The great majority of us go into disease ignorant of how to combat it, it scares the very life out of us, then we begin to dope and dope and dope, simply because on top of this ignorance and fear we do not know our materia medica. In this way we pile up, on top of the original disease, an artificial drug disease for which eventually the very best prescriber on earth could never find a remedy.

All remedies like individuals, have a peculiar characteristic mark or stamp that differentiates them from all others, and, if they are to be positively identified, this characteristic mark or stamp must be searched for and found. It is not sufficient to be able to state that this man is the nearest to a similar man, to the one who committed the murder, but he must be positively identified before we can prosecute him, and thus it is with the remedy to be used. The fact that we consider it the similimum or most similar remedy is not sufficient-it must be the similar remedy if we are to get a final result, in other words, a complete eradication of the disease to be cured.

It is commonly accepted among the majority of those who call themselves homoeopaths that there is neither method in remedy selection nor intelligence in potency selection. A given set of symptoms may simulate a certain drug and yet the characteristic mark or stamp be entirely overlooked, them we wonder why a remedy apparently so well indicated, to us the apparent similimum, or most similar remedy, failed to effect a cure. How many times we homoeopaths try to play Hamlet only to find Hamlet missing.

The great majority of us go into disease ignorant of how to combat it, it scares the very life out of us, then we begin to dope and dope and dope, simply because on top of this ignorance and fear we do not know our materia medica. In this way we pile up, on top of the original disease, an artificial drug disease for which eventually the very best prescriber on earth could never find a remedy.

It is expected of the alloeopath that he prescribe drugs without even giving them a second thought, but for homoeopaths to do so is unpardonable. In order to make a totally efficient prescription his remedy must bear the characteristic mark or stamp, which marks the remedys individualism, and this must carry with it the proper amount of power or potential. Even if the characteristic or individual mark or stamp is present in the list of symptoms or indications and the proper power or potency is not exhibited the result will be delayed, but if the proper power accompanies the characteristic stamp the result will be prompt, continuous and final, without either fear of injury from too much power, or delay from not enough power.

In other words if the power is too high a sharp aggravation, not always benign, will be the result and consequently the cure retarded for a short period until the effects have worn off. If, on the other hand, the power is too low the case will be long drawn out and the patient would have been better off without the remedy. Such cases are very apt to be only partially finished and are very apt to relapse. If the drug used does not contain the characteristic or individual mark or stamp and seems like the similimum, or most similar remedy, certain symptoms will be caused to disappear or be suppressed, and the case will be masked, and it will be impossible to find the truly similar remedy.

We note in kents Lectures on Materia Medica, in the lecture on Arsenicum alb., p. 152, that he uses the term “similimum” instead of “similimum” and think that he had in mind, perhaps, a similar idea that we had ourself of the proposition, i,e., that the term similimum relates to a changed form of the term similar and not to the Latin similimum, an representing the accurately selected remedy, which must, if we are to be specific, artistic and especially scientific, include the exact potential of the drug, or potency if you so wish to term it.

As examples of what we are trying to get at, let us take Calcarea carb. and Sulphur as examples, two opposites: The characteristic or individual stamp of Calcarea carb. is represented by four words: Cold, moist, weak and pale, defined as follows: Generally cold and sensitive to cold air; sweaty, especially about the upper part of the body and more especially upon the occiput, wetting the pillow far around during sleep; cold, sweaty hands and feet, the stockings feeling damp or as if the feet were in cold water; desire for eggs, especially hard boiled; generally weak, especially from the least mental or physical exertion; generally pale and anemic, even though fleshy.

The characteristic or individual stamp of Sulphur is represented by four words: Heat, red, dry and faint, defined as follows: General heat, sensitive to heat, palms and soles hot and dry, must put feet out of bed to cool soles off; all orifices abnormally red; so faint especially at stomach around 11 a.m. (suntime) that he must eat to relieve it.

Those symptoms must be present, in their respective indications, if they truly similar remedy is found and a radical cure to be expected. Those two remedies cover so much ground that various groups of symptoms may be covered by them and look positively like the truly similar remedy. But the case that includes those above symptoms will be the one from which we can expect a complete and final result or cure. Here are two cases:.

