Homeopathic prescription is based on the complete symptom pictureof the patient. During case taking the  homeopathic doctor takes into account all the symptoms, those felt by the patient (subjective symptoms) and those observed by him or the attendants (objective symptoms). Once the complete symptom picture (totality of symptoms) is taken the doctor tries to take out the characteristic symptoms (i.e. characteristic totality) from the totality of symptoms which help in individualizing the patient. These symptoms (characteristic totality) are then compared with the symptoms of the medicines and the most similar (similimum) medicine is prescribed to the patient. Hence homeopathy has a holistic approach and it deals not only with the symptoms of the disease (common symptoms) but also with the symptoms of the patient (characteristic symptoms). In other words it treats the patient and not the disease.