Homeopathy Tips for 5/04/10 The Study of Materia Medica

“There is no road to the practice of homeopathy – whether it is the clinical road or the symptomatic road – which does not entail close and constant study of the Materia Medica.” J.H.Clarke, The Prescriber.

Materia Medica is the reference material for our remedies and their therapeutic actions. They have been compiled originally from the provings done by our homeopathic masters. Hahnemann’s Materia Medic Pura (1827) was his recorded notes of observations of the reactions by provers.  His later editions included his person observations and those of his colleagues. There have been many authors of different Materia Medica through the history of homeopathy. Some of the more notable are Boericke’s Materia Medica, Clarkes Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica, Hering’s Guiding Symptoms of Pure Materia Medica, Allen’s Encyclopedic of Pure Materia Medica. Farrington’s Clinical Materria Medica. Boger’s Synoptic Key Phatak’s Materia Medica and Vermuelen’s Prisma. There have litteraly been hundreds of other Materia Medicas written in addition to these. Each has the authors own particular view and notes about the remedies.

The most important Materia Medica you can have is one that you have created yourself from your own personal observations. This Materia Medica will be the one that you have personal experience with and in the end will guide you better than any other. During the time that you are creating your own Materia Medica we are blessed to have the benefit of all of the others. There are ways to use Materia Medica that will benefit you greatly and ease the job of remedy selection.

H.A. Roberts may have said it best in Principles and Art of Cure, “The approach to the study of the case and the approach to the study of the materia medica are essentially the same – the materia medica is the fascimile of the sickness.”

Before any Materia Medica investigation should occur you should have a very clear understanding of the case before you. Selecting the remedy is always academic once we know what is asking to be healed. If we do not have this all of the Materia Medica in the world would not help us or guide us to the correct remedy.

Those Materia Medica’s that have the word Pura in their title are mostly from the word and observations of provings. These are usually organized in text form and will require read thoroughly to find information that may be useful about a particular aspect of the remedy. But the overall picture of the energy of the remedy is probably preserved best in this form. More modern provings are usually written in a more organized form (thank you Jeremy Sherr) with themes of the remedies listed. These types of Materia Medica’s are very useful also.

The Materia Medica’s that have been written with the authors own observation with toxological and clinical observations are usually condensed and organized by body parts with an introduction in the beginning and cases and observations at the end. Reading the main introduction will give a quick overview of the remedy. The authors have usually done a very good job of presenting the main aspects of the remedies here. The remedy that is most indicated in a case will nearly always correspond with something written about it’s primary action and the general themes of the remedy. This section is very useful in getting the best overall understanding of the remedy.

Particular symptoms can be found in the mind and body parts sections.  Most authors have the main symptoms or those that best describe a particular aspect of the remedy in bold. These are usually called keynote symptoms.When we look over all of the bold text of all of the sections it will usually give a very good overview of the action of the remedy. Do this with every investigation of Materia Medica. You will learn very much about the individual actions of the remedy. When there is a theme it is usually confirmed within the mind section as well. Sometimes the mental symptoms are either too few or vague. But when you have a very clear picture of the major sensations of the physical symptoms, the mind section can be expanded to include how this energy would be expressed mentally as well.

One of my favorite Materia Medica’s is by Frans Vermuellen. He has organized the Prisma and the Synoptic 2 Materia Medicas in a new and novel way. His first reference to the remedy is by a quote or poem. These form a kind of essence of the remedy. I have found them to be very accurate. His second part of the remedy has to do with the specie of the plant or animal or the chemical composition of a mineral. These descriptions tell very much about the remedy. In another, more technical way, they tell about the essence of the remedy as well. He will then talk about the features of the substance, it’s properties, uses, alchemy, mythology and lore, what it’s name means and more. This part of his Materia Medica I find the most useful information about the substance. It will shed more light on understanding the remedy than just the proving or observations alone.  The next section are highlights of important themes of the remedy and  examples that highlight the particulars symptoms. The clinical section is really very small by comparison. Boericke, Phatak, Farrington and Boger’s Materia Medica’s will shed much more clinical light on the remedies.

I often pick up a Materia Medica and open it to any remedy and read about it. Even remedies that I am more familiar with I will reread about. There is always something that I have not see before. This may seem like a redundant exercise but really is very useful. I find that I will have a case before me and remember about having read about a remedy with this particular symptom. I will usually not remember the remedy by name but will know it exists. Then it is like a treasure hunt where investigating all of the possible remedies will prove very useful and when I find that one passage it will usually drive the remedy into my memory. Then I have it forever.

“All diseases known to man have their likeness in Materia Medica, and the physician must become so conversant with this art that he may perceive this likeness.” J.T. Kent Lectures on Homeopathic Philosophy.

