This section will attempt to survey the question of the relationships of remedies, with an attempt to come to a working hypothesis.

Starting with a definition of ‘relationship’ from a dictionary, I will firstly look at the allopathic attempts to relate their drugs, and to look at their concepts of disease.

I will then examine attempts by non-homeopathic researchers to group homeopathic remedies and their associated phenomena. By looking at the different conceptual understanding and theoretical perspectives and examining their viewpoints, I hope to begin to ask the questions of similarity of pattern.

I will then attempt to look at Hahnemann’s views on this subject and review the attempts of early homeopaths to relate and group the remedies.

I will then describe how we actually relate the remedies today in modern homeopathic practice, and to try and elicit the rationale behind this.


What exactly is meant by the term ‘relationship’? The Chamber’s Student Dictionary states ‘To ally by connection or kindred – a way in which one thing is connected with another – the state or mode of being related’.


Allopathy classifies drugs in accordance with some major physiological effect or usage, for example, vaso motor depressors or stimulants, emetics, hypnotics or cathartics to name but a few. (1) Hahnemann quotes Dioscorides 17 centuries ago, quoting a very similar list (2), and he points out that these general descriptions of the general virtues of drugs does not turn out to be true anyway.

When drugs are introduced into the human body, those substances in their crude form act differently from their alleged therapeutic value, and that this action cannot be controlled or predicted. Also, these classifications can lead to more confusion that clarity, as diagnostic labels multiply under the microscope – reflecting Hahnemann’s ‘many headed hydra’ – psora.

Though certain symptoms seem to cluster around a statistical average pattern which can, in their extreme form, be labelled more or less clearly as a certain disease, it is often the case that diagnoses are intelligent ‘guesstimates’ based upon the main emergent pattern of symptoms. Some disease expressions look like measles for example, but they could be german measles, an allergic reaction, or the beginnings of toxaemia or meningitis or any number of other problems.

Sankaran quoted Kent’s Lesser Writings and Gerald Reaven (25) in his May 1988 seminar, stated that there is no such thing as a disease, only a ‘species’ of a certain symptoms picture. Each person has their own individual expression and reaction to treatment and outcome.

Differential diagnosis is the skill of the allopathic practitioner, and it seems that in allopathy, relationships are between diseases themselves, or between viruses or bacteria, which are seen as the cause of disease. Since allopathy depends upon knowing the diagnosis, and allopathic drugs are designed to treat different diagnoses, and since this is often quite difficult to determine empirically, then relationships between allopathic drugs are differently assessed.

Allopathy does not attempt to clarify what the drug ‘picture’ is in the first instance, although it does attempt some match of symptoms to disease symptoms under the philosophy that ‘opposites suppress’. Allopathy means ‘different’ so it looks for drugs which do different things to the body in disease.

The main approach in allopathy is to look at what the body does, mostly from a chemical model, and then to attempt to interfere with this process. Illness is thus sometimes regarded as a chemical malfunction.

Looking for drugs that excite function in cases of under functioning glands, or matching a drug which dries up secretions when the body produces too much, is the main strategy here. For example, if someone has an ulcer, allopathy sees this as over production of acid in the stomach, and looking at this process in minute biochemical detail, a drug is ‘designed’ to block the ‘wrong’ action in the body, in this case the excess acid secretions in the body.

H2 blockers like cimetidine, are targeted upon the H2 receptors in the stomach that control the histamine responses. The drug then interferes with the production of acid, ameliorating the ulcer. Also, antibiotics are used on the bacteria that are ‘invading’ the host, and other allopathic drugs actually don’t address the ‘malfunction’ within the body, but attempt to redress the consequences.

For example, the use of diuretics in heart failure or digoxin to reduce atrial fibrulation by slowing the conduction in the ventricles of the heart.

The allopathic drugs are based upon families of molecules, with the side chains of those molecules enabling the production of many, similar drugs, related by a molecular core, which is identical in each derivative. For example, the early antibiotics were all related to the penicillin molecule, and they all shared the same molecular pattern.

When the designers tried to alter the core molecule, they managed to develop penicillamine, from which the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs were derived. However, these new drugs no longer acted as antibiotics, and have found a different medical use in rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory states.

The other point that should be mentioned here, is that the interaction of different drugs can cause a competitive action in the body between the different drugs. Allopathic drugs are rarely given in their family groups, if you are allergic to penicillin, you would not be given another drug from that group.

So, it can be seen that different drugs from different family groups may well act antagonistically to each other, especially if there is a similarity in their action, but especially in drugs that have antagonistic effects to each other within the body. This is also the case in drugs known for producing side effects anyway. Drugs antagonise normally because of the nature of their action, or because they can alter the uptake of substances within the body due to different binding to protein, or the induction of liver enzymes.

This interaction has to be carefully considered by the doctor in the management of the case.

In homeopathy, we also see antagonistic reactions. Causticum and phosphorus are very similar, and can be difficult to differentiate in choosing the remedy. Also, apis and rhus tox and many other remedies can look so similar, that it takes some skill to get the right remedy.

However, if the wrong remedy is chosen, or similar remedies are given immediately following one another, nasty aggravations can be encountered. This issue will be taken up in more detail in the last section of this discussion.

