Works that purport to describe homeopathic remedies are called Materia Medicas. The well worked up among them tell which guiding symptoms are strongly indicated and somewhat indicated. That is to say, they grade the symptoms, and it is usually heuristically based, or at least thus tinged.
Mild or weak guiding symptoms that go with preparations may not be of help at the start when we mean to select the most fit remedies - or the one fit remedy. However, some of them may come in handly later in therapeutic processes aiming at cures or betterments.
Homeopathic provings yield documentation of changes that are more or less rightly ascribed to the remedies that have been tried out from over 200 years back, but what is described as remedy effects may differ from one proving to another proving of the same remedy. Homeopatic provings may be considered careful pilot projects, qualitative studies of a kind. Based on their findings, whether spot-on or slighty amiss and also possibly misleading somehow, different homeopathic sourcebooks make selections from among such guiding symptoms. That is why different homeopatich sourcebooks offer mostly similar and occasionally different guiding symptoms to remedies. The different descriptions may blend well with the accepted ones. However, often the descriptions do not differ much.
There is room for further investigations and elaborations, not to speak of scientific investigations into remedies.
From provings to heuristic descriptions of how remedies work
In homeopathic literature the remedies are usually described by symptoms the remedies are said to "attack" or deal with (more or less or wholly, as the case may be). In the literature surrounding Dr Edward Bach's remedies, there is a focus on the good things or states a remedy could bring, if well chosen and aptly administered.
Also worth knowing, there are several homeopatic remedies that are made from the same plants as some of the Bach remedies. But just because homeopathic remedies and some Bach remedies are from the same tree or plant, they are not always from the same parts of the plants, and therefore their effects could be different.
So let us catch a few characteristics of both homeopathic remedies and Bach remedies to go on with more confidence than what is expressed in this way: "Homeopatic remedies are sugar for most part, and Bach remedies are brandy that is usually much diluted in water. The difference could that between sugar and water." That outlook describes a lot of how the vast bulk of remedies are. However, there is more to take into account, namely the subtler sides to remedies, if any.
There is sound research that documents they have such subtler sides. One, there is magnetic resonanance research into remedies. Two, there is a Kirlian study that shows that drops of destilled water and homeopathically treated water differ Three, the effects of remedies on living beings may be studied. And since homeopathic remedies and Bach remedies have been applied to animals, children and adults for many generations by now, there is a growing base for studies of this sort.
That granted, do homeopathic Walnut and Walnut "a la Bach" differ in their descriptions and their effects? How to find out? There are many avenues, and all are not strict.
There are some positive mental qualities that could well describe the uplifting effects of many remedies - or the trees and plants they are made from.
Juglans regia, which is homeopathic Walnut, has among its guiding mind-symptoms:
Excited in evening in bed as if intoxicated, and feeling as if the head were floating in the air. Peevish and discontented in evening. Disinclined to talk or argue, as was customary with him; mental indolence. Inattention when reading and disinclination to work. (Clarke's Dictionary)
The Bach Remedy "Walnut"
The indications for Dr Edward Bach's remedy "Walnut" are:
For those who have definite ideals and ambitions in life and are fulfilling them, but on rare occasions are tempted to be led away from their own ideas, aims and work by the enthusiasm, convictions or strong opinions of others. The remedy gives constancy and protection from outside influences.
From the hunch, more study of descriptions is sensible
From these descriptions we may get a hunch or more - which could be a first step toward excellent evidence. One hunch may be: "Given the Bach remedy's description, a similar influence could be at work through the homeopathic walnut too, against the troublesome states that are guiding mental symptoms to it.
