Dr Subrata Kumar Banerjea is the Director and Principal lecturer of the Bengal Allen Medical Institute,Calcutta; Principal and Chief Lecturer of Materia Medica and Clinical Therapeutics at the Allen College of Homoeopathy, Essex, England. He was born in Calcutta, India in 1957, the fourth generation of a distinguished homeopathic family. He graduated in Homeopathy from the University of Calcutta with five gold medals to his name, setting himself on a path to become an internationally acclaimed homeopathic clinician, lecturer and author. He is now acknowledged to be the world’s leading authority on miasmatic prescribing and have lectured extensively in 36 countries. He practices in the UK and in India. Students of Dr Banerjea will testify to the remarkable knowledge and enthusiasm which he generously imparts to all who share his passion for this most rational of healing arts. The Homoeopathic Heritage brings forth a conversation with Dr S K Banerjeae specially for this issue on the theme Psora and Anti Psoric Remedies.
Dr Daisy Katarmal, Editor (ED): Sir, how were you introduced to the magnificent world of homeopathy?
Dr Subrata Kumar Banerjea (SKB): I have had the privilege of descending my homeopathic blood through four generations. The first generation, my great-grandfather, Late Kalipada Banerjee (1846-1926), acquired knowledge in the Homeopathic science and practiced Homeopathy for 38 years in his native hometown. Once, he consulted a German Homeopath, Dr L. Salzer, M.D. who was practicing Homeopathy in the city of Calcutta with a good reputation, for one of his difficult cases. Dr Salzer was impressed to see the prescription by him and opined to continue the treatment in the same line. Later, Dr Salzer took him as his clinical assistant and also as an interpreter, as the local Bengali language hindered him a lot in taking case histories. Later Kalipada Banerjee started a homeopathic chemist shop, named C. Ringer & Co. in Calcutta where Dr Salzer attended as Consultant Physician.
The second generation, my grandfather, Late Dr Kishori Mohan Banerjea (1886-1941), studied Homeopathy in Calcutta, and learnt miasms from Dr John Henry Allen, in the United States. He founded a college and homeopathic hospital with 50 beds in the name of Bengal Allen Homoeopathic Medical College and Hospital in the year 1924. He was a master prescriber through miasmatic approach, as learnt from Dr Allen. He passed his gems and heritage of quick miasmatic diagnosis to his son.
The third generation, my uncle, Late Dr Naba Kumar Banerjee (1910-1974), was the Principal of Bengal Allen Homoeopathic Medical College, practiced homeopathy for 34 years and passed his gems of quick prescribing techniques with incorporation of miasms to the next generations. His philosophy was, a single remedy given according to Hahnemannian dispensing directives (Single globule: § 246 F.N., 5th Ed. and § 275 6th Ed.; Poppy seed sized: § 153, 155 and 285 F.N., 5th Ed.; and dispensing in water: § 288, 5th Ed. and § 246, 272, 6th Edition of Organon of Medicine) and ‘wait and watch’ for the reaction.
I am the fourth generation of this family, and my son, Dr Saptarshi Banerjea is pursuing his master’s degree in homeopathy. We are perhaps the longest serving homeopathic family in this planet!
ED: What is the methodology you adopt for your homeopathic practice?
SKB: Depending on the case, I adopt one of the following methodologies:
Methodology I: Cases with clarity of symptoms (including clear location, sensation and characters, modalities etc.): ‘MTEK’ is a useful memory aid for arriving at a correct prescription.
M: Miasmatic Totality (relates 50% of the case)
T: Totality of Symptoms (relates rest 50% of the case)
E: Essence (should include gestures, postures, behaviours etc.)
K: Keynotes (which should encompass PQRS symptoms, §153 and §209 of Organon)
Considering the above criteria and following the steps below, a correct prescription can be made.
Step I: Make the miasmatic diagnosis of the case i.e. ascertain the surface miasm.
Step II: Assess the Totality of Symptoms + Essence + Keynotes and PQRS (if any) of the case and find out the indicated remedy.
Step III: Ensure that the indicated remedy covers the surface miasm, as diagnosed in Step I (refer to Miasmatic Weightage of Medicines, an article in this issue).
Step IV: Administer the remedy, which encompasses miasm as well as the totality of symptoms.
