We talk, in class and in conventions, about evaluating symptoms, meaning symptoms of the case in hand at the time. We talk more vaguely of values of remedies, in regard to their size, frequency of use, origin and preparation, relationship to other remedies, length of action, care of them in our offices, etc., etc.
It seems to me there should be a real effort to bring evaluation of remedies into a more definite picture of them, to make this subject as sharply defined as is the evaluation of symptoms. Hence this attempt. Not that I am good one to do it. Like many another, I am feeling my way, but now doing it no paper.
Young students are apt to regard remedies as of equal value. When Homoeopathy is comparatively new to them, they think of remedies as one would think of so many apples shaken up in a basket. These differ in size and shape but one is as important as all the rest in food value, and that is what apples are for.
Very well, you will say that remedies are for curing people of their disorders, that is what all remedies are for, so you will wish to play the matching game. You will pick out, from all the remedies with which you are acquainted so far in your studies, the one which, in your opinion, fits best the symptom list before you. You will work hard at this game-and you will be disappointed, discouraged, apt to doubt the law of cure. Why?.
To put it in one sentence: because remedies are every bit as individualistic as people. To play the matching game puts our work on a mechanical basis; to individualize both patient and remedy puts it on a dynamic basis where Homoeopathy belongs. This raises the study of Homoeopathy from the undergraduate field into the post graduate field, where it should be, for it is as much a specially in medicine as any other specialty, and on a higher grade level than most of them.
In evaluating the symptoms of the patient the student is taught to discover thereby what kind of person the patient is, how deep seated are his ailments; which of them (or tendencies to them) he probably brought with him into this world; which are due to his environment, social life, sex life, philosophy of life; which are due to prior drugs producing drug suppressions, etc., etc.
In evaluating the symptom picture of a drug which has been proved on healthy humans, the student is shown, in judging the practical value of that drug, whether it has been thoroughly proved or only partially proved, whether it deals with superficial symptoms or deep chronic ones, whether it serves the oversensitive emotional patient or the phlegmatic, apathetic one.
There are all grades between these extremes, with drugs best fitting each grade, and there are as many ways of grouping drugs for homoeopathic study as there are ways of grouping patients for the same sort of study. a drug only partially proved may show by the symptoms brought out that it must remain in a half-way stage, that a thorough proving of it probably would not reveal many more valuable symptoms, that is, that it belongs to rather superficial pars of a patient and not to his whole basic economy. (I may be wrong in this. It may be wise to undertake to perfect provings of all partially proved drugs and let the result decide what the place of each one should be. Many surprises might be in store for master provers in such an event.) At any rate, at present, partially proved drugs most often are useful in partially revealed cases or in patients so nearly well that symptoms are few; superficial and transient.
Fully proved, deep acting remedies may be best for the above described cases if they are a very good fit for the few symptoms obtained and also fit the personality of the patient being considered.
At any rate, it is a mistake to prescribe a superficial remedy, or a deeper remedy in the case of few symptoms, with the idea of lopping off or canceling those symptoms, for such procedure leads to suppression and not to cure.
There are other ways of giving value to remedies. We can group them as to botanical origin; chemical origin; animal origin, including animal discharges; common names of remedies placed opposite the medical names; basic remedy and its complementary remedies; those that follow each other well in unlocking doors in deep seated ailments. This last has enabled a few of our best prescribers to know beforehand the succession of remedies in certain cases.
Another method is that of concomitants, proper environment and atmosphere. Remedies not otherwise thought of as similar, are made so by grouping them in this manner. Often the best known, widest used polychrests become bedfellows with rarely chose remedies when viewed thus.
Another fruitful way of looking at remedies is found in thumbing through repertories, a rewarding adventure for our few idle moments! One exclaims, “I didn’t know that remedy had 3rd grade in this symptom.” “I would have suspected this remedy to be marked 3rd grade and here it is in plain type.” “I wouldn’t suspect that remedy to have this symptom, but here it is in 2nd grade.” This sort of information is all through the repertories “free gratis.” Many a surprise awaits the student of this phase of homoeopathic study.
Especially the prescribers of the early days with few test books and more time for study, had the habit of making notes in the margins or in loose-leaf fashion jotting down valuable comments as they went along. Here is still another source of gaining knowledge of remedies.
These things need evaluation in the student’s mind. It will not do to give all the aspects we study the same importance. With experience, which carries the highest value in Homoeopathy, one learns, every day to evaluate one’s work. The time come when that work seem to be done almost intuitively but this only proves that there is a background of long, serious study.
