Repertorisation by Harvey Farrington-Book Review

Siju - RepertoryRepertorization by Harvey Farrington-Book Review

Dr Namita.S  BHMS MD(Hom)

Use of Repertory
It consists of 5 sections. It is a part of the book Homoeopathy & Homoeopathic prescribing by Harvey Farrington.

Use of the repertory – first section

  1. A Repertory is an index of symptoms and their corresponding homoeopathic remedies.
  2. The proper use of the Repertory is indispensable  especially in complicated and in difficult chronic cases
  3. General Repertories embrace the entire field of symptoms and remedies. Others are confined to special ailments or parts of the body.
  4. Harvey Farrington speaks about the use of various repertories.
  5. Any Repertory is only a guide and help, simplifying the work of selecting the remedy suited to the case. Without some knowledge of materia medica repertorization will not be successful.

The symptoms given by the patients must be searched in repertory for the exact words given by the patient or some other words similar,synonyms or phrases.

  • If the patient complains that his leg feels “dead”, the symptom will be found in Kent’s Repertory under “Numbness”.

Case at hand must be worked out in following order

  • Mental symptoms; first, emotional including sexual, then intellectual. Copy from the Repertory the remedies corresponding to these symptoms, omitting those in ordinary type to save time.
  • General Characteristic symptoms and their respective remedies, recording only those listed under “Mental Symptoms”.
  • All Particular Characteristic Symptoms and the remedies under them, again omitting all those not found under the Mental and Physical Generals.
  • The above process results in two or three remedies covering majority of symptoms from which a single remedy is selected with the knowledge of materia medica

In an obscure case, with comparatively few characteristic symptoms,  degrees must be added  in which each of the remedies is marked in the Repertory, allowing three point for those in bold type. The remedy having the highest total may be the right one. Materia medica must be consulted for the final selection

Use of the repertory – second section

Four essentials are in the study of an ailment  —  Location, Sensation, Modalities And Concomitants.

When the case is fully taken  the selection of the remedy with the help of the repertory may be approached in one of three general ways:

Method One —  Starts with the mental symptoms –  Physical generals, followed by the particular symptoms

Method Two: Starts with the physical generals (those which concern only the body and its parts, such as heat, cold, motion, various kinds of pains and the like); – – mental symptoms – Particulars.

This method is obligatory in many cases where the mental symptoms are altogether lacking, nondescript, or so common as to be valueless.

Method Three — Consists in the selection of one striking peculiar, unusual symptom as a key symptom . Then from other symptom-rubrics only those remedies which have the same striking symptom are selected. This method is called the shortcut method and is frequently used by the experienced prescriber at the bedside.

Short cut method is not suited to beginner as it is too risky to lead to error easily due to his unfamiliarity in materia medica & uncertainity in selecting the key symptoms. This method applies also to those cases with few symptoms or where the general symptoms are nondescript or of low valuation.

Examples of cases worked out by method one is given .

Use of the repertory – third section
This chapter deals with method two for repertorizing the case. This method employs the physical general characteristics and is usually chosen when mental symptoms are not characteristic, or are lacking. The mental symptoms are considered next.

Example of one case repertorized & a case  to be worked out is given.

Use of the repertory – fourth section
This chapter deals with method three in repertorizing the case. Method three must be used only after mastering method one & two, & has become skilful in the evaluation of symptoms.

Method three is a time saver in the hands of experienced prescriber. It may prove to be the best method in cases with only one or two characteristic symptoms.

Example of one case repertorized & a case  to be worked out is given.

Use of the repertory – fifth section
This chapter deals with the use of the Repertory in cases presenting only common symptoms, or pathology.

Cases in which the symptoms are only nondescript or common, or in which there is little else than pathological findings are most difficult.

The task requires patience, close observation and an intimate acquaintance with disease in general and materia medica. The physician must make use of every means at his command, including the patient’s history and the diseases to which his family has been subject; temperament, complexion, color and texture of skin; organs and tissues affected; location, character and physical aspect of lesions, and the probable cause of the ailment.

