THE SELECTION OF THE REMEDY
Having, then, determined the totality of the symptoms, we must now search for the remedy that was produced symptoms most similar to those observed in the patient. Theoretically we endeavour to discover a remedy whose symptoms exactly correspond in character and grade to those of the patient; but this can rarely if ever be done, and accordingly Hahnemann directs that in searching for the homoeopathic specific remedy we ought to be particularly and almost exclusively attentive to the symptoms that are striking, singular, extraordinary and peculiar (characteristic.)
It is especially those symptoms that are peculiar to the patient and not to the disease that are to be our guides. For example, the characteristics of dysentery are bloody discharges, pain and tenesmus; but if fainting accompanied every stool, that would be peculiar to the patient, not to the disease, and hence guiding.
In determining what are characteristic symptoms of the case the following rules and cautions are of importance, viz.:
1. The characteristic symptoms must be equally well marked, both in the patient and in the remedy. In other words, no matter how peculiar a symptom may be, either in the patient or in the remedy, unless it is distinctive and out-standing we must pay little heed to it.
2. No one symptom, however peculiar it may be, can be our true guide, for, unless there is a general correspondence between the symptoms of the patient and the remedy, failure will result. Those single peculiar symptoms are, however, invaluable in suggesting special remedies as being worthy of examination.
3. General symptoms, or those that affect the whole body, are of very much higher rank than particularly which only relate to special organs; so much so that any number of particular symptoms can be overruled by one strong general.
What the patient predicates of himself is usually general, as when he says, ” I am thirsty”, meaning that this whole body is so and not any one special organ.
General symptoms, however, are of different grades of value. In the highest rank must be placed all mental symptoms, if at all well marked, and of these all symptoms of the will and affections, including desire and aversions, also irritability and sadness, are the most important. Of less importance are disorders of the intelligence, while those of memory rank lowest of the mental symptoms.
Amongst general symptoms are to be included those in connection with sleep, dreams, the menstrual state, also, the effects of the weather and sensitiveness of the patient to heat and cold.
The special senses are so closely related to the whole man that their symptoms are often general. For example, when a patient says the smell of food sickens him it is a general symptom, whereas an imaginary bad smell in the nose should be particular.
We frequently find on examining the particular organs that some symptoms or modality runs strongly through them all, and may be predicated of person himself, so that here we have a general made up of a series of particulars.
4. Care must be taken not to mistake a modality for a symptom, yet circumstances affecting many symptoms become leading characteristics of the patient had hence are important.
5. The skin being the outermost part will yield the lest important symptoms.
6. In organic disease and in many affections of the female genitals we can place little reliance on the local symptoms.
7. A tumor or other pathological condition is no guide to the curative remedy; for in the first place it is not the disease itself, but its result, and in the second place provings have not been pushed far enough to produce similar conditions.