Homoeopathy it's [sic!] Fundamentals and Treatment
20 December 2017 (online)
I am always interested in books as tools for easier prescription especially in situations when there are too many patients waiting for treatment and no time for an in-depth consultation. Shortcuts are welcome in those cases, although we know very well that deep, total cure will probably not be achieved. Even in more ‘leisurely’ clinics, we have sometimes to follow the patient's desire for a rapid solution to his or her presenting problem, after which he or she will hopefully come back for a full approach to disease and a complete return to health. Two of those tools are Rai Bahadur Bishamber Das' ‘Select your Remedy’ and Lilienthal's ‘Homoeopathic Therapeutics’. Their only problem is that there are too many remedies presented for each pathology making those books or study instruments difficult to use for ‘quick bedside prescription’. I was hoping that the late Dr. Muzumdar's book would fill the gap, especially as the Publisher introduces it as a ‘modern format of Lilienthal's work on Therapeutics’.
One should never judge a gift or a book by its wrapping or its cover, yet this first contact often involves an immediate judgement which can be counter-productive. My dear wife, who, like me, is not a native English speaker, had some unkind comments when coming across the title and the use of it's instead of its. Not a good first impression and it can certainly prevent one to even look at the book through conscious or subconscious evaluation of the quality of its content. Easy to correct, but that correction should happen quickly. Hint: small stickers are OK.
After a short introduction and the Publisher's note recommending it for laymen and students, the book is then divided in two parts: the Fundamentals, then 270 conditions, which I would rather call labels, arranged according to systems—cardiovascular, nervous, etc.…
The Fundamentals are a very condensed presentation of the usual basic history and principles of homeopathy as taught in classical colleges, with the author's personal approach and interpretation. Here is not the place to discuss and argue about those, but I need to point at least two of them. Page 23: ‘predominant mental symptomatology will not respond to lower potencies’ totally disproved by French homeopaths (and myself); page 26: ‘Hahnemann tried to increase potency slightly. This has not found any better followers’; clearly the author used dry doses, not dilution glasses or LM potencies with their progressive increase in potency and better results. No further comment about that.
The conditions/labels presented cover a wide array of scenarios often seen in a general consultation. They come with a short description and sometimes with more details, which can be very misleading. Angina pectoris is described as a constrictive pain in the chest … no differential diagnosis. Hypertension is ‘mental irritability … weariness, tiredness … palpitations and dizziness’. Really? Most of those cases have no symptoms whatsoever, what is presented as a definition is more compatible with adrenal exhaustion, and the remedies would be totally different; and it is defined by the measurement of the blood pressure, in numbers that can be followed to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment. Thyroid problems seem to be limited to female patients. Many more like that, contrasting with excellent descriptions like the chapter on anaemia (page 391). This can be extremely confusing for the layman or the student, who are the main target of this book according to the publisher.
The redeeming part sits with the remedies: just a few major ones for each condition, each one with a short description relating to the pathology considered, mainly keynotes and modalities that allow to differentiate between them quite easily, which is the practical purpose of this book. It is clear that at times more reading should be done, when in doubt and that not all the possible remedies are included, with some surprising omissions like Tabacum missing for Motion Sickness.
This book is much more than a First Aid manual ‘this for that’ compilation of remedies. Assuming that one's diagnostic is correct, it offers the possibility for a very busy practitioner to treat rapidly common complaints, relieving suffering fast, in the hope that later the patient will appreciate the results and dedicate some time for a more in-depth approach. Despite the criticism I mentioned about its failures, I would still recommend it as a good clinical tool in a busy clinic.