In allopathic drugs, adverse effects are also encountered when the first drug has one effect, but the second drug, or the third drug has a limited, or altered action because of the other drugs administered. These effects are ‘not easily predicted’ (3) and the severity of the effect varies from patient to patient. ‘Drugs with a small therapeutic ratio and those which require careful control of dosage are most often involved.’ (3)


One of the issues, which has made it very difficult for orthodox thinkers to grasp homoeopathy, is the concept of the vital force. A unifying field that permeates and imbues material life with energy and health, but which, when limited or blocked, can affect the material well being of the body.

However, this concept is not new and it is not unique to homeopathy. This idea has been written about by many thinkers in other fields, medical and philosophical in the past and in the present.

If we are to try and ascertain how the vital force passes through matter and how it ebbs and flows in health and disease; and how the remedy patterns relate to one another as they mirror these effects and reflect them to us as remedy pictures, then we will have to broaden our perspectives and look at these other theories of the unifying field of Nature.


Catastrophe Theory may well help us to understand how the unifying field of vital force actually behaves. Developed by a mathematician, it is used to look at the changes in the behaviour of systems, ‘the collapse of a bridge or the downfall of an empire. But it also deals with changes as quiet as the dancing of sunlight on the bottom of a pool of water and as subtle as the transition from waking to sleep’. (12)

These theories are controversial even in mathematics, which has always seen change as slow, smooth and evolutionary. But Nature has catastrophic changes too ‘… the abrupt bursting of a bubble’ or the sudden shift of thought when we get a bright idea!

Catastrophe Theory was developed by a pure mathematician, Professor Thom, to study these sudden events when he was pondering on the order of Nature.

Newton’s calculus enables us to deal with continuous change, and this model of the Universe has molded our thinking for two hundred years. It has allowed us to predict undiscovered planets and to feel certain about the Universe. However, the twentieth century has gone well beyond Newton with the discovery of sudden and discontinuous change in the sub molecular level; electrons have obviously never read Newton!

Professor Thom interestingly believed that though our quantative grasp of magnitude must not be relinquished, our qualitative grasp of form and geometric order goes much deeper ‘the provision of some kind of picture, at least to the mind’s eye, is of primary importance’ (12a).

The four fundamental forces science does know about, gravity, electromagnetism and the two forces within the atomic nucleus are ‘mysterious’. Physicists ‘ best hope for a unifying theory to combine the four mysteries into one’.

Einstein frequently visualised forces as ‘hills’ and ‘valleys’ on a map of space-time. Thom sought to extend our intuitions of form ‘to see that processed and events have a shape of their own’.

Thom believed that we have to grasp the Universe’s ceaseless pattern of evolution and destruction of forms. (12b). He developed a topographical representation of this theory, a sort of three-dimensional graph, plus a mathematical formulae to express his ideas. Also, he included in his thinking, the expression of continuity of forms of Nature. The branches of a tree, a river delta, a nerve axon and dendrites and the cracks in a wall. (12c)

These ‘recurrent identifiable elements’ have what Thom calls ‘structural stability’ (12d). His goal is to describe the origins of forms, and to do this he has developed a mathematical language. Averages and probabilities founder in attempts to describe life as we see it. Calculus is ‘well behaved’ and ‘obliging’; reality is not.

However, in all aspects of probability and statistical analysis, the appreciation of pattern is fundamental. ‘Something that is not random’ (26) underlies all concepts that require order and determinism for them to have any meaning at all. Science has tried to define a ‘detailed control mechanism’ (12e) perhaps located in the genes, ‘but the gap between those first gene products and such complicated end results’ this is the sensitive spot’.

Thom is more interested in their qualitative stability even under quantative variation. What is striking is the stability, the homeostasis or ecological stability of repeating forms. Thom extends this notion of stability to inorganic systems as well. (12f) Based upon internal mathematical consistency, Thom sees Catastrophe Theory generating new forms from other sets of forms, allowing qualitative predictions. (12g) He sees it as a language, mathematically correct.

This theory is currently being explored in the social sciences and mathematicians are using Catastrophe Theory to draw graphs to illustrate the difference between sense and nonsense in mathematics. (12h)

Thom identified seven qualitatively different types of discontinuity (passing through non equilibrium states) with his new theory, but he states that there are also an infinite number of ways for such a system to change continuously (staying at or near equilibrium). There are other conceivable ways for the system to change discontinuously, but they are unstable and do not contain recurrent identifiable elements. These unstable discontinuous events are only likely to happen once only.

The ‘surprising seven’ catastrophic events Thom calls by the colourful names of swallowtail, fold, cusp, butterfly, hyperbolic, umbilic and parabolic. (12g)

The stacastic process, which is part of the Law of Large Numbers, depends upon the reliability of large numbers of events, each one based upon the previous event in a cause and effect chain. The pattern emerges with repetition of events and then we can see the pattern within the pattern. Thus pattern is the repetition of events – one implies the other.

The unified field of the vital force and the way this field behaves as it passes through matter must surely occupy our minds from now on.


