The call from the members of our school for an index of the symptoms of our materia medica has been insistent ever since the first edition of the Materia Medica Pura. This call has resulted in the publishing of several repertories, from the earliest ones, which covered the few remedies then proven to the last edition of Kent, which is an index to all the remedies proven homoeopathically or confirmed clinically to the present time.
When members of our school turn to this vast work for assistance they are confronted with a maze of material, which, to the uninitiated, is more con-fusing than the materia medica.
It is to help the members of our school who are desirous of mastering and using the repertory that this little work is presented. The repertory, the arrangement and use of which I try to make clear and from which the examples are given, is that of Kent (Second Edition), as this is the only un-abridged work we have and the one that is most simple and satisfying to use. The general plan of the repertory work here laid down can be used equally well with any other repertory, the only change needed being that you must master the arrangement of your favourite work. Boenninghausen's Therapeutic Pocket Book, a copy of which is in the library of nearly every homoeopath, may be used by this plan, although it will be difficult from the fact of its briefness and the fact that the modalities of the part and of the generals are mixed together, to work your case to one remedy; but, rather, will you have to turn to your materia medica to differentiate between the last three or more remedies of your analysis.
In using Allen's Slip Repertory care must be taken not to give too high a standing to the nosodes or your final results will be apt to point to Psorinum or Tuberculinum.
The repertory was never made or intended to take the place of the materia medica; I cannot lay too great stress on the fact that it must never replace our constant study and use of the pathogenesis of our remedies, it should be used as an index to lighten the task of memory in storing the vast symptomatology of our remedies.
After the repertory has led us to the remedy which we believe covers our symptom picture, the selection of this remedy should be confirmed by reading its pathogenesis assiven in one of our complete materia medicas. This not only acts as proof of the results obtained in the solving of our problems, but also acts as a check on hurried careless work and at the same time continually increases our knowledge of materia medica.
The use of the repertory is one of the higher branches of our art and before it can be mastered the laws governing the homoeopathic treatment and cure of diseases, as given to us in the Organon and the Chronic Diseases, must be learned. Philosophy is rather like trying to explain a complicated problem of geometry to one who cannot use arithmetic, to try to teach the use of the repertory to one who does not comprehend Homoeopathic Philosophy.
It is for this reason that I have begun this volume with a brief review of the Organon, as it applies to the repertory work, in the hope that this review will stimulate the desire for further and continued study of this first and greatest text-book of Homoeopathy. I firmly believe that if Homoeopathy is to survive in this age of therapeautic nihilism, when so many bastard practices are being fostered as Homoeopathic, its survival will come from a comprehensive study of the Organon. Constantine Hering said : "If our school ever gives up the strict inductive method of Hahnemann we are lost and deserve only to be mentioned as a caricature in the history of medicine."
Homoeopathy is from the beginning to the end an art of individualization. We have to individualize remedies and patients. However convenient it may seem to be, and however greatly it appeals to us, to think of our remedies in connection with diseases in the treatment of which they may be frequently called for, it must always be kept in mind that to allow our conception of our remedies to be limited by nosological terms will hinder us from utilizing our remedies to the fullest extent. To get the greatest good from the materia medica we must recognize our remedies as powerful curative agents ready to serve us in any case no matter what the name of the disease may be or what the laboratory findings may designate.
The analysis of forty remedies which is included in this work is in no way meant to replace your materia medica, but rather to help you to so systematize these remedies in your memory that they may be in shape to be readily called forth when occasion demands and that it may stimulate a desire to so study materia medica that in each of your cases the one remedy may be found which will serve you well, furnishing an effectual check upon poly-pharmacy and alternation of remedies.
The degree of vitality Homoeopathy enjoys in any given period will always be indexed by the methods of its disciples and exponents, not merely by the soundness of their teaching, but especially by the thoroughness and accuracy of their practice. I know of no better gauge of this vitality than the interest shown in repertory, work, for the repertory is our chief instrument of precision. True, some men do some good work without the repertory, but they also do poor work, more than they would do with it. A self-made artisan may be a very useful man although ignorant of the theory and most advanced methods obtaining in his line of work, but he can never measure up to the man whom education and thoroughness of method has made an expert. No such thing as infallibility in prescribing will ever be attained, but he who uses his repertory faithfully and intelligently-and no one can do that without equal faithfulness and intelligence in his study of the Materia Medica-will inevitably reap his re-ward, in results and in that peace of mind that comes only with an approving conscience. It is encouraging, therefore, to realize that there are some who desire to follow the better way-that there is some demand for such works as this of Dr. Bid-well's, excellently qualified as it is to initiate into effective use of repertory methods; it seems to show that beneath the ashes and debris heaped up by ultra-scientific but essentially chaotic modern medicine, burn here and there the embers of a love for therapeutic Truth, which are destined to burst forth at last into a steady, spreading flame that shall bring much good to the children of men.
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