“Discovering Life: Homeopathic Portraits
An In-Depth Modern Clinical Materia Medica"
What is New in This Materia Medica?
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.
Dr. Luc De Schepper
“An Advanced Clinical Guide to the Professional Homeopathic Practice"
I have finally resigned myself to the fact that I always will be writing, in spite of my previous assertions that “This is my last book.” I am primarily driven by my enthusiasm at continually discovering nuances of this magnificent science that enable me to treat patients in a more effective and faster fashion than ever before. For the good of mankind, I feel that I need to share these realizations with the rest of the world, and then let them decide if there is any reason to be as enthusiastic about it as I am.
As I constantly study Hahnemann and the Old Masters and follow clinical cases, I have experienced the need to correct, or rather fine-tune, some aspects of the homeopathic practice. None of these changes are my invention. All the credit goes to Hahnemann, as I am continually astounded at the exactness of his words and advice for the homeopathic practice. I hope to present this fine-tuned version to the homeopathic world so that homeopathic practice may become more uniform worldwide, but also so that the student, and yes, the practitioner, whether beginner or advanced, can offer the patient what Hahnemann promised in Aphorism 2 of the Organon:
“The highest ideal is to restore health rapidly, gently, permanently and to remove and destroy the whole disease in the shortest, surest, least harmful way, according to clearly comprehensible principles.”
How every one of Hahnemann’s words still ring true! It is this fact that has motivated me to continue to look for “final” and “easy” principles to apply in the modern world. Notice that I have placed that word final in quotation marks. These principles will never be “final,” but hopefully, this will be my “6th edition of the Organon”, if I may be so bold as to make that comparison. I would like to stress that I never fail to take into account “according to clearly comprehensible principles,” those principles that were so well outlined by Hahnemann.
I have endeavored this book as a companion and extended guide of my previous books. It was written for the practitioner and the student to focus on four major issues that are frequent topics of controversy among homeopaths and have, therefore, a great impact on the way homeopathy is presently practiced. I not only intend the reader to get involved and investigate in an academic way, but foremost, I attempt the information presented to guarantee the clinician the fastest and most optimal results.
In this book, the reader will be FIRST led to ask himself eleven essential questions after the patient’s case has been taken following the principles set forth in my book Hahnemann Revisited. If those eleven questions can be answered correctly, the homeopath will not be led astray and therefore, the simillimum will be within reach. This information can be presented to any student and the patient will come alive without even been seen once. Many aspects of Hahnemann Revisited and Achieving the Simillimum are fine-tuned and answered in these questions. It is like a final summary of observations that compromises all of the patient’s facets, presenting the homeopath with the simillimum on a silver platter.
This second part of case taking is not only neglected in allopathic medicine, but it is equally and surprisingly done in homeopathy as well: asking about emotional traumas related to the pregnancy to explain the epidemic numbers of challenged children now united under disorder names such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit and Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). There are still many challenged children who do not fall under any of these most prevalent classifications. Of course allopathy is doing its best to come up with new disorders such as Selective Mutism…but these are disease names which will never explain nor do answer the two most important questions that parents always ask: “What caused this disorder in my child,” and “What can you do for my child?”
While allopathy remains silent on the first issue, the second is addressed with cumbersome therapeutic approaches that achieve limited success while demanding ever more resources, time, and money for all involved. Yet homeopathy has the answer to both questions. This book will help the homeopathic practitioner to zoom in on the “first site of possible emotional trauma:” The uterus. The promised and presumed safe haven/paradise for the unborn child, but where there is plenty of danger.
Allopathy and many homeopaths have still not figured out that besides the miasmatic (hereditary) background, the uterus is the first place where an emotional trauma can be committed towards the fetus. While allopathy focuses on every possible physical aspect during pregnancy, physicians still remain totally in the dark regarding emotional traumas to the pregnant mother that result in challenged children.
