General Keynotes of Homeopathic Materia Medica
A homeopathic physician’s success largely depends on his knowledge of the Homeopathic Materia Medica. Many authors have written different types of Materia Medicas. I have liked the following Materia Medicas for reasons mentioned below:
1.Hering’s Guiding Symptoms
: I like this materia Medica because
symptoms are graded and it contains the clinically proven symptoms. I feel that all Materia Medicas published later are mostly based on this work. I refer this work for all my clarifications.
It is a pity that present-day homeopaths are attracted by new Materia Medicas by new authors, who have few patients to treat, and write large Materia Medicas entering fanciful symptoms from imagination. I have found very few homeopaths having Hering’s work in their consulting chamber.
2.Nash’s ‘Leaders in Homeopathic Therapeutics’
: I find this to be the best compact book for all persons, starting from beginner to the most experienced. Great practical experience is required to write such a small book in such a lucid style. No author has surpassed this book in its style and content till now. I have several copies of the book in my home, office and other places so that I refresh my knowledge by glancing at the book. I find that Nux. vom. and Puls. are the most frequently indicated remedy in my prescriptions and I am amazed at the wisdom of Nash when I observed that he started his book with Nux. Vom. and Puls. I have seen many highly successful homeopaths prescribing only on the basis of Nash.
3. H.C.Allen’s keynotes
is another work containing many important symptoms in a small volume. Here again, lot of practical experience is required to select keynotes from thousands of unrelated symptoms. The success of homeopathy has largely been due to the keynotes.
4. Lastly, Boericke’s Materia Medica
is definitely the most referred Materia Medica and it finds a place on the tables of all homeopaths around the world. But I find it useless in the consulting chamber because I repertorise each and every case, and give the remedy, even though the symptom is not there in Boericke’s Materia Medica. The fact that the symptom is not there in Boericke’s Materia Medica does not mean that the remedy is not indicated in the case. I am giving an example from my experience. A boy, 5 yrs, had cough with the following symptoms: morning agg; air, cold agg; with vomiting. I prescribed Nux. vom. 30 one dose and he got complete relief within two hours. There is no such symptom in Boericke’s Materia Medica but all these symptoms are there in Hering’s Guiding Symptoms, Vol.viii, p- 142 and 156. I can cite hundreds of such cases from my experience. But my purpose is not to criticize the masters but to emphasize that the present day homeopaths should switch over to computers for their reference work and not rely on smaller works. Hering has taken more than 70 pages to describe Pulsatilla whereas Boericke has taken three and half pages. How can one expect to find all the symptoms of Pulsatilla in Boericke’s Materia Medica ?
After studying the different Materia Medicas I felt that the keynote type of Materia Medica is best suited to present the ‘Essence’ of the drug in a small volume.
Therefore I started compiling symptoms of the drugs from various sources, mostly from the above four works, so that one has a ‘General’ idea about the drug by going through the work. The features of the ‘General Keynotes’ are:
- This work contains symptoms which are clinically important.
- It presents a balanced view of the remedy so that one is not biased for the more important symptom. For example, the symptom ‘In spite of the aggravation from heat, there is great sensitive to cold’ under Antim. crud. is not there in many Materia Medicas.
- It may be noted that all the symptoms of a remedy are not equally important. If symptoms are listed one by one in order of importance, the first symptom is the most important keynote e.g., agg. from motion of Bry. This work is so compiled that the more important symptoms are placed first so that the reader is able to grasp the essence of the drug by going through the first page itself.
- The concomitants are mentioned at the clinical conditions and not at ‘Generals’. For example, the dropsy symptoms of Apis are given at ‘Dropsy’, not at ‘Generals’.
- The symptoms are entered in such a way that minimum words describe maximum number of clinical conditions in which the remedy can be helpful. For example, in Bryonia, the symptom ‘Better from cool applications, except rheumatic complaints which are better from hot applications’ describes a lot about the application of the remedy in different clinical conditions.
- Mostly the first grade symptoms from Hering’s Guiding Symptoms, supported by Nash, Allen’s keynote and Boericke are included. Most of the symptoms of Nash are included but not Allen’s keynote, as some of Allen’s keynotes are not there is Boericke or Nash.
- I have not graded the symptoms by using capital, bold or italic letters as done in many Materia Medicas. I have collected only important symptoms and I could not decide which are less important.
- The symptoms are not arranged systematically in Allen’s keynotes. This has been done here.
- Comparison is not given because it restricts the reference to other important drugs.
More remedies will be added in future. I would request the visitors to suggest ways to improve the presentation style and content of this work so that minimum words will describe the maximum application of a remedy. The names of the contributors will be duly acknowledged.