Homeopathy Papers

Tidbits 34–Homeopathy: Case-Solving

Navigating the maze of confusion

Confusion Abounds!

Kent once famously said, “Why do we lose the case from the 2nd prescription on?”  Some students are taught never to treat diseases or physical complaints.  “Send them to the doctor!” they’re told.  “I never treat acutes,” many a homeopath has told me.  Some think all you need is to give the constitutional remedy no matter what’s wrong; some think aggravations are good and should be sought after, some think you treat acutes with low potencies and chronics with high potencies…it seems there is an “opinion” or “school of thought” for every other homeopath out there.  Why do we have this chaos?  Because Hahnemann is not studied.  His book, The Organon of Medicine, is considered boring, old-fashioned and difficult to read.  However, as I have said many times, the Kunzli translation is not fearful at all!  If I can read it, anyone can.

This article is dedicated to helping you navigate the maze that is the homeopathic case.

Methods of Prescribing

There’s no one method of prescribing that we should be adhering to dogmatically. Constitutional prescribing is the norm, but makes no sense if the patient is suffering! 

If the etiology is clear, does the totality of symptoms matter?  If a person is hit on the arm or hit in the head, aren’t we going to give Arnica anyway, regardless of the differences in symptoms?  The stronger the etiology, the less we care about the totality of symptoms.

On the other hand, if the symptoms are unmistakable, what does the etiology matter?  A Spongia cough?  A Phosphorus thirst for ice cold drinks?  The round swelling of Apis?  Who cares what the etiology is!  

You have to be flexible.  

If you see keynotes of a remedy, give the remedy.  If you see a remedy picture, give the remedy.  

Learn to see what’s striking and compelling about a case and adjust your approach accordingly.  

Keep the Case Moving!

Chronic diseases have periodic acute flare-ups.  Treat them!  Don’t say, “We can’t interfere with the constitutional remedy; so, we can’t treat that.”  

If you don’t seal up “energy leaks”, like pain and itching, your patient will relapse, your gains will be marginal if at all.  This is what’s wrong with Kentian prescribing–the so called “one-dose-high-and-wait” method.  You give one high dose of the constitutional remedy and then you’re not permitted to do anything for the next month, which includes treating something that might have inconveniently popped up along the way.  It could be a sore throat, menstrual cramps, headaches, an injury…  How much do you think the patient appreciates hearing, “You can’t take a remedy for that!”  He’ll say, “But when I take Mag-phos, it always gets better!”  “No, no!” comes the answer.  “You can’t do that!  Take an Advil!  Stop taking remedies!”  

It doesn’t feel right to the patient, and it doesn’t sit well with a lot of homeopaths either!  They know this can’t be right!  What good is our profession if we can’t treat a cough or a sore throat because we just gave a constitutional remedy?  Are we really moving the case forward if we’re encumbering the patient with an illness?  Is the constitutional remedy more important than the sore throat the patient has?  Think about it.  The throat pain is keeping him up at night, making him miss school, sapping his strength; he can’t swallow, so he can’t eat; his vitality is collapsing but do we care?  No.  Why?  Because of dogma!

All suffering in a case must be removed!!!!! 

Learn to be flexible and see the big picture. “Energy leaks”, like sore throat, have to be sealed or the constitutional remedy is just a meaningless phrase.

Change Your Prescribing Method So You Can Respond to Acutes

If high potencies given once are supposed to last a month or longer, but can potentially be antidoted by one thing and another, then you can’t prescribe that way!  If prescribing that way means no emergency can be attended to, no unexpected acute can be treated, no emotional upset can be vanquished, then you can only treat the “perfect patient”!  (Good luck finding that person!)  But this problem is so easy to correct!  All you have to do is put your patient on daily constitutional prescribing!  A 6C three times a day, a 9C twice a day or 12C given once daily, then any acute can be prescribed for because you simply stop your daily dose, give a 30 or 200C of Arnica, for example, and when the emergency is over, go back to your constitutional daily treatment, and you’ll have lost nothing!  You’re invincible this way, and the case keeps moving forward!

You Don’t Need High Potencies for Constitutional Prescribing

I know that’s what everyone thinks, that anything “mental” requires high potencies.  Do you know what requires high potencies?  Sudden, severe or extreme presentations, whether mental or physical, that’s what you need high potencies for.  But most constitutional cases or chronic cases, are not severe and not sudden.  You will get faster action from the remedy if you do what Hahnemann said: put the remedy in water (one or 2 pellets in half a bottle of spring water), succuss your bottle 5 times before each dose, and you will see that within a few days your patient is sleeping better, eating better and feeling more “centered” and calm.

