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Clinical hints: Aconite

ACONITUM NAPELLUS

The convulsions arrested or prevented by Aconite are not dependent upon a chronic constitutional taint, but result from a sudden nervous shock, such as fright, or are of recent origin, as in the puerperal, state; the face is red, hot and sweaty, with other symptoms as above.

In hysterical spasms, neuralgias, congestions, hemorrhages, and effects of shock from injury or fright, the terrible mental distress characteristic of the drug must be the guide to its successful use;also after exposure to sun or great heat, with a plethoric appearance, some anaesthesia or great sensitiveness to touch, Acon. may be used always with mental anxiety and acute sensitiveness to pain.

The pains are usually acute, sticking, and often associated with or followed by numbness.

Restlessness and agonized tossing about are essential in a case requiring Aconite.

In delirium, with ravings about death, hot face and head; effects of fright; fear of crowds or of death, with anguish, etc.

The headache associated with fever is a hot, full, pulsating, bursting pain, with flushed face, etc., reminding one of Bell.; the neuralgia of scalp and skull varies; usually sharp, shooting along nerves (Spig.), drawing, tense, numb (Verbasc.), or pulsating (Glon.).

The anterior portion of head is usually involved.

The peculiar mental distress accompanies all the headaches (clinically).

In the first stage of acute inflammations of various tissues of the eye and its appendages, with heat, dryness and sharp pain, before any exudation has taken place.

Acute inflammation from foreign bodies, etc.

In acute aggravations of chronic disease (catarrh, trachoma, etc.).

In recent paralysis from cold.

In ciliary and orbital neuralgia.

Acute symptoms from overstrain of muscles.

inflammation of external parts, even involving the tympanum, with fever, excruciating pain, caused by a draught of cold air.

Neuralgia, involving ear and parts about it.

Incipient coryza, nares hot and dry, or with hot fluid discharge, with chills and fever.

Haemorrhage of bright, hot blood, with anxiety (Ham., Secale, Phos., Croc., blood dark).

The expression in fever is flushed and anxious, in neuralgia pinched and suffering in tetanus drawn and rigid.

The neuralgia commonly cured results from cold, is of recent origin, and usually associated with tingling and numbness (Verbascum).

Several cases of tetanus have been cured.

Neuralgic toothache.

Teething with hot inflamed gums, great distress, etc.

The tongue often feels swollen with the fever; acute glossitis, with dry hot mouth (Mercur. with salivation).

Acute inflammation of various portions of the throat, with swelling, dryness, sticking pain (rarely, if ever, indicated after infiltration, exudation or ulceration has taken place).

Acon. is indicated in distress at the stomach, retching and vomiting (especially of green substances), associated, with fever (at the outset of an eruptive disease), or without fever following a severe shock, such as fright, or with sudden suppression of menstruation or perspiration, with anxiety and restlessness; occasionally also in infants during dentition when the general state corresponds.

Haematemesis.

In various inflammatory processes, peritonitis; enteritis, in the early stage with severe, agonizing pain, tossing about, high fever, etc.; violent colic from cold; early inflammatory symptoms in the hepatic region; severe inflammation or engorgement of the pelvic viscera when the other conditions correspond, Aconite has been promptly efficacious.

Violent pain in rectum, with chill and fever, inflammation, tenesmus and bloody discharges (dysentery), in early stage.

Bleeding piles, with heat and sharp stitches, blood bright.

Diarrhoea, stools green, watery, after a chill or fright.

Choleraic discharges with collapse, deathly anxiety and restlessness.

Acute inflammation of various parts, with fever, hot urine, great agony at the thought of micturition, etc.

Retention of urine (especially in infants).

In fever the urine is dark, hot and scanty, but with no evidence of nephritis.

Rare cases of congestion of the kidney, with bloody urine; pain in kidneys, fever, etc.

Acute prostratitis, from cold especially, supervening on chronic disease.

Suppressed or painful menstruation from violent emotions (fright), sudden chill, with anguish, fever, etc.

Metrorrhagia, bright and hot, with general Aconite symptoms.

Acute orchitis, with general fever.

The Aconite cough is dry, either short hacking or hard ringing and croupy, it hurts the larynx (in laryngitis) or the chest (in pleurisy or pneumonia).

In the first stage of membranous croup, with high fever, great anxiety and restlessness, it will often abate the attack.

(Iodine is also applicable at this stage of high fever, but the patient is quiet and the exudation has already become plastic; after the fever abates neither Acon. nor Iodine is indicated).

The cough is aggravated by warmth (on expiration) usually.

In congestion of the lungs, with great oppression, distress and anxiety, expectoration of bright, hot blood.

In the hyperaemic stage of inflammations of the thoracic viscera (with the general indications), prior to exudation, Acon. will be found invaluable.

After Acon. either Iodine or Bryonia follows well; both these have high fever without anguish, both seem to be associated with an exudative process.

Acute symptoms occurring during the progress of chronic diseases occasionally require Acon.