Methodology II: In the present world of drug dependant cases, where there is absence of clear totality; as the drug induced artificial chronic disease is super-imposed on natural disease and patient cannot give us a clear picture e.g. modalities, sensation or characters of pain etc. For example, in a pain-killer dependant migraine case, you ask the patient about the character of the pain or you ask the modalities and the patient replies, whenever I have the pain, I take the pain killer; so I don’t know! Therefore, you cannot find an uncontaminated picture of the disease, as you are unable to complete the symptoms with sensations, modalities etc. to prescribe your powerful polychrest. So please prepare the patient for receiving the polychrest (PPPP).
In such circumstances, to open drug dependent cases, encompass the following: (a) Miasmatic expression of the person. (b) Gestures and postures of person. (c) Strong ‘Never Been Well Since’ (NBWS) including cause and onset, if any. (d) Peculiar, Queer, Rare, Strange (PQRS) symptoms, if any. (e) Anamnesis (Link between present complaints with past and/or family history). (f) Family history and diathesis: on the basis of strong family history and thereby ascertaining the diathesis of the person.
Methodology III: In the present world of drug dependant cases, another practical approach I adopt is weaning off conventional chemicals in accordance with aphorism §91 of Organon and thereby giving confidence to the patient that (a) yes, I can control the dosage and may take fewer chemicals; (b) there are alternatives to manage my condition and (c) homeopathy is working for me.
The weaning off will be very gradual, e.g. for a pain killer dependant migraine case, say the patient is taking pain killer 8 hourly; select an organopathic homeopathic medicine and ask the patient that whenever s/he have the pain, can take homeopathic medicine, which is selected by you in accordance with the few available symptoms. In this way the patient can defer (even 1 or 2 hours) the conventional medicine/pain killer as much as s/he can. Thereby, the pain-killer dependent patient who used to take the medication 8 hourly can, with the help of homeopathic medicine now defer the pain-killer to 10 or 12 hourly, then 24 hourly and so on. In this way the conventional medication/inhaler can be gradually reduced or weaned off, if the patient wants (with the consent of the patient and/or general practitioner).
E.g., in pain killer dependent migraine cases, the following medicines can be selected on the basis of few available symptoms, e.g., Acetanilidum, Amyl nitrosum, Anagyris, Chionanthus virginica, Coccinella, Epiphegus, Ferrum pyro-phosphoricum, Indium, Iris versicolor, Kalmia latifolia, Lac defloratum, Melilotus, Menispernum, Menynanthes, Oleum animale, Onosmodium, Saponin, Turnera aphrodisiaca, Usnea barbata, Yucca filamentosa etc.
In pain killer dependent arthritis cases, the following medicines can be selected on the basis of few available symptoms, e.g., Ammonium benzoicum, Ammonium phosphoricum, Benzoicum acid, Berberis vulgaris, Calcarea fluorica, Castanea vesca, Caulophyllum, Colchicine, Cotyledon umbilicus, Eucalyptus, Eupatorium perfoliatum, Franciscea uniflora, Fraxinus excelsior, Gaultheria, Gettysburg water, Ginseng, Guaiacum, Helonias, jacaranda caroba, Kali muriaticum, Kali oxalicum, Kali salicylicum, Lithium carbonicum, Natrum lacticum, OleumJecoris aselli, Piperazinum, Piper methysticum, Rhamnus californica, Stellaria media, Trifolium pratense, Urtica urens, Viola odorata, Viscum album.
In drug dependent asthma cases, the following medicines can be selected on the basis of few available symptoms, e.g., Ambrosia, Amyl nitrosum, Antim arsenicosum, Antimonium sulphuratum auratum, Aralia racemosa, Aspidosperma, Blatta occidentalis, Calcarea ovorum/ovi gallinae pellicula, Dioscorea villosa, Eriodictyon, Eucalyptus, Ichthyolum, Iodoformum, Juncus effusus, Kalium nitricum, Linum usi, Lippia mexicana, Luffa operculata, Passiflora incarnata, Pothos foetidus, Pulmo vulpis, Sambucus nigra, Senega, Silphium lancinatum, Solidago virga, Strychninum arsenicosum, Tela aranearum, Viscum album.
