Seen in its larger aspects sickness is an irregular or disorderly conversion of vital energy. We classify the coarser effects into forms, which are named diseases; but its finer and subtler activities, those by which likes call to likes for aid, are not so easily formulated.
The manifest power which advances matter through chemical affinity expresses itself in sentiment life first as animal instinct then as human intuition and lastly forms the basis of reason. In proportion as a relatively higher faculty becomes latent the next lower one takes on more activity. This is a law of life. When we see the human intellect acting feebly, nature again falls back upon intuition suggesting what she wants by simulating it. It is nature's oldest language, the detailed study of which should be the business of the consistent Homeopath.
Following this thought we soon come to realise that nature's call for help in sickness may come from any of its phrases and that only a careful and intelligent scrutiny can discern the significant points of each case. In saying this we are not unmindful of the fact that whole epidemics also have their own peculiarities. headaches, for instance, with vertigo are common enough, but when dizziness precedes the headache it is unusual and peculiar to Calcarea-carb., Platina, Plumbum and Tilia.
Symptoms may become prominent or even appear only during some one stage of a given malady, thus taking a very high rank. Prodromal symptoms belong in this class, when they may even outrank the deeper constitutional effects of latent or apyrexial periods.
In chronic diseases it is useful to pick out the peculiarities of each past illness, combine these with the unusual features of the present complaint and then seek for the remedy which covers the combined feature, always bearing in mind that the latest development most likely contains the real deciding symptom. It is to be feared however, that the habit of letting this latest development overshadow the whole case is a little too common for the good of the patient.
The doctrine of signatures has been derided and said to rest upon pure fancy; but I know of no accidents in nature and everything has an adequate cause, hence we should not be too ready to attribute such things to mere coincidence. Such correspondences are too numerous as well as much too striking to be lightly passed over. It seems rather a case of not knowing just what they mean or what the real connection is.
At the risk of seeming to ask hard questions we may inquire why the time of the honey bee's greatest activity corresponds so closely to that of the Apis aggravations ? Why the poison of the sleepy surukuku is most active a little while after falling to sleep , Why Kali bichromicum crystals become tougher on exposure to the air ? Why the twining Convolvulacea cause twisting intestinal colics , etc., etc. ?
One might amplify such instances almost endlessly, but it all comes to this as last, that whether occurring singly or in combination, these things by their very peculiarity mean something, be they found in the world of nature, at the sick bed or in drug effects and it should be our business to know their meaning if we wish to become real healers of the sick. If we would be proficient we must be able to avail ourselves of great sources of information and it ill becomes us to look upon any field of nature as a closed book. We must remember that the dry rules and classifications of our text books are only the scaffolding of temple of knowledge, whose shrine abides within us where lies the true path to power.