  • A history of obesity in infancy, tendency to perspire, intolerance of milk, and faulty bone formation will suggest Calcarea carb., and allied remedies.
  • Bilious temperament  —  BRYONIA, Chamomilla, China, NUX, PODOPHYLLUM or Pulsatilla.
  • Fat persons usually suffer from ailments curable by such remedies as Antimonium crud., CALCAREA CARB., CAPSICUM, GRAPHITES, Kali bi.; Lycopodium or Sulphur, so the rubric “obesity” may be used as a starting point in the study.
  • Nux, Phosphorus or Sepia are more suitable for the tall and slender.
  • Arnica affects the soft tissues
  • Bryonia the serous membranes
  • Cimicifuga and Dulcamara the bellies of muscles.

The study of reflexes is often of great help. If amaurosis is due to uterine trouble or ophthalmia to gastric irritation,it is good  to look up the remedies under uterus or stomach.

The order of guiding symptoms are  the characteristics,common symptoms next, and pathology last.

In some cases (rarely) pathology may be so unusual, peculiar and distinctive as to prove of the greatest value.

  • Ulcers constantly dry – Kali bi.
  • Cicatrices covered with vesicles – Fluor. ac.

Prescribing on the name of the disease is unscientific from the homoeopathic point of view. It limits the number of remedies to be considered and diverts attention from the symptoms of the patient, which are the true characteristics. It can be considered in cases where  characteristics are lacking.

  • Scarlatina — A smooth rash is indicative of belladonna, a tough rash of Bryonia, a patch eruption, livid from sluggish capillary circulation of Ailanthus.
  • In Kent’s Repertory,twenty remedies are listed against scarlatina. The more particular character of the rash appears in the sub-rubrics. High fever and over-sensitiveness will serve to differentiate Belladonna from Ammonium carb., which has more of coldness and prostration or from Euphrasia which is rarely indicated in this disease and seldom presents the violent congestions or nervous twitching of Belladonna. Extreme prostration, putrid sore throat and drowsiness would confirm the choice of Ailanthus.

Knowledge of synonyms & phrases of repertory is a must to correspond it to the language of the patient.

  • Kent uses pulsation instead of throbbing
  • Absence of taste or of smell occur respectively under Mouth, “Taste, wanting”, and Nose, “Smell, wanting”; but absence of perspiration is noted under “Skin, dryness”, subheading, “inability to perspire”.

Careful analysis of symptoms is many times required in order to choose the proper rubrics for repertorizing.

  • If the patient, for instance, is worse while sitting, is this due to the upright position of the body, or to pressure against the chair?
  • If the patient is worse while walking in the open air. Is it because the air is damp and cold, because of the effort of walking, or of the effect of motion?

If the rubrics of particular symptoms may not contain the required remedy then more inclusive rubric can be taken.

  • “Numbness of the fingers”. If none of the remedies under this rubric seems to fit the case, the more inclusive rubric, “Numbness of Hand” may be used.

It is frequently of advantage to use a general rubric instead of one limited to a particular symptom.

The value of a symptom, even though more or less common, may be determined by the kind of patient in which it is found.

A symptom may be common or characteristic based on three considerations

  • Whether the symptom is found in a very few, or comparatively few remedies.
  • Rating gained by experience and the frequency of its appearance in provers.
  • According to the intensity of the symptom..

Thirstlessness with desire to drink a peculiar and very unusual symptom & points to  Arsenicum, Caladium, Camphor and Cimex.

Burning pains are of common occurrence in disease.It is most characteristic of Arsenicum, Carbo veg. and Sulphur less in Bryonia, Phosphorus, Mercurius, Rhus tox. or Sepia. Arsenicum stands at the head of “burners” in acute disease, Sulphur in chronic disease.

Only by persistent and constant use of the Repertory can one familiarize himself with the many ways it can serve him in his practice.


  • Homoeopathy & Homoeopathic prescribing — Harvey Farrington.

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