Tag Archives: Boenninghausen

Viewed through repertory: Senega


There are often remedies which show up in repertorization which we overlook – remedies which we aren’t familiar with, have never used and are just not part of our prescribing “vocabulary”.

Senega is such a remedy.  I have never prescribed it, but I do see it showing up on occasion in repertorization.

Polygala Senega, or snake root is of North American origin. From Wikipedia:
This plant had many uses among Native Americans. The Cherokee used it as an expectorant and a diuretic, and for inflammation, croup, and common cold. The Chippewa used preparations of the root to treat convulsions and bleeding wounds. The Cree chewed the root for sore throat and toothache.[5] According to Canadian botanist Frère Marie-Victorin, the Seneca may have been inspired to use the tortuous root to treat snakebite by its resemblance to the tail of a rattlesnake. It’s still in use for treatment of pneumonia.

Senega was proved by Massie in 1803. More detailed results of the proving can be found, among other sources, in Hughes’ Cyclopaedia of Drug Pathogenesy. The following are some examples from the proving:

1. Dr. MASSIE took 10 dr. of gum dissolved in water.
In 5 minutes sensation in esophagus as if membrane had been abraded, lasted 1 hour.
Pulse, 84 before experiment, at 15 minutes was 78, 20 minutes 73, 30 minutes 70, 35 minutes 68, thence gradually rising to 76.
He then took 20 gr.
Irritation in esophagus was again felt, with some nausea; the drug also operated slightly as a purgative. (Inaug. Thesis, Penns. Univ., 1803; from ALLEN.)

2. Mr. L. took 20 gr. of powdered root. In 10 minutes burning sensation in esophagus with considerable discharge of mucus from trachea (still continuing in slight degree 1 1/2 hour later).
Pulse, 65 before experiment, in 10 minutes was 70 and fuller; later 72, whence it fell again. (Ibid.)

3. Mr. L – took same.Had similar feeling in esophagus, with much hawking of mucus.
In 30 minutes nausea, which increased up to 40 minutes.
Pulse, 65 before experiment, gradually rose in 5 – 40 minutes up to 90, and was still 80 – 86 after 1 – 2 hours.
In 1 1/2 hour skin became very hot; in 1 3/4 hour profuse perspiration set in, and disagreeable symptoms were quite removed. (Ibid.)

4. Mr. W. took same. Same irritation in esophagus; pulse, 68, was 80 at 30 – 40 minutes, and only returned to its starting-point in 2 1/2 hours (Ibid.)

So what does Seneca look like in the repertory?

Seneca appears in four points in the following rubrics. However, it takes its place among many other remedies, and does not appear in four points in any rubric with less than 50 remedies.

What about rubrics with less remedies?  Seneca is prominent in the following, and appears in three points:

So far this gives us a picture of a remedy state where the patient has a tendency to dryness, lack of perspiration and to an increased production of mucus in the larynx and trachea. There is very clear aggravation from mortification in this remedy state, and also relaxation of the body (pathological) and very deep sleep. In its appearance in three points in “Mortification” Senega is accompanied by Chamomile and Phosphoric Acid, with Colocynthis, Ignatia, Natrum-Muriaticum and Staphysagria in four points.

Where does Senega stand in terms of relationships with other remedies? For this I’ve done a search of its position in the Concordances section.

From this search we see Senega is noted as an antidote to Arnica and Bryonia, as having some connection in terms of modalities with Angustura, Crocus Sativus, Kali Carbonicum, Kali Nitricum and Rhododendron Chrysanthum. In Generalities we find it in concordance with Aurum, Caladium, Carbo Vegetabilis, Causticum and Digitalis. The only remedy where we see Senega appearing twice is in Kali Nitricum, in modalities and in body parts.

This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what can be learned about a remedy through searching through the repertory. I did one last search, to see where Senega appeared in any grade, in rubrics with 10 remedies or less, and got the following result:

Senega’s only partner in the symptom Amelioration from Chewing is Bryonia. Its only partner in the symptom of Imaginary Odors resembling Pus is Sulphur.

In the concordance symptoms and in this last search, for the most part Senega appears in one point, indicating that Boenninghausen did not have much clinical experience with the remedy for these symptoms. However, its appearance in the TPB means it has definite significance in such cases, where it matches the totality of the disease state.

Questions that have been asked regarding homoeopathy

The following article, posted by Gary Weaver on the main IHM site, sheds light and clarity on issues which are constantly confused, sometimes among homeopaths and frequently among the general public:

What is Psora?

220px-hahnemannPsora is Hahnemanns model for a disease process stemming from a singular root. Hahnemann considered it as the most common ailment to affect mankind. He also made the point that it was acquired by INFECTION and therefore was not transferred by hereditary.  A full and thorough examination of the medical models of Psora Sycosis and Syphilis is conducted in the IHM Advanced training course. It is not a disease per se, it is a process via infection and the resultant sequela. Continue reading

Viewed through repertory: Intellect vs Emotion

I’ve mentioned previously in this blog that I enjoy reading books  in hard copy. When looking at a page, elements and patterns jump out in a way that does not happen when searching for rubrics in software. (The software does provide better screenshots though.)

This article was prompted by casual leafing through Mind symptoms in the P&W hardcopy edition of the Therapeutic Pocketbook.  I was looking at the pages on disposition and intellect, flipping back and forth between the two sections, and noticed that while Belladonna appears frequently in four points in Intellect, it only appears in that grade in the main Mind Disposition rubric, and not in other more emotion-related rubrics. Continue reading

10 Tips for Homoeopathy Students

Read Primary Sources!

10 Tips for Homoeopathy Students

1.  Read the Organon yourself.  Read Chronic Diseases.  Read Hahnemann and Boenninghausen’s Lesser Writings.  You are not a baby, don’t stick to the pureed version.

