Materia Medica

Homeopathy Materia Medica – The Approach to Study

homeopathic medicine for syphilis
Written by Siegfried Letzel

Siegfried Letzel gives a detail guide to study homeopathic materia medica with list and links to useful homeopathy materia medica books.

This article is written for all of You intending to study homeopathy and who are about to lose confidence facing such a vast number of homeopathic remedies to be studied. The effort You are taking is extraordinary, but it is worth all Your energy being put into the studies of this subject. Never there will be a human being able to master the whole, but to be able to practice this method of healing seriously, we have got to get the picture at least of the most common remedies.

The best way to understand the importance of the Materia Medica in homeopathy is by understanding Dr. Samuel Hahnemann in His teachings as given to us In the Organon Of Medicine. Let me repeat only a few of His dogmas although You might have read it already over and over again.

§1: The physician’s high and only mission is to restore the sick to health, to cure, as it is termed.

§2: The highest ideal of cure is rapid, gentle and permanent restoration of the health, or removal and annihilation of the disease in its whole extent, in the shortest, most reliable, and most harmless way, on easily comprehensible principles.

§3: If the physician clearly perceives what is to be cured in diseases, that is to say, in every individual case of disease (knowledge of disease, indication), if he clearly perceives what is curative in medicines, that is to say, in each individual medicine (knowledge of medical powers), and if he knows how to adapt, according to clearly defined principles, what is curative in medicines to what he has discovered to be undoubtedly morbid in the patient, so that the recovery must ensue – to adapt it, as well in respect to the suitability of the medicine most appropriate according to its mode of action to the case before him (choice of the remedy, the medicine indicated), as also in respect to the exact mode of preparation and quantity of it required (proper dose), and the proper period for repeating the dose; – if, finally, he knows the obstacles to recovery in each case and is aware how to remove them, so that the restoration may be permanent, then he understands how to treat judiciously and rationally, and he is a true practitioner of the healing art.

This says, that we are in need for four insights: knowledge of the disease, indication; knowledge on the medical powers in remedies; to be able to choose the medicine indicated; to be able to determine the proper dose.

§18: From this indubitable truth, that besides the totality of the symptoms with consideration of the accompanying modalities (§ 5) nothing can by any means be discovered in disease wherewith they could express their need of aid, it follows undeniably that the sum of all the symptoms and conditions in each individual case of disease must be the sole indication, the sole guide to direct us in the choice of a remedy.

§105: The second point of the business of a true physician related to acquiring a knowledge of the instruments intended for the cure of the natural diseases, investigating the pathogenetic power of the medicines, in order, when called on to cure, to be able to select from among them one, from the list of whose symptoms an artificial disease may be constructed, as similar as possible to the totality of the principal symptoms of the natural disease sought to be cured.

§106: The whole pathogenetic effect of the several medicines must be known; that is to say, all the morbid symptoms and alterations in the health that each of them is specially capable of developing in the healthy individual must first have been observed as far as possible, before we can hope to be able to find among them, and to select, suitable homoeopathic remedies for most of the natural disease.

§118: Every medicine exhibits peculiar actions on the human frame, which are not produced in exactly the same manner by any other medicinal substance of a different kind.

§120: Therefore medicines, on which depend man’s life and death, disease and health, must be thoroughly and most carefully distinguished from one another, and for this purpose tested by careful, pure experiments on the healthy body for the purpose of ascertaining their powers and real effects, in order to obtain an accurate knowledge of them, and to enable us to avoid any mistake in their employment in diseases, for it is only by correct selection of them that the greatest of all earthly blessings, the health of the body and of the mind, can be rapidly and permanently restored.

If we are not willing to thoroughly follow these rules, frustration will be ours – I do not want to think of what will be the patients. So let us just accept what has to be accepted and let us study the remedies available to us.


Well, everybody has to find his/her own individual approach. Perhaps one has to invent ones own method to study Materia Medica. Have a look to a well-stocked library. You will find books describing homeopathic medicines in poems. You will find books visualizing the remedies in drawings – either in trying to portrait the person fitting to the constitutional appearance of a certain remedy and showing physical characteristics together with descriptions of properties that cannot be painted, or in cartoons that exaggerate the remedy’s individualistic effects. Maybe You can compare a remedy with a person You know well….

There are many methods You can apply, all of them requiring repetitions over and over again.

And still, You will never succeed in learning Your remedies well enough without a written Materia Medica. So the question arises, which Materia medica shall I buy, which one shall I use? The market is flooded with Homeopathic Materia Medicas of prime/high/low quality . I started with two handy books: William Boericke’s ‘Pocket manual of homoepathic materia medica’ and Eugene B. Nash’s ‘Leaders in homoeopathic therapeutics’. Especially the second mentioned book I found very difficult to begin with because it compares different remedies in almost every section. I always forgot what I have read. But even if such reading is so much frustrating in the very beginning, the remedies will increasingly visualize in our mind the more You repeat Your reading again and again (…and again and again…).

