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From Similia to Synergy Generations in Homœopathic Practice


Dr. Rajan Sankaran describes the evolution of homeopathic practice and the contributions of various homeopaths from Hahnemann to the present.

With the newest evolution of homœopathic practice, we can produce a unique and innovative service for our fellow man. With trust, openness and good intentions on our side, we as a profession can grow and take forward the most beautiful and gentle method of healing, without overlooking the roots that our forefathers established. This synergistic integration of generations— both old and new—will be the legacy that lives on.”

Homœopathic medicine is a medical art that is based upon fundamental principles that have been used effectively in healing for hundreds of years. As time has progressed, the evolution of homœopathic medicine has expanded significantly with each generation of practitioner. As a second-generation homœopath, I was introduced to homœopathy when I was a child. I benefitted from watching my father and several of his contemporaries in close quarters, and heard many enlightening stories and anecdotes about their teachers and seniors. It has been fascinating to watch the evolution of homœopathy across generations in addition to visualizing where the practice is going and what the future is likely to be. I have attempted here to give a structure to this evolution and have described it through its stages of development – invention, intensification, innovation and integration. These stages of homœopathic development loosely parallel the stages of development in other arts and sciences, as well as the stages of development in the periodic table. For example, the first, second and third row have to do with conception and development, the fourth row as solidification, the fifth row with invention and, finally, the sixth row with attaining full maturity, independence and leadership. This article aims to travel through the journey of homœopathic existence and examine each of the four generations along with the respective contributors of its time.


Let us begin with the generation of Invention, the era when the grounding foundations of homœopathic practice were established. Samuel Hahnemann was the founder of homœopathy. He postulated a healing principle: “That which can produce a set of symptoms in a healthy individual can treat a sick individual who is manifesting a similar set of symptoms — the Law of Similars”. This principle, like cures like, became the foundation for an approach to medicine to which he gave the name ‘homœopathy’. Hahnemann also laid down the fundamental principles of potency, case taking, and case management.

The next contributor in the Invention era was Constantine Hering (1800-1880). Hering was known as the Father of American Homœopathy. He carried out 104 provings upon himself (among them were lachesis, psorinum, and glonoine) and wrote the 10-volume Guiding Symptoms.

Clemens von Boenninghausen also made outstanding contributions to the advancement of homœopathy in this generation. He further developed the generalities theme; he postulated that what is true for the part is true for the whole. Boenninghausen classified the characteristic symptoms into seven categories: Quis (Personality of the Patient), Quid (Peculiarity of Complaints), Ubi (Seat of Disease), Quibus Auxilus (Concomitant Symptoms), Cur (Causations), Quamado (Modalities of Time), and Quando (Modalities of Circumstances).


This next generation of Intensification was essential to the growth of homœopathic medicine. In this era, many of the root foundations of homœopathy were strengthened, especially in the field of provings, miasms, materia medica, and repertory. James Tyler Kent was one of the most pivotal practitioners to carry this era and the practice of homœopathy forward. He intensified the studies of homœopathic philosophies, materia medica, repertory, case taking, and follow-ups, in addition to adding his famous twelve observations. He was the first practitioner who began with drug personification in homœopathy. Kent postulated that all medicines operate on the will and understanding, affecting man in his ability to think or to will, and ultimately upon the tissues, functions and sensations.

Cyrus Maxwell Boger built upon the contributions of Boenninghausen. He tried to merge together the ideas of Kent and the generalities of Boenninghausen. Boger was a great German scholar who worked on Boenninghausen’s theory of generalities and formed what he called the Generals – Pathological generals (for example; chronicity, inflammation, paralysis, cramps, and ailments from vaccination). His condensed materia medica, called Boger’s Synoptic Key, is one of the major references of materia medica and repertories produced by a homœopath of this generation. A host of homœopaths later took a leaf out of his book and practiced. For example, Phatak’s Repertory is formed on the basis of Boger’s Synoptic Key.

