The Kingdom Classification
Around 1990 the question came to my mind whether a person who needs a plant remedy is somehow different from one who needs an animal or mineral remedy. This thought, although seemingly very simple, has been a great step forward for me in Homoeopathy, its significance being that for the first time for me Homoeopathy extended beyond just symptoms and became connected with the world outside, with Physics and Chemistry, with Botany and Zoology. Instead of remaining only confined to Materia Medica, provings and symptomatology, it suddenly opened up so that one can now say that Homoeopathy is representative of nature itself. Funnily, although the remedies themselves are derived from nature, we had been practicing only by looking at symptoms and so there was no connection with nature itself.
Our remedies, whether they come from plant, animal or mineral sources, each represent the spirit of that source and must have the character of that source. Without this Hahnemann’s Materia Medica is reduced to a dry collection of symptoms. With this simple thought the inner turmoil, the physical problems, expressions, words, feelings and dreams of the patient can be seen to be the spirit of the substance expressed in a human being. The result is that our Materia Medica now broadens to include all that we see in nature, living and non-living. The application of this idea in practice, although it has been the target of much criticism and ridicule, continues to yield remarkable results, time and again, for me, my colleagues and students.
One of the earliest hints I had about the possible existence of a scheme in our Materia Medica was when preparing for a lecture on Arg met., I observed that the symptoms of this remedy reveal the qualities of performance and show (for example, complaints in speakers, singers, preachers), and I was able to easily relate these qualities to silver itself (silver tongued; silver is for show). At the same time I knew also that Aurum met. has the theme of performance in high marks (derived from the symptoms: responsibility, industriousness, conscientiousness).I wondered if this theme could be one common to all the metals. A study of each of these remedies convinced me that there was indeed a common theme, that of performance and defense, which in everyday life is their function! This drew my attention to the periodic table, which I studied with keen interest. I found that as the metals got heavier with respect to their atomic weights, the issue of performance in the corresponding Homoeopathic remedies increased in degree. For example, the issue of performance is stronger in Arg met. than in Cuprum, and strongest in Aurum, gold being the heaviest of the three. Moreover, closely related remedies were placed in the same group of the periodic table; for example, Platina and Palladium, two well-known complements in Homoeopathy, occur one below the other in the same group. Similar further study revealed common themes among other groups, viz. the cations, the anions and salts. Where the provings of a remedy did not reveal to me its central issue I conducted fresh provings. At this point I met Jan Scholten, who was also working with the periodic table, and his work added confirmation of my findings.
Later, together with my friend Jurgen Becker, I conducted a seminar proving of Naja; this proving encouraged us to study the snake remedies as a group, the result being that we started using the other snake remedies like Crot casc., Crot hor., Vipera and Elaps based upon our understanding of the group, with finer differentiation helping us to decide which one in particular. I now attempted to see if there was a common theme in the entire animal kingdom, and from there I came to what I regard as my simplest and most important discovery, the differences between remedies (and states) belonging to the different kingdoms: mineral, plant, animal and nosode. This discovery came after observing diligently several hundred patients in my busy practice, and when I wrote about it in “The Substance of Homoeopathy” it had been confirmed in many more patients in my own cases as well as those of my colleagues.Thus an order seemed to emerge from out of our Materia Medica, which made our task so much simpler when properly followed.
Here I would like to warn newcomers and also practitioners about the use of my ideas. The full potential of any concept will be realized only when it is studied and understood in depth. Hearing about my ideas at a seminar and putting them into practice without having read my earlier work where these are explained in much detail and clarity, is hazardous for the practitioner, the patient and the science. My concepts have all been based after years of study of Homoeopathic philosophy, Materia Medica and Repertory. Whereas these concepts have taken my practice beyond the confines of the Repertory and provings, these have always been and will continue to be the foundation for good practice and sound concepts. My endeavor has been to establish consistency in Homoeopathy and not to find any short cuts. While the task of prescribing has become simplified through the discovery of maps and a system, there are no substitutes or short cuts in the clinic when it comes to taking a detailed case without prejudice. While these maps have made the practice of Homoeopathy more enjoyable it continues to be the serious work of restoring the sick to health.
