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There are many issues homeopathic practitioner may encounter, which are seldom mentioned and SHOULD serve as a reminder there is still so much work to be done in homeopathy. One of those issues includes the use of certain terms, such as the word “tenesmus” mentioned in the previous issue of our newsletter.
Some may think I am cherry-picking the issues, because I need to write about SOMETHING, but the ACTUAL problems encountered in practice are far more entangled and if homeopathy should ever become the SCIENCE of therapeutics as it professes to be, it has a long way to go in structuring and integrating its basic data. (In case you did not know, our project Object Repertory aims to do exactly that.)
I will illustrate the problems on the case I was involved in, indirectly, some two years ago. The patient of my friend (a student of homeopathy) wanted to get rid of the “warts” (of many years' standing) on the palms and fingers, and I was asked to help analyze the case. The case notes and some photos of the problem arrived by email – this one is pretty illustrative.
The moment I looked at it, the word “corns” came in to my mind, as this was the EXACT SAME TYPE of eruptions I used to have on my soles during my childhood. Unfortunately, as I have soon found out, there is no rubric involving “corns on the palms or fingers” in any of the repertories I have, but I was able to find ONE record of such symptom in the materia medica, specifically “Palms and soles spreckled over with corns;” in Clarke's and Kent's MM of Kalium arsenicosum.
I believed I would fare better with the search for “warts on palms” (or fingers), but there were only a few remedies (8) in the repertory and less than 15 remedies came up in the materia medica search. (NOTE 1: The rubrics of ANY repertory are INCOMPLETE. If possible, always search your materia medica for the best results.)
Many questions arise:
Digging into the issue, I have discovered the term “wart” seem to include all kinds of outgrowths and unless more properly described, it could mean almost anything. To make the matter more confused, “corns” seem to refer to either plantar warts or calluses or even both of them. If you Google-search for plantar warts images, you will discover all kind of warts which look quite dissimilar; it looks like the name is not specific enough to be used as a notion that is specific enough for homeopathy.
Kalium arsenicosum is a small remedy, poorly described in our materia medica, UNLESS, of course, we recognize it is thoroughly mixed with the provings of Arsenicum album (it was the chief preparation of arsenic used by allopaths), which does little to simplify the matter. At least we can be reasonably sure the corns-on-palms symptoms belongs to Kalium arsenicosum specifically.
Regarding the rest of the case1), Lycopodium seemed to be the indicated remedy, but it did not have “corns on palms” nor “warts on palms” nor anything of the sort. And since the patient was in hurry, I have suggested to try Kali-ar. first, curious whether or not it will do anything at all, since the prescription was based on a single, though seemingly rare, symptom.
The patient took Kali-ar. for some time (probably weeks), but the corns have only grown worse and multiplied, with no so signs of amelioration or any general indication that the remedy is doing any good.
Later, Lycopodium was prescribed, with some general improvement (more calm, less nervous), but no improvement with the warts.