Aldolph von Lippe was called the Prince of Prescribers. His famous case of cured impotency was called the greatest cure in homœopathy by one and all. From probing the patient’s past history, he found that the patient had diphtheria many years previously, when the glands were affected from left to right. His prescription of Lac- caninum, 45M, was the remedy that cured the patient. Furthermore, his book called Red Line Keynotes is a masterpiece on materia medica.

John Henry Clarke is known for his book Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica. This was one of finest books written on toxicological and practical data in materia medica. The cases in his books are mostly from Burnett, another famous practitioner from London, who formed his own method of practice called Ladder of Remedies. Burnett is also known for his famous prescriptions of the remedies Urtica urens, Variolinum, and Bacillinum as treatment for tuberculosis.

ML Tyler’s Drug Pictures is one of the finest materia medica books on drug pictures, giving true justice to the practice that she had. Contributions by Margery Blackie and Elizabeth Hubbard were also of the highest quality, as they had composed illustrious literature on repertorization.

Barthel and Klunker were the first two homœopaths who worked on the synthetic repertory. They collected many repertory sources from renowned authors such as Kent, Clarke, Smith, Boenninghausen, and Hering, and combined them to make one reliable and consolidated repertory.

  1. Sankaran was the first homœopath who brought the concept of repertorization and the repertory to India. Before his time, all homœopathic practice was based on materia medica. He contributed many provings to the field, such as the proving of Adamus (diamond) and bowel nosodes. In addition to this, he presented many papers on the theory of antidoting. He demonstrated through various double-blind studies that tea and coffee did not interfere with homœopathic treatment.

Jugal Kishore contributed to possibly the most imaginative method of all—Card Repertories. He was the first homœopath to evolve from reliance upon the traditional book repertory to the card repertory. This repertory was utilized by placing each individual rubric on a separate card. Every card had separate holes in it for each remedy and, as he took the case, he would pick the card that matched the case. At the end of the case, he had many cards; if the cards aligned with one single remedy hole, he chose this remedy. This method was highly creative and inventive, and was practiced by Dr. Sankaran as well.

TF Allen was one of the leading contributors of the Intensification era. He developed Allen’s Keynotes, a compilation of keynotes from Hering’s Guiding Symptoms. Both Allen and Hering clinically confirmed these keynotes through their practices and many provings. After Allen’s work, a whole generation of homœopaths practiced based strictly on keynotes. Even today, many homœopaths in India prescribe remedies based solely on keynotes.

Proceso Sanchez Ortega was the first person to work extensively on miasms, and wrote a book called Notes on Miasms. This literature was much ahead of its time.

Pablo Paschero and Eugene Candegeb were two homœopaths who gave tremendous importance to mental symptoms and the psychosomatic aspect of patients. They prescribed solely on mental symptoms, to great results.

  1. Schmidt worked extensively on the works of JT Kent. He is remembered for advancing Kent’s legacy. In this generation, Schmidt was one of the strongest forces in France. He was one of the first homœopaths to prescribe a fifty millesimal potency. He had written three books that were critical to the development of homœopathic practice in this era: The Art of Interrogation, The Art of Case Taking, and Defective Illness.

The Intensification era concluded with George Vithoulkas. He is world-renowned, one of the most respected homœopaths in present time. He progressed the ideas of repertorization, drug pictures by Kent, and the Organon. He had a strong foundation in traditional classical homœopathy, and used the materia medica, rubrics, and symptoms. He is considered to be of the Intensification era as he developed the materia medica viva, 10 volumes of literature. Vithoulkas is known for being a brilliant teacher who is widely praised for his in-depth knowledge of homœopathic medicine and practice, and for inspiring the resurgence of homœopathy in the 20th century. Overall, Vithoulkas has successfully bridged the gap between the eras of Intensification and Innovation by introducing the idea of essence and developing the levels of health.