Exceedingly valuable in acute inflammations, with fever, stitches at heart, violent beating and anguish.

The febrile pulse of Acon. is full, hard and rapid.

In cardiac inflammations requiring Acon., the patient must lie on the back with the head raised.

Neuralgia, especially of the upper extremities, with numbness of the limb as if the blood did not circulate freely, resulting from a sudden check of perspiration; finds a prompt remedy in Acon.

(Aconitum uncinatum, from Virginia, has made some brilliant cures of this sort.).

Neuralgic pains in the lower limbs point to its use in sciatica.

Acute muscular rheumatism of the back and limbs occasionally demands Acon., but it is rarely useful in true arthritic inflammations.

It will be noticed that the pains are usually drawing, tense and numb and relieved by open air.

While Acon. is not applicable to the cure of diseases of the skin dependent on a constitutional dyscrasia, yet its power to produce vesicles associated with the neuralgic pains naturally leads to its use in the prodromal stage of Herpes zoster (Ram. b.).

The nervous sensations, especially formication and the asleep-sensation,point to its use in certain neuroses.

The Aconite fever is sthenic in type and for the most part not remittent, though the aggravation towards evening is decided.

It is not useful in fever as a symptom of any form of malarial or septic poisoning, nor of a localized inflammatory process, but is adapted to a general febrile state without a pathological lesion (in this respect differing from Iodine, Bryonia, Gelsemium, etc.).

The never-failing characteristic is the mental anguish, without which Aconite is useless; if the patient be quiet and apathetic Acon. is not the remedy, no matter how high the temperature; thirst and restlessness are present.

Frequently there are alternations of chill and fever, but the sweat is usually critical and terminates the attack.

It is valuable in the chilly as well as the febrile stage preceding the development of many eruptions and lesions, but when the preliminary storn has passed and the lesion has become established, the picture changes from Aconite to some other remedy.

It has proved palliative in cardiac dyspnoea (Curare, Phos..) (with “Cheyne-Stokes” respiration).

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Two Comments on Prescribing.

Comment 1. A Case:

During a teaching weekend at one of the I.H.M. schools, a female student age about 30. complained about pains in her legs. On questioning she said the pain was deep in her legs, to the bones even and the pain was described as if the bone was being gnawed on or cut in two. I also observed when she walked to the kitchen that she hobbled a little.

After the lesson ended, we talked a while regarding her symptoms, and I established that:

  • Pain in hips which was better for walking.
  • Bone pain in lower limbs which was actively painful like being cut.
  • sore feet. < on soles.
  • Everything was < at night time.

After considering the symptoms for a short while, I prescribed Syphilinum 200c to be taken in water when she got home.

The next day, the student appeared at the college. She was in the student lounge with a few other students and showing them her legs. It would appear that within a short few minutes of taking the medicine the previous evening, a series of round red eruptions broke out all over her legs extending up to her groin, and as they appeared, the pains disappeared entirely. She was really grateful for the pain relief but was concerned about the eruption on her legs. I examined the eruptions and told her just to keep the area clean and dry and we would keep an eye on it.

In the event, it took 6 weeks for the eruptions to completely clear up with no trace.

Why Syphilinum? I know this remedy very well from having used it a lot with bone cancers and deep bone pain. It has the ability to cause a sensation in the bone like the bone is being sawn across. It also causes pain in the feet especially underneath, and the symptoms are worse at night. The hips and thigh pain which it can cause are eased by walking.

I have absolutely no idea what the eruptions were. Not a clue. I had never seen anything like them before. I do know that whatever it was, it relieved the bone pain immediately. I also know that this lady was extremely sexually active with many partners, however in the absence of blood tests, I hesitate to make a diagnosis.

Comment 2

Syphilinum is not in the Therapeutic Pocket book. It surprises people when they find we give medications that are not contained within. The T.P.B. is based around 125 medicines which for the main part are what I use in everyday practice. It will not prevent me from using a medicine that I know VERY well and have validation from clinical experience in using it.

I was asked recently about adding more medicines to the T.P.B. and my answer to the enquirer was “Yes, it would be very useful but………… there is a particular mathematical system that Boenninghausen used to apply to the grades, plus there is a technique for splitting rubrics a certain way. I am not confident enough to add  any medicine for the moment.”

Also in following the thought, I wondered how many more medicines I would add. I think perhaps I would have a combined total of existing medicines (125) and new medicine of not exceeding 200 in total.

Viewed through Proving: Platina – overview

In the proving of Platina, the section on Lower Extremities stands out, with approximately 64 symptoms, followed closely by emotional symptoms, clocking in at 41 symptoms.  Upper and lower extremities taken together constitute over 100 symptoms, roughly 20% of the entire proving.  Stomach and abdominal symptoms, sleep issues and headaches also play a prominent part.

The emotional symptoms are noticeable not just in their number, but also in the number of  bold symptoms in this section of the proving.  Around 10 bold symptoms in 41, roughly a quarter of all the emotional symptoms in the proving.  Note – I am referring to the symptoms relating to the emotions only, not symptoms relating to intellect and sensorium.

