Spiritual Science and Medicine
25 March 1920, Dornach
As we go further into that special realm where pathology is to meet therapeutics and where, in a certain sense, we build a bridge between the two, we shall need to mention many things that can only remain a sort of ideal for treatment and cannot be everywhere fully applied. Nevertheless, if we had a comprehensive picture of all that matters in the treatment of disease, we should be able to select one or other particular point, and at least we should know how a fragmentary diagnosis of a given disease can be utilised.
First and foremost, we must consider the importance, even in the most special cases, of knowing the whole personality before us. This should include all the main data of the patient's life. Some medical practitioners have given me their confidence, and discussed various topics with me, and I have often been amazed. My first question was: “How old is the patient?” and the practitioner could give no definite answer. He had himself formed no opinion on the patient's age. As we shall see in the next few lectures, it is one of the essentials to know this, for therapeutics depend very much on the age of the person treated. The day before yesterday we heard it said of certain remedies, that while in some cases they were of extraordinary efficacy in others they failed. 1In a lecture given by one of those attending the course. Here arises the question whether there was any connection between the failure and the age of the patient under treatment We must collect and collate very exact records concerning the influence of age upon the effect of remedies.
Then there is the factor of stature. We should always pay special attention to the stature and build of the patient — whether he is short and compact or tall and lanky. It is important to be able to judge, from differences in build, the forces inherent in what we term the etheric body of man. I have given much consideration to the possibility of avoiding these terms, which belong to the reality of man's being; but it is impossible to do so, and presumably you would not wish to do so. Of course we could replace them by other terms that find more approval among those who are not Anthroposophists. Perhaps of this course. Here and now, however, we shall retain this vocabulary for the sake of better understanding.
We can judge what I might term the intensity of the etheric body's activity by the build and physique of the individual. One should wherever possible find out — (I will mention every factor, although often they cannot be considered for lack of the necessary data) whether in his youth the patient grew slowly or rapidly. All such facts are symptomatic of what we might term the action of the etheric body, or let us say, of the functional manifestations of the man in relation to his physical body. This must be taken into account, if we want to perceive a connection between the man and his medical remedies.
Then we must find out the relationship of both physical and etheric bodies to the higher members of the human organisation, to what we call the astral body, (the soul proper) and the ego (the spiritual proper). So for instance we should ask the patient about his dream-life: does he dream much or little? An extensive dream-life is an extremely important constitutional peculiarity, for it testifies to a tendency of the astral body and Ego to unfold an activity of their own, and not to concern themselves very closely with the physical body, so that the formative forces of the soul do not flow down into the organic system.
Another question that should be put — although it may be “uncomfortable” — is whether the individual patient is fond of movement and exertion, or inclined to inertia. For personalities with the latter tendency have a powerful internal agility of their astral bodies and egos. This may appear paradoxical, but the activity referred to does not reach our consciousness. And for this very reason the individual is not consciously industrious, but, on the whole, lazy. For what I here define as the opposite of inertia is the organic capacity to grip the lower human sphere by means of the higher members, i.e., to transmit activity from the astral body and from the ego, into the physical and etheric bodies. Lazy people have very slight capacity of this kind. The lazy man is really, from the point of view of spiritual science, a man asleep.
Then we should inform ourselves about the patient's eyesight: is he short-sighted or long-sighted? Short-sighted individuals have a certain reluctance of the astral body and ego to permeate the physical body, and short-sight is one of the chief symptoms of this reluctance.
I would offer a further suggestion which might some day be feasible. It would be most important in the treatment of disease, and, as I believe, could become valuable in practice if the various professions were to develop more social feeling. My suggestion is this: it would be most useful if dentists and dental surgeons were to use their knowledge of the dental system and all that is connected with it, that is, of the digestive system as well, so as to be able to offer a sort of diagram to their patients on each occasion of treatment or consultation. Of course the patients themselves must be persuaded to co-operate, but, with some social sense, this would perhaps be possible. On such a diagram the dentist would note the efficiency of all factors related to dentition, whether there was any early tendency to dental caries;, whether the teeth have kept in good condition in later life, and so forth. As we shall see during the next lectures, these matters are crucial for the correct judgment of the total human organisation. And if the physician who has to treat an isolated case of illness could obtain a summary of the patient's state of health from the state of his teeth in this way, the document would be an extremely important basis for the treatment.