There is nothing in medicine which pays higher dividends than the study of Homoeopathy, its philosophy, its case-taking, its materia medica and its valuations.
I am not by any means proficient in all that I am trying to point out to others. I wish always that I had more time to know remedies before I had to pitch in using them. The early teachers used to require their students to spend an hour or two hours every day on materia medica (and Dr.Hubbard does it today). I wish I had had this chance before being catapulted into a most lonely practice. I wish I had not made the devastating mistakes that I can see now, looking back. I wish the results of long experience could be handed on to younger generations without making each new comer begin at the beginning. But perhaps there is enough gained by the student in beginning “all over new” to make this the ordained procedure. I am sorry, though, for the patients who suffer from our mistakes.
I am convinced that this deep chronic work is going to become the means of saved Homoeopathy from oblivion, also that it is to be the patients receiving this treatment at the hands of our best prescribers who are going to convince the world of the value of such treatment and so make Homoeopathy the medicine of the future. The laymen are to make the message telling not the very busy homoeopathic doctors.
And what is more important in the doctor’s part of this set up than thought knowledge of our remedies and how to use them?.
May we make a real crusade our of present opportunity and may the whole world find health at the end of the trail!.
A case was sent to me for criticism and help, which resulted in the following: The number of symptoms selected for repertory study was ten with various degrees of generals. The total number of remedies resulting from the study amounted to twenty. All but four of these might be reckoned chronic remedies with various degrees of depth. There seems almost nothing to go on with from here; the patient was give twelve remedies, apparently with little consideration of their relations to each other or to the patient as a whole. This is exactly what I used to do in my early struggles to work into good prescribing for chronic patients. It is very much the basket-of-apples type of work and this is the reason for giving it at the beginning of this series.
GROUP I: Cases which need only one or at the most two remedies but have some depth and are easy to treat after their remedies are discovered.
Case I: A German woman, single, 54 years of age, in Germany during both wars working hard and carrying such heavy weights that she now has a much enlarged heart.
Two bicycle trips across the country with heavy loads, carrying very large heavy suitcases long distances; later over here sending out 22 lb. packages for people in Germany, carrying them to the P.O.
Exam : heart action good but heart which enlarged, extending nearly to left axillary space and to right fairly near other arm.
Obliged to rest after any exertion now; sometimes to stay in bed two weeks to be free from palpitation.
Cannot climb stairs without much dyspnoea, etc.
Been working where everyone smokes and cannot stand that well.
Has not been feeding herself properly; anaemia.
Weeping easily as narrates her experiences.
She was given one dose of Arnica 10M March 5th and another April 2nd, no more medicine to date and now, middle of May, the heart is decidedly smaller, fairly good tone; can do much more, is looking for an easy job to tide her over until she is able to pack her belongings and return to Germany. Spirits good; hope instead of despair. Eyes bright, color healthy part of the time.
Reasoning in this case: the heart is a muscle and this is an exhausted muscle, giving out under terrible strain, therefore, heart enlarged dangerously, bringing on anaemia and despair.
Case 2: Apr. 20, 1954: Rather tall, thin, wrinkled, leathery skin. Female, window, 59 years old.
Since 24 years old: Catarrhal symptoms on changes in the weather from sunny to cold, damp. Worse before a storm, better when storm breaks. Knows hours ahead. Tickling in nose first, then itching in it. Profuse pouring of water from nose; eyes run water too and itch.
Ringing in left ear only. Slight deafness there.
Smell acute, not affected, worse tobacco odors and dust.
Discharge nose part of the time thick, rather deep yellow.
Tightness right nose.
Lately flush of heat first and then a chill.
Attacks come and go suddenly, followed by whole day of feet.
Sleep: good until wakes 3 A.M. with these spells; then only fitful sleep.
Appetite good. Worse salads, cause burning in throat. No thirst.
Good strength, energy. Irritable with the attacks. Rx Psor. 10M.
June 29: Symptoms all gone for along time; gone in two weeks or even one week. Now returning just as before in last week. Otherwise well. Rx. Psor. 10M.
July 12: No trouble until woke 3 A.M. today with same profuse watery coryza which kept her awake. Was in camp where had smoke of the open fire and this always bad. Slight pains left face and temple. Causes sort of weakness all over.
July 31: Been feeling fine and head clear all the time. Before recent bad thunderstorm bad attack again, none since. Had been standing all the damp, rainy weather very well.
