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Installment 4 of a series on case analysis


© Will Taylor, MD 2001 (bio)

Characterizing Dimensions of the Totality of Symptoms

Part 3: Applications to Study of Materia Medica

Sections: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

I'd like to take the ideas developed in last months' article, on the Characterizing Dimensions of a Mental/Emotional Symptom, and apply these to a process for studying the homoeopathic Materia Medica.

There are clearly two approaches for doing this. One, is for me, or someone more authoritative than myself, to describe the characterizing mental/emotional dimensions of any particular remedy. I hesitate to do this, as I feel it could add to the confusion that already exists due to the overly simplified descriptions of remedies that one can readily find in numerous places. The other approach is for me to outline a method of study that anyone can apply to any remedy in our Materia Medica. To teach one "to fish", as it were, according to the old parable. For this "lesson in fishing", I'd like to use as an example, a study of the remedy Anacardium orientale.

I want to emphasize that one will learn much more studying a remedy oneself in this manner, than one will learn by merely reading the results of a study done by another. Please look at this not as a definitive description of Anacardium - which I do not intend it to be - but rather as an example of one manner in which one might begin to acquire an organic, living appreciation of a remedy.

anacardium plant

A Study of Anacardium according to the dimensions of a M/E symptom

search buttons

We need to begin this study with a listing of the mental/emotional symptoms of this remedy. There are several ways to go about this. We could begin with the pure symptoms of the pathogenesis from Allen's Encyclopedia, or use a primary Materia Medica source such as Hering's Guiding Symptoms. A very elegant way to proceed however, which I will use here, is to use a repertory extraction.

Repertory Extraction

Repertory extractions are easily performed in RADAR. In the icon bar that runs down the left-hand side of the screen (see left), click the extraction button:

extraction button

A dialog box will appear, allowing you to select the remedy (-ies) for which you wish to extract rubrics, the repertory section(s) from which you wish to extract (here, the MIND and DREAMS sections), along with other options to further refine the search. This will allow us to list all of the rubrics in the MIND and DREAMS sections of the repertory that list Anacardium.

For those not working with repertorial software, a text such as H.L. Chitkara's Materia Medica of the Mind, provides lists of rubrics containing a given remedy.

There are good arguments as to why we should not rely on repertory extractions for primary remedy descriptions, but this is not what I propose here. Rather, consider this as a list of symptoms reported for the remedy as they have entered into repertorial language.

For the following study, I sorted this resulting list into chosen categories, using RADAR's analysis clipboards. Below, several symptoms of the Stimulus dimension are selected (highlighted by control-clicking on the rubrics), and are being entered as a group into clipboard #1. The "Quick Command" dialog box pops up automatically when one types any key - here, the "+" key - for adding a rubric to the clipboard. The first "1" indicates the underlining or weighting one wishes to give the rubric(s) being added. The ">1" command directs these rubrics to analysis clipboard #1:

Rubrics in the Responses/Outward Behaviors dimension were similarly directed into clipboard #3 by using the ">3" command, etc. In this manner, I was able to easily sort and re-sort rubrics into the logical groups that are presented below.

Organizing Symptoms

First, let's look at the Stimuli side of the model:

STIMULI ->
Disturbance of the "Moment of Choice" -> Response [Compensations]

A search for the significant "stimuli" of Anacardium (those things to which it is particularly sensitive) produces 37 rubrics in the Millenium Synthesis Repertory:

MIND - AILMENTS FROM - abused; after being
MIND - AILMENTS FROM - abused; after being - sexually
MIND - AILMENTS FROM - abused; after being - sexually - children; in
MIND - AILMENTS FROM - anger
MIND - AILMENTS FROM - anger - suppressed
MIND - AILMENTS FROM - anticipation
MIND - AILMENTS FROM - contradiction
MIND - AILMENTS FROM - domination - children; in
MIND - AILMENTS FROM - excitement - emotional
MIND - AILMENTS FROM - fright
MIND - AILMENTS FROM - grief
MIND - AILMENTS FROM - mental exertion
MIND - AILMENTS FROM - mortification
AILMENTS FROM - punishment
AILMENTS FROM - rudeness of others
AILMENTS FROM - violence
ANGER - contradiction; from
ANTICIPATION
ANTICIPATION - examination; before
ANTICIPATION - stage fright
AVERSION - friends, to
COMPANY - aversion to - strangers, aversion to the presence of
CONTRADICTION - intolerant of contradiction
DESPAIR - work, over his
FEAR - approaching; of - others; of
MANIA - fortune; from reverse of
REST - cannot rest when things are not in the proper place
SADNESS - fortune; from reverse of
SADNESS - quarrel with husband, after
SENSES - acute
SENSITIVE
SENSITIVE - external impressions, to all
SENSITIVE - music, to
SENSITIVE - music, to - piano, to
SENSITIVE - noise, to
TIMIDITY - bashful
TIMIDITY - public; about appearing in

