Vergleich: Siehe: Terms in Homeopathy
I have expended a good deal of time and passion over the past year refining and developing a remedy families database, in order to meet the growing interest among homeopaths in investigating concordances between remedies bearing relationships to one another by way of taxonomic classification, chemical composition, source, or other forms of presumed resemblance.
I began by working with the existing "families of remedies" repertory in RADAR, bringing in other sources from our homeopathic literature, but soon determined that, in order to catch the inevitable errors and omissions, I would need to start this project from scratch.
I developed this database within the repertory structure of RADAR. It is available as the Families of Remedies Repertory vers.1.40, incorporated into RADAR 9 and Encyclopedia Homeopathica 2.0.
The Synthesis Repertory database lists a total of 2276 remedies, with 1632 remedies represented in 3 or more rubrics. The amount of information on each listed remedy varies tremendously, from 12,326 rubric-entries for Sulphur, to fewer than 10 rubric-entries for 1,011 of these remedies.
For this work, I limited my attention to those 1632 remedies listed in 3 or more rubrics. The 600+ remedies this eliminated are typically listed only for a gross clinical indication from eclectic or domestic medical or toxicological experience, and lack known characterizing symptoms essential for homeopathic prescribing.
In addition, I found that many of the plants among these barely-described remedies are difficult to clearly identify, with names not reconcilable with contemporary lists of named species, and insufficient information in our literature to guide identification.
Types of Families
In this article, I will confine myself largely to the consideration of taxonomic families - groupings created on the basis of presumed phylogenetic/evolutionary relationships for plants and animals, or on the basis of chemical composition for minerals. Many other forms of classification of remedies have been or could be described - e.g., groups based on habitat or bioregion ("sea remedies."), groups based on strategy ("predators" "scavengers"), groups based on external appearances ["trees" (trees. do not represent a taxonomically-meaningful group, but rather a growth strategy of plants that evolved autonomously in several independent lineages) "vines"], groups based on the part of the source used ("roots" "barks" "venoms."). Groupings of this sort have been included in the Families Database discussed in this article, but I will defer discussion of these to a future instalment.
Scor (bedroht durch Hinterleib hoch und zum Kopf hin zu strecken + sticht)/Ocypus reagiert auf gleiche Weise und beißt/riecht faul/lebt von moderndes Holz)
Gymnu-n. [“The stingray swings its tail upward and forward in a reflex action, either producing sword like lacerations or driving the spine into the limb or body of the victim”
(Edmonds, 1995:71)]; (sind die drei eine Familie im Sinne of Will Taylor?)
Names of Plant Families
As with the names of plants, the names of families have undergone and continue to undergo revision. Looking for a standardized reference, I have used two sources:
James Reveal (University of Maryland) - position paper on Vascular Plant Family Nomenclature
Watson & Dallwitz - The Families of Flowering Plants.
Theses sources also were used as references for historical and contemporary synonyms, and for common English names for plant families.
I have applied common English names only when these are in common use within the homeopathic +/o. botanic communities; there is no formal assignment of common English names to plant families
apart from colloquial usage, and these are usually merely based on a "typical" or commonly-known member of the group. E.g., the family to which Conium maculatum and Cicuta virosa belong is termed the Umbelliferae (Umbelliferae = Apiaceae as a synonym in historical and occasional contemporary use.)
Although this has sometimes been called the "carrot family" or the "parsley family", these names are merely derived from commonly known members of this family, which are not necessarily typical of the group; these common English names hold no formal significance and are not in widespread use, and so were not included in my database.
In contrast, the common English name for the Solanaceae, the nightshade family, is more descriptive of the family as a whole and is in widespread common use both by botanists and by homeopaths.
Placement in Plant Families
Once botanical names were defined, I used principally internet-based resources to identify placement of the species in botanical families. My principal resources were:
International Organization for Plant Information Database
Plants for a Future Database
In the rare cases where these groups did not concur with a placement to a family, I pursued a variety of alternate references to reconcile their differences. Some of the plant species -particularly the
S. American and Indian species- needed to be researched separately, on sites with regional plant descriptions.
Meaningful Plant Families
Many botanical taxonomic families will prove useful to our purposes of classifying remedies, and many will not. I will discuss this at length in my next installment, but for now, let it suffice to note that many of our botanical families contain only one known remedy, or a few poorly known remedies.
