A.J. Collins, M.D.
Introduction by Dr. Michael Tierra
This is a piece of medical history. American Eclecticism was an officially recognized branch of North American medicine that predominantly used Native American herbs. Today, American herbalists are looking back to these forerunners as models of how to further evolve a rich herbal tradition into the 21st century and beyond. The Eclectics counted a number of highly dedicated and great doctors including doctor’s Milton Scudder, John King, John Felter, Ellingwood and Eli Jones with literally thousands of Eclectic medical doctors practicing throughout the US. Thy were the first officially recognized medical school to admit and graduate both women and blacks as Eclectic doctors. In the course of nearly a century they evolved a system of medicine that integrated diagnosis and the use of specific herbs that more than hinted at the universal principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic Medicine.
They were eclectic in the sense that they integrated whatever worked, including herbal medicine and homeopathy. Taking pride in all things American, they incorporated Native American herbal medicine and the work of Samuel Thompson as part of their eclectic practice. Perhaps one of our eclectic scholars can provide the date of publication of this pamphlet. It is obvious that it was written before 1900 and probably sometime around 1875. It also provides a glimpse of the state of medicine during the 19th century. I recommend reading this because it clearly demonstrates the superiority of an herbal based medicine before the advent of 20th century wonder drugs and technological medicine. In this, it shows that perhaps we were overly enthusiastic in condemning herbal medicine to obsolescence in the early part of the 20th century (the last Eclectic school closed its doors in 1939). It implies that there is a real value to the recognition and inclusion of herbal medicine in the ongoing health care of all people. Today, the Legacy of the Eclectics is stored in the Lloyd library in Cincinnati, Ohio. This is probably the greatest botanical library in the Western world.
What is the Eclectic School of Medicine?
Who are Eclectic Physicians?
This is the question that first occurs to the mind of the reader. Interrogate the Allopathic (or, as they are sometimes pleased to call themselves, “regular”) physicians, and they will tell you pompously that the Eclectics are Botanics, or Thomsonians, or still by others that they are electric doctors, etc., and that they are perfectly synonymous with humbug and quack.
This definition, given with a show of candor and truthfulness, you are not bound to take as conclusive. You have merely listened to one side of the discussion. To do away, if possible, with some of the manifold misconceptions regarding the Eclectic school of medicine; to present the truth of the system in a clear, concise manner; to answer briefly some of the many slanders leveled against it, is the task which the writer proposes to take upon himself.
To those who may wish to be enlightened on the subject, I may be permitted to remark that the proper sources of information are not to be found in the tirades of abuse, libels and misrepresentations of its enemies, but rather in the teachings of those who are its exponents. If you wish to ascertain the truths of the Christian religion, you do not ask the infidel; so, also if you desire an explanation of the laws governing the movements of the heavenly bodies, you do not question an ignoramus or an illiterate.
For like reasons, if you care to understand the fundamental principles of the Eclectic school of medicine, quiz not the old school doctor, for he is both inimical to and ignorant of them. Articles have been written, speeches made, and arguments advanced against Eclecticism, by intelligent allopathic physicians, which never touched the veriest outposts of the Eclectic doctrinal fortifications. Therefore, we can not think it strange that the public is ignorant of them. Taking the dictum of the family physician in regard to the matter, as the physician takes the assertions of his teachers in college, without question or cavil, opinions are formed which are utterly absurd and ridiculously erroneous. By education, inclination and interest, the old school physician is peculiarly unfitted to speak with candor or intelligence upon this question. With but few exceptions, when they do study the “specific” or Eclectic practice of medicine, they do so from the standpoint of partisan prejudice, as an atheist studies the Bible.
The only true way to study any system of medicine is to test it practically at the bedside in treating the sick. Theorizing is an extremely poor substitute for practical work. Not one in a thousand of them ever study the new school system of medicine by practicing it. “Why,” you will exclaim, “our doctor says he is eclectic in treating the sick; that he makes use of the best remedies taken from any and every source.”
Yes, we know all about that. If you are of an investigative turn of mind, the next time you are in your doctor’s office, ask him to let you see an Eclectic or Homeopathic on the practice of medicine. Ten to one he can’t do it. The writer has met a goodly number of such old school doctors who out of interest profess to be eclectic, and as yet has failed to discover one who possessed Eclectic works in his library.
