Allen’s key notes- Terms and meanings

Dr J Pradeep  Kumar                                                                                                                    

Materia medica is one subject where remembering all symptoms of a drug is very difficult. To overcome this difficulty many authors tried to condense this vast  Materia Medica literature,so that this information can be used as quick reference for practising doctors and students.

Among the books available on condensed Materia Medica, Allens key notes book is the one which is most popular among practising doctors and students. We all know that a single word in this book infers a lot of information. I failed to understand certain words whenever I have gone through this book. This made me to note down certain  words and their meanings from medical dictionary. In this article I would like to present meanings of different terms and their representation in various drugs from Allens key notes. Physical appearances of different drugs from Allens key notes are also included  at the end of this article.

1.Diathesis4 a constitutional predisposition to certain diseases or conditions.

2.Constitution4 the physical makeup and functional habits of the body.

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In these investigations, the ascertainable physical constitution of the patient (especially when the disease is chronic), his moral and intellectual character, his occupation, mode of living and habits, his social and domesticrelations, his age, sexual function, etc., are to be taken into consideration.

3.Disposition4 a natural tendency  or aptitude  exhibited by an individual or group. It may be manifested by acquiring a certain disease, presumably due to heriditary factors. The sum of a  person’s behavior as determined by his or her mood.

In  organon of medicine-

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If in these voluntary details nothing has been mentioned respecting several parts or functions of the body or his metal state, the physician asks what more can be told in regard to these parts and these functions, or the state of his disposition or mind.

4.Temperament4-the combination of intellectual , emotional, ethical, and physical charachteristics  of a specefic individual.

From Robert’s philosophy-2

According to Roberts there are four classical temperaments-bilious ,nervous, sanguine and phlegmatic

5.Bilious-(biliousness)4 a symptom of a disorder  of the liver causing constipation, headache, loss of appetite and vomiting of bile. Excess of bile.

6.Phlegmatic–  phlegm4-thick mucus from the respiratory passages

7.Sanguine4 optimistic , cheerful. Plethoric, bloody ; marked by abundant and active blood circulation , particularly ruddy complexion.

8.Nervous4-anxious,charachterised by excitability.

9.Strumous4 relatated to the word ‘struma’ – goitre.

10..Von grauvogl’s constitution-5

For every organ and every tissue breathes, and if the lungs are the gate-way and the blood the carrier it is the tissues which are the ultimate recipients of the oxygen that is in breathed.

Components of atmosphere-

  1. The Hydrogenoid Constitution is characterised by an excess of Hydrogen and consequently of water in the blood and tissues.
  2. The Oxygenoid is characterised by an excess of Oxygen, or, at lest, by an exaggerated influence of Oxygen on the organism.
  3. The Carbo-nitrogenoid Constitution is characterised by an excess of Carbon and Nitrogen.

11.Plethora4-overfullness of blood vessels or of the total quantity of any fluid in the body. Congestion causing distension of blood vessel.

12.Scrofula4 a form of extrapulmonary tuberculosis in which there is infection of the cervical lymph nodes.


Aescules- haemorrhoidal tendencies and gastric, bilious or catarrhal troubles.

Agnus c- for lymphatic temperment.

Aloes-  phlegmatic habit.

Ammonium carb– for haemorrhagic diathesis

Antim tart– for hydrogenoid constitution [of grauvogl]

Apis– adapted to the strumous constituion .

Arsenicalbum-disposition is:
a – Depressing, melancholic, disparing, indifferent. b – Anxious, fearful, restless, full of anguish. c – Irritable, sensitive, peevish, easily vexed.

Asteria rubens-For the sycotic diathesis; lymphatic constitution; irritable temperament

belledona-Adapted to bilious, lymphatic, plethoric constitutions.

Benzoic acid-A gouty, rheumatic diathesis

Bryonia–  gouty or rheumatic diathesis. prone to so- called bilious attacks.

Cactus-Sanguineous congestions in persons of plethoric habit (Acon.).


Capsicum-plethoric habit. Phlegmatic diathesis.

Coffea- sanguine choleric temperament.

Colchicum- rheumatic, gouty diathesis;\persons of robust vigorous constitution.

Crotalus– strumous, debilitated, haemorrhagic, broken-down constitutions.

Cyclamen-Best suited for leuco-phlegmatic persons with anaemic or chlorotic conditions.

Diphtherinum– strumous diathesis; scrofulous,.

Dulcamara-phlegmatic scrofulous constitutions.