In their book Bioenergentic Medicine East and West: acupuncture and homoeopathy (7) the authors look at the vital force, or Chi and Chinese medical energies. In comparing the patterns in the energy within the body, they found a correlation between homeopathic remedies and universal patterns of disharmony corresponding to Chinese patterns of disharmony in disease. (7a)Fourteen remedies were identified which broadly represented the main disharmony patterns in Chinese medicine

Remedy McGrae’s Group Number
Acconite 1
Belladonna 4
Pyrogen 8
Veratrum Album 1
Dulcamara 4
Stannum 8
Nux Vomica 8
Lycopodium 5
Lachesis 2
Aurum 2
Calcaria Carbonica 4
Mercury 8
Selenium 8
Baryta Carbonica ? Not Allocated

(NB: the final draft list of McRae’s remedies is in the PREVIOUS RESEARCH SECTION)

[The reason why McRae grouped each of his twelve groups, was due to a definite and specific recording on his emanometer for each group. His own preliminary studies stated that patient’s in groups 3 and 12 have never been identified. Most people seem to come from groups 1, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10.

McRae also stated that group 2s, if discovered, were usually female and related to group 6 (or rarely group 4). However, this needs expansion, which unfortunately McRae has not given us. Aurum males, for example, are not so rare; hyoscymus is surely a common childhood remedy today in both sexes, and lachesis males are seen. Group 6 contains no remedy related to aurum in any way according to Sankaran’s Clinical Relationships (8). Neither has group 4, with the exception of calc cab.

How or if these choices of remedies can be fitted onto McRae’s research is not immediately apparent. The 1-6-10 group does not appear, nor does the 5-11-8-4 group. However, it would be too simplistic to attempt any comparisons here on a simple glance at his list, and any speculation must be left to further research in the future.]

Returning to the Chinese comparison, the authors themselves warn, ‘any blending of these two systems must be approached with caution, even scepticism’ (7b) However, they say that the match between remedy pictures is so striking, as each remedy is a clear depiction of a Chinese medical disharmony ‘indeed, these homeopathic remedy pictures could be used to teach students about Chinese energetics’. (7c) The authors also restate the fact that ‘the patterns of disharmony’ are universal, they hold true for all people of every race throughout the course of history’. (7d)

What is also interesting from this book is the discovery that much current research going on today is clearly based upon Boyd and Abram’s work, using machines to provide diagnosis and treatment.

A German doctor Rheinhold Voll, has been using electronic devices for several decades to diagnose and treat, but also to test vitamins, herbs, drugs and homeopathic remedies; even using the machine to test different homeopathic remedies to select a remedy for treatment. According to which remedy balances the reading on the machine, they determine the remedy to prescribe. (7e)

A Swedish academic Dr Nordenstrom, researching radionics is also working in this area (7f). Dr Vogel who worked for IBM is also identifying homeopathic remedies with ‘high technology instrumentation’ (7g). Dr Burr at Yale University has studied the vital force of living organisms for thirty years with a voltmeter, and Dr Ravitz is continuing this work to look at excess of energy and extreme imbalances in the body in schizophrenia.

In fact the book quotes a fascinating catalogue of distinguished academics using various machines to study the vital force and homeopathic remedies from 1930 to the current day. However, as they are not necessarily looking at the relationship between remedies, so much as trying to prove the existence of the vital force, we will have to leave them, in anticipation of further developments in this debate.

I recently had a mail out about the Quantum QXCI machine that is being used to diagnose and scan the body for illness, deficiency, contamination and pathology ( March 2001. It is fascinating to discover that Boyd, Abrams and McRae did actually stimulate an incredible variety of research. Indeed, they actually fit into a long line of thinkers who have been studying the vital force since the beginning of time.


Dr Stearns linked the twelve principle mineral salts of Dr Schussler to the twelve types of people McRae identified using his emanometer. (1a)In 1873, Schussler developed a method which he called Biochemics from the Greek word ‘like’ (bios) and chemistry. (9) This classically simple method is based upon the fact that certain mineral salts were vitally important to a healthy body function and Schussler defined twelve basic salts without which, we couldn’t survive.

Though the tissue salts are basically dietary supplements, they are prepared in homeopathic potencies, usually 6x. This makes it a little difficult to ascertain their action. Are they simply adding back to the body trace elements of substances the body is deficient in, or are they acting homeopathically?

If Biochemics is a branch of homeopathy (9a), and Schussler claimed that the choice of tissue salt is based upon a symptoms picture, then we must assume that they act in a homeopathic manner. They are indeed, all used as homeopathic remedies, but they would be prescribed on a much broader picture match by homeopaths, including mental and emotional symptoms. Schussler however, did not believe that the tissue salts were to be classically prescribed in this way, but homeopaths do use them in both ways today.

Dr George Carey took Dr Schussler’s work and compared his twelve tissue salts to the twelve astrological signs of the zodiac. Astrology has a conception of each individual representing a ‘consensus or aggregate of vibrations, a sum total of those present in nature at the time we come into birth’ (10)

This concept reflects the way that the vital force is expressed in some sort of configuration or pattern at birth.

The Chinese medical ‘patterns of disharmony’ is also a conceptual model of the pattern of disease, a variation of this birth chart scenario. Homeopathic remedies can also be said to represent patterns of energy, which we match to patterns of disease. The distinct energy definitions that McRae identified on his emanometer are another representation of this energy configuration symbolism.

