It is of great service in homoeopathic practice to be well acquainted with the different kinds of constitutions that prevail, and their corresponding medicines. When a patient has very marked constitutional characteristics, it often happens that one or two medicines will give relief, no matter what the disease may be that he is suffering from.
For instance, those patients who are subject to clammy cold hands and feet, perspiring heads (either hot or cold), chilliness with relief by warmth, and irritability of temper, will almost always receive benefit from Calcarea. No matter what disease they may have, if these symptoms are prominent, Calcarea will relieve and often cure. Such are said to have the Calcarea constitution.
Contrasted with this is the Sulphur constitution. The Sulphur patient, instead of being chilly like the Calcarea patient, is hot, apt to perspire, has an irritable skin, and cannot endure warmth. He is always worse near a fire, in a hot room, and when warm in bed at night. The feet may be cold, but they are generally dry; often they are hot and burning, especially the soles; they may be hot and perspiring; cold hands and feet and hot head are a characteristic feature. The most characteristic feature of Sulphur is a sinking, “all gone,” empty sensation at the pit of the stomach, generally worst in the forenoon. With this there are often hot fainty spells, with perspiration. The Sulphur patient dislikes washing. Such is the Sulphur constitution. When these symptoms are present, Sulphur must be given, no matter what the complaint.
Like Calcarea, in the matter of chilliness and aggravation by cold or draughts, are Hepar sulph., Silica, and Arsenicum, among the remedies for chronic diseases, and Nux and Belladonna, among the remedies for acute diseases. Nux corresponds very closely to Calcarea in its action, and will often help a Calcarea patient temporarily.
Allied to sulphur in aggravation by heat are Apis, Iodum, and Pulsatilla.
A third type may be described which is represented by Lycopodium. The chief symptoms of this remedy are great tendency to accumulation of flatulence, constipation, red sandy deposit in urine, affections or pains occurring on the right side of the body and travelling to the left (Sulphur has a preference for the left side), aggravation of all symptoms in the afternoon, especially from 4-8 p.m. It has a sinking sensation like Sulphur, but it is generally worst in the afternoon, or it may prevent the patient sleeping at night. In this it is like Ignatia. Nux and Pulsatilla have both affinities with Lycopodium.
These are the three chief types commonly met with.
They are not always distinct, and we often find all three combined in the same patient. But generally the characteristics of one predominate, and the medicine which corresponds to that is the one to be given first. When it has done all it is capable of doing, the remaining symptoms will show which medicine should be chosen next.