It is tempting in these cases to move up the taxonomic tree, to look at the remedies classified at the Ordinal level or even higher levels of the classification hierarchy, as groups that might be meaningful
to our work.
In a very few places I have done this (see the non-flowering plants and fungi, further on in this installment; and the two brief examples near the end of the Botanical Families section on the next page.)
But in most cases, these higher taxonomic levels are too large, or comprise remedies of diverse and unrelated action, to be useful to our purpose.
Most of the useful concordances between taxonomically-related plant remedies that have been described, have been at the level of botanical family.
Botanical Taxonomic Schemes
Botanical taxonomists, like any other group of people I know, seem to have trouble agreeing with one another. This is compounded by the reality that plant classification is based on numerous subjective criteria. Several different systems of plant classification exist, and three of these appear to dominate the scene at present. These are the systems of Arthur Cronquist, RMT Dahlgren, and the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (APG). The latter incorporates data from DNA and protein analysis, to supplement the relationships implied by structural similarities that characterize the first two systems.
With a few notable exceptions, these systems recognize the same botanical families, and organize membership within these families in nearly identical manners. They differ largely in how they relate plant families one to another - the affinities between families, and the organization of plant families within higher taxonomic structure.
A Best Scheme for Homeopathy?
Which of these systems makes the most sense for incorporation into a Homeopathic Remedies Family Database? At first glance, the "more objective" APG system may feel more compelling in its ability
to assess real phylogenetic/evolutionary relationships between plants. DNA affinities seem more compelling than structural similarities. Yet for the purposes of botanists, this classification system is in its infancy, and is not universally embraced.
And for our purpose as homeopaths, we need to ask whether we are interested primarily in the phylogenetic/evolutionary relationships of plants, or in features which lead plants to bear resemblances one
to another - will medicinal properties follow phylogenetic and evolutionary lines, or structural lines, or chemical and pharmacological lines?
My choice was to incorporate all three systems - separately, so that the user could choose which to use, even look at relationships from three differing perspectives in any given instance.
Cistus, Viola odorata and Viola tricolor
Example: in the APG scheme, the remedy Cistus canadensis (Helianthemum canadensis, Rockrose) is placed in the family Malvaceae, of the Malvales, Eurosids II.
Dahlgren scheme, it is in the family Cistaceae, Malvales, Malviflorae.
Cronquist places it in the Cistaceae, Violales, adjacent to the family Violaceae (Viola odorata, Viola tricolor) - which allows us to reflect upon some fascinating concordances with these latter 2 remedies, helping us to appreciate the scope of action of this relatively small (657 rubric) remedy.
Conversely, in the APG scheme, Paeonia officinalis (family Paeoniaceae) and Hamamelis virginiana (Hamamelidaceae) are both classified in the order Saxifragales. Although the Dahlgren and Cronquist schemes classify these remedies in those same respective families, they do not relate these two families closely to one another; and hence fail to bring these two remedies of very similar properties together for comparison.
The classification schemes discussed above apply to the Angiosperms or Flowering Plants. The non-flowering plants were organized according to the families and taxonomic
scheme outlined in the Tree of Life Web Project.
We have only 32 remedies in this group - most of these only scantily described in our literature:
The reasonably described non-flowering plants basically comprise Lycopodium clavatum; Thuja occidentalis, Sabina and a few fragmentarily described conifers and their
products (incl. a few with extensive, but recent provings with little clinical verification); and Equisetum hyemale, which although poorly-described, has a few strongly
characterizing symptoms. I broke this group down into some smaller subgroups, largely above the level of botanical family, but feel that the meaningful groups here consist
of "non-flowering plants" and its subgroup "coniferophyta."
Zuordnung von Pflanzen klassen zu den vier Elementen
Menschen, die konstitutionell auf pflanzliche Arzneien ansprechen, sind empfänglich für vielfältige Gefühle und sind mehr stimmungsgeleitet als mineralische
Typen, sie verlieren häufiger die mentale Kontrolle und leiden unter vielfältigen Befindlichkeitswechseln. Pflanzliche Typen sind schnell berührt, betroffen, beeindruckt,
verärgert, verletzt durch äußere Eindrücke und das Verhalten anderer und leiden seelisch an diesen Dingen.
