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The study and comparison of homeopathic remedies is one of the most important skills of a homeopath. Many remedies can look alike when studying and analyzing a case and the ability to differentiate accurately takes a deep knowledge of materia medica as well as good case taking and analysis skills. This book seeks to help in this process by creating a map of important homeopathic remedies and how they can be compared with other well-known and lesser-known remedies. It is like studying a constellation of stars in the sky. What may initially seem to have no pattern or connection can, on deeper study, be seen to be interconnected in interesting ways. This is the main goal of this book, to make the study of homeopathic materia medica more integrated and successful, like studying a map.

Every remedy in homeopathy has its own unique pattern. Many remedies can be said to have three levels of expression, which can be classified as the following levels: Intrinsic, Compensated and Decompensated states, each matching the homeopathic miasmatic categorizations of Psora, Sycosis and Syphilis. The miasmatic categorization can be seen as a form of thematic expression and in so doing it can be helpful in recognizing the unique picture of a remedy. A miasm is an acquired or inherited influence which expresses itself in body and mind. It is a unique and fascinating part of homeopathic theory and practice and in this case is being used to help us navigate the understanding and comparison of homeopathic remedies.

Sphere of Action of Remedies

Every remedy has a sphere of action, revealing its breadth and depth of action. This is revealed in both physical and mental symptomatology. Some remedies are much better known than others and especially with the polychrest (well-known and broad acting remedies), it can be said that we know virtually everything that there is to know about their action after 200 hundred years of experience. However, even in such situations, a person will only produce a small number of symptoms of a remedy at any given time and the challenge is to be able to identify the remedy using the unique combination of symptoms in any given case. This requires skill on the part of the homeopath to identify this unique pattern and especially to see when a smaller and lesser-known remedy is indicated.

One way to understand the development of a remedy and the depth of its action is to categorize symptoms according to these different levels of expression. Every remedy has a sphere of action that determines the quality and intensity of its symptoms and also a unique pathological affinity and expression. Understanding this can be very important in distinguishing between remedies.

Three levels of expression or structure of a remedy

The book uses the three basic miasmatic themes as a model of developmental structure or themes of a remedy. If the three miasms are used as metaphorical themes rather than merely connected to the traditional disease states, then many remedies can be said to have three levels of expression, which have been classified as the following: Intrinsic, Compensated and Decompensated states, each matching the homeopathic miasmatic categorizations of Psora, Sycosis and Syphilis as stated above. The idea of remedies having different stages of action is not new and has been described by many homeopaths, using similar or different descriptive terms. The purpose here is to connect it to the idea of constitution and also to use it as a means to help differentiate remedies, to see possible layers in prescribing and to apply miasmatic classification in a practical way.

Some of the older textbooks tended to focus mostly on the decompensated levels of the remedy, whereas this information has since been complemented with a wider comprehension of the developments that lead up to this. For example, reading Causticum, Staphysagria and Nitric acid in Kent’s Lectures on Materia Medica, one gets very specific ideas of each remedy, but these images are not always seen in practice. They only reveal the decompensated stage of a remedy. Some people needing these remedies will not show symptoms at that developmental stage. We need to be able to identify a remedy before it has reached this stage and understand the movement toward the end stages of a remedy and to identify a remedy at each stage. This has been an important development in our understanding of materia medica in the last years.

The practical use of a developmental structure in studying and comparing homeopathic remedies.

The three main miasms of Psora, Sycosis and Syphilis were developed originally by Hahnemann and then further developed by generations of homeopaths. Although originally used to mainly describe the impact of certain diseases, including the suppression of skin conditions, these three miasms or influences are now often described to represent fundamental or archetypal states. Many things happen in threes and this simple yet elegant descriptive method can be adapted to structuring the development of homeopathic remedy pictures and the level of consciousness that goes along with this. One can describe this as follows:

Psora or Underfunction: describes a basic state of a person’s situation, dealing with the fundamentals of life: food, family, basic identity and purpose in life, the essentials of survival and the struggles that come from this. It often relates to constitutional patterns and issues and can be seen in chronic issues in a person, including skin conditions and consequences of their suppression (which is how Hahnemann described it). Mentally, basic anxieties and fears are commonly seen, issues to do with identity and purpose.

Sycosis or Overfunction: Sycosis relates to the disease gonorrhoea, seen a physical expression of a broader structure and expression of body and mind. Physically it is seen where there is a exaggeration of function and structure, e.g., a profusion of discharges and also in the production of growths, such as warts, cysts and moles. The body is over reacting. Mentally/emotionally there can also be exaggerated states – mood swings, extreme reactions, strong anger, rage, jealousy, greed, avarice. Also, it can be seen in a desire to be seen, to perform and in more ambitious impulses. Concern is not so much in the basics of survival but in the way in which one is being seen, or in performance and in comparison with others.

Syphilis or dysfunction/destruction: This relates to the disease syphilis and is seen when more broken down or destructive states in body and mind are seen. It therefore relates to the latter stages of the disease process when the body can no longer produce an effective response. It may be stronger in some people than others and indicates a more destructive or dysfunctional metabolism. Mentally/emotionally it is seen in more extreme states, e.g., deep depression, even suicidal tendencies or in violent destructive behaviours. But it can also be seen in the polarity of genius, with extreme focus and one pointed obsession with things but underneath a more unbalanced and dysfunctional state. Serious addictions and self-destructive actions are seen here.

Each of these levels or states can be seen in most homeopathic remedies and also in many people. We all have aspects of all three miasms or levels but one or more may predominate in any one time. Here it is being used to help categorize what otherwise may seem a complicated situation with symptoms that have no pattern or connection.

Remedies can then be compared within each level as each stage may present differently and therefore bring up different remedies for comparison. This is one of the advantages of creating a map of remedies, using these levels for better comparison and analysis.

In this book, we use these three archetypal and specifically homeopathic classifications to help us in our analysis and comparison of homeopathic remedy states and how that relates to the experience of health and disease. It can be a creative and interesting way to look at the struggles we all face and how our body and mind deal with the challenges of maintaining and optimizing health. The homeopathic analysis of how each person adapts and responds to the challenges of life gives a unique view on the underlying susceptibilities and influences that each person brings to this challenge. Homeopathic remedies are a way to analyse and see these patterns in the challenge of maintaining and optimizing health.