Aug. 23: Very much better in every way. Not so sensitive to storms lately. Worse tobacco; affects nose and throat immediately. Slight return of throat irritation.
Sept. 14: Never thought could be so much better; used to fill right up nose and throat when a storm but now only slight symptoms and those only the last few days. From here (Sept. 14, 1945) on, intervals, with no medicine, longer until had reached Psor. CM on March 26, 1946, repeated August 30th and again Nov. 23rd. Then a new series began and results most satisfactory.
In times of “Flu” epidemics she was quick to come down with it and the epidemic remedy Kali bi. always aborted the attack.
She kept on needing Psor. in series of potencies with longer intervals of apparently perfect health.
This may be too long a period of treatment with one nosode, for she still has same attacks. So far the nosode is still working and clear indications for another remedy lacing. It was chosen partly on outstanding weather conditions, partly on such deep seated catarrhal symptoms.
Case 3: Female, married, 59 years: tall, rather stout, medium blonde with delicate skin.
Family history a mixture of strength, longevity and deep chronic ailments. Mother well and strong at 72, able to do all sorts of things. Material grandmother: cancer. Maternal grandfather lived to be 93; all on that side in the 90s. Father never strong, ailing form childhood: Stomach and gall-bladder troubles. 1946, nervous breakdown; later convulsions and mental deterioration.
2nd summer: severe diarrhoea and swollen gums.
5 years: severe chickenpox necessitating shaving the hair; scars still present.
7 years: jaundice with nausea and vomiting; frequent such
10 years: very severe scarlet fever, nearly died, throat symptoms frequent since. Never really strong after this; so very tired all the time; desire to lie down. Long periods of great general soreness preventing doing much of anything.
19 years; married; first child at 20; had 4 children; births easy and short, last one only 15 minutes. Much repair work necessary later.
25 years: neuritis arms, hands, several doctors but no better. Tonsillectomy but no better, gained weight up to 180 lbs.
35 years: all teeth extracted.
Attack of “Flu” every winter from 1918 to 1940; took 3 months to recover each time.
Rheumatism keeps returning, mostly arms, shoulders, hands.
Granulated eyelids; “pink eye” once.
Pyelitis and cystitis several times. Much worse in dampness.
Nausea severe in travelling. Very sensitive to dust.
Glasses necessary at early age; never fitted well.
1938 menopause started; flooding from 1943 when husband had bad accident. Hysterectomy after 9 years of menopause; followed by pyelitis.
1947: numbness all over for 3 weeks.
Cramps in legs and under knees.
Naturally optimistic but times of deep depression when all symptoms worse.
This is a baffling case, very disorderly but certainly deep seated and needing help. I started with Medorr. 1M hoping to bring symptoms into order so another remedy could bring an orderly cure. Medorr. increased nervous energy for a limited time but left the picture jumbled. Then I gave her Scarlatinum 1M in the same endeavor, and after two weeks the report was good, much more strength, annuity, endurance. This was repeated 11 times at long intervals bringing general improvement each time.
Gradually the patient could take up her home duties and some outside the home became her husband’s secretary, took long tours by car and could enjoy them without the usual nausea on such trips. All through the treatment th general soreness of muscles would put her to bed sometimes for weeks although otherwise she was so much better. Pyrogen was given and the soreness gradually disappeared. The case was finished by return to the first remedy, Medorr,; this time it acted well and the patient became “all made over new.” It started in March, 1949, and has been in process of cure since; last prescription Jan. 1953. GROUP II: Opening the door after deep suppression.
Case I: July 29, 1952: Very slender, dark complexion, very clear blue eyes, fair skin, female, 9 years old.
Mentally very bright; mature beyond her years, wanting to be in family discussions which excite her a great deal; asks all sorts of detailed questions; then gets too excited; any party at her house, any little trip to relatives, any sort or happening is an exciting thing; all right when it is over.
Likes other girls but they excite her.
Far advanced in school; never frightened about school. Television exciting too.
Appetite small: Likes fresh fruit, salads, eating better lately. No thirst.
Senses very acute (hears the engine 15 miles away). To people, temperaments, etc.
Lack vital heat. Perspiration rather scanty.
Very quick motioned.
Skin no symptoms; injuries heal promptly.
Sleep poor; very long getting to sleep; waking very easily, light or any noise. Sleep very quiet. Vivid dreams; talking in sleep.
Chorea for the last year (listens to arguments of elders after in bed, they worry her). Jumping, twitching face, arms, legs, neck, etc.; not severe. Rolls eyes sometimes.