Wenn wir pflanzliche Arzneien den vier Elementen zuordnen, ist, wie auch im Falle der Mineralien, sowohl deren psychisches als auch körperliches Wirkprofil
berücksichtigt. In diesem Zusammenhang lässt sich auch auf Erfahrungen der traditionellen Vier-Elemente-Medizin zurückgreifen, die Attribute von Pflanzen
wie Farbe, Geruch, Erscheinungsform untersucht hat. Pflanzen mit Nähe zum Feuerelement gelten z.B. als scharf, bitter, würzig, intensiv; sie haben eher leuchtende
Farben (gelbe oder rote Blüten).
Zunächst ein Beispiel einer Elementzuordnung:
Der Lebensbaum gehört zu den Zypressengewächsen innerhalb der Ordnung der Kiefernartigen (= Coniferae, = Pinales). Die Kiefernartigen wiederum sind
Teil der Nacktsamer (Gymnospermae). Das Persönlichkeitsprofil des typischen Thuja-Patienten lässt sich folgendermaßen umreißen:
Psyche: Empfindsame Menschen, die sich oft in einer diffusen Weise wertlos oder schuldig fühlen. Sie entwickeln eine Abneigung gegen sich selbst, die im Extremfall
bis zum Selbst-Ekel gehen kann. Thuja zieht sich gerne in seine Privatsphäre zurück und kapselt sich ab. Mitunter kann er ungeduldig, bockig oder wütend reagieren.
Diese Leute haben häufig einen Bezug zum Spirituellen bzw. eine stark intuitive bis mediale Wahrnehmung. Im weiteren Verlauf der Störung werden sie zunehmend unsicher,
konfus und depressiv.
Körperliche Beschwerden: verfroren, träge-blockiert oder in Eile, trockene, gespaltene Haare, weißliche Lippen; gelbe, blasse, fleckige, ölige Haut, oft mit Pickeln;
Warzen im Gesicht und an Extremitäten
Die Nähe zum phlegmatischen Temperament/WASSER-Element sticht ins Auge; der Bezug zu den flüssigen Verteilersystemen, die Beschwerden in den
Bereichen WASSER l, WASSER 2 und WASSER 3 werden deutlich; auch die Signaturen des immergrünen Baumes deuten in diese Richtung. Wir ordnen den
Thujabaum, wie auch andere Vertreter der Kiefernartigen, dem Wasserelement zu.
A family is a group of remedies with common characteristics and similar themes.
The most important, fundamental themes are shared together.
The difference is their way of over-coming and compensating this problem: there are several ways to overcome the same problem.
These characteristics can be expressed on different levels of similarity or analogy.
Drug like:- Cann-i. Cann-s. Laur. Psil. Ccoca. Camph. Pen. Nabal. Agn. Op. Pip-m. Bufo. Hell. Lith-c. and more.
It may be a horizontal relationships (poison of snakes / salt of element, etc.) in which case it is very evident to say that they are similar.
However, remedies in a group may be biologically unrelated.
There are many analogies that we don’t know how to express in a logical way.
There are alkaloids in the Bufo that you find in certain mushrooms so it makes sense that they are in the same group.
The idea of a ‘family’ can only be a perspective.
It’s important to define why you put a group of remedies together as a family. Make explicit what is your model of a family.
The relationship between a human and a substance is vital. On the one hand, there is no evidence to connect ‘Tarantism’ with a spider bite.
But on the other hand, it is interesting to find out which kind of connection we have in history – myth, legend, anthropological, etc.
It is our human projection to this substance. There are concepts that are in some way universal – archetypes.
These are the ideas that we associate with substances.
Massimo makes a big distinction between the way somebody lives when he is sick, and the way he lives when he is not sick.
If you look at a system / personality / remedy, the person does the best to relate the inner and outer world in the best possible way.
Every system does this in a physiological way when nothing bad is occurring, or in a pathological way when there is more or less disease.
To be what it is, each substance has a characteristic structure and takes on characteristic strategies in order to be able to survive.