A hunch is no good proof or evidence, but that is often what further research starts from. Philip Chancellor MD has compiled more about Dr Bach remedies. He describes the Bach walnut remedy by the keywords: "Oversensitive to ideas and influences, the link-breaker." And then he offers a wider description, including this by Dr Bach: "WALNUT is the Remedy of . . . change in life . . . big decisions . . . to break old conventions . . . and start on a new way . . . severance of old ties . . . A great spell-breaker. (Chancellor 1990:201)
"The positive aspect . . . is constancy and determination . . . Such are the pioneers and the inventors." (Chancellor 1990:202)
Dr Chancellor goes on to present case histories (Chancellor 1990:202-06)
Bach remedies come with descriptions of positive remedy qualities. Homeopatic guiding symptoms tell about the troublesome states that match such remedies. The effects could be the same if the remedies are made from the same thing. Are they, in this case? Dr Clarke informs that homeopathic Juglans regia (Walnut) is made from "Tincture of leaves and of rind of green fruit." The Bach remedy "Walnut", however, is made from walnut blossoms together with small pieces of stem or stalk and, when present, young fresh leaves." These are then boiled for half an hour.
Thus, there are similarities (leaves) and differences (the rind of the green fruit versus blossoms). The difference may be in some ways like eating an apple blossom and a green apple. It is hard to make out just what may be similar and what is not.
Either all the descriptions are true, or some of them, or none. Also, descriptions may be much true, somewhat true or they matter little or not. The crucial stage of verifying the walnut remedy's effects on human above that of being good food to all who are not allergic to the nut, is to get further than anecdotal evidence. Case histories are anecdotal evidence. If there are many of them, more likable date may be had from them somehow. Leave that to statisticians to help with eliminating the chances of placebo healings. For inventors it maybe good to have a good description of a claimed walnut influence.
Who said it would be easy?
Homeopaths are taught how to list the main symptoms in accepted books of remedy descriptions (Materia Medicas). Guiding symptoms are taken care of by filling them into an established scheme, and symptoms may be ranked and weighed too. It is part of the lore, where the goal is matching remedies and troubles in the hope of helping. Help is either full recovery, partial or just a bit. Further it is thought that cure works from inside out, in step with abridged Mae West saying, "In the mind. That's where it starts."
Homeopathic cures are thought to work from top and downwards also. It is all in the lore, and it may not be wise to discard or disregard significant elements of homeopathic practice that has survived for six generations so far.
The old school of thought may contain thought that is right, somewhat right, or distorted and wrong. There is not good enough reason to discard anything just because it is untested by scientific methods available today.
Bach, Edward. The Twelve Healers and Other Remedies. Reprint ed. Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, Oxon: The Bach Centre, 1952. ⍽▢⍽ Also in the form of an e-book from 2005.
Boericke, William, and Oscar Boericke. Homoeopathic Materia Medica. 9th ed. Philadelphia: Boericke and Runyon, 1927. ⍽▢⍽ More recent editions are from 2008, 1999, 1993, 1990 and further.
Chancellor, Phillip, ed, comp. Handbook on the Bach Flower Remedies. Reprint ed. Rockford: C. W. Daniel, 1971. ⍽▢⍽ Dr Chancellor cooperated with the Bach Healing Centre. This is an ancillary to Edward Bach's basic work, The Twelve Healers and Other Remedies. The book combines remedy descriptions and case histories. Further, each Bach remedy is compared to similar remedies.
Clarke, John Henry: A Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica. 3 vols. London: The Homeopathic Publishing Company, 1900 (vol 1) and 1902 (vols 2 and 3).
Kayne, Steven B., and Lee Kayne. Homeopathic Prescribing: Pocket Companion. London: Pharmaceutical Press, 2007.
Smith, Carolyn D.ed, et al. Hilgard's Introduction to Psychology. 14th ed. Belmont: Thomson Wadsworth, 2003.
Lindahl, Olov, och Lars Lindwall. Vetenskap och beprövad erfarenhet [Science and Tested Experience]. Stockholm: Natur och Kultur, 1978.
Puddephatt, Noel. Puddephatt's Primers: First Steps to Homoeopathy; How to Find the Correct Remedy; Homoeopathic Materia Medica. Ed and rev by Phyllis Speight. Saffron Walden, Essex: Health Science Press, 1976.
Voegeli, Adolf: Homoeopathic Prescribing. Wellingborough: Thorsons, 1976.
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