Further, you should learn from the patients themselves their chief physical sympathies and antipathies. It is particularly important to know whether any person you propose to treat, has a keen appetite for salt, for instance. His most pronounced tastes in food should be ascertained. If he has a strong appetite for all saline flavours, we have to deal with a person in whom there is too close a connection between the ego and astral body on the one hand, and the physical and etheric bodies on the other. The affinity between his soul and spirit and his bodily organism is, so to speak too complete. The same conclusion may be drawn from liability to vertigo — fits of dizziness following external mechanical movements, such as rapidly turning round. It should be noted whether a patient becomes dizzy easily following certain bodily movements.
Moreover, one ought to acquaint oneself — though this is very generally known — with every disturbance of elimination, with the whole glandular activity of the patient. Where there are irregularities of elimination there are also always disturbances in the interaction of ego and astral body with the etheric and physical bodies. These are a few indications of what must be ascertained in the first consultation with any patient. They are chosen as examples, but you will perceive their general trend, in so far as the individual bodily constitution is concerned. Later on we shall discuss also the indications of habits of life, the access to good air, etc. These are rather matters for consideration under the special headings. But you have had an outline of the way to obtain a view of the sort of person you have to treat. For only when this is known in detail, will it be possible to judge how to administer or compose any remedy.
I should like to remind you of the general fact mentioned before that there is an inherent relationship between man and the whole non-human world. In Spiritual Science this relationship is often formulated in this, admittedly abstract, manner in the course of evolution mankind has discarded and released the other natural kingdoms out of his own entity, and therefore external things retain a relationship to him. But in place of this abstract formulation, we shall have to point to repeated specific and concrete instances of the relationship in organo-therapy. Let us be clear, first of all, as to the actual basis of this remedial reaction of man to non-human nature.
You know that there is much controversy on this theme. As we shall explain more fully later, different methods of treatment are arranged against one another. One of these disputes is all too well known to the public; that waged by the advocates of homeopathy and of allopathy respectively. It might interest you to hear about the part Spiritual Science should take here. But its intervention is somewhat peculiar. I shall give a general statement regarding it now, but reserve the details for later addresses. Strictly speaking, in the light of the results of Spiritual Science, there are no allopaths. There are in reality no allopaths because even what is described as an allopathic remedy is subjected within the organism to a homeopathic process and heals only through and by virtue of this process, so that, in actual fact, every allopath is supported and helped in his characteristic methods, by the homeopathic processes of the organism under treatment. This carries out what the allopath forgets, the dispersion of the particles of the remedial substances. But, of course, there is a considerable difference, according to whether we relieve the organism of this homeopathic function, or not. This is simply because the curative processes within us are associated with the condition of these remedies after they have been gradually homeopathised, whereas the organism has no curative interaction with the substances of the external world in their usual state. When these are taken into the body, they are “foreign bodies,” causing really awful disturbances and overloading if the body is burdened with the forces contained in allopathic dosages. We shall give special consideration to the cases in which it is impossible to relieve the organism of this homeopathic effort.
Homeopathic dosage has really up to a point been very carefully copied from Nature herself, although fanatics have often gone too far and jumped to conclusions. How can we find a way to the relationship between man and his non-human environment? As I pointed out yesterday, in another context, we cannot merely repeat what the physicians of old time have laid down, although an intelligent study of their works can be helpful. But we have also to investigate this interaction between the human and extra-human world with all the resources of modern science. And we must hold steadfastly to the knowledge that we cannot get much further by means of chemical research into various substances, that is, by consideration of the results of laboratory tests on such substances. This is a kind of microscopy; I have already suggested that this should be replaced by macroscopic observation of the Cosmos itself.
Today I have to put some significant facts before you which may to some extent show in what way the extra-human world corresponds in a sort of threefold division to the threefold nature of man. First of all, consider all soluble substances. Solubility is the last and latest attribute of special importance in the evolution of our planet, What has been deposited as the solid element is mainly derived from a cosmic process of solution which has been overcome and has deadened and thrown off the solid particles. But it is a purely external view to consider the planetary process as a merely mechanical deposit of sediment, and to construct geognosy and geology on this premise. Rather may we maintain that in the process of solution something is manifested that man has liberated from his own being, in so far as it occurs externally in the extra-human nature. Something that man has set free is at work. So we must inquire what are the relationships between external processes of solution and the internal functions of our organism.
