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Questions Patients Ask–8

Sankaran cartoon

In this episode, we’ll be fielding questions on the Sensation Method and other areas of homeopathy.


Plants That Act Like Animals

Elaine, on another note, I am currently reading Sankaran’s book on his Sensation Method. I think it is a brilliant piece of work.

That’s what everyone seems to think….

I haven’t completed it yet, but I believe his theory is that we can narrow down the choice of remedy by matching the patient’s symptoms with symptoms from plant, animal or mineral kingdoms.

The problem is, you’ve got plants that act like animals–Stramonium and Belladonna, for example. (Belladonna actually barks!) Nux vomica is very competitive, aggressive and jealous–and that’s a plant, and then there’s the fact that since humans are animals anyway, we’re all going to behave like animals to some degree!

So far I have learned that people needing a remedy in the plant kingdom are sensitive, those in the animal kingdom are “competing or fighting for survival”. I haven’t reached the mineral kingdom yet, so I don’t know what the keynote symptoms are.

They’re structured, they make lists, they like geometric patterns, they’re logical and orderly, go from beginning to end, don’t start in the middle, methodical–but you know what? So does Nux vomica, which is in the plant family! Nux is very efficient, very logical! I think this method is somewhat of a distraction. You have here a science–homeopathy–that most of us have trouble with even under the best of circumstances!  No one is sure, half the time, if they’re supposed to be giving a constitutional remedy, a pathology remedy, or what…there’s a great deal of uncertainty, and into that “ball of confusion” is thrown a whole new method which calls for a different line of questioning with the idea that the person himself, in due time, will reveal the remedy to you by his choice of words and hand movements!  (My question would be, “Which remedy?” The remedy for the flu he complained about? The remedy layer underneath the flu?  The layer he came into the world with?  There’s a presumption here that the patient needed a remedy at birth and needs the same remedy now!  Vithoulkas says this accounts for only 1 in 300 cases–where a single remedy was needed for the person’s whole life.)

Presumably, before one goes off on a tangent, one should have both feet solidly on the ground in order to safely “branch out”.  Homeopathy historian, Julian Winston, put it in the following way in an editorial:

“In the best of all worlds, we would have good homeopathic education. After four years of study and a few years of practice, one would be able to take this experience and add to it with graduate study. And it is at this level that most of the seminars I have seen offered today are aimed.

The problem is that these seminars have no level of prerequisite study. Those who attend are a mixed group—from new students to long-time practitioners. Although the teachers know the basics, that is not what they are typically teaching. They are teaching at the postgraduate level, and knowledge of principles is assumed.”  (Homeopathy Today, April, 2001)

Anyone should be able to spot a clear Gelsemium flu: apathetic, chilly, shivering, weak, dull, dizzy, sleepy, headachy, thirstless….  This is a 10 minute case! Do you see how the Sensation Method distracts from solving this case?  I’ve had homeopaths tell me that they don’t take acute cases because they’re doing the Sensation Method!  Homeopathy is for suffering.  It’s for diseases and emergencies, and coincidently, this is where homeopathy shines!  It got its reputation through its success in treating epidemic disease!  Not that Sankaran doesn’t make some very astute observations, I don’t mean to say that he doesn’t!  And I don’t mean to say that I haven’t enjoyed reading his books, because I have. But, don’t let this distract you from what you’ve learned about how to take a case!

I just wanted to hear your thoughts on this. And also on Sankaran’s Sensation Method — do you like it or do you think it is bogus?

Well, I’ve read it.

Nowhere does he mention the importance of etiology–“ailments/from”–a lot of our prescriptions are based on “ailments from”, as you know. What about modalities? Gone!  And of course, if you read his cases, you’ll notice that no one ever gets Lycopodium, Pulsatilla, Nux vomica, Phosphorus, Sulphur, Rhus tox or any of the other remedies that have been common in homeopathy up to now; instead, people are receiving remedies like Bung-c. and Dendro-p., and since YOU would NEVER have been able to come up with those prescriptions, you can’t argue with him!  He’s always right!  What are you going to say?  “Oh, I disagree with that Bung-c. prescription!”  You can’t!  You can’t disagree because you don’t have the case you would have taken–you don’t have the etiology, the modalities, the concomitants, the color and odor of discharges, the food and drink desires, the aggravation time and so on.  So you have no way of saying, “This case sounds more like Lycopodium to me due to the 4-8 pm aggravation time and the craving for sweets,” because you don’t have a standard case!  All you can do is be in awe!  (“Wow, he is so smart!  I never would have come up with that remedy!”)  But then my question is: How many patients who walk in the door need Bung-c and Dendro-p?  If the answer is, truthfully, “Hardly anyone”, then why are we doing this?  Are people going to miss prescriptions for Rhus tox and Gelsemium because they’ve stopped asking the standard questions and instead are asking only:

“What is being sick like for you?”

