Taking the Case (1909)

Most subjective symptoms have an indefinite character or are common to many disorders, therefore deserving of little attention. It is only when an ordinary symptom appears in an extraordinary place or way that it becomes of much value.

Sensations are expressed according to the mentality of the subject and vary from the simple indefiniteness of those of childhood to the hysterical loquacity which takes on every symptom thought of: it therefore follows that the attributes of the symptoms are of far greater importance than the sensations themselves. In certain cases by paying more attention to the time, manner and circumstances under which a given symptom occurs we succeed in not only diverting the mind of the patient, but in gaining a great deal of very valuable information. Every sickness possesses a more or less definite individuality which is reflected by those symptoms which in their nature epitomise the various attributes of the whole case, the characteristics. They may not belong to the pathogenesis of any known remedy, and even if they do their setting may only accentuate their unsuitableness to the concrete case under consideration. Such a case must then be worked out by means of the modalities, mental symptoms, etc., then if the peculiar symptom disappears along with the others it may be kept under observation for future confirmation. The available key-notes are inadequate to answer all purposes. lt is far better to be able to see the general picture and use the key-note as a differentiating point, just as we would use a modality. The key-note characterises the case much more than it does the remedy, because its position in the picture is always modified by the accessory symptoms. The self-same symptom may be the guiding one in certain instances and of little or no consequence in others, according to its surroundings, its modalities and origin.

The diagnostic and common symptoms as shaded by the general modalities form the ground colour of the picture, from which its special features portraying the individuality emerge with more or less distinctness. The focal point of the scene reveals its inherent genius with which the outlying parts must harmonise, if we wish to fully grasp its meaning. Running after key-notes while paying scant attention to the general harmony of the picture has spoiled many a case and leads to polypharmacy.


Symptoms which return at stated times become important in proportion as the sickness of which they form a part diverges from the malarial type or is not connected with naturally periodical functions.

A few remedies have such a remarkably exact periodicity as to distinguish them from among all the ordinary anti-periodics, but in spite of this, they have not been found to be even as frequently useful in intermittents as many others, having a much less marked periodicity. They are more suited to erratic forms of malaria, such as malarial neuralgias, etc. Aranea, Cedron and Sabadilla seem to hold the chief rank among them.

There are certain other remedies which exhibit their action during a more or less definite time of the day; among the most prominent are Natrum mur., 10-11 a·m·; Belladonna, about 3 p·m·; Apis, 3 to 5 p·m· and the well known Lycopodium from 4 to 8 p·m. The different divisions of the day have a large number of medicines each, from among which a few stand out prominently. We have Pulsatilla in the evening; Rhus-tox.·and Arsenicum right after midnight and many more.

The action of some medicines coincides with the time periods of the sun, moon or the seasons, and thus affords peculiar differentiations by which we may pick them from among others. That drugs may also exhibit cycles of action corresponding to other planetary influences seems very reasonable but has as yet not received much attention.

Many plants are known to show certain manifestations at particular hours of the day. According to the doctrine of signatures they have a meaning for us if we are only wise enough to see and use them. When we bear in mind that the universe moves forward in obedience to laws which work harmoniously and that every part thereof bears a definite relation to every other part, no fact however insignificant remains without value. Such things are the little hints thrown out to attract our attention, the rest we must do for ourselves.


As the preservation of health depends largely upon an harmonious mental as well as physical adjustment to our surroundings, we as healers of the sick must perforce remember that our dealings are with vital processes indissoluble connected with the expenditure of force gathered and stored by the human economy from food and from the media in which it moves. That the intake of energy can not be shown equal to the outgo need only trouble the materialist, for we do not live by bread and meat alone and the inflow from the infinite is measured by the capacity to receive.

The common parent to our ills is ignorance, and when the future once reveals a just apprehension of our natural position and we live to fill it, the similimum will be less frequently called into requisition.

C.M. Boger
Cyrus Maxwell Boger 5/ 13/ 1861 "“ 9/ 2/ 1935
Born in Western Pennsylvania, he graduated from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and subsequently Hahnemann Medical College of Philadelphia. He moved to Parkersburg, W. Va., in 1888, practicing there, but also consulting worldwide. He gave lectures at the Pulte Medical College in Cincinnati and taught philosophy, materia medica, and repertory at the American Foundation for Homoeopathy Postgraduate School. Boger brought BÅ“nninghausen's Characteristics and Repertory into the English Language in 1905. His publications include :
Boenninghausen's Characteristics and Repertory
Boenninghausen's Antipsorics
Boger's Diphtheria, (The Homoeopathic Therapeutics of)
A Synoptic Key of the Materia Medica, 1915
General Analysis with Card Index, 1931
Samarskite-A Proving
The Times Which Characterize the Appearance and Aggravation of the Symptoms and their Remedies