Fears not marked. Rx Phos. 2c.
Aug. 19:No change in symptoms 1st day; next day decidedly worse, next improvement began and lasted steadily until about week ago then held at the improved state. Most jerking in region diaphragm now.
Sept. 2: Falling back again toward symptoms first reported. Rx Phos. 2c.
Sept. 15: Mother thinks 75% cured; jerking less often and much less severe.
Oct. 16: Gaining weight; appetite very good now. Weight 60 lbs. Looks much better. Twitchings nearly gone, sometimes blinks eyes.
Nov. 4: Rather more nervous; sometimes gets up in night, goes to mother’s bed and stands there; used to do this long ago. Family moving and this may upset her. Twitching about the same. Rx Phos. 1M.
Dec. 15: Troubled in a new school; getting very nervous over going to school. Twitching returning to some extent.
Jan. 13, 1953: School: cannot get adjusted; teacher is strict, she does not like her, will say she is sick because does not want to work; too much homework; school transferred from was too lax and she is now behind. Jerking better, very mild. Just as restless; poor sleep, bad dreams, etc. Throat: tonsils very large, soft, worse right. Reddened, flabby, uvula long. Rx Phos. 10M.
Feb. 21: Doing very well in school. Twitchings all gone.
Apr. 30: Looking fine and been free of all symptoms until now. Coryza and a little cough last 2 days. Signs of the old nervousness but not much year. Rx Phos. 10M.
A very different child but suppression of emotions needed to be unlocked.
Case 2: Feb.9, 1952: Tall, very thin, lanky, long face, scanty hair, Male, married, 35 years. Looking much older than age; clothes hang on him, so thin.
Good health until late’ 30s or 1940. Perspiration normal before that; skin clear, strength normal.
Mother had same sort eruption he has; one brother too.
Highly geared at work; nervous type.
Suddenly, about the time mentioned, itching nearly all over with no eruption. Doctor started him on x-ray treatment. Dried up the skin which has stayed dry; made him very nervous. Been to several doctors and 3 or 4 them renewed the x-rays. Other medicines; salves of different kinds, lately cortisone, injections. Skin on affected areas; face, ears, neck, shoulders, forearms, hands, has remained dry with terrible itching. Scratch marks in red lines over surface which gradually became soggy looking, bluish pink with a shriveled appearance. Skin sensitive to touch.
Last summer out in the sun, lying down full length; result; very nervous with more itching; then insomnia which pursues him now; little sleep since last summer; loss of weight steady; appetite nearly gone, strained expression of suffering; dulled eyes except when talking, suffering.
When this skin eruption started was going with a girl who about that than began going with someone else; life changed ever since, more serious.
Normally not depressed. Now inferiority complex. With drawing from people.
Warm blooded until had the x-rays; now a little return of
Appetite large always; no preference; now for lack of sleep food not so appealing.
Sleep: taking barbiturates of long time; up and down all night. Now a doctor has given him a new drug which says he may use freely. “Groggy” in the A.M. Restless until this last sedative, now more quite. Going to sleep at his desk lately. Any little sleep, better.
Flushes of heat from waist up into head and even scalp, then moist which increases the itch. Rx Sep. 2c.
Feb. 18: Itching somewhat less; sleep somewhat more; one night 2 times of 4 hours each. All eruption in right hip region gone. Scaling of skin all over front chest. New eruption over the back.
Feb. 26: Looking more rested, rather younger. Skin feels stiff to him or “tough” on face, e.g. rather stiff, better after begins to scale off in a bath. New eruption over front chest and itching worse there. Can do work now without going to sleep. Eruption better face, neck extending arms; worse ankles where ankles where raw spots.
Mar. 20: Coming to a standstill in several respects: Sleep not sound any more, half awake but not from itching. Sleepy early P.M. at work. Itching severe about the waist after a profuse perspiration; and hands severe about the waist after a profuse perspiration; and hands over the region to try to dry it off. End of middle finger, right hand swollen and almost suppurating. Had this few months ago. Arms not better yet; must keep them covered. Rx Sep. 2c.
Mar. 24: New symptom: a nervous tingling all over from waist
Apr. 1: Looking younger and much better. Symptoms on skin scarce above waist; only on forearms; below waist most of the itching and nervous reactions. Still keeps oil on the arms; if does not is a drying process which causes great nervousness. Legs get nervous too, a drying of the skin there which makes nervous tingle.