Book Review on Significance of Past History in Homoeopathic Prescribing by Dr Faiza Khan - homeopathy360

Book Review on Significance of Past History in Homoeopathic Prescribing by Dr Faiza Khan

Dr. Donald Foubister, a name known to entire Homoeopathic fraternity for his gem named ‘CARCINOSIN DRUG PICTURES’, who was a Visiting physician to the Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital and a former Dean of the faculty of Homoeopathic education in London. But another marvellous book named ‘SIGNIFICANCE OF PAST HISTORY’ is his hidden treasure which is left undiscovered by many. It was originally published in the British Homoeopathic Journal.

This book was printed at the Homoeopathy press, Kumbakonam and published by Dr. P Sankaran for the Homoeopathic Medical Publishers, Santa Cruz [west] Mumbai 54. 1st edition was made available to the world in 1967 and was reprinted in 1970.

The book ‘Significance of past history in Homoeopathic prescribing’ provides an avenue and justification for various kinds of prescription in Homoeopathy especially focussing on Past history based prescription along with clear cut guidelines to help the physician in doing so. It is a small book (in terms of number of pages) consisting of only 20 pages. The book is divided into 3 main parts- Introduction, Topic proper and References.

About the Book

  1. Introduction to this book is written by Dr. P Sankaran who was privileged to be a direct student of Foubister. Here he pays his gratitude both to the author and editor, Dr. L. R. Twentyman for giving their kind permission for reprinting this.
  2. Topic Proper/Main Text– It is systematically divided into different headings depending on situations for prescribing on Past history along with reasoning and justification for doing so. It is also supported with case examples to leave an everlasting impression on the reader’s mind. These are as follows:
    • Constitutional treatment- prescribing on the psychosomatic makeup and past history of the patient. It usually covers significant episodes of past. For eg-Natrum muriaticum may be given a thought when the patient has had concussion.
    • Observation on the Homoeopathic Materia medica- Materia medica is an immense sea of resources but there many medicines which are yet to be proved and added. He also states that there should be no hesitation in prescribing unproved remedies such as the nosodes of acute disease as occasion demands.
  • Not well since- A severe acute or chronic infection injury, emotional upset or occasionally after adverse effects of drugs may lead to chronic ill-health. Correct constitutional treatment will help to raise the vitality of the patient and lead the patient to the road of cure.
  • Acute infection- Advise of Kent for prescribing nosodes is mentioned here. It is the largest section in the book with many examples from the desk of stalwarts like M L Tyler (with whom he was lucky enough to work with), Clarke and his own observations are mentioned. Numerous remedies prescribed in different clinical conditions with their clear-cut indications based on clinical experience is attested.
  • Chronic infection- Tubercular and venereal disease may call for appropriate nosodes when other well selected remedies fail to produce any favorable results. He also highlights that nosodes are neglected in homoeopathic practice.
  • Injury- filled with examples for after effects of head injury, spinal injury, falls and bruises.  It also outlines that everyone has been injured at some time or another it is only when there has been an injury in relation to the onset of ill-health, or when there has been a severe injury in the past that it should call for consideration in constitutional prescribing.
  • Psychic factors- It mentions that complains starting from grief, fear or other emotional upset are given consideration in Kent’s  repertory and should be referred in constitutional treatment. Various cases are discussed and indication of Graphites, Causticum, Opium, Staphysagria etc. are provided.
  • Drugs- Certain relationship has been established between constitution and the effects of drugs in this part like Nux vomica has been extensively used for the after effects of drugs in general, Pulsatilla for abuse of iron, Natrum muriaticum for counteracting the effects of prolonged drugging with quinine and mercury.
  • Other factors- like exposure to extensive radiation may call for X-ray 30 or 200 or Radium bromide 30 or 200 as intercurrent Illness beginning at puberty may need Pulsatilla, those at menopause- Lachesis, etc.
  • Family history- similar to a prescription based on P/H, an individual’s family history is also regarded important. For eg. We may think of  Carcinosin  when there is a family history of carcinoma, leukaemia, tuberculosis and diabetes.
  • ConclusionThe words of Richard Hughes are quoted– “The rule Similia Similibus can obviously be carried out only in proportion as the effects of drugs on the healthy body are ascertained.”. Also provides information that his book ‘Principles and Practice of Homoeopathy’ is a magnificent contribution to sound pathological prescribing.
  1. Referencing to prove the authenticity of the work.

This book is a must read for every Homoeopath as it shows light and direction to every physician in order to consider the different bases of similarity and makes us wonder that there is no reason why different approaches to homoeopathic prescribing should not be considered. It provides a clear cut indication regarding importance to past history while making a Homoeopathic prescription also providing case examples from the desks of different renowned stalwarts. Medicines along with potency, doses, frequency of repetition are also mentioned wherever required. It serves as a basis of confidence to the ones who are already prescribing this method and provides an opportunity for young Homoeopaths to explore this approach of Homoeopathic prescription out of the various other ways. Thus making it another gem of Foubister worth appreciation!

Title: The Significance of Past History

Author:                B JAIN

ISBN:     9788170214748

Imprint: B. Jain Regular

Pages: 14

Format: Paperback

Language: English


Dr. Faiza Khan –


MD (Hom Materia Medica), NIH, Kolkata

Presently working as a JRF in DACRRI (H), Kolkata

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Homeopathy360 Team