SECOND, as I read the Organon for the 105th time, I found that the miasms section, a topic extensively discussed in my book, “Hahnemann Revisited,” deserved a fresh look. I have learned to respect to the letter every word that Hahnemann sets forth in these aphorisms. This, together with experience drawn from my practice, has guided me not only to a welcome simplification of the miasmatic theory, but also to a doctrine that I can use in the management of the patient. I alluded to this already in Achieving the Simillimum, but in the present book, I will connect it to Hering’s Set of Observations of Cure, the guide to true success in practice.
The miasmatic theory has not been only neglected in the homeopathic practice, but it is often denigrated by “eminent” homeopaths as nonsense and, therefore, of no importance in the practice. Nothing could be further from the truth. This one aspect of homeopathy makes more and more sense in this complicated world as it explains and predicts many disorders, behaviors, and diseases of humankind. This miasmatic theory is Hahnemann’s most important gift to mankind, far ahead of present allopathic genetic science. This book provides the reader with an easier and correct guide to its application in the practice.
There is no more contentious topic to homeopaths than the potency selection of the remedy, the THIRD issue in this book. There seems to be no uniform opinion and harsh discussions often take place. Throughout the past 200 years, both camps, high and low potency prescribers have been involved in heated discussions, claiming that they both have experienced success. There is no doubt that this is true, but is there a middle way? Is there a potency choice guided by common sense rather than passion? Is there a potency choice that can satisfy both camps because it makes sense and it is effective?
I wholeheartedly believe there is. In this book, I propose a schedule that not only makes great sense, but it guarantees greater success in the practice. And all is based on Hahnemann’s clear indications. Is this not all what a good homeopath wants? The best for the patient and for homeopathy?
The last and FOURTH topic is Hering’s Set of Observations of Cure. Was everything said by this eminent homeopath? Are there other observations that can be added to assure the homeopath of the direction of cure and choice of the simillimum? Can allopathic terminology be used to bring Hering’s observations up to modern times? Even Traditional Chinese Medicine provides more answers regarding this Set of Observations in clear and simple terms.
While “Hahnemann Revisited” and “Achieving and Maintaining the Simillimum” have, among other excellent literature from dedicated authors, paved the way to the serious study of homeopathy, this latest book has fine-tuned several principles based on science and art, the latter being the confirmation from the practice. These changes I propose are from countless cases I have used my newest methodology with, including on myself, my beloved wife and my family. Through my seminars, many of my students have already reaped the benefits of this newest information. I believe that the natural order of my books for the practitioner to read is first Hahnemann Revisited, followed by Achieving and Maintaining the simillimum, followed by the Practical guide and this series of homeopathic clinical books will be rounded up by a new Materia Medica of one hundred polychrests based on the method set forth in this book (the core Delusion or CD) “Discovering Life: Homeopathic Portraits."
May you follow Hering when he said, “Don’t reject anything without trying!” May success in practice be yours so that homeopathy can win the hearts of thousands of people more and more every day!
Dr. Luc De Schepper
Achieving and Maintaining the Simillimum
“We homeopaths better hang together, or most assuredly, we will hang separately.”
Modified version of Benjamin Franklin
Although I wrote this book in a spirit of dispassionate inquiry, I cannot expect my critics to always respond in kind. Practicing homeopathy is a challenge and criticizing each other seems to be a national sport. Truth never needs to fear, and I welcome intelligent well-founded criticism. I have always attributed my writings to Hahnemann, and yet I hear criticism such as, “you think Dr. Luc’s way is the only way?” Never have I mentioned that it is my way. Hahnemann deserves all due credit. But then again he was constantly criticized by pseudo-homeopaths as well, who found it too difficult to adhere to the Laws and Principles of homeopathy. They pretend they have cures too. But what kind of cures? Do they hold up to what we need to witness in Hering’s Set of Observations? Do they keep in account miasmatic blocks, obstructions to the cure, the nature of the disease, the patient, and the remedy? Why do they stick to what Hahnemann called his “barbaric methods, the 4th edition Organon”?