2. Never let anything go unchallenged.  Ask why, and if you don’t get answers from your teachers look for them yourself.  This includes everything from the law of similars, to plastic cups, dosing methods, antidotes, choices of remedies, concepts of miasms. Continue reading

Where to study homoeopathy – a dilemma

booksPeople often ask “where’s the best place to study homoeopathy in ……. (fill in town of choice).” I no longer know how to answer. Or more precisely, I know how to answer, but it’s usually not the answer they are looking for.

In the past, I used to be able to give a breakdown of schools in my area which offer a qualification that will be acceptable to the local associations. I myself studied at a “recognized school”. With the world’s direction towards uninformed regulation, it is the associations, the boards, and the schools connected with them that have the best chances of survival.

Qualifications are important. Society shows them respect. They offer some form of validation for what you do. Oh, so you’re a homoeopath? What qualifications do you have? Well yes, I have a …… (fill in string of letters after the name), and I studied with…. (fill in names of many homoeopaths both living and late). So you must be good, right? (at which point, homoeopath gracefully inclines head in modest acknowledgement…)

So here is the difficult question: do you want good qualifications, or do you want to be the best homoeopath you can be? Unfortunately, these goals often don’t overlap.

The underlying principles of homoeopathy are simple and straightforward. When you identify the core principle of “like cures like” and separate it from the doctrine of signatures, for example, when you learn it correctly, it becomes clear that whatever happens to homoeopathic methodology this principle is unchanging, and the nature of the sources of information which enable us to make use of this principle also don’t change.

If someone is open and desires to learn, it would take about a day to teach this – if not less. Here, let’s do it in 5 minutes:

Me: Homoeopathy is based on the principle of like cures like
Fred: What does that mean?
Me: If a substance causes symptoms in a healthy person, it can, and by default will heal similar symptoms in the sick, if nothing is holding it back
Fred: So you give substances to healthy people to find out what symptoms they can cause?
Me: Yes, exactly. What do you think the prescription should be based on?
Fred: Well, I guess they should be based on the symptoms you got from giving substances to healthy people, at least first of all…

QED. I have had this conversation so many times with people who have no idea about homoeopathy, and follow simple logic. It is that central and basic, and unchanging. It is also based on the most boring reading material in the homoeopathic bookcase – provings. Grocery lists of symptoms, many of which you really don’t want anyone reading over your shoulder in a crowded cafe.

How do people practice homoeopathy without ever accessing this basic material? By studying regurgitated material provided by teachers and gurus. Without anchoring the material in the primary proving sources, we are now in the land of hit-and-miss, and have moved very far from ideas of certainty and unchanging principles.

So you can do a fine qualifying course without ever reading a proving. Many such courses are available. “But we give our students a solid foundation in Kent and Phatak,” declare those schools which have not chosen to follow the route to the far more exciting pastures of Sankaran’s sensations and Scholten’s magic minerals and elements. Students emerge from such training equipped to hunt the snark of the Kentian constitutional remedy through endless hours of case-taking, rather than to hone in on prescribing symptoms and exploit the default in nature, the cure by means of similars. (with apologies to Lewis Carroll).

It is possible to find qualifying courses which do not rest on Sankaran and Scholten. But to the best of my knowledge, it is almost impossible to find qualifying courses which are not based on Kent and Phatak.

How about the nature of the work, the “how-to” of homoeopathy? Those who are familiar with my writing know well what’s coming here. The primary “how-to” of homoeopathy is Hahnemann’s Organon, preferably in 6th edition. This is the work where the building bricks of homoeopathy are presented, each logically built on the previous, tracing back to the principle of like cures like.

Many qualifying courses give minimal attention to the Organon, dismissing it to dusty shelves as a philosophical work. I am told that there are courses where the Organon is not taught at all. That’s the same as trying to replicate a scientific experiment while refusing to follow the method set down by the scientist who devised it.

It is the nature of man to look for ways to improve what he is doing. When this is done to principle it is an excellent thing. But when it’s done to avoid the boring work of studying provings, to shrug off the somewhat archaic language of the Organon, to take shortcuts which distort the work or to gain personal fame by providing something new and so much more interesting – none of this leads to courses which will ensure better practice of homoeopathy.

You can learn more about actual practice of homoeopathy in one week with the IHM, such as in the intensive course currently offered by Gary in Spain which will also be available in Israel and in other countries, than you would learn in many of the qualifying courses available today.

But… the study of how to practice focused, practical, uncompromising homoeopathy in a brief period of time will not bring you the qualifications you may think you need. And the courses which grant the qualifications you may be seeking , in addition to being time consuming and probably expensive, will ingrain information which you will need to painfully unlearn in order to practice homoeopathy the way it should be practiced.

Hahnemann and Boenninghausen – or Kent and Phatak….a dilemma indeed.

“I knew that…” – but did you really?

The agonies of unlearning

The agonies of unlearning

I knew that…

This is something I and other IHM practitioners often hear, or see on people’s faces when we talk about homoeopathy to homoeopaths. I can feel the thought echoing through the ether (so to speak…) when I write about homoeopathy to homoeopaths.

However, to warp an old idiom, knowing is as knowing does. If you really knew that – why don’t you do that?

Let’s start with the first basic tenet of homoeopathy: like cures like. Continue reading

P&W in book form – a cure for tunnel vision

P&W in book form – a cure for tunnel vision

tunnel visionI recently received my copy of P&W’s book version of the Therapeutic Pocketbook. And I must admit, it was love at first sight, and second, and third…

I must own up to being old fashioned. However much computers may have helped us in referencing many books, in finding correct rubrics, in the process of repertorization – it has reduced us to a bunch of small-screen addicts with heavy-duty tunnel vision. Continue reading