Peter Fraser

Peter Fraser, Homeopath and Author, UK.

The new Comparative Materia Medica by Richard Pitt is a valuable addition to the homÅ“opathic literature. Comparative Materia Medicas have been very useful, especially Farrington’s, however, they have become less popular and less used in recent years. One of the reasons for this is that they tend to be fairly therapeutic and not so useful in constitutional prescribing. This is the nature of comparison which tends to be easier on the physical level. It is also because they tend to be of their time, which is now more than a century ago. We now use many new remedies and it is in finding the lesser known remedies and how they relate to the polychrests that Comparative Materia Medicas are most useful.

Richard’s book addresses both these issues in that it looks at the remedies in terms of their deeper, more essential nature as well as their physical pictures and it includes comparisons to many of the new remedies and groups of remedies. Those who studied at the Pacific Academy learnt Richard’s understanding of polychrests in terms of the three very different ways in which they can express their essence, but this insight has not previously been published. The Intrinsic picture is the natural state of the remedy, it highlights its weaknesses and vulnerabilities but is primarily concerned with its strengths. This is generally the healthy state of the remedy but it is also where disease begins to be expressed. As things become difficult the person begins to find ways of dealing with their weaknesses; this is the Compensated state and the place we most often see patients and the centre of the remedy picture. The compensating strategies tend not to be sustainable and eventually break down. This leads to the Decompensated state where deeper and more dangerous pathologies are expressed. These three states are specific to the remedy but within a remedy they can present in quite different ways. The remedy pictures of the polychrests include all three states and they are usually mixed together. In looking at the three separate states the remedy becomes much easier to fully comprehend, and some of the confusion about polychrest pictures clears.

In this book Richard looks at some thirty six polychrest remedies. He gives a concise picture of the Intrinsic, Compensated and Decompensated states and compares aspects of the remedy picture with other, lesser known remedies. To learn about the major remedies and in situations where a polychrest seems to be indicated but does not quite feel right or has not helped the patient or helped in a limited or short lived manner, this is definitely the book to turn to.