Homeopathy 2006; 95(04): 254-255
DOI: 10.1016/j.homp.2006.07.004
Book Reviews
Copyright © The Faculty of Homeopathy 2006

Homeopathic Pharmacy: Theory and Practice 2e

Ananti Shah

Subject Editor:
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
14 December 2017 (online)

Steven B Kayne
Elsevier Ltd, Churchill Livingstone Oxford, UK, 2006 ISBN: 0 4431 0160 4,
Price: £34.99.

With the growing public interest in Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), against the backdrop of speculation and controversy over homeopathy there is a great need for a text book like this one. It answers many questions that health professionals may have concerning Homeopathy and its place as a form of medicine under the NHS or for Over The Counter Sales.

The second edition of ‘Homeopathic Pharmacy Theory and Practice’ is an excellent reference book for pharmacists it should share the same bookshelf as your BNF, MIMS or Martindale, but it will be valuable for anyone interested in homeopathy. There is more information in this book than meets the eye at first glance. Kayne has collected much practical, pharmaceutical, historical and theoretical information on homeopathy and presented it in a very concise, well-referenced manner. It would not be easy to find some of the information he has presented here without referring to numerous different books, published papers and possibly even internet searches. But, Kayne has put it all together and presented it in an easy, user friendly manner in a single manual.

The book is organised well with chapters and sub-headings and a comprehensive index making it fairly easy to retrieve information. It is divided into six parts. Part 1, includes an introduction to CAM; why CAM is becoming popular and their relevance in today's health care system. Also included in this section is a detailed account of Hahnemann's life with interesting pictures and a family tree followed by the history and development of homeopathy. This section is not an easy read if you just want a brief glimpse of its history. However, if you are interested in dates and historical descriptions it is well worth a read.

Part 2 of the book: ‘Procedures’ should be mandatory reading for all pharmacists or anyone involved with preparation/dispensing of homeopathic remedies. Some of the information contained here is second nature to homeopathic pharmacists but has never been documented and explained in a systematic text book form. The author describes the whole process of preparing remedies from the original raw materials through to the final dosage forms explaining processes of extraction, different methods of potentisation, succussion, and trituration. The process of medicating dosage forms is explained with pictorial diagrams of different dosage forms eg sucrose pills, lactose tablets, powders, etc. There are explanations of all the available Homeopathic Pharmacopoeias and the information they contain. Examples of homeopathic prescriptions, ways of labelling remedies, how to endorse prescriptions, private prescriptions, storage guidelines, Quality Control issues all form part of this section. Legislation including a summary of all European Directives on homeopathic Medicine is summarised here. This section is the A–Z for homeopathic pharmacy.

Parts 3 and 4 look at the principles of homeopathic prescribing in detail and its clinical application: The vital force, miasms, theory of disease, constitutional prescribing are all explained here this information is of course also available in many other homeopathic books but, Steven Kayne has also included a section on ‘The Power of Placebo’—a concept all modern homeopaths need to consider. Kayne explains the basic historical principles and added all the modern theories to bring his book up to date. For example, with his section on Repertorisation not only does he describe the commonly used traditional repertories but, he has also summarised all the different computer repertories available and referenced their Web Sites.

Methods of acute, chronic and first aid prescribing are thoroughly explained. There are easy to use tables for a range of common acute conditions to help select a remedy using modalities and keynotes—these would be very useful in a pharmacy setting and for homeopaths and students wishing to prescribe an acute remedy.

Those who are convinced of the healing potential of homeopathy but struggle with it when confronted by sceptical colleagues will thoroughly enjoy Part 5 of this book. The research chapter is well written and referenced quoting many studies with both positive and negative outcomes. Different studies are sited from clinical studies to basic scientific work by Benveniste. There is also an excellent explanation on research techniques, limitations of certain study designs and relevance of certain study designs for homeopathic trials. The difficulties in homeopathic research are highlighted and include funding issues. Amidst this serious section on research is a touching interview with scientist Benveniste who had published 300 scientific papers and had some positive results with ultra molecular dilutions.

The final section before we get to the Materia Medica is quite unusual. I expected the research chapter to be the last in the book but, to my surprise Kayne has added yet another finishing touch to this very comprehensive reference book—a chapter on Education. In this chapter, in addition, to having information on courses and homeopathic educational organisations there is a section on ‘Giving a Talk.’ Many health professionals with an interest in homeopathy may be faced with this challenge so here Kayne leaves us with a good outline to do a presentation.

The Materia Medica included at the end of the book is very basic consisting of around 60 remedies giving a brief description of the remedy, keynotes and modalities. For prescribing purposes one would probably need to refer to a more extensive materia medica. This book has a great wealth of information on homeopathy that is not normally easily accessible and hence, if there was no Materia Medica section in the book it would not be missed. The author does express his personal opinions in certain parts of the book but, in general also states other points of views giving a balanced approach.

This is an essential desk top reference book for all homeopaths, students of homeopathy and pharmacists. With the changes in the NHS and the granting of prescribing rights to other health professionals I can see this book finding its way into many high street pharmacies.