The classification of remedy states into kingdoms and my initial ideas and observation of each are mentioned below very briefly:
The Mineral Kingdom
The themes common to remedies of this kingdom are structure and organization. Their problems usually arise from or represent a break or loss of this structure or organization; for example break in relationship, failure in performance and loss of position. Patients requiring mineral remedies are very systematic and organized.
Mineral remedies can be further classified into various groups:
The remedies of this group have to do with performance and defense. The remedies Manganum, Ferrum, Cobaltum, Niccolum, Cuprum and Zincum of the fourth period seem to be concerned with defense more than with performance. In the fifth period the remedies are Rhodium, Palladium, Argentum, Cadmium and Indium, and these seem to be more concerned with performance rather than defense. The remedies Osmium, Iridium, Platina, Aurum, Mercurius and Thallium of the sixth period seem to have the strongest defense/performance issues.
The general theme here is the need for a relationship, and each subgroup further has its own theme.
Group I A is concerned with forming of relationships; the cations here are Sodium and Potassium.
The theme in Group II A is the need for support; the cations here are Magnesium, Calcium, Strontium and Barium.
From Group III the remedies Borax and Alumina have in common the feeling of confusion and the sensation as if of a cobweb on the face.
The main theme here is the effort to maintain or keep a relationship.
Group IV has the remedies Carbon and Silica; the feature common to them both is that they are non-reactive.
In Group V, the remedies Phosphorus, Arsenic, Antim. crud. and Bismuth have in common symptoms like “fear of being alone”, “Desire for company”, and “Clinging”. The common theme here is that of being unloved and alone.
Sulphur and Selenium from Group VI have the symptoms “Aversion to company” and “Incapacity for work” in common; the themes here are of expectations from others and of making effort.
The Halogens (Group VII) have the central feeling of being let down and betrayed.
A salt represents the union of two qualities, which balance each other and together are appropriate in certain life situations. Of the two components of a salt the cations need to form a relationship, while the anions are concerned with maintaining the relationship but sometimes also seem to repel the relationship. For example with Natrium itself there is a strong desire to form a relationship, so much so that any rejection seems to cause hurt and disappointment. This need of Natrium has to be balanced with the quality of expecting disappointment and rejection and unwillingness to form relationships. This is provided by the muriaticum element (chlorine). The main feeling in such a state is that one will be let down or disappointed by the person on whom she depends for a relationship.
The main theme of the acid group remedies is that of a struggle followed by collapse. The acid of a particular element represents a constant effort/struggle in the situation of that element. The struggle of Phosphoric acid is in the direction of caring for others and being sympathetic to them, the main feeling of Phosphorus being that he is not receiving love and affection.
The Plant Kingdom
Main issue: Sensitivity.
Main qualities: Sensitive nature, easily affected by many things and adjusting or adapting to these; they feel things very intensely; soft and emotional; their feelings are very important to them and they fear being hurt.
Features observed: Flowery, irregular patterns in choice of dress; writing also is in irregular patterns, being rounded and disorganized.
Presentation of complaints: Often in a disorganized manner, no particular order, incomplete; wandering talk; often talk of other persons’ complaints in between their own; very descriptive. Can begin follow ups rather abruptly.
Nature of complaints: Can be hanging/inconsistent in nature, rapid onset, many modalities; usually related to sensitivity.
Causative factor: Emotional or physical strain/hurt.
Commonly used expressions:
I am affected by . . .
I am sensitive to . . .
. . . hurts me.
I cannot bear . . .
. . . touches me
Dreams: Influenced by day’s events and occurrences; varied dreams; can be of plants, greenery, nature, music, art.
Interests: Nature, plants, flowers, music, art, fine things.
The Animal Kingdom
The main issue with animals is that of competition. Also common to the animal remedies is a conflict which has its basis in a split within the self. There are two sides to such personalities: the animal side and the human side. While the animal side is concerned with competition, the human side seems to have contempt for the animal within.