The most extreme emotional symptoms are those relating to what we are used to hearing about Platina – the loftiness and contempt shown to others deserving of respect etc.  But these are only 4 symptoms out of 41.  However, many of the other symptoms reported by Gross relate to a total misery and depression, often expressed in weeping, and sometimes resulting in a paralysis of action.

Three of the symptoms in this section are from Hahnemann, and even just these three present a picture of dejection and sensitivity:

4.            Anxiety and palpitation, especially during a walk.
16.          Sensitive mood.
24.          Very much inclined to weep, and too much affected by the least cause.

Another area where there is a high proportion of bold symptoms is where the facial appearance of the prover is described.  We see that a patient needing Platina could have a very pale face with coldness and numbness, but could also be red with burning heat.  Here are the symptoms – notice the ones in bold:

125.        Face, pale and sunken. [Gr.].
126.        Pale, wretched appearance ; for several days. [Gr.].
127.        Intense heat of the face ; the eyes burned and itched violently.
128.        Burning heat of the face with glowing redness, with great dryness of the mouth, with violent thirst, pressive headache, – and dizzy quivering before the eyes, with lachrymation ; for several evenings ; from 5 to 9 o’clock. [Gr.].
129.        Heat of the face and of the whole head, sultriness and dull pain in the forehead ; she cannot contain herself. [Gr.].
130.        Sensation of coldness, formication and numbness in the whole of the right side of the face. [Gr.].

A further characteristic to be seen in the proving is an aggravation while sitting.  This is particularly pronounced in the section on lower extremities – 19 symptoms showing aggravation while sitting, almost a third of the total.  This is one of the most pronounced aggravations in the proving, and a symptom that can be very helpful to the prescriber.  We are more familiar with the patient who talks of weariness in the legs and just wants to sit down – this patient will say that sitting down does not help, and may even make it worse.

So if the more extreme emotional symptoms are put to one side, if we use Carroll Dunham’s view that this is more about depression than about erethism (see previous post for description and definition),  the physical symptoms alone will probably lead to more frequent consideration of Platina as the remedy of choice in more prosaic, less lofty emotional, mental and physical pictures of disease.

Viewed through Proving: Platina – tamed…

Lady Platina feels an arch smile coming on…

Ever experienced this?  You prescribe Platina for a homoeopathy student, or for someone who has read up about remedies.

She looks up and raises an eyebrow (or tries to), with an attempt at an arch smile.
“Really?” she asks, incredulously but with a measure of pure delight, “Platina? I’m Platina?” (in itself a wrong description, no person “is” a remedy)

It’s tantamount to telling a female patient she still has “it”.  And try telling a homoeopathy-savvy patient that Platina is definitely not for her – she will often be deeply insulted…

Definitely time to read the proving, Hahnemann’s notes, and some others who didn’t allow the illusion of Platinum-coated sexuality go to their… well… minds…

The proving symptoms are really fairly tame.  There are some extreme-seeming mentals, such as the classic:

35.          Illusion of the imagination ; on entering the room after walking for an hour, everything around her seemed very small and all persons physically and bodily inferior to her, but she herself great and lofty in body ; the room appears to her gloomy and disagreeable ; attended with anxiety, gloomy and cross humor, a whirling vertigo and discomfort in her surroundings which before were pleasant to her ; in the open air, in the sunshine, everything vanishes at once.[Gr.].

Quite frankly – I was disappointed…with 15 mentions of flatulence (which can ameliorate), no seriously lascivious dreams, more of a strong emphasis on localized discomfort than anything else, the proving just didn’t live up to my lurid expectations (just read any modern materia medica and you too will have lurid expectations…)

What about this one then:

847.        Extraordinary sexual impulse (aft. 6 and 14 d.).

Oops – that’s Lycopodium.  No one gives an arch smile when prescribed Lycopodium.

Hahnemann noted in the introduction:

“When Platina is properly homoeopathically indicated in a case of disease, it relieves simultaneously the following ailments, if present : Lack of appetite ; eructation after eating ; constipation while traveling ; emission of prostatic juice ; induration of the uterus ; weariness of the lower limbs ; cold feet ; stuffed coryza.” (bold print is mine – vr)

Still not very exciting.  But what does “properly homoeopathically indicated” mean here?  Does it mean if there are no extreme mentals or the kind of sexuality that comes more from those teaching Platina rather than the proving itself – Platina cannot be prescribed?

I’d like to quote Carroll Dunham (1828-1877) here.  His words reverberate through the centuries with the steady tone of common sense:

Whether Platina is suitable only for irritable, excitable females, with predominant activity of the sexual functions, as the majority of writers assume, and among them Stapf and Gross, the provers of it, who, by the way, made their provings on a very excitable young woman, I shall leave undetermined.

