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  • Jay Yasgur
    RPh, MSc, USA.

    The author of this massive work, Richard Pitt (1958–), wrote two other noteworthy items, Tobacco: An Exploration of Its Nature through the Prism of Homeopathy (2006) and The Natural Medicine Guide for Travel and Home (2013). Pitt was originally a British citizen, lived in the United States for many years, and now divides his time between Africa, Europe and the United States. He has been very active in the creation and administration of the Council for Homeopathic Certification (CHC) and has also given of his clinical skills in Africa where he has conducted charity homeopathic clinics.

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    Originally published in Homœopathic Links 2016;29(2):160–161.

  • Andreas Bjorndal

    Focusing on 36 main polychrests he opens the door to the whole materia medica! 
Most comparative MM´s are old, or do not include the many new remedies and groups used in contemporary homeopathy. 
Reading this book is like getting the experience of Richard’s more than 30 years of practice and broad experience around the world. 
This is a great book for students as well as practitioners that want to update their knowledge to the latest development.

    The book is unifying, broadening and sharing. He manages to cover the main Idea of every remedy nicely as well as give you the main landscape of the picture. The most important is how he manages to broaden your understanding and search to the updated extensive world of contemporary Materia Medica.

    Extended review on Amazon.

  • Peter Fraser
    Homeopath and Author, UK

    The new Comparative Materia Medica by Richard Pitt is a valuable addition to the homœopathic 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.

  • Alan V. Schmukler

    When analyzing a case, we usually come to a short list of remedies and from there make further distinctions. More often than not the simillimum does not shout out and the work of fine tuning the list begins. At this point we turn to comparative materia medica, and there are some excellent ones available. Richard Pitt’s book builds on those other works adding more of the mental aspects of remedies and also describing the stages at which the remedy state may exist.

    In the introduction the author offers perspective on such topics as constitution, etiology, layers, remedy pictures, the new methods and remedies, and characteristic symptoms. Here you will experience the author’s intellectual rigor and clarity. He finds the central points that have been muddied by popular use and gives them grounding and accuracy.

    Thirty six well known remedies, which include four nosodes, make up the headings of the remedy chapters and those are compared to hundreds of other remedies from every kingdom. The book is based on the clinical relationship of all those remedies, and takes the further step of summarizing the different stages of each remedy. The stages are: the intrinsic or constitutional stage, associated with the psoric miasm, the compensated stage where functional and structural changes occur and which relates to the sycotic miasm and the decompensated or syphilitic stage with extreme pathology.

    The idea of stages as elaborated by Dr. Prafull Vijayakar (Predictive Homeopathy) has been important in recognizing remedies when they don’t look like the classic remedy picture. Dr. Niva S. Ghosh writes that the usually extrovert Phosphorus, when under the influence of another miasm “will give the impression of an introvert, sullen, indifferent, unfriendly, discouraged and highly depressed individual that may mentally somewhat correspond to a Natrum-mur”. The inclusion in this book of the three stages for each remedy is an important addition and allows one to make assessments of stages or levels.

    Each chapter begins with a brief statement of the main theme of the remedy, followed by a list of keynotes, then some characteristics of the three different states of the remedy. After the keynotes and also for each stage of a remedy the author suggests a number of remedies to compare it to. The progression from one stage to the next is then described in a single paragraph. What follows is a more detailed description of the remedy and then various important characteristics, and through all this, remedy comparisons abound. Further along, physical aspects and pathologies of the remedy are discussed, again with remedy comparisons. This book compresses a great deal of information into sections that can be accessed for study rather quickly.

    One of the first things I do when evaluating a new materia medica, is to pick a handful of remedies that I know very well, and see how the author handles those. In some books I have found authors describing remedies rather too imaginatively and beyond what the evidence allows. In this case however, I was never disappointed. Richard Pitt’s descriptions I discovered to be entirely accurate in every instance. His depictions are dependable, which is a must.

    I was happy to see that Chapter 36 covered the bowel nosodes which are certainly less understood and underused. In that same chapter the author discusses the nosodes of the plague, smallpox, leprosy, AIDS, Whooping Cough, Measles, Mumps, Rubella and Chicken Pox, Diphtheria, Polio, Hep B and influenza, as well as bacterial nosodes.

    What could be improved here? Occasionally when the author was comparing very many remedies, I found the distinctions a bit too fine to resolve. This may be the result of including so much in this book. The font is somewhat small, but larger font would have turned this into two volumes, making it more cumbersome to use.

    This is a work written by a homeopath with many years in both practice and teaching. It shows his discipline and careful choice of words. Whenever one needs to decide between remedies that are close, this book will prove a valuable addition.

  • Francis Treuherz

    This book joins the slim ranks of books on homeopathy which one can call literature, like the materia medica of Margaret Tyler or Roger Morrison. There is none of the railway timetable style listings, nor is it suitable for reading on short journeys. This is for a long ride or a comfortable armchair. The only heaviness is the 527 page length.

    The 30 page introduction thoroughly sets the scene and the themes, so we have an idea of Richard’s philosophy and deep thinking. At the back there is a modest description of the author – we were contemporaries at college but he has gone far since then – teaching, traveling, writing [1]. There is a thorough Bibliography; and an even more thorough index, not just any old index but a very useful Therapeutic Index, which is like a repertory. There is a listing of Chapter Themes which is a handy quick reference summary and a Remedy Listing.

    Long ago I wrote a paper: Small remedies, the struggle to escape. ‘Inside every small remedy there is a polychrest struggling to escape’ were my opening words. Richard has neatly turned this around to help us consider a wide range of possible alternative remedies when we begin, as we so often do, by considering a polychrest. I looked at the familiar 35 remedies in the list of contents and chose number 36 as I have never prescribed Zingiber. It turned out to be a treasure house of information about Nosodes, Bowel Nosodes, Sarcodes, Imponderabilia and more and also Zingiber. Well this information had to go somewhere but it is brilliant and could be the start of his next book.

    The main body of the materia medica takes us into the feelings – and the science – of each remedy and its themes and a range of other remedies which may be considered. Richard goes deeply inside the remedies and displays all the finesse possible of a well-read homeopath with over 30 years’ experience under his belt. I am for once lost for the right words to describe the depths of this beautiful work. Go for it now.

    [1] Richard Pitt: The Natural Medicine Guide for Travel & Home, 2013, Homeolinks NL. & Tobacco, an Exploration of its Nature Through the Prism of Homeopathy, 2006, Lalibela, CA.