This book review is reprinted with the permission of the American Institute of Homeopathy
925 E. 17th Avenue
Denver, CO 80218
Hubbard, Elizabeth Wright.
Homoeopathy as Art and Science
Beaconsfield Publishers Ltd, 20 Chiltern Hills Road, Beaconsfield, Bucks. HP9 IPL, U.K. 1990.
Reviewed by Karl Robinson, MD
Brains, Elizabeth Wright Hubbard had brains. Throughout this vast and sometimes disjointed work of her writings her lively intellect fairly dances on every page. Whether she is expounding the tenets of classical homeopathic philosophy, showing us how to use a rare remedy or illustrating how remedies bring back suppressed discharges and eruptions we feel the keenness of her brain power. Brought out 23 years after Hubbard's death in 1967, Homoeopathy as Art and Science is a virtual smorgasbord of homeopathic offerings. Had Hubbard brought out the book herself it would have probably been more ordered but the aim here was to present her selected writings. One chapter is often loosely or not at all related to the next but any chapter may contain a pricey gem that makes it all worthwhile. I found one on page 101 where Hubbard wrote, "Next to my Kent, I would rather have the Roberts, As If for frequency of use and accuracy of prescribing." I took that one to heart and began to use Roberts "Sensations As If" - and have made several prescriptions I could not have made otherwise.
Hubbard obviously knew a lot of materia medica and her short case histories are instructive. In one she detailed how she cured a patient with a fear of having a stroke using Asterius rubens. In another she cured a painful Herpes zoster with Magnetis polus Arcticus. May all routinists who habitually give Rhus tox., Lachesis or Ranunculus for Herpes zoster read and take heed.
Hubbard put her finger on why the homeopathic method of proving a remedy is so superbly valid. In the chapter "The Value of Provings" she wrote, "The human being is the most delicate instrument, and thanks to its self-consciousness can report all shades of symptoms, subjective and psychological. There is a much wider range of individual difference between man and man than between mouse and mouse." well said.
In "Educating the Patient" she wrote, "The first duty of the homeopath is to cure, but surely the second duty is to inculcate a concept of homeopathy. They (patients) must learn to understand, for their own sakes, certain of the principles underlying our art. If only the public knew the results of suppression, how much suffering would be saved. If only they could be made to realize what a bar to recovery surgery may be, when it intervenes before the condition behind the pathology is cleared up." How many patients have all of us lost over the years because they never really understood what we were all about. How many who, recovering nicely from their chronic problem under homeopathy, rushed off to an allopath for penicillin for a strep throat thereby slowing or obviating their path to cure.
Some chapters are reprints of old journal articles (why couldn't the editors have said which chapter came from which journal?) based on papers presented at homeopathic meetings replete with commentaries of the homeopaths there present. In one (page 1 12) Dr. Underhill, Jr. wrote of a woman with advanced rheumatoid arthritis. He had been unable to help her using conventional remedies. Eventually he took the woman's blood, potentized it and gave it back to her in remedy form. It did nothing and eventually she died. Sometime later that woman's daughter began to develop the same condition and Underhill gave her her other's potentized blood. "After a terrific aggravation she made a beautiful recovery," reported Underhill. "Her dead mother's blood still had power when it came to her own daughter." What an extraordinary albeit unclassifiable incident in the annals of homeopathy!
"Cough and Company" is Hubbard at her folksy, chatty best. "I was educated by Pierre Schmidt," she wrote in the first sentence. "He used to say, 'When you do the Kent Repertory, study mind first, generals second, and cough third.' I was a young thing - that was many years ago - and I thought, 'Why cough third?', but now l know why." She went on to give gem upon gem of how to approach coughs. Item: "Those mean little 'Ahchheh' coughs they often just vanish with a dose of Tuberculinum or Bacillinum. Those little coughs are very nasty, and I do not know any so-called acute remedies which will reach them as well as those nosodes will." Item: "You can hear the Causticum -you hear it scrape the trachea, the way you hear something scrape along a pipe. Cina - how I love Cina in the naughty children. Rub the end of their nose and they fly in a tantrum and will not let you examine them, and cough their heads off, and throw up about it." Item: "Alumina for the horrid little dry hacks, where they have a wad of phlegm low down and have uvulas that are too long." Hubbard may not sound very learned in this chapter but she gets her message across and how delightful it is.
Homoeopathy as Art and Science is a lovely addition to our homeopathic literature. Hubbard's obviously vast experience shines forth from page to page and chapter to chapter. There is an enormous amount to be learned from reading this book, even by seasoned homeopaths. It is to be read both for easy entertainment and for serious study. I recommend it.
JAIH June 1990, Vol. 83, No. 2