Homœopathic Links 2017; 30(04): 291
DOI: 10.1055/s-0037-1608817
Book Review
Thieme Medical and Scientific Publishers Private Ltd.

Essence of Homeopathic Snake Remedies

Reviewed by Dr. J. Rozencwajg1
  • 1New Zealand
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
20 December 2017 (online)

There are some interesting books with very valuable information that will discourage the reader to continue reading because of some blatant errors, when one asks oneself ‘how could he be writing something like that? Should I take him seriously’? This is one of those books.

Describing the history of Materia Medica, on page 22 we read that ‘Materia Medica differs from Repertory by listing the remedy's name and description whereas Repertory lists illnesses first’ … no, the repertory lists rubrics; names/labels have been added lately but we work with rubrics based on provings and cured case, not with illnesses. On page 32, we read that Aristotle classified animals as vertebrates and invertebrates and called them animals with blood and without blood; it has been a long time since I read Aristotle, but I sincerely doubt that. Later on, writing about Lachesis, he writes about the ‘Western Hemisphere’. … I know about the Northern and Southern hemisphere divided by the equator, but a Western one? Are those earth-shattering mistakes? Probably not and they do not invalidate the rest of the book, but it leaves me with a nagging doubt about the validity of some other information.

There is a very interesting chapter about the symbolism of the snake in different cultures around the world and in time, followed by the biology and behaviours of snakes, with yet another error: Antarctica and Ireland are not the only two places in the world without snakes: New Zealand is also devoid of snakes in the natural habitat, apparently due to a specific quality of the volcanic soil.

This is followed by the general traits of patients needing a snake remedy, which indeed demonstrates the author's affirmation that snake remedies are polychrests, as the description fits most of humanity.

Then comes the description of the essences and the drug pictures of only four snake remedies; that is disappointing, we want more! Lachesis muta, Vipera aspis, Bungarus fasciatus and Bothrops lanceolatus. Each snake, worth a full book on its own, is described physically, what poison it carries, where it lives and how it behaves. Then cases are given with no explanation whatsoever about the choice of the remedy: through repertorisation? Through the author's obvious deep knowledge of each remedy? The only information given is one sentence: ‘I recommend XYZ’; but why? What information directed that choice? This is how we, the lesser-informed readers, learn to understand a remedy, when to choose it and when not. Why did he decide to repeat a dose and why not? Some indications seem obvious, others not at all. What is the practitioner's reasoning in each situation?

After the case, the essence of the remedy is described. This is the most valuable part of the book and the most informative, albeit lacking the sources: provings? His familiarity with the remedy? How did he acquire it? We are given a hint in Chapter 40: it would come from many cured cases that are not described in the book. I still do not know how the choice of the remedy was made and why, so even though I have received good information, I do not know how to use it. I hoped it would be described in the Differential Diagnosis part of each remedy, but here we find only a list of other snakes and a few polychrests, without any more details, no comparisons, no differentiations.

It is really disappointing! I expected to learn so much more … it is a bit like French Nouvelle Cuisine: you are presented with a beautiful, artistic plate bearing a few morsels of tasty food, then you have to go to a fast food joint because you are so hungry.