A child, about 18 months old, had eczema capitis from the first month after birth, and had been under constant alloeopathic care until turned over to us. In the long history the above Calcarea individualistic stamp appeared. The child was given a single dose of the 10M. By the end of the week the mother returned utterly discouraged. When asked why, she said: “The eruption had all dried up and scaled off, but the urine was so acrid and strong that it brought tears to her eyes and choked her as she breathed so that she had to hold her nose while she changed the napkins”. She received a Placebo. At the end of the second week everything had cleared up and now, over two years later, the child has not known a sick day, is health, active, strong and rosy-cheeked.

A man of 55 years had suffered for 10 years with a heel that had grown almost ebony black, extending from the ankle to the ball of the foot, covered with a foul, thick, moist eruption and an ulcer discharging freely a thick, foul, yellow pus. His father died with an almost identical trouble. For over ten years an had been under alloeopathic treatment, the foot growing worse all the time. Dr. D.T.P. took this mans history carefully, covering two pages of closely written matter, amongst which there appeared the characteristic stamp of Sulphur.

He was given a single dose of the 10M. The first week he felt quite a little improvement, by the end of the second week his friends began to notice it and spoke to him about it. The improvement went on until he had an accident, bruising the foot. This interfered with the continued progress, but as soon as this was cleared up he was given a second dose of Sulphur 10M which carried the case through to a beautiful completion.

Thus we get a glimpse of the characteristic or individual stamp of two of our greatest polycrests, easy to remember, absolutely essential to an accurate prescription and an unerring guide to the right remedy to be studied.

The one and only reason that our materia medica needs to be so large is, that for want of the proper remedy, the yet unproven remedy, with which to compare, we are compelled to treat so many cases with remedies not related to the case, that we are compelled to retain a lot of symptoms of very little or of no value, to give us a clue to the nearest remedy we can find.

A point on which we wish to touch is our approach to the patient. Some say watch the patients approach to you. A patient comes into your office with a face a blank, he sits down and shuts up like a clam. You ask him to tell you how he feels. He replies, “That is what I came here for, for you to tell me”. The greater part of the patients we get either wish to hide something, or else they forget half of what they would like to tell you. In all those cases it is absolutely necessary that we leave no stone unturned to get at their characteristic stamp, and to do so we must learn how to diplomatically approach them without psychological suggestion, in order to get them to open up and talk.

With no thought of ipse laudit, let me refer to a case that had consulted Kent, H.C. Allen and several others, now dead, but equally prominent, as well as some of the very best talent on this floor, who told a doctor friend of mine that we had been able to give him the most relief that he had had. We only got to the bottom of that case by diplomacy. A question straight but diplomatically put brought out the necessary information that had been lacking to bring out the characteristic stamp. Always watch the patients approach to you, but should that alone fail, do not forget to learn how to diplomatically approach the patient.

And now a word as to drug power, potency or potentization. Do not allow our contact with modern medical science to so addle our brain that we lose sight of the very object for which we are gathered here to discuss the principles which we wish to preserve. Let us not go at these things pseudo-scientifically, but intelligently. It seems to me that all our trouble lies in a misunderstanding of what we really mean by the term drug, and by the term potentization. Every individual drug represents a fixed power that never varies, no matter what the potency or potentization used the same results will always be produced.

This power, being invisible, no science will ever be able to limit its divisibility nor will any microscope ever be made that will be able to record just when that power disappears. That upon which this power is to act, alone, will be the determining guide. Our potentization, as we are pleased to term it, does not change the power of the drug, if it did, then the action of every drug would change in ultimate result with every change of potency of that drug, but it does not.

Our potentization merely regulates the quantity of that power to be used on the one hand, and on the other so reduces the resistance of the drugs container or envelope as to make that power more able to escape, hence the more rapidly active. Calcarea carb. represents one distinct power, Sulphur another, but as soon as they become properly fused together into Hepar sulph, the entire power of both is changed and results in an entirely different action, producing a result distinct from either. Kent said: “The perverters of truth claim that the self-same agent will cure in any dose or any potency.

