Evaluating remedy action

Dealing with remedy evaluation

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There is nothing so disappointing as finding that the most common remedy for a certain condition did not work.  Before throwing homeopathy out the window, let’s consider what is happening.  Remedy evaluation feels sometimes feels so frustrating; even for me, a professional. Like anything that is difficult, understanding the situation goes a long way in necessary decision making. If you have faced problems of remedy evaluation before, perhaps you have asked these questions.  1. You need to be able to evaluate if indeed that “common” remedy actually worked or did not work?,  2. Why not try a list of possible remedies in rapid succession?  3. Most of all why would a common remedy suggested by an expert not work?

The expert selection does not always work.

I cited Andre Saine’s vast experience with Multiple Sclerosis.  He notes how important it is for the delicate MS patients to get back to their homeopath as soon as colds or the flu, or a shock such as bad news begins to overcome them. He also suggests that in his experience, Ignatia is the most common remedy that works these cases. He was talking to an audience of professional homeopaths in a public lecture. So, you, a layperson, could listen in and learn some valuable information about neurological diseases. But, similar to knowing that Arnica usually works for wounds or Arsenicum is good for most food poisoning, this information must be understood in the context of how curative homeopathic remedies are chosen.

Can one common remedy cover all influenza?

For an MS patient, the shock of bad news, sudden grief can also totally nullify a working remedy.  That is,  remedy that is clearly curative, suddenly does not work at all.  Dr. Andre Saine says that in those acute influenza and cold cases, as well as for shock, Ignatia is the most common remedy.  Ignatia affects the nervous system (MS is a disease of the nervous system), so this is not surprising, however, since these respiratory infections can severely damage an MS patient, it is best to get expert advice.

If I had a family member with MS, I would study Ignatia as best I could.  Then, when the emergency hits, I would give Ignatia if it fit even slightly, call my homeopath and observe, in that order. Even better, assuming your MS patient is receiving chronic care, when you visit your homeopath, discuss the remedies that are most likely during an emergency. If you homeopath knows the curative remedy, the possibility of accurate prediction of the emergency remedy is high.

Diagnostic accuracy

How accurate is your scale?

The home scale, in the photo, will not measure a leave with a useful level of accuracy. So what is the level needed for home homeopathy care?  If you have a simple wound or food poisoning and you are relatively healthy, hopefully, common sense tells you that without medication, you will heal.  As the problem becomes more serious, the importance of diagnostic accuracy increases.  This is true in all forms medicine. I am not a doctor, so in these serious cases, I rely on your doctor to diagnose your problem correctly.  But if you are looking at homeopathy and you have a serious problem, it is also likely that doctors have not been able to accurately diagnose your problem. Here I am focusing on home care, even in serious conditions such as Muscular Sclerosis. Accurate diagnosis even in the home relies on two points:  1. Correct remedy selection, 2.Correct evaluation of remedy effect. As a layperson, not a homeopath, I assume that you will have trouble with both of these. I am using the example of MS, but the basic principles apply more widely.

Evaluating an acute remedy

So, following the suggestion of Andre Saine, as a caretaker of an MS patient, you can try Ignatia 30c or 200c. I would not wait more than two hours to evaluate the effect of Ignatia.  If Ignatia is working, the patient will feel some improvement of his condition. Assuming the remedy is working, try to figure out the pace of the remedy by noting the time that passes when the effect of the remedy diminishes. At that time, give Ignatia again. Note, you need to keep written records of change, times of giving the remedy. This is generalized advice for evaluating any remedy, both emergency and chronic remedies. But, it is more obvious in an emergency situation because unless the patient is already very feeble for other reasons, the response to the remedy should take no more than 2 hours for a 30c remedy.  In general, give the highest potency that you have.  If you give a 30c, it will be used up faster than a 200c, so in addition to the two hours suggestion above, factor in potency and sensitivity of the patient.

Why may the common remedy not work?