“I feel just terrible because I’m missing work.”

“Missing work, eh?  Tell me about missing work, what’s the sensation of that?”

With this line of questioning, you will never find out that the patient is thirstless, sleepy, dizzy, chilly and has other keynotes of Gelsemium, and it’s almost like you’re saying, “We don’t care about that, we’re onto bigger things!”  You may wind up giving Bryonia because, “The patient said he was missing work, all he talked about was work!”  But a standard case taking would have told you that the patient had NO confirmatories for Bryonia whatsoever!  No thirst, no aggravation from motion….

Most of these practitioners believe you are not supposed to ask questions, that the patient should just be allowed to talk.  You might interject only, “What was that like? What does that feel like?  Why are you gesturing with your hand like that?  What does that mean?  What do you associate with that?  Say the first word that comes to your mind.”  This is certainly not appropriate questioning in any acute case!  Why do I keep bringing up acutes?  Because Sankaran has proclaimed that it is now IN the acute that the “real” remedy can finally be discerned most easily!  So, everything you knew about acute prescribing, throw it out, because we’re only using it to find the constitutional remedy now!

If people would read his cases with a little more detachment (instead of the awe usually reserved for The Beatles and Elvis Presley), they would notice numerous inconsistencies, things that don’t make any sense.  For example, you might find yourself questioning: “Why did the practitioner dismiss the patient’s statement about feeling lost in the ocean, it sounded really significant to me; why wasn’t that followed up on?”  In fact, it’s so arbitrary–what you do and don’t follow up on!  You can easily find yourself at sea, literally, following false leads–which even they agree is an ever-present possibility!  And it’s no wonder–this system cannot be taught!  So much relies on the practitioner’s intuition and interpretation of words and phrases the patient decides to use.

            Even if you think I’m over-simplifying this method, I do know one thing, this is not the way to do acute prescribing; plus, there is the unspoken premise in this method that constitutionally, the patient has needed the same remedy his whole life and even now, regardless of what’s wrong with him.  Good luck, is all I can say.  You know, when parents brings their child to you with a fever or sore throat, they don’t want any nonsense, they don’t want to hear, “I don’t take acutes,” and they don’t want to hear, “Here’s his constitutional remedy, come back in a month.”  That happened to me once.  I took Shana to a homeopath because she had a terrible cough.  The homeopath gave her Tuberculinum and told her to come back in a month because, presumably, it was her constitutional remedy, which I guess he thought would cure whatever she had.  I said, “A month???  This is an ACUTE.  She’s going to be better in a month ANYWAY!!!!!”  Maybe something I said resonated with him because he sat back down with her, retook her case, found out the cough was better for cold drinks and prescribed Causticum, it worked in less than 24 hours and the cough was gone!  If you can’t do this for a patient?  You’re really kind of useless.

By the way, this is how we’re supposed to gather symptoms in a case:  “Cough, dry, better cold drinks, worse outside in dry, sunny weather”.  That’s a “complete symptom” in homeopathy; not just “cough” but, “cough, better cold drinks…” etc.  We can’t select remedies if we don’t have “complete symptoms”.  No one asks for “modalities” when taking a “sensation case”.  No one asks for anything because you’re supposed to just let the patient “talk”, as he will surely “reveal” his remedy to you by his chosen words, phrases and gestures!   


Why Did You Start The Case With 12C?

Elaine, I just read “Hell Is Right Here”

https://hpathy.com/clinical-cases/hell-is-right-here-bobbys-case/ [1]

and I wanna know the reason why you started the case with 12C and not 200C or 1M, due to the fact that:

1. it is more dynamic in nature and

2. the boy had good vitality and was young which goes with a higher potency well and

3. high potencies act deeper, longer and are more apt to cure.
So, I just want to know the philosophy?

