Each homeopathic practitioner has his or her own individualistic approach of studying and understanding remedies in the Materia Medica. This individuality in practitioners is a true testament to the individuality of our science.
Some homeopaths commit to their memory remedy keynotes from Guernsey or Allen. Some focus on the concepts of generalisation and general symptoms like from Boenninghausen, Boger and Phatak. Also, many practice by example of Boger, Kent and Hering, where they study remedies through comparisons based on symptomatology. Some also study remedies by way of Repertory – Kent and Phatak for example. Finally, there is the study of remedies by classification into different groups, like from the Plant, Animal or Mineral Kingdoms.
Most recently, we are adopting a synergistic approach to study remedies. This means that the remedies are studied from three different perspectives. The figure below is representative of this synergy approach:
- Symptoms (PQRS from Materia Medica)
- System and Source (Kingdom and subkingdom)
- Genius (General traits, pace, modalities and nature)
Symptoms include the use of rubrics, keynotes, characteristics, and clinical symptoms. The System includes kingdom, sensation and miasm. Finally, theGenius is the common strain or character that runs through every aspect of the case. When looking at these three sides, matching the qualities of the patient to the remedy must always be in the backdrop.
To best understand the nuances of each homeopathic remedy, one must study it from all the angles and aspects. The goal is to integrate the older and more traditional ways of studying remedies with the newer and more contemporary approaches in order to get an all-encompassing view.
Looking at a remedy from many perspectives, you come to a place where everything speaks a similar language. You can then be sure of your knowledge of Materia Medica and confidently apply that understanding to the patients.
In the following article, three polycrest remedies – Sulphur, Staphysagria and Lachesis– have been examined and differentiated through the study of one single symptom, Egotism.
Though the symptom ‘Egotism’ is common to all of these remedies, the context in which the symptom is found in each of them is what is important. Each one of these remedies has egotism of a specific form, in a specific context – it is a part of the overall picture of that individual. The aim is to see how Egotism is manifested in the three different ways according to symptomatology, system and kingdom.
The homeopathic remedy Sulphur is found in the Periodic Table of Elements and is derived from the element itself. It is the element with the atomic number 16 and is represented by the Symbol ‘S’.
Sulphur is a yellow, crystalline solid that is found underground and is only able to be mined and forced to the surface in molten form at extremely high temperatures, about 115 degrees celsius. Sulphur belongs to the mineral kingdom. It is the element with the atomic number 16 and is represented by the Symbol ‘S’.
Genius: Sulphur is an egotist and this ego is manifested as foolish happiness and pride. He thinks himself to be in possession of beautiful things and everything looks pretty which the person takes a fancy to. Sulphur is indifferent to personal appearance and to the opinion of others. They are not disturbed by uncleanliness; yet are oversensitive to filthy odors. Sulphur patients are known as ‘ragged philosophers’, who speculate and theorise on religious or philosophical subjects. These are often selfish individuals who think they are the greatest.8
System: Minerals have to do with ‘structure’. The central theme common to remedies in the mineral kingdom include that something is lacking, lacking in structure, or they are losing it. It can be a lack/loss of identity, support, position, relation, etc. In human beings, the ‘mineral’ experience corresponds with the stages of human development, which finds it reflection in the seven rows and columns of the Periodic Table of elements. Each row has its own respective themes and symptoms that correspond with that stage of human development.4
||Identity, Care and Nourishment
||Security and task
||Going into something new, creativity and performance
Sulphur appears on the right side of the third row of the Periodic Table sharing all the issues of structure and development with the other members of this row, namely: Natrium, Magnesium, Alumina, Silica, Phosphorus, Chlorine, Argon. The third row represents the stage of development where the child feels separate from the mother-like figure, which provides a comfortable and secure zone around, akin to a womb. Now is the time for them to develop their own identity and choice. And they are in need of care and nourishment. The ego and self-awareness are developing at this stage.
