Ugh... Blocked nose. Stuffy sinuses. Runny snot, thick snot, interchangeably. Blocked at night - no, suddenly it runs free! Dry cough ... sore throat, with scraping and cutting pain on swallowing and coughing. Wet cough, rasping rawness - stitching sensation in the tongue (partly coated white/yellowish). Heavy body, heavy head. Weary chest from all the coughing, one kleenex-pack after the other is emptied in-between sneezing fits. Pressing, aching pains in the bones of the face and jaw. Yup, ugh!
That is how my previous week was spent.
A more severe coryza/cold (or possibly flu, not that I have had it diagnosed) than I can remember having for a long while, with difficulty sleeping at night due to chills and restlessness, and a stuffy head that was slightly less obstinate from an extra pillow.
But, it is "only" a clearing out! I know it is, no matter how inconvenient it is when arriving, and how terrible I feel, and all the things that need doing that just have to be set on hold... while my body rinses out - detoxes - directs all efforts towards balancing whatever is out of sorts, and preparing the outlets for a flushing out of everything that does not belong/is not needed in the body.
Amazing, that this body can produce that much mucus! And signal so clearly to me, that now is not the time for activity: I am to stay in bed/on the sofa for a while, leaving my body to take care of the rest.
Horrific example of hobby-homoeopathy?
I made som half-hearted attempts at selecting remedies that might match my symptoms, even though I know it may be somewhat futile to derive at a well-indicated remedy for a cold (even with flu-like characteristics) - as there is a lot of overlap between the homoeopathic medicines' remedy pictures!
It is of course possible, but one should - as always - base remedy choices on well-founded reasonings with mapping of symptoms; repertorising; differentiation; before one is selected, and responses must be registered/included in further considerations.
I let my impulses lead the way, as I often do when I am selecting remedies for myself: in which case I do not take the ground work as seriously as when I am making recommendations for others --- then I am very thorough with all the initial investigations and analysis before I decide on a remedy!
The result: less thought-through/poorly founded choices, and rather whims or curiosity as to what this remedy might contribute with... or maybe this one... or this one ... etc: without necessarily allowing enough time (and/or repetition) for the remedy to work, before moving on to the next; without checking in the materia medica and repertorisation whether the remedy I am reaching for is actually a suitable one; without doing the proper analysis!
So, this an example of how I do not recommend Hobby-Homoeopaths to proceed, when a remedy is to be selected for this or that ailment - with some reflections as to why/in what way it is not as good an idea as following the established guidelines.
Bad publicity for homoeopathy? Nah - rather an example of how even 4-5 years of homoeopathy studies, and practicing homoeopathy for several years thereafter, does not make one less human or tempted to take shortcuts!
And, as there are plentiful examples of successful prescribing of homoeopathy, it cannot hurt to share some less-than-perfect processes: I dare claim that these are part of most (if not all) individuals' experience-based knowledge of practicing homoeopathy!
My jojo-selections of remedies
(My thoughts jumped to several more remedies than the ones mentioned here - but I mainly focus on the ones I actually took)
When it became apparent that I was coming down with something, I started with Gelsemium sempervirens (Gels): I have benefitted from this before, and it did not seem like a bad choice considering my symptoms and what I know about the remedy from before; with slow and gradual onset of complaints. Not much happened in terms of remedy-responses, though --- after the one dose my patience allowed for.
So, I continued on to a couple of doses of Natrum muriaticum (Nat-m), which has been one of my successful choices in past conditions: it seemed a little promising, but still no grand result.
Half an hour after I had proceeded with the next remedy in line, Pulsatilla nigricans (Puls); which is a frequently used remedy for infections and a broad array of ailments; I felt lighter - but there was no lasting change, and on repeating Puls my misery still resurged without amelioration.
During the night, struggling to find peace and sleep, my thoughts wandered to Arsenicum album (Ars): which has a lot of restlessness in its remedy picture; is a great remedy for many cases where it is unclear what has entered the home/body and triggered the outbreak; and who feels better for several pillows under the head when it is time for bed. Might have helped, a tiny bit? Or was it simply wishful thinking?
Phosphorus (Phos) has helped me before, after Ars did not help, when I had gastric flu (or was it food poisoning?) - when I felt my body being able to relax into a calmness that allowed me to rest/sleep while the cleansing was completed. This time I also felt an initial amelioration from Phos, but alas, with no lasting effect.
