Hahnemann was very specific when creating the Organon of Medicine. In Aphorism 58 he he warns us about devoting our attention to a single symptom and seeing the case in a one-sided manner. This is one of the most easily missed, yet most important warnings he made.
Here I will share the text from Boericke’s 5th and 6th translation of the Organon.
Aphorism 58 – “If, in estimating the value of this mode of employing medicines, we should even pass over the circumstance that it is an extremely faulty symptomatic treatment, wherein the practitioner devotes his attention in a merely one-sided manner to a single symptom, consequently to only a small part of the whole, whereby relief for the totality of the disease, which is what the patient desires, cannot evidently be expected, on the other hand, demand of experience if, in one single case where such antipathic employment of medicine was made use of in a chronic or persistent affection, after the transient amelioration of the symptom which was subdued at first in a palliative manner, an aggravation, indeed, of the whole disease? And every attentive observer will agree that, after such a short antipathic amelioration, aggravation follows in every case without exception, although the ordinary physician is in the habit of giving his patient another explanation of this subsequent aggravation, and ascribes it to malignancy of the original disease, now for the first time showing itself, or to the occurrence of a quite new disease.”
Now there are a lot of words and ideas shared here. If we break it down it will be easier to understand. First, if we are to estimate the value of a medicine we must not just look at one symptom. This becomes the basis for faulty treatment. We must always look at the whole of the person before us. Never will a system of treatment work if we limit our observation and treatment to a single symptom.
The patient may experience relief but wants to feel much better and have the whole of their disease treated. When a successful single symptom is ameliorated by a response to a single remedy, the whole of the disease will eventually aggravate. The transient amelioration only is subdued, but the larger expression of the disease will express even greater as a result of the palliation of the single symptom.
If the physician is an attentive observer he will notice that the whole of the disease has now aggravated. But if the physician is ordinary he will be in the habit of ascribing the aggravation as a further expression of the original disease or a new symptom showing itself for the first time; quite a new disease.
One of the problems I find is the use of over the counter homeopathic medicines. A person may go to the health food store and look up symptoms for their acute ailment. They may even have some success with selecting a remedy that seems to help. But eventually when it stops working, (usually because a potency change is necessary and the remedy is not the simillimum for the person) the person may seek homeopathic care. They will tell me how wonderful the remedy was but now they want help because it no longer works.
After receiving their case and coming to a completely different remedy, based on the whole extent of their symptoms, they are often disappointed that I did not prescribe the same remedy for them again. It takes some time to explain this aphorism to them so they can grasp that the remedy needs to be for the whole extent of their dis-ease for them to really heal. Otherwise it is like a cat chasing its tail. There will always be more of the same symptoms appearing until the whole of the vital force is being inspired to heal. This is the importance of the simillimum remedy and treating the whole person.
So be careful not to look at a case based on a single symptom. Always consider the bigger picture of what is really asking to be healed. Your success rate will astound you and your clients will be very happy you considered the whole extent of their dis-ease.