When deciding on an appropriate homeopathic remedy for an ailment, it is often the case that two (or more) remedies seem to fit. How to distinguish between two remedies that seem to both cover the case to find the most ‘homeopathic’ one is important. Both remedies will probably improve the patient’s condition, but one will act more rapidly and permanently.
The main differentiating features between the two remedies depend on many different aspects of the case. Here are some examples of acute case-taking:
- How sudden did the ailment come on? In the case of a headache, Belladonna can fit a headache that suddenly comes on, whereas a Bryonia-type headache comes on gradually over time.
- What level are the symptoms manifesting on? For instance, Aconite and Arnica are wonderful for shock. Arnica is more for the shock of physical trauma to the body, whereas Aconite is more for a mental/emotional shock. Check out these remedies on the app.
- How deep into the body has the symptom appeared? Ruta Graveolens and Bellis Perennis are great remedies for injuries and blows to deeper tissues, with Ruta more for joints and the periosteum of the bone while Bellis Perennis covers a deeper, more gnawing type of pain.
- What type of discharge is evident? The colour, consistency and condition of any discharge are all important symptoms as they indicate much of what is happening inside the body. In Colds and flues, it is easy to distinguish the thin, bland profuse discharge that irritates the upper lip of Arsenicum Iodatum from the thick, sticky, yellow-green discharge of Kali Bichromium.
- What makes the condition better or worse (modalities)? This can include cold/heat, position, motion, eating, drinking, time of day etc., but there are many other modalities possible. In acute situations, even one definite modality can point to the right remedy. A good simple example is a common choice between Bryonia and Rhus Tox. Both are good remedies for sprains, strains and arthritic-type pains, but the motion modalities are opposite in that Rhus Tox pains are worse for rest and improve with movement, whereas Bryonia pains make the sufferer not want to move at all.
- What type of pain or sensation is it? People new to homeopathy can get totally overwhelmed by the need to distinguish what type of pain is manifesting. Pain, by itself, is not a useful symptom in most cases. In any repertory, you will find hundreds of remedies under “headache”. What is needed is to connect the pain to something that is or has happened. Could it be due to teething? Is the throbbing headache brought on by the sun? Is the sharp shooting pain up the spine and into the head after a blow to the coccyx? Does the dull, heavy headache coincide with exposure to the flu.?
If you ever get to a point where you are tossing up between two remedies always ask more questions. Sometimes it can be just one simple question. If you have narrowed it down to being between Sabadilla and Allium Cepa for an acute hay fever flareup, you can ask:
‘What is worse, the sneezing attacks (Sabadilla) or the constant streaming nose (Allium Cepa)”.
Remember that we are always attempting to match the characteristics of a remedy to the characteristics of the symptom picture. You do not need loads of symptoms. It is much more important to get a few remedies that cover that particular ailment and THEN distinguish between them with the appropriate decisions mentioned above.
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Written by Morris Tuffery