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Discovering Life: Homeopathic Portraits An In-Depth Modern Clinical Materia Medica


What is new in this Materia Medica book?

This book is the result of 8 years work. What makes this materia medica different from others? Why a new materia medica among the glut of existing ones? One of the most confounding aspects of homeopathy, which I have noticed while teaching throughout the world, is the difficulty that both students and experienced practitioners have in translating the language of the patient into the language of the materia medica. This book addresses that need. This is done partly through sharing observations with creative in-depth applications, avoiding a sterile accumulation of statistical facts that would add nothing to the truths and knowledge of health and disease in the human body. A pure citation of the proving symptoms without in-depth analysis would, likewise, offer too little explanation to apply in the daily practice. In addition to providing practical information that is both accurate and rich in detail, this book also addresses a major issue of the old materia medica: the use of cryptic language which does not always resonate with our present idiom. For instance, in Hering's Guiding Symptoms, we can read in the provings for the same remedy both "taciturn" and "loquacious"-on the same page. What can the student of homeopathy do with this information? How does one deal with this apparent inconsistency? The addressing of the dominant miasmatic state of the patient when he presents in the clinic leads to ready understanding of such an apparent contradiction; these expressions refer to behaviors that take place in two different miasmatic states (syphilitic and sycotic).

Some modern materia medicas, in their attempts to offer something new, take the road of the esoteric and speculative, disconnecting entirely from the old provings-a mortal sin in clinical homeopathic application. Others simply take on most of the Masters' cryptic and archaic language without adding anything to it but a few small nuggets from their own clinical findings. The result is that such materia medicas remain, at best, obscure for the modern practitioner; at worst, they may be dangerously misleading. In other words, remedies need to be able to reveal their stories through illumination with additional languages-those of philosophy, psychology, and TCM-while confirming the real provings of the Masters. In such a manner, using accessible vocabulary and describing situations directly applicable in a contemporary clinic, this book tells a fuller, more accurate, and more individual story for each remedy.

This book offers a solution to the difficulties the homeopath encounters in the practice through the application of in-depth, modern psychology and philosophy to the Masters' proving symptoms. By learning how to translate the patient's common language into the language of this materia medica, the practitioner will greatly facilitate her work in the clinical setting. This book is the first materia medica to present modern, cohesive stories about remedies: it is as if the patient were present on consult. The rubrics in the Essential Synthesis, as well as Hering's and T.F. Allen's proving symptoms, are used as references. Provings are primarily from Hering's The Guiding Symptoms of the Materia Medica, with some exceptions: T.F. Allen is indicated, Kent's Lectures on Materia Medica, other rubrics can be found in The Essential Synthesis , Edited by F. Schroyens, Homeopathic Book Publishers and Archibel S.A., 2007 (indicated by their intensity). I have added live cases from the clinic in some remedy portraits in order to make the descriptions even more accurate and vivid; rubrics corresponding to patients' statements are added in the text in italics. (Intimate details about these cases are omitted to protect patient privacy.) The connection with the enigmatic language and symbols of dreams is also broached in this materia medica; it provides a homeopath's introduction to seeing dreams, in an accurate context, for what they are: messengers from the unconscious presenting a view that enlarges, completes, or compensates the conscious attitude. It is beyond the scope of this book to elaborate on dream interpretation (which will be the subject of a future book). But the reader will become aware that dreams are indeed an unconscious reaction to a conscious, individual situation, confirming individuality as a sacred homeopathic principle.

Throughout the portraits, differential diagnoses with common complementary remedies are analyzed, again facilitating the homeopath's work in the clinic by encouraging an understanding of the fine nuances of remedies in the same rubric. Delusions, rather than possessing obscure meanings, are explained and often grouped in a central theme so that their enigmatic message truly becomes the beginning of the remedy's story. Initially, in my student years, I buried myself in thousands of the Masters' papers that were stored in the belly of the medical library at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor-the place where Kent once taught homeopathy. I then put the information together for my own use in a manuscript I called Gems and Pearls; this manuscript was available to some of my students, but I never published it officially. These wonderful tips from the practices of the Masters deal mainly with the physical aspects of disease (without neglecting the emotional and the picture as a whole) as homeopathy at that time was (as it still is) far ahead of allopathy when it came to conquering common daily illnesses as well as epidemics of measles, scarlatina, pertussis, typhoid fever, dysentery, malaria, cholera, and others. For the first time, this information is now added and expanded to each portrait to enhance the full picture and to present characteristic, clinically proven physical indications for both acute and chronic conditions of the remedy in question. You will find them under the heading "Golden Tips from the Masters" at the end of each portrait. It must be said, as a reminder, that these clinical tips in no way indicate specific remedies for specific diseases: as always, the totality of the symptoms must be taken into account before prescribing the simillimum. The Golden Tips, though, often serve as a key to unlock the creaky gate to a true treasure.