Particular and Common Symptoms

Under common symptoms we find all those which are common to both the drug and disease. That which is pathogenic is always common. …

The generals always rule out non-agreeing particulars. Under the particular symptoms we find:

“The symptoms that are predicated of a given organ are things in particular. The symptoms that cannot be explained are often very peculiar. The more they relate to the anatomy of a part, the more external they are; the more they relate to tissues the more liable they are to be particular, although many symptoms of regions are both common and particular. Symptoms are on a more or less sliding scale. What is peculiar in one remedy may be in no degree peculiar in another; of instance, it would not be peculiar to have a fever patient thirsty. It is common thing for them to want to drink, but it would be peculiar to have a patient without fever or chill who wanted to drink all the time, as we find in some chronic cases.” (Lectures on Homoeopathic Philosophy, pp. 237-240.)

Under common symptoms we find: “All those which are common to both the drug and disease. That which is pathogenic is always common. For instance, if we had a pleurisy (patient) it would be a common thing to want to keep the chest wall quiet and you would get the symptom worse from motion, one of the keynotes of Bryonia; but if there were no other symptoms of Bryonia present we could not make a prescription on that rubric alone. Again, if we had abscess it would be a common thing for it to be sensitive, and if pus was forming we would have throbbing pains and redness, but Belladonna could not be given on these common symptoms if there were no other Belladonna symptoms present. You can readily see how the common symptoms have no place in our repertory work. You need not bother with the common symptoms, for when you have worked your case out from the generals and particulars turn to your materia medica and you will find the remedy will contain most of the common symptoms.” (Ibid., p. 238, 245.)

Grades of Particular and Common Symptoms.

After considering the generals we take up the symptoms referring to various parts or organs of the body. These are known as particulars, and are of lower value in repertory analysis than generals.

Running through all symptoms from innermost to outermost, from mind to skin, from generals to particulars, we have two divisions:

(a) The strange, rare, peculiar and uncommon symptoms.
(b) The common symptoms.

Be these general or particular, mental or physical, common symptoms must be considered last in every case of repertory study. First, we must become familiar with symptoms that are common, then it will be easy to know what are uncommon strange, rare and peculiar.

Common symptoms as related to many remedies are found in the large rubrics in the repertory, such as constipation, irritability, chill, fever, sweat, weakness, etc. These common symptoms may become peculiar where their circumstances are peculiar, such as trembling during stool, before a storm, during urination, etc. Chilliness, if constant, is a strong, common general, as it refers to the whole patient, but if it comes only in bed, or before urination, or before, during or after stool or in relation to menses or only at night or while eating, it is at once changed to a strange, rare, peculiar or characteristic.

Weakness is also common if constant, but may become uncommon, strange, rare or peculiar if it comes only while eating, or during a storm or after stool or when cold.

All of these modalities are common to no known disease, and so they become striking and peculiar and help to individualize the picture for repertory work.

It is in showing what is common to disease that pathology helps us, hence it is important that we make a diagnosis, not that we may prescribe for the disease, per se, but to know what symptoms are common, and, therefore, worthless as individualizers.

The common diagnostic symptoms of typhoid fever are the general malaise, epistaxis, the peculiar temperature wave, gurgling and tenderness in the right iliac fossa, rose spots, early dicrotic pulse, enlarged spleen, Widal reaction of the blood, Diazzo reaction of the urine. These symptoms you use to make your diagnosis; you expect to find them in every case, but among them are no symptoms to lead you to a remedy.

Pathology through diagnosis helps us to eliminate many symptoms as result of disease. Stiffness may be a very troublesome symptom to your patient, but if it is the result of an ankylosed joint you know that remedies would not cure, therefore that symptom would be ruled out.

Pains due to pressure of tumors or growths in the abdomen are very troublesome to the patient, but we know that when such end products of disease exist, it is beyond the realm of medicine to cure without the removal of the offending growth. Thus all symptoms produced by pressure of the growth must be ruled out of the symptom picture to be used in repertory analysis.

Kent says: “We must not expect a remedy that has the generals must have all the little symptoms. It is a waste of time to run out all the little symptoms if the remedy has the generals. Learn to omit the useless particulars, the common particulars – common particulars are generally worthless. Get the strong, strange, peculiar symptoms and then see to it that there are no generals in the case that oppose or contradict.”

Glen Irving Bidwell