Creating Waves of Awareness
BURNETT: A Prodigy of a Genius
(RIGHTFUL PLACE OF PATHOLOGYIN HOMEOTHERAPEUTICS)
Dr. M. A. Usmani
At the time of Burnett there were many more prodigious figures that I did not mention, in my previous article: Burnett The First Non-Conformist).
Prominent among them was Dr. Richard Hughes, the author a magnum opus: A Cyclopedia of Drug Pathogenesy, in four big volumes. Then two more books entitled: A Manual of Pharmacodynamics, and The Principles and Practice of Homeopathy. But he was not a ‘non-conformist’, nor a heretic, but a homeopath, who simply refused growing with the growth of homeopathy. He could not cross the threshold of his inborn prejudice over to the real and vibrant Homeopathy.He remained all the time apologetic; always tried to dish out homeopathy in the form which may not be obnoxious to the sensibilities of the scions of the dominant school. He was so consumed in this passion that he didn’t try to pry outside the Avogadro’s numbers in homeopathic potencies. But the fate of the disbelievers is oblivion. He, with his magnum opus, is nowhere in homeopathic world now_ a sheer history.
Other towering figures were: Dr. J. H. Clarke, Dr. R. T. Cooper and Dr. Thomas Skinner, they all four (I mean with Dr. Burnett) made a weekend meeting club, christened as Cooper Club. Dr. Clarke gave the profession at least two books that bolstered up his image as a great homeopath. The first is Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica; and the other is Clinical Repertory, (which would require constant updating). His love for Dr. Burnett was so much that he wrote his biography after his demise, entitled: The Life and Work of Dr. James Compton Burnett. Some others in his close circle were Dr. Drysdale, Dr. Dudgeon, Dr. Alfred Hawkes and Dr. Pope, to mention the few.
After a century and a half of homeopathy and a century after Hanemann, Dr. Burnett rejuvenated homeopathy and took it to unwonted heights. He gave pathologyits rightful place in homeotherapeutics. Pathology in Hahnemann’s time was very crude and the therapeutic measures were cruder still. Blood-letting and massive drugging was the sole therapeutic. By the times of Burnett conceptions have much changed. Medicine had taken many leaps.
Homeopathy must give a respectful place to pathology, and every homeopath should keep himself abreast of this knowledge, and be properly educated in modern advancements in medicine. Along with stupendous advancement in therapeutic science of the dominant school with their micro-, and millimicro-doses, an upheaval has come in their diagnostics. The researches on microorganisms and viruses, and the diagnostics as X-Rays, Electrocardiogram, CT-Scan, Ultrasounds, and MRI; the surgical advancements as Coronary bypass, Pacemakers, to mention a few, are the order of the day.
Homeopathy is a science, not an infatuation. Only symptom counting and symptom matching is not homeopathy. I’ve seen many famous and respectable and aged practitioners deciding a case by repertorisation from the chapter of ‘Generalities’ only, in a repertory; e.g.
There was no mention of disease. Gone are those days. Repertorising without taking the clinical complaint into consideration will be a hollow practice. Sometimes the response could come positive. No more now. It was unscientific then, it is unscientific now. Times have changed; cases are not that simple. Sometimes you may repertorise thousand times, by changing the symptoms complex, rearranging and regrouping, in different orders, without considering the pathology of the case, result would be zero. Such a faulty approach in a scientific person can’t ever be thought of. How amusing it is that a medical man treating a seriously sick person and prefers not to think of pathology! Wonder of wonders!! Isn’t it a classical attitude, of a classical homeopath?
I’m satisfied that Hahnemann was not static; he was always changing, and modifying his one time tenets. He came to the realization that consideration of the pathology is basic to the treatment of a case. He solved the difficulty by inventing a super pathology, in the garb of the Theory of Chronic Miasms. Now the determination of the exact miasm became sine quanon for any dealing of a case. But there was a sufficient majority of people who could not come out of the tight jacket of the previous (original) philosophy. They out rightly rejected the theory of miasms. Them we can call the Classical Homeopathsof that time.
Then Hahnemann felt that the theory of one dose was not in order. He felt that repetition certainly expedited the process of healing. To circumvent this difficulty he ingeniously invented the 50-millessimal potency; and allowed its repetition on daily basis. The steadfast followers again staged protest, and called this change as senile weakness of the master. These tight-jacketed followers can be taken as classical dignitariesof that time.