The indications may lead one to the curative agent, but not necessarily to the similimum, the proper potency does that”. So that the potency is necessary to the selection of the similimum. When men unknown to each other reach the same goal there must be some grounds in the reason that leads them to that goal.

Homoeopathy is not losing out, or discouraging us, because, in itself, it is deficient, but simply because we are trying to make it do with the wrong remedy what it cannot possibly do. If it is eventually lost to the world, it will be through wilful ignorance, and we homoeopaths will be solely to blame for it. Once it is fully unfolded and perfected, the characteristic or individual stamps searched for and found, we will be able to carry complete materia medica and repertory in our coat pockets, for all that we have to do, and all that we do do, is to match the individuals characteristics with the characteristics of the drug, for it is the individual and not the disease we are treating.

The scar on the cheek may be all that distinguishes between two men, yet while that scar is not sufficient to distinguish one man fro al other men, when it comes to fine points that scar is the deciding factor between those two particular men who are otherwise indistinguishable from each other.

So it is with the characteristic mark or stamp of the remedy, it does not necessarily indicate the remedy but must always be present in the conditions indicating that remedy if that remedy is to be specifically indicated and cure. It may consist of a single symptom or group of symptoms.

Speaking of the scar on the cheek recalls a case, typically Calcarea, of a child whom we saw for a bowel trouble, the child of a right good looking mother, who was heartbroken and very much distressed about the deformed morphological construction of the childs head. The characteristic stamps of Calcarea stood our all over the child, its hands and feet cold and damp, its occiput bathed in profuse sweat during sleep, wetting the pillow far around, etc. But the head! It was all out of shape, the ugliest head one could ever expect to see on a child, and on the right of the vertex was a bony lump as large as a hens egg. The child is now three years old.

While writing this, the father whom we had not seen for a year, walked into the office. When asked how the boy was, said: “The boy has not needed you for a year. I am now here for a cold he has just taken, his first illness since I saw you last”. When asked about the childs head, he said, “You would not know the boy, his mother is now proud of him. His head is as near symmetrically perfect as any childs head and the ugly lump has so far disappeared that it is not noticeable any more”.



DR. A. PULFORD: Here is a case that I think will be interesting to you. It was a case of eczema squamosum. The man was seventy years of age. He had been trying to get rid of it for twenty-five years. The trouble began between the thighs, extended to the scrotum, to the anus, and thence to the legs. His legs looked at if he had on a pair of alligator puttees. Both legs were a dark, angry red color, covered over with bright silvery scales. In the history taken by Dr. Dayton Pulford there appeared the characteristic stamp of Petroleum which is as follows:

The parts itched furiously, compelling scratching-and here is the peculiar condition that I want you to take in because I have proven it before-compelling scratching which caused a fluid to ooze which in turn caused him to scratch until the parts bled, after which they turned cold. That is a peculiar condition of Petroleum. The stools were loose during the day with an all gone feeling after stool. These symptoms must be present.

Here is another illustration. We had a man about sixty-five years of age who had what his doctor said was flu. Being born and raised under alloeopathy or modern medicine he had no conception of what symptoms or anything meant, and he was one of those gruff fellows whose approach didnt amount to anything. You couldnt get anything out of him. All that he had to offer was weakness profuse cold sweat at night, especially on waking or after the least mental or bodily exertion. We took those symptoms to the Repertory and the leading remedy came out Sepia. We gave him one dose of Sepia 1M and he made a beautiful cure, maybe.

Dr. Stearns has given you an idea of how the wrong remedy will suppress symptoms. He took that dose of Sepia and that night he had no night sweat, and he has had none of those profuse cold sweats since. But he did not bear the characteristic stamp of Sepia. After the first night he was elated over the condition and the result that we had produced. He came to me three the symptoms. We had given him the remedy.