It is of fundamental significance, that certain individuals in whom the spirit and soul principle is too closely linked with the etheric and physical bodies, have an organic hunger or thirst for salt; that means that they tend to reverse the process of depositing salt. They want to cancel the process of earth-formation within their own bodies, and restore salt to an earlier, more primitive, state than that in which the earth has solidified. It is very important to include these connections in our view. They afford real insight into the connections between the human organism and external nature. We may conclude that our human nature has inherent in it an organic need to reverse certain processes that take place in the external world, to fight against them. As I pointed out yesterday, there is even a resistance to the force of gravitation, shown by the buoyancy that lifts and suspends the human brain. This resistance is a general tendency.
And what does this opposition to earth-solidifying forces mean? It means nothing less, in essence, than the liberation of the lower man from the soul and spirit principle, the expulsion of this principle from the lower sphere into the upper in the first instance. Thus in all cases where there is a pronounced appetite for salt, the lower organic sphere is striving somehow for liberation from the too potent activity of the soul and spirit within it, and trying, so to speak, to cause this activity to flow towards the upper organic sphere.
Let us assume disturbances of function in the lower sphere, disturbances that have been recognised as such. Later on we shall see how one can recognise the particular methods of finding out the diseases that result. What can we do about them?
Here I must interpolate a comment which may be of use to those who tend to be one-sided towards the use of mineral remedies. This antipathy is not justifiable. As we shall see, purely plant remedies can only be efficacious within very definite limits, and mineral remedies are of great service, particularly in more serious cases. So I ask you not to take offense, if I start from mineral remedies, from the efficacy of mineral remedies, however, which are incorporated within the realm of organic life.
You can throw a strong light on certain treatments of the human pelvis and abdomen, in relation to the upper organs, by studying the oyster: there is great significance in the oyster and the formative process of its shell. The oyster is encased in a covering of carbonate of lime, Calcarea Carbonica, and it expels this substance from its body, to form the shell. You must accept a little help from Spiritual Science here; but if you study the oyster with this help, you will become aware that although this mollusk occupies a very low position in the animal world, its position in the Cosmos is relatively high. For this reason: the force that man carries within him which manifests itself as his power of thought, is extruded from the oyster to form the shell. If the oyster could link up the formative forces that are conducted outwards with its actual organic growth, it would become a highly intelligent creature and be put on a very high level in the animal kingdom.
The forces which pass outwards from the interior, show the path by which this potentiality is canalised, drained to the exterior. And you can see clearly, and, so to speak, tangibly, in the origin of the oyster shell, the operation of carbonate of lime. It operates to draw the excess activity of the soul and spirit from the organism.
Suppose you find a case of superfluous and excessive activity of soul and spirit manifesting within the lower bodily sphere, as happens in certain forms of disease, which we shall describe in due course. You must have recourse to the remedy we owe to the shells of oysters or similar substances, which, through the mysterious forces of carbonate of lime work outwards from within. Something quite crucial in the treatment will therefore depend on comprehending that certain healing forces are active in this centrifugal tendency. All that is associated with the therapeutic properties of Calcarea Carbonica and similar substances can only be rationally understood, if viewed in this context.
All the forces inherent in phosphorus, e.g., are polar opposites to those in carbonate of lime. (The expressions I use in this connection are at least no less scientific, in their true significance, than much that today passes for science.) If all “saline substances” behave in such a way as to give themselves up to the environment, the reason is that all salts arise through deprivation and liberation of the corresponding substances from the inner workings of light and other imponderable elements. I might say that all that is saline has so repelled the imponderable elements through its very origin that they are alien to it.
Of phosphorus the exact contrary is true. Ancient atavistic knowledge was indeed not without justification in calling phosphorus the Light-bearer. Men saw that phosphorus does carry and contain that imponderable light. What salt repels and holds at bay, phosphorus carries within it. Thus the substances at the opposite pole from salt, are those that appropriate, so to speak, the imponderable entities — principally light, but also others, for instance, warmth — and interiorise them, making them their inner properties. This is the basis of the remedial efficacy of all the qualities of phosphorus, and of all that is allied to phosphorus in its healing effect. Therefore phosphorus, in which the imponderable are internally stored, is especially conducive to bringing the astral body and the ego into closer relationship with the physical organism.