What lesson we learn from this is that Hahnemann was an enlightened and truly scientific person who open-mindedly handled all and any difficulty that came his way. And that he did not consider homeopathy a fixed science. The tight-jacketed followers could not keep pace with him, and lagged behind. Knowledge that is wary of advancement is destined to be thrown into limbo.
One hopes that the classical homeopaths of today will preserve the Hahnemannian spirit, and not fall in the same ditch into which their predecessors fell. Scholasticism is long dead in religion, scholasticism must die in therapeutic, and in all disciplines of life.
Somebody has put a question mark in front of the word ‘Homeopath’, meaning thereby to cast doubts on the credentials as a homeopath of Dr. Burnett. I want to inform the enquirer that if Dr.Burnett is not a homeopath then you are a follower of a dead science that has long ceased to be progressing. If homeopathy is only taking a case, selecting and choosing the symptoms to prescribe (repertorise) on, and giving the chosen remedy in single dose, then it is a moribund system of medicine; to be relegated to long dead therapies. Life and the therapeutic world is not that simple. A therapist is always face to face with ever trying situations and challenges. Who has cured as many cases of tumours, liver and spleen diseases, fistulae, gout and gynae diseases, breast cancers, cases of hare-lips, cleft palates, and prevention of myriad other congenital defects, by treating them during pregnancy), as the born genius and down to the bones homeopath, the great Burnett? He is the second apostle of homeopathy after the great Hahnemann, and as ingenious, (perhaps more) as Hahnemann. I’m not discrediting Boenninghausen, Hering. They were great but only the interpreters of Hahnemann. Burnett was the non-conformist and originator of new views and innovations. I give a small mite out of the annals authored by Burnett, and ask the fraternity to give it try for the arthritis of the knees, and publish the failures. The prescription is:
R/. Natrum Mur. 6
Dose: one in water every 3 hrs.
A physician is not a machine for prescribing medicines. He is the care-takerof families and individuals. He advises them in every field of health and wellbeing. Burnett was such a being par excellence. He even tried to remedy the hereditary or congenitally expected deformities during the fetal period. And he successfully saved many new-borns form cleft palate and hare-lips. He devised, invented and discovered many ways, methods and new medicines. He accepted every patient as a challenge and came up to it in 99% of cases. The freshness and chastity of his narration of facts is simply bewitching and reassuring. The critics simply begrudge him his unbelievable success, and wonder how he could cure cases without following the trodden path of symptoms matching and then thinking that they have done all that could be expected of them as homeopaths.
Burnett lived and acted creatively. His whole life is full of devotion and adventure. Alongside discovering new medicines_ and thus enriching the armamentarium of homeopathy, he gave new meaning and discovered and assigned new fields to the already well-proven medicines. And these medicines excelled in those fields, specified by him, in his hands. The examples of such remedies are legion. We can mention Natrum Mur., Urtica Uren., Thuja, for vaccinal poisoning, and tumors; Bacillinum for ringworms. The following observation can only be given by a Burnett, the incomparable genius:
In many cases “Bacillinum will not act till Thujahas been given and then it will act beautifully: the vaccinosis evidently barring the way.”
In fact Burnett is full of wisdom and full of insightful instructions. Browsing him will always richly pay dividends to the reader.
There was a dictum with the classical homeopaths: ‘a homeopath must learn pathology to enable him to recognize, in a well taken case, as to what belongs to the pathology of the case, and what belongs to the patient himself, to separate the former from the latter; and discarding the former, prescribe on the latter.’ Now take a case of tumor of the stomach. By discarding the pathologic symptoms and considering what belong peculiarly to the patient, the remedies that come out boldly are Nux Vom., Pulsatilla, Carbo-Veg. and Sulph. Now go on prescribing on this basis, you won’t find the pathology budging even an iota. Drastic diseases require drastic measures. The Zoic and miasmatic remedies will solve the problem, as Burnett has said.
Similarly I’ve already detailed graphically a case of CHF, in my article entitled, Calling a Spade a Spade:
Homeopathy on the basis of totality of symptoms,sans pathology proved a fiasco. Their penchant for symptom matching, in the absence of the knowledge of pathology, leads them nowhere, but can lead the patient to the grave.
Copyright 2011-12/All rights reserved © Dr Usmani
Contact author for permission to use