To answer the questions intelligently, “Who are Eclectic physicians? And what it is that is denominated the Eclectic school of medicine,” it will be necessary to briefly sketch, from 1827 to the present time,
A Brief History of Medicine
The Eclectic system of medicine had its birth in a popular conviction that the old school system of medicine (call it, allopathic or regular, if you wish) was erroneous in its principles, unsuccessful, unpleasant, and murderous in its practice — in fact, dangerous to the lives and health of those who were compelled to employ it.
One has but for a moment to consider the character of this “regular” practice, during the early part of the present century, to fully comprehend the motives which prompted the principal actors of the Eclectic school in the organization of a new school of medicine.
Disease was looked upon as an entity — a devil, as it were — to be removed by violent means; a state of over activity, to be reduced by antiphlogistic or tearing-down treatment. Whatever the malady, especially if acute, every means employed debilitated the patient and it was only when the extreme prostration forbade the further employment of these methods – then and then only — that a stimulant and tonic treatment was adopted. The patient was picked up upon the point of the lancet, and carried to the brink of eternity, and then every art made use of to bring him back.
After bloodletting came free purgation, mercury in its different forms, antimony to sicken the stomach and relax the system, blisters, with medicine in large doses to influence the kidneys and skin. They were used in the order named, and as rapidly as possible. The purgative followed on the heels of the lancet, mercury forming a part of it. The calomel was then given for its constitutional influences by combining it with opium; tartar emetic given to sicken the stomach and relax the system, and the blister proportionate to the extent of the pain or the size of the part affected.
With such treatment the appetite for food was lost, digestion impaired, and starvation added as a part of the regimen. Mercury and water were thought to be opposed to each other; and as the first was fully and freely given, the latter was withheld for fear of salivation.
One must need have lived in those days, and have seen the sick, to realize the terrible character of the regular treatment of this “regular school of medicine.” The miserable patients, suffering from disease, were tormented continuously by nauseant drugs, by unutterable sickness of the stomach, the torments of physic, the suffering from blisters, and the terrible thirst, which, like that of Dives, cried to heaven for relief; but no Lazarus could cross the gulf and give the cup of cold water to moisten the parched tongue. The blisters were drawn, clipped, poulticed; and not unfrequently the odor arising from them could be recognized as soon as the door of the house was opened. “For, fear of taking cold” patients were unwashed, clothing and bed clothing allowed to become dirty, — dirt and bad odors, indeed, were characteristics of the treatment.
The mortality was large, ranging from ten to fifty per cent in the ordinary diseases of the country. So imminent was death under such treatment that many people refused to call the physicians, if it were possible to be avoided, preferring to trust nature and domestic remedies. The increased death-rate might hare been borne (for the dead are relieved from suffering) but the slow convalescence and the frequency of chronic disease of the stomach, bowel, and liver, following the simple diseases of the country, informed the people in language that could not be misunderstood that there was a serious wrong of the practice of the day.
The diseases following the treatment were of a character not well mistaken — the loss of teeth, decaying bones, disease of liver and bowels, mercurial rheumatism, and other affections too numerous to mention. The frequency of these unpleasantnesses added to their already distrust in this practice. Many have witnessed all I have named; many have experienced some of it. To them it is an unpleasant reality.
This constituted the howling, barbaric farce, called “scientific medicine,” given by the old school to suffering humanity, during the first half of the present century — “Records,” as they are pleased to term it, of the “fathers of medicine,” to which the self-styled “regular” school of the present day point with such pride, and refer to so tenderly.
In many sections of this country a very similar practice, in a modified form, is pursued to-day, and very similar results are obtained.
The practice is called “regular,” and the one striking peculiarity of the gentlemen who hold to it is their exclusiveness, their self-sufficiency and their inability to learn of others.
The Allopathic, or as they are pleased to call themselves, “the regular school of medicine,” has ever been slow to improve upon their treatment of the sick. Why is it that to-day they are behind the age in the curative art? I will tell you. They have from time immemorial to the present time been ruled, as it were, with a rod of iron by as dogmatic, illiberal a “code of medical laws” as the world has ever known. This antiquated relic of the dark ages of the world’s history that this so-called “regular school” has clung to so tenaciously, and to which they so heartily subscribe, exerts a powerful influence upon its, members, be he a member of State or National society, or not.
