Homeopathy Book Reviews

Absolute Homeopathic Materia medica by Dr. P.I. Tarkas and Dr. Ajit Kulkarni

Written by Prashant Gangwal

Absolute Homeopathic Materia medica by Dr. P.I. Tarkas and Dr. Ajit Kulkarni is Reviewed by Dr. Prashant Gangwal

Absolute Homeopathic Materia medica

Authors:  Dr. P.I. Tarkas and Dr. Ajit Kulkarni

1248 pages. Hard cover. Weight 1120 gms.

Published by: B. Jain Publishers (P) Ltd., New Delhi

Publication  2016. Product no. 21335

ISBN 978-81-319-0110-6

Price: € 39,90. Rs. 550/-

Reviewed by: Dr. Prashant Gangwal

There are many books on material medica that address the profession. When a new MM appears, I ask a question with a frown, “Is a new book on MM necessary?”  I got a copy of Absolute MM from my colleague who strongly recommended the book and I must say I got totally engrossed with the book. In the ‘Briefing’, written by Dr. Ajit Kulkarni, the following paragraph drew my attention: “This is a package of uncompromisingly scholarly presentation of 150 remedies offered to the world of homoeopathic material medica, to unravel the hidden treasure of old and new literature, with emphasis on original database, logical interpretation of data, innumerable creative themes, new expanded relationship of remedies and overall a new methodology of remedy presentation”.

This paragraph was a sort of ‘raving’ for me but I must say after three months pondering of the contents, that this book is one of the excellent contemplations on homoeopathic MM. The authors discuss the evolution and structure of MM in a comprehensive manner and the preface prepares the ground for readers to know what this book has to offer.


The outline has been delineated as follows:

  • Monogram: Pathological generals. Behaviour. Patterns. Genetic coding etc.
  • Region Worse Better: Anatomical localities and modalities
  • Highlights: The account of essence
  • Action: Pathogenetic. Toxicology: Neurotoxy. Hemotoxy. The phases of stimulation and depression and alternating phases
  • Make-up: Appearance. Constitution. Diathesis. Personality. Temperament.
  • Nerves: Weakness. Pains. Numbness. Spasms. Trembling. Convulsions. Paralysis. Degeneration etc.
  • Tissues: Mucous membranes. Discharges. Blood. Muscles. Glands. Arteries. Veins. Growths. Bones. Emaciation. Joints. dropsy etc.
  • Ailments from: Pre-disposing. Precipitating. Environmental. Injuries, etc.
  • Peculiar symptoms
  • Mind: Symptoms. Dispositions. Behaviour. Traits. Personality.
  • Head to Skin: Relevant information with sub-headings. Therapeutic indications.
  • Thermal state: Chill, Heat and Sweat
  • A myriad of remedy relations
  • Exploration of remedies through practical tips
  • A dictionary of difficult words
  • Problems and Resolutions of the study of MM
  • How to use remedy relations in Absolute MM


In order to develop the matrix, each remedy is presented in a methodical way by spanning the vast literature from Hahnemann’s MM Pura onwards up to the present generation and this makes the text profoundly deep and practical.

Each remedy is presented through three divisions – first the ‘GENERALS’, followed by the ‘PARTICULARS’ and then ‘REMEDY RELATIONS’.

The remedy begins with ‘MONOGRAM’. The monogram is a remedy’s signature. The study of a remedy through monogram is a more specific way to describe the general manner in which the symptoms express themselves. This is the mode where the procedure itself takes place. Each word in the monogram conveys precisely and concisely what a drug fundamentally is. It is like a genetic code of an individual that contains its unique information and will display its characteristic pattern in the form of behaviour. It is like nucleus/essence/core/kernel/central idea, which encompasses disturbances at mental, emotional and physical levels.

Monogram conforms to the concept of pathological general (Boger), but the authors have included pattern, pace and miasmatic activity too. Thus, it helps to see mental, emotional and pathological layers in integration and how mind and pathology run parallel in a case. In other words, psycho-clinico-patho-miasmatic co-relations can be perceived well with the concept of monogram.

I will illustrate through Monogram of Acetic acid.



