The art of Medicine: The “state”

another kind of state...

another kind of state…


In homoeopathy, we often talk about the “state” of a patient. The phrase, as well at the reality is that the “state” of a person is actually the full picture of the disease.

“The particular condition that someone or something is in at a specific time.”

The state represents the symptoms of a disease in its entirety. It is the picture a reactive process either mentally, emotionally or physically. It is how the pathology is arranged at a given moment or time.

Hahnemann understood this. He emphasised over and over that prescribing symptoms had to be characteristic of the patients expression of the disease AND the remedy. The patients “state” is represented by symptoms on which we prescribe. A patient can be in a state of “Belladonna” or a state of “Sepia”, but is not represented by every facet of the medicines, just the state that the medicines can produce and which the patients illness corresponds to at that moment of prescription. States change as the illness changes thus requiring a change of medicine.

Many practitioners that are unfamiliar with the Therapeutic Pocket Book, are surprised at the apparent paucity of mental symptoms.


This is the total collection of symptoms. Yet each symptom is a “state” of expression of pathology and is qualified and explained by other symptoms as expressed by the patients disease in other elements of the case.

Example. A child presents with marked irritability. In the case taking, it is found that the patient also has a fear of the dark and of being alone. Further exploration finds that the divorce of the child parents has led to internalising the grief which is expressed in the anger and irritabilty.


So we see that what appears to be an over generalisation of the “state”, in this case Irritabilty and anger, is qualified by adding the other symptoms that comprise the fullness of the expression of the disease.

A careful use of the repertory, will elicit a group of remedies that produce the state as seen, and differentiation is made by the symptom expressions in the reading.

A totality of symptoms if you will.

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