We have included these short cases as they represent the work of an experienced homeopath who relies on the Materia Medica to make simillimum prescriptions. The first step is to recognize what is the central peculiar homeopathic characteristic in the case (highlighted in bold below). The next step is to check in the Materia Medica of Proving Symptoms a remedy that exactly matches this characteristic. The final choice of remedy should cover other characteristics of the case as well. This is the method most of the first generation homeopaths used before repertories were easily available and reliable.
This is a method that still holds true today for making exceptional prescriptions in serious pathological situations, but requires a homeopath’s eye to be trained to recognize homeopathic characteristics that fit with remedy provings. Knowledge of Materia Medica is a basic necessity. This is the method that has given us the “Red Line Symptoms” of remedies. We need to rediscover the lost art of making such prescriptions in any situation as Hahnemann himself did.
My father-in-law aged more than 80:
Admitted in hospital for chest pain. Declared by doctors to have had mild heart attack. Pulse reigning more than 130. Doctors said that at his age he was in very bad shape and he might require a month of bed rest. They had prescribed prescription drugs (probably sorbitrate) twice daily and one to be kept ready in his shirt pocket for emergency.
High pulse rate suggested STROPHANTHUS 6C. From Boericke’s Matria Medica we read:
Strophanthus is a muscle poison; it increases the contractile power of all striped muscles. Acts on the heart, INCREASING THE SYSTOLE AND DIMINISHES THE RAPIDITY. May be used with advantage to tone the heart, and run off dropsical accumulations. In small doses for weak heart; it feels enlarged.
Arteriosclerosis; rigid arteries of aged. Restores tone to a BRITTLE tissue, especially of the heart muscle and valves. Especially useful in failing compensation dependent upon fatty heart. HIVES. Anaemia with palpitation and breathlessness.
Pulse quickened. Heart’s action weak, rapid, irregular, due to muscular DEBILITY; and INSUFFICIENCY. Cardiac pain.
It reduced the pulse rate as well as the chest pain in short order. However, exhaustion with weakness continued. Doctors discharged him the next day finding pulse coming down to near normal, advising bed rest for a month along with the pills prescribed.
Homeopathy must do better, I thought. I went to my books. I know my father-in-law to be a chronic patient of cold due to tonsillitis, his cold coming down and settling in the chest. From my Materia Medica knowledge, I knew that one of the chief remedies for this was Kali Iodatum.
I went through Boericke’s Materia Medica for Kali Iod and the first indication I secured was ‘COLD TRAVELS DOWN TO CHEST‘. I KNOW MY FATHER-IN-LAW TO BE A CHRONIC COLD PATIENT AND HE NEVER HAD ANY HEART DIFFICULTY UP TO THE AGE OF 83. If I had tried to approach the remedy choice with the symptom of raised pulse and chest pain as a heart trouble as was done by the allopaths, I could not have selected a remedy. The next favorable information was : ‘BRINGS ABOUT FAVOURABLE REACTION IN MANY CHRONIC AILMENTS EVEN WHEN NOT CLEARLY SYMPTOMATICALLY INDICATED‘. Then under “Nose”: PROFUSE ACRID, HOT, WATERY, THIN DISCHARGE. Everyone in the family used to be astonished that his chronic cold never brought out a thick discharge, but rather a thin, acrid discharge.
Because of his age, I preferred to give a lower potency. I decided on Kali iod. 30C. He regained his strength. After 2 or 3 repetitions he got the strength to fetch water from the tap in a bucket and carry it to the first floor. No further treatment was needed.
Of course his chronic cold has returned now, which is an old problem and he continues to be helped with Kali Iodium The philosophy of Modern Medicine uses the same medicines to treat every case of heart attack. But homeopathy sees diseases individually.
A similar case of cardiac angina. Man nearing 70 takes a pill (Sublingual Sorbitrate) morning and evening with a pill in his pocket; yet he got pain even walking 50 yards. History is that he was getting fever with joints pain and severe chill once in 3 or 4 months. Prescription drugs would relieve the fever in a week. I know this suppressive relief would have been worsening his heart trouble.
I contacted his son who was an MBBS graduate at that point, though now he is an MD. He could not clearly explain the pathogenesis of the symptoms but he was sure that the pulmonary artery was not functioning properly. The father avoided by-pass surgery due to his advanced age of more than 70 and also there was no clear diagnosis of coronary artery blocks. He also continued to pull on with pain killers for the joint pains at least 3 times a day.
As I understood homeopathic philosophy, metastasis of inflammation occurs from less important organs to more important organs when suppression takes place. Hence I understood the pathogenesis to be constriction of the pulmonary artery due to metastasis of the rheumatic joint pain settling there. The homeopathic interpretation of this symptom is “Rheumatism of the joints settling in heart“. The remedy with this symptom indication is Cactus Grandiflorus.
Burts Characteristic Keynotes states:
Through the cerebro – spinal nervous system it acts especially upon the heart, arteries and lungs. Its action upon the system greatly resembles rheumatism.
In diseases that call for the use of Cactus, there will always be found more or less derangement of the heart. The patient will be greatly reduced in flesh, with great nervous excitability.
Adapted to hypertrophy of the heart; palpitation of the heart; rheumatism of the heart; acute and chronic carditis and rheumatism.
“And also to acute rheumatism of the diaphragm.” – F.
“Feeling as though an iron band was around the heart, preventing its normal motion.”
Palpitation of the heart in debilitated patient’s; worse when lying on the left side; when walking, and at night, with great melancholy.
“Chronic bronchitis, with profuse rattling of mucus in the lungs.”
Difficulty of breathing.
Arterial pulsation in the scrobiculus.
Nervous consumption; accompanied with rheumatic symptoms affecting the muscles of the chest.
The Boericke’s Materia Medica on Cactus Grandiflorus States:
Acts on circular muscular fibers, hence constrictions. It is the heart and arteries especially that at once respond to the influence of Cactus, producing very characteristic CONSTRICTIONS as of an iron band. This sensation is found in various places, esophagus, bladder, etc. The mental symptoms produced correspond to those found when there are heart affections, sadness, and melancholy.
These symptoms, I interpreted as being expressed in his case. Immediately after taking Cactus G 30C, while still in my house he felt encouraged and said “I am all right Sir, there is no worry”. And he did not need to rest anywhere en route to his home 200 yards away. After repeated doses of CACTUS GRANDIFLORUS 30C, he could walk more than a kilometer without getting pain.
However the fever has not been cured. The next curative remedy for the fever was now indicated and he needed to continue with treatment. But he is not prepared to risk getting back the fever as he felt he did not have chest pains any more. However when he was out of station he got the fever and he took the antibiotic pills only to develop chest pains again. Now he has to keep and take the Sorbitrate pills for chest pain again. How true are the principles of Homeopathy regarding suppression and progression of disease. How beyond a doubt they are proved in
Dr. K V Natarajan
Dear Homoeopathy Fraternity,
35, Chari Street, North Usman Road,
Tnagar, Chennai, 600017