After nearly 30 of of practice, research and observation, I can confirm that the one thing that a practitioner needs above all else is knowledge of Materia Medica. It is true to say that 90% of the hard work is in the case taking, yet if a physician does not know his Materia Medica then all is a waste of time. It is the synthesis and collation of symptoms collected from the patient, that have to be matched to a medicine capable of producing a similar set of symptoms or, the singular symptom that represents the disorder in the patient.
There are only 3 things to understand.
1/. Homoeopathy is a medical practice using a drug action.
2/. No medicine cures. Medicine enables the body to have a curative action to the extent that is possible.
3/. Unless you find a medicine that produces symptoms similar to the REAL disease state, and pertinent to the ‘tipping’ point of the restorative process, all that will happen is that symptoms will be produced but no curative action.
In order to start a curative action, the body must be stimulated to address the ongoing disease state at the crucial point where change can be effective in halting the process, or at the very least, be effective in transitioning the process through the symptoms quickly to restore health. In reading the Organon and the collective writings of Samuel Hahnemann, it is possible to see that the DISEASE itself is treated, through the exhibition of symptoms pertinent to the patient, and not the disease as known by its symptomatic name. It follows then that as the symptoms change, the appropriate homoeopathic medicine for the situation will change. It may take a range of medicines to stimulate the body for a complete curative response in a chronic or semi chronic disease process.
So too in diseases of an acute but dangerous nature like Croup. Look at the instructions given for the treatment of the disease, based solely of symptom presentation, AND, in the order of appearance.
Samuel Hahnemann, Materia Medica Pura on Spongia:
“…. Homoeopathy has found the most remarkable remedial employment of roasted sponge in that frightfully acute disease membranous croup, guided there to partly by other symptoms 231. The local inflammation, however, should first be diminished or removed by the exhibition of an extremely small dose of aconite. (The smaller the drug-doses in acute and the most acute diseases, the more quickly do they effect their action. In the case above alluded to one single olfaction of a globule the size of a mustard-seed moistened with the thirtieth dilution of itc-juice, fulfils this object in the best complete manner.) The accessory administration of a small dose of hepar sulphuris will seldom be found necessary.”
Boenninghausen was known for his remarkable, trio of remedies for Croup. which never failed. Aconite, Hepar Sulph and Spongia. Few people know that it was NOT Boenninghausens observation of the action of the medicines in the disease state, rather it was reading the words of Hahnemann and his experience with the medicines. Spongia would not deal with the inflammation at the beginning of the Croup, wheras Aconite fitted the symptoms perfectly. It was the same named disease, yet required a different medicine to induce a curative reaction.
It is important ALWAYS, to keep the disease picture, in the presenting order and presenting symptoms in clear focus when dealing with a derangement of health. One of the biggest problems facing a physician is a patient who presents a multitude of distressing exhibition of symptoms, which do not lead to a clear indication for a medicine. Very often, as again Hahnemann noted, this can be due to a mixture of two or more disease inducing influences upon the economy, or, the possession of two or more diseases ACTUALLY present in the body, with different symptoms and different actions. A very difficult situation to deal with, and requiring a lot of patience and tenacity to sort out what symptoms belong to which disorder. Each disease can only treated singly as and when, the predominant disease state is on top. It sometimes requires a tedious alternating of remedies until one intertwined disease state is forced into a curative action, and the remaining symptoms can be dealt with by the appropriate medicine.
There is much information to be examined and discussed in the words of Hahnemann. Sadly, the schools and teachers today in the main, do not comprehend the sound medical advice given, and continue to propogate a pseudo medical hotch potch of training which leads to a substandard form of practice of our medical discipline.
If we, but comprehended the genius of Boenninghausens Therapeutic Pocket Book in usage for determining the most likely medicines required, (based on Hahnemanns medical directives) we as practitioners would be in a much better place than we are. Instead we have accepted the detailed, but inaccurate work of James Tyler Kent as the arbiter of prescribing medicines, and forsook the deep examination of key symptoms from the Materia Medica. We as a profession, sadly have forsaken research and medical science for hearsay and folk lore.