By it he is, as it were, hedged within prescribed boundaries, beyond the limits of which he dare not go in his investigation of the medical treatment of the sick, under no less penalty than that of being excommunicated, or “cast out” from professional fellowship. So say the authorities of his school; and from their decision there is no appeal. The mandate has gone forth, and it is final. To him their word and sayings are law. They are his authority. All outside the rank and file of old-school physic, be they ever so learned, intelligent, or successful in the treatment of the sick, are to him not worthy of a moment’s notice or consideration.
The earlier Eclectics were a sturdy class of men. Seeing the wrongs of the medical practice, noting its disastrous results, and knowing the superiority of the milder means, they did vigorous battle for what they deemed right, and against what they believed a gross wrong. Believing that the treatment was killing thousands and wrecking the health of millions, they said so in plain English.
On May 3rd, 1830, the following was adopted by the “Reform Medical Society” of the United States:
“Resolved, That this society deem it expedient to establish an additional school in some town on the Ohio River, or some of its tributaries, in order that the people of the West may avail them of the advantages resulting from it scientific knowledge of botanic medication.”
In accordance with the resolution a college was established at Worthington, Ohio, in 1830 under a university charter obtained by Bishop Chase, Prof. T. V. Morrow, being the leading spirit.
“Martyrs are the seed of the church,” and the persecution meted out to pioneers of the Eclectic practice in those early days had much to do with its wonderful growth.
In 1842 this college was removed to Cincinnati, Ohio, and in 1845 the Eclectic Medical Institute was chartered in its stead by special act of the Ohio legislature. To-day it stands with few equals, and no superior, in point of wealth, and the thorough training it gives its numerous students. It is the oldest Eclectic medical institution of America.
At the organization of the American Medical Association (old school) in May 1847, quite a respectable minority of progressive, liberty-loving medical men rebelled at being bound, as it were, in medical slavery. They believed the practice of medicine of the day a wrong, and the code of medical laws that they were asked to subscribe to an infamy, and they had the manhood to say so. For doing this they were hounded by ridicule and persecution out from among their former associates.
The year following, in May, 1848, the National Medical Association (Eclectic) was organized, and immediately proclaimed to the world, and inscribed it upon, their banner that “DISEASE WAS AN IMPAIRMENT OF LIFE,” and not an entity to be removed by violent and pernicious drugs, but rather by a conservative and supportive treatment. Dame Nature should be assisted back to health.
It will be noticed that it required only a year of organized social and professional ostracism, with a concerted effort to establish an Allopathic censorship over medical reformers (as the new school of physicians was then called) to make it necessary for the assailed to organize and accept a distinctive name, Eclectic (a word of Greek origin and signifies “I select”), — founded, as it were, because of the egotism, bigotry, and antagonism to investigation and progress that did then, and has ever characterized what is sometimes denominated the “regular school of medicine.”
There is no more ignoble record on the pages of medical history than that which is to be found in the conduct of this “regular” medicine, so called, towards the new school and its supporters. “As briefly stated in the preceding pages, these were the causes of the disruption in the medical world a half century ago. The results have amply proven the justice of the cause, and there are few who will have the temerity to deny the assertion that great good has come out of this reform movement.”
Allopathic Claim to Eclecticism
There are many persons who, while admitting the above facts, argue that the Eclectic school of medicine has fully accomplished the objects of its organization; that the practice of the “old school” has been modified and changed, and is now altogether different, etc.; that the cause for existence as a school is no longer present; that all schools are eclectic in the sense that they choose the best from all sources. To such we invite a rigid comparison of the principles and practice of the two schools at the present day.
As taught and practiced by the Eclectic school at this time, is a great advance and improvement over their practice of fifty years ago, and is as much ahead of the old school now as it was then. The early Eclectics were content in their efforts to abate the evil practices of old-school physic, and accomplished this. They trusted to their successors the developments that have since been made.
Eclectics give a remedy because it is indicated by certain well-known symptoms. They have studied the remedies of each school with reference to this matter — all that has been written for the past two hundred years; and they have carefully noted the cases where the remedy acted well, and where the symptoms were named. These experiments have been made to determine the “specific” or positive relationship of symptoms with the curative action of medicine, until at last the indications for its uses during the treatment of any given case of disease were defined. The entirety of specific medication has been built upon this. Chosen in this way, the action of a given remedy can be predicted, and is entirely satisfactory in practice.
