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Concerning the Duration of Action

hpathy.com /homeopathy-papers/concerning-the-duration-of-action/

C. V 9/13/2009

In science as well in social and political life there are occasionally questions, whose consideration and answer are
most appropriately left to every individual, because objections and contradictions do not, at the time, admit of
unanimity. Among these seem the question of Dose and Repetition, the complete solution to which must be left to
some later time.

In the mean time it seems permissible to consider other questions, which in a certain way are connected therewith,
and when these questions, which are less subject to opposing opinions, are satisfactorily answered, this will
constitute a considerable contribution towards the determination of the former questions. I think the present question
is one of these.

The duration of the action of the medicines used by us is very varied. While with some medicines it may extend this
may merely extend to some minutes and hours, with others it must be counted by weeks and months.

Still greater will this variety be, even in the same remedies, as is well known, when used in various diseases in
which they may be homeopathically indicated. For it is not infrequently the case that we must select in acute
diseases medicines which act a long time, and in chronic diseases remedies whose action is a short one, because
according to the principles of Homeopathy, they correspond to the disease. But in chronic diseases the medicines
of short duration will show curative powers much longer than in acute diseases and vice versa.

In view of these facts, which have never as yet been disputed by any homeopath who observes carefully, the
question presses on us: What overpowering reasons and experiences are there, why, as is done frequently of late,
even the medicines of long continued action are repeated so often and in such brief intervals? A question with which
another is closely conjoined: whether the teachings concerning the first effects and the after-effects as we see it
developed in the Organon (63x sy.), and on which our provings and our curative methods essentially rest, are false
or rest upon the nature of things and are therefore true?

But I cannot follow out these consequences any further, because they would only lead to polemics which are at
present as yet useless, and it will be enough for me to have brought up into memory what everyone knows, but what
seems to have been forgotten in the part. Mat what is said from the subject-matter of some unprejudiced after-

In now turning to the proper subject of my present dissertation, I must premise, that according to what has been
already said, the duration of action of no one remedy remains altogether the same under all circumstances; so that
when it is spoken of only a relatively longer or shorter period can be understood, which is still subject to great

Nevertheless, it is of considerable importance for the practice and treatment of acute and chronic diseases, to know
this duration of action of concurrent remedies even, though it be merely not in order that we may, in cases of
threatened danger, bring the quickest possible assistance, but also that we may not in inveterate cases, by doing too
much, aggravate the evil and finally make it even incurable. This last name result of medicines given too frequently
or changed too often is not so rare as some may think, and vary many homeopaths have probably found, as I have,
and as Hahnemann himself found, that the most difficult and thankless treatments of chronic invalidism are found in
those cases which have been trusted for a longer period with an excess of medicines more or less
homeopathically suitable, whether by homeopaths or allopaths.

If we would make too many divisions in dividing medicines as to the duration of their action, not only the general
oversight would be rendered more difficult, but the difficulties would be aggravated. I, therefore believe, that we can
do with five classes, though we shall every time meet some remedies which might be included in the preceding
class or in the one following. But we can thus gain an easy oversight and the mistakes cannot be very great.

Commencing with the remedies of brief action and gradually progressing to those of longer duration, the

I Class would contain the following medicines having the briefest action : Aconite, Camphor, Coffea, Ipecac., Laur.,
Mosch., Opium, Par., Rheum, Sambucus, Stramonium, and Tar. Of these medicines, most corresponding to the
acutest diseaes and a necessarily rapid aid in chronic diseases, no use can be made except only as rare
intermediate remedies.

