that they will condescend to put these statements and allegations to the only reliable test, that of experience; and we appeal to them, and request them in the words of the immortal Hahnemann, to repeat our experiments, but to repeat them accurately, and exactly in the manner in which they are laid before you, and you will speedily discern with your own eyes whether our statements rest upon the basis of truth or upon that of error. It must, however, also be admitted, that a correct and accurate repetition of homoeopathic experiments is by no means without its difficulties, and yet these difficulties must be thoroughly overcome ere the results obtained can be considered trustworthy and conclusive. The higher dynamizations of homoeopathic remedies require more particular caution in this respect, since experience has proved that they are slower and more continuous and more lasting in their action than the lower attenuations, and that they can the least bear repetitions without appropriate intervening medicines.

Accordingly, if a homoeopathic practitioner is not in the position to select with exactitude the proper remedy, or does not deem himself possessed of moral strength sufficient to let him wait calmly the action of the remedy administered, though some time should elapse before that action becomes manifest, let him not expect safe and reliable results from his experiments, nor ascribe his failure to the method or agent recommended by others, but frankly and honestly attribute it to the obstacles, subjective or objective, that have opposed the experiment. But every homoeopathic practitioner of any experience and practice will find plenty of cases where he may satisfy every requirement to a successful trial, and to such cases he may, without the slightest prejudice to his patients or his reputation, at first limit his experiments.

Dr Chirag Tamboli  M.D. (HOM)
Lecturer PG Dept. Organon, Anand Homoeopathic Medical College &
Research Institute, Anand.
E mail: drchiragtamboli@gmail.com

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