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Remedy Relationship                                                                                                                                

We shall examine the basis of complementarity and inimical relationships between remedies. 

Complementary remedies 
Complementary remedies are those that are frequently found to be indicated after each other; and we shall attempt to find out why this is so. For example, a Staphysagria state is one in which a person feels humiliated and insulted. Naturally, this state will arise more easily in one who originally had pride and egotism than in a one who did not. We know that Staphysagria is often followed by Sulphur. In other words, a Sulphur state of egotism predisposes to a Staphysagria state of humiliation. Therefore, when we see Staphysagria in a person, it would be worthwhile examining whether there is a Sulphur state behind it, which therefore may follow it. Of course, a particular state can exist independently, but there is a good chance that it exists because of the predisposition caused by another state in the background, and this background state is usually the opposite. 


Stramonium and Calcarea Carbonicum

To take another example, Stramonium has a state of tremendous terror and violence coming from feelings of being lost and forsaken in a dangerous place. The predisposition required to develop this state may well be one of great security, like living in a shell. Such a need for security is found in the Calcarea carbonica state and it is this kind of person who, with only a slight exciting cause of fear, will easily develop a Stramonium state. So, we have to understand that the Stramonium state may come about easily in a Calcarea carbonica person. Therefore, you can suspect a background of Calcarea carbonica when you see a Stramonium state.  

We have also talked, in the chapter “Unsuitable postures” about the transmission of roots from one generation to another. It is possible that when a Stramonium root is transmitted (which means probably the father or the mother had a strong Stramonium state), the root of Calcarea carbonica is also transmitted, being the background state. Thus, you find these remedies forming a pair, just like Staphysagria and Sulphur. 

Hyoscyamus and Staphysagria

Another relationship I have seen in practice is the one between Hyoscyamus and Staphysagria. Staphysagria is a state of suppressed hostility and suppressed sexuality. When he breaks down, the Staphysagria patient may develop a state like manic depressive psychosis, and in the manic state there will be overt sexuality and expressed hostility. This is the Hyoscyamus state. Some years ago I saw a patient who presented with a mania requiring Hyoscyamus, which gave immediate relief. There was a Staphysagria state in the background which became apparent after the Hyoscyamus state had subsided, and after Staphysagria was given, the patient did not suffer a relapse (case given in chapter “Acute processes”). 

So we see one state predisposing to another. The two states form a pair and are usually in some way opposite to each other. 

Natrum muriaticum and Ignatia

Another well-known pair is Natrum muriaticum and Ignatia. We find that when Ignatia comes up as an acute remedy, it is usually followed by Natrum muriaticum. Again, they seem to be in opposite state with Ignatia having constant and active grief, while in  Natrum muriaticum, it is passive, chronic and underlying. Similarly, if you take anxiety which is subconscious, reserved and unexpressed, you have Thuja and its complement is Arsenicum album with overt anxiety, tremendous restlessness, and expressed fear. Another good example is the relationship between Aconitum and Sulphur. The contrast is quite striking. Sulphur is indifferent, philosophical, careless, cheerful and imaginative. He is not really bothered about anything. But when this person has a sudden fright or fever, his state changes to one of tremendous anxiety and excitement with heat and restlessness. So, when the indifference of Sulphur is suddenly jolted, he will develop the Aconitum state. 

Arsenicum and Aconite

If a person is already very anxious, like one who is in an Arsenicum album state, then a sudden stress would not make him go into an Aconitum state. 

Calcarea and Rhus Tox

Let us take an example on the physical level. A person is indolent, fat, fair and flabby and not used to exercise. If this Calcarea patient lifts a heavy object suddenly, he will get a sprain. So, his indolence predisposes him to a Rhus toxicodendron state. These two remedies are complementary, the one with tremendous restlessness and the other with indolence. 


Nux vomica and Sulphur

If we examine complementary relationships in this way, we find a lot of pairs with opposite states to each other: Nux vomica and Sulphur for example. Nux vomica is so clean and Sulphur so dirty, Nux vomica so chilly and Sulphur so hot; Nux vomica is ardent and vehement while Sulphur is careless and lazy. So, Sulphur predisposes to Nux vomica and Nux vomica to Sulphur. Lachesis and Lycopodium is another set of complementary remedies. Here again the contrast is obvious. Lachesis is always competing with others, he wants to do better than others, and Lycopodium is always competing with himself and doubting his own capacity. A person who keeps doubting his own capacity is predisposed to developing lack of self-confidence. Lachesis predisposes to Lycopodium and Lycopodium predisposes to Lachesis. They are such opposite states that Lachesis is left-sided and Lycopodium right-sided; Lachesis does not like hot drinks and Lycopodium craves them; Lachesis is worse in the morning after sleep and Lycopodium in the evening before sleep. 