It is as if homeopathy froze in time around 1828 as most of the techniques used in modern practice are from this period. Although Hahnemann’s personal practice grew immensely beyond the stage of the 4th edition Organon, homeopathy as a whole did not. Most practitioners are still practicing by the rules laid down in 1828-1829. This is more than strange as the next 14 years of Hahnemann’s career, were the most productive of his life. Different reasons exist for this behavior. Laziness of the practitioner is a universal syndrome in most professions. Statements like “I am doing well enough; I am satisfied; why make more effort; why study more” are all arguments that do not hold up under scrutiny. Why bother to check facts when you can quote a new guru-homeopath’s opinion who charmed your shoes off yesterday? Then there is arrogance: “I am a great practitioner. I do better than most.”
Indifference is another prevalent emotion: “I can’t spend my time investigating what Hahnemann did in his later ‘senile’ years.” Maybe, the practitioner is guided by misplaced egotism: “I want to do my own version of homeopathy. Homeopathy did not stop with Hahnemann. He would have been proud with my experiments.” Yes, it is the duty of every generation to go beyond the last one. Hering once said: “It is the duty of all of us to go further in the theory and practice of homeopathy than Hahnemann has done. We ought to seek the truth, which is before us and forsake the errors of the past.”
Homeopathy has evolved considerably in the last 150 years. Nevertheless, homeopaths still have much to learn from what Hahnemann taught in his works. I doubt he would be proud if we are sinning against and omitting basic laws and rules. I do agree that too much dogma is always counterproductive and that an open mind is an important part of growth. I can hope that we all can progress beyond Hahnemann’s knowledge, but we are not going to arrive there by denying that the Organon had anything to do with it. The Organon is the text on which homeopathic healing is based. I never thought it was a religious document to be followed blindly, but I do treat it with the utmost respect, because without it there would be no homeopathy. Insults from “well-known” homeopaths such as “religious dogma,” “stuck in the past,” and “that old, dusty bible,” are used to undermine the careful observations of several generations of experienced homeopaths.
To “modernize” homeopathy by ignoring its legacy is like throwing the baby out with the bath water. It is like building the proverbial house on a base of sand instead of upon rock. As soon as the winds of difficulty blow, and the rains of hard times fall, the house will come crashing down. Kent, in his Lesser Writings (1994, p. 210), states: Eclectics building upon the uncertain sands of theory need to be continually rebuilding, as each new theory causes a shifting of their foundation. Homeopaths, building upon the unchangeable rock of law, need never rebuild. I am reminded of the present state in which “progressive” homeopaths use the words “dogma and old books” to belittle Hahnemann’s true teachings, when I read an article by Adolph Lippe, a famous homeopath of the 19th century:
“The progressive, anti-dogma wing of the homeopathic school, yearning for recognition, have distinguished themselves once more, and have given rise to a new phase of the history of medicine. As it cannot be long before the recognition craze will evaporate, it may be as well to put
on record the events of a few years, if for no other purpose than to complete history, and exhibit the folly of the recognition seekers, showing them how they are not only successful in their attempts to patch up a peace, but how in fact, they receive a severe rebuke from the other side of the house (Lippe, 1887).”
It would be more fruitful for us to study what really is in the Organon. The foundation is based upon the hard works of countless men and women who came before us and dedicated their entire lives to the enrichment of homeopathy. The speed of light has not changed over the centuries, and neither have the homeopathic laws of healing. Maybe the practitioner is guided by ignorance, but we should remember that ignorance is a crime when you deal with people’s health. What fits on the solid foundation, confirmed through experience in the field, we will use and develop further. What does not work in harmony with these well-proven methods, we must leave behind.
The history of homeopathy is just like all other discoveries in the world. Christopher Columbus in 1492 discovered a small island; his successors found a vast continent. As Columbus forever will be the discoverer of the Americas, Hahnemann always will be the founder of homeopathy. Patients want “promises” from the profession but Hahnemann calls one “ignorant” who can lightly promise the cure of a difficult disease. We may have to wait for centuries for a “Hahnemann” to come again and lead us to completion of the work he left us. So far, no one has been able to pick up where he left.
