How to study Materia Medica for MCQ Examinations

exam2Dr  Jitesh T K  MD(Hom) Materia medica Medical officer (Homoeopathy) Directorate of Indian System of Medicine & Homoeopathy, Govt of N.C.T of Delhi Email:

There are different methods to study the Materia medica. It is the individual’s choice to choose the best way for the particular drug, without compromising with the essence of the drug. The method of study to increase your knowledge and the method of study to appear for the examinations is different. For that matter it is different for different types of examinations (subjective & objective) too. After going through the previous year’s U.P.S.C/P.S.C question papers, it has been observed that the majority of questions are asked from the following portions.

1. Allen’s Keynotes One should be thorough with each and every line in Allen’s Keynotes. Due importance should be given to the drugs given in the brackets and also the “Relations” section given under each drug.

2. Boericke’s Materia medica One must be familiar with all the medicines mentioned in the syllabus of concerned examinations. Due importance should be given to following portions (1) Introductory part of each drug (2) Symptoms in italics (3) Modalities & Relationship section

3. Relationship of remedies with duration of action – by Gibson Miller At least 1-2 questions regarding relationship of drugs are asked in each and every UPSC/PSC question paper. The orders of importance are as follows (1) Inimical & complementary (2) Cognates (3) Analogues

4. Family-wise study Study the drugs coming under important families. E.A.Farrington’s “Lectures on clinical matria medica”, J.H.Clarke’s “A clinical repertory to the Dictionary of Homoeopathic Materia medica”, Otto lesser’s “Text-book of Homoeopathic Materia medica”, Farokh. J. Master’s “The fascinating fungi”, “Agitated Argentums”,”Web spinners”, “Snakes in homoeopathic grass” etc are useful reference books for family wise study.

(1) Vegetable kingdom– important families are • Anacardiaceae • Compositae • Coniferae • Cucurbitaceae • Ericaceae • Euphorbiaceae • Fungi, Algae & Lichens • Labiatae • Liliaceae • Leguminosae • Loganiaceae • Myrtaceae, Myristicaceae & Myricaceae • Polygonaceae • Papaveraceae • Polygonaceae & Polygalaceae • Ranunculaceae • Rubiaceae • Rutaceae • Solanaceae • Umbelliferae • Urticaceae

(2) Animal kingdom • Insecta • Ophidia • Spiders • Milk and milk products

(3) Mineral kingdom • Acids • Noble metals • Halogen group • Carbon group • Ferrum group • Kali group • Magnesia group • Mercury group • Natrum group • Mineral – spring water

(3) Nosodes • Diseased products of human beings • Diseased products of other animals • Diseased plant products • Bowel nosodes

(Note: Materia medica of Nosodes by H.C.Allen, Materia medica of nosodes with repertory by O.A.Julian & Bowel nosodes by Paterson J are useful for studying Nosodes)

(4) Sarcodes • Sarcodes from healthy endocrine glands (e.g. Thyroidinum) • Sarcodes from healthy secretions [Hormones & Enzymes] (e.g. Adrenalin) • Sarcodes from extracts (e.g. Oophorinum) • Other Sarcodes (e.g.: Cholesterinum, Fel tauri, Vulpis fel)

(5) Impoderabilia • Natural • Human made (Artificial)

5. Provers of the drugs (1) Medicines proved by Dr.Hering & Dr.Hahnemann are very important (2) One should be well aware of the provings of Dr.Burnett, Swan, Burt, Stapf, Lux etc (3) Knowledge of provers of common drugs like Tuberculinum, Carcinocin etc (4) Provers of Indian drugs

6. Source books in Materia medica One should have a basic idea about the source books in Materia medica and their year of publication.

(1) “The Encyclopedia of pure Materia medica” by T.F.Allen • Year of publication • Number of volumes • Number of drugs

(2) “Materia medica pura” by S.Hahnemann • Year of publication • Volumes • Contributors • Translations • Schema • Number of medicines

(3) “Chronic diseases” by S.Hahnemann • Year of publication • Volumes • Number of drugs

(4) “ The Guiding symptoms of our Materia medica” by C.Hering • Year of publication • Number of volumes & drugs • Evaluation of symptoms • Grading • Construction • Arrangement • The introduction given by Dr.Jugal kishore is very useful

(5)“Dictionary of Practical Materia medica by J.H.Clarke • Year of publication & Number of drugs • Introductory part of polychrest medicines • Schema

(6)“ A Manual of Pharmacodynamics by Richard Hughes” • Year of publication & Number of drugs • The introductory chapters are important, Hughes gives a good picture of the sources of Materia medica

(7)“A Cyclopaedia of drug pathogenesy by Richard Hughes” • Year of publication • Number of drugs & number of volumes

7. Desires, Aversions & Complaints from One should be thorough with the desires, aversions and complaints from of at least the polychrest remedies. One of the standard repertories can be referred to for easy study.

