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Need more information on a certain subject? We will periodically publish articles on homeopathic remedies, acupuncture, and Shiatsu, what they can do for you, and much more on this page. M.M. Townsend R.Ac., Homeopath is committed to finding treatments that work and can ease your pain and illnesses.

Selecting a Homoeopathic Remedy

No two cases of the same-named disease are treated alike. The remedy, when correctly chosen after careful observation and questioning, sets the patient on a natural path to self-healing and improved resilience.

The selection of a homoeopathic remedy can be plainly circumstantial, as in Apis Mellifica for insect bites or Arnica Montana for impact injuries and bruising. Or it can involve an intricate investigation of a whole lifetime, rather like breaching a fortress of a thousand doors with something as subtle as a whisper. I have seen those same two remedies used in constitutional cases, where Apis was critically instrumental in treating a middle-aged woman's brain tumour, and Arnica, a young male officer verging towards bipolar disorder. These are examples of the difference between circumstantial and constitutional prescribing.

So how does a prescriber orient themselves in an ocean of possibilities that is the homeopathic materia medica? How to weigh up the questions of source or kingdom (animal, vegetal, mineral, etc.) repertorization (going from a morass of symptoms to the weighted values of remedies that cover them); modalities (seasonal to diurnal, digestive to temperature to emotional factors precipitating alleviation or aggravation); miasm (depth of disease, heredity or predisposing factors); the timeline of physiopathology; the nature of the patient etc.?

Let's start with the source of the remedy. Source: a small word but a vast subject, not readily encompassed in a few crude brush strokes. Homeopathic remedies are sourced from several kingdoms. Generally speaking, patients calling for an animal remedy are mainly concerned with matters pertaining to that kingdom: shelter, play, progenitor, competition, sexuality, bravado/timidity, show/preening, etc. From the mammals, their most defining or characteristic substance could be said to be milk. So we have Lac Vaccinum from a cow, Lac Caprinum from a goat, Lac Maternum from a human, and so on. It is not hard to imagine how different would be someone calling for Lac Lupinum, wolf, from someone calling for Lac Lepaninium, rabbit! Then from the reptiles and insects, we have venoms, as Lachesis, the Crotalids, etc., or from some spiders a venom from some the web as in Aranea Tela or from some insects the whole creature as in Apis Mellifica Cuubensis.

As examples from my case notes: a 50-year old woman, a pediatric nurse who never wanted children of her own suffering from uterine fibroid and sleeplessness, and now finding herself overwhelmed with the care of three aging relatives, responding beautifully to Lac Maternum.

Or a 60-year old man; ex-navy, carpenter, climbing instructor, collector of pulleys, and outdoorsman extraordinaire. He averted any further knee surgeries and resumed distance skating and hiking after a course of Aranea Diadema, the cross spider.

Or the 45-year old woman suffering severe hot flashes and right-hand paralysis every morning. With a short course of Lac Delphinium, she was clear of those complaints, along with the habit or perpetually rearranging the furniture, and her long-standing dream of going around and around the block of her childhood home. Think of the behaviour of dolphins who circle and circle their pod. Lac Delphinium is, I think, the most playful remedy of our materia medica. "But what's the point," she said, "if one is not curious." Re-reading A Short History of Everything. It's a colourful world!

Patients calling for mineral remedies are much more concerned with hierarchies, relationships, order, method, and career/monetary success. Consider a 4-year old girl who loves puzzles, draws very intently, but communication by speech is sporadic, she is very self-possessed and assertive at times, then bashful and uncertain and literally hiding behind her mother's skirts, afraid to sleep on her own. Her growing repertoire of quirky gestures and tics drive the parents to the consult. She is doing very well with Baryta Carbonica. a mineral salt. Generally speaking, a salt of two elementals is called for when the case presents a strong polarization at the core of an individual's dilemma. In this instance, Baryta, stage 2 in the periodic table (observing, evaluation. criticising, unsure) of the gold series (power, leadership, maturity) is joined to carbon (individuality, value, meaning, child). Or to consider a 60-year old man with prostate cancer, afraid to go to sleep since childhood for his own nightmares; he sorts these things, along with the mayhem of three children in their 20's, multiple relationships and scattered lives, all come to order over 18 months of Baryta Carbonica.

As a third example in the mineral realm, I would like to sketch for you the case of a 24-year old (female) graduate student whose eczema resurfaced with a fury each time she felt profoundly nervous (manifesting also in sickening anxiety attacks) about her place in the world. Her first summer away from home at 17 – working with Habitat for Humanity – her applications to college, her starting at university, applications to grad school, being accepted at same: "But what will my students think with those horrible hands?!" And that's where we pick up the case, going into her second year of teaching creative writing to undergrads. She said, "I come from a family of scientists. It's hard for them to accept that I'm a poet. I realize poetry is not an obvious way to expect to earn a living, but I know I can, somehow. And my fiancée is in training for the diplomatic corps. But most of most of my students are not nearly as fortunate as I and some of them younger than me are returning war vets. I fear for their well-being. I come home and I’m always thinking of their problems, so now my eczema is intolerable!" With Molybdenum in ascending potencies, her eczema and other attending physical symptoms gradually disappeared, and her anxieties eased and self-confidence became more settled.

Molybdenum, stage 6 (they're up to the challenge, have a great need to prove themselves, the pain of initiation, the fear of the task being too great, but also the inevitable) in the silver series of the periodic table: ideas, art, communication, voice, hearing. What marvels there are encoded in the stages and series of the periodic table of elements!

Now we come to the largest kingdom of all represented in the homeopathic material: the plant kingdom. Fortunately, there are many centuries of lore and literature to help us sort them into different botanical families, species, and orders. Think how different the liliacea from the conifers but that I shall leave for another article, space is running out!

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.


Trigger your body’s natural healing response with homeopathic remedies.


Using extremely thin needles, acupuncture can be an effective method of pain relief.


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M Madeleine Townsend

339 Palace Road

Kingston, ON K7L4T4

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10:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Service Area

Eastern Ontario
Western Quebec
Northern New York 

*We can occasionally consult from a distance in homeopathic medicine.

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