Sulphur’s relationship with ego is characteristic and it is one of the biggest themes in the remedy (and the patient). Often, philosophers, scientists, religious magnates, great writers, poets and artists are akin to this remedy. There is a tendency to boast and exaggerate. In Sulphur, the main feeling is that of being scorned, suppressed, put down, and criticised, where the person is made to feel humiliated and his pride is hurt.
Embarrassment is another important aspect of third row remedies.4 In Sulphur, the feeling is that he is expected to be good in his appearance, his relationships, and his business; this includes his knowledge, talent and capabilities. Failing would cause scorn and embarrassment.
This intense ego, if imbalanced, is destructive, quarrelsome, critical and indifferent to others, obsessive, irritable, insecure, negative, and a hypochondriac. Being ‘egotistical’ ‘over-critical’ and ‘censorious’ does not earn him many friends. With the background of knowledge, its intensity and vastness, it is natural for him to develop a sort of ‘pride’ or superiority complex, and, along with this a ‘disgust’. This disgust is not for people, but for ignorance, stupidity and dogmatism.
This remedy falls into the Psoric Miasm. Therefore, there is a strong element of hopefulness – the Sulphur individual constantly struggles to come up again, to be someone, to know something, to earn respect; but is hopeful to maintain their ego.
– MIND; EGOTISM; self-esteem
– MIND; EGOTISM; foolishness happiness and pride
– MIND; DELUSIONS; grandeur of
– MIND; DELUSIONS; old rags are as fine as silk
– MIND; INDIFFERENCE; welfare of others
– MIND; HUMILIATION; indignation with
– MIND; DELUSIONS; great person, is a
– MIND; HAUGHTY
– MIND; BOASTER, braggart
– MIND; PHILOSOPHY; ability for
– MIND: CENSORIOUS
– MIND; ENVY; qualities of others, at
– MIND; AILMENTS FROM; failure – literary, scientific failure
– MIND; AILMENTS FROM; reputation, loss of
– MIND; AILMENTS FROM; scorned being
– MIND; AILMENTS FROM; embarrassment
– MIND; THEORISING
– MIND; REASON increased, power of
– MIND; READING desires
– MIND; COMPREHENSION; easy
– MIND; MENTAL EXERTION, desire for; literary work
– MIND; MEMORY active; words for
– MIND; ARDENT
– MIND; AMBITION; increased
Confirmatory Physical Symptoms 1, 2, 8
– Intolerance of hunger especially in the forenoon
– Desire for sweets and fats
– Heat in the feet, hands and vertex
– Offensive odor of discharges
– History of skin eruptions which itch voluptuously
– Intolerance of heat and closed rooms
The homeopathic remedy Staphysagria is derived from a dilution of the seeds of plant named Delphinium staphisagria.
Genius: Egotism in Staphysagria is expressed in the form of dignity and honor, like a person of noble birth. They are easily offended and are a constant sufferer from wounded pride and honor, but suppress the indignation. These suppressed emotions cause physical manifestations. After cumulative effects of suppressed emotions, this individual bursts out in anger; throws things at those who offended him; or becomes taciturn. They can even tremble and become red in face with anger.
System: Staphysagria comes from the plant kingdom. A plant is a living organism which is rooted in the soil. To survive, a plant needs to be sensitive to changes in the external environment and also must be capable of adapting and reacting according to these changes.
