Composite fevers are situations where there are all kinds of combinations of heat, cold, shivering, shuddering, perspiration – with each remedy ringing its own characteristic changes on what pattern it will produce. Each pattern is so individual in each case of sickness, or where epidemic looms, that these composite fever patterns can often unlock cases, point directly to the best prescription and achieve cure. It is essential in such cases to get very specific information about what comes first and what comes after – is it heat first then chill? Chill, then heat, then perspiration?
Here are some of the composite fever rubrics that appear in the Therapeutic Pocketbook. Click on the image to see the rubrics more clearly. The first number appearing after each rubric is the symptom number in the P&W, and the second number is the number of remedies in that rubric.
The following is a case presented by Boenninghausen in an address delivered before the Meeting of the Homeopathic Physicians of Rhineland and Westphalia, at Dortmund, July 28, 1859.
The case concerned a merchant who had caught a cold while travelling, and after three months of allopathic care and worsening symptoms came for homoeopathic treatment. His picture was as follows:
“For the last three or four weeks there has been a hollow, dry cough with hoarseness and much toughness in the larynx, most violent during night.
Constriction of the chest with stitches in the left side while lying on that side. Internal heat, without thirst. Severe exhausting perspiration.
Striking timidity. great drowsiness, but restless sleep, waking up frequently, while an internal anxiety prevents his going to sleep again. The face pale and collapsed, with a circumscribed redness of cheeks.
Pressure in the stomach after eating especially after eating, especially after milk, often with vomiting, first of ingesta and then of gall. Augmented, watery urine. Extraordinary emaciation.
He prefers warmth, and it agrees best with him. he feels better in moderate motion than in continuous rest. He had never been unwell much, and had never been actually sick He could take a deep breath without any trouble, and frequently he felt impelled thereto.”
Phosphorous was prescribed, and Boenninghausen relates how certain he was of the prescription, and how disappointed he was when he saw that there had been a worsening in the case with no improvement. On re-taking the case and examining every symptom one by one, after checking that nothing was hindering cure, Boenninghausen found the following:
“The mistake then appeared in the feverish symptoms, which were only superficially indicated, and which in the patient had an unusual and, therefore, unrecognized form, which was at the same time very characteristic.
For while sleeping he was suffering continually from a dry, burning heat, which on his waking up immediately passed into a very profuse perspiration, which continued without interruption while he was awake, until he fell asleep again, when at once the dry heat reappeared.
Thus the conundrum was solved. This symptom is found only in Sambucus, while in Phosphorus just the opposite is found. Since all the other symptoms coincided my patient received at once a dose of the high potency I usually employ, and the result was then so complete that in two weeks he was freed from all his ailments and felt as well as ever before.”