Hi and thanks for your question.  I know and understand why people believe that giving the high potency is going to work soooooooo much better in mental and emotional cases, while the lower potencies are sooooooo much more appropriately used in physical complaints; I realize that this is the prevailing view; but actually, it is not true, there is no correlation in that way; first of all because this whole idea of “deep” and “shallow” is an abstract concept that is not measurable in any way, nor observable.  The potencies have to be understood as “strong” and “weak”.  It’s like the difference between a tap and a push.  If someone pushes you lightly, you can push back lightly.  If someone is pushing you hard, you have to push back hard.  An illness that comes on like gangbusters needs a remedy potency with a lot of “push”!  You need a 200C for that, like a flu that comes on suddenly, a high fever that comes on suddenly, you need a remedy with a lot of “punch”, like Belladonna 200C.  Do you REALLY want to give Belladonna 6C for a high fever?  Are you really comfortable with that?  Does that seem appropriate to you?  I can tell you right now, I have seen 30C’s fail in acutes, then the same remedy is given in 200C and it works!  Why?  The 30C wasn’t strong enough!  You have to meet power with power!

Now, look at this case you’ve commented on, Bobby’s case  (“Hell Is Right Here”).  Look at what happened here with no aggravation:  Within days of starting Anacardium 12C daily in water with 10 succussions before each dose, in maybe two or three days, he is already feeling significantly better!  Now, you give a 200C and what is likely to happen?  Either an aggravation or generally nothing because you have to wait and see. The homeopath tells his patient to come back in a month because there’s the expectation that it might take that long for the 200C to show some effect!  This is very frustrating for the patient, all this waiting; and then what happens?  He gets better but doesn’t correlate it with the remedy because it was so long ago.  So he says, “I just got better by myself.” Later, when the potency wears off and needs repeating, he may not come back to you!

Also, in Bobby’s case, he needed two intercurrent remedies, one of them stopped the awful sweating and gum disease. How can you give an intercurrent remedy if you’re being held hostage by a high potency? “I’d like to give you Nitricum Acidum for your gum disease, but, it could interfere with our constitutional remedy; so, no can do.” I didn’t have that problem!  I just stopped Anacardium 12C, gave Nitric acid 30C, then went back to Anacardium when Nitric acid was no longer needed, and we kept moving forward.

Now here’s another problem.  You give a 200C, and after a week goes by, nothing’s happened. The patient forgets and eats a mint or drinks coffee.  What has happened?  Was the remedy “antidoted”, sight-unseen?  Should the dose be repeated?  There’s no way to know, it’s all in the abstract!   But with daily dosing, you always know what’s going on in the case!  If your last dose was possibly antidoted, well, you’re going to take it again anyway!

What is the 200C potency really good for?  Acutes!  That’s where you’re going to see dramatic results!  You can see a symptom or complaint go away, Wham! just like that!  In minutes, or even seconds!  If you hurt yourself or burn yourself, you take your burn remedy 200C, seconds later, the pain is gone!  You give the same remedy to a chronic patient?  He either gets an aggravation, or nothing happens!  You don’t believe it?  I have a client, “Joan”, who took Sepia 200 for her post-partum complaints; it worked fine, until it stopped working.  It was then repeated, and nothing happened.  Now what?  I prescribed Sepia 6C in water three times a day, five succussions before each dose and here’s what her husband said:

Joan is on Sepia 6C. She missed a few doses in between, but she is mostly taking it 3 times per day in water. Her mental picture improved pretty much from the next day.

The next day!!!!!  Isn’t that why people are giving 200C’s because they want their patient to be better the next day?  Fast?  But, paradoxically, just the opposite happens!  Again, here is the rule:  Potency is a function of how much power you need to fight off a complaint.  Power has to be met with power.  A recent acute, like a flu or a burn or a blunt trauma, needs a medium-to-high potency.  A chronic case which is moderate in its effects calls for a lower potency given daily in water with succussions before each dose.  The advantage of lower potencies is that they can be prescribed daily, and if an acute arises during treatment, the remedy can be stopped and your acute remedy in 30C or 200C can be prescribed to neutralize the acute, after which you can return to your chronic remedy, easy-peasy!

I have seen cases cured with 200C repeated three times a day in dry doses, 6 globules each time.