Why would Dr. Saine’s apparently sage advice not always work?  You need to understand how homeopathic remedies are chosen to understand this possible apparent failure of the most common remedy, in this case, Ignatia.  First, many other remedies also affect the nervous system and are used for respiratory conditions. Second, Arnica and Aconite are other common remedies used for shock.  Finally, influenza has a wide variety of symptoms which are not all covered by Ignatia. So, it is inaccurate to assume that a single remedy covers all situations. If you are one of the exceptional situations, you want to know as soon as possible. But, it is hard to know if you have not tried the remedy.

Why not give every possible remedy in succession?

There are situations when it is reasonable to give remedies in rapid succession. The worst homeopaths are so unsure of how to select the curative remedy, so they give several remedies at the same time or in succession. Try to avoid homeopaths who are trained to give several remedies together routinely. However, if many drugs are or have been used, the homeopath may be unclear about the patient’s symptoms. This problem will also affect the emergency remedy analysis, but it is less severe than the chronic remedy analysis. In that case, even the experienced homeopath must try a number of remedies in succession if you waited long enough to be sure that the previous remedy did not work. Of course, there are many ins and outs to this situation, but let’s assume that you do not know these alternatives.

The principle of waiting

The bottom line is the pace of remedy absorption is important.  If the previous remedy did work, and then you give another remedy because you did not wait long enough, you do not know which remedy actually worked.  Avoid this kind of confusion.

Who can wait?

For an MS patient, this kind of prescribing would be a disaster, because they cannot afford to take the wrong remedy.  For a healthy person who knows that by taking a remedy he is speeding up healing or avoiding pain, being wrong is not life threatening.  It is certainly worth a try. It would be better, however, to really understand how remedies are selected.  Even if you are not a professional, an educated guess is far more effective than blindly following the suggestion of the “expert” who is not looking at your specific case.  Homeopathy is all about individualizing case analysis. This is true for chronic, emergency and also epidemic homeopathy.

Why isn’t the two hour waiting period absolute?

Two hours is only a ballpark estimate of the healthy person’s rate of exhausting a remedy. Hypersensitive persons who have 3-4 allergies are also going to react more quickly to a remedy. The dull, slow-moving individual who is never troubled by the side effects of drugs will also react more slowly to remedies.  Also, individual remedies have different rates of taking effect. So, how long you should wait should factor in those characteristics of both the individual and the remedy.  Of course, the more you know, the easier it is to evaluate the situation.

Why wait at least two hours?

Recipe for confusion

Avoid confusion if possible.

Do you know people who scramble to try every possible solution to any problem?  They are too impatient to wait for results. They never know what was actually helpful.  This always leads to confusion.

Variable reduction

Let’s look at the opposite approach to decision making. Homeopathy treatment is far from experimental science, however, the basic principle is useful.  Scientific reasoning always reduces the number of variables affecting an experimental situation.  For exactly the same reason in evaluating a remedy, we also want to reduce the number of variables. In this discussion, you can see individual tendencies are numerous.  Individuality is unavoidable and we use individual tendencies to choose the curative remedy, therefore, it is the cornerstone of homeopathic treatment. Individuality is a precious and nevertheless, unavoidable variable.  If in addition to those individual tendencies, you are changing remedies before you have observed the results, obviously you will become confused.  So, if possible, in

“I am slow, but I am sure.”

So, if possible, in an emergency situation where you are caught between hurrying and overwhelmed, error on the side of caution.  Also, to calm down, it helps to write down your observations.  Knowing that you will be reporting your observation to your homeopath also helps you to stay in control.

 

Meet the Author

Ellen Madono

Ellen Madono is a homeopath working in Tokyo. Currently, her work in homeopathy focuses on healing. She was born in Minneapolis Minnesota and went to West High school. At Oberlin College, she majored in Asian History. Her Ph.d. is from the University of Pittsburgh. She has a special interest in Asian Culture, language and Japanese apprenticeship. Skills in phenomenological cultural analysis have easily transferred to homeopathic case analysis. She keeps up her health through Meditation, Yushiki Breathing Practices, Classical Homeopathy, Accutonics, Akido and Parasara Yoga.

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