8. Miasmatic background, Thermal reaction, Constitution & Side affinity of Common remedies • Study the important medicines comes under each miasm • Go through Dr.Gibson Miller’s Hot & Cold remedies given in the introductory chapters of Kent’s Repertory • Basic knowledge of constitution & diathesis is important. • Side affinity of medicines & those symptoms, which are contradictory to the general side affinity of a particular drug. e.g. Lachesis is given for right-sided sciatica even though it is a left-sided drug

9. Modalities The modalities given in italics/bold in Boericke’s Materia medica & Allen’s Keynotes are very important.

10. Authors and their important books in Materia medica Names of Materia medica of following authors are important • S. Hahnemann • H.C.Allen • T.F.Allen • E.A.Farrington • M.L.Tyler • J. T. Kent • J.H.Clarke • C.Hering • R.Hughes • E.B.Nash • C.Dunham

11. Basic idea about Tissue remedies Read the introductory lectures of Schussler’s Tissue remedies

12. Common names (Vernacular names) Common names of important drugs are frequently asked. Study the common names mentioned against each drug in Allen’s keynotes and Boericke’s Materia medica

13. Indian drugs Common names, prover etc are important e.g. (1) Blatta orientalis (2) Azadiracta indica

14. Other useful Materia medicas • “The prescriber” by J.H.Clarke • “Expanded works of E.B.Nash” • “A Study of remedies by comparison” by H.A.Roberts • “Special pathology and diagnostic with Homoeopathic Therapeutic hints” by C.G.Raue • “A Synoptic key of the Materia medica” by C.M.Boger • “A Study of Materia medica” by N.M.Choudhury • “Essentials of Materia medica & Pharmacy” by W.A.Dewey • “Regionals of Boericke Materia medica” by Satya paul • “Materia medica of homoeopathic Medicines” by S.R.Phatak • “Prescriber to Allen’s Keynotes & Characteristics” by R.P.Sangar • “Text book of Materia medica” by S.K.Dubey • “Select your remedy” by Bishamber Das

15. Latest Materia medicas It will be a waste of time and energy if undue importance is given to the study of the latest Materia medicas, because symptoms are quoted and questions asked only from the authentic Materia medica textbooks

Different authors explain relationships of remedies in different ways. Important points mentioned by them can be studied as follows.

1. Dr.Hahnemann: 1. Antidote – In the aphorism 249 he suggests “If the aggravation be considerable (after a medicine) be first partially neutralized as soon as possible by an antidote before giving the next remedy chosen more accurately according to similarity of action”

2. Dr.E.A.Farrington

  1. Family relation – From the similarity in their origin
  2. Concordant – Similar drugs with dissimilar origin
  3. Complement – The drug that completes the cure which the other begins, but unable to effect
  4. Antidote – The medicine which modify the effects of a wrongly selected potency or an apt potency
  5. Inimical – They also will be similar, but the resemblance will be so great, in fact the drugs are so nearly “idem” that it is not well to follow one with the other.

3. Dr.Clarke

  1. Complementary remedies
  2. Remedies that follows well (after)
  3. Remedies followed well by
  4. Compatible remedies
  5. Incompatible remedies
  6. Remedy antidotes
  7. Remedy is antidoted by

4. Dr.Boenninghausen

  1. Remedies related to mind and localities
  2. Other remedies (Represents a general relationship of the remedies in the unclassified symptom groups, to the remedy under consideration)
  3. Antidotes
  4. Injurious

5. Dr.Boger

  1. Remedies related to mind and localities
  2. Related remedies
  3. Antidote
  4. Inimical – Two very similar remedies do not follow each other well

6. Dr.J.T.Kent

  1. Chronic remedy – In managing a chronic sickness the remedy that conforms with an acute experience of the illness is worth knowing, as very often its chronic may be just the one that conforms to its symptoms. (e.g.: 1. Calcarea is the natural chronic of Belladonna and Rhus tox, 2. Natrum mur is the chronic of Apis & Ignatia)
  2. Complementary – Medicine that completes the action of the first one when it is no longer acting.
  3. Inimical – They do not like to work after each other (e.g.: Causticum & Phos, Apis & Rhus tox)
  4. Antidote – when there appears new symptoms, the new symptoms combining with the old ones must be again studied and the second remedy must correspond more particularly to the new than to the old.

7. Dr.C.Hering

  1. Complementary to
  2. Follows well after
  3. Followed well by
  4. Antidotes (Lyco antidotes Cinchona)
  5. Antidotes to (Antidotes to Lyco: Acorn,Camphor)
  6. Inimical
  7. Collateral relation (Belonging to the same family)
  8. Concordances
  9. Conjunctive relation (Bryonia & Colocynth)

8. Dr.Elizabeth Wright

  1. Complementary – (a) Acute complements of chronic remedies (b) Chronic complements of acute remedies (c) Remedies in series
  2. Incompatible
  3. Vegetable analogues & Chemical analogues

9. Dr.Gibson Miller

  1. Complements
  2. Remedies that follow well
  3. Inimicals
  4. Antidotes 

 All rights reserved @ homeobook


  1. sorry fr asking dis ques here sir … can u tell me any book or site where i got mcq’s chapter wise please please !!!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.