The twelve signs of the zodiac are said to be characteristically similar to the twelve basic tissue salts as follows:

Aries Kali Phos 8
Tarus Nat Sulph 8
Gemini Kali Mur 6
Cancer Calc Flour 4
Leo Mag Phos 5
Virgo Kali Sulph 8
Libra Nat Phos ? Not Allocated
Scorpio Calc Sulph 10
Sagittarius Silica 5
Capricorn Calc Phos 5
Aquarius Nat Mur 5
Pisces Ferr Phos 5


(NB: the final draft of McRae’s list is in the PREVIOUS RESEARCH SECTION)

The two distinct series McRae proposed again is not seen (there is no remedy from group 1 or 11). Five remedies are from group 5, three from group 8, with one tissue salt/remedy represented from each of groups 4,6 and 10.

However, McRae’s common groups 4,5,6,8 and 10 are represented, but not group 1.

McRae’s typical group 1 remedy is sepia, his characteristic remedies for the other groups are

McRae Schussler Carey

Chinese medicine identified a greater preponderance of group 8 remedies (5/14) and only one group 5 remedy. Carey’s system favours group 5 (5/12), with three remedies from group 8. We must leave future research to sort this out. I am sure that this project can do no more than to simply present the comparisons and to leave the rest for now.

Regarding Schussler and Carey, let us study some tissue salts and their astrological signs. Gemini is a symbol that most homeopaths would link to the remedy picture of mercury, or even to kali phos, the great homeopathic nerve tonic. Carey however, links kali mur to the ‘spinning mind’ (10a) the balancing of the positive and negative fluctuation of the mind seen in Gemini, according to Carey, kali mur stops this spinning.

The enlarged and swollen glands and fibres, the thickening blood and resultant fibrin disturbances are the biochemical effects of kali mur deficiency. Any iron deficiency thus resulting from this deficiency can be offset by the ‘squaring’ pisces salt, ferr phos. The affinity of the fibres and glands of the body, affected by kali mur, are directly affected by the Gemini field. Gemini has an affinity with the central nervous system, so does kali mur in this astrological perspective.

Boericke (11) tells us that kali mur is not homeopathically proven, so we do not have the full picture of this remedy. It certainly is well known for its physical signs in poor recovery and lapsing states. However, the mental picture is not so clear homeopathically speaking. The central nervous affinity is not brought out in the materia medica, indeed, none of the kalis are well represented in the repertories and work needs to be done in this area by homeopaths.

Scorpio, as the eighth sign, is related to the eighth division of the body containing the organs of procreation, the great ganglia at the base of the spine and the coccyx. (10b) This area includes the sciatic nerve and relates to five zodiac signs and it is a major centre. For this reason, no simplistic understanding or superficial survey can really do justice to this subject here. The scorpio state can result in sexual excess and self-abuse, which in astrological terms thus affects 5/12ths of the body and can result in stiffening of the limbs and paralysis and ageing.

Calc sulph is again poorly proven homeopathically. The picture we do have does not include any information on sexuality, although it does appear in some rubrics in Kent under physical signs, for example, extremities numbness, paralysis and stiffness in the lower limbs. We obviously need to do a proper proving of this remedy.

Sagittarius relates to the intellect and to the hips and the thighs and to healthy blood. (10c) The semi fluid cerebral substance is likened to a sea of glass, with the eyes as the window of the spirit. Silica is a component of glass, a quartz substance. Deficiency of silica leads to poor mental functioning and, as an electrical conductor, it is known to affect brain function.

The association of Jupiter with Sagittarius and then with silica does not immediately seem apparent. Silica’s are reputedly bashful and yielding, not a characteristic of Jupiter or Sagittarius! However, the esoteric associations discussed here are far removed from the commonly known sun sign types. The astrological associations of the balance of the intellect associated with Sagittarius and its link into silica lead to a relationship which may take a great deal of work to furnish us with our working framework for the relationship between remedies.

The added complications of astrological relationships and individualisations according to the birth chart, is a fascinating area for study, providing many in depth associations for the future. As out two disciplines continue to be studied, we may well find many correspondences that will be fruitful, but such a detailed study cannot be attempted here.

At the present time, we have the Circle as a useful model and tool for use in homeopathy. With the top of the circle representing heat, 12 midnight, fire, red, south, heart, and the bottom of the circle representing the lungs, 12 midday, north, cold, death, rebirth, black and white. We have the first axis in our model, which is clearly related to the astrological concepts.

The homeopathic remedies can be more or less fitted onto this circle model, and as a conceptual tool, it can be useful to explain the momentum happening in a particular case. Again, this area needs a great deal of research to provide cast iron bases for relating the remedies, and we need much more detailed information straight away about all our remedies to help us in our day to day practice.


Hahnemann’s theory of homeopathy helps us to determine a theoretical framework for disease, which allows us to understand the dynamics of the energy patterns in health and disease in the shapes of the remedy pictures. Underlying this, the miasms themselves, contribute a base note. Combined with Hering’s Law of Cure we are allowed a clear image of the workings of the dynamics of disease and health.

