Dr. Subrata K. Banerjea is Principal of the Allen College of Homoeopathy, Essex, UK, and Director of the Bengal Allen Medical Institute, Calcutta . Afourth generation homeopath, he is an internationally acclaimed homoeopathic clinician, lecturer and author. He is considered by many as the world’s leading authority on miasmatic prescribing.
NH: How can homoeopathy be simple with 3000+ remedies?
SKB: It is important to focus on 50 polychrests, and to be able to recognise them as you would a friend on the phone, through their voice, tone and character. This is the essence of the remedy, a personification of ‘drug pictures’. My grandfather stressed
knowing the polychrests as a mother knows her baby. You should know them well through their weakest links and keynotes. For example, it’s raining and the patient has oozing eczema, which only happens when it is raining. The remedy is Dulcamara.
Its weakest links are skin and glands. Its keynotes are hot wet weather and sudden change in weather.
NH: Which homeopathy texts do you find most useful?
SKB : Kent is one of my heroes, though he takes many pages to build a picture in his Lectures on Homoeopathic Materia Medica. Simple and precise sketches of remedies can be found in Allen’s Key Notes. Compare twenty pages for Sulphur in Kent and two pages in Allen’s. Boericke’s Materia Medica is worth many readings, and a study of the first paragraph gives a thorough introduction to the medicine. Sulphur: skin with heat, burning, itching. A sinking feeling of stomach at 11 a.m. A great Hahnemann anti-psoric. You can think of the Materia Medica in terms of a language which should be learnt well. The Repertory is needed like a dictionary, to fine tune the final decision and is for confirmation only.
NH: Is the classical approach still reliable?
SKB : The classical approach is time tested, scientific and has been repeatedly verified and supported by the old masters. It is well suited to modern times and the patients are the same. Historically there was crude drugging and suppression. Today there is a refined suppression, often through a cocktail of drugs, but the outcome of suppression is the same. Symptoms are manifested through location, sensation, modality (what makes it better or worse) and concomitants (other symptoms that go with it). I would also add cause and onset, duration of suffering and previous treatments.
This Classical method can be summarised as M T E K. Miasmatic totality, Totality of symptoms, Essence, Keynotes including PQRS symptoms (§153, §209). Philosophy and the classical method are inextricably linked. This classical approach goes straight into practicalities. Case taking must be appropriate and correct (§ 83-104) and the Organon gives a structured method to find a medicine. The patient must be allowed to give emphasis. For example, we might guess an ailment is from separation or grief, but it is essential to inquire what the patient thinks about it. The role of the homoeopath is to be an unprejudiced observer (§6).
The homeopathic philosophy is an integral part of the process. Organon states that in prescribing the correct dose, we give one single globule in water with succession. In other words, the minimum dose, right potency and penetrating in nature. It is possible for a ‘quick fix’ in this impatient world, given the right medicine and the right potency, though, slow and steady wins the race. When dealing with drug dependent cases, it is important to look for sustainable improvement. A good first prescription is important and must not be spoiled by undue haste on the follow up. Patients need to evaluate their health and reflect on their improvement. It is essential for the practitioner to be able to watch and wait with wisdom.
NH: Do homeopaths have need for aspects of conventional medicine?
SKB : It should be a homoeopath’s intention to work together with conventional medicine. There is a need for diagnosis and prognosis which can help with proper management of the case. Also, it is valuable to know the limitations of homoeopathy. It can’t fix anything structural such as a hole in the heart, but it can help with symptoms such as palpitations and cyanosis.
NH: How do you feel about the newer remedies?
SKB: I am happy to use modern remedies which have been well proved such as Folliculinum, and Oscillicoccinum.
NH: What do you do to relax?
SKB: I know how essential it is to switch off and relax with a hobby. I enjoy music, travel and cooking.
NH: What is important for new graduates in homeopathy?
SKB: Newly graduated homoeopaths require good supervision and to realise there is no end to learning.
- Boericke. W. – Materia Medica with repertory
- Allen. H.C. – Keynotes and characteristics with comparisons of some of the leading remedies of the materia medica.
- Kent. J.T. – Lectures on homoeopathic materia medica
- Banerjea. S.K. – Classical Homoeopathy for an Impatient World (2010)
- Banerjea. S.K –Miasmatic Prescribing (2006).
For those interested in miasms invaluable pages from Subrata’s book Miasmatic Prescribing (2006) are Look and Diagnose the Miasm on pages 289 and 290.
There is a quote on display in ACH by Einstein about knowing where to find information, here is another one;
‘If you can’t explain it simply, you didn’t understand it well enough’. Einstein
Any errors of misunderstanding or misrepresentation are entirely my own, I hope to have shown that homeopathy is indeed simple and classical and that this approach is a very strong basis from which to start practising homoeopathy.
Editor’s Note: See also the interview with Dr. Banerjee from April 2011