Then the remedy begins with Boger’s pattern of ‘REGION WORSE BETTER.’ The Region section brings up the locations like glands, bones, nerves, muscles, mucous membranes, sides, etc. – the anatomical affinities of the remedy. The side affinity is given at the end of Region.

This facilitates quick reference. The authors have tried to present anatomical localities in a hierarchical way. The Worse and Better sections give both general and particular modalities, the way in which the system reacts to the variable stimuli. After learning the Region, these are the codes on which the existence, the whole procedure is directed upon. In order that this pattern should facilitate understanding of the remedy, the modalities are organized under sub-headings of Weather, Periodicity, Depressing factors, Depleting factors, Toxins, etc. This pattern could be called an ‘expanded Boger’ and could be utilized as a direct prescriber in clinical practice.

A wide field of modalities is provided, to make the vision of the readers broader. To illustrate, we all know that Bryonia has < from least motion. But it is not only least motion < but many more modalities about motion <, that have been provided; we have highlighted motion > too under ‘Better’ section.

HIGHLIGHTS depict the ‘account’ of what a remedy has to offer in terms of essence. A terse selection has been offered here to emphasize the outstanding characters at many levels of keynotes, key-themes, patterns, personality etc.

I prefer to give an example.

Highlights of Argentum nitricum

  • Psycho-(genic) somatic disorders (like Caust.).Gastro-psycho-cardiac neuroses (like Ran-b.). Nervous catarrhs. Nervous breakdowns. Tremulous weakness. Incoordination: Mental and physical.Paresis. Paralysis. Ulcerations (eyelids, cornea, nose, mouth, stomach, bowels, bladder, genitals). Splinter-like stitches. Expanded, enlarged sensations. Apprehensions. Sweet-craving. Hemorrhagic.Suggestive of a syphilo-sycotic and tubercular miasm (the metal is sycotic, just as is syphilitic. Nat-m., a closest analogue and associate also, is syco-tubercular and syphilitic).

The authors have also provided the essence in their own view at the beginning of the remedy.

The authors begin Pulsatilla “A delightfully simple medicine, a polychrest of many uses, virtually a princess in the role of a maid servant; a kindly medicine to all: A boon to the unborn, a blessing to the new born, a comrade to the (growing) adolescent, a comforter to the advanced, a solace to the incurable, and when the end is near, a soother of the rattle; practicing well Osler’s advice “Aim to cure sometimes, to relieve often and to comfort always.” Considering its usefulness in all the three stages of life, childhood, youth and old age, it is pertinent to their three miasms of psora, sycosis, syphilis, yet with an accent on sycosis (catarrhs). A good rejuvenator, developer and restorative. A good remedy to begin with in non-descript chronic cases e.g. diabetes, phthisis, sterility, puberty, dyspepsia, diarrhea, urticaria, fevers, etc. serving here to unlock such cases.

So far as ACTION is concerned, the authors have tried to present it in a chronological sequence. Taking the help of all the symptoms of a remedy as known through proving, clinical verification and toxicology, the action of a drug is explained.  Let us see an example.

Action of Agaricus

  • Is complex (as of ). Is initially a stimulant to nerves creating a tonic invigorating effect, which is but a forerunner of hypertonicity-hyperaesthesia and abnormal cerebral nervous excitement producing vertigo, then vigorous deliriums, and even mania (-a-potu), a state of intoxication. At this turbulent stage we get its universal commotion (spasms, stitches etc.). As a counterpart of this nervous excitement, we get also mental hebetudes (dullness). Lastly comes relaxation, ending in a locomotor ataxia with sensory and motor incoordination and unsteadiness (like Onos.), numbness or even paralysis, also a dementia (typifying senility).Intervening at any stage one may be subject to neuro-vegetative disturbances (catarrhs, also asthenia) in the G-I., G-U. or Respiratory tracts too. These conditions may appear also without neuro-excitements in (neurotic) patients (cp. Lyc.).All along these, (intellectual) patients become more and more chilly and hostile to everything cold; also to snow, with impact on the (epi) dermis, and various pains.
  • Chronicity, with slowly deepening pathologies.
  • Anemia of nerve-centers (in brain and spine) due to persistent spasms or contractions of blood-vessels, causing numerous effects (motor and sensory); result of over brain work.