The sociology of plants, or animals, for example. It’s easier studying animals because in some way, they are closer to us.
However, each plant has its own behaviour, and its own attitude to survive. It’s even more complicated when you study minerals, stones, crystals.
But it wasn’t always like this in the history of human beings.
The concept that everything has some sort of vital force in it is a very old idea in many ancient cultures, including the old European tradition.
Many of the minerals we use are not found in nature in the form that we use them.
For example: Natrum muriaticum is Sea salt, but it has many other bits & pieces in it!
We must consider the source of the substance we use. What is it that makes the substance able to exist?
What makes the substance able to survive and go on?
These are important questions to understand the remedy.
The strategy of surviving is the specific way that the substance uses in order to be what it is. People have used the bark from a willow for centuries, for inflammation.
However, there was no way that they were to know that it contained aspirin.
Many of our remedies have a rich history behind them.
The ancients were able to recognise the therapeutic effect, without the tests that we now have. Often their ‘knowledge’ does not belong to our concept of ‘knowledge’
of today, which incorporates, learning, lessons, books and being given information.
In these cultures, knowledge was based on a non-verbal approach and experience.
The Fungus.x Among Us
The five-kingdom scheme of classification of the living world places fungi in their own kingdom, distinct from the plants. Homeopaths, however, have become accustomed to
classing the fungi with the plants in a somewhat different 5-kingdom scheme of substances (minerals, plants, animals, imponderables, nosodes). I've placed the Fungi as a
subgroup of the Plant Kingdom, in parallel with the non-flowering and the flowering plants.
Agaricus (Amanita muscaria)
Although this is not consistent with strict contemporary taxonomic thinking, it meets our needs as homeopaths well - aligning the fungi more closely to the plants than to the animals and the non-living substances, recognizing that the classifications useful to us are in part, but not strictly, taxonomic.
I created subgroups of the fungi consisting of the Ascomycota, Lichens, Basidiomycota and Zygomycota; but of these, we only possess reasonable information about a few members of the Basidiomycota, which basically defines our knowledge of the group of fungi as a whole. Classification of the fungi into these subgroups was guided by information from the Tree of Life Web Project.
I pondered carefully the position of the "bacterial" and "viral" remedies, and decided to not create a special classification for these in the "kingdoms" section. In the scheme I followed, I placed these remedies in several locations, based on function rather than on taxonomy:
The disease nosodes.x (with several subgroups)
It is my impression that the "bacterial/viral remedies" do not form a group large enough, or cohesive enough, to warrant consideration as a "kingdom" of remedies. And with the exception of the bowel nosodes, these all involve diseased tissues in addition to the suggested pathogen.
[C. Hering, Guiding Symptoms]
Identification and classification of the animal remedies posed a generally greater puzzle than that of the plants. Many of our heritage were amateur or professional botanists, and the conventional medicine of the 18th early 20th centuries was largely botanical; so the details and importance of botanical classification were not far from the reach of homeopathic practitioners. The technical classification of remedies from animals however appears to have been a different matter altogether.
Tracking down the identification of Theridion. Hering introduced this spider to our materia medica in 1832, while in Surinam. He described it as Theridion curassavicum, the 'Orange Spider'.
"A small spider known to people as very poisonous, chiefly found in the island of Uraçoa. This spider, about the size of a cherry stone, is found upon orange trees in the West Indies.
When young it is velvety-black in appearance, marked with antero-posterior lines composed of white dots; on posterior part of body there are three orange-red spots, while upon belly there is a large square yellow spot."
Theridion A review of the arachnological literature revealed no contemporary or historical use of "Theridion" as a genus name. There is, however, a family Theridiidae, comprising the cobweb-weavers and the black widow spiders - these latter closely resembling Hering's description of his critter. Scouring the arachnology literature for widow spiders from the Caribbean region matching Hering's description,
I found the spider Latrodectus curacavensis.
In his Cyclopaedia of Drug Pathogenesy, Hughes wrote,
"Hering admits that his 'Theridion curassavicum' is very similar in many respects to the Aranea tredecim-guttate, by which name Fabricius has designated the Latrodectus malmignattus of Volterra and other places" - this latter spider being the black widow spider of central Europe.