Let us suppose that you are consulted by a person suffering from some disease (we shall deal with particular diseases later) in which there are particularly vivid and frequent dreams. This means that the astral body likes to separate from the physical, does so with ease, and goes about its own business. Moreover the patient tells you that he has a constitutional tendency to inflammations affecting the periphery of the organism. This is a further symptom showing that the astral body and ego are not settled properly in the physical. If these symptoms are found, you will be able to employ the force where with phosphorus grips its imponderables to make the astral body and ego occupy themselves more with the physical body. In persons who have restless and disturbed sleep, even in very different cases of disease, one can beneficially employ phosphorus, for it tends to restore and re-unite the astral body and ego to the physical and etheric bodies.
Thus we find phosphoric and saline substances, polar opposites in some measure. And I would ask you to bear in mind the cosmic roles played by these two groups, as of far more significance than — if I may say so — the individual names applied in modern chemistry to all the separate substances. In the course of our discussions we shall see how phosphorus can be used for healing purposes, in the form of related substances.
Here then you have, in external nature, two states which are polar to one another; that which acts in a saline manner and that which acts in a phosphoric manner. And between them, there is a third group: that which acts Mercurially. Just as man is a threefold being, a creature with nerves and senses, with a circulatory system, and with metabolism; and as circulation is the bridge linking nerves and senses to the metabolic functions: so also there is a mediatory function in external nature. It comprises everything that possesses, to a great degree, neither the saline character nor the character of interiorising the imponderables, but — so to speak — holds the equipoise between these two, by manifesting in the form of drops. For mercurial substances are essentially those which tend to assume the form of drops, by virtue of their inner combination of forces. This is the point which matters in all mercury substances, not whether they are known today under the name of quicksilver. The test of what is mercurial is the combination of forces whereby a substance is poised midway between the liquefying tendency of the saline, and the concentrating tendency in which imponderables are held together. So we must give special heed to the state of the forces that are the most evident in all mercurial substances. You will find accordingly, that these mercurial substances are mainly linked up with all that is calculated to bring about a balance between the activities for which phosphorous and saline substances are best qualified. We shall find that their effects upon the organism are not contradictory to the indications just given, when we deal specially with syphilitic and similar diseases.
In this sketch of the three groups: Saline. Mercurial. Phosphoric. I have presented to you the most conspicuous mineral types. But in dealing with the saline group, we have already had to refer to an organic activity, as manifested in the formation of the oyster's shell, which works behind the saline nature. Such an organic process is in a certain sense at work also when imponderables become concentrated in phosphorus. But as in that case, all depends on interiorisation, the process becomes less obvious externally. Now let us turn from the contemplation of these typical forms manifested in the external world, to other processes that have been segregated at a different epoch from man — viz., plant life.
As we have already recognised from a somewhat different point of view, the character of the plant represents the opposite of the activity proper to the human organism. But in the plant itself we can clearly differentiate between three kinds of manifestation. This threefold diversity strikes you very plainly, as you observe that which unfolds earthward to form the root and that which springs upward to send forth blossom, fruit and seed. The external direction in space as such indicates the contrast between the plant nature and Man (the animal must be left aside for the moment). This contrast in direction contains something of great significance and value. The plant sinks itself deep into the earth with its roots and stretches its blossom, its reproductive organs, upwards. Man is the direct opposite in his relation to the Cosmos. He sends his roots, so to speak, upwards, with his head, and he strives earthwards with his organs of reproduction. Thus it is not in the least unreasonable to picture our human frame as containing a plant, with its root sent upwards and its blossom opening downwards in the reproductive organs. For in a special way the plant nature is fitted, as it were, into the human. And again, there is a remarkable difference in Man and animal in that the plant hidden in the animal lies horizontally, that is at right angles to the direction of the growing plants, while Man has completely turned round and has executed a semicircle of 180 degrees when compared with the plant. This is one of the most instructive facts for the study [of] man's relationship to the external world.
If our students of medicine would investigate such macrocosmic matters more closely, they would learn more of the forces operative, even, for instance, in the living cells, than through the methods of microscopy. For the most important forces that work even in the cells — and quite differently in plant, animal or man — can be observed and studied macroscopically. The human soul can be studied to much better effect, by observing the co-operation of that which extends vertically upwards and downwards, and that which lies in the balance of the horizontal. These forces can be observed in the macrocosm and are operative even down into the cellular tissues. And what is active within the cells, is in fact nothing less than the image of this macrocosmic working.
