For the benefit of beginners, I will subjoin the following remarks on the selection of remedies according to symptoms, and on the magnitude and repetition of doses.
I know, from experience, that Hahnemann’s rule, to select a remedy in accordance with the totality of the symptoms, is, in many cases, incorrectly apprehended by beginners, or by physicians who come over to our side from the allopathic ranks. They do not always distinguish primary and secondary symptoms. This incorrectness is, in the first place, owing to the fact that the old school considerably restricts the meaning of the term ” symptoms and, in the second place, to this other fact, that what is technically termed ” taking a record,” consists simply in taking down the prominent symptoms without including other constitutional ailments, the treatment of which is postponed until the principal difficulty is removed. It is not supposed, for instance, by beginners, that piles and pneumonia, when occurring in the same patient, have any connection with each other. It is on this account that I have always taught not only to consider the symptoms of the case, but also the symptoms of the patient. And even then I have not always been properly understood. Many symptoms, which our school considers as manifestations of the general disease, were considered as independent diseases by the beginner, simply because they had particular names in the old school works on pathology. I have, therefore, refrained from using the word symptom in my lectures to beginners, and have worded my fundamental rule of treatment as follows:
The proper selection of a remedy, in chronic and generally also in acute diseases, depends upon the following three points :
1. The remedy must correspond to the pathognomonic symptoms of the case ;
2, to the accidental symptoms which do not seem to be a part of the essential features of the disease ; and
3, to all other diseases and morbid phenomena which we might discover in the patient” If a patient be afflicted with pneumonia, for instance, we should not only record the essential symptoms of pneumonia, but also the symptoms of any other affection of the eyes that might happen to
co-exist with the inflammation, such as : ectropion, pterygion, blepharoptosis, diplopia, amblyopia, etc., and, moreover, the general morbid phenomena of the organism, no matter whether the books speak of them as mere symptoms or as independent diseases.
In all chronic diseases this mode of recording the symptoms should he strictly pursued ; and even in acute diseases the proper remedy will always be found to correspond to these three series of phenomena, though it need not be selected with particular reference to the third series, provided the disease does not rest upon a chronic foundation, and was occasioned by some exceptional cause. . The accidental symptoms, however, that is,
those symptoms which are not essentially pathognomonic, should be carefully noted-in acute diseases, and the remedy should be selected with especial reference to these accidental symptoms.
Some time ago I treated a man of 40 years for acute bronchitis.
The remedies which were indicated by the pathognomonic symptoms, such as Acon., Bell., Bry., Dulc, Merc, had no effect. I then learned that the patient had a pain in the calf, as if bruised, with tension on setting the foot on the ground. The patient did not remember having ever hurt himself at that place. The spot looked reddish, green-yellow on the sides, and was painful to the touch. This led me to Conium 30, three globules in water.
After the second dose the spot was less painful, the fever diminished, the cough looser, and the appetite improved*
* The apparently accidental symptoms are frequently the more essential symptoms of the patient. He who knows how to distinguish them from the
pathognomonic symptoms, will frequently be able to cure noma, dropsy, inguinal hernia, &c, with remedies which have never produced such dis-
eases ; remedies which are individually essential to a cure, and such remedies do not always correspond to the pathognomonic symptoms,