Gelsimium– nervous, hysterical temperament (Croc., Ign.).

Glonine-Nervous temperament; plethoric

Hepar sulph- For torpid lymphatic constitutions;

Hyos-Persons of sanguine temperament; who are irritable, nervous, hysterical.

Ignatia- nervous temperament.

Iodum-Persons of scrofulous diathesis.

Kali bich– disposed to croup and croupy affections

Kalmia-Adapted to acute neuralgia, rheumatism, gouty complaints

Lachesis-Persons of a melancholy temperament, and a disposition to low spirits and indolence.

Ledum pal-Adapted to the rheumatic, gouty diathesis.constitutions abused by alcohol (Colch.).

Lyco– predisposed to lung and hepatic affections

Mezereum– For light-haired, irresolute persons of a phelgmatic temperament.

Murex- melancholy temperament.

Nat.carb-Constitutions with aversion to open air and dislike to exercise, mental or physical.

Nux.mosch– nervous hysterical temperament (Ign.).

Nux.vom– bilious or sanguine temperament. Disposed to be quarrelsome, spiteful, malacious; nervous and melancholic

Petroleum- irritable, quarrelsome disposition (Nux).

Phos– sanguine temperament,

Phyto– rheumatic diathesis.

Plat– sanguine temperament.

Podo– bilious temperament who suffer from gastro- intestinal derangement, especially after abuse of mercury; “bilious attacks.”.

Puls-phelgmatic temperament.yielding disposition.

Rhus tox– rheumatic diathesis.

Sambucus– scrofulous children

Sarsaparilla– lithic or sycotic diathesis.

Sepia– mild and easy disposition (Puls.).

Silicea– sanguine temperament. persons of a psoric diathesis.

Spigelia– rheumatic diathesis.  scrofulous children

Stramonium-Adapted to: ailments of young plethoric persons (Acon., Bell.).

Sulph-Adapted to persons of a scrofulous diathesis,. Persons of nervous temperament.

Thuja-Adapted to hydrogenoid constitution of Granvogl.

Valeriana– hysterical nervous temperament (Ign., Puls). changeable disposition.


Abrotanum-Marasmus of children with marked emaciation, especially of legs (Iod., Sanic., Tub.)

Alumina-Spare, dry, thin subjects

Ambragresia-Lean, thin, emaciated persons.

Amm.mur– fat and sluggish.

Ant. Crud-For children and young people inclined to grow fat (Cal.).

Arg.nit-Always think of Argentum nit. on seeing withered, dried-up, old-looking patients (thin, scrawny, Sec).

Calc.phos– thin spare subjects, instead of fat.

Caps-Persons with light hair, blue eyes, nervous but stout and plethoric habit.

Cheli-Persons of light complexion, blondes; thin, spare, irritable, subject to hepatic, gastric and abdominal complaints (Pod.), every age, sex and temperament.

Cinchona-For stout, swarthy persons;

Coffea-Tall, lean, stooping persons, dark complexion, sanguine choleric temperament.

k.brom-Adapted to large persons inclined to obesity.

Lyc-For persons intellectually keen, but physically weak; upper part of body emaciated, lower part semi-dropsical

Mag.phos-Is best adapted to thin, emaciated persons of a highly nervous organization; dark complexion.

Phos-Adapted to tall slender persons  who grow too rapidly, are inclined to stoop (to walk stooped, Sulph.)

Sec.cor-Adapted to women of thin, scrawny, feeble, cachetic appearance; irritable, nervous temperament; pale, sunken countenance.


  • ALLEN’S KEYNOTES, Rearranged and classified with leading remedies of the material medica and bowel nosodes, tenth edition, jain publishers.
  • HERBERT A. ROBERTS, M. D. The Principles and Art of Cure by Homoeopathy. Jain publishers, New Delhi.
  • SAMUEL HAHNEMANN,Organon of medicine.5th and 6th B. Jain Publishers, New Delhi.
  • TABER’S CYCLOPEDIC MEDICAL DICTIONARY, 19th EDITION, A. davis company , philadelphia.

Dr.J.Pradeep  Kumar.
M.D (H),Organon of Medicine
Ex Assistant Professor Devs Homeopathic Medical college, Hyderabad

1 Comment

  1. very nice article has been written which is very much essential to a true homeopath. I really appreciate this fantastic article ever found. I am a DHMS degree holder homeopathy loving retired bureaucrat of Bangladeh govt. Many many thanks for writing this atractive article on homeopathy. I hope more and more articles will be available for us.

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