The advanced methods of the Organon are artistic ones that must be individualized to the patient. No preconceived schedules or protocols can guide the practitioner. You need to remain flexible and alert as the daily dose might be correct for one case, while one dose a week or even once a month is sufficient for other cases. In very acute cases, one single dose may suffice, or it may be necessary to repeat the dose at very short intervals. In chronic diseases, one dose might act for days, weeks, even months, or it may become necessary to repeat the dose daily or more often for a day, a week or even for months. In all this the practitioner must be guided by his individual judgment based on the advanced methods that Hahnemann taught.
As a classical homeopath, I have learned great respect for these principles, over the years I also have given wrong remedies and caused negative effects, suppressed symptoms with partial simillimums, disrupted the Vital Force with untimely repetition, and aggravated to the point that antidoting was necessary. Some say they have never seen any problems, suppressions or aggravations caused by giving homeopathic remedies. Bunkum! Such claims sound very, very hollow as this would mean that all the great masters who preceded us were incompetent souls – including Hahnemann, Kent and Hering! The wisdom of the rules of homeopathy are the result of two centuries of clinical experience, not religious dogma, fundamentalism or fanaticism. It is not always easy to be diplomatic when one is being called derogatory names and the blood, sweat and hard work of one’s experience is being called dogma.
Some practitioners ask, “Why go through all the trouble and work to use the watery solutions of the 5th and 6th edition, when I have satisfactory results using the dry dose of the 4th edition?” For some using bottles, spoons, brandy, etc., is just too “expensive” and too great a bother. It is just so “easy” to throw an undetermined amount of pills in someone’s mouth. The answer is simple. Do you want to treat the most chronically ill with their strong miasmatic background? Do you want to prevent unneeded similar aggravation? Do you want to treat the most sensitive patients, a group, which seems to increase daily in numbers? Do you want to speed up the time to cure by half, a quarter or less the time that it takes with a dry dose? Do you want to be successful with heavily suppressed cases and with illnesses deemed “incurable”? Do you want to use Hahnemann’s most advanced methods and walk in his footsteps?
If you do, then this book is for you. What do you have to lose? That your patient is cured more rapidly? That you seem to be able to help people more than other homeopaths? That your patient suffers less and often has no similar aggravation? It is a win-win situation for homeopath and patient alike. So far, few have responded to Hahnemann’s promises of 1833 (5th edition), and 1842 (6th edition). A little more effort and dedication from the homeopath will be well worth the efforts to relieve the suffering of mankind.
Let’s remember Hahnemann’s warning:
“I must warn the reader that indolence, love of ease and obstinacy preclude effective service at the altar of truth, and truly freedom from prejudice and untiring zeal qualify for the most sacred of all human occupations, the practice of the true system of medicine (1810, Preface to First Edition of the Organon).”
Let’s also remember Mark Twain’s immortal words: “Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you want.” It is in the spirit of studiousness and accuracy that I offer this work. May it unite all homeopaths. If some challengers can overcome their repugnance to what they deem as “mere blind faith and fanaticism,” they will find much to learn. The door is open!
Dr. Luc De Schepper
When an allopathic physician converts to homeopathy, there is usually an interesting story behind it. Mine begins on my first day of practice—a disaster from beginning to end.
When I graduated from medical school in Belgium 27 years ago, I felt like Dr Schweitzer and Superman combined: my black bag was filled with pills and injections, my heart full of good intentions, and my enthusiasm zenith. The day I open my office, I instructed my wife (I could not afford a receptionist) that in case a patient showed up. To tell her or him that the doctor was very busy and let the patient wait a little. It never looks good of the doctor to sit around waiting for a patient. When the doorbell finally rang, hopes were high for the first catch of the day. My wife rushed down the stairs while I tried to hide. Having been well instructed, she said to the man at the door, “ My husband will be right with you. He is talking on the phone with a patient.” The man looked puzzled and then replied, “That's very strange, I am from the phone company and I can me to install the phone.
What an embarrassment! However my painful journey was not finished yet. My first real patient was a young girl of 15 with a complaint of chronic headaches. Her headaches were triggered by a change of weather, which was unfortunate as the weather in Belgium changes four times a day. She had tried the existing headache medications for her previous doctors, but she thought this new young gun from medical school would have some new weapons in his arsenal. Of course I had none.
