Analysis of Forty Homoeopathic Remedies

Any list of so small a proportion of our vast materia medica would necessarily be open to such criticism; but I think that by the arrangement of this list of remedies you will acquire a working knowledge of the remedies you use. …

Part II.

Analysis of Forty Homoeopathic Remedies.

These forty remedies will be far from the number required in all your cases, and the forty I have included in my list will contain, no doubt, some which you will never use in your individual work, while, on the other hand, some will be lacking which you find of daily use. Any list of so small a proportion of our vast materia medica would necessarily be open to such criticism; but I think that by the arrangement of this list of remedies you will acquire – by giving them a few minutes study each day – a working knowledge of the remedies you use. If it is possible for me to enable you to systemize these few remedies then I am sure that you will arrange those which you find most often indicated, but which absent from my list, so that you may then have a working knowledge of the remedies in which you are personally interested.

Consistent use of the repertory leads us to the study of our remedies in a scientific, rational manner, from center to circumference, from the mind to skin, noting the effect of the drug upon the provers, as given in the pathogenesis, in the will, the intellect and responses to every environment, thus learning to observe the disordered patient rather than pathological changes in the organs or parts.

In trying to have an image of a remedy in mind learn to keep an orderly general picture of its action as a whole, following these generalities through the particular manifestations as referred to parts rather than only a few so-called characteristics of the remedy for your daily use. Kent’s Materia Medica has the remedies so arranged and their pathogenesis is so graphically portrayed that, after reading over a remedy in this book, a picture of the general action of the drug is left with you.

The way I study a remedy and the kind of picture I try to carry in mind, for daily use, are illustrated by the following short study of one of our familiar remedies, Arnica.


The red strand running through this remedy is soreness. A general state of soreness throughout the whole body. The joints become sore, the periosteum is sore, the muscles are sore, and the soreness will continue until stiffness begins and we find the sore, stiff rheumatic pains of the Arnica patient. The soreness is manifest in the skin, so that there are black and blue marks. The soreness is so marked that pressure is painful and the parts lain on are sore, so sore that he wants to move, to change position frequently, for the longer he lies on a part the more sore and sensitive it becomes. He is stiff, so the motion is painful; still the bed is so hard, the parts so sore, that he must move. Therefore, when we see our Arnica patient we must expect to find this soreness; if not, Arnica will not be the remedy.

There is a general relaxation of the blood vessels in our Arnica patients, and this is manifest in the haemorrhages from various organs.

In the subcutaneous tissues this is represented by extravasation of blood under the skin which results in black and blue spots. The Arnica state which is associated with or preceding many acute diseases is manifest by this weakened state of blood vessels, and the patient will wonder how she got so many black and blue marks; even the slightest bruise or pressure will result in this discoloration. Little injuries produce bleeding. On mucous surfaces these result in haemorrhages. Haemorrhages of bright red blood which soon clots. The blood of the Arnica state soon clots, as is manifest by the blood-streaked or blood-flecked sputa which will contain many clots.

Arnica developed in its provers violent chills and fever; the fevers are a low, slow form that is associated with inflammation. From the results of the relaxed condition of the blood vessel all the organs of the body are prone to inflammations and haemorrhages; but with these haemorrhages we will have this general condition of soreness.

With these conditions we have pains, and the general characteristic pains that call for Arnica are, crawling, pricking or paralytic pains as if joints are dislocated. Unsettled pains which shift from one part to another; tingling and tearing pains. With all these conditions are the bruised sore sensations, and a deep, profound disturbance of the economy which is manifest by weakness; great and profound prostration, fatigue and sleepiness.

The countenance in these profound cases will be flushed and dark; there will be a besotted look, as if he was intoxicated, and he speaks and thinks with difficulty.

Many cases of cerebral haemorrhage and the low forms of typhoid will present this typical Arnica picture, and unless these patients receive this remedy they will die. From this you will be led to look for Arnica in your septic condition, and it has many symptoms which correspond to septic processes, such as are associated with typhoid and scarlet fever and other low forms of diseases. In septic diseases of every sort we find our patients running into Arnica conditions.