We are not simply limited to diagnosis, but to a clearly stated understanding of the relationship between the symptom picture and the remedy picture. A perfect match between the two, the true similimum is a clear concept, which enables comprehension of the processes involved in disease and in cure.

There have been many attempts to relate the action of the remedies in homeopathic thinking. It is an inherent belief that the remedies are related in some special way is implied by the many attempts to relate them. This may reflect a deep subjective feeling of the relatedness of all things. Disease and health are related to each other as the fluctuating patterns of the vital force peaks and troughs in its journey through matter

Many early homeopaths were chemists themselves, as Hahnemann was. Indeed homeopathy grew out of Hahnemann’s’ fascination with the natural order. Hahnemann says that it is: “…scarcely less foolish, to wit, the attempts, even of those of our own times, to guess the powers of medicines from their smell and taste…” (2a)

Hahnemann tells us that no amount of “technical torturing” (2c) of substances, a reference to chemistry’s separation of substances into basic elements, will tell us what healing power it is possessed of. He also warns us bout the Doctrine of Natures, as mentioned in the introduction to this paper. (2a)

We can thus only determine the action of a drug or remedy via its morbid phenomena and symptoms, and its relationship to the organism in health and in disease. This is demonstrated and explained by the fact that we obtain our remedy pictures via provings on healthy subjects. So we can see the alterations in the pattern of health by the introduction of certain substances into healthy people.

Hahnemann himself classified remedies according to their relationship to the miasms (1). Hahnemann also studied the remedies in natural groupings. In Hering’s preface to Hahnemann’s Chronic Diseases, Hering mentions that the oxides, the salts of ammonium, potassium, sodium, calcium, aluminium and magnesium are the most important of Hahnemann’s anti psoric remedies (5). However, Hahnemann did not value the metals so greatly as his first line of defense against psora.

The “dual action” (14) of the vital force is seen as creative in health and destructive in disease. Under the influence of the miasms, this fluctuation around equilibrium becomes unstable because the miasms affect the central balance, and thus affects the vital force’s ability to achieve equilibrium.

Hahnemann’s view of the miasms is central to his approach and thus the anti psoric remedies are fundamental remedy groupings. The energy patterns of the miasms are thus central disturbances in health. As the miasms are so stubborn and ancient and ingrained in the vital force, the symptom pictures of the miasms and the way they combine must obviously be a basis of a relationship between remedy groups. They are thus the strongest influences on the vital force, and so they will impose very strong and definite symptoms upon it.

Hahnemann also noticed that certain remedies are commonly indicated and follow other remedies well. Thus the idea of successive remedies was investigated. In the Organon (19) Hahnemann mentions that when two remedies contend in a case, due to their similarity, we need to decide very carefully between them and we may even need to give both remedies in succession, or even combined together as one remedy.

The overlap of similarity of symptoms thus gives us our real clue here to the relationships between remedies. If the vital force is a coherent field unifying all living things, then a continuum flowing into and out of this basic energy pattern is our model. The way this field behaves will be reflected in the many different remedy pictures. We assume that we have substances reflective of all possible states that the vital force can assume, contained within our materia medica’s.

If equilibrium is health, and oscillations reflect ill health above and below this equilibrium, with miasms affecting the vital force’s ability to achieve or maintain equilibrium, then we have a complete model. Psora, reflecting the first imprint upon the equilibrium would prevent this perfect state by causing a below par state. The resultant antagonistic reaction of the body trying to regain equilibrium, but unable to because of psora, would result in overshooting the mark – sycosis, or reacting away from the mark – syphilis.

We should also remember here that some remedies are called tri-miasmatic remedies, and are believed the cover more than one miasm, for example staphysagria and lachesis. Also there is the cancer miasm suggesting remedies like kali carb, conium and many others, and today there are suggestions of other miasms – radioactive miasm (rad brom?), possibly an AIDS miasm and an heavy metals miasm, abuse miasm (?) overlaying us from a poisoned environment, all of which are so theoretical at the moment that we can only guess where the future health of our species and the planet are going.

Homeopaths find this grouping of the remedies very useful in ever day practice and it has proved itself over the years. Many attempts have been made to study this area subsequently (15) and more work will no doubt be done in this area in the future.

No one has really added more than a comma to Hahnemann’s original writings in homeopathy in over two hundred years. As we understand the energy universe more and more in the future, no doubt we may be able to actually understand Hahnemann properly at last.

The various repertories list remedies under miasmatic categories, though there are no lists of multi-miasmatic or tubercular or cancer miasm remedies. It would be useful to compile these!

As yet, we have no real comprehension of the way the vital force acts in a unified field, incorporating individuals and matter, but we find these categories, and indeed all the systems and models we have identified so far are very useful to us in case management.

In homeopathic treatment, we need to keep track of what is happening in the vital force during treatment. We as yet have no universally agreed models here. Maybe this is a good thing as the whole concept is fluid in the first place. Maybe we just need to keep sight of equilibrium!

So we are continually trying to follow the ebbs and flows, peaks and troughs of the energy, trying to understand the movement and what it all means.


