The Whole Case (1912)

The relative time for the appearance of each symptom naturally varies with the speed of the disease. From this we reason that the earliest mental manifestations are decidedly the most important of all symptoms….

While school instruction should sharpen our wits, its trend thus far has left out most of the factors which teach us to draw out the patient, with the consequence that the young man who enters practice is at once confronted with a flood of subjective phenomena, and unless he can quickly readjust himself will fail to get the proper grasp of the subject before him. As the most prolific cause of failure is partial knowledge, the temptation to take advantage of the various weaknesses and foibles of human nature at this juncture is very great. This is doubly true of the homeopath, who should look at each case from as many angles as possible.

As we know the earliest evidences of the disease to be largely subjective, it must necessarily have a decidedly personal bias. Individuality hides itself more and more as sickness advances and becomes more objective. The more firmly disease is established the more objective are its manifestations. Hahnemann realised this perfectly, although I am not aware that he said so, but we can draw no other inference from the meaning of the Organon.

The relative time for the appearance of each symptom naturally varies with the speed of the disease. From this we reason that the earliest mental manifestations are decidedly the most important of all symptoms. If we have the acumen to detect these very early we will also soon discover that the later mental phenomena are simply variations, and that either will lead to the same remedy, which will, however, be found with increasing difficulty as the case progresses.

The getting of mental expression is greatly facilitated by allowing the mind the greatest possible play and watching the effect. It will then reveal itself to the careful observer more fully than in any other manner, particularly more so than if we try to force it, for the soul speaks the same language, clearly and simply in every race and every clime. It is, however, not an infrequent experience to find the picture of some remedy only clearly revealed after the affection in question has progressed to a considerable degree.

Sickness always flies its more important signals last, and, if we do not recognise them as they come along until it is far advanced, it is either because we have not been sharp enough to see them or we have awaited the advent of some important signal that might lead us toward a well established keynote. In other words, we have not been thorough enough in our first examination.

For the beginner our enormous collection of symptoms can have no great meaning, because, like every work of importance; its genius is largely to be read between the lines. We read sickness out of its symptoms not into them. The spirit of the text reveals the hidden power of each drug which must be grasped in order to make the best use thereof, hence, a homeopathic physician is one who follows the law of similia according to his ability.

The power of a given remedy is justly proportioned to the degree of similitude which exists between its own genius and the peculiarities of sickness; hence diagnosis holds but a secondary place, and the importance of the modalities must diminish steadily as the resemblance increases. A long symptom is more highly expressive than many short ones, and often flashes forth a soul desire or distress so naturally and decisively that we should never begrudge the labour of getting it. Most drug symptoms seem to belong to some organ or other; nausea, for instance, is mostly referred to the stomach, cramps to the muscles, etc., etc.

When, however, they seem unaccountably out of place, they should, of course, attract our attention, as this very fact puts them in the first rank. In so doing it however points out the location for which the drug in question has a particular affinity. The power which a particular drug may have over some one symptom is sometimes very great, as witness the energy with which Ipecac stops the vomiting of tubercular meningitis without affecting the course of the disease in the least. This is more than a very pronounced illustration of suppression, for it shows the particular direction in which Ipecac. acts most prominently.

It also points the fact that we may use such predominating effects in a palliative way, as most of us have done with Arsenic, Lachesis, and a few other remedies; but it should also make us doubly careful that we may not be guilty of suppressing whole disease processes by following the lead of some great keynote too abjectly. Nothing short of the whole case can indicate the truly curative medicine.

In medicine the term suppression is ordinarily understood to mean the forcible removal of some effect or symptom by external measures, regardless of the welfare of the patient. Such measures are the destruction of parasites, excision of the tonsils, cutting away of piles, the application of liniments and countless other procedures. In a broader sense it includes everything that distorts the natural image of disease, and as such may be incidental and is moreover not always confined to any one method of practice.

As comparatively few men are privileged to see the powerful reactions which belong to homeopathic experience, it is not strange that much therapeutic nihilism should prevail; hence many look to preventive measures or the pure recuperative powers of nature for help. This is also largely responsible for much makeshift practice, with the consequence that the normal course of disease is rarely observed and its lessons are therefore lost. It is to be observed that the laity has learned much by often seeing unaided nature do better work than meddlesome physic. This has operated as a great and beneficent check upon certain kinds of practice.

The homeopath who once sees the indicated remedy upset his cherished notions of prognosis will be very slow to surrender its power for any palliative whatever. It is a great pity that every practising physician can not be brought to see at least one true homeopathic cure.

If it be true that similar causes bring about like effects, and we once admit that a similar acting remedy has ever cured a single patient, we thereby acknowledge the universality of the law and should cease trying hypothetical treatments based upon diagnoses that must of necessity be largely speculative.

The human body is a great storehouse of potential energy which it is our business to direct whenever its expenditure becomes irregular or inharmonious. No man can do this by confining it, first here then there; for life exists by expression, and its pent up internal forces will irresistibly destroy their container when treated thus. Knowing this the true physician realises that every real cure proceeds outwardly, and a symptom is the external reflex of an internal distress, the stamp of which it bears.

The habit of every cell in the human body is determined by the central nervous system, and it in turn is governed by the soul; therefore, every disease has its mental phase, in which it stands rooted and grounded. The nervous system of itself acts largely automatically, regulating the life forces and expenditures, but in turn is governed by the soul whose acts are all voluntary; when it is quiescent the former ads automatically, in a dynamic manner. As cure commonly means the removal of some evil, distress or disability, its scope is broad and its attainment idealistic.

What seems so sure a cure to-day we may to-morrow know as a recovery only, for it is one thing to hold the vital forces well in hand, but quite another to eradicate disease. While cleanliness has done much to limit new accretions to psora, syphilis and sycosis, it has accomplished nothing toward removing the death stamp which these miasms have fixed upon the human cell for thousands of generations; nor will it. Only a similarly acting, non-self propagating substance can stimulate the cell to throw off these poisons which have fastened themselves upon it and which daily ripen a rich harvest for the surgeon and the undertaker.

The common treatment of gonorrhoea is particularly pernicious in firmly implanting the sycotic miasm. It is a case of continuous suppression from the start, each step being more insidiously destructive until death closes the scene. When we know how easily this infection passes from tissue to tissue, and how its presence excites rapid cell proliferation, we should beware of suppressing it or treating it lightly. How many women have been sterilised directly or indirectly by this poison? How many go to the operating table for the removal of its effects?

The many phases of psora can be met in but one way, by the similar remedy. Nor will a single drug ever meet all of them, hence a careful study of the “Chronic Diseases” of Hahnemann is most necessary if we wish to do the most good; always bearing in mind that the mind puts its stamp upon every symptom, and in order to do the very best work we must be able to see the imprint. It is true that this task is not always easy, for many conditions necessarily come on with an absence of mental phenomena. Then the task may be still more difficult, but we must train our minds to observe the slightest deviation from the normal, for it is the irregularities of disease that furnish us with the surest clue to the indicated remedy, hence the cure.

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