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Organon by Hahnemann, aphorisms 253 - 258
"Criteria of amelioration or aggravation"

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Organon aphorism §253

Among the signs that, in all diseases, especially in such as are of an acute nature, inform us of a slight commencement of amelioration or aggravation that is not perceptible to every one, the state of mind and the whole demeanor of the patient are the most certain and instructive. In the case of ever so slight an improvement we observe a greater degree of comfort, increased calmness and freedom of the mind, higher spirits—a kind of return of the natural state. In the case of ever so small a commencement of aggravation we have, on the contrary, the exact opposite of this: a constrained, helpless, pitiable state of the disposition, of the mind, of the whole demeanor, and of all gestures, postures and actions, which may be easily perceived on close observation, but cannot be described in words.(138)

Organon aphorism §254

The other new or increased symptoms, or, on the contrary, the diminution of the original ones without any addition of new ones, will soon dispel all doubts from the mind of the attentively observing and investigating practitioner with regard to the aggravation or amelioration; though there are among patients persons who are either incapable of giving an account of this amelioration or aggravation, or are unwilling to confess it.

Organon aphorism §255

But even with such individuals we may convince ourselves on this point by going with them through all the symptoms enumerated in our notes of the disease one by one, and finding that they complain of no new unusual symptoms in addition to these, and that none of the old symptoms are worse. If this be the case, and if an improvement in the disposition and mind have already been observed, the medicine must have effected positive diminution of the disease, or, if sufficient time have not yet elapsed for this, it will soon effect it. If, now, the improvement delay too long in making its appearance, this depends either on some error of conduct on the part of the patient, or on other interfering circumstances.

Organon aphorism §256

On the other hand, if the patient mention the occurrence of some fresh accidents and symptoms of importance—signs that the medicine chosen has not been strictly homeopathic—even though he should good-naturedly assure us that he feels better, as is not infrequently the case in phthisical patients with lung abscess, we must not believe this assurance, but regard his state as aggravated as it will soon be perfectly apparent it is.

Organon aphorism §257

The true physician will take care to avoid making favorite remedies of medicines, the employment of which he has, by chance, perhaps found often useful, and which he has had opportunities of using with good effect. If he do so, some remedies of rarer use, which would have been more homeopathically suitable, consequently more serviceable, will often be neglected.

Organon aphorism §258

The true practitioner, moreover, will not in his practice with mistrustful weakness neglect the employment of those remedies that he may now and then have employed with bad effects, owing to an erroneous selection (from his own fault, therefore), or avoid them for other (false) reasons, as that they were unhomeopathic for the case of disease before him; he must bear in mind the truth, that of medicinal agents that one alone invariably deserves the preference in every case of disease which corresponds most accurately by similarity to the totality of the characteristic symptoms, and that no paltry prejudices should interfere with this serious choice.

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Organon notes and explanatory remarks

--- 253 Organon aphorism ---

[138] The signs of improvement in the disposition and mind, however, may be expected only soon after the medicine has been taken when the dose has been SUFFICIENTLY MINUTE (I. E., as small as possible), an unnecessarily larger dose of even the most suitable homeopathic medicine acts too violently, and at first produces too great and too lasting a disturbance of the mind and disposition to allow us SOON to perceive the improvement in them. I must here observe that this so essential rule is chiefly transgressed by presumptuous tyros in homeopathy, and by physicians who are converted to homeopathy from the ranks of the old school. From old prejudices these persons abhor the smallest doses of the lowest dilutions of medicine in such cases, and hence they fail to experience the great advantages and blessings of that mode of proceeding which a thousandfold experience has shown to be the most salutary ; they cannot effect all that homeopathy is capable of doing, and hence they have no claim to be considered its adherents.


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