For myself, I have had frequent occasion to administer Platina, and have obtained the very best curative results in… phlegmatic women of lax fiber…. On critical review… we find that all or by far the greater part of its symptoms bear the character of depression, but not that of erethism...”

And by the way, in case you were wondering:
er·e·thism  
/ˈerəˌTHizəm/

Noun:
1. Excessive sensitivity or rapid reaction to stimulation of a part of the body, esp. the sexual organs.
2. A state of abnormal mental excitement or irritation.

http://pandwisrael.wordpress.com/2013/07/29/viewed-through-proving-platina-tamed/

Viewed through Provers! Platina and Dr. Gustav Wilhelm Gross

420094Any way you cut it, the proving of Platina is problematic.   Hughes’ comment at the beginning of the proving brings its reliability into question:  “To the above-named fellow-observer  (Gross) most of the symptoms of Platina are credited. They are taken from a proving instituted by him, chiefly on “a damsel both bodily and mentally healthy and blooming, though somewhat excitable,” who took does of the 1st trituration equivalent in all to between two and three grains of the mental. The results of this proving were originally published in Vol. I of the Archiv.”

There are modern provers who rely on one “golden prover” for most or all of the information regarding a remedy.  However, common sense decrees that in order to provide a reliable source of information,  more participants should be involved.  There are some very clear modalities in this proving however, which I’ll mention in my next blog post, but I find myself wishing that further provings would be done on Platina (rather than spending time and effort on proving bumblebees, warthog dung or whatever happens to be the next visionary “homoeopathic flavor (sorry) of the month”.)

Some approximate stats:  Of the 527 symptoms in this proving, 52 were contributed by Hahnemann together with at least one unnamed female prover or patient.  Around 40 symptoms contributed by Gross relate to a male prover, possibly Gross himself.  Which leaves us with at least 400 symptoms from one lone prover-ette – the excitable damsel mentioned above.

So at least four provers in total.  Better than just one anyway. It’s also important to note that Hahnemann included this proving in his work, under his name.  And Hahnemann was nothing if not pedantic.  This in itself adds to the value of the proving.  But what of the nature of Gross, the proving master here?

I’ve drawn heavily on Richard Haehl’s work for the following description of Gross, including paraphrasing and direct quotes.  What comes out most strongly in Haehl’s description, is that although he was greatly moved emotionally by events in his life, in his work Gross was highly knowledgeable, with a calm sense of balance and a clearly defined scientific orientation.  Something to bear in mind when reading the proving.  Read on for more on Gross…

Gustav Wilhelm Gross:

Gross was born on September 6th 1794 at Kaltenborn near Juterbog, not far from Leipzig, close to Wittenberg (of Martin Luther fame – the original, not the civil rights hero).  His father was a Pastor.  He studied medicine in Leipsig, which brought him in close touch with Hahnemann, who included him in his provings group.  Gross made his first experiments with Chamomilla.  Under Hahnemann’s supervision, he put his fine faculty of observation to work and acquired a knowledge of remedies such as few homoeopathic physicians possessed.

He received his final medical degree in 1818, having started his practice from the outset as a homoeopathic physician, and set up shop in his native Juterbog, where he remained till his death.  Word of his successful cures spread far and wide, and patients even came to him from Berlin, something that if done by car would take around one and a half hours, less by train – but if done on horseback or by carriage, could have taken two or three days of intensive travel during daylight hours, plus the cost of stopping at inns or hotels along the way.

The State authorities recognized his worth by appointing him a member of the Supreme Examining Board for Homoeopathic physicians (to grant permission for individual dispensing).  He became a zealous collaborator with Stapf on the “Archiv fur homoeopathische Heilkunst” which Stapf founded in 1822.

Gross wrote many scientifically critical reviews of books  of others, and also penned several works of his own.   In addition, Hahnemann’s posthumous writings included two thick volumes of a homoeopathic repertory, each of about 1,500 pages, in Dr. Gross’s handwriting with additions by Hahnemann.

Haehl describes Gross’s articles in the “Allgemeine Homoeopathische Zeitung”, (founded in 1832) to which he was an assiduous contributor, as “distinguished by his calm sense of balance and serious scientific outlook.  He despised fine flourishes of useless eloquence.  In his written work his whole nature is discernible; in his appearance he was almost angular and stiff.  To strangers he seemed gruff and unapproachable.  The impression was intensified by his features, somewhat bloated and bilious.”

Reports written by colleagues, while mentioning his external appearance, constantly echo a central theme:  true, honest, earnest, learned and knowledgeable,  inspired by new ideas and unafraid to speak out – even to the ascerbic and irascible Hahnemann himself – when he felt a point had to be made.  The esteem in which his colleagues held him shines through their comments.  You can read some of them here.

Gross suffered from liver trouble, to which were soon added gout, dropsy and lung trouble.  He treated himself, and was also treated by Stapf.  However the treatments were unsuccessful and he died on 18th September 1847, not long after Hahnemann’s death in 1843.  He was only fifty-three years old.

http://pandwisrael.wordpress.com/2013/07/30/viewed-through-provers-platina-and-dr-gustav-wilhelm-gross/

A thought on Miasms expounded (Background information for the Mallorca Seminar).