There are ample typological, physiognomic, psychological and other types and they are grouped together under ‘MAKE-UP.’ The authors have given dispositional characters after logical workout of the data and with their clinical experiences.

Make-up of Alumina

  • Broken-down, withered (Arg-n.), wrinkled, dry, tired, tottering, staggering, worn-out from old age (cp. Ambr.), enfeebled to extreme lack of vital heat, sedentary. Studious. Scant. Persons who never enjoyed youth physically or mentally (mentally, ). Timid. Apprehensive. Neurotic. Confused as to their identity.
  • Children: Weak, stunted, puny (Caust.), shy (but snappish), wrinkled, oldish (Abrot.), with spoilt nutrition due to feeding on artifical foods; constipated, chorea infantum. Move and behave (like elderly people) soberly. Wake dozed. Blooming. Juveniles. Big bellied (Sanic., Sil.). Craving for indigestible things. Snuffles with constipation (Royal). Brought up in an unaffable set-up. Left handed children who have been forced to work with their right hand.
  • Girls: Dried up and wrinkled at the time of puberty. Slender, delicate girls, chlorotic, with depraved appetite, < alternate days.

Under ‘NERVES’ section there are headings like Weakness, Universal commotion, Jerks, Spasms, Convulsions, Pains, Numbness, Paralysis, Degeneration, Fainting, Ataxia, Neurasthenia, etc. The scattered data here and there in the proving and then evolved under time continuum, has been coherently compiled under sub-headings. This facilitates easy reference to a remedy in clinical practice.

The same holds true to the ‘TISSUES’ Section. Pre-disposition, Tendencies, Diathesis etc. are mentioned while giving the pathogenetic action of the remedy. Sub-headings here are Blood, Bones, Muscles, Glands, Growths, Emaciation, Discharges, Dropsy, Nails, Cancer, etc. Under sub-headings, relevant information related to pathology, clinical conditions, remedy relations, symptoms, behavior of tissues, etc. has been incorporated.

The division into GENERALS and PARTICULARS, into NERVES and TISSUES, allows the reader to look into specific information within few seconds. The information is richly supplied with symptoms, clinical pathologies, characteristics, modalities and related remedies.

To illustrate: if a reader wants to refer to pains of Agar. opening the ‘Nerves’ section will yield the relevant information in terms of type, modalities, characteristics, location and concomitants and related clinical conditions. If a reader wants to know the action of Puls. on ‘Blood,’ open ‘Tissues’ section and he will get the relevant information. This information can be used for discrimination between several remedies.

The important data about ‘MIND’ has been given in the general section. The authors have focused on dispositional characters/temperamental traits. The portrait of the remedy is given in a precise way focusing on the key-themes of the personality types.  The comparison between many remedies has been given too.

PECULIARITIES AND BEHAVIOUR is an interesting section. It is given under some headings. The selection of “keynotes” is provided with precision. I quote Causticum with three headings:

Nervous decontrol from jerks of any muscular effort, or shake-ups:

  • Nose drips while eating (esp. warm food or drink); salivation from walking (after meals); dim vision on blowing nose; stool on vomiting, even from a subtle motion (as from inspiring or bad news); piles pain on attempting to talk loudly; prolapsus ani (or stool) on coughing; stool after eating; enuresis, in first sleep, when coughing (Ferr.),sneezing, vomiting or from pain; milk disappears from excitement, fatigue; aphonia from excitement, coughs when attempting to talk; spine pains when swallowing; sweats while eating. Hip-joint pains on coughing.

Unhelpfulness of measures:

  • Restless from pain, but rest or motion does not >; can neither move nor rest; during chill must cover warmly but it does not >; desires cold bath but it may not ameliorate (in some cases). Can endure neither heat nor cold.

Contradictoriness or anomaly:

  • Faintness after going to bed; stool easier standing, but must sit down to urinate; no stool, but involuntary urine (both paralytic); speaker’s hoarseness >continued talking; chilly in open air, but not in cold air; chill > by cold drink; stool easier standing but piles < standing; paralytic state >movement; absence of enjoyment during coition, but emission >. Thirst with aversion to drinking (Lach.).Paralysis on the right side, numbness on the left side.