A remedy selected by this law becomes a powerful help to nature in her work of restoration, and never reacts against the patient. The sick organ or part is simply helped back into a condition of health — medicine doesn’t overshoot and hit the patient. The Allopathic, or old school, is guided by no law in the administration of their remedies; they depend alone upon the accumulated experience of years of experimentation.
Even now hundreds of new remedies are being continually sent out by enterprising chemists, and old ones are as constantly falling into disrepute. Many old medicines discarded in disgust, after lying dormant many years, are brought before the profession with a great flourish of trumpets, to finally sink into oblivion. Here is the way the Weekly Medical Gazette, of Vienna, one of the foremost old-school journals of the world, speaks of the matter, and as it comes fresh from their headquarters, we have no reason to doubt the correctness of their own statement regarding themselves at this time:
“Building goes on briskly at the therapeutic Tower of Babel; what one recommends another condemns; what one gives in large doses another scarce dares to prescribe in small doses; and what one vaunts as a novelty another thinks not worth rescuing from merited oblivion. All is confusion, contradiction, inconceivable chaos. Every country, every place, almost every doctor, have their own pet remedies, without which they imagine their patients can not be cured; and all this changes every year, aye every mouth.”
Thus we see, guided by no law of cure, the Allopathic or self-styled “regular” practice, is groping in the dark. We are not surprised, therefore, to hear prominent members of that profession speak of their shot-gun, uncertain practice with disgust; and I deem it not out of place to herewith quote some of the late sayings of their most distinguished members, for “Out of thine own mouth have we condemned thee.”
“The science of medicine is founded on conjecture, and improved by murder.” – Sir Astley Cooper.
“My opinion is that more harm than good is done by physicians, and I am convinced that had I left my patients to nature, instead of prescribing drugs, more would have been saved.” – Dr. Hufeland.
“The physician then being a blind man with a club, who, as chance directs the weight of his blow, will be certain of annihilating nature or the disease.” – Dr. Maunsel.
“Medicine, poor science! Doctors, poor philosophers! Patients, poor victims I” – Dr. Frappart.
“We have assisted in multiplying diseases; we have done more — we have increased their mortality.” – Dr. Rush.
“The science of medicine is a barbarous jargon and the effects of our medicine on the human system are in the highest degree uncertain, except indeed that they have already destroyed more lives than war, pestilence, and famine combined.” – Dr. Mason Good.
“Ina large proportion of cases treated by physicians the disease is cured by nature, not by them. In a lesser, but not a small proportion, the disease is cured by nature in spite of them.” -Sir John Forbes.
“If all drugs were cast into the sea, it would be so much the better for mankind, and so much the worse for the fishes.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes
“Nine-tenths of diseases are medical diseases.” – Dr. Farre.
“We have no rational therapeutics.” — Professor Virchow.
“We do not know what is disease, how remedies act, and still less how diseases are cured. We must abandon the way which has thus far been followed.” — Professor Hencker.
“Since the time of the Greeks and Romans medicine has made no progress, or hardly any, It should be reconstructed upon an entirely now basis. ” – Shoenlein
“No science contains so many sophisms, errors, dreams, and lies as medicine.” — Richter.
“If I dared to say just what I think, I should add that it is chiefly in the service where the medication is the most active and heroic that the mortality is the greatest. Gentlemen, medicine is charlatanism.” — Professor Magendie.
“Medical precepts in most cases are veritable absurdities.” — Prof. Gregory, of Edinburgh, Scotland.
“Therapeutics and materia medica are in this day in the chaos of a transition.’ —Trousseau.
“We must really agree with Bamberger, who thinks that the greater part of patients who die, of endocarditis even, have succumbed not to the disease, but to the remedy.” — Professor Niemeyer.
Wunderlich said to his pupils one day: “Gentlemen, there is such a chaos in our therapeutics that we ought to be thankful for any good advice, whether it comes from an old woman, a shepherd, a blacksmith, or even a Homeopath.”
Dr. H. C. Wood recently wrote: “What to-day is to be believed is to-morrow to be cast aside, certainly has been the law of advancement, and seemingly must continue to be so. With what a babel of discordant voices does it [medicine] celebrate its two thousand years of experience!”
