Homeopathic Lessons From Historic Cases

by Homeopathy

Lessons from historic literature reviews in homeopathy:  A case of Prunus spinosa from Dr. Lippe…

A young lady, 16 years old, had jumped out of a carriage, the horse, driven by a lady friend, running off. The ankle was examined by an experienced allopathic surgeon, who found no dislocation or fracture. The left foot having swollen a great deal, by his advice Arnica tincture was dropped very sparingly into a quantity of water, and bandages dipped into this dilution were applied. The young lady came home on the third day after the accident, and her left ankle and foot swelled very much more after she had been compelled to walk from the railroad cars to her carriage. I applied a packing of hot-water cloths, bandaging the ankle and foot for forty-eight hours, and gave her one dose of Bryonia 10 M. 

The swelling pains were thereby much lessened, but she was not able to stand upon the left foot, and other new symptoms developed themselves. The breathing became rapid; great oppression of the chest, with constantly recurring desire to take a long breath; she felt as if the air she inhaled did not reach the pit of her stomach, and still she could force the air so far down she had to yawn and try to take a deep inspiration.


The first impression in such a case would naturally enough be to find a remedy for the chest symptoms, remove them first, and later attend to the ankle; or to find a remedy for each of these ailments, and give the two corresponding remedies in alternation. If ever a case presented itself in which alternation seemed excusable, here was the case; but Homœopathy does not admit of such irrational practice, and we were therefore compelled to find the remedy if it was to be found. Who seeks will find!


We found under Prunus spinosa all the symptoms, and even under the very first proving of it published in the Archiv für die Homöopathische Heilkunst, volume XIV, part 3,—a proving by Dr. Wilhelm Wahle. Symptom 146. Heaviness, and oppressed in the chest. Symptoms 148. Anxious, short breathing. Symptom 149. Sensation of heaviness and anxiety in the lower parts of the chest compels him to breath frequently and deep. Symptom 155. The breath appears to be checked in the pit of the stomach. Symptom 225. On the external side of the left foot joint sensation as if sprained. Symptom 226. Sensation as if sprained in the left foot joint.


Here were found all the symptoms of the case, and on the eighth day after the injury had happened, she received one dose of Prunus spinosa 200, at 11 A.M. The following night she could sleep but very little; the difficulty of breathing increased, and compelled her to sit up all night.


And here again arose a great question. Was her disease worse, or was this great aggravation attributable to the seemingly small and very insignificant dose of the remedy? Her left ankle was also more painful and much more swollen after this sleepless night. This often-recurring difficulty—to know whether the disease is worse, and the administration of another remedy advisable, or whether the medicine caused this increase of suffering,—is only a real difficulty if we are uncertain about the undoubted correctness of our prescription.


As in this case only the previously existing symptoms had become worse, and as these symptoms unmistakably indicated Prunus spinosa, and as we were sure of having made a very careful selection of the remedy, there was nothing else to do but to wait. The next night was much better: she had slept in her bed. The respiratory difficulties gradually subsided, and later the foot and ankle improved slowly. She received no more medicine, and is well; walked out a fortnight (after two weeks) after she took a single dose of Prunus spinosa 200.”




Thoughts from Dr. Amerine:  I learn so much by reading full cases of successful prescriptions. There are many take aways from this case however the one I am going to talk about is how to tell if there is an aggravation or worsening of symptoms.  If I am sure of the prescription and there is a clear aggravation of symptoms than you must wait and take no more medicine.  This is hard for us to do in the age of liking to take medications.  However it is important to remember that if there is an aggravation you must wait, improvement will follow and then so long as there is marked and obvious improvement no medicine is needed.  I know there have been many times in my practice over the years where I did not ride out an aggravation and changed remedies, then missing the case all together.  This does no one any good, it leaves the patient not getting better and me feeling like I have failed at my job.  





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