How do remedies work?
Im writing this for patients and practitioners to get a grasp of the use of remedies. Actually, its more to outline my observations from nearly 40 years of practice because if I am honest, I have no idea how the remedies work. I do however have observed certain actions collectively, and individually related to certain remedies and these notes and thoughts are what I present here.
Firstly, in order to cure, a drug is required. The definition of a drug is a substance that will effect a change in the living economy. Coffee and tea by definition are drugs. Also, words, music and emotions can effect a change.
Hower, for the sake of this discussion we will remain with the use of remedies that have been prepared according to the directions of Hahnemann, because these drugs have been tested and the symptoms they produce have been recorded.
We will take a patients case according to the directions in aphorism 6:
The unprejudiced observer well aware of the futility of transcendental speculations which can receive no confirmation from experience be his powers of penetration ever so great, takes note of nothing in every individual disease, except the changes in the health of the body and of the mind (morbid phenomena, accidents, symptoms) which can be perceived externally by means of the senses; that is to say, he notices only the deviations from the former healthy state of the now diseased individual, which are felt by the patient himself, remarked by those around him and observed by the physician. All these perceptible signs represent the disease in its whole extent, that is, together they form the true and only conceivable portrait of the disease.
So we build a personalised symptom picture of the DISEASED individual regardless of the common symptoms known to the named disease, because each patient expresses the infection or disease process individually. Once we have this, we are instructed in aphorism 153 to:
In this search for a homoeopathic specific remedy, that is to say, in this comparison of the collective symptoms of the natural disease with the list of symptoms of known medicines, in order to find among these an artificial morbific agent corresponding by similarity to the disease to be cured, the more striking, singular, uncommon and peculiar (characteristic) signs and symptoms of the case of disease are chiefly and most solely to be kept in view; for it is more particularly these that very similar ones in the list of symptoms of the selected medicine must correspond to, in order to constitute it the most suitable for effecting the cure. The more general and undefined symptoms: loss of appetite, headache, debility, restless sleep, discomfort, and so forth, demand but little attention when of that vague and indefinite character, if they cannot be more accurately described, as symptoms of such a general nature are observed in almost every disease and from almost every drug.
We need to find the remedy that matches the characteristic nature of the disease, that means the general and particular EXPRESSION of this patients display of symptoms whilst affected. This can be found in ‘peculiar’ symptoms, that is ‘pertaining to’, which are marked in the patient and also CHARACTERISTIC of just one or two remedies. Look at the fever symptoms of Belladonna and if the patient exhibits the glassy eyes and nature of the fever, then that will be the remedy.
So what happens after administration of the remedy? It is my observation that we have now given a drug that has stronger and particular symptoms of the disease (albeit artificial from the remedy) so that the overwhelmed immune system can now focus on and deal with.
Disease is a process. Sometimes as the disease responds via the immune system, the shift of the disease expression also occurs, and another remedy will be indicated, this usually as the whole nature of the disease moves. The remedy is not to be changed unless it has moved away from the primary drug action.
We sometimes do not know what the cause is, or what is the centre of the process is, and when this happens it is imperative we do not chase symptoms, but rather focus closely on the primary and charateristic symptoms of the disease.
As it is the body that cures, we need to be careful about introducing too many remedies along the way. A process has been started and we need to let the process work at its own required pace and power, and only interject when it appears to falter or change direction into a worsening state…….. that is why Hahnemann insists we let the dose work out and even expire before repeating. Then we are sure.
Some remedies have alternating actions, and sometimes a 2nd dose of the same remedy will correct the first dose. Sometimes it will aggravate the situation. I tend to wait after the first dose unless I know the remedy well and know it will correct an aggravation.
Every remedy produces PRIMARY symptoms, and these must not be mistaken for changed patient symptoms. Better to check the remedy symptom index and see if the ‘new’ symptom picture is in the remedy………usually it is, so wait!
We are not symptom removers, we are physicians chasing the cure.
I often get cases where too many remedies have destroyed the picture. At some stage I may give a dose of Sepia 200c and let the economy settle for 2-4 weeks and take the case again.
Do not be in a hurry to keep prescribing. Wait. Ask an experienced homoeopath who can observe externally and see what is required.
Always allow time for the body to fix itself.