This is sad, but very significant testimony, coming as it does from prominent practitioners of this so-called “regular” school of medicine, bright and shining lights of a school that boast of their great descent, their antiquity, and their accumulated knowledge. After listening to their evidence the unprejudiced reader can not but be impressed, and that forcibly, that their great descent is “what’s the matter” with them.
Ransack Eclectic literature, and you will find no such disgraceful admissions. Eclecticism is founded on a law of nature, of life, and therefore is satisfied.
The Eclectic practice of medicine is no child’s play. There is no routine about it. We treat diseases not according to their names, but according to their nature. The study of specific medication (based upon the law of choosing) for well defined pathological or diseased conditions requires continual work, investigation and study. A man with a thimbleful of brains and no education may disgrace Eclecticism, but he can never practice it. Thus guided in the selection of his remedies, the Eclectic is not obliged to resort to the disgusting “shot-gun” practice of the old-school doctor, in combining six to a dozen nauseous drugs in one prescription, but rather applies his remedies singly or in simple combination direct to the diseased part. The Allopath being the poorer marksman prefers the shotgun; the Eclectic, guided by his unerring law, takes the rifle.
Quality, not Quantity
The quantity of any medicine determines merely the intensity of the quality. The great thing is to get the right medicine in the right place. If we have not the right medicine, an increase of quantity will only make matters worse.
Some people will take a few doses of medicine from an Eclectic, and if it don’t cure at once, they think there is nothing in it. But they will take large doses of strong drugs week after week, and though they do not improve, they think it is all right because the medicine has a big bulk and a powerful taste. They think it is doing something. Well, so do we. It oftentimes gives the undertaker a job.
When a patient dies under our treatment — for the windowless chamber of death is the destiny of all — it is never because he didn’t have medicine enough, but because the recuperative powers of nature were not sufficient to repair the damage done the system by disease. Medicines can only assist in a cure.
The early Eclectics administered the various remedies principally in the form of infusions (i. e., teas and powders), but with the constant investigation and progress of the Eclectic school came an improvement in the quality of the remedies used. With them the dirty, trashy, unreliable black tinctures and so-called fluid extracts that are in such common use by the old school at the present time to us are memories of the very distant past. They may be good enough for the “regular” doctor, but to an Eclectic who only appreciates the best, they are worthless.
A class of remedies termed “specific medicines,” made from the fresh prime drug gathered in its proper season, free from dirt, and as entirely free from coloring matter (as that is no medicinal part) as possible, prepared with the greatest care, regardless of expense, are the preparations we use. Being pure, their action is positive, concentrated; the dose is small, and not so unpleasant to the patient.
Your Allopath, old school doctor, who is pleased to call himself “regular,” is, and has always been, an ardent admirer of the drug store. In fact from the number and variety of prescriptions he is pleased to send them, he has often times been charged with getting a per cent of the proceeds. Whether this is true or not, the Eclectic holds that it is much the better practice for the physician to largely dispense his own remedies at the time when they are needed. There is greater certainty that the remedies are good, less liability to mistakes, less trouble to the person or family, besides the saving of valuable time.
Is the title that members of the Allopathic or old school won for themselves, and by which they were popularly known years ago. In many sections these “regulars” are still known to the public by the above name. That they deservingly gained this great distinction no well-informed individual will for a moment deny. They gave this drug in and out of season, most freely, fully, and perseveringly, first, last, and all the time. They gave it both early and late, and for any and everything, oftentimes with the most disastrous results. Even now, at the noonday of the nineteenth century, they deem no treatment complete without the addition of a “little calomel.”
The extravagant use of this poison was one of the great evils that the early Eclectics turned their attention to and opposed so bitterly. It is the abuse that Eclectics object to, rather than the use of the drug
Mercury, in its various forms, is used by all schools at the present day, although, through the untiring efforts of Eclectics, the method of its administration has been so modified that the harm resulting from its use is not so great as in former years. Many persons, and among them physicians of the old school, believe that Eclectics do not use mercury; but in this they are mistaken, as our literature will show, though we do not use it extensively.