In the 1920’s and 1930’s, homeopaths were looking at relationships from a historical perspective. They were empirical scientists, and they approached the material methodically. They looked at every point of interface and possible category of occurrence. They were very thorough! Farrington listed the remedies in positive and negative groups (1a) and Dr Grimmer added to this concept the idea of bipolar and neutral remedies (1a).

Farrington and Grimmer may well have been investigating a fascinating way of relating remedies to the pulses and ebbs of energy in the imbalances seen in disease. This avenue of thinking has also led to attempts to look at remedies in acute and chronic categories, long or short acting remedies and deep and surface remedies.

Hahnemann also divided the remedies into short and long acting remedies (4) (this latter category corresponding to his list of anti-psoric remedies) as did Farrington, Boenninghausen (20) and Hering (5). However, it is not a simple matter. Aconite and arnica are reputedly acute, brief acting remedies, but it is well known that both can act very deeply, indeed they can go back many years into an aetiological case. They may even prove to be constitutional in such cases.

So these classifications are only useful in certain theoretical assessments and for research purposes, but certainly cannot be definitive at all in the question of relationships.

Dr Scholta expounded upon the idea of relating remedies in acid or alkali groupings, relating this to the sympathetic and nervous systems in the body. He suggested that alkali remedies are always chilly < cold, and that acid remedies are always hot < heat (6). Kent’s repertory has lists of remedies generally aggravated by heat and cold on pages 1348 and in generalities on pages 1348 and 1365-1367.

This categorisation needs careful thought though, as some of the acids are chilly, e.g. nit ac and lac ac. However, flour ac is very hot as a rule and phos ac appears in both of the following rubrics: Heat, sensation of page 1366 Heat, vital lack of, page 1366 (18).

Boenninghausen also studied alkaloids, restating the importance of provings and how suspicious we must be about chemistry and signatures. (20a) Farrington studied the acids, dividing them into vegetable and mineral groups. (20b)

Boenninghausen’s lists of affinities of the sides of the body are also in Kent on pages 1425-1432. (18). These lists are very useful in differentiation and confirmation of the choice of remedy. They are also very useful in case management, as equilibrium or balance is seen as nearer to health than a preponderance of right or left sided symptoms. However, the information such categories contain does not help us to determine any relationships between remedies.

In an attempt to study Nature, we need to first look at the way Nature structures Herself. The Natural Groupings have been pondered on endlessly as a key to some base line understanding, a starting point.

Farrington has written a great deal on the family and class relationships of the Natural World. (16) Farrington explains that looking at the analysis of the drug itself is a good place to start. Also, a comparative view of the remedies is important as remedies impinge in their resemblances and separate in their differences. (16a) Farrington relates these groups initially according to their Grand Divisions in Nature, the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms. He also includes the nosodes as a group (16b).

This perspective does tell us that remedies share similarities and have overlaps in their action. Indeed, the whole repertory is a vast collection of relationships; each rubric gives us a group of remedies that share certain similar symptoms.

Clarke states that nothing in Nature is really unrelated to anything else, but that the remedies are inter related at the point of their therapeutic action. (23) Some remedies facilitate other remedies (compatibles or complements) while others spoil the action of the preceding remedy (incompatibles).

Dr Elizabeth Wright Hubbard tells us that the early homeopaths related remedies to each other to complete the cure. There are several classes of complementary relationships; sometimes the remedies are related via the close symptom picture, sometimes the relationship is due to their close occurrence when found in Nature.

She also looked at the relationship of chronic remedy pictures to the acute exacerbations, for example belladonna and calc carb or nat mur and bryonia. Dr Wright Hubbard points out also that a remedy can have more than one acute complement, for example nat mur can relate to bryonia, ignatia and apis in the acute. She also discusses the “series” relationship; for example sulphur, calc carb and lycopodium, stating that more research needs to be done in this area. (17b) Of incompatibles,

Dr Wright Hubbard explains that these are recorded incidents by other homeopaths where adverse reactions have been noted; for example causticum and phosphorus. However, we also know that occasionally these inimical remedies have been prescribed following each other with no ill effect! (8)

Kent believed that some remedies were inimical to each other in their acute sphere, and others only in their chronic sphere. (24)

Dr Wright Hubbard quotes a widely held belief that a remedy from all three Natural Kingdoms needs to be utilised in every cure (17b). She also suggests that as certain remedy groups all contain, for example sulphur or iodine, which may link them together, and that we need to study this area carefully in the future. (21)

Stramonium and pulsatilla can be seen to oscillate around a peak and can be flip states. Stramonium can link with cuprum with a picture of spasm. Lycopodium and pulsatilla can cleave together, and are often found in a husband and wife scenario. We often find similar remedies in the same family, so it can be seen that they do cluster together in their relationships in natural circumstances.

In the Natural world we see anemone (pulsatilla) growing in mossy (lycopodium) ground.

FARRINGTON defined five relations of the remedies:


“When drugs belong to the same family they must of necessity have a similar action.” (16a) However the actions of these remedies are so close, they may not follow one another well and they may not antidote one another, for example ignatia and nux vomica.

CONCORDANT REMEDIES have similarity of action, but they do not originate from the same family, and we find that they do follow one another well in prescribing.

