”Do not prescribe for the disease- prescribe for the patient”- this is a much quoted and much misunderstood cliche in homeopathy. What does it actually mean? I think we have to ponder over.
This statement is is understood in different ways.
Some homeopaths understand it as ‘forget the disease, treat the person’. According to them, whatever the complaints the person heve, his constitutional similimum selected on the basis of physical generals and mentals is enough to remove all his ailments and bring him back to total cure. They call it ‘constitutional’ approach or ‘holistic’ approach. Some people with extreme approach believe we can cure with only ‘mental’ or even ‘sensational’ similimum. According to this people, if the patient is calc constitution, we should prescribe it only, whatever be the ailments- headache, digestive upset, piles, eczema, allergy, acute cold or anything else.
In my opinion, “prescribe not for the disease- prescribe for the patient” should be understood in a different way.
If we try to prescribe on the basis of a disease diagnosis, it is ‘prescribing for the disease’. Same time, if we prescribe on the basis of LESMC qualifications of that ‘disease’ specifically expressed by the individual ‘patient’, it is ‘prescribing for the patient’.
Prescribing for a ‘headache’ on the basis of diagnosis of ‘migraine’ is ‘prescribing for disease’. Exactly, the homeopath should prescribe for the specific ‘patient’. If we collect the locations, sensations, modalities and concomitants of that ‘migraine’ in that particular patient and find a similimum, it is not prescribing for disease- it is a prescription for that ‘patient’. You cannot expect that prescription to cure a ‘migraine’ of another person. He will need another similimum based on his symptoms.
In my opinion, “prescribe not for the disease- prescribe for the patient” should be understood in this way. It doses not mean ignoring the ailments of the patient, and prescribing for his ‘constitution’.
A young homeopath asked me to suggest a drug for his patient with ‘violent knee pain’. When I asked him to provide symptoms, he said: “patient gives no other symptoms”. I get many such requests from young homeopaths daily.
An unqualified symptom is of no use in selecting a similimum.
I told him, we should get detailed symptoms for making a prescription: For example, he has knee pain(expression), right knee(location), swelling and redness(expression), throbbing pain(sensatin), relieved by warm application(modality) and rest(modality), worse by motion(modality), walking(modality), pain extending to heels(concomitants), it is a clear picture. We can prescribe.
‘No symptoms’ only means, we failed to collect symptoms. Collecting symptoms is an art, which needs great talent, creativity and observational and communication skills.
Once the patient reports a symptom, do not leave that symptom without collecting maximum information regarding that symptoms, such as its causations, expressions, locations, sensations, modalities and concomitants.
Same time, we should be careful not to break the flow of narrations by interfering with frequent questions. It would be ideal to allow the patient to complete his narrations uninterrupted, and then return back to each symptom and interrogate the patient to collect the qualifications.
Even a single symptom, if it is well qualified with all its LESMCs will by itself provide a strong foundation for a reliable prescription.
For example, if the patient has a headache (expressions), in forehead(location), bursting pains(sensations), amelioration by cold applications and sleep(modalities), aggravated during menses(modalities), with vomiting(concomitants) and blurred vision(concomitants), we can make a prescription for her headache without considering generals or mentals. Such a prescription will relieve the headache instantly.
If the complaints recur, we will have to find her constitutional similimum using physical generals and mentals, which will cure her permanently.
Homeopathic prescribing is an art of individualization. But ‘individualization’ should not be understood as prescribing ‘constitutional similimum’ always. Individualization exactly means finding a similimum considering the symptoms expressed by the patient in their totality. Qualified symptoms is the key to successful individualization of a case.
”Do not prescribe for the disease- prescribe for the patient” indicates the importance of this individualization. It does not mean ‘prescribe constitutional drugs’ only.