Our treatment is seldom unpleasant. It is not a fight with the little folks to compel them to take it, and a wry mouth with the big ones. Ours is safe, never followed by bad results. As the Irish man said, our medicines don’t “keep the patient sick four weeks after he gets well.” Old-school treatment is unsafe, and frequently followed by painful and otherwise distressing consequences. Ours cures more quickly, because we relieve the diseased part direct without affecting other organs. Theirs cures less quickly, because, owing to drug complications, it many times takes their patients as long to recover from their treatment as it does from the disease. Ours cures more surely, because, by treating the sick part directly without assaulting the physiological integrity of the healthy parts, “we husband all the life forces.” Theirs cures less surely, because of the mass of medicine given having indirect action, resulting many times in the establishment of “drug diseases” in healthy parts, for a drug disease uses up as much life-force as any other of the same extent.
One of our recent writers very aptly remarked: “It may be unkind, though it is just, to remark that the Allopathic school has been fifty years in reaching some of the vantage points taken by the founders of the Eclectic school of medicine, and at the present pace they will yet be many years in reaching others.
“It is no uncommon occurrence for old-school medical journals at the present time to herald the discovery of a drug as possessing superior powers over certain conditions, while the same drug has been used for like conditions by the Eclectic school for a quarter or half a century.
“Eclectics have ever been progressive in their methods, and as a result there are as great differences between the schools now as fifty years ago.
“The old school has seemed to take delight in calling all dissenters from their doctrines irregulars, in contradistinction to their own self-styled regular school; but we fail to see in what they are or have been regular, outside of intolerance, and relentless persecution of every advance not made along their lines. Surely they are not regular in their practice, for according to their own testimony, besides our knowledge of it, we know there is nothing more irregular. They derisively ask us what we have accomplished in the way of advancement, whereas if they would subdue their intolerant egotism and read our literature they would at once learn that much has been accomplished.
“As a school, we do not profess to be superior in all departments of medicine, but in the domain of medical treatment we do profess to stand supreme. All are agreed that this is the most important, and the one to which all others are subservient. We do not refuse to accept whatever they have discovered that is valuable, and in this we enjoy an advantage which they waive by their refusal to accept the results of our observation.”
Present Status of Eclecticism — Hospital Statistics
When it comes to a comparison of the records of hospitals and treatment of epidemic diseases, the Eclectic school of medicine makes a very favorable showing. It cures more cases than the old school. Eclectics have proportionate control in some hospitals of the North and East, and their students have equal advantages with all others. The new Mitchell-Thomas Hospital at Springfield, Ohio, is now under the control of Eclectics, and the results are highly satisfactory.
In the public hospitals of New York, Chicago, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Springfield, Des Moines, San Francisco, Atlanta, carefully compiled statistics are kept as to the results of treatments of all diseases. The following in brief is the record to date, taking them altogether, and throughout they show a lower death rate for the Eclectic practice:
|Eclectic Treatment||Allopathic Treatment.|
|Deaths per cent.||Deaths per cent|
|Diphtheria and Croup,||18||37.5|
Eclectic Institutions of Learning
There are at the present time eight colleges and. universities regularly chartered by the States wherein they are situated, and recognized by the National Eclectic Medical Association as being of good standing. The advantages possessed by these colleges for thorough medical training are fully equal to any in the land.
A year or so ago the “National” took a step in advance of all other associations, by deciding that all students applying for graduation in these colleges must have read medicine for four years and attended three sessions of medical lectures one more year of attendance and study then demanded by the old school of their unsophisticated students. To them I would say, “Hop up, brother, or the public will believe that your ‘regular’ claim for a higher education is in keeping with your bombastic claim of being the medical salt of the earth.”
The Eclectic practice is patronized mostly by that class of people who read, observe, and think for themselves. In the North, East, and West, where Eclectics are numerous and long established a majority of the educated and most prominent people ’employ Eclectic physicians. 7 he lower classes of society generally employ that class of doctors who give something so strong that two or three doses turn the patient inside out, or they will think “nothing is being done.” The greater the ignorance of the patient, the louder demand for ”Strong” medicine when sick.
Schools of Medicine
There are three regular schools of medicine –the Allopathic, Eclectic, and Homeopathic. They all study the same anatomy physiology, chemistry, pathology, pathological anatomy, and microscopy, pursuing a regular course in each. In obstetrics and surgery they differ only in medical treatment. Let this fact be placed prominently before you–that in all the departments of medicine the three schools are alike, save in the important branch of medical treatment. One school is just as regular as the other. The absurd position as taken by members of the Allopathic or old school of medicine, that they are the only “Simon pure” and regular article in the market; that all outside their camps are ignoramuses and quacks, is too ridiculous to receive a moment’s consideration from an intelligent person.
