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Prescribing on a Keynote

by Dr Angela Jones(more info)

listed in homeopathy, originally published in issue 20 - May 1997

Choosing a homoeopathic medicine on the basis of a single keynote symptom is neither recommended nor reliable. However, there are instances when a keynote symptom can be an important guide to the simillimum. One keynote which I find particularly useful is the sleeping position associated with the nosode, Medorrhinum. Babies needing Medorrhinum usually sleep in the "knee-elbow" position, with their knees drawn up under them and their bottoms up in the air. This sleeping position continues far into infancy, to be replaced in adults by lying on the stomach to sleep. I would like to relate two cases where the sleeping position was the first clue to a successful prescription of Medorrhinum.

Simon was six years old when his mother brought him to see me. She was concerned about his long-term use of steroid cream for eczema. He had had eczema since the age of three and despite the use of moisturisers and strict soap avoidance, he was still troubled by nasty itchy areas on his limbs, body and face. His mother was justifiably concerned that the regular applications of steroid cream that were necessary to keep the problem at bay, would result in permanent thinning of his skin.

Taking further details, I discovered that Simon was a happy and ebullient child who loved music and drama. He often acted out little plays and showed little in the way of shyness. However, he could be very sensitive to criticism and had had a tendency to tantrums in the past. Generally warm-blooded, he did not perspire very much. He often threw the covers off at night or stuck his feet out of bed.

His favourite sleeping position was on his tummy, a position he had slept in since a baby.

Simon liked all kinds of food but his favourites were spaghetti bolognese, pizza and chocolate. His thirst was quite strong and he preferred cold drinks. He had a past history of mild asthma and a family history of heart disease in that his maternal grandfather had died at the age of 46 of a heart attack.

I was alerted to the possibility that Medorrhinum might be Simon's medicine by the story of sleeping on his tummy. Many of the mental symptoms and his food likes and dislikes also fitted the bill and in addition, Medorrhinum patients often have a family history of heart disease. I therefore prescribed three doses of Medorrhinum 30c and saw Simon six weeks later.

I was delighted to learn that Simon's rash had all but disappeared. He was very well in himself and an irritation around his anus, which he had also had since a baby, had settled. His mother was also very pleased and, apart from a slight relapse four months later that responded to a further three powders, Simon has remained well and eczema-free.

Amy's problem was somewhat different. She was two and a half years old and had been giving cause for concern because of chronic ill health following a pneumonia when she was two. Since that time, she had become a difficult eater, was lethargic and lacking in energy, and was generally discontented and miserable. Whenever she caught a viral illness, she would become very unwell and she had had six courses of antibiotics in as many months. Her mother was at her wits' end and desperate for something to restore her little girl's former robust health.

Amy had always been healthy prior to the pneumonia. Her character was naturally bubbly and vivacious. She used to eat and sleep well although her mother recalled that she would often wake up because she had kicked of all her covers and had wedged herself into a corner of the cot because of her tendency to sleep in a scrunched-up, kneeling position on her front. The most fascinating part of Amy's story was that her mother had noticed that the only time that Amy seemed her old self was if they took her down to the beach for a walk with the dogs. Normally she would not walk or play even at the local playground, but at the beach, it was as if she was revitalised!

When prescribing for Amy, I actually relied on two keynotes, the sleeping position and also the very marked improvement in her general well-being while at the seaside. Although there are a number of medicines which feel better by the sea, Medorrhinum is probably the strongest for this feature. My faith was justified as Amy never looked back after three tablets of Medorrhinum 30c. Her general mood improved such that she was again her normal self. The next virus that she encountered, she shrugged off with little more than a sniffle and her appetite also returned. Everyone, including myself, was delighted with this outcome which has persisted now for over six months without a further prescription being necessary.

I have just remembered another case that responded to Medorrhinum but where the patient did not have the characteristic sleeping position. She was an adolescent with a very stubborn eczema which had resisted all conventional attempts at management and where aromatherapy had also been used without a dramatic improvement. She was one of a group of people where it is very difficult to obtain any striking features on which to base a prescription. I was living in London at the time that I saw her, and suddenly, towards the end of the consultation, when I was about to despair, she declared that the only time that her skin ever improved was when she went to Clacton on Sea for her holidays! Just being in the seaside atmosphere seemed enough to heal her skin and she always returned home with clear skin. I questioned her closely and could not obtain any sense in which this was a stress-releasing effect of the holiday. It really did seem to be the sea air itself that was helping her. As in Amy's case, this was the guiding symptom, Medorrhinum being one of the few homoeopathic medicines which displays this keynote reaction to the sea (Natrum muriaticum is the other one). This girl responded very well to a single treatment with Medorrhinum, and had to have a few more courses over the ensuing year at widening intervals.

Treating children and young people with homoeopathy is very rewarding. Their powers of recuperation are so strong and the remedy picture is often very clear cut. Under these circumstances, prescribing on a keynote, as long as it is well supported by other symptoms, can be both successful and satisfying for all concerned.


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About Dr Angela Jones

Dr Angela Jones works in NHS general practice and also privately, using homeopathy alongside conventional medicine. Dr Jones can be contacted via the Faculty of Homeopathy on Tel: 020-7566 7800.

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