The characteristic stamp of Sepia is indifference, stiffed affection, excessive mental and physical irritability, yellow saddle across the bridge of the nose and under the eyes, distressing emptiness, gnawing hunger at the pit of the stomach constipation; always feels as if there is a lump in the rectum, which is not better after stool; the stool covered or followed with yellowish jelly-like mucus; hands cold and sweaty. No matter what the other conditions are, with those symptoms present you will get your results.

As an illustration: We had a lady come to us over a year ago with a prolapsus that had defied every kind of treatment, mechanical or medical. She had that characteristic stamp. She received one dose of Sepia 1M and prolapse began to come up. Two days before we left she came into the office and said, “Dr. Pulford, I dont know that I have a pelvic region”, and that is the difference between prescribing the similimum and my similimum with one I. I dont give a continental for your Latin similimum.

DR. D. COLEMAN: Was that first one a case of syphilis?.


DR. D. COLEMAN: What was the Wassermann reaction before the remedy and what was it after the claimed cure?.

DR. A. PULFORD: That I dont know and it doesnt bother me at all. I dont believe in it anyway.

DR. E. WRIGHT: What did Dr. Pulford do to the poor man who was suppressed with Sepia? How did he get him out of his troubles?.

DR. A. PULFORD: That case is pending now and we are going to take the mans history over again, but those symptoms will have to be considered. If we had not seen the man we would have lost all of that.

DR. E. WRIGHT: You didnt try to antidote it?.

DR. A. PULFORD: No, I did nothing to it, because I think it would have spoiled the whole thing. You would get then a mixture not only of suppressed symptoms but of symptoms created by the drug which were not indicated in the condition. You would complicate matters.

DR. J.W. WAFFENSMITH: How long ago did you give this dose of Sepia to this man?.

DR. A. PULFORD: About a work ago or more.

DR. J.W. WAFFENSMITH: There is one point I want to bring out in reference to Sepia, and that is, very often you get a very tardy reaction. I have had considerable experience with Sepia among the Latin people. Sometimes one gets a condition which, as the doctor explained, makes one think it is the wrong remedy, or there may be the opposite result, a remarkable improvement which may last for a month, a month and a half, or two months. Unless you interfere with the action of the remedy you will then get a tremendous aggravation, and the longer the reaction is retarded, the more severe it will be. It is becomes very serious or if degenerative changes take place, I have found that Nux vom. or Ignatia very often take the rough edge off of a prolonged aggravation which has become retarded in this way.

Another point I want to bring out is in reference to perspiration in tubercular states. It is a most serious matter to suppress a perspiration in pulmonary tuberculosis. I have seen it done quite often. The patient is very much annoyed by profuse perspiration and will insist that you give something to alleviate that condition. And if you are not able to produce a return of that condition your patient will not live very much longer.

DR. A. PULFORD: As far as I have been able to watch these aggravations, they were produced if the drug was the right drug, or intensified other symptoms of the drug. But in this case they didnt, and that is why I am positive that this is not the right remedy.

DR. A.H. GRIMMER: Dr. Kent has given us a number of observations that masters have found after the administration of the homoeopathic remedy, and among them is the state where certain symptoms, superficial symptoms, get better and yet the patient goes steadily down. He tells us that either one of two things has happened when we get that condition. Either the prescription is faulty or the patient is an incurable one.

In regard to Wassermann reactions after homoeopathic prescriptions, I have had a number of Wassermann reactions that were made negative by our homoeopathic remedies after quite a time. Sometimes it takes two or three remedies. Wherever I have a clear-cut history of a syphilitic infection, I always have a Wassermann taken by a good laboratory, and I have the same laboratory check up from time to time, so that the same antibodies are used. I have never filled to get a negative Wassermann, Sometimes I have to wait as long as three years but in al cases that I have followed up the Wassermann has always become negative after homoeopathic remedies.

Alfred Pulford
Alfred Pulford, M.D., M.H.S., F.A.C.T.S. 1863-1948 – American Homeopath and author who carried out provings of new remedies. Author of Key to the Homeopathic Materia Medica, Repertoroy of the Symptoms of Rheumatism, Sciatica etc., Homeopathic Materia Medica of Graphic Drug Pictures.