Pulsatilla and Silica

We can look at another famous relationship: the one between Pulsatilla and Silicea. Silicea is so obstinate and Pulsatilla so mild; Silicea is rigid in his views, while Pulsatilla is irresolute; Silicea is averse to consolation, and Pulsatilla craves it; Silicea is so egoistical and Pulsatilla so humble; Silicea is hard, Pulsatilla is soft; Silicea is chilly and Pulsatilla hot; Silicea cannot tolerate a draft of air, and Pulsatilla cannot live without it. These two opposite states complement each other. Hardness predisposes to softness, and softness predisposes to hardness, just like a philosophical attitude predisposes to anxiety and anxiety predisposes to a philosophical attitude. 

We can give many more examples, but this much is sufficient to convey the point that when we see a remedy in a patient we have to examine whether it exists independently or whether it exists because of a predisposition caused by some other remedy state. When doing so, it is necessary to consider those remedies which are some way opposite in nature to the present one. We may find that after giving the first remedy we have symptoms of the complementary remedy appearing. 

Change of remedy or change within a remedy 

Same remedy but different facets: 

When we see a change of symptoms in the life span of a patient, especially a change in the mental state, we should not always jump to the conclusion that his remedy has changed. It is equally possible that he is exhibiting a different form of the same remedy. Each remedy does not present a fixed picture at all times, but takes many forms. A person can change from one form to another of the same remedy depending on the situation and also the strength of the internal dynamic disease. For example, we could meet a Staphysagria man who is so sweet and pleasant, but in another situation he may become angry and violent. These are merely different facets of the same state, since both come from the same source. 

Get down to basic components: 
Therefore, each time we have to get down to the basic components of the person and examine which remedy is indicated. The expressions of facets may vary, but we have to trace the source of the expression to come to the basic feeling which caused it. Only a change in such basic feeling justifies a change of remedy. 

Also, such a change will invariably be accompanied by definite changes in the physical generals of the patient, his cravings and aversions, his modalities and also the characteristic particulars and concomitants. 

Only such confirmation would entitle us to conclude that there is indeed  a change of state and another remedy is needed to complete the action of the earlier one. For example, a Lycopodium patient may present with a particular state of great anxiety about how he is going to accomplish a certain task. But once that task is done, the situation becomes less challenging, the anxiety lessens, he becomes cheerful, and his talk even becomes egoistical. This does not make him a Sulphur as yet. If he has changed to Sulphur, then we must see signs of total change. He would exude a definite sense of confidence and real egotism, a feeling that he is great, not merely showing or proving that he is great. The Lycopodium often needs to prove to himself and others that he is someone who is capable. The wish to prove himself shows that the Lycopodium state – of lack of self-confidence – still exists even though it may not now be so apparent. 

