Alchemy





When chemistry, under the old name of alchemy, began to develop, its

first study was of minerals, and just as soon as a body of knowledge

was acquired chemistry was applied to medicine. All the investigators

were engaged in searching for the philosopher's stone, the substance

by means of which it was hoped to change base metals into precious. It

was generally believed that when this substance was found, it would

have wonderful applications to human diseases and would transmute

diseased tissues into healthy tissues in the same way that it

transformed metals. It was felt that the philosopher's stone would be

an elixir of life as well as a master of secrets for wealth. This

would seem amusingly childish to us were it not for the fact that in

radium we, too, seem to have discovered a philosopher's stone--a

substance that transmutes elements. For some years after its discovery

we were inclined to think that it must have some wonderful

application in medicine and in surgery, and we actually secured many

good results until its suggestive value wore off.



The fact that much had been learned about chemicals persuaded men that

they must be beneficial to human beings. Thus they were taken with

confidence and produced good results. When our modern chemistry

developed out of alchemy a great variety of drugs began to be used,

and long, complex, many-ingrediented prescriptions were written.

Polypharmacy became such an abuse that the time was ripe for

Hahnemann, whose principles, if carried to their legitimate

conclusions, would require his disciples to give practically nothing

to patients and treat them entirely by suggestion.





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