Competition is the key to survival in the animal world and this is reflected in the behavior of such personalities, which can range from attention seeking and attractive to aggressive, malicious and deceitful. They often use expressions like “. . . by human beings”, “Human beings are so cruel”, “I feel attacked by them, “I attack them”, “I jump at them”, “I am not good enough”, “I feel split up” etc. Their complaints can have to do with attraction and competition and the causative factor is often conflict, rejection, being looked down upon, or feeling attacked.
Nosodes represent the center point of each miasm. In nosodes the emphasis is on the process itself, on the degree of desperation, the depth, the pace rather than on any particular theme such as structure, performance, relationships, sensitivity or competition for survival. The result is that this process is reflected in every area of the person’s life rather than being directed in any one specific area (structure/sensitivity/competition).
For example if a person says “I desperately want to stand first” and “I desperately need a relationship” and “Poverty makes me feel desperate”, here the emphasis is on “desperate” rather than any specific issue. The desperate only shows the degree of what he is feeling, and in such a case one would think of a nosode.
Thus with Psorinum one would see a constant struggle in every sphere, with Medorrhinum everywhere in the case there would be the feeling of inadequacy and cover up, while in Syphilinum there would be only hopelessness and desperation. Some other nosodes are: Malaria nosode, Carcinosin, Bacillinum and Leprominium.
What we see through all this is that there is something else that is beyond symptoms. Disease is not just a collection of symptoms but a state similar to something in nature that expresses itself inside of a human being. To put it very simplistically it is as if there is a plant or an animal or a mineral that is speaking through the human being. The physician has to hear that language directly as these things cannot be translated into symptoms. Let me explain this through a small example: A mineral person coming to you for a headache will probably start like this, “My first attack of these headaches started on 15th November 1993 at 3 pm.” Here, there is structure in the way he narrates the complaint. An animal person would probably put it like this, “This headache is after me. It has troubled me for a long time. Now I have decided that I am not going to let it get the better of me and I will get rid of it once and for all.” What you observe here is that he speaks of the headache as if it was out to get him, and the way to survive is to get rid of it and not let it get the better of him; competition and survival of the fittest. The plant person may say, “This headache really affects me; it really hurts me and causes me to weep.” Here what is apparent is sensitivity and reactivity. In this way, if used correctly, the kingdom map is of immense help in directing us to the correct remedy through our immense and ever expanding Materia Medica.
System in Practice
Having incorporated all the above ideas in practice, over time there evolved a method of case taking and analysis. To me the method came naturally and I could follow it subconsciously. But sometimes it was difficult to convey my line of thinking to my students. I also realized that Homoeopathy was one of the few disciplines where a system had not been penned down. The process of case taking should be focused at understanding the innermost process of the patient, rather than mechanically noting symptoms of the physical, emotional and general spheres. The process I used to follow could be divided into four steps. Let me explain them in brief:
- Symptoms are simply gathered. The physician refrains from asking direct questions, and if he asks any questions at all at this stage they are broad and non-specific. The emphasis is on listening in silence to the patient and gathering symptoms.
- The second step is reached by picking up important hints from the first step and questioning the patient along those lines.
- Dreams are asked for at the end of the second step. The time to ask for dreams is when one has scraped the bottom of the conscious feeling in each incident and situation.
- The third step is that of direct enquiry. Whatever one has found to be peculiar in the previous levels must be probed into and understood.
- The fourth level is that of the epicenter or delusion or sensation. Once that gate is opened one enters a world very different from conscious reality. That is the world of the delusion or the dream.
A. Case Taking:
1. The patient’s complaint
- How it affects his life
- Its significance in the life of the patient
- Why is it happening now?
- Action taken in response
- Expectation from the treatment or the physician
- Manner of description
2. Situations in the life of the patient
- Exciting factor
- Other stress situations
- Upsetting incidents or situations
- Childhood situations
- Pregnancy situation
- Job situations
- Situations avoided or compensated for
- Going with the patient into the stress situation.
