I’ve mentioned previously in this blog that I enjoy reading books in hard copy. When looking at a page, elements and patterns jump out in a way that does not happen when searching for rubrics in software. (The software does provide better screenshots though.)
This article was prompted by casual leafing through Mind symptoms in the P&W hardcopy edition of the Therapeutic Pocketbook. I was looking at the pages on disposition and intellect, flipping back and forth between the two sections, and noticed that while Belladonna appears frequently in four points in Intellect, it only appears in that grade in the main Mind Disposition rubric, and not in other more emotion-related rubrics.
I worked with the following repertory experiments looking for remedies in the fourth grade only, to see the strongest possible representation of the remedy in the chosen areas – in this case a comparison between pathology relating to intellect/mental function and to disposition/emotion.
Much writing has been done on personality traits of particular remedies. This ranges from extrapolation from proving symptoms (rare), through clinical experience of several patients which the writer of such pieces believes to exemplify entire types, and even to the extent of meditation and dream processes summoning up entire personality pictures which are now believed by a gullible homoeopathic public to be personified by specific remedies.
The most problematic wrong thinking on any subject is that which contains an element of truth. Since the thinking cannot be negated in its entirety, it becomes difficult to squash it once and for all.
Mental and emotional states are an essential part of prescribing. Mental and emotional symptoms have been found in provings of most if not all substances. However, at least two issues hinder effective use of mental and emotional symptoms in proving. One is the allocation of personality types to remedies and the search for something inclusive to define the patient – along the lines of the snark-like constitutional. The second – tied to the first – is the lack of understanding about the need to hone in on the mental and emotional symptoms which are part of the disease state, part of what has changed, or part of what always changes (repeated state of irritability in recurring strep for example).
Boenninghausen’s Therapeutic Pocketbook allows us to access his clinical work with remedies, whether those proved by Hahnemann and his provers union, or others such as those proved by Hartlaub and Trinks, where the original provings are less accessible to the researcher with basic internet tools. Boenninghausen’s grading of 3 and 4 relates to remedies where a symptom is both clearly represented in the proving and where the remedies have demonstrated their usefulness in clinical work. The objective of my experimentation was to see if the Therapeutic Pocketbook itself, based on provings and solid clinical work, could give us something of a mental and emotional picture for remedies, without looking for the artistic (and creative) precision of modern remedy portrait painters.
I have made comparisons here initially with Pulsatilla – a strong remedy for emotional issues, and Coffea known for its aggravation from excessive joy. But anyone enjoying this kind of exercise can play with any combination of remedies to see what patterns emerge in comparison. Although Belladonna does appear in 3 points in emotional aggravation, primarily various kinds of anger but also fear, it is not represented as strongly as Pulsatilla and Coffea here.
By comparison, Belladonna is very strongly represented in pathology relating to the intellect, more in the kind of symptoms we could see in very high fevers for example, where mental faculties are affected.
For the purpose of this exploration, bearing in mind that it is similar to Belladonna in many ways, I’ve added in Hyoscyamus to see what would happen. The expected result emerged. Hyoscyamus is strongly represented in intellect as shown below.
But again, when we compare it with Coffea and Pulsatilla with regard to disposition, we only see its strongest representation in Amorousness.
The representation of Hyoscyamus differs from Belladonna in aggravation from influences on mind and emotions, in that it is strongly represented in jealousy and in unhappy love. But because of the nature of Hyoscyamus in its most extreme representation in its actions in emotion and intellect, it looks as if the kind of jealousy encountered where this remedy is needed is that along the track of mental obsession or instability, even if mild, rather than the more emotional sadness often encountered in unrequited love, the humiliation felt in those who have been passed over for promotion and are jealous of those who move ahead, or the frustration of the child who feels that her siblings are getting more attention.
I’ve focused in this article on each remedy’s most extreme representation within specific rubrics relating to emotion and intellect. If you have some knowledge of the remedies mentioned, the results are hardly surprising. But the pictures that emerge on looking at remedies through the repertory help to provide context for other mental and emotional symptoms relating to each of the remedies, something which can offer the homoeopath a better understanding of remedies and more precision in prescribing.