Surgical septicaemia and blood changes due to surgical shock. Where arnica covers the condition of your patient it will do more to restore the antibacterial power of the blood than any number of vaccines. Arnica represents the surgical septic condition more closely than that of the puerperal type. (This latter condition corresponds more closely to Sulphur.) Wonderful is its action in preventing suppuration. A severe inflammation will be set up in an injury, a severe bruise upon the muscles, there will follow the pain and soreness and induration with final suppuration. A dose of Arnica in the beginning will prevent all this and quickly restore the part to normal.

Bruises. This name at once makes you think of Arnica, and for this condition it has been applied externally by all schools and by all people. The external application is better than nothing, but the administration internally is best of all. It is not the bruise per se, that we can expect to relieve; that has happened and cannot be undone, but it is the resulting effects of the bruise that we wish to prevent and remove, and this came from the center from the internal structure and can best be overcome from the center by the internal action of the remedy.

Injuries to the head, with the resulting nerve and brain symptoms, send the patient into an Arnica state, and they will need this remedy to bring about order no matter how long ago the injury took place. The resulting shock of surgical operations calls for Arnica, and this remedy is given in routine practice by the surgeons of our school. The symptoms following operations which Arnica will remove, are those which are produced by handling and bruising of the soft tissue and no others. That is the reason the results are so often disappointing. Those sharp cutting pains, the results of the needle or the knife, will never be removed by Arnica, but are rapidly dispersed by Staphisagria. Cuts and open wounds never call for Arnica, only as there are shock, bruises and contusions.

Thus we have outlined the general action of our remedy, and these general conditions are always present in a greater or less degree in every case that calls for Arnica. Where there is no soreness never think of Arnica.

The mental symptoms of Arnica are striking, and many of them are symptoms which you would expect to result from shock. Fear, excitement, emotion and horror stand out prominently. The fear that something awful is going to happen, that he is going to die instantly. This is marked and the patient has a horror of death and of the unexpected. In many of the acute conditions we have an obstinate and irritable patient. He will want to fight with you and drive you from the room. This excessive irritability will often be followed by a delirium. Indifference, anxiety and hopelessness run through the mental state. In the low states we find a stupor. He is hard to arouse, and when you do wake him he will be confused and will not know where he is. Mental exertion, motion or physical exertion, all aggravate his condition.

The pains in the head are pressive, cramp-like, darting and tingling, and are made worse by walking, ascending and mental exertion. There is nothing very distinctive about the particular symptoms of the head, but any pains or conditions that arise from injuries will lead one to think of Arnica.

There is a peculiar symptom under this remedy which is associated with the eyes. He must keep his eyes open. They come open spontaneously, he cannot hold them closed himself. As soon as the eyes are closed he gets dizzy, things go round and it makes him sick.

The pains of the nose are sore pains, as if bruised; much nosebleed when first blowing nose in the morning. The coryza of Arnica comes in the evening when going to sleep, but with this will be the general bruised condition, the soreness that will differentiate it from Nux or Pulsatilla.

One of the keynotes of Arnica is manifest in the face; heat and redness of the face with coldness of the body. It seems as if the blood had left the body and gone to the head. The expression of the face is peculiar. We have a deep mahogany redness, with an intoxicated, besotted look; he looks as if his mental condition was benumbed; looks as if he was making an effort to find the right thing to say or do but cannot. He is stupid and looks it. In injuries about the face, especially about the eye and cheek bones, where the periosteum seems to have been injured, we find Arnica will remove the first effects, the superficial soreness, the black and blue condition; but after this has been done away with there will remain a soreness that appears to be in the bone itself. We could give Arnica indefinitely, and these symptoms would not disappear, but Hypericum will follow and remove them speedily.

Glen Irving Bidwell