In the human being, the plant experience is that of ‘sensitivity and reactivity’. This means that these individuals are affected by many things in the external environment and must adapt and adjust to them. When we take a case of a plant individual, we will see throughout this person’s physical complaints, stressful situations, and nature, there is the same sensation and reaction. In plant individuals, the cause of their illness is often to do with emotional, physical, strain or hurt.8
This remedy falls into the Ranunculaceae family, along with remedies like Pulsatilla, Actea spicata, Hydrastis, to name a few. The main themes of this family include extreme sensitivity to being hurt – insulted, slighted, offended, mortified, or reprimanded. It is as if the nerves are ‘exposed, raw and touchy’.6 There is a mixture of emotions; grief, anger, sadness, and guilt all intertwined, one on top of the other. The main characteristic of theRanunculaceae family is this experience of several feelings at once.6 The individual feels angry mixed with guilt and sadness, one emotion on top of the other. If hurt, he feels sad and angry at the same time, and guilty for having done something that brought on this offense. There is a combination of fear, hurt, and irritability, which is one of the main characteristic qualities of the Ranunculaceae family.
Staphysagria wants to maintain his dignity and ego despite being insulted, humiliated or beaten down. He should not do anything undignified, even though others do it. He should never lower himself on to another man’s level and retaliate. He must never lose control, because it is below his dignity and honor to do so. If someone insults him, he cannot lose his temper and has to keep his control as befits his noble birth. If he were to do so, he would feel very upset that he had lost control and done himself an indignity. This would be worse than the insult itself. Staphysagria is not outwardly egoistic nor does he put on airs like a king or queen. These people are generally sensitive, soft, quiet, reserved, humble-looking. These individuals are very sensitive to what others say to them, and need verification that they are indeed the greatest (unlike Sulphur who already knows he is the greatest).
This remedy falls into the Cancer miasm. The Staphysagria individual constantly controls himself and his expressions in order to maintain their ego.
– Trembling in anger
– Voice lost during anger
– Face red in anger
– Weakness after anger
– Hemiplegia after anger
– Strike, desire to
– Ailments from reproaches
– Offended easily
– Sensitive to reprimands
– Convulsions, accused, from being unjustly
– Imagination, of insult
– THROWS things, at persons who offend
– AILMENTS, from mortification, with indignation
– Fear of financial loss, fear of his own shadow
– AILMENTS, from wounded honor
– DELUSIONS, illusions of fancy
– DELUSIONS, as to greatness of body
– DELUSIONS, humility and lowness of others
– AILMENTS, from jealousy
– DELUSIONS, humility and lowness of others, while he is great
– AILMENTS, from disappointed love
– AILMENTS, from being scorned
– AILMENTS, from emotional excitement
Confirmatory Physical Symptoms1, 2, 5
– Craves condiments
– Aggravated from afternoon sleep
Lachesis is derived from the bushmaster, or surucucu snake. Zoologists refer to it as Lachesis muta. The poison of the bushmaster decomposes the blood and affects the heart and circulation.
Genius: The ego of Lachesis is represented by the competition and desire to be one-up on the other person. They will do this through their attractive speech and frantic loquacity, jumping from one subject to another. Another main component of this ego is unwarranted jealousy, suspiciousness, mistrust, violence and maliciousness. This individual will use manipulative and sneaky tactics in order to be the best and boost his ego.6
System: Lachesis is a medicine that falls into the animal kingdom and sub-kingdom of reptiles and snakes. The central theme in the animal kingdom is of ‘survival’, which is expressed as ‘me versus you’, competition, victim aggressor, sexuality and attractiveness, hierarchy.8 In this kingdom, there are issues of superior and inferior, high and low and a split within themselves (an animal side and the human side). The human beings, who need an animal remedy, will have all of these above listed issues. Among the animal remedies, different groups and classes will each have their own characteristics.
In humans, the reptile expression can be seen in the form of a two-sided individual, one face for the world, and the other side which is hidden and camouflaged. Devious tactics are employed to remain unnoticed and suddenly they will spring into action or change their behavior, showing their real self. There is a constant feeling that they are at a disadvantage, and potential for extreme violence follows. Snake remedies when compared to other animal groups, are especially jealous, deceitful, silently malicious and garrulous.
The specific problem of Lachesis seems to be the problem of jealousy, or how to get the better of their rival and be one-up on them – this hugely comes into play when considering the ego of the patient needing this remedy.