At this place let me suggest to You to read the following lecture by Constantine Hering that I found:

On the Study of Homeopathy Materia Medica

What I want to do next is to provide You with a list of some books on homeopathic Materia Medica. Links to online Materia Medicas follow. The lists cannot be complete. This is why I want to invite You to give me a note of any book or link that shall be added here. Do You want to write a book review to be added? You are welcome to submit it here. Kindly use the link at the end of the article.

In Your studies, it will be unavoidable that some of Your questions will remain unanswered. In this case, besides of asking Your lecturer You are invited to pass by at’s Student’s Corner . Tell everybody of Your important or curious findings, ask the questions that are not being answered in Your books. You will learn that studying within a group is much fun and will carry You through episodes when You are close to give up. I am much involved in this process of learning, too. And honestly, with every step forward the paces become larger and faster. But the finish-line still seems to be as distant as on the first day….

Dr. T. F. Allen: Encyclopedia of Pure Materia Medica (12 Volumes): Very detailed. References to the source of the proving or clinical evidences are given.

Dr. H.C. Allen: Keynotes of the Materia Medica with Nosodes: Peculiar and characteristic symptoms are highlighted. Most detailed description of classical nosodes like Lyssinum, Medorrhinum, Psorinum, Pyrogenium, Syphilinum, Tuberculinum and others.

Dr. William Boericke: Pocket Manual of Materia Medica with Repertory (American edition): Among the polychrests You will find many small remedies. Few mental symptoms. Good to get a brief overview of a remedy. The book is handy.

Dr. William Boericke: Pocket Manual of Materia Medica with Repertory (Indian edition): The repertory can not be compared with a true’ repertory.

Dr. CM Boger: Synoptic Key: A handy, compact book.323 remedies with the most important symptoms and main effects. Characteristic organotropic connections/relationships and modalities are highlighted. Footnotes with original quotations from Pure Materia Medica and Chronic Diseases and others.

Dr. Eugenio Candegabe: Comparative Materia Medica: A book to help as a guide in differential diagnosis. Comparisons of mentals and personality structures of some of the big remedies. Analytical and psychological view on remedies. References to Kent’s repertory and Synthetic repertory.

Card Memorizer: Homeopathic Trivial Pursuit: For students: learning by playing the game. 500 questions with reference to the Complete Repertory.

Dr. H. L. Chitkara: Materia Medica of the Mind: Mental symptoms are the main concern of the book. Small medicines are considerably taken care of . You will find every mental symptom of Kent’s repertory.

Dr. John Clarke: Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica (3 volumes, British edition): Overview of each medicine, indications, strong or peculiar symptoms. Occasionally cases. A repertory of relationships (clinical and natural) gives in tabulated form complementary remedies, compatible and incompatible remedies, remedies which follow well and which the remedy under consideration follows well, remedy antidotes, and duration of action.

Dr. John Clarke: Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica (3 volumes, Indian edition): Much cheaper than the above. Physical quality, too.

Catherine Coulter: Portraits Of Homoeopathic Medicines: Expanding Views Of The Materia Medica (vol. 1-3): This series helps the student of homoeopathy to learn and memorize the remedies and to put them into practice accurately. The information will also help the practitioner to revisit aspects which may enrich their prescribing options and to help them explore psychological types and behavior patterns.

Carrol Dunham: Lectures On Materia Medica: Descriptions of 63 remedies. This is a very reliable work. The remedies are concisely described.

Dr. D. M. Gibson: Studies of Homeopathic Remedies: With reference to the source of more than 100 remedies and historical uses. Systematic approach to appearance, psychology, toxicology, physiology, symptomatology, pharmacology.

Dr. Didier Grandgeorge: The Spirit of Homeopathic Medicines: The mystery and complexity of remedies is explored using experiences gained from more than twenty thousand consultations.

Dr. Didier Grandgeorge: The Spirit of Homeopathic Medicines: Essential Insights to 300 Remedies: See above.

Dr. Samuel Hahnemann: Materia Medica Pura: Documentation of Dr. Samuel Hahnemann’s remedy provings. It also shows the way how best to gain knowledge on materia medica.

Dr. Constantine Hering: Condensed Materia Medica: Description of the strongest symptoms of a medicine.

Dr. Constantine Hering: Guiding Symptoms of our Materia Medica (10 volumes): A very comprehensive work. Grading of symptoms according to a scale.

Dr. O. A. Julian: Materia Medica of New Homeopathic Remedies: Around 100 new remedies.

Dr. James Tyler Kent: Lectures on Homeopathic Materia Medica: Detailed and insightful descriptions on more than 200 homeopathic remedies.

Dr. Otto Lesser: Textbook of Materia Medica: Focus on mineral remedies, their biochemistry, clinical picture.

