Homeopathy Papers Materia Medica

Exploring the Problems and Resolutions of Materia Medica

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An attempt to solve the problems of study of Materia Medica.


The Homoeopathic Materia Medica is the product of the highest Wisdom. Through the contribution of Artificial Human Pharmacology it is explored through provings on healthy human beings, Hahnemann brought the illness to the forefront of our existence, at the humanistic experiential level, to give the true meaning of illness.

For a homoeopathic student, the study of MM is the study, in perspective, of the exploration of a human being through the cosmos of which he is an integral part (nurture) and through the genetics (nature). The vast study of materia medica possesses both conceptual and therapeutic problems for a conscientious homoeopathic student.

In this paper, problems and resolutions of the study of materia medica are discussed from the cognitive angle, with a visual reference system, with perceptual maps for the objectives of teaching materia medica at clinical level. Specific objectives are also highlighted. Different modules of study of materia medica are also projected.

A. Specific objectives of teaching materia medica at clinical level

  • Identification of a homoeopathic remedy.
  • Utilization of clinical data for the sake of nosological diagnosis.
  • Discrimination between pathognomic and non- pathognomic symptoms.
  • Physical examination of a patient – Its value in clinical and homoeopathic setting.
  • Understanding the patient’s language in relation with clinical and homoeopathic (Materia Medica and Repertory) language.
  • Using non-verbal language of a patient in the totality of symptoms.
  • Phase consideration: acute disease /exacerbation, acute on chronic or chronic and its co-relation with homoeopathic Materia Medica.
  • Understanding the patterns of responses of the behavior of the remedies.
  • Evolving the portrait of a diseased individual through analysis, evaluation and synthesis after adequate and accurate case elicitation.
  • Using the concepts from the holistic science for the sake of perceiving the portrait of a Remedy: forms, symbols, metaphors etc.
  • Teaching comparative Materia Medica from various angles.
  • Inculcating confidence amongst the learners through rational use of Materia Medica.

The First Step towards solving a problem

………. is to begin !!

B. The Problems and Resolutions

1. Language of Materia Medica


  • Omniferous Data
  • Obscure/ cryptic/ abstruse words or sentences
  • Human Language chiefly
  • The Field of Languages: anatomy, physiology, pathology, biochemistry, Psychology, Psychiatry, clinical, paraclinical, social, cultural, vernacular, native etc.

1. Language of Materia Medica
B. Problem

  • Patient’s own words or language
  • Understanding patient’s language
  • Transformation: Patient’s language —— Medical Language —— Homoeopathic language —— Materia Medica language —— Repertorial language
  • Non-verbal language
  • Logical, rational approach and interpretation

1.Language of Materia Medica

  • The use of dictionaries: 1. Medical 2. English – English 3. English – Mother tongue
  • The English language must be improved
  • The meaning of English word (s) concerning theme (s) in Materia Medica
  • Read between the lines
  • Case-oriented practical training
  • Art of rubrication Materia Medica


A wide variety of ‘sensations as if ‘
______ The similar data
______ Were the provers healthy?
______ Shrinking effect

2. Disbelief


  • Proving as a scientific investigatory methodology
  • 200 years of homoeopathic survival
  • Resurgence of homoeopathy all over the globe
  • Allow students to ‘prove’ the drugs on themselves
  • Show actual cases; for disbelief —— belief

3. Detail


‘Does detail built up to a whole or is detail obtained by microscoping the whole?’

  • Materia Medica is subject to continuous growth
  • Information : huge, and hence scaring
  • What is the objective of so much information?

3. Detail

  • Moving back from boundary of the information field to the centre
  • ‘What does all this add up to?’
  • ‘What do we really know?’
  • Practical utilization of data with comparative study

4. Confusion

  • Similar symptomatology; difficult words
  • No head, no tail to data
  • Vastness of data
  • Objective of study of data

4. Confusion

  • Define objective of study of Materia Medica
  • Bring clarity at every level
  • Show ample cases
  • Give advanced reading material

5. Boredom

You contribute nothing!
Demand of amusement!
If we do not open an interest then that interest is blind!

  • Repetition of notary writing
  • Non-understanding —— confusion —— boredom
  • Running away from Homoeopathic Materia Medica

5. Boredom

  • Add ‘life’ in Homoeopathic drugs
  • Drugs as living, vibrating individuals
  • Famous Personalities vis-a-vis Materia Medica
  • Teach Materia Medica through cases
  • Computer programs, CDs, video / audio, dramas, herbarium sheets, stage plays etc.