Pick up your Materia Medica’s and open them. Read from them daily, if only for a few minutes. Investigate the remedies for your case from them. As Kent says the likeness is there. We simply must find it.

28 comments so far

  1. Dr.Manohar Potdar on

    Dear Sir,

    I find these days the young Homoeopaths totally depending on the computerised repertoring , that too purely mechaniacllly.

    I fuly agree with your tip to read Materia Medica EVERY DAY regularly and also repertorising using BOOK , like Kent or Boericke etc, this way u will get a real feel of the homoeopathic practice.

  2. rabia on

    computorized reportories are not bad but materia medica should also be considered this will be more professional.

    • dr akhtar alam on

      computarise software is very costly to homoeopathy physician, according to you it is looking very good way.
      i will oblige if will manage for me .can you?

  3. PALANI PN on

    Dear Sir,

    Reading Materia Medica is the daily life for me as it is the eye opener and quest is thus satisfied for searching for proper remedy.

    Even, if I have prescribed many times a medicine for particular type of disease, every time I read Materia Medica for giving the same remedy as though I am reading it a new. This is because, I always search for the remedy not for the disease but for the individual. Even if the individual comes frequently, I read the Materia Medica every time to find if there is any striking similarity that will help in healing the patient. As such reading Materia Medica is the way of life.

    Even if no person has come to me for many days for treatment, the quest for finding truth remains in my mind and hence, reading Materia Medica every day is continued as a resarch work.

    Every time when we read a remedy, the mind is lit with brighter light about the remedy. In fact it intensifies the mind and enhances the hope of healing even difficult persons with confidence.

  4. mah-jabeen on

    Robert , IT is nessassery to homeopath daily reading reamdy and readMetriamedica is continued as a reaserch work. tahnks

    • nazia on

      ya it is necessary to study the book daily

  5. Yvonne on

    Homeopathic analysis comes from a source, “Materia Medica” to me, anyway it comes from is credible. We live in the net age today.

  6. IQRA on

    it the time of world globlization so we shoud hav to use computr software but with out the study of matria madica we can not use thes kinds of software beneficially………

  7. Dr.Aradhana Srivastava on

    I liked the idea of creating one’s own materia medica based on one’s practical experience that would enhance our knowledge of Materia Medica more.

  8. mazhar jameel on

    Dear sir,
    Study of materia medica is one of the pre requisite for the practice of homeopathy. One can not think of homeopathy without the materia medica. But In practice we see doctors so called homeopaths practice other than homeopathy like phyto pathy, Biochemic, Flower remedies and various combinations either in the interest of income or to please their customers. The practice of homeopathy must be inaccordance with the Organon as has been practiced by the Master Dr Samuel Hahnemann. But just to boost our Image in the field of practice, medicines which are not homeopathy are being used.
    One such Instance, I came accros a medicine namely TOXIN 6 but I do not find this medicine in any of the materia medica, but on searching net I find that it is viper venom which is used as good analgesic. Type on google “Toxin homeo” you will get the infrmation.
    Can you tell me the proving of this medicine and where it is available.

  9. sameen on

    i think evrybody should write materia medica on there own clinical expirience then only we will get the clinical mateira medica.

    • dr.amer ihsan khan on

      sameen i appreciate the way u encoureaged practitioners to have their own materia yet i have reservations
      people who had written materia
      had spent plenty of time recording all symptoms
      which is quite difficult today
      why not we add our experiences to the prevailing materia
      this way we wont be wasting time upon things already done

  10. Dr.Mujahid Ahmad on

    reading of materia madica is very important in homoeopathy. reperterization by computers does help in selecting a medicine, but remembering materia medica not only helps in selecting a similimum but also gives us confidence in treating a patient. I have the habit of reading atleast one remedy in materia medica before going to bed. My sincere advise to new homoeopaths is to read mat. med regularly.
    Dr. Muhammad mujahid ahmad

  11. Chokka Raj on

    Dear Robert,

    I fully agree with you view point “Writing our own materia medica”. When ever a case particularly chronic cases and land into 3 to 4 remedies resembling or close to case, yet needs to select one, I rely on materia medica and read different materia medica.

    Since by profession banker and software man,I use soft copies of materia medica of different authors and search the relevent part fast, depending on the case on hand.

    Regarding this George Vithoulkhas says “The materia medica
    is tremendous. Not all the material can be used, especially for study. How do the
    homoeopaths go about it when the material is so much? They have found a way to extract
    from the materia medica that which is valid and usable and reliable, and they apply it.”

    There is no substitute for hard work. Read, Re-Read materia medica. Every time we read, we recollect and also add additional inputs to existing one.