Tracking Down More Spiders.
Other animal remedies gave me an even better chase, notably a few more of the spiders.
Tarentula cubensis is described by MacFarion, its prover, as:
"...found in Cuba and Mexico. It belongs to the same family as the Tarantula hispana."
Clarke records it as:
"Mygale cubensis. Aranea peluda. Cuban Tarantula."
Lippe describes it as a:
"...large, dark-brown and hairy spider of Cuba."
According to Hering's collaborators,
"The Mygale Cubanensis, which may be called the Cuban Tarantula, also found in South Carolina and Texas, is a larger spider of a dark-brown color, not so poisonous, and covered with more hairs than the Tarantula hispanica. Dr. Howard had some specimens sent from Cuba..."
These descriptions indicate that it is not of the same family as Tarantula hispanica (the Lycosidae, or wolf-spiders), but rather is a new-world Tarentula, a Mygalomorph.
My research identified 21 species of tropical tarantulas in Cuba, none having borne the names used for this spider in our literature. We have no better description of our "Tarentula cubensis" in our literature - which is compounded by the fact that when MacFarion saw this spider, it was macerated and partially decomposed. (Mathur tells this story in his Systematic Materia Medica:
"The Tarentula cubensis was being shipped into this country (USA) in a container with alcohol to preserve it. The container broke on the way up, the alcohol ran out, and the specimen decomposed.")
Mygale lasiodora is described as another Cuban tarantula, yet its identification is even more problematic. Mygale was introduced to our practice by John Houard, and described only as "a large black Cuban spider". The two "provings" recorded in Allen as Mygale are both the results of accidental bites; one is recorded as "Mygale lassiodora" and the other as "Mygale avicularia."
Even a brief review reveals very different symptom complexes in these two "provers," leading one to question the identity of the two spiders involved. Compounding this, Hering's collaborators refer to "Tarentula cubensis" as being the spider introduced by "Howard" - yet Howard's introduction was our "Mygale".
About all we can really say about these spiders, is that they represent 2 (perhaps 3?) of the approximately 21 Cuban theraphosid mygalomorphs, or tropical tarantulas (caranguejeiras); most likely of the genus Phormictopus, Citharacantus, Avicularia, or perhaps Cyrtopholis or Holothele. And that Tarentula cubensis needs also to be placed as well in a small "family" of "decaying animal tissue" remedies, along with Pyrogenum.
The Ambush Spider
" Aranea scinencia" was one of the most entertaining remedies to research. The best description offered in our literature is from the prover, Wm.Rowley, "A gray spider found on old walls in Kentucky. It does not spin a web; it employs a springing lunge to take its prey." A search of the arachnology literature for Aranea scinencia failed to bring this up as a described specie, either current or historical; which was not surprising, as the genus Aranea is known for its classical orb webs.
To track this critter down, after becoming increasingly frustrated with my text- and internet-based research sources, I subscribed to an Internet discussion group of museum curators and university arachnology specialists. It was an incredible ride. After posting my brief description of our spider with a query for possible identification, I sat back to a flurry of postings of suggestions followed by crossfire of professional insults - reminiscent of a Gary Larson cartoon!
I finally received an apparently sane post from the curator of arachnids at the University of Kentucky Museum of Natural History.
He suggested that a spider, found on old walls and building foundations, that does not spin a web, but rather ambushes its prey, would most likely be a member of the family Salticidae, the jumping spiders.
Perusal of an old arachnology text revealed a small grayish spider of this family currently named Salticus scenicus, a native of Kentucky.
The snakes were much easier to work with, thanks largely to the EMB Reptile Database. In addition to providing taxonomic classifications, this site lists historical records of Latin names that have been applied to given specie over time.
Meaningful Animal Families
The animal kingdom has not been investigated nearly as thoroughly or systematically for medicinal substances as has the plant kingdom. Most of the higher levels of the taxonomic hierarchy have only
one or a few representatives, and in only a few instances - specifically, for the snakes and spiders - is it useful to break things down to the level of the zoologic family.
