Clinical Cases

Revisiting: I Cant Believe Its Not Butter!


Revisiting: I Cant Believe Its Not Butter!. Elaine gives the answer to last month’s quiz.

Let’s recap last month’s Peabody Award-winning quiz for our audience:

To read last month’s full case quiz. Visit – I Cant Believe Its Not Butter!


Let me begin by saying that after giving the remedy, Samantha wrote and said, “I only had a 30X but her fever dropped immediately.”

When we look for remedies in acute cases, three words immediately jump to mind:



Modalities (ameliorating and aggravating factors)

What we got here was a “sensation”–pain like knives and at least one modality–worse lying flat. The sensation can be found in, “Throat: tonsils, general, sharp, pain, tonsils”–there are only two well-indicated remedies, Belladonna and Mercury. Since she’s not sweating and not thirsty, there goes Mercury!  Belladonna is famous for being worse lying.  Also, remember–the fever came on suddenly! She had a fever 15 min. after waking from her nap.  Sudden onset of fever is a grand keynote of–ta-da!– Belladonna; and then we have the Belladonna thirstlessness as well.

Now, here’s what’s interesting about the last two quizzes: The same child, the same illness, the same diagnosis, the same symptoms, but, TWO DIFFERENT REMEDIES!  How is that possible?  It’s mind-boggling, isn’t it?  You can see why it’s so difficult to practice homeopathy!  Who would believe you couldn’t just give the same remedy that worked the last time?

The reason is because we are looking for what’s PECULIAR or characteristic in a case, not the diagnosis!  I think Inez may become our “poster-child” for Aphorism 153 of the Organon–the “Strange/Rare and Peculiar” clause.  In the first quiz, we had a very peculiar symptom–she was eating butter off the stick!–covered by just two remedies–Mercury and Pulsatilla.  This was absent from the second case!  In the second case, we had a characteristic sensation (pain like knives), sudden onset and worse lying.  The acute case questionnaire I send out, which you can see above, is designed to elicit this kind of information, that’s why no matter how much you tell me about your case, I STILL need you to fill out the questionnaire! Truly, we do not treat diseases, we treat people. Now, I must say, Katie wrote in and gave a rather loooong explanation for why it’s Belladonna, so, in deference to all her hard work, heeeeeeeere’s Katie!

Hi Elaine,


I have tended to repertorize on paper and I missed a lot this time doing it that way. I do have the “Hompath” software and have been trying to learn to use it. After crashing on my first, manual attempt at the November quiz, I spent some time getting more familiar and at ease with Hompath – thanks for nudging me in that direction.

I did? How nice of me!

The rubric choices are making more sense now, too.

Using Hompath’s Complete Repertory, Belladonna scored the highest and fit to some degree all of the following rubrics (although I would have expected a Belladonna fever to be higher and the child to be less stoical):

Children never do what you want them to do!

* Mind/Quiet:Disposition
* Mind/Anxiety
* Mind/Company:Desire for
* Gen/Lying: Agg
* Gen/Sudden manifestations
* Gen/Side: Right
* Gen/Discoloration: Redness: Streaks
* Gen/Discoloration: Redness: of Affected parts
* Throat/Pain: Lancinating
* Throat/Swelling:Tonsils
* Throat/Discoloration: Redness: Tonsils
* Stomach/Thirstlessness
* Fever, Heat/Heat in general

That’s great, Katie, but, you really worked harder than you needed to!  Remember my article “Acute vs. Chronic Remedies, the Hierarchy of Symptoms and the Kitchen Sink”? (Catchy title, isn’t it?) Well, in it, I list the hierarchy of symptom-types we use to evaluate the symptoms in a case.  At or near the top is “onset”.  If you’ve got a case with “sudden onset”, you’re practically home free, down to three remedies before you even start: Belladonna, Aconite and Baptisia.  Aconite and Baptisia are thirsty, Belladonna’s not.  So,  bam!  Case closed!  And then you just ask yourself, Does Belladonna have sharp pains? Yes.  Does Belladonna have right-sided complaints?  Yes.  Does Belladonna have red streaks?  Yes.  Does Belladonna have fevers?  Swelling?  Worse lying?  Yes, yes, yes!

The disposition really wasn’t worth commenting on nor repertorizing.  The desire for company in a four-year-old child?  Normal.  Don’t repertorize symptoms that are mild or normal.  Now, if you have a sick child who wants to be alone?  Wow!  Boy is that symptom important!  Or a sick child who just doesn’t care if you leave the room or doesn’t call you to come in the room!

And since you mention Belladonna, you may want to hear about MY Belladonna case, a cold that I just recently got over.  But first before I forget, let’s congratulate our winners–Patrizia Chand, Katie and G. Vijayakumari.  I’m sure Dr. B has a nice prize for you.

Now as I was saying, this was the first cold in a long time that really got away from me.  I usually nip them in the bud with an immediate dose of Ferrum phos. 30C, but somehow…I must have gotten run down from lack of sleep.  Shana got it first and she was coughing in my face for days!  Then, the next thing I knew, I had a sore throat. There were no peculiar symptoms to prescribe on, no modalities, nothing characteristic. Then it started moving down into my chest and I was coughing.  After a couple of days of this, finally a peculiar symptom showed up: expectoration that had a bloody taste to it!  I had never experienced that before, so I thought if I can just find this in the repertory, I’ll be home free!  Sure enough, amazingly, it was there!  Murphy’s repertory, “Taste: bloody, coughing, when”–two remedies in bold: Rhus tox (which I had already tried) and Belladonna.  I said to myself, “Gee, I don’t recognize this as a Belladonna state–no fever, no redness, nothing typical of Belladonna, and it’s not even early in the case when you’re supposed to see Belladonna; but, there it was, so I thought I might as well try it! Well, thank God, because I hadn’t been able to sleep the night before because of this cold, but the cough stopped right away and I went right to sleep!  So, there you go, a peculiar symptom solves the case once again!

This month’s song goes out to Belladonna: “You’re My Remedy” by The Marvelettes!  See ya next year!

About the author

Elaine Lewis

Elaine Lewis

Elaine Lewis, D.Hom., C.Hom.
Elaine is a passionate homeopath, helping people offline as well as online. Contact her at [email protected]
Elaine is a graduate of Robin Murphy's Hahnemann Academy of North America and author of many articles on homeopathy including her monthly feature in the Hpathy ezine, "The Quiz". Visit her website at: and

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