COMPLEMENTARY remedies will pick up and complete the cure that the other remedy begins but cannot complete. (22) These remedies may be from the same family in Nature or from completely different groups (16b)

ANTIDOTAL REMEDIES. These remedies do not stop the action of the previous remedy but modify the effects.

INIMICAL REMEDIES. Farrington simply states this category. He doesn’t offer any explanation here.

SANKARAN (Snr) has also studied this area. His main categories are:

COMPLEMENTARY REMEDIES. These remedies continue or complete the action of the previous remedy. This may be due to the limited sphere of action of the previous remedy, or that the first remedy fails to do the whole work. Interestingly, Sankaran mentions that complementary remedies may also be antidotal, and that this apparent paradox is explained by the fact that some antidotal remedies will antidote or correct the undesired effect of the first remedy and yet continue the beneficial reaction.

REMEDIES WHICH FOLLOW WELL. These are remedies that have been noted over the years to follow one another well. No explanation as to why is offered here.

INCOMPATIBLE REMEDIES. These remedies seem to have a “lack of harmony” with each other and do not follow each other well. Sankaran quotes Nash who did not necessarily believe in this inimical reaction, and who would use causticum after phosphorus if he found them indicated with no apparent ill effect. However, these remedies are rarely indicated after one another. Gibson Miller, quoting Kent, says that some remedies are inimical to each other in the acute sphere and others nimica1 only in the chronic sphere.

ANTIDOTAL REMEDIES. Sankaran says that we should choose our antidote by matching the symptom picture as we would when choosing the remedy initially. He also gives some good advice from Old who says that high potencies antidote low potencies and vice versa. Boger believed that the best antidote is a very high potency of the same remedy.

SARKAR also identifies five main categories. In his “Clinical Relationships of Drugs with their Modalities” (17) B. K. Sarkar explains that as people suffer from “disease conditions” rather than finite “diseases”, homeopathy needs to use more than one drug to effect relief. Indeed a whole series of remedies are often administered in sequence to parallel the different stages of natural disease. Thus we need to study the inter relationships for clinical purposes.

Sarkar states that the relationships that stand out are:

COMPLEMENTARY. These are remedies which complete the action of the previous remedy. This is because cases are complicated and due to succession of disease and to previous allopathic drug use and suppressive factors, we have to untangle many knots one by one, maybe with a series of remedies. He identifies three classes of complementary remedies:
Class One Remedies are related due to their being members of the same Natural Group, and remedies which share an identical chemica1 constituent. Sarkar also lists here remedies that are only similar in their symptom pictures, but these remedies are CONCORDANT in essence.
Class Two Remedies are acute complements of chronic remedies, for example belladonna and calc carb. Again these are really CONCORDANT remedies.
Class Three Remedies are “series” remedies, for example sulphur – calc – lyc. Again these are really CONCORDANT remedies.

CONCORDANT REMEDIES. These remedies have a marked similarity in action, although they belong to different Natural groups. Sarkar states the belief here that every cure must include a remedy from every Natural Group. These remedies may also follow one another well. Sarkar says that this group includes COMPLEMENTARY remedies and REMEDIES WHICH FOLLOW WELL.

ANTIDOTAL REMEDIES. These remedies resemble one another but they antidote the previous remedy.

INIMICAL REMEDIES. These remedies resemble one another, but they spoil the action of the previous remedy.

INCOMPATIBLE REMEDIES. These remedies are related to one another by their Natural Group, but the do not follow one another, and they do not antidote one another. This seems to be similar to Farrington’s belief that these remedies are too close, but they are also defined in the complementary group, as Sankaran pointed out.

COMPILATION OF ABOVE LISTSSo we appear to have similar ideas but in slightly different groups stated by each homeopath.

In an attempt to sort out the confusion, I have outlined below a preliminary list of a table for the relationship of remedies:

COMPLEMENTARY REMEDIES. Remedies which complete the action of the previous remedy: class one remedies related via their correspondence in Nature or via some shared chemical constituent. NB: it will be important to check that the remedy does not also appear in the. INCOMPATIBLE or ANTIDIDOTAL list.

COLLATERAL REMEDIES. These remedies are similar in their symptom picture, but they are not related in any way, as are complements. They may be possible alternatives to the originally chosen remedy. Class 1 an acute of a chronic remedy. Class 2 a “series” remedy.

REMEDIES WHICH FOLLOW WELL. Many homeopaths over the years have devoted so much time and work to note down these similarities that it would be a great omission from any list of the relationship of remedies. These remedies will be COMPLIMENTARY or COLLATERAL remedies.

INCOMPATIBLE REMEDIES. (This section includes INIMICAL remedies). Similar to class one COMPLEMENTS, these remedies are so similar that they can react against the previous remedy. They may SPOIL the action of the previous remedy BUT THEY MAY GO ON TO CURE.

ANTIDOTAL REMEDIES. Similar to Class 1 COMPLEMENTS, or to INCOMPATIBLE remedies. These remedies may STOP the action of the previous remedy BUT THEY MAY GO ON TO CURE.

So any remedy can be complementary and inimical or antidotal. Also, any remedy can be a collateral and an inimical or antidotal, but not at any one time. This does not give us any great accuracy or predictability. It is only after the event that we can see the relationship – it is the event that describes the relationship. It is only by noticing patterns of remedies that cure in sequences or in combination that we can say about them that there exists a relationship. It is the repetition of events that allows the relationship to be seen.

