The first step is to assess in what way the person is not their normal self. Of particular interest are the unique and uncharacteristic ways the person is not themselves. For example, anyone can have a sore throat, but that doesn’t help a lot in finding a remedy because it is so general, and many remedies cover sore throat. However, a sore throat that is better talking, or that is sore only after sneezing are unique and helpful findings that aide in identifying the correct remedy.
There are four areas of symptom information that need to be assessed:
- General whole body symptoms such as hot, cold, restless, energy levels; excess or deficiency, and thirst.
- Mental/emotional symptoms such as anxiety, fear, irritability, desire for company or other changes. Be sure to get as specific information as possible. For example, if the person has fears, what is he or she fearful of: being alone, being in crowds, darkness, night, animals, illness, robbers, heights, the future, death?
- Particular symptoms, those that occur in a specific part of the body such as a headache, joint pain, or injured toe, and the nature of these symptoms such as sharp, electric, throbbing, itching, radiating, periodic
- Modalities: things that make the symptoms better or worse such as heat, cold, pressure, movement, time of day/night, weather changes, position, eating, drinking, desires/aversions
It is good to write your findings down, as this can help not only for the immediate concern, but in retrospect as you develop your skills. Use the patient’s own words, and listen following open ended questions such as “What else?” “Tell me more about that”. Ask questions in a way to avoid yes or no answers, such as how does your throat feel, versus does your throat hurt? Watch closely and note in writing what you see, hear, smell and feel, as a sick person may not always be able to clearly answer your questions. Note repetitious mention of an ailment, as this would indicate that ailment must be addressed in the remedy selected. For example if the patient says that “I’m hot” multiple times, a cold remedy such as Arsenicum would be contraindicated.
Begin first with general questions to orient yourself if you are not familiar with the case, and then move to specific questions.
Once you have gathered your information, you need to select a remedy. Names and potencies appear on the labels of homeopathic containers. Acceptable remedy strengths for your home kit will be listed as 6X, 12X, 24X or 6C, 12C and 30C. For acute prescribing, all of these are essentially equal in strength; any one of them will do. You can find remedies on line or at health food stores. Generally there will be a word or two indicating it’s most common use, such as headache, cough and such. If you make your decision based on the label’s indicated symptom, you will occasionally achieve good results.
However, because labels list general conditions, you may need to consult a materia medica (see last month’s newsletter, Homepathy II) for more detailed information and guidance in selecting the correct remedy. Abbreviated materia medicas can be found in two acute prescribing books: Homeopathic Medicine at Home by Panos and Heimlich and Everybody’s Guide to Homeopathic Medicines by Stephen Cummings and Dana Ullman. Two online materia medicas are: William Boericke, M.D Materia Medica found at http://www.homeoint.org and Simon Kings at http://homepage.ntlworld.com/homeopathy_advice/remedies.html
Here are a few additional tips to help select the best remedy:
- The most recent symptom takes precedence over longer standing ones.
- How quickly the symptoms developed, and in what order is very important.
- The acute symptoms take precedence over the constitutional (if that is known) picture.
- Ask the patient what is their worst symptom and use that as your guide to prescribing.
- Look at what’s excessive in the case.
- What is the person oversensitive to.
- How a person responds to stress is more important than the stress itself.
- The cause of a condition is more important than the symptom itself, otherwise known as the description of the onset of illness – here are some examples:
Ailments from cold/dry winds–Aconite Ailments from acute grief–Ignatia Ailments from over-eating heavy, rich foods–Pulsatilla Ailments from excitement and too much joy–Coffea Ailments from cold/damp weather–Rhus tox. Ailments from blunt trauma–Arnica
Having ranked the top five or six symptoms, review the remedies to identify the ones that most closely match the disease profile. Study each of them in your materia medica. Once you have made a decision as to which remedy to give, initiate treatment as follows.
A single dose comprises 1-3 pellets. Once touched, do not return pellets to their bottles, as the oils from your skin will alter effectiveness. Place them in the bottle cap, drop them under the tongue and let them dissolve. If you need the remedy as a liquid, dissolve 1-3 pellets in distilled water in a clean container and dispense 1-5 drops at a time under the tongue, as conditions permit. Preferably, refrain from food, beverages and toothpaste for 15 minutes or more if possible, but do not wait if urgency demands.
The more acute the situation, the more often assessment of progress is warranted. The times between dosing are relative to the degree of urgency. If a person is in pain, you may need to make decisions every 30 minutes or even every 10 minutes. If the condition is less pronounced, you can wait longer before deciding to administer another dose.
After the initial dose, follow these steps to determine if additional homeopathic treatment is warranted:
- Symptoms are improved and patient is doing well. Do not repeat the remedy or give a different one. Wait and watch.
- Symptoms improved initially, but now patient is relapsing. Repeat with one dose of the same remedy. Wait and watch.
- Symptoms did not improve within one hour (or within timely fashion) after the initial dose, or within one to two hours after the second dose following initial improvement. Return to step one and follow the guidelines regarding the need to repeat a remedy or not.
After two or three attempts of different remedies, if a good healing response does not appear, do not give another homeopathic. Get some help. The condition may not be responding for several reasons, and repeated attempts will not benefit.
Storage & Dispensing
- Keep medicines away from strong light, temperatures higher than 100 degrees, and exposure to strong fumes like camphor, menthol, mothballs or perfumes.
- Keep medicines in the container in which they were supplied, and never transfer them to any bottle that has contained other substances.
- Keep medicine bottles sealed until opening them for administration. Open them for the minimum amount of time possible. Take care not to contaminate the cap or cork before replacing it.
When to get Help
Home homeopathic first aid can be very effective. Good results can come with a little homeopathic knowledge; however, if the patient shows no benefit from following the basic instructions, the guidance of a trained homeopathic practitioner should be sought before administering any more remedies.
Signs and symptoms that warrant professional health care assistance include: prolonged or elevated fever, lethargy and signs of diminished consciousness, significant fluid loss and or absence of thirst and urination for an extended period of time, or if you are in doubt as to a person’s well-being.
I hope you have found this acute homeopathic prescribing information helpful. If you would like more information, be sure to attend one of my classes on homeopathy, and or ask about my Acute Prescribing pamphlet available for $5. As always, please let me know if questions.
Jon Dunn, ND