Notes on idiosyncrasy by Dr John Henry Allen

Dr Devika M

Idiosyncrasy is a peculiar characteristic of an organism that is not in a healthy state and is caused by an underlying miasm. It can be constant or temporary. Anti miasmatic treatment is required for the removal of this peculiar state.

This article focuses on the views of Dr J H Allen on idiosyncrasy, its types, cause, examples and management.

KEYWORDS : Idiosyncrasy, Miasms

Idiosyncrasy is nothing but a well known state of mind or body. It can be mental or physical or moral. It may show itself in any one or more of the faculties of brain. That means it may enter into the desires, hopes, fears, cravings, longings, moods, or in any expression of life.

A patient may be oversensitive to presence of odors, flowers, perfumes, gases, to light, noises, colors, animals, birds –they faint easily when roses are brought into their room, whenever they are sick they can’t tolerate bright light or sunlight or artificial light, certain colors may be intolerant to them. All these are due to idiosyncrasy.

Often these peculiarities are constant for an individual. But it can be temporary also as we see in case of pregnancy, during puberty or in the childhood. Usually these individuals are born with these abnormal conditions but they make their appearance during certain sicknesses.

We see it in the craving for salt. These children not only desire an excess of salt in their food but they steal it from the cupboard or table.

You will find this in tubercular diathesis or a latent syphilitic taint. They don’t assimilate a sufficient amount of sodium chloride, for some reason and when suffering from Tb they eliminate little if any in the urine. Idiosyncrasy is manifested in many ways, one person may be affected by a certain agent, another by some other.

Idiosyncrasy is manifested in many ways, one person may be affected by a certain agent, another by some other.


  • Urticaria after eating seafood,shell fish, ceratin vegetables and fruits, strawberries, asparagus, oatmeal,animal products, certain kind of meats.
  • People who travel will have nausea or vertigo while riding in a carriage or in a ship by sea.
  • People who are affacted by approach of storm,by the sudden fall of the barometer( as seen in the sycotic or syphilitic patients).

They suffer from neuralgia, rheumatism,gouty conditions, depression of spirit, moody conditions, temporary aberrations of mind.

  • One patient craves fresh air and another desires warmth so much so that the slightest draught causes suffering.
  • Patients have been rendered unconscious by an approaching thunderstorm when suffering from prosopalgia.
  • Certain foods or drinks have produced spasms,convulsions, gastric fevers, nausea, vomiting etc and were repeated when such food or drinks were given unknown to these patients.

Idiosyncrasy is an inherent concomitant of the very life.What are known as aggravations, and ameliorations are due to idiosyncrasies. Patient suffering from idiosyncrasy are not healthy they need antimiasmatic treatment. They need similia which removes psora or the tubercular element or whatever may lie behind the idiosyncrasy. Idiosyncrasy is a bad habbit of the organism or the mind.They appear more particularly in the earlier years of life –childhood or adolescence, when the organism is developing.Some processes becomes tardy or completely arrested, as in the non assimilation of bone making material as is well known in hydrogenoid consecutions,seen in the proving of Calc Carb, Calc phos, Silicea, the limes, the phosphates, the silicates are not being furnished for the making of bone as a result there is a longing for such material which the organism requires and the patient is not satisfied until that physiological process is restored through the process of similia.

In pregnant states,new physiological process is established which often disturbs the patient.They desire for strange articles of food-salt, pickles, sweets,raw or uncooked food-barley,rice, undigestible things-charcoal, earth,limes. They may call for spices-cloves, nutmegs, mustard,pepper etc.They may desire wine,beers or stronger beverages. They long for travel, sight seeing, visiting etc.Sometimes the sight of the sea or any body of water satisfy them. Music may solace them or may make them sad.

Their dislikes and likes become exaggerated due to the appearance of a latent maism, Latent untill the new or reproductive function began to manifest itself fully within the organism when an extra demand is made upon the life force.

In many ways this new processes draws from resources already taxed, perhaps to their limits, in a weakened organism where it has been destroyed for a whole life time by some deep acting miasmsuch as produces the tubercular element. It is then that dyscrasias crop out, predispositions becomes manifest and idiosyncrasies show themselves in their fullest sense.

Idiosyncrasy is caused by an underlying miasm and to get rid of this exaggeration of individual’s likes and dislikes a well selected antimiasmatic homoeopahic similimum is needed.

Allen John Henry.The chronic miasms with repertory.Rearranged and Augmented edition, B Jain publishers(P)Ltd,New delhi, 2007;111-114

Dr Devika M
PG Scholar, Department of Organon of Medicine with Homoeopathic Philosophy,
Government Homoeopathic Medical College & Hospital, Bengaluru.

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