Hepar sulphuris calcareum (Hep) might have helped a bit with the stitching in the throat and tongue, but I did not sleep any better that night, either. What about Mercurius solubilis hahnemanni (Merc)? Yeah, it felt like my throat eased up a bit; but, after a short while, I was just as weary and stuffy.
Maybe Magnesium phosphoricum (Mag-p)? Or Mercurius vivus (Merc-v)? Or Rhus toxicodendron (Rhus-t)? After finally coming to my senses and doing a repertorisation, the result is of course a list of most polycrests: as always, when based on very general symptoms... And, I recognised my condition in several of the characteristics of remedies listed in my Materia Medica books for various (acute) ailments;
But - what about Nux vomica (Nux-v), which was listed high up in my repertorisation? ...or should I sit back, give it a break: stop chasing one remedy after the other, and leave my body to continue its work without my interference?
I am, after all, providing myself with lots of nutrients, fluids (both hot and cold) and self-care. But - it is so tiring! And now I am entering day 5! It would be such a relief to feel the grip loosen somewhat, so I get to relax in-between all the nose-blowing and coughing - with less discomfort.
I know there is a remedy "out there" that can help, I just need to find out which it is!
And, Nux-v is after all one of the remedies with a kind of agitated inner energy; despite the body being heavy, and feeling terrible in general. Worse at night and in the morning, a good fit for allergies that last all year round, lots of sneezing, sore/inflamed throat, ... hmm. Okay, one more!
5 min after placing Nux-v 30C under my tongue, I feel the pressure in my sinuses, nose and head, loosening its grip. Some forceful sneezes come in close succession, a profound round of nose-blowing, an several coughs in a row: before I feel lighter in the head (and body, actually) than I have in days;
I get a craving for standing outside in fresh air for a bit. It no longer feels like a huge effort to take a shower. My throat is less itchy, while I feel various changes of sensation in my nose - eyes - forehead - gums - jaw;
and then comes the fever! This good sign of the body increasing gears and gathering greater artillery, to get a move on the necessary flushing out.
After feeling stuck in a stuffy head with soreness and aching for days, with no clear progress (from either remedies or the body), this (subjective) experience of the body accelerating the clearing process kicked in - aided by the stimulus from Nux-v.
I find it a lot easier to celebrate the body's amazing ability to fix what needs fixing, when I also receive a thankful response after taking a suitable remedy: it is almost as if I can hear it whisper to me "thanks, this is just what is needed to speed things along! Relax for a while more, whilst the clear-out is completed"
... and that is what I do. I still take it easy; repeat Nux-v when needed (if symptoms seem to relapse somewhat/the amelioration slow down or stop); with a body that feels relaxed and light enough for me to finally be able to relax amidst the storm of bodily excretions.
I increase to a 200C potency so that I do not need as frequent repetitions, now that I know my body respons well to Nux-v. And, entering day 7, when the fever has burnt itself out, I round off with a 1M-potency, to support the final adjustments back to balance - and the convalescence towards regained vigour! (If the potency-selection is limited, it is fine to repeat the one at hand - according to the body's signalling)
Nope, I did not get well "in a flash" - but I did not expect to, either: my body clearly needed to get rid of stuff. But I finally felt the clearing-out becoming more effective! I was not stuck in a state of congestion anymore - feeling clear changes and adjustments taking place in the body: with increasing speed and ease!
Thank you, my dear body!
And thank you, dearest nature - offering numerous powerful substances (plants, minerals, animal derivatives) that we can make potentised natural medicines from, and take in homoeopathic (energy/frequency) form; so it becomes easier to support the body's wonderful abilities; both when it is fully capable of handling it on its own, but also when it is struggling to deal with all the triggers/toxins/stress factors/imbalances we (un)consciously expose it to or are exposed to from our environment.
With what I have learnt during the previous decade, about the body and (natural) health, I know to appreciate "ailments" as useful: something I am meant to learn from, with the body communicating to me what is good for me - or not; or something I need to allow fully, if my body clearly decides that a detox/flushing out is necessary (as it did this week).
Yes, I feel sorry for myself when I am ill: but I manage some chuckles too, whilst thanking my body for taking care of what is necessary for me to take part in the play of life as well-equipped/-balanced as possible.
