Part of the "Become Informed" Series, by WHP
When you have a condition you would like to address with homeopathy, you need to know more than the name of the ailment. In fact, you'll often find that the name of the ailment doesn't help much. Whether walking into the pharmacy or the physician's office or opening your own self help books, you'll need to know four major things:
LOCATION of the ailment - e.g., headache above the right eye
SENSATION of it - what it feels like, e.g. pulsating
MODALITIES (what makes it better or worse) e.g.worse cold
(including times) e.g. worse morning
CONCOMITANTS (what seems to go with it) e.g. big appetite
A fifth one while not always available is very useful if it is clear -
CAUSE (etiology) what brought on the condition,, e.g. excessive intake of alcohol
You (or the practitioner) may also give special weight to what are known as "general" symptoms - symptoms about the whole person, that is - they feel hot, sad or hung-over. The idea is it's about how they feel overall, not whether their head hurts. Often it happens that one part of the body wants to do one thing, but overall, the patient wants to do the opposite. All other things being equal, I go with the remedy for the whole person.
Using the above symptoms without the cause would lead one to use Belladonna. However, knowing that the cause of the problem is excessive alcohol, Nux Vomica for a "hang-over" would be the remedy to try first - the whole body is poisoned not just the head.
*When homeopathy first appeared as a medical practice, very few tests, etc. were available. It is now useful to homeopathic physicians to have the latest tests, etc. - if for nothing else than to evaluate the progress of a condition.