In drug dependent hypertension cases, the following medicines can be selected on the basis of few available symptoms, e.g., Adrenalin, Aurummuriaticum natronatum, Ceanothus, Crataegus, Eel serum, Ergotin, Lycopusvirginicus, Pituitary gland / pituitrin, Polygonum aviculare, Rauwolfia serpentina, Spartiums coparium, Stropanthus hispidus, Sumbul.
Therefore, in this methodology the steps are: (a) wean off the conventional chemicals; (b) approximately 40% weaning off (this gives our patients tremendous confidence on homeopathy) reveals the natural diseases and much clearer picture of the case; (c) prescribing your powerful polychrests/constitutional medicine on the basis of Methodology-I (MTEK).
ED: As you know, the theme of this issue is on psora and anti-psoric remedies. We all know that ‘miasm’ is one concept that is not understood and applied aptly by homeopaths. What is your say on this? From your experience, how much difference does it make if a homeopath has good knowledge of miasms. Would you like to cite an example of a case in brief?
SKB: Classical miasmatic prescribing combining miasm and totality (MTEK) has the following advantages:
- Through your understanding of Materia Medica and/or Repertory, say, you have arrived in a case, three possible medicines, e.g., Pulsatilla, Sulphur, Tuberculinum and you are not sure which one will be the perfect similimum. In such a situation, if you understand/diagnose the surface miasm of that case, and for example, this is more sycotic; then you can start with Pulsatilla as though Pulsatilla is multi-miasmatic (like every polychrest) but predominantly anti-sycotic. This I have discussed in the miasmatic weightage of the medicines in my book, Miasmatic Prescribing. By incorporating the miasm, you are covering 50% of the case plus the rest 50% is the symptomatic totality.
- To be more confident in prescribing by including the surface miasm of the case in the consideration of the totality; as miasm, the dyscrasia of the person, constitutes a major part of that totality. Miasm and the symptoms are nothing but the two sides of the coin, and one cannot be considered whilst ignoring the other. In fact, the totality of symptoms cannot be said to be total until and unless the selected remedy covers the miasm. Also of importance is the value of selecting an anti-miasmatic medicine, which covers the psychic essence, nature and character of the individual in absence of any recognisable totality. E.g., a patient presents with insomnia with no distinguishing modalities or other characters to complete the symptom. From your Materia Medica and Repertory, you have come down to 2-3 medicines for that case. Now, by ascertaining that person’s psychic essence or character (for instance, suspicious, jealous and exploiting in nature; s/he is workaholic, extremely aggressive, extrovert, irritable, materialistic, restless and the hobbies are gambling, excess shopping etc. representing sycosis); we can prescribe an anti-miasmatic (choose the anti-sycotic from your 2-3 medicines) to cover the insomnia and open up the case. Thus, the anti-miasmatic medicine covering the essence of the person is capable of surfacing the suppressed symptoms and the totality can then easily be framed.
- A deep acting anti-miasmatic medicine by virtue of its centrifugal action will open up such cases, i.e. bring to the surface the suppressed symptoms, where the totality of symptoms cannot be framed due to a scarcity of symptoms (i.e. one-sided cases), and those cases with conjoint or contaminated pictures due to various physical, emotional or iatrogenic suppressions.
- To evaluate the necessity of a change in the plan of treatment or a change of remedy; when few symptoms have disappeared after the first remedy has been administered, yet the miasmatic totality shows the preponderance of the same miasm on the surface as that which was originally covered by the initial remedy. It indicates that the prescriber can stay with that initial remedy, as can be seen from the following example: a patient came with the presenting symptom of a facial wart, for which Causticum was prescribed. As this medicine covers the miasm (here in this case, sycosis) as well as the symptom, the wart has fallen off; and the next suppressed layer, perhaps a profuse yellowish leucorrhoea (which was previously suppressed by cauterisation) comes to the surface. This symptom too is a sycotic manifestation, and is also covered by Causticum, then that remedy will totally eradicate the problem. So, knowledge of miasm guides us to stay with the remedy and to allow its full and complete action. To evaluate the homeopathic prognosis of the case, as removal of layers of suppression are manifested as clarity of symptoms and also reflected by a quantum jump in the sense of wellbeing. Deep acting anti-miasmatic medicines by virtue of their centrifugal action will remove the layers of suppression which can be evidenced as follows: (a) A quantum jump in the sense of wellbeing. (b) Improved energy. (c) Increased appetite. (d) Better quality of sleep. (e) Harmony and tranquillity of temperament. (f) Stability (in obese people) or weight gain in underweight subjects. (g) Clarity of the existing or presenting symptoms or even lighter symptoms. (h) Suppressed symptoms (even of years ago) reappear on the surface and are permanently eradicated. This reappearance can be in a very transient form, which may not even be visible to the naked eye.