I hate to seem insensitive but, Stop doing that!!!!!   You know how we conduct provings?  We give the exact same potency over and over again until symptoms break out; is that what you’re trying to do?  200C?  Six pellets?  Three times a day?  Does that sound like homeopathy’s motto, “The Minimum Dose”?  What’s “minimum” about that?  That’s “The Maximum Dose!”  That’s allopathy’s motto!  Let’s see briefly what Hahnemann has to say about that in the Organon:

Aphorism 129: Since you can’t know who’s sensitive to remedies and who’s not, start with a small dose of medicine for everybody and increase it from day to day where appropriate and necessary.

Aphorism 161: No one should allow an aggravation in chronic disease.

Aphorism 246, footnote a: Administer the medicine starting with the lowest degrees.

Aphorism 249, footnote b: You’d never need to antidote a remedy if you would only start with the smallest possible dose.

Aphorism 253, footnote a: The signs of improvement on the mental and emotional plane can only be realized if the dose is small enough. A large dose acts too violently and initially disturbs the mind and emotions.

Aphorism 276: If the potency is too high, especially if it’s the right remedy, the more harm it can do.

Aphorism 282: If your remedy caused an aggravation, you gave too large a dose.

Finally, give your patients the following warning:

Any striking improvement precludes further dosing, and, any aggravation precludes further dosing as well. Stop and wait, and if need be, antidote. 

See Diane Fuller’s “The Aggravation Zapper”: https://hpathy.com/homeopathy-papers/the-aggravation-zapper/ [2]



Where’s The Science?

Elaine, I’m wondering what your opinion is about why homeopathy hasn’t held up to the vigorous scrutiny of scientific research.

Oh my. Oh dear. Oh my. The statement, “There are no studies,” is nothing but a mantra that keeps repeating itself but has no basis in fact! I suppose if I had to just cite the most recent evidence, it would be the report by the Swiss Government on homeopathy. Alan Schmukler mentions it in his editorial in the March “H4E”.  To quote Alan:

“The skeptics should also examine the recent 300 page report on homeopathy by the Swiss Government. This exhaustive seven year study is the most in-depth review of homeopathy ever conducted by a government. The Swiss team evaluated all the research from double-blind and placebo controlled trials, actual clinical effectiveness, safety and finally, cost-effectiveness. The study authors concluded that homeopathy is effective, sometimes more so than conventional treatment, free of side effects and economical. They recommended that homeopathy be covered by Switzerland’s national health insurance program. (for Dana Ullman’s review of the Swiss study : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dana-ullman/homeopathic-medicine-_b_1258607.html )”


What Remedies Should I have on Hand for Acute Diseases?

Hi ELaine,

As for me, my cold seems to be increasing / symptoms coming back this evevning. I am not sure if it is because i didn’t take the 4 doses of Arsenicum 30C today.


I was out and saw your email only after returning. I will take anther dose before I sleep and in the morning. Will let you know if it is still bad or gets better.

If you can get a hold of Arsenicum 200C, that would be a good idea.  I learned a long time ago to buy all the acute remedies in ascending potencies–30C, 200C, 1M. There are some I have up to 50M, like Arnica. The thing is, you don’t want to be caught in a position where your remedy stops working and you have nothing to go up to! 30C is the low-end of your high potencies.  Most of the time it will work beautifully and cure the whole case, but not always. Often a 200C right at the beginning would have stopped the acute in its tracks but I have seen cases where it has also aggravated and needed to be antidoted.  So, although 30C may be good at the start, you should have a 200C there just to be on the safe side if the 30C stops working.  You don’t want an acute getting away from you!  Often, just when you think a virus is under control or gone, you let your guard down, stop dosing and here it comes again! Before you know it, you’re out at sea without a compass, being tossed and turned by the waves with nothing to grab on to!   You give the remedy again and it doesn’t work!

Here are the most commonly used Disease and Injury Polychrests and the potencies I have them in (P.S. Just because I have these potencies doesn’t mean you have to buy them, and it doesn’t mean I bought them all at once either. It just shows what my experience has led me to buy down through the years):