There is a section on INJURIES or AILMENTS FROM. It groups together many “Causes”.

Injuries under Lachesis

  • Shock: Incessant sighing, rapid gasping respiration; cold forehead, ears, nose, giddiness tend blindness, pulse thready and imperceptible.
  • Poisoned wounds; from dissecting, surgery, post-mortems (, Pyrog.),stings, bites, (of rattlesnake, mad dog) even years back.
  • Gaping wounds. Skin around injured parts bluish green, purple, lead coloured, yellow (or black).
  • Controls extravasation and helps absorption.
  • Old cicatrices reopen, pain, bleed or turn fungoid. Straining of muscles; of back.
  • Sequelae: Fever; fungus of dura mater; insanity.

In some remedies the authors give their comments and they are worthy of note.

Comments on Conium

  • is a great revitalizer or rejuvenator, (aligning with Alum.), making the old or oldish person look comparatively younger. If you miss Con. in children (which is quite likely because e.g. it camouflages as Lyc. one is tempted to push it) they will age early without enjoying a vigorous youth, or they may develop tumors and perhaps even cancer. And, if Con. is not followed up (esp. in the elderly) by constitutional treatment (as by Calcareas or Barytas) in time, terminal troubles like apoplexy, sclerosis or paralysis might appear. Giving Gels., or Rhus-t .e.g. for colds (where Con. was required) may render one, more and more susceptible to colds, to say the least.
  • Remember, is a bridge between Gels. and Bar-c. or Bar-m., and a comrade to Hell, which is its close-up (in vegetable dyspepsia and cerebro-muscular difficulties of the aged).

After the ‘GENERALS’ are over, the second section on ‘PARTICULARS’ begins. It contains a Hahnemannian schema from ‘Head to Foot’. It covers characteristic symptoms, clinical tips and related remedies. The information has been provided under headings and subheadings and an orderly paragraphing has been done so that the reader receives the integrated information at one stroke. This information is very rich from a therapeutic point of view.

Then follows the ‘THERMAL STATE’ of the remedy that covers chill, heat, sweat, types of fevers and concomitants with characteristics. Here the authors have given many clinical conditions, tips and comparisons.

The third section on ‘REMEDY RELATIONS’ is quite interesting. It provides useful and new information logically deduced from ‘differential materia medica’. Readers will enjoy going through it. Discrimination between remedies is an essential part of the study of material medica and hence a lot of new relations have been formulated to perceive the functionality of our remedies. If the reader goes through the remedies like Agaricus., Baptisia., Bryonia., Pulsatilla,  Pyrogen, etc., he will understand the kind of work presumed to him.

I can make a categorical statement that no MM offers such expansive relations. If a reader has a doubt about the new relations that have been offered in this MM, he can refer to the excellent exposition of remedy relations provided by Dr. Ajit Kulkarni at the end.

There is also the new ‘Counterpart’ relation coined by the authors.



  1. Mostly similar but opposite in some respects.
  2. One that exactly resembles another as in function or relation.
  3. A person or thing, which has the same purpose as another in a different place or organization.
  4. Natural complement.
  5. One of two parts that fit and complete each other, e.g. seal and its impressions.


  • Lyc is a counterpart of Arg-n and Arg-n is a counterpart of Kali-c and Caust. This connects Arg-n, Caust. and Lyc with Kali-c.
  • Rad-br is a counterpart of Sul.
  • Bar-c is a chronic counterpart of
  • Lach and Fl-ac are mutual counterparts.


The statement ‘The Indian Prime Minister met his counterpart British Prime Minister’ is appropriate to know the meaning.  The counterpart relation basically deals with similarity at the prime components. It means that the similarity is available at the general level, both at mind and physical levels with the most characteristic pattern. It may be at the pathogenetic action level (pathological general) or it may be also at the particular level.

In the counterpart relation, it is to be noted that there are some opposite symptoms also. So the total similarity is not available, while in nearest analogous relation or in version relationship, there are no opposites, at least strong opposites are not available.