    Once again, thanks on emphasising study of materia medica and how to go about it.

  12. Dr.Sarfaraz Ali on

    Well, reading materia daily is very essential,particularly when one comes across a new or complcated ailment.As regards compling the book by every body, it does not seem to be logical, there should be regional or international meetings for validation of the new books and qualification and experience of the authors and their inpit in the profession.

  13. Muhammad Nuruzzaman on

    Dear sir,
    I usually study Materia Medica written by different authors as
    each author writes reflecting his own experience and knowledge.

    Do you have any Tips on Drainage and Canalization?

    With thanks & regards.



  15. Dr.sania khera on

    dear sir . i read materia madica is every day.but i confuse how can i learn all madicin .so i want to some info about computer softweras .thankx a lot

  16. Philip Joseph on

    Dear Dr Robert: Thank You for bringing up this topic of Materia Medica Study. There is no magic bullet to learning Materia Medica knowledge other than wood, sweat & tears. (By wood not blood, I meant placing the Materia Medica text on the wood of your desk and studying it again & again & again). This may involve comparing one remedy in one Medica book to the same remedy description in another book. I had the good fortune to see the clinics of some simple old time practioners who many years back had only 2 or 3 Materia Medica textbooks by different authors, (mostly it was Boericke). But how dog eared and worn out they looked. Much mid night oil and turning over of their pages was evident. Those practioners did not have the world wide web to rely on, but they studied their few versions of Materia Medica like it was the only life jacket on the Titanic. Dr K.V. Swamy of Chennai was one such example. Anyhow, what works for me is that I study a remedy across a few Materia Medicas (Kent, Vermeulen, Boger, Margaret Tyler, Jacques Jouanny, Morrison & Sankaran’s Soul of remedies). this allows a blueprint to form in the mind. As you listen to the illness and all its symptoms, you record and keep an open mind. In some cases, without even repertorization, your mind can indicate a few remedies that are close. For the final stretch, you can repertorize and narrow down the list. If there is better shortcut to learn Medica, please sell me the Brooklyn Bridge. No offense to anybody. But Yes, there are limitations to the texts. New remedies have sprung up in abundance – Chocolate, Hydrogen, Helium, Molluscs, Hawk, Lac Leonum etc. The old texts do not cover them. Some newer Materia Medicas are available – Scholten, Sankaran, Massiovari etc but they are not cheap either, (and I think Andre Saine is doing a Materia Medica Project). Vithoulkas’s Medica is very good but still only halfway through the alphabet remedy listing. So where does that leave us – Perhaps like the old timers initially use a few Medicas which are a mix of old and new (example Tyler & Sankaran) and become very familiar and cross reference them. At least 80% of your clientele, you should be able to manage. Thanks from one who tried to practise what I preach, sometimes stumbling but never the less getting back up, bruised and weary and limping, but seeing sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel, the proverbial lake of water in the desert.

    • Robert Field on

      Thank you Philip,
      Your comment could not have been better stated, Yes, it requires diligence, discipline and many hours of hard work. This is a quality that the masters had and we can cultivate too. My hat is off to you for sharing the “grist for our mills”.
      Warmest regards and blessings to you,
      Robert Field

  17. S K Kalra on

    Prescribing remedy as per experience or on the basis of recollection of what has been read in materia medicas is one way & the other one is to process your selected remedy finally before prescription through materia medica. Success percentage is higher in 2nd method.


    dear sir . i read materia madica is every day.but i confuse how can i learn all madicin .so i want to some info about computer softweras .thankx a lot,

  19. Dr. Sajjad Hussain on

    it is true that many people and new prectionar depands on tips who are given from newspaper or other sorce like poster i agred with the other persons who give comments.

  20. Dr. Sajjad Hussain on

    it is ture that many people and new prectionar depands on tips who are given from newspaper or other sorce like poster i agred with the other persons who give comments.

  21. dr.amer ihsan khan on

    well i ve heard things read eleven times or gone through our eyes eleven times get storred in our minds.
    so daily study of only two medicines or just one will make us perfect in this field.
    try it on routine use medicines.
    i hope it will work.

  22. Mimo on

    Hello there,
    I have been using paper written homeopathic remedies for 3 years now and I haven’t seen a single case where this method failed. This is a very simple method of producing or copying yourself the energy of any homeopathic remedy of any potency with the help of a paper, a pen and a glass of water. No cost, no effort, any time any remedy. A big advantage in emergencies and certain cases. I have met in the meantime 5 other homeopaths who used or are using this method.
    Read more about this here, it is a very simple method.

  23. mohd ali on

    sir i want to learn homeopathy from your school.

  24. lovely on

    sir how to memorise the materia medica in our mind permanentlay along with all symptoms without any confusion

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