155 pages; Soft Cover, 3rd Edition.
Reviewed By: Dr. Leela D’Souza
All of us Bombay Students of homeopathy (and over the last decade, all over India as well), know Dr. Parinaz Humranwala as a dedicated, vivacious, ever smiling teacher giving us lively lectures at various seminars. Following one of these, last year, I saw her book, “Temperament Types – A Study” that contributed in a practical way in case analysis. It presents a very useful tool for students and practitioners to master.
Her first task is to clarify our understanding of the fine lines of difference between the definitions of diathesis, constitution, nature, personality, temperament, etc to help us get a better idea of what is the focus when we analyze the temperament of a patient.
For example she says our temperaments take form according to our genetic material. The temperament is the “real me”. How is the temperament different from the personality? The personality is the dress one puts over oneself, the outer shell, the faÃ§ade that is seen on the outside. Temperament is not behaviour. It is our inborn, God given nature.
She also introduces in depth, Hahnemann’s use of temperaments and constitutional portraits in his description of Pulsatilla in Materia Medica Pura. In Hahnemann’s system, the natural temperament and constitution was the basis used to study the mistuned states of the vital force. Now given the details of Pulsatilla and other remedies available in the MMP, constitutional portraits and temperamental counter-indications could be used as a FILTER for remedy selection. Modern homoeopathy seems to have forgotten this tool. Similarly we have forgotten the tool of Hahnemann’s miasmatic perceptions.
In her review of literature, she acknowledges the contributions of Knerr, Clarke, Hering, etc., for classifying remedies into various temperaments, and has studied David Little’s writings from among contemporary authors. Her experience suggests that there are five basic temperament types into which remedies could be grouped: Sanguine, Choleric; Melancholic; Phlegmatic; Nervous. Perceiving them and their combinations makes not only the study and understanding of Materia Medica much easier, but case analysis and prognosis as well. Helping develop a homoeopaths’ perception in this regard is her major contribution to homoeopathic research.
Dr. Parinaz explains that for each polychrest there are temperament types and their combinations. In our case taking too, we need to identify the temperament of the patient. A remedy which covers the ‘numerical totality’ of the case but does not agree with the temperament of the patient is less likely to produce a desirable result. In our repertorial list we need to select a remedy that is also in agreement with the temperament of the patient.
She goes on to give us a graphic and lucid understanding of each basic temperament, brought together from various sources, especially from Reverend Conrad Hock’s book Four Temperaments. Next she shows us how Materia Medica could be understood from the perspective of temperaments through her study of the Natrum Group in detail. She has described the temperaments of quite a few other remedies offering a pivotal understanding of their mental state.
Integrating all this information for practical application in cases, she reminds us that both individuals and remedies may be a combination of two or more temperaments; one predominant over the others. For example, Lac Caninum is Melancholic2, Nervous2, Phlegmatic2; Palladium is Sanguine3, Choleric2. To conclude, she adds cases from her practice to illustrate how an analysis of the basic temperament its combinations during case taking narrows down the choice of remedies as a filter. Here is a case of malignancy cured, in the clinical section.
I found this is an interesting and worthwhile study to pursue that allows every homoeopath get a deeper grasp of the Materia Medica as well as a deeper understanding of the patient’s mental state and physical disease. Of course many more remedies need to be included into the reportorial rubrics and classification of temperamental types. But, does the proving information collected today take into account this aspect as Hahnemann did when he compiled his provings? In addition, do our cases documented today provide information of patient’s temperament types? This could be considered a lacuna in information made available for future use and needs to be remedied.
With all the cutting edge ideas developing in the field of homoeopathy today, let us not lose sight of the valuable tools handed down to us not only from our own Masters, but from that of medical and philosophical analysis down the ages, starting with Hippocrates. Let each homeopath find that balance of perception in one’s practice that allows us best to serve our suffering fellowmen. Dr. Parinaz has offered us her refined development of an old tool and we look forward to her further elaborating it, fine-tuning it with added clinical application.