The II Class contains the following medicines whose action is of brief duration: Arnica, Asarum europaeum, Bryon.,
Caladium, Cann., Cantharis, Caps., Chamom., Chelid., China, Cina, Cocc., Creos., Croc., Cyclamen, Drosera,
Euphras., Hyoscyamus, Ignatia, Mgs., M. arct., M. aust., Mar., Men., Nux mosch., Nux vomica, Pulsat., Ran bulb.,
Ruta, Sabad., Scill., Secale cor., Valer., Veratrum, Verb., Viola od., Viola tric. Also from these remedies in properly
chronic(psoric) diseases little result would be obtained. Only as intermediate remedies, or where the tedious
invalidism ha its ground in the abuse of medicines, we may, in lack of more suitable remedies, expect a partial
amelioration from these remedies; e.g., from Bryonia in pulmonary patients, from canthar. in Brights Disease, from
Drosera in the affections of larynx, from Nux vomica and Pulsat. in various ailments, which are not infrequently
found in common life and are frequently protracted for a lengthy period. But how Chelid. in many ( of rademachers)
recipes should keep equal step and duration with other remedies of long continued action which are prescribed at
the sane time is an inexplicable riddle to the true homeopath.

In the III class the medicines of medium duration of action would belong, among which I count the following :
Agaricus, Ambr., Am. mur., Anacardium, Ang., Ant. tart., Argentum, Asafoetida, Belladonna, Borax, Bovista,
Bromium, Cicuta, Clem., Colchicum, Conium, Cuprum, Digitalis, Dulcam., Euphorb., Guaic., Helleborus, Iodium,
Lachesis, Ledum, Magn. mur., Mercur., Mezer., Mur ac., Natr. mur., Nitr ac., Oleand., Phosphorus ac., Plum., Ran
scel., Rhodo., Rhus., Sabin., Sarsap., Seneg., Spigel., Spongia, Staphysagria, Acid Sulphuricum, Thuja., Zincum
met. The remedies here adducted may nearly all of them be used in acute as well as in chronic diseases with
decided usefullness, if only with the former their course is not too rapid, or with the latter the ailment is not too
inveterate and, therefore, too firmly rooted. In my many years practice it has been as striking to me as curious, that
substances combined with an acid such as, e.g, Am. mur., Ant. tart., Magn. mur., Natr. mur., Nitr. ac., Phosphorus
ac., and Sulph ac. had as it seemed to me, a much briefer duration of action than the simple basis ( Ammon carb.,
Ant crud., Magn carb., Natr. carb., Phosphorus, and Sulph. ). I cannot, indeed, after so many careful observations,
consider this a delusion; still it would be desirable if other careful observers would also express themselves about it.

The IV Class would then receive the following ones of the medicines of long duration : Alumina, Amm carb., Arsen.,
Aurum, Bism., Carb an., Carb veg., ferr., Flour ac., Lycop., Magn. carb., Mang., Natr. acrb., Nitrum (kali nitric),
Petroleum, Platina, Selenium, Stann., Stront. These remedies belong to the so-called anti-psoric remedies, a
designation which many are unwilling at this day to accept, but for which no more suitable term is known to me.With
proper diet, and once brought into activity, their action will extend over several weeks and I have always observed
disadvantageous results arising when during this period premature disturbance was caused by repetition of the
same remedy or by giving another. Most of all we should guard against their action as extinct, when a second (or
more rarely a third) primary action should develop itself. So long as the old ailments show a renewed aggravation,
without the appearance of essentially new symptoms, which lie outside of the sphere of action of the remedy and
mirrors itself in the total-image of the last medicine, so long we must carefully guard against giving another medicine
or repeating the same medicine again, unless we would soon rue out our precipitancy. Such a course I have found
most injurious among those remedies, which, like the anti-psorics, have many reciprocal actions, which in addition
seem to be multiplied by being raised to higher potencies.

Finally the V Class contains those remedies which contain the most long-continued action of all, namely : Ant crud.,
Baryta, Cal-carb., Causticum, Grapg., Hepar sulph., Kali carb., Phosphorus, Sepia., Silicea, and Sulph. where these
remedies, the real heroes of our medical treasury for the chronic diseases, are accurately suitable and are used,
they will actually perform wonders, if they are only granted the necessary time to unfold their full powers.
Fortunately, they all also belong to the anti-psoric polychrests and, therefore, they find the most frequent average
use. But far more then even with the preceding we shall have to guard against causing premature disturbances,
since the injury caused by them is not easily made good again. What has been said above of Class IV applies here
in double measure, and my journal contains many cases where a single dose continued to act beneficially for many
months most manifestly, and eventually the many years chronic disease had disappeared with all its traces so
completely that nothing more remained to be done.