The third era in the journey of homœopathic evolution is that of Innovation. This generation bred some of the most creative and inventive homœopaths in history. Let us begin with Jurgen Becker, who connected the world of homœopathy with the world of symbolism and mythology. He worked extensively on an artistic technique of conducting provings of various remedies. He was one of the first to step out of traditional materia medica and repertory into a kind of right-brain thinking – he explored the connection between the remedies and mythology, music, literature, fairy tales, world events, history, source of the remedies, and traditional use of the substance. In the well-known fable of Little Red Riding Hood, he saw the theme of tuberculinum. Although Red Riding Hood always walked the narrow path from her mother’s house to another, she was tempted by desire for change and adventure and stepped away from the traditional path. Similarly, he explored the idea of synchronicity between ideas of the homœopathic remedy and the source itself; for example, when he looked at Adamus (diamond), he thought not only of the symptoms in the remedy, but also at the use of the diamond in history, its physical characteristics, and the way the diamond is formed. The use of diamond in various mythological stories was also of importance to him, and of importance to the remedy picture. Finally, Becker explored the ideas of provings done in group settings in addition to connecting dreams to symbolism, thus opening up several possibilities of studying remedies and patients.

ML Sehgal was one of the few leaders in the Innovation era who undertook the study of interpretation of mind symptoms. He took each rubric and tried to look for a parallel meaning behind the rubric. For example, he took the rubric Desire for light and interpreted it in two ways. The first was a literal translation, as a desire for light (sunlight, turning the lights on, etc…). The second interpretation was more creative, yet made equal sense. If a patient continually sought the advice of doctor after doctor in search for a cure for his disease, Sehgal took the rubric Desire for light to mean the patient would continue to ‘be in the dark’ about his illness until he knew he would be cured; he would be in constant search for a doctor to shed light.

Jeremy Sherr is another leader in the Innovation era. He has contributed many valuable and dynamic provings to the field including Chocolate, Hydrogen, and Scorpion.

Massimo Mangialavori is an Italian homœopath who enhanced the work of remedy families further. He attempts to understand remedies in a system, or in a family, and he grouped like remedies together. He devised remedy groups that were similar to each other and included them in various groups. He did this through clinical experiences and extensive studies of remedies. He also brought out various conceptual ideas with regards to plant families like solanacea and umbellifera, and backed the claims with several clinical cases.

Jan Scholten is also one of the leading lights in the Innovation generation. His main contribution has been the study of the periodic table. His ideas surround the various rows and columns; he has demonstrated that each row represents specific issues and each column represents a specific process. He explained that, as the elements travel from the left to right in the periodic table, the left-hand side represents the elements which are lacking in some form, whereas elements in the middle of the table show complete success and, finally, the elements on the right side of the table show some sort of decline. This system that Scholten put into place has brought several more options to the mineral kingdom, like the formation of salts. Previously, there were no provings, but because of the arrangement of the periodic table with its rows and columns, when the salts were prescribed they brought clinical healing. Following his considerable advancement in the knowledge of the periodic table, Scholten did extensive research and study on the lanthanides and various plant families.

One of the widely used Innovations of this era has been the Sensation Method. This  developed  a  systematic  and  reproducible  method  of  homœopathy  that  is now practiced in many countries. Extensive work has been done on delusion, compensation, kingdoms, miasms, provings, and finally, source and sensation. In terms of case taking, this has evolved into the development of a system that takes the patient to a deeper level of experience, which brings out much more certainty in remedy selection. It brings into use right- and left-brain thinking, symptoms and systems, facts and concepts to arrive at the remedy. In addition to this, such intensive case taking can also be therapeutic in itself. Through systematic organization, the approach to homœopathic case taking and analysis, the Sensation Method, used in conjunction with traditional homœopathy, has made therapy more simple and effective.

The next involvement to the Innovation era is the critical role of homœopathic computer software programs. David Warkentin developed Mac Repertory, one of the most widely used homœopathic software programs in the world. This creative program includes many tools like numerous repertories, repertorization capability, and ReferenceWorks, a database of vast materia medica knowledge and provings. Many other software programs have come after Mac Repertory, but have fallen short in comparison. However, a newer program called Vital Quest is the only one of its kind. Vital Quest uses a different kind of repertorization. A practitioner may type in the case-taking notes verbatim; the program picks up the non-specific words and finds remedies accordingly. This program groups remedies in an innovative way and has an extensive materia medica database. These computer software programs have made our jobs as homœopaths easier, efficient and more proficient.

