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Materia Medica

Homeopathy, a system of alternative medicine created in 1796 by Samuel Hahnemann based on his doctrine of like cures like: a substance that causes the symptoms of a disease in healthy people will cure similar symptoms in sick people. Hahnemann believed the underlying causes of disease were phenomena that he termed miasms, and that homeopathic remedies addressed these. The remedies are prepared by repeatedly diluting a chosen substance in alcohol or distilled water, followed by forceful striking on an elastic body. Homeopaths select remedies by considering the totality of the patient's symptoms, personal traits, physical and psychological state, and life history.

Homeopathic practitioners rely on two types of reference when prescribing remedies: materia medica and repertories. A homeopathic materia medica is a collection of "drug pictures", organised alphabetically by "remedy,". These entries describe the symptom patterns associated with individual remedies. A homeopathic repertory is an index of disease symptoms that lists remedies associated with specific symptoms.

The Materia Medica can be learned by careful study and by using it. It can be understood but not memorized. All who would memorize the Materia Medica must ignominiously fail. To be constantly at hand, it must be constantly and correctly used. The continuous study of the Materia Medica by the aid of a full repertory for comparison is the only means of continuing in a good working knowledge. To learn the Materia Medica, one must master Hahnemann's Organon, after which the symptomatology and the Organon go "hand in hand." The Organon, the symptomatology, and a full repertory must be the constant reference books, if careful homeopathic prescribing is to be, attained and maintained. -Dr. J T Kent in his preface to first edition of Repertory of the Homœopathic Materia Medica.


Study the Materia Medica, analyzing one drug after the other until you have analyzed all. Then you must arrange your remedies according to some system in your mind, and so be enabled to recall facts as you need them. If you only study one remedy, every case you see fits that remedy. If you have studied Aconite, every case will suggest Aconite. Thus, you must have Aconite by its confreres, side by side in your mind, before you can use them, successfully in the sick room. This is done by systematizing your study. -From Introduction of A Clinical Materia Medica by Dr E A Farrington.

Materia Medica

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