3. The patient’s nature
- Patient’s own description
- Description by relatives and friends
- Observation of the patient’s behavior
- Observation of his dress/manner/speech
- Typical behavior
- Details from questionnaire/case form
- Emotional problems the patient has with himself
- Expectations from the treatment
- Questions the patient asks regarding the treatment
- Whether the patient comes accompanied or unaccompanied
- Mental traits coming up in the description of physical aspects.
- 1. Actual: Pleasant, Unpleasant, Dreams without emotions, Projected, Feelings in the dreams, Associations with the dreams, Incidental or situational dreams, Deep, vivid, repetitive or connected, dreams, Dreams during pregnancy, Delirium in case of fever
- 2. Virtual: Fears, Fantasies, Sensation as if, Metaphors, interests and hobbies (Active and Passive), Hobbies avoided, Aims, ambitions and goals, Hopes, Religion and philosophy
5. The physician’s reaction to the patient
- Empathizing with the patient
- Complementary to the patient’s feeling
6. Physical characteristic symptoms
- Present complaint
- Past history
- Nature of the physical complaint
- Objective characteristic symptoms
7. Past and family history of illnesses, especially Homoeopathic
8. History of various treatments in the past, especially Homoeopathic
9. Examination of the patient: general and systemic
B. Case Analysis and Remedy Selection
- Tracing the connections and determining where lies the weight in the case
- Peculiar and characteristic symptoms
- Miasmatic evaluation, Through words, attitude, mood, pace and pathology Kingdom evaluation:
What is the main issue in the case? Is it one of structure or sensitivity or competition, or is there nothing but a process that runs through the case?
- Source words
- Search in repertory
- Search in source books
- Knowledge of source of remedies
- Confirmation through characteristics
- Checking to see what does not fit in
- Sensation as if
- Diagnosis and knowledge of pathology
C. Potency Selection and Repetition
- Determining the plane of disturbance
- Characteristic symptoms
- Age of the patient
- Stage of disease
- When to repeat and when to change
- Consideration of LM potencies
D. Follow up
1. Criteria for evaluation:
- General energy and state of the patient
- Mental and emotional state
- The status of the chief complaint
- Appearance of new symptoms and recurrence of old symptoms
- Any new observation about the patient or his state of behavior or the words he uses in the follow up
- Indications as to his subconscious state, especially through dreams
- Skin aggravation
- Allopathic medication during the treatment
- No discernible change
- Patient with a chronic complaint comes up with an acute complaint
- Recurrence of old symptoms or occurrence of new symptoms
3. Tapering off
Music as Medicine
The idea of using music as a healing agent is not new; it is universally accepted that music has healing powers and many of us must have had this sort of experience at some time or the other, even though briefly.
I have been learning Indian Classical Music and I found it remarkable that each melody or Raga is associated with a specific time (when it has to be played) and a specific mood (it evokes specific feelings and creates a specific atmosphere). I wondered then if Ragas might be useful as remedial agents and I decided to prove some of these. For the results of this experiment I refer the reader to “The Substance of Homoeopathy.”
The idea that emerges here is that the application of the Homoeopathic principle of Like Cures Like need not only be confined only to our conventional remedies. It can be applied through other means such as music. I also believe that if we know and practice Homoeopathy at a level deeper than just collecting symptoms we get to know ourselves better. In difficult situations as well we can introspect, and through awareness, find a Homoeopathic solution to our problems or those of the world around us. We can similarly examine and understand various situations and phenomena through Homoeopathy.
In my understanding Homoeopathy is not restricted to looking in the repertory and giving remedies; it is a universal principle of healing. I believe that hand in hand with deeper study of the solid bases of our science, provings, repertory, Materia Medica and cases, a deeper knowledge of the natural world can only help in our prescribing. I see Homoeopathy as a way of life; I see it in art, in humor, in architecture, in literature, in all expressions of the human state. I see Homoeopathy not only allied to all holistic therapies but also to all sciences and arts; to zoology, to botany, to music and to dance. I also envisage that the borders between Homoeopathy and spirituality will gradually dissolve some day. Homoeopathy is not only a way of removing symptoms; it is a way of healing, a deep healing that comes from within.