926. Principle of Homœopathy. As homœopathy is now practised so widely and, indeed, preferred to the older system in many families, the Domestic Pharmacopœia could scarcely lay claim to be considered complete without a brief mention of the principal remedies used and recommended by homœopathic practitioners, and the disorders for which these remedies are specially applicable. The principle of homœopathy is set forth in the Latin words "simila similibus curantur," the meaning of which is "likes are cured by likes." The meaning of this is simply that the homœopathist in order to cure a disease, administers a medicine which would produce in a perfectly healthy subject, symptoms like, but not identical with or the same as, the symptoms to counteract which the medicine is given. The homœopathic practitioner, therefore, first makes himself thoroughly acquainted with the symptoms that are exhibited by the sufferer; having ascertained these, in order to neutralize them and restore the state of the patient's health to a state of equilibrium, so to speak, he administers preparations that would produce symptoms of a like character in persons of good health. It is not said, be it remembered, that the drug can produce in a healthy person the disease from which the patient is suffering: it is only advanced by homœopathists that the drug given has the power of producing in a person in health, symptoms similar to those of the disease under which the patient is languishing, and that the correct mode of treatment is to counteract the disease symptoms by the artificial production of similar symptoms by medicinal means, or in other words, to suit the medicine to the disorder, by a previously acquired knowledge of the effects of the drug, by experiment on a healthy person.
927. Allopathy is the name given to the older treatment of disorders, and the name is obtained from the fact, that the drugs given do not produce symptoms corresponding to those of the disease for whose relief they are administered as in homœopathy. The introduction of the term is contemporary with homœopathy itself. It was merely given to define briefly the distinction that exists between the rival modes of treatment, and and it has been accepted and adopted by all medical men who have no faith in homœopathy, and the treatment that its followers prescribe.
928. Allopathic Treatment is said to be experimental, while Homœopathic treatment is based on certainty, resulting from experiences. The allopathist tries various drugs, and if one medicine or one combination of drugs fails, tries another; but the homœopathist administers only such medicaments as may be indicated by the symptoms of the patient. If two drugs are given, as is frequently, and perhaps generally, the case, it is because the symptoms exhibited are of such a character that they cannot be produced in a healthy person by the action of one and the same drug, and, consequently cannot be counteracted or neutralized by the action of a single drug.
929. Homœopathic Medicines are given in the form of globules or tinctures, the latter being generally preferred by homœopathic practitioners. When contrasted with the doses of drugs given by allopathists, the small doses administered by homœopathists must at first sight appear wholly inadequate to the purpose for which they are given; but homœopathists, whose dilution and trituration diffuse the drug given throughout the vehicle in which it is administered, argue that by the extension of its surface the active power of the drug is greatly increase; and that there is reason in this argument is shown by the fact that large doses of certain drugs administered for certain purposes will pass through the system without in any way affecting those organs, which will be acted on most powerfully by the very same drugs when administered in much smaller doses. Thus a small dose of sweet spirit of nitre will act on the skin and promote perspiration, but a large dose will act as a diuretic only, and exert no influence on the skin.