“In seeking for the specific homoeopathic remedy, i. e., in this juxtaposition of the phenomena of the natural disease and the list of symptoms of the medicines, in order to discover a morbid potency corresponding in similitude to the evil to be cured, the more striking, particular, unusual and peculiar (characteristic) signs and symptoms of the case should especially and almost solely be kept in view; for there must especially be some symptoms in the list of the medicine sought for corresponding to this if the remedy should be the one most suitable to effect the cure.’
Strange rare and peculiar is a phrase often used in homoeopathic circles, and one in which it appears to give licence for any symptom to be used in the case taking. However, from the aphorism 153 taken from the 5th edition above, we can see the explanation and understanding of the meaning clearly, or we should if we dismiss the veil of Swedenborgianism from Kent that obscures the true case-taking skills as outlined by Hahnemann.
All disease is a collection of symptoms that define the ‘type’ of disease, and from this collection of symptoms, a disease can be classified and if well known, the pathology and progression and even prognosis can be elicited from knowledge.. and within that disease, we can pick out the defining expression that is peculiar to the reaction of the sick person to its influence. (this is not dismissing those diseases that have never been seen before and affect the host in a very unique way).
Reading carefully, we can see that the symptoms that are to be used, are the ones that define the host’s reaction to whatever the infection is, in a characteristic way AND also are defined in a remedy in a similar manner.
To complicate matters, the defining symptoms, may or may not be known to be within the sphere of the presenting disorder, yet are present.
Let me give an example from a remedy, and from a presenting symptom. It is my experience, that a marked and strange and characteristic symptom can be present and have nothing to do with the complaint, yet will also contain the symptoms taken in the intake.
Take a patient with a respiratory disorder. Lack of oxygen has caused the lips to discolour. Normally will be blue, yet in this patient, the skin is mottled, blue and orange and red, and diffuse over the lips.
Another patient with severe psoriasis, on close examination, has the same mottled skin all over her legs between the eruptions.
Yet another patient with skin allergies has presented patches of the same discolouration across his back.
In taking the case of each, the characteristic symptom is the skin discolouration. using that, regardless of the problem, there are few remedies, if actually only one, that produces that patterning. In the main, you will also find that other symptoms of each individual disorder are present in the remedy.
That remedy is Psorinum.
If a symptom is present to such a marked degree, it can become characteristic of both the disease AND a remedy..
We will talk more at another time regarding characteristic symptoms.