Materia Medica

Homeopathy Materia Medica The Approach to Study

This article is written for all of You intending to study homepathy and who are about to lose confidence facing such a vast number of homeopathic remedies to be studied. The effort You are taking is extraordinary, but it is worth all Your energy being put into the studies of this subject. Never there will be a human being able to master the whole, but to be able to practice this method of healing seriously, we have got to get the picture at least of the most common remedies.

The best way to understand the importance of the Materia Medica in homeopathy is by understanding Dr. Samuel Hahnemann in His teachings as given to us In the Organon Of Medicine. Let me repeat only a few of His dogmas although You might have read it already over and over again.

§1: The physician’s high and only mission is to restore the sick to health, to cure, as it is termed.

§2: The highest ideal of cure is rapid, gentle and permanent restoration of the health, or removal and annihilation of the disease in its whole extent, in the shortest, most reliable, and most harmless way, on easily comprehensible principles.

§3: If the physician clearly perceives what is to be cured in diseases, that is to say, in every individual case of disease (knowledge of disease, indication), if he clearly perceives what is curative in medicines, that is to say, in each individual medicine (knowledge of medical powers), and if he knows how to adapt, according to clearly defined principles, what is curative in medicines to what he has discovered to be undoubtedly morbid in the patient, so that the recovery must ensue – to adapt it, as well in respect to the suitability of the medicine most appropriate according to its mode of action to the case before him (choice of the remedy, the medicine indicated), as also in respect to the exact mode of preparation and quantity of it required (proper dose), and the proper period for repeating the dose; – if, finally, he knows the obstacles to recovery in each case and is aware how to remove them, so that the restoration may be permanent, then he understands how to treat judiciously and rationally, and he is a true practitioner of the healing art.

This says, that we are in need for four insights: knowledge of the disease, indication; knowledge on the medical powers in remedies; to be able to choose the medicine indicated; to be able to determine the proper dose.

§18: From this indubitable truth, that besides the totality of the symptoms with consideration of the accompanying modalities (§ 5) nothing can by any means be discovered in disease wherewith they could express their need of aid, it follows undeniably that the sum of all the symptoms and conditions in each individual case of disease must be the sole indication, the sole guide to direct us in the choice of a remedy.

§105: The second point of the business of a true physician related to acquiring a knowledge of the instruments intended for the cure of the natural diseases, investigating the pathogenetic power of the medicines, in order, when called on to cure, to be able to select from among them one, from the list of whose symptoms an artificial disease may be constructed, as similar as possible to the totality of the principal symptoms of the natural disease sought to be cured.

§106: The whole pathogenetic effect of the several medicines must be known; that is to say, all the morbid symptoms and alterations in the health that each of them is specially capable of developing in the healthy individual must first have been observed as far as possible, before we can hope to be able to find among them, and to select, suitable homoeopathic remedies for most of the natural disease.

§118: Every medicine exhibits peculiar actions on the human frame, which are not produced in exactly the same manner by any other medicinal substance of a different kind.

§120: Therefore medicines, on which depend man’s life and death, disease and health, must be thoroughly and most carefully distinguished from one another, and for this purpose tested by careful, pure experiments on the healthy body for the purpose of ascertaining their powers and real effects, in order to obtain an accurate knowledge of them, and to enable us to avoid any mistake in their employment in diseases, for it is only by correct selection of them that the greatest of all earthly blessings, the health of the body and of the mind, can be rapidly and permanently restored.

If we are not willing to thoroughly follow these rules, frustration will be ours – I do not want to think of what will be the patients. So let us just accept what has to be accepted and let us study the remedies available to us.

BUT HOW SHALL I STUDY THE MATERIA MEDICA?

Well, everybody has to find his/her own individual approach. Perhaps one has to invent ones own method to study Materia Medica. Have a look to a well-stocked library. You will find books decribing homeopathic medicines in poems. You will find books visualizing the remedies in drawings – either in trying to portrait the person fitting to the constitutional appearance of a certain remedy and showing physical characteristics together with descriptions of properties that cannot be painted, or in cartoons that exaggerate the remediy’s individualistic effects. Maybe You can compare a remedy with a person You know well….

