When Syphilis was being cured by immoderate doses of Mercury (even 300 years ago), the long, thin root of Smilax Sarsaparilla was casually discovered by the common people in South America to be of great use in the great derangement of health resulting thence. This has since been imitated in Europe in similar cases, but it is always ordered by the physicians in a boiled form. It was, therefore, necessary, in order to get an effective medicine, frequently to use an ounce and more of this expensive root every day, an expense which only rich patients could afford ; especially, when the treatment had to be continued for years, as was sometimes the case. It was, as may be seen, not perceived, even in the course of several centuries, that the root, which in itself is very strong, loses almost all its effective parts by boiling. It was, therefore, no great loss for the patient, when the apothecary mixed in or substituted for the very expensive sarsaparilla root, the similar long and thin roots of the sea-zeed-grass (carex arenaria) which had no medicinal virtues at all, drawing an immense profit from the transaction. For a long time, even the physicians supposed that the root of the carex arenaria might with propriety be substituted for the sarsaparilla because it also was a long, thin root, and probably of similar virtues. This was an arbitrary action of the fabricators of the common Materia Medica, having no foundation in fact, as they also decreed, that the bark of Salix and of Æsculus hippocastanum was of like medicinal virtue as the cinchona bark.
The truth is, that the genuine sarsaparilla, especially the brown kind which grows on Hayti (San Domingo), is a drug which is very powerful even in a small dose ; but it must be given to the patient in some other from, and not as a decoction, as it thereby, as before mentioned, loses nearly all its virtue.
Homœopathy only uses the most genuine medicines (it needs but a small quantity of each), and it uses them in their most effective form.
The tinctures drawn out with alcohol from all the dry drugs, do not contain all of their medicinal virtues. I have become convinced of this by experience now for several years.
We, therefore, scrape off one grain of the bark from a small piece of good sarsaparilla root which has not been kept on hand too long ; the same is triturated for homœopathic use with ninety-nine grains of sugar of milk to the hundred fold powder-attenuation, and so on to the millionth powder-attenuation ; one grain of this is solution is then potentized further, as taught at the end of the first part of this work.
In cases where Sarsaparilla was homœopathically indicated, it also removed the following ailments, if they happened to be present : Nauseas, blood with the stool ; cold feet before going to sleep ; perspiration on the forehead, in the evening in bed ; stuffed coryza of many years standing ; bruised weariness of the hands and the feet.
Smelling of Camphor is an antidote ; Vinegar seems to aggravate the ailments in the beginning.
The abbreviations areBr. Brunner ; Htm, Hartmann ; Hrm., Hermann ; Ng., Anonymous ; Tth. Teuthorn ; Sr., Dr. Schréter. [*].
Reference: The Chronic Diseases, their Peculiar Nature and their Homœopathic Cure.
by Dr Samuel Hahnemann