Let us consider the vegetation of the Earth; but not in the usual fashion, by wandering on the Earth's surface to contemplate one plant beside another, examine it minutely in all its parts, invent a title of two or three separate names, and then list the plant in a system of classification. No: you must bear in mind that the whole earth is one single entity, and that the whole vegetable world pertains to the Earth's organism just as your hair belongs to yours — (although with this difference, that hairs resemble each other closely whereas plants are various and differ one from another). You can no more regard the single plant as an independent organism than you can so regard the single hair. The cause of the variety among plants is simply this; the Earth in its interaction with the rest of the Cosmos develops different forces towards the most diverse directions, and in this way gives a different organisation to the plants. But there is a certain basic unity in the constitution of the earth, from which all plant growth derives. The following consideration is therefore important. To give an example; suppose you are studying mushrooms and fungi: for these the earth itself is, so to speak, the support and matrix. Pass higher up the scale to herbs; here, too, the earth supports and nourishes, but forces from outside the earth have also influence in shaping their leaves and flowers: the force of light, for instance. And most interesting of all vegetable forms are the trees. Turn your attention to trees and you will recognise that the formation of their stems or trunks (by virtue of which trees become perennial) represents a continuation of what the whole earth is for the plant that nestles upon it. Please visualise this relationship of earth and plant. The herbal plant springs up out of the earth. This means that we must search in the earth itself for the forces fundamental to growth, which interact with the forces streaming on to our earth out of the Cosmos. But when a tree grows, do not, please, be too much shocked by what I say, for this is really the case — the earth rises up and grows, so to speak to cover over that which formally flowed directly out of the earth into the herb-like plant. That shoots up into the trunk — and all tree trunks are really outgrowths of the earth. If we have forgotten this, it is because of that gruesome materialistic concept of today, that the earth is merely composed of minerals. People do not realise how impossible is the concept of a mineral earth! The earth has other forces as well as those which segregate into the mineral kingdom; it has the forces that sprout into vegetation.
These forces rise up out of the soil and become trunks. And all that grows upon the trunks is in a relationship to them comparable with that of the lower plant forms and herbs to the earth itself.
Indeed I would say that the soil of earth is itself the trunk, or main stem, of those lesser vegetable growths, and that the trees formed an extra trunk to carry their essential organs — blossoms and seeds. Thus you will observe that there is a certain difference as to whether I take a blossom from a tree or from a herb-like plant. Consider further the formation of parasitic plants, more especially the mistletoe. In it you find the blossoms and seed organs which are normally united to the supporting plant, separated and stuck upon a stem like a process apart. Thus the formative process of the mistletoe represents an intensification of what is active in blossom and seed formation, and at the same time, in some sort, a separation from the terrestrial forces. What is non-terrestrial in the plant emancipates itself in the formation of the mistletoe. We see that upward urge away from the earth, which interacts with extra-terrestrial forces, gradually liberate and separate itself in the efflorescence of blossom and fruit, and arrive at a remarkable individualisation and emancipation, in the mistletoe.
Bearing this in mind, together with the varied forms of plants; you will admit that there must be considerable organic difference according as a plant tends most to root-development, its growth forces manifesting principally in the root, but its blossoms small or even atrophied. Such plants tend more towards the earth forces. Those plants which liberate themselves from the earth forces are those that give themselves up to the formation of blossom and seed, or, most of all, those that live as parasites upon others of the vegetable kingdom.
All plants tend to make some one organ particularly predominant. Take the pineapple, which tends to make its stem predominant, or indeed any other plant. Every principal organ of the plant, roots, stems, leaves, blossoms, fruit, becomes the chief and most conspicuous organ of this or that plant kind. Take for instance, Equisetum (the horse-tail), and observe the trend to become all stem. Other species, again, tend to become all leaves,
There is a certain parallelism between these divergent tendencies in the vegetable growth and those three types of mineral activity in the external world that I have enumerated today. Let us consider the emancipatory tendency in plants — that urge which culminates in the activity of the parasitic species; here is something which tends to the interiorisation of imponderables. That which streams earthward out of the cosmos as imponderables is as definitely collected and conserved in blossoms and fruit, if blossoms and fruit prevail, as in the phosphor substance. So we may maintain that, in a certain sense, blossoms, seeds and all that tends towards mistletoe and other parasite development in plants are “phosphoric.” And on the opposite pole we find that the root process which the plant develops by regarding the earth as its mother-ground is closely related to salt-formation.