After the telephone and headache debacle, I took an aspirin for my own headache and decided from there and then that there must be a life beyond allopathic medicine. That was 27 years ago, and I have never stopped studying since them, I discarded all my medical textbooks and replaced them with acupuncture and homeopathy books. Since then I have learned and practiced a number of different holistic modalities, also including natural foods nutrition, vitamins, supplements, and herbs. For the last eight years, I have practiced only homeopathy, because it is more powerful, goes deeper, acts more quickly, and benefits the patient more than any other modality. To this day I have not regretted the change. On the contrary, I feel that I have earned far more gratitude and appreciation for my patients and derived far more satisfaction that I ever could have dreamed of it I have remained an allopathic practitioner.
Of all the healing modalities I have studied, I have found homeopathy the most fulfilling, Homeopathy individualizes to the patient. The remedies are tailored not only to the patient’s symptoms but also the their personality types and to the reason they became ill. If a patient feels ill even when her lab test are normal, we take her seriously and listen carefully. As a result, we spend time really getting to know our patients, and the patients often say they feel better just from being listened to non-judgmentally. Homeopathy is interested in the why of our patients: why did they fall sick? Why do they react to particular life situations in a particular way? Why do they experience certain emotions? It involves plumbing the depths of human nature, and the mental/emotional makeup of the patient takes high priority in our prescribing. Homeopathy works with the body’s own natural healing energy, the Vital Force. And it empowers the patient: the practitioner listens to the patient for guidance in prescribing and assessing the patient’s reaction to the remedy, encouraging the patient to listen to her own body. The dynamic between practitioner and patient is more evenly balanced in homeopathy than in most other forms of healing, to the benefit of both.
Homeopathy has unchanged laws and principles, which once mastered, will unfailing guide the prescription and the management of the case. Unfortunately the information has not been easily available, and the homeopathic tradition has largely been lost, at least in the USA. Ideally, Homeopathy would be learned best in the clinic, as an apprentice to a master who had learned from earlier masters, but this is not possible in this country. In this book I hope to make available to a wider audience the information I have gleaned from an extensive study of old books and journals, many of which are out of print.
In particular I have been fortunate enough to study Hahnemann's casebooks from his last years in Paris. The more I read of Hahnemann’s writings, the more I am convinced of his genius. On every page of his casebooks are brilliant observations and cures. I call this book Hahnemann Revisited because I believe he has the answers and guidance highly relevant for us today, although sometimes inaccessible because they are couched in his old-fashioned language, have also been greatly inspired by the master homeopaths of the past, like von Boenninghausen, Hering, Lippe, Kent, Dunham, Grimmer, Tyler, Wright-Hubbard, and Schmidt; their wisdom full these pages. I have attempted to elucidate their teaching with examples form my own practice as well as theirs.
Certain aspects of this book may seen to depart from the mainstream of modern homeopathy—in particular the emphasis of miasmatic prescribing and LM potencies—but these were an integral part of Hahnmann’s great teaching and I believe they deserve to hold a central position in Homeopathy today. I like to believe that they are not widely used simply for lack of sufficient training. It would give me great joy and fulfillment if this book would serve to spread the knowledge of these powerful healing tools of homeopathy.
This book is meant for the serious student of homeopathy, for the practicing professional homeopath, and the health care practitioner interested in learning more about it. For the student, I hope that fulfills a need for a thorough introduction to homeopathic therapeutics and methodology. I hope that my fellow homeopaths will find something of value in it, and that allopathic practitioners will find a window on a different way of viewing health and healing. This book is not intended for laypeople….
I would like to share a few words, if I may, with the students who read this book, healing is a gift, and your presence as a healer can be a gift in itself, if you give your patient your attention, your respect and your love. As Mother Theresa said, “From the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. If your heart if full of love, you will speak of love.” And you will make your patient heal even more before you give a remedy, Don’t be discouraged if you make a mistake. I have made many mistakes along the way, and I have always learned from them, I have been practicing alternative medicine for 30 years and I have never stopped learning. I wish for all of those who read this book the same enthusiasm for life-long learning….
Dr Luc De Schepper