IT must be noted first of all that it is not correct to speak of acute or chronic remedies. Any remedy can be used in either acute or chronic cases. We have seen Aconite and Belladonna, for instance, most successful (and in unit dosage) in very chronic complaints.
One is sometimes asked which twelve remedies should be chosen to fill a small pocket case for acute work, and this is an attempt to arrive at some conclusion on the matter. It should be said that twelve remedies is too small a number for any but the beginner in Homoeopathy, and one who starts with twelve will soon want to increase to twice or three times that number.
Remedies, by the way, appear to be affected to some extent by fashion. Certain it is that some of the medicine cases of the past generation contain remedies very seldom used in acute work nowadays.
The writer has a small pocket case that belonged to the late Dr. Washington Epps, and possibly before him to his father. This small case contains such remedies as Cicuta, Jalap, Rheum, although it omits the (to us) well-tried ones, Gelsemium, Baptisia, Lycopodium.
The final choice of remedies for our little case may differ according to whether the former are to be used in this country (or at any rate in Europe) or in the Tropics, but the first medicines to spring to mind will probably be Aconite, Belladonna, Bryonia, Nux vomica. These at least cannot be omitted.
Then we must include the two vulnaries, Arnica and Rhus tox; there is unfortunately no room for Ledum and Hypericum also. Then we can hardly afford to leave out Gelsemium and Arsenicum album. Some form of Mercury should go in, and probably the most generally useful is Merc. sol. (Merc. vivus is practically identical in symptomatology).
That leaves us three more remedies for our dozen. One is tempted to put in Sulphur, but this present selection is supposed to be intended for the beginner, who will treat only acute complaints, and chiefly the beginnings of these. So, although Sulphur is quite often used in acute work by more advanced prescribers for example, to stimulate reaction in a patient who does not respond and who presents few or no symptoms on which to prescribe, yet we shall have to leave that king of remedies for a larger case.
Sulphurs relative, Hepar sulph. might well be included, however, and then well, the choice of the last two is exceedingly difficult, and much will depend on personal preferences.
Some would decide at once for Drosera, on account of its well- nigh indispensable place in whooping cough. Others would say that Pulsatilla cannot be left out, and that Lachesis and Lycopodium should both be in. There are others again who would refuse to be without Baptisia. Then, especially for work amongst children, there is Chamomilla clamouring for inclusion.
One other remedy, which has been forgotten, must go in, and that is Phosphorus.
Our own final list would be: Aconite, Arnica, Arsenic, Belladonna, Bryonia, Gelsemium, Hepar sulph., Merc. sol., Nux vomica, Phosphorus, Pulsatilla, Rhus tox.
But we would repeat that any list of only twelve remedies is open to serious criticism, and the more ones knowledge of the Materia Medica, the more difficult the task of selection.
[We should be interested to hear from our readers as to what their choice would be, and will publish in a near number the twelve remedies chosen by the majority. ED.].
“Excellent herbs had our fathers of old
Excellent herbs to ease their pain
Alexanders and Marigold,
Eyebright, Orris, and Elecampane.
Basil, Rocket, Valerian, Rue
(Almost singing themselves they run),
Vervain, Dittany, Call-me-to-you
Cowslip, Melilot, Rose of the Sun.
Anything green that grew out of the mould
Was an excellent herb to our fathers of old”.
From “Our Fathers of Old,” from “Rewards and Fairies” by Rudyard Kipling, by kind permission of the author.