- Anti-miasmatic medicines help to clear up the suppressions (in relation to the past); clear up the presenting symptoms from their root or origin (in relation to the present); and clear up the susceptibility to get infection and thereby strengthening the constitution (in relation to the prophylactic aspect or future).
E.g. Two similar type of symptoms and personalities but dissimilar in miasmatics:
Needs support & (assurance);
Sympathetic give to receive; Wants to please;
This is Pulsatilla, who is Sycotic.
Needs (assurance), suggestible, gullible;
This is Phosphorus, who is Tubercular.
The patient has all the characters as above (mentioned in bold). Her main complaint is chronic broncho-spasm with heaviness on chest (both medicine covers); aggravation from lying on left side (covered by both medicines). She has blood-tinged expectoration and very allergic to pollens; this is tubercular miasm and thus led me to prescribe Phosphorus, which cleared up the case.
ED: Which book has influenced you the most and why?
SKB: Kent’s Lectures on Homeopathic Materia Medica. I love his book because of his profound understanding of Materia Medica.
ED: Who do you look up to as your role model?
SKB: I respected my teacher, Late Dr SK Dubey for his vast knowledge of Materia Medica. Apart from my family heritage, he also imparted in me, my profound love for Materia Medica.
ED: What do you feel is the most gratifying for you as a professional – medical practice, teaching, writing or research?
SKB: I love teaching as well as enjoy writing. But what I love the most is building-up a very successful practice in England where National Health Service (NHS) of the United Kingdom offers state-of-the-art conventional medical treatment free to its citizens. Living in the UK and taking the challenge of weaning off the conventional medication and supporting my patients, is my highest satisfaction and the patients opt for expensive Homeopathic treatment instead of the free NHS service! As they say (a) yes, I can control the dosage and may take fewer chemicals; (b) there are alternatives to manage my condition and (c) homeopathy is working for me.
ED: What is your advice for the newcomers in homeopathy?
SKB: In the western world, it is a big news that by the year 2030, many of the bugs (bacteria) will be drug-resistant. But Homeopathy will survive because we depend on symptoms, we respect individualisation and person’s own dynamic energy and immunity. So please be confident that if you know your subjects well, you will carry on the torch of alternative medicine for centuries to come.
You should have passion and dedication for this wonderful art and science of Homeopathy and be proud to be a healer through minimum assault to the body. I like to congratulate all the juniors for choosing Homeopathy – the safe, non-toxic alternative to pharmaceutical chemicals. In the 21st century campaign for organic food, you are surely a leader by choosing Homeopathy to support your patient’s health in a chemical-free way.
ED: What are your plans for contribution to the development of homeopathy, how far have you been able to achieve them?
SKB: My plans for the future are:
- To promote and promulgate that there are alternatives to conventional chemicals and by setting-up our Allen College of Homoeopathy in England we are promoting this theme through the college with our students and graduates.
- Rather than finding new approaches and methodologies to prescribe Homeopathy; I adhere to the classical methods. Apart from our powerful polychrests, I also promote the efficacy of our century old lesser known organopathic medicines (most of them are in Boericke’s Materia Medica, published in 1921) and use them with confidence to wean off the conventional chemicals.
- Me, my students and graduates of Allen College and all the participants of my different seminars of various parts of the world are fighting hard against the pharmaceutical world and the world of chemicals; to promote: ‘let natural and nature speak’.
- My aspiration is to prescribe a single dose to the patient and say, that’s it! You don’t have to come back any more. To unfold before the world the magic of one single dose of Homoeopathy …mighty power of tiny globule and beauty of Wait and Watch with Wisdom (WWW).