 20130125-114718 (1) Disease is due to the presence and infection in the living body of morbific or hostile agencies: Hahnemann calls them miasms and modern  medicine calls  them toxins, bacterial or otherwise.

  (2) The state of illness so produced could only be cured by the reaction of the body itself.

  (3) The sick state is one affecting the body as a whole rather than an isolated part or organ.

  (4) The sound and sensible way to assist  the body in its efforts to cure itself, is to provide it with a specific vital stimulus, or in other words (in the  light of modern medicine) to boost the body’s natural defences.

   (5) That this could  be  done,  perhaps  only  be  done, by applying the “Law of Similars” or in the language of modern medicine,by applying the principle of immunology, that what a toxic agent would cause, that same agent, in suitable form and dosage, could also cure.This is a physiologically reasonable hypothesis. The introduction of a drug or a foreign agent into the body induces a tissue reaction  and  response: this reaction carried to a certain degree will produce symptoms as the result of altered cell-activity and disturbed function. This  alteration in tissue activity can be corrected and the disturbance of function can be reversed, provided the changes have not proceeded too far, by the enhanced reactive capacity of the body itself. Modern research in the animal and plant physiology has demonstrated again and again that a variation in stimulus can produce  exactly opposite  effects, facilitation in place of inhibition, hyposecretion in place of hypersecretion.

filename-dscf3507-jpgHahnemann in his penetrative  wisdom and intuition forestalled the findings of present day research. He said,in effect that the body became sick because its defence forces were fighting a losing battle and he applied the principle of immunology, the  law of similars to cover the whole range of drugs and substances available for medical  purposes.

(6)  The efficacy of similar remedy  is concerned primarily with living pathology, the  disturbed state of the body metabolism as a whole rather than with “isolated findings”  provided by the laboratory or post-mortem table. However these latter are welcome when relevant and by no means to be despised or discounted.

(7)  Indicators of basal sick state are symptoms in their entirety which provide more than a symptom complex to which can be appended a  diagnostic label. They arc the manifestations of and an indicator  pointing to the deviation from the normal function that is causing the sick state of the body. The actual changes associated with this early deviation from the normal functions, may be extremely difficult of detection and consist of:

(a) changes  in the electro-physical or para physical potentials,

(b) changes in enzyme activity,

(c)  changes in vibratory wave-force,

(d) changes in a sphere as yet poorly understood;the sphere of the invisible or non visualisable vital dynamics.

(8) vital reaction.

It is undoubtedly inherent in all living tissues as the capacity to maintain life and defend that life against the harmful effects of hostile agents.  The introduction of a toxic agent into the body stirs up  this defensive reactivity.

(a)  If the reaction is adequate, no damage or at least transitional damage is effected.

[b) If the reaction is inadequate from one cause or another: A sick state of the body will be induced and become apparent sooner or later in the shape of symptoms of which the sick person is aware. These symptoms are evidences of something wrong: they constitute the outward and visible or observable signs of an inward metabolic disturbance. In the absence of  any more satisfactory means of detecting early and occult tissue changes  these symptoms may assume a very poignant therapeutic significance.

(9) The primary aim of all adequate therapy is to assist internal reactions of the body and  to co-operate with nature and not coerce  nature and  possibly interfere  with vital functions, and at the same time certainly not merely to control symptoms at the risk of inducing fresh tissue damage and further disturbance of the metabolic balance.

(10) The cells and tissues of the body are delicate and easily damaged;  the finely poised balance of vital functions, endocrine,  autonomic, bio-chemical, bio-physical is readily disturbed.

Drug therapy is always accompanied by the risk of drug toxicity,  by the unpleasant possibility that in obtaining relief from  symptoms, often  only temporary relief, the underlying basal sick state may be left unchanged or may even be aggravated Never perhaps, was this  more the case than at the present time when the drug-market is being constantly flooded with a deluge of new remedies,  for the most part synthetically prepared and often of very questionable character both as to efficiency and harmlessness. This is a  state of affairs fraught with much frustration and perplexity for the physician  and also with serious menace to the sick.

(11) Holistic attitude in medicine.Unfortunately many laboratory tests and pathological investigations only afford information on isolated bits and samples of morbid material. In the academic thrill of finding some abnormal state of blood, urine, marrow, C.S.F., or other  tissue sample, attention may easily be diverted from the vital question as to “what is going on and possibly going wrong in the body as a whole”::the whole sum of morbidity that constitute the sick state of the individual. When such findings are “post mortem,” as is often the case, they are obviously of meagre value as guide to accurate therapy in life.Treatment, aimed at or based  on the isolated bits of morbidity is, in the very nature of the case, likely to be unsatisfactory and inadequate, it may even be harmful as tending to further metabolic upset.

