Homeopathy Papers

Tidbits 42: Repertory Round-up, Part-2

Elaine Lewis
Written by Elaine Lewis

Picking rubrics in a homeopathic case

I’m guessing no one saw my “Repertory Round-Up, part-1”?  So, you might want to have a look at it.  I, for one, thought it was very educational!

Repertory Round-up!

So, this time we are going to talk about picking rubrics for a case.  Actually, you can thank Maria for this because she begged me to write an article about the pit-falls of repertorizing!  As you know, I’m in charge of the Hpathy Quiz.  Every month I submit a real case and ask my readers to guess the remedy, and every month people give me the wrong answer, more often than not; showing they don’t know what’s important in a case and what should be ignored.

We can’t begin a discussion about picking rubrics without reminding ourselves of Hahnemann’s famous paragraph 153 of The Organon which states:

“…the more striking, strange, rare, peculiar (characteristic) signs and symptoms in the case are especially, almost exclusively, the ones to which close attention should be given because it is these above all which must correspond to the very similar symptoms in the symptom list of the medicine being sought….”

What Hahnemann is saying here is, the common symptoms of a disease will not help you.  And yet, invariably, people repertorize the common symptoms of the disease all the time.  People are writing down everything the patient says, finding a rubric for it, repertorizing, and invariably coming up with the wrong remedy.  And why does this happen?  Because as I have explained many times, the Repertory is not complete by any means!  Remedies that should be in rubrics are not there.  Many symptoms that are in the Materia Medica have not been entered into the Repertory, believe it or not.  Therefore, if there are too many rubrics in your case, there’s an increasing likelihood that the remedy you need will get lost.  Let’s look at examples from some of our quizzes.  Here’s a case from 2 or 3 months ago; I will shorten it for you:

It came on suddenly, my nose is runny with clear fluid
My throat is itchy and feels scraped. My nose is runny with clear fluid 24-7. I sneeze constantly also at times, it has no time

My nose, throat, chest feels a little congested. Body aches a little, I feel kinda numb, lite headed.
What makes me feel better is warmer weather or areas. The cold air makes it worse, makes my nose more runny and sneeze more
Burning sensation inside nose, numb light-headed feeling.

Runny nose that’s clear and watery, burns my nose and upper lip.

I feel numb, I kinda wanna just lay down.

I just feel numb, that I don’t wanna do anything.

I wanna be alone, I feel discomfort.

I am blowing my nose in excess, just trying to rest
I am more thirsty and more hungry for food in general

Slight fever at all times.

No sweating
No odors

I feel dull, like I just wanna rest.

I have coughed because my throat was itchy


Now, here’s what people did.  They repertorized everything from “body aches” to “fatigue”!  All of this “information” is what I call “clutter”!  Remember, you’re supposed to be looking for symptoms that Hahnemann called “characteristic”.  And what is “characteristic” according to Hahnemann?  “Striking, strange, rare and peculiar”!  So, what is peculiar about this case?  There is only one thing!  Yes, just one thing out of all these symptoms, all these words and phrases posted above!  And do you know what that one symptom was?  Increased appetite during fever!  Yes, the only thing that really mattered, homeopathically speaking, in this case, was “increased hunger during a fever!”

Why?  Because it’s so rare!  It’s so peculiar!  The average person LOSES his appetite during a fever, right?  So this is very STRIKING.  So if you go to the repertory, and I have Murphy’s Repertory, go to “Food: appetite, increased, fever, during”, and there are only 8 remedies, and only one is in BOLD, and that remedy is Phosphorus!

Now, all we want to know is: does the rest of the case fit Phosphorus?  Well, the patient also had increased thirst!  Another big point for Phosphorus!  The case had a lot of “burning”, does Phosphorus have burning sensations?  Yes!  Is Phosphorus listed under “sudden manifestation of complaints”?  Yes!  In fact, does anything in this case contradict Phosphorus?  No!  So there you have it!