I have introduced lower levels of the taxonomic hierarchy only where this provides useful discrimination between remedies; e.g., the Ophidia (snakes) of the Reptilia are broken down to the family level,
Bermhard Blosey did much of the work on the minerals, and particularly on classification of the Organics. The inorganic minerals, with their relatively simple structure, lent themselves more easily to classification. The principal classifications were by atomic constitution, according to periodic table organization. Additional categories were added for common functional groups (e.g., acids) and complex anions and cations such as nitrites, nitrates, hydroxides, ammonium salts, etc.
A few substances normally regarded by homeopaths as simple substances needed to be classified as the complex substances they truly are. Arsenicum album is the white oxide of Arsenic, As203; and is functionally an inorganic acid.
Our information on Mercurius, for which Merc (Mercurius solubilis) and Merc-v (Mercurius vivus) are often employed interchangeably, is based principally on Mercurius solubilis. This is a complex compound 2[NH2Hg2)NO3-H2O] which is both a nitrate and an ammonium salt, and needed to be placed in these "families," as well as classified under the obvious element Mercury.
Familien und Farben.: Auch wenn eine Theorie der Farben noch fern scheint, ist es immerhin gelungen, Zusammenhänge von Familien und Farben zu erkennen. Es war schon lange klar, dass bestimmte Familien wie die Dolden blütler (Apiaceae) meist Schwarz bevorzugen, die Calciumsalze Rot, die Lacs Rot oder Magenta, einige Aktinide offenbar Blau. Die Schlangenmittel sind mit besonders augenfälliger Häufung im Türkis zu finden. Offenbar bevorzugen einzelne Mittel einer Familie innerhalb einer größeren Farbgruppe wie Türkis ein ganz bestimmtes Türkis: zum Beispiel mag Crot-h.
meist Blautürkis 17C, während sich Lach. lieber Grüntürkis 19C aussucht. Praktisch alle Schlangen tummeln sich jedoch am liebsten im Pool der gesamten Türkisgruppe von 17AB bis 19CD.
So augenfällig wie bei den Schlangenmitteln ist es nicht bei allen Familien. Dennoch liegen z.B. die meisten Solanaceae im Dunkelblau (Caps. Dulc. Lycop-v. Phys. Solan-c. + n. + t-ae.), während andere, akutere Vertreter auch in anderen Farben zu finden sind:
Bell. und Hyos. im Gelb, Stram. in blutigem Dunkelrot und Mand. im Dunkelgrün. Die Häufung der Solanaceae in den dunkelsten Farben (D-E-Reihe) ist auffällig, was durchaus zum Naturell der Nachtschatten passt. Dieses Thema hat bisher im Farbrepertorium noch keinen Eingang gefunden und konnte nur vom Nutzer, der sich mit den Familienzugehörigkeiten schon auskennt, selbst
erschlossen werden. Wegen der augenfälligen Zuordnungen enthält die neue Ausgabe des Farbenbuches auf S. 47-49 nun erstmals eine Liste der bisher gefundenen Beziehungen von Familien und Farbgruppen. Sie ist sowohl nach Farben als auch alphabetisch angeordnet.
Familien und Farben
Acidums = Säuren Orange
Anacardiaceae Türkis, Gelb
Antimoniums Türkis, Violett
Apiales = Umbelliferae Schwarz
Arachnida = Spinnen Orange, Olive
Argentums Schwarz, Silber
Asteraceae = Compositae Weiß, Gelb
Aurums Grün, Dunkelgrün
Aves = Vögel Hellblau, Hellgrün
Boriums Grün, Türkis
Brassicaceae = Cruciferae Braun
Carbos Rot, Violett
Chininums Rosa, Grün
Cobaltums Rot, Blau
Compositae = Asteraceae Weiß, Gelb
Cruciferae = Brassicaceae Braun
Fungi = Pilze Gelb
Uses of Remedy Families
With the development of a comprehensive remedy-families database, it is possible to investigate remedy concordances based on such relationships.
In the instalments to follow, I will explore the creation and rationale of remedy "families" based on relationships other than taxonomic.
I will also investigate how taxonomic and non-taxonomic remedy relationships may be gainfully applied in case analysis and in the comparative study of materia medica.
[Paul Herscu] Vipera and other close remedies: Lachesis, Pulsatilla, and Hamamelis