Scope of Homoeopathic Materia Medica in Practice of Medicine

Dr Jyoti Chhikara
MD Scholar, Bakson’s Homoeopathic Medical College and Hospital, Greater Noida, UP

Dr. Hahnemann, on apprehending a new general principle (Simila Similibus Curantur) in therapeutics, was confronted with the problem of creating an entirely new Materia Medica by means of which this principle might be applied in practice. If diseases are to be treated according to the principle of symptom-similarity it is necessary to know what symptoms the drugs would produce in healthy persons, since these would be the only symptoms which could possibly resemble the symptoms of sick persons. In popular sense, and as ordinarily understood Practice of Medicine is the application of medical agencies for the purpose of preventing, relieving, or curing diseases, or aiding to restore natural functions, or modifying or removing the results of physical/mental injury 1. Disease in general, considered as a whole, is composed of the totality of all the symptoms which represent it to our senses. The medical art practitioner has only to take away the symptom complex in order to simultaneously lift and annihilate the internal alteration and consequently the totality of disease, i.e., the disease itself (§ 17).2

Homoeopathy is a therapeutic method, formulated in the rule Similia Similibus Curantur, that is, let likes be treated by likes. The two elements of the comparison herein implied are the effects of drugs on the healthy body and the clinical features of disease. It takes a particular aspect of disease and of drug-action; and lays down the possible modes of applying the one to the other.” 3

The framework of Materia Medica strongly indicates its purpose for comparison with disease symptoms

The Homoeopathic Materia Medica of Hahnemann is an enduring monument to the genius of its author, original in its conception and design and unique in its form and contents, constructed on accurately observed facts. When the drug symptoms recorded in the Homoeopathic Materia Medica are seen to be exact counterparts of the symptoms of disease, and it is explained that medicines cure disease by virtue of this similarity of symptoms, the reason for the existence of the Materia Medica in its characteristic form is evident. Adopting the plan of arranging the drug symptoms observed, according to the anatomical parts and regions of the body in which they occurred, is the most rational and simple method of classification for the purpose of comparison with disease symptoms, which Hahnemann constructed and published, first in the ‘Materia Medica Pura’, and later in ‘The Chronic Diseases’, the greater part of which is composed of proving of drugs. The arrangement of symptoms according to an anatomical scheme is for the purpose of comparing the symptoms of drugs, as observed on healthy provers, with the symptoms of disease. Given the basic principle and its corollaries, the rest is merely a matter of mastering the logical classification and interpretation of symptoms and the use of the manuals, indexes and repertories provided.

Knowledge of disease symptoms is important for appropriate application of knowledge of Materia Medica

In § 3 of Organon of Medicine2, Dr. Hahnemann said in order to be a true practitioner of the healing art, a physician must:

  • Clearly realize what is to be cured in disease, in each case of disease.
  • Clearly realize what is curative in medicines,
  • And be aware of how to adapt what is curative in the medicine to what has discerned to be undoubtedly diseased in the patient.

Henceforth, In Organon of Medicine2, § 4, Dr. Hahnemann said, “He is likewise a preserver of health if he knows the things that derange health and cause disease, and how to remove them from persons in health.” That is, the physician must know the obstacles to recovery in each case and be aware of how to clear them so that health can be restored.

In cases where a pathology has been formed, our duty is to pause with surgery, if there is a totality of symptoms, or even if there are no current symptoms present but the patient can remember them. This will allow the homeopath to recognize the original totality of symptoms of the case, and in these cases the job of the true homeopath is always to find the chronic remedy first. The case is not hopeless as the symptom totality is the only condition for the choice of the indicated remedy according to the Law of Similar. The elimination of all perceptible signs and symptoms means the removal of the inner modifications of the vital force which underlie them and thereby destruction of the whole disease, and when disease is destroyed health is restored.

For Holistic treatment
In Homoeopathy, when we approach the treatment of any diseases, we evaluate the organ/system in its totality, and try to understand its inner cause, at the level of immunology, hormones, genetics, metabolic etc. and plan the treatment in such a way that disease is addressed at root level, treating the related cause. Thus arises the need of knowledge of practice of medicine for the appropriate use of Materia Medica in various disorders of the human body.