There are many methods You can apply, all of them requiring repetitions over and over again.

And still, You will never succeed in learning Your remedies well enough without a written Materia Medica. So the question arises, which Materia medica shall I buy, which one shall I use? The market is flooded with Homeopathic Materia Medicas of prime/high/low quality . I started with two handy books: William Boericke’s ‘Pocket manual of homoepathic materia medica’ and Eugene B. Nash’s ‘Leaders in homoeopathic therapeutics’. Especially the second mentioned book I found very difficult to begin with because it compares different remedies in almost every section. I always forgot what I have read. But even if such reading is so much frustrating in the very beginning, the remedies will increasingly visualize in our mind the more You repeat Your reading again and again (…and again and again…).

At this place let me suggest to You to read the following lecture by Constantine Hering that I found at the website of Whole Health Now:

http://www.wholehealthnow.com/homeopathy_pro/hering_1.html .

What I want to do next is to provide You with a list of some books on homeopathic Materia Medica. Links to online Materia Medicas follow. The lists cannot be complete. This is why I want to invite You to give me a note of any book or link that shall be added here. Do You want to write a book review to be added? You are welcome to submit it here. Kindly use the link at the end of the article.

In Your studies, it will be unavoidable that some of Your questions will remain unanswered. In this case, besides of asking Your lecturer You are invited to pass by at hpathy.com’s Student’s Corner http://hpathy.com/homeopathyforums/ . Tell everybody of Your important or curious findings, ask the questions that are not being answered in Your books. You will learn that studying within a group is much fun and will carry You through episodes when You are close to give up. I am much involved in this process of learning, too. And honestly, with every step forward the paces become larger and faster. But the finish-line still seems to be as distant as on the first day….

Dr. H.C. Allen: Encyclopedia of Pure Materia Medica (12 Volumes): Very detailed. References to the source of the proving or clinical evidences are given.

Dr. H.C. Allen: Keynotes of the Materia Medica with Nosodes: Peculiar and characteristic symptoms are highlighted. Most detailed description of classical nosodes like Lyssinum, Medorrhinum, Psorinum, Pyrogenium, Syphilinum, Tuberculinum and others.

Dr. William Boericke: Pocket Manual of Materia Medica with Repertory (American edition): Among the polychrests You will find many small remedies. Few mental symptoms. Good to get a brief overview of a remedy. The book is handy.

Dr. William Boericke: Pocket Manual of Materia Medica with Repertory (Indian edition): The repertory can not be compared with a true’ repertory.

Dr. CM Boger: Synoptic Key: A handy, compact book.323 remedies with the most important symptoms and main effects. Characteristic organotropic connections/relationships and modalities are highlighted. Footnotes with original quotations from Pure Materia Medica and Chronic Diseases and others.

Dr. Eugenio Candegabe: Comparative Materia Medica: A book to help as a guide in differential diagnosis. Comparisons of mentals and personality structures of some of the big remedies. Analytical and psychological view on remedies. References to Kent’s repertory and Synthetic repertory.

Card Memorizer: „Homeopathic Trivial Pursuit”: For students: learning by playing the game. 500 questions with reference to the Complete Repertory.

About the author

Siegfried Letzel

Siegfried Letzel

Siegfried Letzel - After working in ambulance service in Germany he assisted the German Red Cross in disaster relief following an earthquake in Algeria. He also worked with the League of Red Cross Societies in Geneva, Switzerland. He was sent to Darfur in Sudan to give support to refugees in emergency camps. Subsequently he studied biology in the Philippines and later became qualified as a natural health professional, specializing in TCM and homeopathy. For the last couple years he has been studying historical papers and the works of early homeopaths in search for the original and true homeopathy.

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1 Comment

  • Dear Author,

    Thanks for the information and exhaustive article.

    I also liked the interview of prof.jutte , i would like to know that where can i get the book published by Robert Bosch foundation of Hahnemann case record.

    dr palkesh jani