(12) It  is indeed becoming more and more  apparent that what  should be our chief concern is the nature and extent of the reaction in the cells and tissues of the body as a whole, For it is these changes and alterations in reactivity possibly without any observable alteration in structure that constitute the basal pathology responsible for the body’s state of disease, distress and disability.

 

 

Hahnemann and study of drugs: What they dont teach you in college. (More background thinking to the Mallorca Seminar)

398869_10151814864274148_1123956388_nHahnemann’s objection to the physiological approach to the study of drug-actions seemed to lie in the fact that the moment an attempt to establish the action of the drug from its supposed physiological effects, one was entering into a mystery that would give rise to various conflicting ideas and theories.

That is why the Homoeopathic Materia Medica consists of the collective statements of perceptible reactions of the healthy human body, recorded in the words of the persons acted upon by drugs and eschews all concepts, physiological and pathological and thus admits no misinterpretations with changing medical terminology, altered biological concep­tions and newer scientific attitudes.

In so far as Hahnemann’s method remains on the plane of description of observations, it attains TOTAL stability to the extent that the observations are correct. When orthodox medicine attempts to “explain”, whenever these explanations are premature, each newly discovered fact will cause a shifting of emphasis and a conse­quent appearance of progress that is more of change than an advance; whereas the essentially descriptive view-point tends to account for the relative stability of Hahnemanns Materia Medica and his doctrine in general. And has done so for nearly 2 centuries.

However,there are many who, while affiliating with Hahnemann in his work, accepting the law of cure and the theory of drug provings, nevertheless are inclined towards the thought that a more thorough knowledge of the effects of drugs upon the organism should be established, more so than that which comes through the perceptible signs and symptoms caused by the drug. Further they want to explain that the modus operandi of the drug action has the capability of producing certain prominent physiological effects, or in other words, pathological alterations in the tissues.

We must ask why Hahnemann practically ignored these possible changes in tissues, and instead depended entirely upon the symptoms which provers recorded. We may note that this physiological approach to the study of drug-actions necessarily leads to the pathologising of remedies. The study of pathology and pathological anatomy shows how the study of connection of symptoms in the patient may greatly facilitate the discovery of symptoms by showing their mental connection, dependence and succession just as the study of physiology enables us to grasp the pheno­mena of healthy persons. This study aims at integrating all the symptoms into harmonious whole. But it would have been completely successful were our present knowledge of remedial actions perfect. However as the matter stands, neither physiological concepts nor the pathological symptoms completely cover the totality of symptoms in diseased conditions of the human organism, though these methods (e.g., physiological and pathological), no doubt help us greatly to marshal the facts in an orderly manner and to retain them in memory.

These methods of study attempt to grasp the conceptual whole, which are never co-extensive with the perceptual whole,

It is a fact that as yet there is not one single remedy in the whole of materia medica whose physiological action is completely understood and this being the case it becomes at once apparent that we cannot base our knowledge of drug-action upon that which we do not know or at least know very imperfectly. Then too, the study of the physio­logical effects of the drug to the entire disregard of indivi­dual symptoms necessarily leads to the pathologising of our materia medica.

study-drugs-300x225Thus, when one studies the action of a drug. only from the effects to which he finds or supposes that he finds it to produce upon the tissues and organs he natura­lly concludes that when we find those alterations of tissues present in a manner similar to that which was supposed to be accomplished by the drug under consideration, that such a drug is the remedy regardless of any individual symptoms.

This leads to adoption of specific methods, which being once established everything pertaining to the pathogenesis which does not fall within the circle of this established specific drug-action is thrown away and cannot be considered of any more account;

It may be asserted without hesitation that whenever a remedy has been received as a specific in the sense which I have just mentioned, it has proved a curse both to the remedy and the physician as well. It is simply an impossi­bility for the action of any one remedy to be brought into any single recognised physiological or pathological process, at least in our day and without imperfect knowledge of drug-action. The continued study of drug-action upon this basis may give us eventually so perfect a knowledge of drug patho-genesy and disease pathology, if I may use such a term, that we may be able to establish a system of therapeutics based upon physiological action of drugs. That time has not yet come and it is very probably in the far distant future.

Our present knowledge of the pathology is not and can never be a guide to the administration of remedies. Object as we may, it is an undoubted fact that is becoming more apparent that we cannot understand the action of a drug from any other standpoint than that of the individual symptomology. We may theorise to as to the conditions which give rise to the symptomology; it is perhaps eminently proper that we should do so, but when it comes to the application of the drug itself itself we should not allow any theory that we may hold to stand against the indications that may be given by pure symptomatology. As the same rule holds good here as elsewhere in the study of various branches of medicine, that is, while extremes are sometimes useful in leading us to the consideration of effects, nevertheless they are seldom a safe guide in the study of either diseases or drug-actions.