6. Scattered data

  • Proving data : Only listing of symptoms
  • Enormous data scattered here and there
  • Lack of co-ordination
  • Jig-saw puzzle

6. Scattered Data

  • Language of symptoms or disease
  • Concept of qualitative totality
  • ‘Integration’ as the intertwining thread
  • Co-ordination, interconnectedness of literature

7. Fixed Ideas

  • Fixed symptoms
  • Fixed ideas / concepts / themes
  • Fixed images
  • Rigidity

7. Fixed Ideas

  • A homoeopathic drug as a multi-dimensional personality
  • Behavioral patterns – multiple
  • Unprejudiced study with a broad vision
  • Flexible attitude
  • Ample cases – demonstration
  • Ample books and commentaries for pondering
  • Wide variety of approaches of case study

8. Clinico-pathological co-relation

  • Innumerable symptoms at various levels
  • A mess of symptoms
  • Disorganized, incoherent, inconsistent, paradoxical and contradictory symptoms
  • Are physiology, pathology, biochemistry different from Materia Medica?
  • How to co-relate?

8. Clinico-pathological co-relation

  • Drug’s pathogenetic action
  • Totality of symptoms
  • Practical training
  • Teaching physiology, pathology, biochemistry, psychology in conjunction with Materia Medica right from first B.H.M.S.
  • Miasmatic co-relation

9. Remedy Relationship

  • How I am related to you?
  • The purpose of Relations?
  • The utility of Relations?
  • Inadequate explanations
  • How to apply relations in clinical practice?

9. Remedy Relationship

  • The Value of Relationship of Remedies
  • Discrimination Process
  • Compare and Contrast
  • Understanding Types of Relations
  • Information Technology Organization
  • Wider Base and Vision
  • Fast Track Utilization

10. Action of a Remedy

I do not understand why this drug has these symptoms.

  • How the remedy acts?
  • Symptoms are the effects of action
  • Evolutionary phenomenon in proving methodology
  • Comparison with allopathic pharmacology

10. Action of a Remedy

Action renders a pathway to sail smoothly in the voyage.

  • Physiological / Pathological / Toxicological effects
  • Elective Affinity of the Drugs
  • The Concept of Generalization
  • Doctrine of Signatures
  • Clarity

Learning Homoeopathy

  • F – Facts to be obtained through materia medica, repertory and clinical verifications
  • P – Procedures of various types, chief being inter-action with the patients.
  • C – Concepts like analogy/Doctrine of signatures etc. Formulation. Creative / lateral thinking.
  • P – Philosophical substratum. The scientific foundation for the sake of artistic prescribing

Maxims of Teaching

Methods of study of Materia Medica

1. Generalization Process:

  • Logical transitional process from particular to general.
  • The inference reflects deeper insight into essence.
  • Grasp over English language and subject.
  • 2. Key-note Method:

  • Key to the case may be at general or particular level.
  • Based on getting at essence.
  • P.Q.R.S. symptoms depict a unique, individualistic response.
  • 3. Anatomical Schematic Method:

  • Hahnemann’s schematic method.
  • Understanding potential action and elective affinity on various organs and systems.
  • Therapeutic use on the basis of disease conditions is possible because of this method.
  • 4. Physiological Method:

  • Assessment of physiological effects/changes.
  • Disease-oriented prescribing.
  • Limited scope.
  • 5. Pathological Method:

  • Proving yields functional symptoms. Hence the need of toxicological data
  • Clinical experiences+ Records of poisoning/Pathological symptoms.
  • Pathologically pronounced data.
  • Pathological general.
  • 6. Therapeutic Method:

  • Based on disease concept.
  • Collective portrait is not given importance.
  • Hence limitations.
  • 7. Typological Study:

  • Physiognomonic, psychological, typological types.
  • Correspondence at the level of make-up / appearance / constitution.
  • Amalgamating the concepts from holistic aspects
  • 8. Comparative Study:

  • Comparing and contrasting.
  • At various levels: such as symptoms level, organs level, disease level, personality level, action level, typological level etc.
  • Advanced study of materia medica
  • 9. Repertorial Study:

  • Repertory as the micro-filming of materia medica.
  • Useful for personality study, group study and comparative study
  • 10. Remedy Relationship Study:

  • A wider platform to study materia medica.
  • Discrimination as the process of arriving at the similimum.
  • Neglected subject.
  • 11. Monogram Study:

  • Words are powerful and they carry deep meaning.
  • Characters that run through and through.
  • Genetic encoding.
  • Use of doctrine of signatures
  • 12. Group/ Family/ Kingdom Study:

  • Basically a process of generalization.
  • A simplified method.
  • Individual study more important.
  • Conclusions could be shaky in practice.
  • 13. “Living” Image:

  • Drugs as living, vibrating individuals.
  • Evolutionary study of a human being vis-à-vis homoeopathic materia medica.
  • Charming study but better to stay away from imaginations, fancies, abstractions and hypotheses unless it has adequate clinical experiential base and original data-base.
  • 14) Situational Materia Medica:

  • A situation compels an individual to develop certain temperamental traits which are to be corresponded with behavioral responses of the drugs in materia medica.
  • The concept of a constitutional remedy should not be brushed aside.
  • 15) Body Language study:

  • Body language as synthesis of mind and body together
  • The objective and living study of materia medica
  • The scientific study of a patient and its counterpart in materia medica
  • 16. Human symbolism study

  • The language of organs
  • The structural and functional aspects of organs
  • Interpretation vis-à-vis materia medica
  • 17. Constitutional Remedy Study:

  • The Concept of Totality.
  • Qualitative Totality.
  • Coverage should be:
  • a. Evolutionary study
    b. Qualified mentals
    c. Physical generals
    d. P.Q.R.S. at general level
    e. P.Q.R.S. at particular level
    f. Typology
    g. Causative emotional and environmental modalities
    h. Pathology
    i. Miasms etc.

    D. Requisites on the Part of a Student to grasp Materia Medica

    Minimum requisites for maximizing learning

    • Unbiased, unprejudiced attitude
    • Sufficient will, drive and motivation
    • Analytical mind
    • Organized thinking.
    • ‘Integration’ skills
    • Readiness to study and experiment always
    • Case-taking: adequate and accurate
    • Sufficient grasp over prescribing
    • Knowledge of methodologies
    • Keen observation, circumspection and honesty
    • Be always a student

    About the author

    Ajit Kulkarni

    Dr Ajit Kulkarni M.D. (Hom.) is Director, Homeopathic Research Institute, Pune, A veteran homoeopath, an academician and a famed international teacher. A classical Homeopathic physician, he has been practising for 35 years. He has given over 100 international seminars and workshops in different parts of the world. Dr. Kulkarni is co-author: Absolute Homoeopathic Matera Medica, Five Regional Repertories: AIDS, DM, Thyroid, HTN and Trauma . Also, author of Body Language and Homeopathy, Homeopathy through Harmony and Totality (Three volumes),
    Law of Similars in Medical Science, Homeopathic Posology, Kali Family and Its Relations, Homeopathic Covidoscope (published by Amazon) and over 100 publications on various aspects of homeopathy, papers and books translated in several languages, He has Award of ‘Excellence in Homoeopathy, Award of ‘Homoeo-Ratna, Life achievement Award, Dr. B. Sahni Memorial Award.,
    He is a member, Editorial Board, National Journal of Homeopathy, Mumbai
    www.ajitkulkarni.com / E-mail ID: [email protected]


    • A very good article of immense help to the Homeopathic students & teachers alike. It provides a very scientific insight into teaching & understanding. I am particularly impressed with the aspects of “confusion compounding” due to “misunderstood words” for various reasons. Accent on observing the “body language” (in addition to bilateral verbal communication) to be able to arrive at the right prescription is the key to the efficacy of using Homeopathy!

    • it is very sensible simple knowledge to understand the human health, the way the nature created ….need lots of observation and understanding the knowledge from learned Homeo practisners . thanks to those lot

    • Sir,
      A very good article of great help for both students and teachers. It will be more informative to know the materia medica of the drug (s), if you could include the following
      1. Prover name
      2. Use of the drug in other systems of medicine.
      3. Habitat of the plant ,characteristic features botanical and common / vernacular names , family distribution etc..
      4. Active principles of the plants with their biological activity.
      5. Any pharmacological study of the plant or their chemical constituents
      6. Utility of the drug(s) as folk medicine.
      As far as I know there is no materia medica taking care of this aspect nor a module in teaching on this lines in medical colleges.
      Utility of drug(s) in the nosological diseases, complications of certain diseases,antidotes to selective drugs and disorders, complimentary or followed well to drug(s) may be elaborated with case records. This data can be collected from various practioners /researchers.
      This makes the study of materia medica of drug(s) more comprehensive.

      thanking you
      Dr.Hafeezullah Baig
      Drug Standradasation Unit.Central councel for Reasearch in Homoeopathy

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