Allium cepa–30, 200, 1M

Antimonium tart–30, 200, 1M, 10M

Apis–30, 200, 1M, 10M

Argent-nit–30, 200, LM-1

Arnica–30, 200, 1M, 10M, 50M

Arsenicum–30, LM-1, 2 & 3; 200, 1M, 10M, 50M, CM

Baptisia–30, 200

Belladonna–30, 200, 1M, 10M

Bryonia–30, 200, 1M

Calendula–30, 200, 1M

Cantharis–30, 200, 10M

Carbo veg–30, 200, 1M

Causticum–30, LM-1, 200, 1M

Chamomilla–30, 200

China–30, 200, 1M

Cocculus–30, 200

Coffea–30, 200

Colocynth–30, 200, 1M

Ferrum phos–30, 200

Gelsemium–30, 200, 1M, 10M

Hepar sulph–30, 200, 1M, 10M, 50M, CM

Hypericum–30, LM-1, 200, 1M, 10M, 50M

Ignatia–30, 200, 1M, LM-1

Influenzinum–30, 200

Ipecac–30, 200

Kali bich–30, LM-1, 200, 1M, 10M

Lachesis–30, LM-1, 200, 1M, 10M

Ledum–30, 200, 1M, 10M

Lycopodium–30, 200, LM-1, 1M, 10M

Mag-phos–30, 200, 1M

Mercury–30, LM-1, 200, 1M, 10M

Nat-mur–30, 200

Nat-sulph–30, 200

Nitric acid–30, LM-1, 200, 1M, 10M

Nux vomica–30, 200, 1M, LM-3

Phosphorus–30, LM-1, 2, 3 & 4; 200, 1M, 10M

Podophyllum–30, 200

Pulsatilla–30, LM-1, 200, 1M, 10M

Pyrogen–30, 200, 1M, 10M, 50M, CM

Rhus tox–30, 200, 1M

Ruta–30, 200

Sepia–30, 200

Silica–30, LM-1, 200, 1M, 10M

Spongia–30, 200

Staphysagria–30, 200, 10M, 50M

Sulphur–30, 200

Urtica urens–30

Veratrum alb–30, LM-1, 2, 3 & 4; 200, 1M, 10M

Zingiber–30, LM-1 & 2

Now, why do I have some of these in such high potencies?  Because the conditions they’re noted for can easily get out of hand or become life-and-death situations.  For example, Hypericum in spinal injuries and spinal tap headaches, or crushing injuries to the fingers and toes; Cantharis in burns, Apis in anaphylaxis, Hepar Sulph in painful abscesses, Staphysagria in incision pains and sensitive teeth, Phosphorus in pneumonia, Mercury and Nitric Acid in gum infections and abscesses, same for Pyrogen also, post-surgery fevers go for Pyrogen and the flu as well; Gelsemium–our great fear, fever and virus remedy as well as stage-fright; Colocynth for pains that cause a person to bend over double.  Zingiber is a great remedy for diarrhea from bad water.  Pulsatilla is great for digestive complaints from fatty meals and too much ice cream.  Antimonium tart is our drowning remedy and coughs that are loose but hard to raise.  Belladonna–high fevers and any inflammatory situation where there’s a lot of heat, redness, seems urgent or severe. Arsenicum–food poisoning, flu, end of life, cancer pains….  Veratrum alb. for fainting or faint-feeling with cold sweat and purging and desire for ice cold drinks despite being chilly; in other words, patient is collapsed.

The point being that gradually, over time, you should try to acquire these remedies in more than just the 30C potency. Do I have any of these in lower potencies?  Yes; but in an acute, you’d want to start with a 30C and nothing lower, as acutes tend to be powerful, forceful situations and you have to meet power with power.  You can’t fend off a lion with a wet noodle.  And speaking of noodles, I have to get back to the kitchen now.


Is Rhus tox a Person?

I am very confused by this Rhus tox article. Is Rhus tox a medicine, a treatment of sorts, or is it a state of being. Is Rhus toxicodendron a person??? Was this a tongue in cheek?? I am trying to look up homeopathic treatment for restless leg syndrome and came across this and now am even more confused. Is this supposed to be understandable for the average Joe or is this written in some type of doctorate language that the average Joe would not understand?? Maybe needs to be classified or filed somewhere else on a website possibly??

To your question, is Rhus tox a person?  Yes, and you’ve seen these people!  They can’t be still! If they try to sit still, they stiffen up and MUST move; they are much better for motion, worse for being still.  They are better for anything that helps with movement–such as warmth and massage–and worse for influences that would slow them down, such as anything cold–cold weather, cold applications, cold bathing, etc. You may see this presentation best in athletes. If you give them the remedy Rhus tox 30C, they will finally be able to relax and settle down.


Why Shouldn’t Everyone Get A Saliva Remedy?

Thanks, Elaine. Here’s another question: If making a remedy out of anything (in my case, out of my saliva) is so effective,why not prescribe that first before anything else in cases when something (like saliva or a medication, etc.) can be used?