It may be pointed out in this connection, that the so-called Hahnemannians of to day who ignore physiology and pathology in their study are found to be making the most ludicrous mistakes in their treatment of diseases, mistakes that might be avoided by a very simple knowledge of the other two important sciences which they leave entirely out of the question. On the other hand there may be a class of men who claim for themselves the title of homoeopathic physicians, but who have no knowledge whatever of symptomatology and never studied their materia medica carefully, but go upon the assumption that they possess a perfect knowledge of the physiological effects of the drugs and of pathological effects in disease; and they are found to be prescribing certain drugs for certain conditions under any and all circumstances regardless of the symptomatology or indeed regardless of any specific ideas whatsoever excepting only those relating to the pathological effects of the drug itself. It is very evi­dent that such physicians are liable to err; and that there is not one who does not make mistakes at times in his supposed knowledge of the physiological effects of drugs. He therefore stands upon an uncertain ground and is neither scientific nor safe in his methods of practice.

It may be concluded therefore that the physiological effects of a drug must ever be, so far as known, the scientific basis of our knowledge of drug-action, and we should lend every energy to increase this knowledge and at the same time, we should realise how weak and lame we are in this direction before accepting as a fact that which almost every physician has established as unsatisfactory if he has given the matter any thought at all. This is why the theory expounded by Hahnemann in the early days of drug study holds equally good today, that symtomatology is the only safe language of a drug-action, wherein we are never liable to make a mistake and upon which we can at all times depend. One who closely follows the symptomatology of the drug and the patient we shall more nearly arrive at the indi­viduality of the drug and the patient.

We should not ignore the very important rela­tion that exists between the homoeopathic materia medica and physiology, but at the same we should not allow the relationship to become so great as to blind us to the true and only scientific method of drug-study: symptomatology, the science of semiology.

 

Viewed through proving: Bryonia – expect the unexpected

bryonia_albaViewed through proving: Bryonia – expect the unexpected

In a recent facebook post I asked readers where they would least expect to see the following symptom:

“It is intolerable to him to keep the affected part still, he moves it up and down.”

Understandably, most opted for Bryonia.  Of course.  We know of Bryonia as the remedy for those who have to keep completely still.  For those who are so sensitive that even if you jar their beds slightly they go into paroxysms of whatever they are suffering from at the time.

It is true that when symptoms agree, Bryonia will be relevant in this need to keep still.  Rhus Tox will be relevant in the need to move.  However, to quote from Porgy and Bess – it ain’t necessarily so.  The above symptom appears as symptom 593 in the proving of Bryonia.

Hahnemann writes about this possibility in his introduction to the proving of Bryonia:

The similarity of its [Bryonia’s] effects to many of the symptoms of Rhus Toxicodendron cannot fail to be noticed; in the preface to the latter medicine I have sufficiently dwelt upon this. At the same time Bryonia affects the disposition quite differently, its fever consists chiefly of chilliness, and its symptoms are mostly excited or aggravated by corporeal exertion, although its alternating effects, when the symptoms are relieved by movement, are not very rare.

Hence, when using Bryonia in diseases, there occur cases where the remedy, although chosen as homoeopathically as possible and given in sufficiently small dose, does not render adequate service in the first twenty four hours. The reason of this is that only one, and that the wrong series, of its alternating actions corresponded. In such cases a fresh dose administered after twenty-four hours effects amelioration by the production of the opposite alternating actions. …. This happens with only very few other medicines having alternating actions (vide the preface to Ignatia), but it occurs not rarely with Bryonia.

Rhus Tox and Bryonia are very similar remedies.  This is often overlooked in the way the “better/worse for movement” issue is emphasized by so many.  I have a case at present where I gave Rhus-Tox but it would have been easy to give Bryonia instead.  The differential between the two in this case (which I’ll write up in the future) rested on other modalities and symptoms, not on anything to do with movement.

Although Bryonia’s symptoms are mainly worse for movement or exercise, you can have cases where the patient will be better for movement and all other symptoms will be pointing to Bryonia.  And Bryonia will be the right remedy.

But because Bryonia is one of a group of remedies, which includes Ignatia and Rhus Tox, which produce alternating effects, the first time you give Bryonia, you might get no positive response, no action.  This is because the “flip side” of Bryonia’s actions was called into play, which may not have had relevance to the symptoms.  Hahnemann recommends giving a second dose after 24 hours to call up the alternating process, and bring improvement through the right set of symptoms.

It’s always important to be certain of the prescription, but especially where remedies with alternating actions are concerned, as it may often be necessary to prescribe a further dose of a remedy that does not seem to be helping, and it’s essential to understand the reason why it is not helping.

And with Bryonia, Hahnemann tells us, this can happen quite often.  It is certainly not rare.  Forewarned is forearmed!

I.H.M. senior homoeopathic Practitioner Vera Resnick

http://pandwisrael.wordpress.com/2013/06/26/viewed-through-proving-bryonia-expect-the-unexpected/

HOMOEOPATHY and the modern method of Scientific medicine (more background thinking for the Mallorca Seminar)

cappuccino_san_miguel_palmaHomoeopathy is a system of doctrines, laws and rules of practice which were first formulated, named and systematically set forth by Hahnemann in his Organon of the Rational Art of Healing. Homoeopathy, while not perfect, is complete in all essentials as a system of therapeutic  medication, since it commonly uses medicines or drugs alone to effect its purposes.

