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How to study a remedy: A summary

by studying a single remedy with a pen and pad at hand.
Read the symptoms
through from beginning to end over and over, and with each reading, pay attention
to one of the following:
1.     Overall impression: what is your overall sense
about the remedy?
2.     Affinities to particular organs or areas: which
organs or areas of the body have the most symptoms?
3.     Symptoms: what is the character of the symptoms,
i.e., the pains, the sensations, and the discharges, etc.?
4.     General modalities: what factors affect the person
in general, making them feel better or worse overall, e.g., cold, heat, time,
position, motion, pressure, side, etc.?
5.     Particular modalities: what factors (cold, heat,
motion, etc.) affect the person's symptoms (pains, discharges, etc.)? Are the
modalities of the symptoms different from the modalities of the person in general?
6.     Combined symptoms: are there any symptoms or
diseases that follow each other or groups of symptoms or diseases in combination?
For example, liver complaints with headache, or diarrhea with fatigue.
7.     Etiology: list any causations or etiologies.
That is, to what is a person who needs this remedy vulnerable—mentally,
emotionally, and/or physically?
8.     Origin or source: use encyclopedias or the Internet,
etc., to check the remedy's origins and "close relatives" from its own family
(botanical, chemical, zoological, etc.).
9.     Similar remedies: which remedies are similar
because of the similarity of the symptoms?
Study another remedy that is similar to the first one and compare the
paying special attention to:
1.     What is similar (markedly or strongly similar)
between the two remedies including:
     • Affinities
     • Symptoms/diseases
     • Modalities
     • Etiology
2.     What is opposite in terms of symptoms (or very
different)? Pay special attention to modalities and specific locations.
3.     What's unique to each remedy?
     Study a third remedy that is similar to the first
and the second one, and compare the three of them paying attention to 1--3 above.

Recommended books
1.     The original provings from Hahnemann, Allen,
     • T.F. Allen's Encyclopedia of Pure Materia

     • S. Hahnemann's Materia Medica Pura
     • S. Hahnemann's Chronic Diseases
2.     Contemporary provings from Julian, Sherr, Eising,
and Herrick, etc.
     • O. Julian's Materia Medica of New Homeopathic

     • Jeremy Sherr's Dynamic Materia Medica
     • Nuala Eising, Nancy Herrick, Todd Rowe's
published provings, etc.
3.     Boger's Synoptic Key for affinities.
4.     Phatak's Materia Medica for one of the
best general pictures including general symptoms, etiologies, and modalities.
5.     Clarke's Dictionary, Vermeulen's Concordant
Materia Medica
, or Murphy's Materia Medica for an expanded materia
medica. Hering's Guiding Symptoms (10 volumes) for a very complete materia
medica for serious students and practitioners.
6.     Kent's Lectures on Materia Medica and
Tyler's Drug Pictures for more digested materia medica.
7.     Roger Morrison's Desktop Guide and Vermeulen's Synoptic
Materia Medica
for confirmatory keynotes and contemporary snapshots.
8.     Kent's Repertory, Schroyen's Synthesis
or VanZandvoort's Complete Repertory for rubrics.
9.     Any book or listing of relationships of remedies
(there's one in the back of Kent's Repertory).

Author's acknowledgements
•     There are some marvelous articles about how
to study the homeopathic materia medica on line and especially one by Constantine
Hering at and
another which includes words of wisdom from Julia Green at
•     Will Taylor (see article Becoming familiar
with a remedy,
September 2003).
•     Each and every one of my teachers.

About the author:
Miranda Castro is a British homeopath who has been living happily in the U.S.
since 1994. She is a Fellow of the Society of Homeopaths (UK) and past President
of the North American Society of Homeopaths. She is author of The Complete
Homeopathy Handbook
, Homeopathy for Pregnancy, Birth and Your Baby's First
, and A Homeopathic Guide to Stress.She lives, practices, and
teaches in Southeast Florida and can be contacted at