I will definitely make a remedy out of the offending substance as soon as I hear that that’s the reason the person is sick!  For instance, when I visited the Virgin Islands many years ago, the tap water was repeatedly making me sick–I only wish I had known about homeopathy back then, I could have made a remedy out of the water!  So much suffering can be eliminated by knowing how to make your own remedy!

I’m not sure that spitting into a cup and making a remedy out of it always works, but did work for me once when I had eaten bad food from a restaurant.

It would save the patient money and take any of the guess work out of picking the right remedy…?

You’re right in the sense that taking a 2 hour constitutional case is not always appropriate for what’s wrong with a person, but making a remedy out of saliva isn’t a cure-all, it’s not a sure-thing, not a guarantee, not something that always works, that you should just automatically go to because it trumps everything.


What’s The Constitutional Remedy All About?

Elaine, could you tell me how it can help me to know my constitutional remedy? Have you worked on many constitutional cases? How has it helped people…just for example….



Hi Margaret.  The constitutional case presumes that there is no physical pathology demanding immediate attention and that what seems to be wrong is mostly on the mental/emotional plane; for example, the person might suffer from shyness, anxiety about appearing in public, inability to stand up for herself, easily taken advantage of, can’t relax to get to sleep at night, feels depressed and lonely, too proud to ask for help or support…. These are the kinds of issues a constitutional remedy addresses, as well as when the pathology lacks characteristic symptoms but the mental-emotionals are very clear.  

With the right constitutional remedy, a person has more confidence, more energy, less prone to procrastination, lives in the moment, doesn’t care so much what other people think and generally feels more capable.

Normally when a person comes to a homeopath, it’s because of a physical complaint. Something is wrong: sore throat, hemorrhoids, a virus, etc.  Usually when these things are cleared up, the person is so happy, he doesn’t stick around for his constitutional case to be taken, he’s just happy to be back to his old self, however flawed that may be!

Now, here’s the other thing: Often there is more than one remedy needed!  Not at the same time though.  Cases often have “layers”.  I always ask for a time-line in my questionnaire.  It means I need to know the life-changing events or traumas in the person’s life, the cause, and their age at the time.  

For instance, a person may start out life as a Phosphorus (out-going, sociable, desiring company and love) and then her parents get a divorce, the child loses the father and has to move to a new city.  Now the child is no longer a Phosphorus.  She has acquired a “stiff-upper-lip”, has become studious, and stopped being fun-loving and seeking out company.  She is now a Nat-mur (homeopathic salt).  Then in college, she tries so hard to get high honors (like all Nat-mur’s, she thinks that if she’s perfect, she’ll be loved), so she stays up very late at night studying, consuming a lot of coffee to stay awake, so now she’s got permanent coffee nerves, insomnia and is nervous and jittery.  It is here that she comes to see the homeopath.  She’s going to tell the homeopath that she has insomnia, that she can’t fall asleep at night, she can’t turn her mind off.  The homeopath is going to know nothing about her Nat-mur state or Phosphorus layer underneath unless the homeopath asks for a time-line, wherein he or she will learn about the divorce, the move to another city, the forsaken feeling, etc.  The homeopath will see that there is a Nat-mur layer underneath Coffea.  But is Coffea the “constitutional” remedy?  Or is it Nat-mur?  Or is it Phosphorus?

You can call it “constitutional” or whatever you want; but, it would be inappropriate to give Nat-mur when the most recent symptoms lead to Coffea!  Remember Hering’s Law?  Healing takes place in reverse order!  That means we must give Coffea first!  After that, Nat-mur will come to the surface; and after Nat-mur is given, Phosphorus will come to the surface.  So you can see that treating the person’s constitutional state is a long process–sometimes.  Not necessarily all the time.  Sometimes a person is the same remedy their whole life, they just go through deeper and deeper stages of that remedy.

