If you refer to Organon of the Rational Art of Healing, you will fi nd that Hahnemann had described acute diseases in aphorism 73. He had basically divided the acute diseases in 3 compartments – the first one what he is talking about, is the acute exacerbation of the chronic disease or the chronic miasm, the second acute disease that he is talking about is sporadically acute disease and the third one is the acute miasms. Let us briefly discuss these.
The acute exacerbation of the chronic miasm is usually preceded by an exciting cause, which can be stress, strain, getting wet in the rain, being chilled, being over heated or excessive indulgence in eating certain type of fried or fatty food. In such crisis, the treatment is very simple – enough of bed rest, proper diet, proper nursing care and most of the time, the symptoms disappear. But, if even after taking rest or using some simple home remedies the symptoms do not disappear and every day the person is deteriorating, then it needs attention. In such a situation, this acute disorder will temporarily repress the chronic symptom and display a complete new totality. Here one has to give a new remedy but immediately after the crisis are over, the constitutional treatment needs to be given.
Another type of sporadically acute diseases, Hahnemann says, is caused by atmospheric meteoric or telluric changes. He says that these are the true indispositions and if they are really severe, they are to be treated with an acute remedy as they can invite severe complications. Again, this acute disease will surely suppress the constitutional picture until they have run their own course or have been removed by the appropriate homeopathic remedy. The treatment still remains the same. On the basis of new totality, select the remedy and follow this by the constitutional remedy.
The third type is the acute miasm. In this type of acute disease, micro-organisms or infection is the root cause. Most of them are self limiting but some can tend to run quick crisis and can invite death or convalescence. Now, within this also there are two types: the first type of infection will produce long lasting immunity, for example, measles, mumps and chicken pox. Another type of infection like viral flu, viral cold, cholera and typhoid keeps on recurring throughout the life. They should be treated with remedies which reflect the picture of acute miasm and then follow with the constitutional treatment because it is only the constitutional treatment which can supply immunity by removing the underlying
If you refer the textbook of chronic diseases, Hahnemann had clearly mentioned two such examples where he suggests that in case of an excessive vexation, indignation and deep internal mortification, he advices his patients to take Staphysagria;while he is advising some of his patients to take Arsenic album when they take cold in stomach by eating a fruit. These remedies were chosen by him from the exciting cause and the active acute symptoms so that they do not disturb the deeper layer associated with the fundamental cause and the constitution.
Even if you read Kent’s philosophy, he truly follows the teaching of Organon and mentions that during the acute crisis the vital force suspends the chronic symptoms while the acute disease runs its course. If you give a remedy by chronic symptoms during an acute crisis, it will always run the risk of serious disruption of nature of the symptom patterns. This I have seen and witnessed in my practice.
When I was in the homeopathic college, a person had a fracture of the neck of the femur and every day, there were new and new complications arising in the patient but the treating homeopathic physician did not took the whole acute phenomenon into consideration. He was, rather, giving more importance to his chronic symptoms and prescribing him the constitutional remedy. Within 7 days, the patient became so sick that he ultimately died. This is bad for homeopathy. One has to identify the acute layer and treat that with the right set of symptoms.
Also, a warning I would like to say that one should not give an acute remedy if the symptom is not complete or if the totality is incomplete. One has to have the full totality or full symptom in terms of location, sensation, modality and if possible, concomitant to give the right acute remedy. Or one has to identify the correct exciting factor or the correct causative factor and only then, the acute remedy will work. Otherwise, the acute remedy may not work and you will need to change the remedy quite frequently.
Now, let me give you some examples of very small acute cases.
I remember a child who came to my OPD with cough resembling like the whooping cough. The child also had fluent coryza and profuse salivation. The mother of the child said that the child had a fever also. Based on this very small totality, I gave Merc sol in different potencies but it never helped. Later on, during the next visit which was after 48 hours, I saw that the saliva was not only profuse but was thick also and there was lot of lachrymation along with the whooping cough. I immediately selected the remedy Formalinum.
Formalinum is 35% aqueous solution of formaldehyde, and one of the very useful remedy that competes with Euphrasiabecause here you have coryza with lachrymation. This remedy also competes with Mercury because it has got coryza associated with profuse salivation. There is a fever with coryza and a typical whooping cough.
Another case, which I would like to discuss from my OPD, is of an acute cough. The cough started after the patient suffered from a viral cold for which he was given erythromycin. He was diagnosed with influenza and was asked to take a course of erythromycin which he took. But after the course of erythromycin, the patient developed a cough which was constant in nature. Unfortunately, this cough had no modality, it came anytime of the day – morning, afternoon, evening or night; had nothing to do with eating, drinking or lying in one particular position. It was just cough, cough and cough. Very rarely, after a lot of coughing the patient can bring little expectoration which was offensive; the cough produced severe irritation in the chest due to coughing and there was lot of weakness.
I asked him that about the symptoms he had when he suffered from influenza. He replied that he had fever, stomach upset with influenza, running nose and bodyache. I even took those symptoms into consideration and prescribed him the remedy Pix liquida.
Pix liquida is liquid pine-tar and a very useful remedy for acute situations that arises after influenza, especially, the respiratory symptoms or the general symptoms. I have also used this remedy successfully in skin diseases but the main seat of action for which I have used are the symptoms that arise after influenza, especially, the cough. Another very useful remedy where you will see cough after influenza is Eriodictyon californicum.
Another case, I remember in my practice, is of a man who came with rheumatism. He said that he have got lot of stiffness in his neck, had got heat in his feet, his joints were paining, his feet and toes were paining. The type of pain that he experiences was either burning or cramping. When I examined the feet, they were edematous and swollen; there was no modality to the whole case and that was the only symptom that I could record. I prescribed him Apocynum androsaemifolium.
Apocynum androsaemifolium is excessively useful for rheumatism where the pains in the joints have burning and cramping. Another very important aspect of this remedy is the shifting wandering pains and burning in the soles. There is lot of stiffness in different parts of the body. There is swelling of the feet and violent heat in soles like Sulphur.
Another acute case, I remember, is of a mother who brought her newborn child to my clinic and said that her child was vomiting everything; whatever she gave the child, he vomits. I showed him to pediatrics gastroenterologist who diagnosed the child to be suffering from a reflux, which means the valve between the esophagus and the stomach is loose and as a result everything comes up.
The vomiting was quite violent. Sometimes, the child will vomit some fluid even without eating any food. The child was extremely cranky, the stool was mucoid. Based on these symptom, I prescribed the remedy Dysentery–co 30C.
Dysentery-co 30C – few doses, completely stopped the whole situation. Now, in mind, I consider this to be a spasm and not as a reflux. Dysentery–co is a good remedy for the spasmof the pyloric end of the stomach or the spasm of the stomach where the contents of the stomach are immediately vomited.