Thus our relationship of remedies tables allows us to benefit from the combined expertise and observation of homeopaths over the years. They by no means preclude other remedy pictures coming up, but they can guide us in our prescribing. This allows us to antidote adverse affects; complement the action of our previous remedy, and to steer clear of inimical reactions.

However, the rule of only prescribing on what we see in the symptom picture will always remain paramount, and it will also follow the patterns of universal energy reflected in the person we are prescribing for.


1. Homeopathic Recorder 1929: pages 641-644 ‘Classification of Remedies’ Guy Beckley Stearns.
2. ibid page 641.
1. Materia Medica Pure Vol 2, page 5.
2. ibid page 10.
3. Materia Medica Pure Vol 1, page 12.
3. British National Formulary No. 16 1988 page 432.
4. Samuel Hahnemann: His Life and Work Vol 11, page 161
Richard Haehl B Jain Pubs.
5. Hering’s preface to Hahnemann’s Chronic Diseases The Homeopath Journal Autumn 1987 Vol 7, no: 1.
6. Homeopathic Recorder 1928: pages 341-342
‘The Classification of the Homeopathic Materia Medica into Sympathetic and Vagus Remedies’ Dr Scholta (Review of an article originally printed in Leipziger Pupulare Zeitschrift Fur Homoeopathie Leipzig 1928.
1. Bioenergetic Medicines East and West; Accupunture and Homeopathy Clark A Manning and Louis J Vanrenen North Atlantic Books ISBN 555643 017 5.
2. ibid page 171.
3. ibid page 230.
4. ibid page 176.
5. ibid page 177.
6. ibid page 233.
7. ibid page 54.
8. ibid page 49.
9. ibid pages 14-15.
8. The Clinical Relationship of Homeopathic Remedies Dr P Sankaran The Homeopathic Medical Publishers 1984.
1. Biochemical Tissue Salts; A Natural Way to Prevent and Cure Illness. Dr Andrew Stanway Thorsons Publishing Group ISBN 0 7225 1156 6.
2. ibid page 17.
1. The Zodiac and the Salts of Salvation: Homeopathic Remedies for the Sign Types page 7. George W Carey and Inez Perry Samuel Weiser Inc ISBN 0 87728 708 2.
2. ibid page 00.
3. ibid page 215.
4. ibid pages 238-259.
11. The Homeopathic Materia Medica Lecture on Kali Mur page 373 William Boericke B Jain Pubs ISBN 81 7021 003 8.
1. Catastrophe Theory: a revolutionary new way of understanding how things change, page 9 Alexander Woodcock and Monte Davis Pelican Books ISBN 0 14 02 2250 2.
2. ibid page 13.
3. ibid page 15.
4. ibid page 16.
5. ibid page 17.
6. ibid page 19.
7. ibid page 20.
8. ibid page 160,
9. ibid page 162.
10. ibid pages 52-68.
13. Chronic Miasms Psora and Psuedo Psora J H Allen page 91.

14. British Homeopathic Journal 1952: 130-139 Llew R Twentyman ‘Miasms and Archetypes’

15. Drug Relationships Calvin B Knerr B Jain Pubs ISBN 81 7021 065 8.
16. Clinical Materia Medica E A Farrington B Jain Pubs ISBN 81 7021 029 1.
2. ibid page 23.
3. ibid page 24.
1. Clinical Relationships of Drugs with their Modalities pages 6-7 B K Sarkar 1971 B Jain Pubs
2. ibid pages 8, 9 and 10.
3. ibid page 9.
18. Repertory of the Homeopathic Materia Medica J T Kent Homeopathic Book Service ISBN 869975 006.
19. The Organon of Medicine 1690170 Samuel Hahnemann |B Jain Pubs ISBN 81 7021 085 2.
1. The Lesser Writings of CMF Boenninghausen, page 52, compiled by T L Bradford B Jain Pubs Concerning the Duration of Action (Reprinted from Allg Hom Ziet Vol 57, page 81)
2. ibid pages 90-94 The Vegetable Alkaloids (reprinted from Allg Hom Ziet Vol 57, page 81).
3. Lesser Writings with Therapeutic Hints, pages 67-74, E A Farrington B Jain Pubs.
21. Homeopathy as Art and Science, pages 321-323 Elizabeth Wright Hubbard Beaconsfield Pubs Ltd ISBN 0 906584 26 4.
22. Comparative Value of Symptoms in the Selection of the Remedy, page 20 R Gibson Miller B Jain Pubs.
23. A Clinical Repertory to the Dictionary of the Materia Medica page xi, J H Clarke B Jain Pubs ISBN 81 7021 066 6.
24. A Synopsis of Homeopathic Philosophy, page 22 R Gibson Miller revised and enlarged by J T Kent B Jain Pubs (quoted from Med. Adv. Jan 9 1895)
25. Rajan Sankaran Seminar 7th May 1988.
26. Subtle Energy, pages 260-261 John Davidson C W Daniel & Co Ltd ISBN 0 85207 184 1.