For example, there’s the healthy Sulphur and the pathological Sulphur.  The healthy Sulphur is adventuresome, curious, fun-loving, ambitious, confident and active. He’s warm and personable–outgoing.  They don’t have time to be fussy about the way they look or the appearance of their room because they’re too busy being active and creative.  Now let’s say this very ambitious Sulphur suffers from one set-back after another.  He becomes discouraged, lazy, loses his ambition.  Now he’s a home-body with a scraggly beard and long hair; depressed and philosophical, chilly, no ambition, irritable, hides away, becomes a recluse; sits in his room reading and theorizing; doesn’t want company. He may think he’s sooooo much better than everyone else and that the world is stupid for not appreciating his vast knowledge.  Morons!  This is when you see him; maybe he’s come to you because of an itchy rash–which Sulphurs are prone to. One dose of Sulphur and his whole life is changed! He won’t need two or three remedies, his “ailments from failure” didn’t send him into a new remedy picture like Lycopodium or Aurum.  He’s still Sulphur, but a “deeper” Sulphur than when he started out.

Did I answer your question?

Yes you did very well 🙂


What’s the Importance of Etiology?

Dear Elaine.
There are scattered here and there examples of etiology-based prescriptions and keynote-based prescriptions in your articles. If you write an extended article to explain this, it will be a great asset to us novices. Regards. Saleem

Dear Saleem,

In every case, we hope to find an etiology–the cause of the complaint.  That’s because once we know the cause, the remedy becomes clear. For example, we may see a person lying on the floor.  We don’t know what the heck happened!  We ask, “What happened here?”  A witness says, “He was hit by lightning!”  Now we know the remedy!  It’s Phosphorus!  Phosphorus is our premier “ailments from electricity” remedy.  If we were told, “He was run over by a car!” the remedy would be Arnica–our main remedy for “ailments from blunt trauma”.  If we were told, “He fainted from bad news!” the remedy would most likely be Ignatia, one of our main remedies for “ailments from bad news.”  Ignatia faints easily and is very emotional.  Now, three different remedies but the same presentation!  What was the difference in all three cases?  The reason why the person was lying there!  If the reason can make that much of a difference in what remedy you pick, imagine how wrong our prescriptions must be if all we do is take down the symptoms but have no idea WHY the patient has them!

Now the other issue you brought up was keynotes of remedies.  You know, the “ailments from” factor or “etiology” often IS a keynote of the remedy!  “Ailments from blunt trauma” IS a keynote of Arnica!  “Fainting from bad news” IS a keynote of Ignatia!  In general, the idea is this:  When you take a case, common information isn’t going to help you.  Writing down things like:  Runny Nose, Headache, Loss of Appetite, etc. are of such a general, non-descript nature, they’re going to lead to considering practically every remedy in the Materia Medica!  How is that going to help you?  What, then, is going to narrow down your choices to one or two remedies?  A keynote!  When you hear a remedy keynote, you are on solid ground!  If I say to a homeopath, “Depression after head injury!” a lot of you are going to chime in right away with, “Natrum sulph!”  Yes, this is a keynote of Nat-sulph.  So is “headache after head injury”.  So what it means is, there’s no getting away from studying your remedies and learning their keynotes.  Keynotes are what the remedy is known for.  For instance, what are the keynotes of London?  Buckingham Palace, the guards, the queen, the Thames, Big Ben, #10 Downing Street…right?  Now, I’ll give you some keynotes and you tell me what I’m referring to:  the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, the Art Museum, the Franklin Institute, the University of Pennsylvania….Who said Philadelphia? 

I did!  That’s where I live!



Shana, are you crashing my article?  Be useful and get me a picture of Philadelphia!




This is what you wanted, right?

OK, OK, my mistake, a Philly Cheesesteak!

And what about Lorenzo’s?

Where you go to eat pizza?

Yes!  Lorenzo’s on 9th Street!


Are you happy now?  There’s George!  Did you know George and I are the same age?  OK, so I think we’ve exhausted the “keynotes” of Philadelphia now!  Good-bye, Shana; off with you!

So, likewise, there are keynotes of remedies, such that when we hear them, we breathe a sigh of relief because now we can solve the case! What are the keynotes of Pulsatilla?  Ailments from fatty rich foods, ailments from ice cream, cheese, etc.; a desire for creamy foods, a desire for fresh air, worse warm stuffy rooms, fear of abandonment, changeable symptoms, cries easily, easily reassured, desire for butter, desire for company, desire for sympathy, bland creamy yellow-green discharges, loose coughs, evening aggravation, and yielding disposition.

OK, I hope that answers your question because it’s way past my bed time and I haven’t even had my yogurt and raspberries yet!


Elaine Lewis, D.Hom., C.Hom.

Elaine takes online cases!  Write to her, visit her website:

elaineLewis.hpathy.com [6]

[email protected] [7]


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