Reviewed by Dr. Firuzi Mehta
First Edition: 2013
Published by B.Jain Publishers (P) Ltd.
Printed in India
No. of pages: 787
Price: INR 349/=
Dr. J.D.Patil, Principal of the Foster Development Homoeopathic Medical College in Aurangabad and Former Director of Student Welfare at the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences, Nashik has brought out this new book on Materia Medica. This book comes after five of his earlier bestselling works on different aspects of Materia Medica. Many editors and junior doctors have worked earnestly on this book with Dr. Patil and together they have given it a distinctive shape.
Section I contains an Introduction which covers basics about homoeopathy and Materia Medica, an interesting history of the Materia Medica and how it evolved, how it is constructed and from what sources, etc. There is a chapter on different approaches to studying Materia Medica and techniques of understanding it. The relationship of Materia Medica to the subjects of Organon and Philosophy, Homeopathic Pharmacy and Repertory also form different chapters in the Introduction.
Many different concepts of homeopathic study are discussed – scope and limitations, drug action, principles and routes of drug administration, constitutions, miasms, temperaments, diathesis, doctrine of signatures, potency selection, grouping of remedies, drug relationships, etc.
There are chapters on Important Definitions, Trios of Remedies, Sensations As If, Discharges, Food Cravings and Aversions, Fears, Dreams, Tongue, Time Modalities, Thermal Relationship and Side Affinities.
All the above are included in the Introduction and cover the initial 184 pages of this book.
The Introduction is followed by Section II which has the main text – the Materia Medica of 180 homoeopathic remedies. The book follows a certain pattern for the most part in the compilation of details for every remedy.
ñ Some important keynotes (I found this useful for quick reference)
|Duration of Action|
ñ Introduction and History
ñ Habit and Habitat
ñ Preparation and Parts Used
ñ Constitution and Physiognomy
ñ Ailments From
ñ Seat of Action (Pharmacodynamics)
ñ Active Principles (Chemical Constituents)
ñ Physio-pathological Changes (Pathology)
ñ Characteristic Mental Symptoms (Psychology)
ñ Characteristic Physical Guiding Symptoms
ñ Important Characteristic Features (this usually comprises details about the characteristics of the remedy for its particulars, esp. conditions it is known for. Eg., for Cuprum Metallicum – it gives details about Cholera, Cramps and Epilepsy; for Ledum Pal – it gives details about Rheumatism/Joint affections; for Platina – it gives Nymphomania and Constipation. Students would find this useful for their examinations.)
ñ General Modalities (this lists the aggravating and ameliorating factors)
ñ Remedy Relationships (this is as per the reliable list of R. Gibson Miller that is also included in the Indian print of Boericke’s Materia Medica)
ñ Comparison (I particularly liked this brief section since it lists symptoms shared by other remedies which need to be compared in practice)
ñ Therapeutic Value (This lists disease conditions in which the remedy may be of use)
ñ Note (This point is seen in few remedies and gives tips about the remedy gathered from different reliable sources. Again, it’s useful! Eg.: Under Causticum, there are 3 notes, one of which says: Like Psorinum and Sulphur, Causticum too should be thought of when the improvement comes to a standstill. Under Hepar Sulphuris is a note: High potencies of Hepar are contraindicated in encysted tubercle in the lungs)
Section III comprises a Therapeutic Index, a Glossary, a Flow Chart of Remedies at a Glance and a Bibliography.
The Therapeutic Index gives a list of medical conditions with the main remedies that might be used for them. It is important for students to realise that though homeopathy does not function with specifics, many remedies have regularly developed a certain set of symptoms in their provings which makes them useful for the treatment of that same set of symptoms which may be seen in fixed medical conditions. In addition, the Therapeutic Index is not a list of specifics – remedies will have to be compared and then chosen for the patient based on the actual symptom picture.
The Glossary gives the meaning of words that might be difficult to comprehend.
The Flow Chart of Remedies at a Glance gives a table with drug name, common name, family/group, theme, side affinity, thermal reaction, miasm, temperament and diathesis.
I quite enjoyed reading this book; not only did it help me to revise my Materia Medica knowledge, but I also learnt interesting facts about our remedies that are not often present in other basic books on Materia Medica. For students, this book will be useful since it includes almost all the polycrest remedies included in the B.H.M.S. and M.D. syllabus prescribed by the Indian Central Council of Homeopathy. It is a ready-reference work for practitioners and is a work of love and labour.
Some negatives about the book – In the Introduction, in the chapters on Sensations, As If, Discharges, Desires, Aversion, Fears, Dreams and Tongue the listing is not alphabetical but rather haphazard. This makes these chapters difficult to refer to in practice. Some points are repeated and some symptoms are left blank with no remedies listed. These chapters are brief and hence make an incomplete reference for these topics. Many new remedies are listed in these chapters; seasoned practitioners would prefer to have knowledge of the exact source of these additions.
There are quite a few typographical errors throughout the book. A couple of factual errors have crept in too. For example, under Cannabis indica, in the Comparison section,
Time passes too quickly: Cocc, Ther, Cann-i.
That is an error because Cannabis indica has the symptom ‘Time seems too long for him, a few seconds seem ages’. This actually indicates ‘Time passes too slowly.’ This is a symptom correctly given earlier on, but the error is in the comparison section.
If read with care, the errors will be spotted. Dr. Patil wants information about errors to be passed on to him for corrections, but no contact details are provided. An email address would have been a good starting point.
Dr. Patil mentions in the Prologue that the language is kept easy and lucid; the back cover states that there are no complicated words or sentences – that was something to look forward to, but in this respect I did not find much change from other materia medica books.
The binding is good, print quality is decent, paper quality is average; thin paper has probably been used to keep the size of the book convenient.
Summing up, the book has a lot more positives than negatives. Overall, it is a good effort and will prove useful – much more so if we see a corrected second edition.
First published in The Homeopathic Heritage, November 2013, Vol. 39, No. 8.