The ego of Lachesis is represented by their competitiveness and desire to have advantage over another person. To bolster their ego and display superiority, these patients are very talkative in order to be the best and the most successful. They are very haughty and full of pride because of this ability. Apart from their ego, Lachesis persons need a lot of attention, they are highly intuitive and are attracted to philosophical ideas (similar toSulphur). The main theme of Lachesis is show. The ideal situation that would best bring out this feeling is a beauty contest. This person would try to beat the competition through any means. The sharp-tongued, biting sarcasm of Lachesis is an expression of superiority, strong ego, competition and also, a desire to put others down.
Most poisonous snakes fall into the Syphilitic miasm. Lachesis patients will employ the most destructive schemes and tricks pointed to the other person in order to maintain their ego.
– Delusion, conspiracies against him there are
– Delusions, pursued by enemies
– Anger, kill desire to
– Delusion, murder, someone that he has to
– Hatred and revenge
– Desire for amusement
– Religious affections
– Mocking: sarcasm
– Mocking: ridicule, passion to
– Jesting: fun of somebody, making
Confirmatory Physical Symptoms1, 2, 3, 5
– Hot temperature, hot flushes followed by sweating
– Cannot tolerate tight clothes (around the neck)
– Aggravation from sun
– Worse after sleep
– Tongue protruded rapidly, darting in and out like a snake
It has been attempted to study the three remedies from the plant kingdom, mineral kingdom, and animal kingdom, through one symptom in which they all have in common. By exploring each remedy from many angles including Source, System, Symptom, and Genius, the weaving together of all the paths into an integrated understanding of the remedy is seen. Through the study of the symptom ‘Egotism’, the different angles of three common polycrest remedies are seen. Each angle spoke of the same essential core and the same inner experience – incompleteness, sensitivity and one-upmanship – adding to and deepening our thinking about the remedy.
When the remedy is studied at a factual level, as well as the conceptual level, it is seen how each of them informs and enhances the others. Without fully comprehending both sides, our understanding is not whole and at the same time, becomes unstable. The flexibility of bringing different avenues together allows a more complete grasp of the patient’s experience and an ease and confidence in prescribing.
- Boericke, W 2004, Pocket Manual of Homoeopathic Materia Medica, B. Jain Publishers, New Delhi.
- Boger, CM 2004, A Synoptic Key to the Materia Medica, B. Jain Publishers, New Delhi.
- Kent, JT 2006, Repertory of the Homeopathic Materia Medica, B. Jain Publishers, New Delhi.
- Sankaran, R 2008, Structure – Experiences with the Mineral kingdom (Vol 1 and 2), Homoeopathic Medical Publishers, Mumbai.
- Sankaran, R 2012, The Synergy in Homeopathy, Homoeopathic Medical Publishers, Mumbai.
- Sankaran, R 2013, From Similia to Synergy, Homoeopathic Medical Publishers, Mumbai.
- Sankaran, R, Shah, M 2011, Survival – The Reptile (Vol 1 and 2), Homoeopathic Medical Publishers, Mumbai.
- Sankaran, R, The Soul of Remedies, Homoeopathic Medical Publishers, Mumbai.
- Complete Repertory, 2012, MacRepertory, 8.2.01, by Kent Homoeopathic Associates
About the Author
Dr Rajan Sankaran is an internationally renowned as a clear thinker and is known for his path breaking concepts. He has been awarded a Fellowship of the Society of Homeopaths (U.K.). He has authored several books like, The Synergy in Homoeopathy, The Spirit of Homoeopathy, The Substance of Homoeopathy, The Soul of Remedies, and many others. He has also created a Homoeopathic case taking and analysis software Vital Quest. Dr Sankaran is the head of the other song – International Academy of Advanced Homeopathy in Mumbai, India, whose focus is to provide the highest quality of advanced clinical training to the homeopathic fraternity.