§266 – Sixth Edition
Substances belonging to the animal and vegetable kingdoms possess their medicinal qualities most perfectly in their raw state.1
1 All crude animal and vegetable substances have a greater or less amount of medicinal power, and are capable of altering man’s health, each in its own peculiar way. Those plants and animals used by the most enlightened nations as food have this advantage over all others, that they contain a larger amount of nutritious constituents; and they differ from the others in this that their medicinal powers in their raw state are either not very great in themselves, or are diminished by the culinary processes they are subjected to in cooking for domestic use, by the expression of the pernicious juice (like the cassava root of South America), by fermentation (of the rye-flour in the dough for making bread, sour-crout prepared without vinegar and pickled gherkins), by smoking and by the action of heat (in boiling, stewing, toasting, roasting, baking), whereby the medicinal parts of many of these substances are in part destroyed and dissipated. By the addition of salt (pickling) and vinegar (sauces, salads) animal and vegetable substances certainly lose much of their injurious medicinal qualities, but other disadvantages result from these additions.
But even those plants that possess most medicinal power lose that in part or completely by such processes. By perfect desiccation all the roots of the various kinds of iris, of the horseradish, of the different species or arum and the peonies lose almost all their medicinal virtue. The juice of the most virulent plants often becomes inert, pitch-like mass, from the heat employed in preparing the ordinary extracts. By merely standing a long time, the expressed juice of the most deadly plants becomes quite powerless; even at moderate atmospheric temperature it rapidly takes on the vinous fermentation (and thereby loses much of its medicinal power), and immediately thereafter the acetous and putrid fermentation, whereby it is deprived of all peculiar medicinal properties; the fecula that is then deposited, if well washed, is quite innocuous, like ordinary starch. By the transudation that takes place when a number of green plants are laid one above the other, the greatest part of their medicinal properties is lost.
The effect of the medicines derived from animal and vegetable kingdoms depend upon the latest condition of the substances selected.
There should be no doubt whether the medicines are prepared properly or not. No scope should be left to doubt whether the patient has taken the medicine or not. So it is desirable if the medicine is diluted personally and dropped on the tongue of the patient.
Substances should be extracted from living animals but not from dead or emaciated, or obtained at the point of gun. Dr. Hahnemann had prepared many of the medicines by collecting them personally himself. He has experimented on the patients after proving them upon himself. When he intended to experiment the medicine Lachesis, his disciple Herring caught hold of the frightful snake by himself, squeezed the poison without caring for life, prepared the medicine and experimented on himself. That is how he experienced the results himself and thereafter presented them to the rest of the world. By the effect of such a drug, thousands of lives are being protected today. Similarly in the case of vegetable substances also, if the physician could conduct the experiments personally, the results are certain.
§267 – Sixth Edition
We gain possession of the powers of indigenous plants and of such as may be had in a fresh state in the most complete and certain manner by mixing their freshly expressed juice immediately with equal parts of spirits of wine of a strength sufficient to burn in a lamp. After this has stood a day and a night in a close stoppered bottle and deposited the fibrinous and albuminous matters, the clear superincumbent fluid is then to be decanted off for medicinal use.1 All fermentation of the vegetable juice will be at once checked by the spirits of wine mixed with it and rendered impossible for the future, and the entire medicinal power of the vegetable juice is thus retained (perfect and uninjured) for ever by keeping the preparation in well-corked bottles and excluded from the sun’s light.2
1 Buchholz (Taschenb. f. Scheidek. u. Apoth. a. d. J., 1815, Weimar, Abth. I, vi) assures his readers (and his reviewer in the Leipziger Literaturzeitung, 1816, No. 82, does not contradict him) that for this excellent mode of operating medicines we have to thank the campaign in Russia, whence it was (in 1812) imported into Germany. According to the noble practice of many Germans to be unjust towards their own countrymen, he conceals the fact that this discovery and those directions, which he quotes in my very words from the first edition of the Organon of Rational Medicine, § 230 and note, proceed from me, and that I first published them to the world two years before the Russian campaign (the Organon appeared in 1810). Some folks would rather assign the origin of a discovery to the deserts of Asia than to a German to whom the honor belongs. O tempora! O mores!
Alcohol has certainly been sometimes before this used for mixing with vegetable juices, e.g., to preserve them some time before making extracts of them, but never with the view of administering them in this form.
2 Although equal parts of alcohol and freshly expressed juice are usually the most suitable proportion for affecting the deposition of the fibrinous and albuminous matters, yet for plants that contain much thick mucus (e.g. Symphytum officinale, Viola tricolor, etc.), or an excess of albumen (e.g., Aethusa cynapium, Solanum nigrum, etc.), a double proportion of alcohol is generally required for this object. Plants that are very deficient in juice, as Oleander, Buxus, Taxus, Ledum, Sabina, etc., must first be pounded up alone into a moist, fine mass and the stirred up with a double quantity of alcohol, in order that the juice may combine with it, and being thus extracted by the alcohol, may be pressed out; these latter may also when dried be brought with milk-sugar to the millionfold trituration, and then be further diluted and potentized (v. § 271)
The juice of the indigenous herbs should be taken when they are fresh and mixed in spirit sufficient for a lamp. It should be poured into a bottle and corded. The same should be kept without movement for one night and one day for the fibrinous and albuminous matters of subside and the clear fluid is decanted and preserved for medicinal use. By virtue of being mixed up with spirit, these juices do not become sour. This method keeps up the power of medicine. These liquids are to be preserved in properly corded bottles to prevent evaporation and to protect from the sunlight.