IT is patent to all, that the remedy for a given case is the one, which covers the characteristic symptoms. Hence no rule of practice is a correct sequence from the law of cure, that in any way whatsoever disputes the selection from the totality of the symptoms. But theory and practice do not always agree; that is, their agreement is not always evident; so Hahnemann and his followers have all along striven to discover sub-rules that shall aid in the difficult task of curing disease.
For example, the Organon instructs us how to proceed when one drug will not cover the totality, when constitutional taint obscures, when epidemic influences are at work, etc. And, further, still more in accommodation to circumstances, Hahnemann suggests as often needed as usually required, etc. Thuja in Sycosis, Sulphur in Psora, etc. Now, of course, it is not to be inferred here that such drugs must be given for the respective “constitutions.” for the recommendation is ever subservient to the exacting law.
Still, their suggestion is very helpful, because it represents a principle, and because it expresses the results of experience. It simply means, use such remedies as are best-adapted to the removal of the underlying taint that is complicating and perpetuating the illness; generally, Thuja or Sulphur will do, because so often proved useful; but here, as always, characterizing symptoms must decide.
Agreeably to all this, physicians have, at times, when unable to fit “the totality”, chosen a remedy that suits those characteristics upon which the entire disease seems to depend.
In this manner we have learned to employ Collinsonia for many diseases when a congestion of the lower bowels with piles obtains. Employing such characteristics as piles, bleeding, feeling of sticks in the rectum, stool in light-coloured lumps, uterine affections, varices, irritable heart, etc., have yielded readily to the drug, just as though they depended for their existence upon pelvic stasis.
Similarly we have seen palpitation, vertigo and dyspepsia vanish under the influence of Pareira Brava selected for its grand characteristic, “Must get down on all fours and strain to pass water; pains go down the thighs.” So too, Berberis relieves a host of ailments when selected for its radiating renal pains, “Pain into the hips; urine with yellow, foamy sediment.” Anisum Stellatum has cured Haemoptysis when selected by its key-note, “Pain at the junction of the third right rib with its cartilage”. Myrtus Communis has retarded phthisis when there was present sharp pain through the upper part of the left lung; Ceanothus has removed Leucorrhoea, when in addition there was sharp pain in the splenic region. And so on almost indefinitely.
Now in all such cases there is, of course, a connection between symptoms treated as central and the others that disappear along with them, though often we are not able to detect it.
In some instances, however, the symptoms or group of symptoms employed plainly exhibit a universal quality of a drug; as when we select Bryonia in cases worse from motion; Thuja for nervous phenomena depending upon affections of skin and mucous membranes, or for Warts; Rhus for complaints of fibrous tissues, better from continued motion; Causticum for paretic aphonia, even if of catarrhal origin and so on.
In such cases, we are not prescribing for a single symptom, we are making use of a universal, characteristic property and wherever in the human body, tissue like that under treatment exists, there the medicine can have an effect. And as metastases usually occur from similar part to similar part, we prevent such a catastrophe by the universal scope of our drug.