When can we say that a Staphysagria person has changed and is now in a Causticum state? The change has to be in the basic mental parameters. Staphysagria is concerned about his honour, which is wounded easily (“Honour, effects of, wounded”). The Causticum state does not have this basic parameter. So, as long as wounded honour and the sensitivity to being insulted are the main parameters, Staphysagria remains his remedy, no matter what changes are shown in the expression. But, the point at which this changes and the person starts thinking of others rather than of himself, when he is concerned about the injustice done to others rather than to him, and when sympathy and anxiety for others become the dominant parameters, Staphysagria is no longer the remedy and Causticum is now indicated (“Anxiety for others”, “Sympathetic”). 
How states change 
 “Doctor”, says the patient, “I have recurrent congestion in my chest, I am taking allopathic drugs but I am losing my weight and strength due to them.” 
 Interpretation into rubrics: 
 — Theorizing... (his theory regarding the action of the drugs); 
 — Delusion, injured, is being... (by the drugs); 
 — Delusion, she is getting thin... (losing weight and strength); 
 — Egotism... (“I know everything, I have no doubt that this is so!”). 
 The remedy that emerges is Sulphur. 
 On taking his history we see that when he was young, he was fat and was being insulted by schoolmates and he used to go home weeping. 
 Rubrics (as that time): 
 — Mortification; 
 — Ailments from suppressed anger; 
 — Weeps from vexation; 
 — Timidity. 
 The remedy of that time: Staphysagria. 
 His mother says that sometime in his youth he underwent a big change and after this change he has developed the following characteristics: 
 – Feeling, he is superior; 
 – The need for others to know this fact; 
 – Great achiever; 
 – Anger followed by quick repentance; 
 – Dipsomania. 
 The remedy after this change: Sulphur. 
 How, and why, did this change of state (from Staphysagria to Sulphur) occur? It occurred because, at some point, the situation became so intense and the Staphysagria state proved insufficient to cope with it. Then, change to the opposite (Sulphur) state was called for. 
 Consider the case of a man running in front of a lion which catches up with him; so, his state has to change to one complementing  the earlier state. 
 First state (when the man is running): 
 – Timidity; 
 – Fear; 
 – Desire to run away; 
 – Feels inferior to lion. 
 Second state (when lion catches up), opposite of the first state: 
 – Courage; 
 – Thinks he is superior to the lion; 
 – Desire to fight (rather than escape). 
 In this way, when one state reaches an extreme on account of the situation, and yet the person is not able to cope with the situation, then the state changes into another one which is complementary to the first one, and in some ways opposite. Take one more example, namely of Gelsemium and Argentum nitricum. The Gelsemium state is like that of a man sitting in a plane which is about to crash; he clings to his seat, immobilized, unable to do anything, the slightest jerk deeply upsets him, he anticipates disaster. 
 When this plane somehow lands on the runway, he has to get out of the plane as soon as possible. His state now changes to the Argentum nitricum one, with its desire to escape, trapped feeling, impulse to run, desire for open air. There is no clinging now, no immobility; rather there is the opposite: forsaken feeling and desire to run. 
 We have already studied the situational Materia Medica. Now, we can readily understand that the complementary remedies will come from situations which are complementary, i.e.  the situations of two complementary remedies will be such as to be found very close to each other or one following the other. 
Inimical remedies 
 So far we have examined remedies which are complementary to one another and see that in some way they are opposite. Because of this difference one seems to predispose to the other. We can get confirmation of this idea if we examine the other relationship between remedies, namely the relationship of incompatibility. 
 Some remedies are known to be incompatible to one another, which means that they do not follow each other well. This probably signifies that when one state exists, the other cannot exist behind it. This means that these two states are in some way very close to each other, very similar, so that one cannot predispose to the other. It is the same idea we saw above but applied in the reverse direction. If remedies that are in some way opposite to each other are naturally predisposed to one another, then remedies that are similar will naturally repeal each other.  
 The best known example of incompatibility between remedies is that of Causticum and Phosphorus. These two remedies are very close to one another, both of them being sympathetic and anxious for others. They are both chilly, both desire cold drinks and are averse to sweets. Both may have paralysis of the right side of the face. They seem so close to each other that if a Causticum state exists, it is very seldom that a situation can arise which creates in this person a Phosphorus state. Therefore, Causticum and Phosphorus states will rarely be found in the same person. It is interesting to note that Causticum is listed as a collateral (similar) remedy to Phosphorus, and yet they are incompatible and are unlikely to be needed in the same person. 
 It is a similar story with Bryonia and Calcarea. Here again, the remedies are so similar in nature, both having aversion to movement and need for security, both having fear of poverty, and therefore desiring stability. Bryonia and Calcarea can hardly exist together in the same person and they are known to be incompatible. 
 I will give one more example of incompatibility between remedies, viz. Chamomilla and Nux vomica. Both are such highly irritable remedies, so sensitive, violent, and intolerant of pain, that we could easily mistake between the two. When we examine the incompatibility between remedies, we find that those which are similar in one way will have similar exciting factors and similar effects. 
Marital relationships 
 In marital relationship (or where two persons live together in harmony), you will usually find that each will belong to a different remedy state and that their states are complementary, i.e.  they are opposite in some way. 
 This happens because each one of us has within himself roots of several remedies. When the need arises from an exciting cause, which may be the behaviour of one partner, a particular root in the other partner is stimulated into a state. For example, if the husband is careless and indifferent to details of household problems (Sulphur), then the Graphites root (“Carefulness about trifles”) in the wife will be stimulated. If the husband is spending extravagantly, then the wife must become avaricious. Where one of the partners is dominating (Lycopodium), the other has to be yielding (Pulsatilla) if the relationship is to survive. People do it voluntarily in the beginning but over a course of time, it becomes an involuntary state, especially if the person already has such a root. 
 This is also the reason why a child is often born with roots of two complementary remedies, for instance roots of Arsenicum album and Sulphur, Lycopodium and Pulsatilla, etc. These remedies can occur in pairs in the child because if he gets one root from one parent, the complementary root is derived from the other parent. If both roots are pretty strong and excitable, then the states may alternate in the child. 
 This teaches us to study the nature of both the spouses (or parents of the patient). A proper understanding of this approach can be useful in prescribing. 
 If you see a typical Graphites lady, just look into the nature of her husband, and if you see a very strong Sulphur in him, your remedy is doubly confirmed. 
 If you see a strong Lycopodium man, then you can almost predict that the partner is going to be a Pulsatilla, especially if they have adjusted themselves to each other, and are living harmoniously! 

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Comment by Dr. Wequar Ali Khan on September 21, 2013 at 1:54pm

It has opened up a new way of thinking,about remedy relationship.Thanks

Comment by Firuzi Mehta on September 21, 2013 at 5:29am

Very well written, thank you!

Comment by Ashok RajGuru on February 7, 2012 at 8:47am

Dr. Saraswat, I've never seen a more clear explanation regarding remedy relationships. I haven't absorbed every word yet, but you have set me on the right vector. Your essay is not just a compilation of rubrics, it is a an artistic expression of your clinical experience. Thanks for sharing this treasure.

Comment by Hans Weitbrecht on November 26, 2011 at 8:25am
Comment by Dr Muhammed Rafeeque on November 23, 2011 at 5:37am

We often ignore remedy relationship due to two reasons:

1. Very difficult to remember

2. In this world there is no value for relationships - both remedy relations and personal relationships


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