Until this point, the concepts and experiences of patients were neglected in homœopathic practice, and the factual left-brain, symptom-oriented homœopathy dominated. Overall, the Innovation era represented the other side of the human being, the right side of the brain; namely, the modern idea of concept and experience. However, these two sides cannot exist apart, similar to the old and new schools of thought. Ultimately, both of these ideas cannot be isolated from each other; they must be integrated as a seamless whole in order to produce the finest outcome.


Lastly, we travel to the current era of Integration. This Integration phase can be found in many centres in the world and is utilized by many practitioners.  Roger Morrison successfully integrates traditional homœopathy with sensation and miasms. Similarly, many schools and teaching institutes around the world teach both sides in parallel. The Other Song Academy in Mumbai brings together not only old and new but also various schools of thought and methods of practice under one roof. This academy shows how we can add to our repertoire by such integration. It is obvious that different cases require different approaches; one case will require one approach whereas a different case will require another. In this generation, the homœopathic profession has regrettably been split between classical practitioners and the new innovators in the field; however, what we must aim for in this era is to merge the two together – the old school and the new school – so they become one. We must bring together the two schools of thought into one single synergistic pattern that incorporates our roots in materia medica, repertory and keynotes, along with the innovative knowledge that will help to restore, heal, and cure patients to their full capability.

If we look to some religions like Christianity and Buddhism, each began with one person who presented an initial idea or concept. This could be compared with the stage of Invention. Around this time, institutions like churches and temples, with their rules, rituals, explanations and beliefs, started coming into place. This can be seen as the stage of Intensification. At some point, the rules and rituals made the structure too rigid and the original concept became obscure. Following this, innovative forms of religion came into being while honoring the original concepts; this was the stage of Innovation. Ultimately, there should be a move towards Integration because in casting away the rituals of the old, we should not throw the baby out with the bath water. We need to preserve the good in the traditional method while integrating it with newer innovations. With this, we can overcome the split between the old and the new.

When there are parallel schools of thought between traditional homœopaths and the innovators, it is always a good time to assess the stage of development of each particular branch. I, however, foresee that development of homœopathy lies not in a militant difference between the different branches but, in fact, lies in the integration and synergy of the different schools of thought. It is only when we bring together the crucial aspects of the traditional branch with the contributions of the innovators that we are able to establish thorough and definite results.

“None of us hold the truth; we hold only parts of the truth. In order to hold the full truth, we must integrate. I believe the future of homœopathy is golden and it lies in the form of synergistic integration of the old and the new. Once we have accomplished this, our perceptions will expand and we will have reached a stage of maturity, wisdom and responsibility.”

Excerpted from:  From Similia to Synergy by Dr.  Rajan Sankaran

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About the author

Rajan Sankaran

Rajan Sankaran, MD (Hom), is reputed to be a clear and original thinker and is best known for his path breaking concepts in Homoeopathy. His understanding of ‘disease as a delusion’ followed by his discovery of newer miasms, classification of diseased states into kingdoms and the seven levels of experience, brought in much more clarity into understanding diseased states. The Sensation method has now evolved into a more comprehensive and synergistic approach, which strongly advocates to encompass and integrate the old, classical and traditional approaches with the latest advances.

Dr. Sankaran heads ‘the other song—International Academy of Advanced Homoeopathy’, in Mumbai. This academy primarily focuses on imparting advanced clinical training to students and practitioners, integrated with a homoeopathic healing centre. Also he has his own personal clinic at Juhu area of Mumbai, India. He is also the President of Synergy Homeopathic, which is dedicated to the development of reliable, comprehensive homeopathic software and teaching tools.


  • An excellent review of the evolution of thought in homeopathy. I like the synergy concept that Dr. Sankaran embraces now.

  • DEAR DR,

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