"Body is boss": it is my compass, my guide; with my thoughts as a useful add-on tool. This has been the most important acquired wisdom for me in recent times.
Homoeopathy, nutrients, fluids, rest - all the natural inputs I can provide my body with when I sense it may need it - are tools I treasure, love to learn more about and to experience more of. But it is eventually my body that heals me: my innate ability to heal myself. The external additions may help and contribute, but it is the body that regenerates and balances itself.
Homoeopathic medicines that resonate with me feel beneficial - positive catalysts - strengthening: but my body is always the one that "cures" me.
What should I have done?
As mentioned at the beginning of these musings, my juggling of remedies - as described here - is not the most elegant way of arriving at well-indicated homoeopathic medicines. And, as terrible as I felt the first 3-4 days, it might have been best if I sought help from someone else - with a clearer head - to select a remedy/remedies that suited my symptoms well.
But, my wish is to demonstrate how it is not always (rarely, actually) easy to match a remedy with the symptom picture - even though homoeopathy is based on simple principles. Especially for "common" ailments, where lots of remedies may be indicated: it is not that homoeopathy does not work, but the task may be more tricky if we do not have characteristics that plainly point to one remedy among the candidates we have derived at.
I would have managed fine without homoeopathy this week, with a self-limiting cold/coryza (/flu). But, Nux-v made my existence heavenly as compared to before taking the remedy - and perhaps my state of dis-ease was shorter than it would have been without; and my role as supporter for my body was a lot easier to fill.
A couple of points I should have considered/followed, to safeguard against fleeting impulsive selections of remedies:
- Allow my body to do what it needs without adding in homoeopathy (sticking to nutrients and fluids)
- Reach out to homoeopathy-qualified help, and leave the (then more objective) assessment of remedies to someone with the headspace and energy to guide me through my ailment - so that I could focus on accepting advice, resting and supplying nutrients/fluids (and quiet the frenetic remedy-chasing voice in my mind)
- Do it properly/thoroughly, if I am to select homoeopathic medicines myself:
- Map the symptoms
Would the outcome have been different?
Maybe, maybe not.
Perhaps my course of suffering/celebration would have been shortened from one week to a few days less, if I had reach for Nux-v first - without going off on whims with the other remedies I tried first;
Perhaps Nux-v would not have helped until later in the course anyway, and I would have responded to a different remedy if taken earlier;
Perhaps one or more of the remedies I took did have an effect on me, without my stuffy head registering it (or being patient enough to allow it to);
It is not easy to tell, and we do not know before we try; and what we do not try, we cannot know if would have affected differently... In a new case of the same type of ailment, it is not given that the life force/body will signal the need for the same stimulus as previously - but it might.
Homoeopathy is a medical art form that must be performed here and now, when we experience the symptoms' nature, and can assess our needs just as they are - and not how they were/will become.
Previous experiences with remedies
It is absolutely a good idea to consider remedies we have experienced good responses to earlier, when acute ailments occur!
But, this is more relevant for the same kind of ailment; and if symptoms we experience this time actually fit with the remedy picture of the medicine that brought about amelioration/cure previously. If not, it is most likely best to start afresh with the ground work - to avoid making an unnecessary mess out of it.
We have some candidates among the homoeopathic medicines that are often considered to be the best for this or that, e.g.:
... but it is absolutely not a given that these will be indicated in all instances. Maybe they can offer partly or complete amelioration, or maybe another remedy fits a lot better with the individual condition: it is always best to check the symptoms against the materia medica of indicated remedies first!
If I feel symptoms arising that are the same as symptoms I have had previously, and that I know I have dealt with by taking a specific remedy before, I will probably take the same remedy before doing more thorough assessments and analysis (however, if I am to advice someone else, I always check my notes and to the necessary research);
If I only have a few remedies at hand (e.g. when travelling), I will start by looking at which of those fits best with the symptoms arising before attempting to get hold of more well-indicated remedies that I do not have with me - where I am.
The best remedy is the one that best matches the symptom picture. The best potency is the one you have, if you cannot get hold of the preferred potency swiftly. Use what you have, but; if possible; get hold of what fits better!
And, seek help when needed/wanted - you can always ask for a copy of the prep-work afterwards, to incorporate it into your own notes and benefit from the experience at the next "occasion".