Let’s find another case.  I’m just going back and looking at quizzes at random.  Again, I’ll shorten it for you:


Very sore throat that’s been creeping up on me since last weekend. Sharp pain when I

swallow. Hurts worse when it’s dry. Green solid mucus in nose. As of this morning, I’m also

dealing with strong stomach cramps and diarrhea with trembling/fever/chills – that was



Could have been caused by traveling in damp weather? My room mate is enjoying the exact same health experience right

now (although she is dry-coughing and expectorating a lot, I’m not). We went to Block

Island last weekend, which was cold and damp (though gorgeous). I spent a lot of the

time being motion sick from the ferry in bad weather followed by some car rides on not

enough sleep.


Throat: Sharp pain in back of throat, lump in throat when I swallow. Slight constant ache

in left ear with left ear tinnitus.

Nose: Dry chunks

Belly: Continual cramps in mid-gut, just…ow. Stool feels like it’s poking me in the anus

sharply from the inside out.


I don’t look happy, that’s for sure! And my back is very slumpy.


Throat, better: hot liquids, swallowing food.

Throat, worse: cold liquids feel better in the moment but then increase mucus; dry air

Nose, better: warmth (showering)

Nose, worse: lying on left side (right sinus is slightly congested)

Belly, better: slumping over while sitting, pressure in and toward navel on left side of


Everything: better for open air, worse for being in the direct line of the fan


I’m sad and whiny and I want/don’t want comfort.


I woke myself up making whiny noises this morning.


Moaning and groaning, whining.


I’m thirsty but afraid to drink anything for fear of setting off the angry intestine monsters.

Hot mint tea sounds good. Maybe hot rice in a bit. I’m hungry but afraid to eat anything.


Hot feeling, trembly all over, light sweat, especially on my forehead.


I just feel so whiny.


It seems like some sort of flu/cold thing.


Quiet, reluctant to move, sleepy, collapsed, whiny, so whiny…sooooo very whiny and




So, again, I don’t think I have to go into why you would be wrong to pick “sore throat”, “diarrhea”, “stomach cramps”, etc.  The question is, what is peculiar about this case?  What is striking?

 Well, frankly, it must mean something that she used the word “Whiny” over 50 times!  Now, to me, when I hear “Whiny”, I think of Ignatia!  And if you go to “Mind: whining”, sure enough, Ignatia is there in bold.  Is there anything else in this case that makes us think of Ignatia?  You know that Ignatia is a remedy of “conflict, contradictions and paradoxes”, right?  Their headaches are better for stooping, their upset stomach is better for eating, and not surprisingly, their sore throat pain is better for swallowing food!  And that’s the very symptom we have here in this case–throat pain, better swallowing food!  Also, she’s in conflict about what she wants!  “I want to drink but I’m afraid.”  “I want / don’t want comfort.”  So I went with Ignatia, and it cured the case!  If you wanted to repertorize, here are your rubrics:

Shall we look at another case?


Hi Elaine. This is the acute questionnaire I filled out about PMS. Actually, the symptoms I described are most intense days 1-7 of my cycle (I actually bleed on days 1-4, then my period part stops on day 5). I started my period today, and this cycle was the shortest in almost three years, only lasting 17 days. On average, my cycle is 22 days. Also, I’ve had terrible cramps the past two cycles. I usually take 2-3 Ibuprofen the day of my period. These past two cycles, I’ve had to take 3 pills twice in 24 hours. Today, I had to take 4 pills to get the cramps to subside. Before I started natural medicine, I had to take 4 Inuprofen 2 X the first day.

My former homeopath had me try Mag Phos 6C and 30C and Colocynthis for cramps, but neither helped. My cramps are a burning pain across my whatever it is that is cramping, better with heat and pressure. It is accompanied by fatigue, nausea, upset stomach, and stiffness/tightness in my body, and I also do quite a bit of moaning and whining.


OK, what are we going to repertorize?  “PMS”?  “Terrible cramps”?  “Fatigue”?  “Upset Stomach”?  What’s peculiar about this case?  How about “menses with body stiffness and tightness”?  Have you ever heard of that?  I haven’t!  Never!  What homeopathic remedy is famous for “stiffness”?  Rhus tox!  So now we ask ourselves: does Rhus tox have burning pain?  Yes!  Is Rhus tox better for heat?  Yes!  Is there any reason that this case can’t be Rhus tox?  No!   

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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