Intriguingly, a repertorization of this list reveals a strong concordance with Carcinosin, which shares 25 of these 37 rubrics (more than any other remedy). This resemblance is even more striking when the relative under-representation of Carcinosin in our repertories is taken into account. Note that another "central" near-syphilitic ("cancer" miasm) remedy, Staphysagria, also bears close concordance re these sensitivities.

Nux vomica and Ignatia are listed in more "sensitive to / ailments from" rubrics than any other remedy in our materia medica, and will therefore nearly always come up high in any analysis of this sort.

Condensing Themes

It is useful now to go through the list of rubrics above to condense some themes.

The rubrics:

AILMENTS FROM - abused; after being
AILMENTS FROM - abused; after being - sexually
AILMENTS FROM - abused; after being - sexually - children; in

are really rather useless to us. Note that the sources of the remedies listed in these rubrics tend to be modern, clinical sources (Roger Morrison, Robin Murphy, Ananda Zaren, etc). These rubrics tend to (1) be incomplete, and (2) lack the differentiating features that we require in our work. The experience of being abused is highly diverse, and it is the specifics regarding the nature of the psychic injury and the manner in which this is manifested in the person that will be useful to us. The richness of this detail will be found elsewhere within our collection of "sensitive to / ailments from ..." rubrics.

The group of rubrics:

AILMENTS FROM - punishment
AILMENTS FROM - rudeness of others
AILMENTS FROM - violence

comes closer to representing the actual issues alluded to in the "abuse" rubrics above, but these rubrics:

AILMENTS FROM - anger - suppressed
AILMENTS FROM - anticipation
AILMENTS FROM - contradiction
AILMENTS FROM - fright
AILMENTS FROM - grief
AILMENTS FROM - domination - children; in
AILMENTS FROM - mortification

represent the core sensitivities of Anacardium that lie at the heart of these issues.

We can take this list of rubrics and repertorize it, as if it were the symptoms of a patient, and note the strong concordances here with the other centrally near-syphilitic remedies Carcinosin and Staphysagri (also with Lyc, Ign, Nat-m).

The themes of contradiction, domination, grief, mortification and suppressed anger help us to understand the aggravation by quarrels represented in:

SADNESS - quarrel with husband, after (1remedy: Anac, 2nd degree, from Hering)

These same sensitivities have a particular expression in great sensitivity to performance expectations:

ANTICIPATION
ANTICIPATION - examination; before
ANTICIPATION - stage fright

and to social exposure:

AVERSION - friends, to
COMPANY - aversion to - strangers, aversion to the presence of
FEAR - approaching; of - others; of
TIMIDITY - bashful
TIMIDITY - public; about appearing in

and to the success or failure of the products of one's efforts:

DESPAIR - work, over his
MANIA - fortune; from reverse of
SADNESS - fortune; from reverse of

There is a need for order, with the polar dynamic:

REST - cannot rest when things are not in the proper place
<-> CHAOTIC

And finally, there is significant general psychic sensitivity in Anacardium:

SENSES - acute
SENSITIVE
SENSITIVE - external impressions, to all
SENSITIVE - noise, to
SENSITIVE - music, to

Moving Along

At this point, the environmental stimuli to which the Anacardium state is sensitive have been described. Think of this as being like describing the nose of a dog - we can begin to see some distinctiveness of the remedy emerge here, but there is considerable overlap and concordance with other remedies, most particularly with Carcinosin, Staphysagria, Lycopodium, Ignatia and Natrum muriaticum. Greater distinctiveness will emerge when we begin to look at other "parts of the dog" - the Responses (including Compensations), and disturbances of the "Moment of Choice".

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