Scope & Limitations of Homoeopathic Materia Medica

Homoepathic materia medica is constructed differently as compared to other materia medicas. Essential & complete knowledge of the drug action as a whole can be supplied only by qualitative synoptic drug experiments on healthy persons & this alone can make it possible to view all the scattered data in relation to the psychosomatic whole of a person& it is just such a person to whom the knowledge of drug action is to be applied. In this way the homoeopathic materia medica provides great scope in the field of medicine


  1. Drugs Proved on healthy human beings—Drugs are proved on healthy human beings of both sexes, different ages & various constitutions.
  2. Wide range ofsymptoms for a single drug so selection of similimum becomes easy.
  3. Large number of drugs for various conditions.
  4. Helps in cure in structural changes also until & unless it is of irreversible pathology.
  5. Subjective symptoms are got during proving- so they are considered during treating.
  6. Our materia medica is stable, not subjected to change
  7. Materia Medica comprises holistic, individualistic approach
  8. Understanding diathesis & disposition of person  through materia medica helps to find out prophylactic remedy
  9. Study of materia medica helps in understanding relation existing between two or more remedies
  10. Study of materia medica helps in miasmatic evolution of person as well as drug
  11. Study of materia medica helps in formulating questions in case taking

Scope of homoeopathic materia medica

1. Symptoms are collected by proving the drugs on healthy human beings of different ages, both sexes and different constitutions. Medicine is applied on the sick individual on the basis of symptoms similarity. According to law of individualization, no two humans are alike. Susceptibility differ from one person to another. During a drug proving , we get a wide range of symptoms which can be applied on sick individual in various disease conditions

Without clearly knowing the pathogenesis, drug substance and it’s effects on healthy human beings, it is not rational to apply it on human being for curative purpose. If more drugs are proved ,the physician is in position to find out required drug for matching the natural disease. This scope of homoeopathic materia medica is not found in the other systems of therapeutics

2. We get a wide range of symptoms from one person to another during proving. This is the greatest scope in the homoeopathic system not found in other systems of treatment.

3. There are several deep acting remedies in homoeopathic materia medica with wide sphere of action  ,so there is no difficulty in choosing the similimum. The materia medica comprises of a large number of drugs, each drug having many symptoms. Hence in any disease, it is possible to find a similimum without much difficulty.

4. In drug proving, the medicine is withdrawn before any organic changes take place. The altered symptomatology is purely functional. Hence homoeopathy is useful for treatment even before any pathological changes can take place, or before a diagnosis is made.

Diagnosis is significant in homoeopathic practice for individualisation.

5. While receiving a case, the patient usually narrates his subjective symptoms. As drugs have been proved on human beings, the exact sensation, location, modality and concomitants are collected, so there occurs no such difficulty in choosing the nearest similimum .

In old school, as medicines are tested upon lower animals, only the objective symptoms are got.

Subjective symptoms are those felt by the patient himself.  Eg. Burning pain, increased thirst etc. 

Limitations of materia medica
Every science has some limitations. Homoeopathy is not an exception. The true understanding of scope & limitations of materia medica helps the homoeopathic physician to be more confident on the efficacy of prescribed medicine. Few limitations are listed below

1) No proving records are available on pathological changes in homoeopathic materia medica; there is no medicine, which has been proved upon the production of pathological changes in proper application on these drugs

Very often we come across few pathological symptoms. There is no special proving of dynamic drug with an intention to get pathological changes. Pathological symptoms are not being much characteristic.

eg: complete optic atrophy, advanced malignancy etc

2)It is unimaginably vast. Nobody can remember all the symptoms.

Eg. Drug like apis has covered 64 pages in Hering’s guiding symptoms, sulphur 99 pages in Allen’s encyclopedia.

3) In cases of irreversible pathology- pathological symptoms are obtained from clinical practice after being cured and from records of poisoning as there is no special proving of dynamic drug with an intension to getpathological symptoms. Thers is lack of characteristic pathological symptoms in our MM. It has limited scope in irreversible organic changes or advanced structural damages takes place

4) In cases of acute emergencies.

5) Certain drugs which are partially proved- rare remedies– so utilisation becomes difficult.

6) In proving practitioners attempted to characterize about 30 modifications of the sensation of pain by much descriptive words like aching, boring, tearing, tingling etc. but in many case it is extremely difficult  or even impossible to represent our sensation by words

6) Many of our provers were non medical men– so most of the symptoms lack authenticity.

7) lack of sufficient female provers- so female symptoms less.

8)No dependable pre operative, post operative or preventive drugs in our homoeopathic materia medica. It has little scope in the field of contraception,drug induced abortion and anaesthesia etc

9) No dependable specifics.

10) There is no book on materia medica which we can claim to be complete and containing everything.


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