Barbara Roberts, Homeopath

Follow the Symptoms

One of the most important principles of classical homeopathy is finding the Simillimum – which means matching the symptoms of the person to the closest remedy picture. Generally when there is no response to a remedy it means it wasn’t the simillimum.

This also means that when the symptoms change, it is time to change the remedy.

I am sharing an acute case, with permission, to highlight this change of remedy. Trigger warning- this talks about an acute gastric illness, you may not want to read it while eating, and if you are squeamish maybe skip the rest!

The case is a woman in her 70s, who woke early in the morning with watery diarrhoea – very sudden and did not make it to the toilet in time. Members of her extended family had had gastroenteritis recently and done well on Podophyllum, so this was prescribed.

Later that same day, she felt absolutely exhausted, wiped out, and with a little nausea. New remedy – Arsenicum Album.

The following day she was bloated and having burps that tasted like egg – back to Podophyllum which also has this symptom. Burps reduced but did not stop.

That night she woke two hourly with watery diarrhoea, no smell, and had large burps that tasted like soda water. New remedy Phosphorus.

Phosphorus helped, stopped the two hourly diarrhoea, no more burps and energy at 80%. She was able to take part in a busy day of activities.

However, that evening was back to two hourly diarrhoea, paler in colour. Mouth now tasted dirty, with acid tasting burps and a white “landing strip” on her tongue. Stomach bloated and painful, feeling better bent over. Lycopodium prescribed.

After 4 doses of Lycopodium over an hour, burping was no longer acid, back to soda water tasting. Bloating reduced and able to sit or stand upright. Lots of rumbling and grumbling in the abdomen. Interested in drinking tea for the first time in awhile.

Continued Lycopodium that evening, but she woke in the morning not wanting to eat, only having a barley sugar.  Diarrhoea still watery,  energy levels low but not exhausted. Burps were reduced, abdomen puffy but not painful. Lots of rumbling in the abdomen, but only able to have 3 mouthfuls of tea. Prescribed Croton Tiglium – which is worse for eating and drinking. Also advised to take Saccharomyces Boulardii probiotic and electrolytes, and discussed importance of drinking this regularly as otherwise she may need to go to hospital for IV fluids as this has been going on for a while now.

After croton tiglium she managed to eat some lunch and dinner and slept well. No more diarrhoea that day (and fortunately this meant she did not need medical help and fluids).

The following day the diarrhoea was still improved but after dinner she had very acid burps, which caused a burning pain in the throat which was better for drinking cold water. I prescribed Apis.

After the Apis she had an immediate reaction with a rush of fluid into the mouth and feeling like she would vomit. That passed and there was a copious post nasal flow.

The next day, the sixth day since the beginning of the illness, I had the following message: “Feeling wonderful.  Normal bm this morning, face plumped out again, so I don’t look haggard, energy moderately high, skin fold closer to normal – and burps that are only air.” She continued to improve and needed no further remedies.

So this case went through 6 remedies over 5 days:

  • Podophyllum
  • Arsenicum Album
  • Phosphorus
  • Lycopodium
  • Croton Tiglium
  • Apis

This highlights how symptoms change with an acute complaint.

If you are taking remedies for an acute that has been working but the symptoms change and no longer fit that remedy, it is time to change the remedy.

If you get stuck when self treating an acute, then it is time to get professional help. I try to fit acutes in at short notice when I can, or you can contact a New Zealand Homeopath at

If you are needing help on a weekend, evening, or even the middle of the night, you can talk to a Homeopath at any time at

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