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(From the Allgemeine Homoeopatische Zeitung. Oct. 17, 1859.)


The choice of the remedy for a given concrete case of disease is an affair at which one cannot go to work with enough care and circumspection. As well in Therapeutics as in Ethics, the rule holds good “Bonum ex omni parte, malum ex quorumque defectu.”

Many failures to cure are made, especially by inexperienced beginners, because in taking down the symptoms, some one or the other of them is overlooked or disregarded. But not infrequently a similar inadvertence befalls even older and experienced homoeopathic physicians, especially such as are very busily occupied. This cannot however be regarded as affording any evidence either of the insufficiency of Homoeopathy or of the inefficiency of small and infrequent doses, and the experienced practitioner, to whom palliating allegations like these always appear suspicious, will in such cases first of all take pains to subject the notes of his case to a new revision, and will first seek to find in these the reasons of the fruitlessness of his prescriptions.

It lies not within my purpose to attempt to say in this anything that will be new to the experienced physician. But it appears to me that a cursory warning may not be thrown away upon our younger colleagues, and I therefore venture to lay before them a case of recent occurrence which will present what I mean in its true light.

Ph. M., merchant 32 years old, had taken cold the previous winter upon a journey. At first no attention was paid to it, but gradually as the symptoms increased he had recourse to medical aid. A course of allopathic treatment produced no effect, or rather during the three months of its continuance almost every symptom was decidedly aggravated, and then, as frequently happens, the patient determined to seek the aid of Homoeopathy. The symptoms were as follows:

For the last three or four weeks violent, hollow, dry cough, with hoarseness and much tenacious mucus in the larynx, most violent during the night. Dyspnea with stitches in the left side when he lies upon it; inward heat without thirst; copious exhausting sweats, remarkable susceptibility to fright; great sleepiness, but unquiet sleep with frequent wakings and an anxiety which prevents falling asleep again; face pale and sunken, with circumscribed burning redness of the cheeks; oppression at the stomach after eating, especially after milk, often with vomiting first of the food, then of bile. Increased watery urine; uncommon emaciation; warmth is most agreeable to him: he feels better when gently exercising than when in continued repose. He has never before had any serious llness. He can take a deep inspiration without any difficulty and feels a frequent need of doing so. Of the allopathic remedies which he had taken nothing could be learned.

After abundant reflection and careful comparison of the above collective symptoms with our materia medica, every Homoeopath will certainly agree with me that in this case Phosphorus appears to be the remedy most decidedly indicated, and indeed so clearly indicated that none of all the other remedies can at all stand in competition with it. I had not the least hesitation, therefore, in giving to the patient my usual dose (high potency) of this useful and very powerful remedy, which he was ordered to take in the ordinary manner (dissolved in water) with recommendations to observe the accustomed diet, and with instructions to inform me in person of the result at the end of a fortnight.

But how painfully did I find myself deceived in my best expectations, when the patient at the appointed time again presented himself to me. He was improved in no respect whatever; moreover the expression of illness on his countenance had increased, together with the threatening redness of the cheeks, and the febrile symptoms had been steadily and suspiciously waxing in severity. The remedy had nevertheless been taken in exact accordance with the prescription and no errors had been committed either in diet or regimen; wherein, then, lay the cause of this utter failure? Under the circumstances it could lie only in an uncomplete or an incorrect notation of the symptoms. These were therefore carefully reviewed seriatim. By this process the error was in fact discovered in the but carelessly noted fever-symptoms, the features of which in this patient were unusual, and therefore disregarded by him, but which were nevertheless very characteristic. He suffered constantly during sleep from a dry burning heat, which on his awaking immediately gave way to a very profuse sweat, and this continued without interuption until he fell asleep again, when the dry heat straightway reappeared. The whole riddle was now solved. This symptom is found, as every expert Homoeopath knows, only under the proving of Sambucus,*[Materia Medica Pura, vol. V. Sambucus sympt. 14, 15, 16, 19, (97).] while the exact contrary is found under Phosphorus. Inasmuch as all the other symptoms agreed, my patient immediately received a dose of my customary high potency of Sambucus, to be taken according to the directions already given for Phosphorus, and the result was so perfect that at the end of a fortnight he was relieved of all his symptoms and felt as well as ever before.


Source: The AMERICAN HOMOEOPATHIC REVIEW Vol. 02 No. 03, 1859, pages 121-124
Description: The Choice of the Remedy.
Remedies: Phosphorus, Sambucus nigra
Author: Boenninghausen, C.V.
Year: 1859
Editing: errors only; interlinks; formatting
Attribution: Legatum Homeopathicum
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