Patients like taking remedies every day, it makes them feel like they’re doing something, they’re more inclined to attribute their improvement to homeopathy rather than some bizarre excuse they come up with for why they’re doing better.

Sure these low potencies will wear off!  And you’ll have to raise the potency when that happens.  The patient will say, “I don’t think the remedy is working anymore, my complaint is coming back.”  So, if you were on a 6C three times a day, go up to 9C twice a day or a 12C once a day. See my “FAQ” article on my website for directions on how to raise the potency of your remedy bottle:

Or simply buy the next potency.  You may eventually wind up at 200C for all I know, but you get there based on feedback from the patient.  He, his body, tells you, “this potency isn’t strong enough,” and you respond and accomodate his needs rather than impose a protocol on him as the allopaths do!

Again, the value here is that you never have to say No to your patient.  “I can’t give you a remedy for that, see your doctor.”

Don’t See Your Doctor! (Unless You Need A Diagnosis or You’re in an Emergency)

We do not want our patients started on drugs when they could be on a remedy!  Most drugs are addictive, supressive, toxic and make people sick!  This is not a responsible treatment plan!  In writing this, I’m reminded of a story our editor, Alan Schmukler, told me when I interviewed him as the “Homeopath In The Hot Seat” for our August issue of 2006.  It shows you what all too often happens when you forego homeopathy in favor of “responsible” mainstream medical care.  Alan writes:

My friend’s mother, at 94, was cheerful, lively and living independently.  A month ago she developed a small boil on her ankle.  It was red, hot and throbbing.  I said “Give her Belladonna and she’ll be better by tomorrow.”  “She’ll only take what the doctor gives her,” he told me.  A few days later her leg was inflamed half way up the calf.  She was admitted to the hospital where they gave her I.V. antibiotics and pain medication.  The antibiotics didn’t work, so a few days later they tried another one.  Still in the hospital a week later, her right arm became inflamed and exquisitely painful because the I.V. had infiltrated.  The painful arm had been keeping her awake at night, so she was exhausted.  The pain meds made her constipated and she didn’t have a bowel movement for three days.  This normally cheerful woman was now totally depressed and feeling hopeless.  Her son brought her some vitamins, which she had used for years.  The nurse promptly took them away.  It’s now been almost a month and she’s still in the hospital, wracked with pain and is soon to be transferred to a nursing home.  This all started with a little boil.

In fact, it is very likely that whatever is wrong with your patient is actually being caused by some hospital treatment or his or her prescription drugs!  This should be right at the top of your list when a patient comes to see you, find out what drugs he’s on!  Then go to www.drugs.com and look up the side-effects.  You may find your patient’s whole case right there!  And then the idea is, he’s gotta get off of that drug!  But not cold-turkey!  That means not all at once, because drugs are supressive, like a pressure-cooker, you have to EASE OFF of them, slowly, and you may have to make a remedy out of the drug to help them with the withdrawal syndrome.  See my article on “How To Make Your Own Remedy”:

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 LEWRA@aol.com 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: http://elainelewis.hpathy.com/ and TheSilhouettes.org

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  • An eminently practical, down to earth, easy to understand explanation of some important basics. I once sent a patient to a famous homeopath who put her on a constitutional remedy and then told her to “tough it out” when she got acutes ranging from flu to dental problems. She was also given antibiotics for infections that could have been addressed by homeopathy. All this to avoid antidoting the constitutional.

  • Great Alan, Words of wisdom indeed. This is how I approach a case. Treat her/him for immediate issue on top of mind. Increase comfort level. Instill confidence and then treat for constitutional issues God Bless You

  • Hi Elaine
    The information is very useful. I have a query though.I had a case of Merc cyn.but in a haste I accidentally overdosed.now the patient went into aggravations. I got panicked and I antidotes it with low potency.
    Now all the old symptoms are back.I don’t know what to do which potency to use.
    Thank you

  • So you’re saying the original symptoms you prescribed Merc-cyn. for are back? Did you originally prescribe Merc-cyn. in high potency and repeated too often? At any point during the high potency prescribing, was the case ever cured or strikingly better? After antidoting, did the case seem to be cured, and then later all the symptoms came back? Because if that’s what happened, I would make a water bottle out of the low potency you antidoted with, let’s say it was a 6C because I don’t know, and I would give the 6C three times a day with 5 succussions before each dose. Stop dosing if he gets strikingly better, stop dosing if he gets worse, raise the potency to 9C if the 6C starts to wear off.