LET us consider for a moment the question of prescribing for “atypi…

LET us consider for a moment the question of prescribing for “atypical cases” : i.e., those which respond to remedies which, in our judgment, ought not to help them.

Typical cases are childs play: the elderly woman, a hearty eater who likes fat and is famished at 10-11 a.m.; who “feels the heat” and sticks her burning soles out of bed at night, shrieks for Sulphur, and you must indeed be deaf to miss her cry. She will respond every time, whatever ails her; and will return once or twice a year for any little ailment or flagging health, just to get the fresh stimulus which keeps her going happily.

Or the tall, slender, sensitive child, to whom darkness and thunder are terrors; who prefers highly seasoned foods and salt to the sickly sweets that appeal to her fellows, and whose eyes gleam at the mere mention of ices: here, it is very hard to miss her magic – Phosphorus.

But there are plenty of atypical people: some Pulsatillas who like fat: a desperate acute Arsenicum even, that is neither restless nor anxious-one comes across such-once in a way: and it is well to know this. Quite a number of patients fail to conform to any remedy in common use and within our easy ken: or, needing such remedy, in acute sickness, fail to put up the plea which it is impossible to miss for one of the common drugs whose typical symptoms one has at ones finger-ends.

It is important to remember in these cases, what Dr. Clarke insisted on: “It is the positive symptoms that decide the remedy. Negative symptoms are no use” : i.e., the fact that a person has a certain symptom, is all important: the fact that he has not symptoms that you think he ought to have, if a certain remedy is to fit him, is quite unimportant.

Any person may require any remedy, in his acute sickness; and it is useless to say, “He cannot need this or that”, because he has not put up what one (rightly) considers the characteristic symptoms of a drug. We are ceaselessly endeavouring in these pages to give the marked characteristics of a great number of remedies: and where they fit, well, one is there! But, always, it is the positive symptoms of the patient at the moment that demand a certain remedy: and the negative symptoms must not be allowed to call us off.

Here is a recent case that has brought the subject to mind. A doctor, himself a pretty experienced prescriber, got a fairly virulent cold. After some three days, during which it moved on, first affecting nose and frontal sinuses, then en evidence as a sharp attack of laryngitis, it emerged as a small, sore spot (merely) somewhere behind the sternum. He felt “rotten” : with (quite unusual) nightsweats: and even bloodstained sputum – quite a good deal. “I have really no symptoms : I am not the least like any remedy!”.

This was not quite the case, and the few positive symptoms were considered.

Burning palms (never in normal health, but always with such septic colds) ACON., ASAR., BRY., Eup. per., Ferr., Flour. ac., Gels., Ip., Lach., Lil. tigr., Lyc., Mur. ac., Nux, Petr., PHOS., Samb., Sep., Stann., Sulph.

Sputum bloody (again, never except with such colds.) FERR., PHOS., Sep., SULPH.

Sputum bloody (again, never except with such colds.) FERR., PHOS., Sep., SULPH.

Worse uncovering. Phos., (Sep.).

Now these symptoms, characteristic of his acute sickness suggested Phosphorus. And after a few doses of Phos.30, they all disappeared, as never before with such colds, and he was suddenly well.

But he had no “Phos. symptoms!” His negative symptoms would have protested against that drug: for he liked being alone, had no fear of the dark: no craving for salt-did not eat it even with eggs: had no thirst: no desire for cold drinks-though he did like ices-when set before him.

The typical drug is magic: but the quite atypical drug, when called for in sickness by unusual positive symptoms, and even when contra-indicated (as it seems) by the general symptoms of the patient, is the one that will give the desired result:- in the usual sudden, brilliant and unmistakable way, when the remedy actually called for is given.

We have come across a cutting from the Homoeopathic Recorder of Dec. 1936, which fits in here, so we will give it:.

DR. FARRINGTON : A question which I think important, especially to the beginner, is aptly illustrated by Aconite.

We know that Aconite is especially indicated when there is anxiety and restlessness, but Aconite is also useful in chronic cases where apparently there is no particular restlessness and perhaps little fear or anxiety. We have to take this into consideration in prescribing. The lecturer or the teacher gives his student a full, well developed picture of the drug, and he has to include all of these things.

He has to say that Aconite comes on like a storm, that Belladonna starts suddenly and all its symptoms are sudden and that its action is rapid. Nevertheless, we may find cases where there is little of this, and only a few particular symptoms which lead us to the remedy. We all know that Aconite would cure an unnameable fear, perhaps in pregnant women. Sometimes the fear takes the form of crossing the street, although there wouldnt be a vehicle within half a block. Of course, in that there is the element of Aconite, because of the fear.

I have seen Belladonna in many cases act wonderfully when there was no fear, and not the bounding pulse and the intense throbbing that we usually associate with that drug.

Not long ago I had a case of a woman of fifty-two who suffered a stroke of apoplexy and the right side was affected. Several remedies helped her, but finally they developed a group of symptoms like this: She had a headache that was throbbing and she had pains in the affected side.

She had slight temperature; it ran up to about 100. Almost all of these symptoms were along toward three oclock in the afternoon. [N.B. Bell has “three p.m. aggravation” in highest types. – Ed.] There is nothing very distinctive in that, but I gave her Belladonna and it had a very unusual effect in clearing up her symptoms and helping her in a general way, and she has been improving ever since.

The deciding feature was that she had to keep the room dark and was sensitive to noise; light and noise aggravated the headache.

I just mention this to show that we must not overlook the fat that a typical case such as is given in our lectures and such as we see in our lectures and such as we see in our textbooks is not always found, and the symptoms there put down are not always found in the patient.

Margaret Lucy Tyler
Margaret Lucy Tyler, 1875 – 1943, was an English homeopath who was a student of James Tyler Kent. She qualified in medicine in 1903 at the age of 44 and served on the staff of the London Homeopathic Hospital until her death forty years later. Margaret Tyler became one of the most influential homeopaths of all time. Margaret Tyler wrote - How Not to Practice Homeopathy, Homeopathic Drug Pictures, Repertorising with Sir John Weir, Pointers to some Hayfever remedies, Pointers to Common Remedies.