Merits & demerits of materia medica

Dr. Vivek N. Patil

Homoeopathic materia medicas are vast collections of drug information which have been represented differently by various authors.

Detailing their merits and demerits has been outlined with reference to the type of materia medica, which makes for a much simpler understanding.

            Type of MM                          Merits            Demerits
  1. Schematic Materia Medica




Easy reference of symptoms of particular parts of the body can be done.The task of memorizing a large amount of data becomes easier due to its division into various chapters.


Determination of value of symptoms becomes difficult when they are represented fragmentally under various chapters.
  1. Keynote Materia Medica


Selection of similimum can be done more precisely & quickly, if one is familiar with the keynotes . Prescription based on keynotes alone, without considering the generalities may not yield good results always.
  1. Materia Medica of Pharmacodynamics
By knowing the seat of action of each drug, the understanding, remembrance & application of a drug becomes easy. Makes for voluminous reading, not applicable for bedside prescriptions
  1. Materia Medica of Physiological Action
Knowledge of the seat & mode of action of each drug gives indications of its curative action.


  1. 5.      Clinical materia medica
The clinical suggestions & the therapeutics indices of this type of materia medica, aid the beginner to reach the indicated remedy.
  1. Therapeutic materia medica
Quick selection of a remedy for a given case. No comprehensive drug picture.
  1. Picture type/method of materia medica
Gives a comprehensive picture of the sick individual, rather than enumerating the vast number of symptoms, which makes the study of materia medica more interesting. Makes for voluminous reading, not applicable for bedside prescriptions.Several physical peculiarities are not emphasized as required
  1. Comparative Materia medica
Helps to differentiate between seemingly similar remedies & to reach a similimum. No comprehensive drug picture.
  1. Psycho analysis type
Understanding the core/ essence of a remedy and applying it at emotional, mental and physical levels, not only gives a complete picture, but also makes the study of materia medica more enlightening.
  1. 10.  Group study of Materia Medica
Systematizations of data into groups lessen the task of memory.-knowing the common features of a particular group narrows down the field of selection in a given case.

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