The counterpart relation should be used in clinical practice when one has sufficiently grasped the materia medica and one bases the prescription on this knowledge. In counterpart relation one has also to define the purpose. It means the decided purpose, which allows a physician to select an appropriate remedy. The purpose could be giving symptomatic relief or anti-miasmatic treatment etc. etc.  Again see that in the counterpart relation, the remedy, which you will subsequently give, must be complementary.

Counterpart relations are of three types: acute, chronic and mutual. Mutual counterpart means counterparts of each other, i.e. if A is counterpart of B, then B is also counterpart of A; it is a double expression.

Let us take Caust. It has mutual counterpart RR with Lyc. The meaning is that Caust can lead to Lyc or vice-versa. There is similarity at the prime level, although they may be opposite at remaining ones. The source may be different but they share the similarity.

The half arrows indicate that they can move in either direction.

                 Causticum                Lycopodium

Let us take one more example.Rad-br.is a counterpart of Sulph.’ Both are set to work at the common prime job of disturbed and disrupted metabolism. Further, Rad-br. carries forward the work of Sulph. Both are indicated for effects of radiation. Both are cancerous, cachectic, rheumatic and skinny. In spite of resemblances, there are opposite symptoms. Under the rubric, Extremities; pain; motion; amel.; continued, Rad-br. is present but not Sulph. Under the rubic, Extremities; pain; walking agg, Sulph. is present but not Rad-br. Generally, Sulph. is better by cold while Rad-br. is worse by cold. At skin level, eruptions and itching are > hot application and hot water in Rad-br. and Sul. is opposite in modalities.

Are Sol-n and Bell counterparts of each other? They should not be called  counterparts because the similarity, which they share, is only at the cerebral level. For a counterpart relation the similarity must be present at multiple, prominent or crucial levels. Note that in counterpart RR, there is dissimilarity/opposite symptoms or modalities in the remaining aspects. At best RR of Sol-n and Bell may be called analogous.

The GLOSSARY is provided after the text and relevant meanings of words (which otherwise are difficult to spot) are given.

TWO ARTICLES: At the end two articles by Dr. Ajit Kulkarni are provided to facilitate the process of learning.

  • Exploring the Problems and Resolutions of Materia medica
  • How to study remedy Relations in Absolute Materia medica

This conceptual format is really unique, because it unifies the scattered data in a practical manner and I think this is the strength of the book. The data has been presented as a desktop guide and thus, the book also satisfies the need of a therapeutic book. Of course, the book is not only about compilation. You will get creative ideas of the authors in one way or the other on every page. The second strength is the ease with which the enormous data has been presented under relevant headings, and that too with analysis. The third strength is the comparisons made by the authors in several remedies, and that too through coining many new relations. That makes the vision of the reader much more wide. With ‘Doctrine of Signatures’, the authors have explained the similarity between source and characters of the remedies under Bryonia, Buforana, Lachesis and Pulsatilla. The authors should think of adding more remedies in the future.

What is lacking in this MM? Instead of lacking something, I will remark that the text is exhaustive and I would have preferred less physical data. The remedy portrait doesn’t contain stories and novels of mental types; however, I am not ready to call it a weakness of this serious book. We have enough stories and we need concrete facts being analyzed and presented and this is exactly what this comprehensive volume offers to the homoeopathic profession, from the duo of sincere Indian homoeopaths!

In a nutshell

  • An outcome of years standing efforts of duo Dr. P. I. Tarkas and Dr. Ajit Kulkarni…
  • A ‘new’ teaching consonant with perennial tradition…
  • Intelligence, perseverance and integrity define this precious volume of materia medica
  • Addressed to every sincere student, researcher and practitioner of homeopathy…
  • A clear account of each remedy, free of woolly jargon and imaginations…
  • The portrait of each remedy built up by scanning the vast literature from Hahnemann onwards…
  • A unique framework to fall back on when you are confronted with difficult cases…
  • A unique book that co-ordinates between old and new literature…
  • A unique book that bridges the gap between MM and Therapeutics…

About the author

Prashant Gangwal

Dr. Prashant Gangwal M.D. (Hom.), Professor, PHM College, Shrirampur, Maharashtra, India. Homoeopathic diabetologist.

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