Complementary, Inimical, and Antidotal
H.A. Roberts, M.D.
(Read before I.H.A., Bureau of Homoeopathic Philosophy, June
The grouping of remedies
is a problem that presents itself to the mind of the homoeopathic
student as soon as he begins to gain some insight into the personality
of remedies and their application in individual cases. The first
step along this line of thought is the inevitable comparison of
remedies as brought out by the study of even a few remedies, and
the necessary differentiation between remedies as soon as the beginner
begins to comprehend the similarities that exist in almost any group
of remedies. Usually the beginner learns to recognize Aconite and
Belladonna among the earliest remedies in his armamentarium; to
the older student of material medica they present marked differentiating
symptoms, but the novice sees chiefly marked similarity.
The comparison of symptom similarities as
exhibited by drug provings undoubtedly set the minds of the early
homoeopathic students into the problem of remedy relationships.
There is no question but that the problem of the similimum as against
the similar arose even in the mind of Hahnemann, as may be inferred
from his reports of cases, especially that of the mental case in
which he prescribed first Belladonna and then Hyoscyamus---remedies
which certainly have many similarities Whether or not Hahnemann
himself devoted serious consideration to remedy relationship is
a point we have not been able to check definitely.
We do know, however, that from his era on
careful observers and students have given much thought to the problem
of remedy relationship, and with all the statement of observations,
little explanation has been advanced.
Even a cursory examination, however, seems to indicate that the
key to the problem of complementary, inimical and antidotal remedies
lies in similarity in some form---similarity of derivation, or similarity
of symptom grouping.
Knerr, in his Repertory to Hering’s Guiding Symptoms, heads his
interesting chapter on Drug Relationships (Indian ed., v. 2, chapter
48, p. 1697) with the following definitions:
Collateral. Drugs following well.
Complementary. Supplying the part of another drug.
Inimical. Drugs disagreeing, incompatible, do not follow well.
Similar. Drugs suggested for comparison by reason of their similarity;
usually compatible, unless too similar, like Nux vomica and Ignatia.
There is a well-defined standard by which
we can compare any two well-proven remedies for similarity.This
is a problem which takes in but two major factors: the sifted symptoms
of each remedy, so that (insofar as possible) personal idiosyncrasies
do not interfere with the comparison. Hahnemann, in his preface
to the Materia Medica Pura tells us how carefully symptoms were
sifted so that none might appear that were not pure drug effects;
how all symptoms were derived from healthy provers who were under
similar conditions and on a similar regime; how all symptoms which
appeared after deviation from the normal regime (such as fright,
shock, or other psyclic or physical causes) were not recorded in
the provings; and how such symptoms as appeared after lesser deviations
from the normal were included in brackets as being of doubtful value.
Unfortunately, not all later provings have been so carefully guarded,
and we are not always sure of the symptom---whether it be of the
remedy or of the prover himself---- unless there have been enough
provers under similar regime to provide adequate control conditions.
However, clinical verifications have tested some symptoms, which
were brought out under seemingly uncontrolled conditions to the
point where the verifications have provided a sound basis for the
elimination of the idiosyncrasic element in comparisons.