Homoeopathy is not, strictly speaking, a “system of medicine” as it is often inaccurately called, using the word “medicine” in its broad general sense. It is a department of General Medicine  like  anatomy,   physiology,   pathology  etc. But homoeopathy differs with regular medicine in its interpretation and application of several fundamental principles of science. It is these differences of interpretation and the practice grow­ing out of them which give homoeopathy its individuality and enable it to continue its existence as a distinct school of medicine.

Its method of approach to the study of diseases and drug-actions on human organisms—is fundamentally different to that adopted by the dominant school of medicine. It is not a fact as is often erroneously held by medical men, that homoeopathy and the so-called “Allopathy” differ in their “Materia Medica” and “Therapeutics”. Dr. J. H. Clarke writes “Homoeopathic Materia Medica is so unlike anything known as Materia Medica of the old school that it is a pity that a different name could not have been found for it.” By the clinical mode of approach to the study of diseases and drug-actions homoeopathy has made medicine assume it’s true place in being an art—the art of healing, having a life of its own, independent of the nourishment its associated sciences bring. Homoeopathy has a limited scope and sphere of action. It is a science of vital dynamics. Proper appreciation of this fact will explain the difference in attitude of a homoeopath and a so-called allopath with regard to the relative importance of the pursuit of study of auxiliary sciences (ana­tomy, physiology, pathology etc.) and medicine proper. It must have a separate institution of its own; its method ofpedagogy must be different, in many ways, to that followed in an Allopathic institution; and necessarily the equipment and paraphernalia in the two types of institutions must not be judged by a common standard.

Modern sciences, in general, and medical science, in particular, regards the facts of the universe from a materialistic standpoint; they endeavour to reduce all things to matter and motion. The so-called modern scientific medical man, always tries to enrich his knowledge about life through the studies of bio-chemistry, bio-physics and bio-mechanics, yet, at every turn he is forced to admit that organism transcends mechanism. No complete vital pheno­menon has yet found adequate chemico-physical description. Physiology and pathology can never be co-extensive with life and disease. Still, the modern scientific medico refuses to accept the existence of Life-principle, even though he is compelled to admit that, as a matter of fact, organisms re­quire for their complete scientific description certain bio­logical concepts or categories which cannot be reduced to those of physical sciences. Homoeopathy, on the other hand, views the facts of universe, in general and medical facts, in particular, from a vitalistic-substantialist standpoint —which regards all thisamuel_hahnemann_sngs including Life and Mind, as fundamental verities, having an objective existence, in the Universe.

The field of action for homoeopathy is the vital plane. Our attempt to judge the scientific validity of homoeo­pathy by the standard of conceptions relevant to the phy­sical sciences, is to commit the philosophical crime of “con­fusion of categories”. It is a particular attitude of mind, a particular line of correct thinking and a particular method of handling of facts, that constitute science, whatever may be the content of a particular department of human know­ledge. Judged according in this light, homoeopathy is as much a scientific study in domain of biology as physics and chemistry are in the sphere of physical science. Hence, the attempt on part of the “so-called” modern scientific medical man to belittle the scientific character of homoeopathy falls to the ground and betrays his utter ignorance about the funndamentals, scope and limitations of what science is. The homoeopathic teacher, Caroll Dunham pronounced homoeopathy as the science of therapeutics, but it seems more within the bounds of strict terminology facts to claim no more than that Homoeopathy follows a strictly scientific method, that it is the curative method of scientific medicinal therapeutics. Homoeopathy is the logical and legitimate off. spring of the Inductive Philosophy and method of Aristotle and Lord Bacon. The basic difference between orthodox medicine and Homoeopathy is that orthodox medicine is science based on causality and therefore subject to the end­less search for causes and ever changing conceptions and terminologies, whereas homoeopathy is a descriptive science, based on phenomenalism and not concerned principally with causal explanations. This basic difference of thought which is underlying the conflict of both schools and which is more unconsciously felt than clearly understood, makes it so difficult for the orthodox school to find an easily understandable approach to homoeopathy.

Fast acting acute cough

 

Fast acting acute cough

Patient, 50 year old woman developed cough as tickle in throat two days ago. Cough was non productive and sound like from irritation in throat.

I did not prescribe.

Cough became worse when exerting self, stooping and lifting anything.

I did not prescribe.

Patient worked at home and was coughing on lifting, exerting, moving. Felt very hot.

I did not prescribe.

I saw patient 60 minutes ago. Was lying down. Felt chilly internally. had coughed so much, had vomited mucous. As long as laid down still there were no symptoms.  started to cough as talked to me.

I prescribed Bryonia 0/1 in water to be taken every 10 minutes.

Patient is now sleeping.

Expect a full recovery in next 24 hours.

G.W.

Polony and Weaver.