Eclecticism extends the right hand of friendship to Homeopathy and accepts all it has positively shown to have proven of value in the treatment of the sick. Giving the credit where it belongs, Eclectics have reaped a valued harvest from the investigations of this medical school, which they have added to their own therapeutic wealth. In return Homeopathy is indebted to the Eclectic school for the discovery and proving of many new and important remedies, chiefly from the indigenous medical plants of this country.
Homeopathy is a divided household. One-fourth of its followers give medicine in doses so small that it would be very difficult to convince any one as to its having an effect at all. The remaining portion buy Eclectic literature, patronize Eclectic chemists, and give their remedies in appreciable doses, studying the relationship of drug action to diseased conditions, and with the exception of name and the minor detail of theory as to “the why” of curative action of medicines, are, to all intents and purposes, Eclectic physicians. We have been associated with these medical gentlemen in college, hospital and private practice for a number of years, and we know whereof we speak. To them we would say, “Come out and get under your true colors.”
Progress Of Eclecticism
Born less than a century ago, by a growth before unparalleled in the history of medicine, it has from its infant state developed into its present Herculean proportions. Never before has there occurred in the medical world so radical a change in the method of combating disease. Based upon demonstrated facts, and not experimental theories, it has advanced and spread wherever education and intelligence predominate over illiteracy and ignorance, and against what obstacles! — The bitterest persecution, hatred, and opposition of the old school of medicine, their continued efforts in and without the legislative halls of the country to have laws enacted to wipe us, as it were, out of existence; and last, but not least, we have made this progress against the disgrace of quacks, numbskulls frauds, ignoramuses, and otherwise incompetent men claiming to be of our own ranks. They hurt us more because their failures are put down to the discredit of the Eclectic school. People have fallen into the hands of the impostors, and supposed they were trying the Eclectic practice. But in the end the real has always been distinguished from the false.
Regardless of all this the Eclectic school of medicine has been moving straight onward, healing the sick, and daily growing in favor with the people, for as the people of our free land scorned a religious Pharisee, so they disdain a medical Pharisee who can stand up with a brass brow and thank God that he is “regular;” that he knows it all. The intelligent people of this country long ago made up their minds that they are not going to be eternally punished with “strong medicines” when any other system of treatment promises to do better, and then does it.
The principles and practice of the Eclectic school, founded as it is upon a law of nature and organic life, will continue to make progress over all opposition. Being indigenous to American soil, it recognizes no monarchs and no serfs in the realm of intellect. Desiring the common good of humanity as its highest aim, it builds no barriers through which afflicted mankind may not profit by the combined resources of all the medical world. Seeing in courtesy and manly forbearance virtues higher than the mere aggrandizement of sect, it reaches out the hand of fellowship to all educated medical men the world over.
The code of medical laws by which it is governed is as broad and kind as philanthropy itself. With its regularly organized and chartered colleges, its departments in State universities, its numerous journals and other periodic literature, its twenty thousand practitioners and millions of patrons, its National Association, its State societies all over this union, and its medical works upon practice teaching the innermost points concerning a medical system which is exerting a. liberalizing influence upon the whole medical world to-day, — a system that is too broad for the partisan, too generous for the bigot, and based upon too much intelligence for the ignoramus, we do not crave the recognition of the so-called “regular” school of medicine; we have, and can succeed without it.
“In the heat of a closely contested battle, the color sergeant bore the flag far ahead of the column it represented, and the commanding officer cried, Bring back those colors!’ The man at the front replied, ‘Bring your men up; these colors don’t come back!’ And so to-day our school has advanced beyond the darkness and uncertainty of Allopathic teaching. The light of a better day already dawns upon their banners; their pulses beat with a hope born of success already achieved. The past calls for gratitude; the future is inspiring. And to the frantic cries and appeals of old time medicine, who are afraid they will be altogether left in the fog, and would have us come back, we say: ‘No, gentlemen; improve your methods. Come up to us if you will; but our cry is, ”Excelsior, we do not come back!”
“While the grass grows and the rivers run to the sea, Eclecticism, or the American practice of medicine, will be perpetuated.”
Further resources on herbal Eclecticism contact the website of the Lloyd library. for reprints of some of the most important Eclectic publications write to the Eclectic Institute 11231 SE Market, Portland, OR 97216, USA