Constantine Hering

Section 4

2. How Is A Single Medicine To Be Studied?

How can a remedy be studied, if the symptoms are not learned by heart? It can be learned through the same principle as the whole materia medica – by comparison.

The symptoms of a medicine are to be read through carefully several times. This should be done from beginning to end, in the first years of study, with the pen always in hand. While reading, one thing or other is always to be particularly attended to.

The First Reading

At first attention should be directed to the organs in which the symptoms occur. It will be at once noted that many organs or tissues are particularly attacked. The organs that show the greatest number of symptoms are to be regarded according to their physiological relationship.

In this, our previous studies are a great assistance, just as every physiological dogma, every hypothesis, even though false, is an aid to the memory.

Thus, the ear is said to be the peculiar organ of the osseous system. Therefore, when pains or nodes in the bones occur, I would observe attentively the symptoms of the ear. And, in this manner, many individual symptoms would appear more significant where connections exist.

Our previous studies are a great assistance, just as every physiological dogma, every hypothesis, even though false, is an aid to memory

For instance, between the functions of the skin and kidneys, symptoms occurring in the one system will always call to our mind those of the other ‐ whether those symptoms harmonize with or are opposed to one another.

In our comparison, pathology will also be of use, and that will be so whether its theories are true or false.

Thus, where symptoms referable to the liver occur, I would always compare the pains in the right shoulder, and vice versa.

Where turbid urine is passed in small quantity, I would pay attention to the symptoms which point to the serous cavities.

In doing this, for example, when studying Aurum, a number of symptoms would thereby appear more important, and consequently be more deeply impressed on my mind. And this remedy would occur to my memory not only in cases of effusion into the pericardium, but also in hydrothorax and ascites.

The important observation of Neumann – that diabetes is always preceded by a diminution in the activity of the kidneys – will be often serviceable in our consideration of the medicines. It will, for example, help to confirm the supposition that not much is to be expected from Argentum in cases of diabetes, and that this disease is mentioned in our repertories in connection with silver in this manner:

During the first reading we gain a collective impression of the whole that we retain in memory.

Hahnemann, distrusted the alleged diuretic properties of nitrate of silver. Rather he ascribed to it powers that are exactly the reverse. But as far as I know, he does not adduce a single instance of its efficacy.

While studying the symptoms of Phosphoric acid, we should call to mind the same observation that is also the recorded experience of its efficacy in several cases of milky urine – a kind of diabetes.

We recall that to mind in all cases where the remedy is suitable

In this manner we will see that a large number of the symptoms may be pathologically connected. During the first reading and comparison, the symptoms arrange themselves, as it were, into some sort of definite form. Thus we gain a collective impression of the whole that we retain in the memory, and recall to mind in all cases where the remedy is suitable.

The Second Reading

During a second perusal of the medicine, attention should be directed at the character of the symptoms. The former perusal was but a preparation for this step. The character of the pains in different parts should be compared – all pains or other sensations of the same, or a similar or a nearly related kind, that occur in different parts should be carefully observed.

If this is done, it will be found, for example, that burning pains occurring frequently in various parts are not peculiar to Arsenic and Carbo-vegetabilis alone, but they also occur in Phosphoric acid and other substances. The mind will take a comprehensive view of them, and a complete picture of them will be retained.

At the same time, attention must be paid to the parts where these pains principally occur. Thus, we note whether the burning pains are more in the mucous membranes, or in the serous cavities, or in other parts.

For instance, the burning pain in the case of Arsenic occurs most frequently internally, in the blood vessels. In the case of Carb. veg. pain is seen more externally, in the skin and joints.

An unusual pain occurring in any organ would be the more observed

Both substances cause burning in the stomach and bowels, but Arsenic to a greater degree. On the other hand, Carb. veg. causes much more in the breast – and so forth.

In every substance where the same description of pain prevails, an attentive examination will show the characteristic features of each.

A number of isolated symptoms are more easily remembered in connection – when placed side by side

We will soon discover that certain kinds of pain prevail in certain organs and tissues, e.g., tearing in the muscles, dartings in the chest, cuttings in the abdomen, pressure in the head, compression in the ears, boring in the bones, etc. But this we shall enter into more particularly in another place.

This tends much to assist the memory, both directly and indirectly – the circumstance of an unusual pain occurring in any organ would be the more observed. A number of isolated symptoms are, moreover, more easily remembered in connection – when placed side by side.

For example, with respect to Aurum, it produces determination of blood to the head, to the chest, to the eyes; toothache from a similar cause; determination of blood to the legs; and many other symptoms that may be found to be connected with these.

An accordance of many of the symptoms of different organs may often be observed. Thus Caust. has sparks, flickerings, figures, an appearance of gauze before the eyes. Also, it has ringing, whistling; singing, chirping in the ears.

On the other hand, Phosph. has points and spots, dark, black, and gray veils before the eyes; loud noises, buzzing, throbbing in the ears.

After the moral symptoms have been arranged in groups, they may be easily impressed on the memory by comparing them with the corresponding symptoms of other organs.

Thus anxiety, melancholy, etc., are to be compared with the symptoms of the heart and chest – or a weak, wandering, or obstinate state of mind, is compared with the frequently analogous symptoms of the digestive organs. And so forth.

Next - Section 5

Modernized translation by WholeHealthNow © 2004