Thus both these polarities face us in the world of the plant. And further: in the visible linkage between the blossom and fruit process that extends upwards and the downwards anchorage in the earth we have the mediating activity of the mercurial process.
Now, take into account the opposite placing of organs, in man and in the plant respectively. You must conclude that all substances tending inwardly towards the formation of flowers and fruit must be closely related to the organs of the hypogastrium and all those organs directed and orientated by them. All phosphoric substance must therefore have close interaction with these lower human organs. We shall presently confirm this. On the other hand, all that tends towards root development will be intimately connected with all organs of the upper organisation. But of course you must bear in mind that we cannot make a simple and external threefold division of man's body. On the contrary, for instance, much that appertains to the lowest organic region, the digestive system, strives for its continuation as it were in the direction of the head. It is a complete, one might say a foolish error to suppose that the substrate substance of thought is mainly given in the grey matter of the brain. This is not so. The grey matter serves principally to conduct nourishment to the brain. It is essentially a colony of the digestive tract, surrounding the brain in order to feed it, whereas the white matter of the brain is of a great importance as substrate substance of thought. You will find something in the anatomical structure of the grey matter which is much more linked with a more general function of the whole body, than with the function usually attributed to it. As you see dealing with digestion, we cannot restrict ourselves to the lower abdominal regions. Nevertheless, in considering what is derived from or connected with roots, we shall find a definite affinity with what can be applied to the upper organic sphere in man. And all those portions of plants that achieve the equipoise between the blossom and fruit process, and the root process, and manifest in the common herbs through the leaves, will as a decoction have special influence on circulatory disturbances, that is on the rhythmic balance between the upper and lower spheres. Here then is the parallel between minerals that absorb and concentrate the imponderables, minerals that repel the imponderables, and the intermediate group, and the whole configuration of the plant.
This furnishes you with the first rational method (as indicated by the plant itself, in the respective development of this or that organ) of establishing a mutual relationship with the human organism. We shall see how this basic principle works in detail.
We have pointed out these mutual relationships between the vegetable, the mineral and the human. In recent times, there has been a very hopeful addition, in the suggested relationship and interaction between human and animal substances. But not only were the initial ventures in serotherapy carried out by curious methods; there are also objections to customary serotherapy, in principle.
For when serotherapy was first introduced, Behring proceeded in a somewhat strange way. Those who merely followed the many speeches that were delivered, and publications that were issued, dealing with the mere fringe of the problem and with the results that were expected to come from the serum, received the impression that a thorough reform of all medical practice was impending. But after careful reading of the description of the actual experiments given in the fundamental scientific papers, they learned — without exaggeration, as some amongst my audience can probably confirm — that this treatment based on tests with guinea pigs (as laboratory material), which it was proposed to extend to human subjects, had proved “successful” with a “remarkably large” number of guinea pigs. Actually, only one amongst the legions of these creatures treated with the serum showed a favourable result. I repeat, one single guinea pig in such a dressed-up test treatment, at a time when the big drum had already begun to beat in the cause of serotherapy. I cite this one fact, and I think some of you already know it well. And if I may so call it, this extraordinary intellectual slovenliness in scientific publicity deserves to be definitely recorded in the history of Science. To state in principle today what will be outlined in detail during the following lectures: — it is not the processes of the extra-human world that are superficially most apparent, that work most effectively in mankind, but those that must be discovered and extracted from the deeper levels of being.
Mankind is actually related, in a certain way, to all that he has shed from his being: to the phosphoric process, and saline process, the blossom process, the fruit processes, the root process, the process of leaf formation; but in a reversed sense, bearing within him the tendency to cancel and change into its opposite that which manifests in external nature.
It is not the same with animals. For the animal has already gone half the way towards mankind; man is not opposed in the same sense to the animal, but stands rather at right angles to the animal. He has reached an angle of 180 degrees from the plant. This is significant, and demands serious consideration when the question arises of the use of serum and similar remedies of animal origin.