Practice of Medicine

Habits + Genetics + Stress + Morbid influence          Metabolic Syndromes          Emergence of lifestyle disorders and disease complexes

Materia Medica

Constitution (soil) + Ailments from (Causation) + Specific exposure to morbid agents          “Group of symptoms” simulating disease         Emergence of drug picture


Homoeopathy is the method of practicing medicine, not a separate doctrine.

For example, a middle age person coming to the physician suffering from various diseases like depression, indifference, diabetes, impotency, tiredness of entire body etc. will be dealt as as having different disease by modern medicine and will be dealt by different physicians like psychiatrist, cardiologist, endocrinologist , etc. But considering from homoeopathic viewpoint and seeing proving symptoms of Acidum phosphoricum, it is observed that all the symptoms belong to this drug and all the symptoms came in above sequence of occurrence in proving of Phosphoric Acid. So for such a case when Phosphoric acid is prescribed, it brings effective cure. Such advantage is only available in Homoeopathic Materia Medica which includes sequence of occurrence of symptoms, many times tallied with the disease/ life situation of the patient.

To individualize by differentiating the characteristic symptoms from symptoms of disease
Materia Medica is full of symptoms deduced and written from various angles and aims at effective treatment of disease with strict individualization of the case according to its own type. All patients though suffering from same type of disease but the causation, mode, severity, structural involvement differs from patient to patient, depending upon which their approach to treatment varies.

Dr. Adolph Lippe said “In many cases, the characteristic symptoms will consist in the result obtained by deducting all the symptoms generally pertaining to the disease with which the patient suffers, from those elicited by a thorough examination of the case. In other words, the characteristic symptoms are the symptoms peculiar to the individual patient, rather than the symptoms common to the disease. He illustrated this by a case, as follows: “The patient was attacked by cholera.  All the characteristic symptoms of cholera were present; but in this individual case there was (1) an unusual noise in the intestines, as if a fluid were being emptied out of a bottle, (2) The discharge came away with a gush.  Of what pathological value these symptoms were, we may not know. Still they formed part of the totality which we must cover. Deducting from the (numerical) totality of the symptoms those common to the disease, we were in possession of the characteristic symptoms of the patient. Those two symptoms are also characteristic of Jatropha Curcas, and that this remedy, at the same time, has caused symptoms corresponding with the general pathological condition. Jatropha promptly cured the case.3

It illustrates the necessity of being familiar with the natural history, symptomatology and diagnosis of disease.  Dr. Lippe could not have decided that these two symptoms were peculiar and characteristic if he had been unfamiliar with the symptoms of cholera. Neither could he have selected these two symptoms as peculiar if he had not had the rest of the symptoms before him for comparison.

For prophylactic medicines and the genus epidemicus
Each epidemic is a phenomenon of a particular kind that is found by exact observation, investigations to deviate greatly from all form epidemics, which are falsely labeled with certain names. The physician must any way regard to pure picture of every prevailing disease as if it were something new and unknown, and investigate it thoroughly for itself, if he desire to practice medicine in a real and radical manner2. So after thorough case taking of several cases infected at that time, knowledge of our Materia Medica helps us to distinguish what is characteristic in these kind of cases, and guides us towards the most suitable preventive medicine during such epidemics.

Lastly, it is also important to diagnose the disease, which is made possible through the physician’s knowledge of medicine, as appropriate diagnosis aids the physician:

  • To better understand the course and prognosis of disease.
  • To isolate patients suffering from infectious disease.
  • To inform the concerned health authorities.
  • To decide the nature of diet.
  • To select the most suitable medicine and differentiate the cases to be transferred to a surgeon from the one which can be medically treated and cured.
  • To decide the nature of treatment: Individualistic/Holistic/Dynamic approach or Palliative approach (in cases with advanced irreversible pathologies).


  1. Hutchins, Harry B. “What Is the Practice of Medicine?” Mich. L. Rev. 4 (1906): 373-9.
  2. HAHNEMANN S. , Organon Of Medicine, 5th Edition translated by Dudgeon – 6th Edition translated by Boericke, Copyright © MEDI-T 1998
  3. HUGHES. R, Principles and Practice of Homoeopathy

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