Dr. K. N. Mathur: Systematic Materia Medica: Remedies are described according their primary indications, contraindications, complaints, characteristics generals and modalities. It is based on Kent’s repertory.

Dr. Roger Morrison: Desktop Guide to Keynotes and Confirmatory Symptoms: Keynote symptoms of more than 300 remedies.

Dr. Robin Murphy: Homeopathic Remedy Guide (formerly entitled Lotus Materia Medica): It covers 1200 remedies on about 1900 pages.

Dr. E. B. Nash: Leaders in Homeopathic Therapeutics: Outstanding for beginners. 200 remedies are covered. Many differentials.

Dr. E. B. Nash: Nash’s Expanded Work: All of Nash’s writings in one book.

Rene Otter: Quick Remedy Index to the Homeopathic Materia Medica: Here You can get help if You want to know in which book You can find informations on a certain, even rare, remedy.

Dr. S. R. Phatak: Materia Medica of Homeopathic Remedies (2nd edition) at: Short description on 411 remedies. Sources from Allen, Hering, Boger, Kent, Boericke, Clarke.

Dr. Abdur Rehman: Encyclopedia of Remedy Relationships in Homeopathy: What to describe on the second consultation? Here You find information on well following remedies regarding to the symptoms present. Remedy relationships are described in a unique precision and complexity.

Heli O. Retzek: Complete Materia Medica of the Mind: Mind symptoms of 1029 remedies, with their grading and source.

Dr. H. A. Roberts: Study of Remedies by Comparison: Side-by-side comparisons of several remedies at a time.

Michael Rowan: The Homeopathic Coloring Book : 50 remedies are covered.

Margaret Roy: A First Materia Medica: Take lessons in homeopathic materia medica.

Rajan Sankaran: An insight into Plants: You seek insight to ten miasms? You find it here. This book helps to understand relationships and classifications of plants from a homeopath’s view. The author’s experiences in casetaking will give You very worthy hints for Your daily work.

Rajan Sankaran: Soul of Remedies: It is suggested to read His former books first. One hundred remedies are covered with narrative style. The reader gets the basic ideas of each remedy, their ‘soul’.

Rajan Sankaran: The Substance of Homeopathy: New insights on miasms. Materia Medica section with minerals and metals.

Dr. Jan Scholten: Homeopathy and Minerals: An introduction to homeopathic and chemical relationship of remedies.

Dr. Jan Scholten: Homeopathy and the Elements: A number of mineralic and metallic elements and their chemical compounds are presented here as hardly found in any other Materia Medica. Remedies are grouped together corresponding to their appearance in the periodic system.

Dr. Frederik Schroyens: 1001 Small Remedies: Extracted from the Synthesis repertory, this is an excellent way to study the small remedies!

Dr. Margaret Tyler: Drug Pictures: A book for the practicioner. Descriptions of 100 remedies using material by Hahnemann, Kent, Hering, Allen, Farrington, Hughes, Nash,…

Dr. P. M. Verma: Encyclopedia of Homeopathic Pharmacopeoeia (3 volumes): Monographs of 1860 homeopathic remedies. Alphabetically ordered, they are mentioned with their pharmacological, botanical, zoological names and with names in different languages.

Frans Vermeulen: Concordant Materia Medica (2nd edition): Basis of this work are classics in homeopathy by Allen, Boericke, Boger, Cowperthwaite, Clarke, Hering (10 volumes!), Kent, Lippe, Phatak, Pulford, Vermeulen. Repetitions are avoided, this makes this work a compact compendium.

Frans Vermeulen: Synoptic Materia Medica: Vermeulen uses 22 classical and modern resources. Approach to remedies by their organotropy, modalities, cardinal symptoms. Info on small remedies by old and new masters are integrated.

George Vithoulkas: Materia Medica Viva (14 volumes): This tremendous work is less suitable to be used for systematic work and daily reference, but the more to read for grasping the essential properties of homeopathic remedies. Very detailed portrayals of remedy pictures. A good time in reading.


Homeopathy Book Shop

Homeopathy Materia Medica

Free Materia Medica Books

About the author

Siegfried Letzel

Siegfried Letzel is a biologist and he also qualified as a natural health professional specializing in TCM and homeopathy. For the last couple years, he has been studying historical papers and the works of early homeopaths in search of the original and true homeopathy. Letzel is the curator of the Hahnemann Exhibition of the International Hahnemann Center Torgau and a board member of the umbrella Association of Hahnemann Sites in Meissen, the city where the founder of homeopathy was born. He has also contributed to various books on homeopathy.

1 Comment

  • Dear Author,

    Thanks for the information and exhaustive article.

    I also liked the interview of prof.jutte , i would like to know that where can i get the book published by Robert Bosch foundation of Hahnemann case record.

    dr palkesh jani

Leave a Comment

Donate to Keep the World's No.1 Homeopathy Resource Alive!