Spirit Homeopathic Medicines Essential Insights to 300 Remedies

Language
English
Type
Paperback
Publisher
North Atlantic Books
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This book will be a great addition to your homeopathic library. Once you've been using homeopathics for a while, and begin to work on a deeper level with them, you'll wonder which (for instance) liver remedy is really the one you need, when there are several which might be right. This book is the book that gives the particular spiritual/psychological picture of the remedies that will let you decide. With an unbelievable insight in some 300 homeopathic medicines Didier Grandgeorge gives us in a nutshell the essence (the spirit) of these remedies.
More Information
ISBN9781556432613
AuthorDidier Grandgeorge
TypePaperback
LanguageEnglish
Publication Date1998-01
Pages221
PublisherNorth Atlantic Books
Review

This book review is reprinted with the permission of the National Center for Homeopathy

Reviewed by Julian Winston

"What? Another Materia Medica of keynotes?" you might ask. The question is, "Why does someone write a book?" The answer should be that they wish to share their knowledge and insights with others. That is why we have Materia Medicas by Kent, Farrington, Nash-to name a few. Each has his own way of seeing the morass of information that we get from the original provings.

Dr. Grandgeorge is a Hahnemannian homeopath in France-a "unicist" in a "pluracist" country. He is the head of clinical instruction in homeopathy at the Faculty of Medicine in Marseille. In his twenty years of practice he has developed a unique perspective on our materia medica, and he shares it in this new work.

It is clear that this is not a full materia medica-it is not a replacement for the larger, more detailed works of other authors. Yet, it is filled with gems that could make a seasoned practitioner sit up and notice.

In the introduction, Grandgeorge says:

"Do our ills come by chance, their only purpose to make our life on earth a painful ordeal? Or do they contain a hidden message? If so, can a deeper understanding of the meaning of illness help us advance along the path of knowledge?"

"As homeopaths, we choose the second hypothesis. We consider this earthly life to be a journey of initiation, over the course of which we have a number of problems to solve, like steps on a staircase. We can go up those steps or we can go down."

"Each time we reach a new step, we waver, off balance, as we face this new question that demands a response. If we are able to find the answer, all will go well; if not, we lose our balance and the stage is set for illness to begin."

With an introduction like that, this is certainly not going to be a regular "keynote" book!

Since this book is translated from the French, many of the wordplays and puns that existed in the original are footnoted for our enjoyment. For example, the remedy Sanicula aqua, is subtitled "the Silent Spring." The remedy is derived from the Sanicula Springs in Ottawa, Illinois (the author mistakenly says that the spring is in Ottawa, Canada), and the source of the spring has long since dried up. In the French original version, the title was "Ote ta voix" (Takes away your voice), phonetically similar to "Ottawa."

Each remedy is described by a word or two, and then Grandgeorge elaborates upon that. In many of the descriptions, a case is offered to show the use of the remedy.

Some of the titles are: Aconite: The Sphinx; Arnica: The School of Hard Knocks; Digitalis: Failure; Opium: Paradise.

Cocculus is described as "Controlling the movements of life." Says Grandgeorge, "In truth, Cocculus wants to know the secrets of life and to control its movements, which give rise to a sort of charitable nosiness, pushing these individuals into professions such as nursing, medicine, and psychoanalysis. A case is presented:

"A nurse asks for my help with an attack of sciatica. The few symptoms she has point to a small number of remedies, among them Cocculus.

'How do you react when you are faced with death in your work?'

"Her gaze becomes intense: 'Whenever someone is dying on our ward, I have to hold their hand right through the end. I can't keep myself from doing it. My co-workers do my work for me during that time...'"

Cocculus was prescribed.

There are fascinating tidbits throughout the book:

The use of Oleum jecoris aselli to counter the effects of Sterogyl-a Vitamin D medication.

A little girl is suffering from an intense sore throat-the latest in a recurrent series. Antibiotics have had no effect in three days. The sore throats began while the mother was pregnant with her brother. A culture was taken and Lachesis prescribed. By the next morning the child has no fever and no sore throat-and the laboratory found anaerobic bacteria that were antibiotic resistant. Says Grandgeorge, "... the child does not relapse. It seems she had her little brother stuck in her throat!" (Lachesis: ailments from jealousy).

A case of a child with bleeding hemorrhoids and the mother who is suffering from nightmares. She dreams every night that her mother is dying. In Hahnemann's Materia Medica Pura we find symptom 545 under Muriatic acid: "Dreams that his mother died." Muriatic acid helped both the mother and the son.

This is not a book for a beginner, and it certainly isn't the only materia medica one should have. But for those who have some knowledge of materia medica, this book offers some wonderful insights from the direct experience of a seasoned prescriber.

HOMEOPATHY TODAY
JULY/AUGUST 1998

 

This book review is reprinted with the permission of the American Institute of Homeopathy

Reviewed by George Guess, M.D., D.Ht.

I am unfamiliar with Dr. Grandgeorge; however, based upon his book The Spirit of Homeopathic Medicines, I can surmise that he is a very experienced and insightful prescriber. And he makes homeopathy seem so easy!

This book could perhaps best be described as a collection of "essence" confirmatory symptoms of materia medica pearls consisting of extremely distilled psychological or thematic essences which are often just a word or short phrase. A few additional symptoms for each remedy are provided as well, and a large number of case illustrations are included.

In several of the cases Dr. Grandgeorge either confirmed or was put on the track of the remedy by a brief comment. I suspect the actual dialogues that took place between Dr. Grandgeorge and patients were considerably more extensive than those recorded in this book. If not, Grandgeorge's questioning is remarkably incisive and even intuitive.

Though this volume makes homeopathy seem simplistic, clearly it is not. The experienced homeopath knows this and can appreciate the depth of Grandgeorge's vision. Neophytes, on the other hand, could easily get the wrong impression of homeopathic method from this book. They certainly could not begin to appreciate the often complex sifting of symptom data frequently required to make an accurate prescription. For this reason I would recommend that the book be studied mostly by experienced homeopaths!

This book is a pleasure to read, and it offers some revealing and at times surprising information. Grandgeorge's uncluttered writing style helps drive home his points. Following are some examples of what appear to me original remedy descriptions.

Curare: "Refusal of Self Responsibility .... helpful for children who do not want to do anything for themselves when they are older .... a poison which paralyzes and prevents any action."

Caladium: "Up in Smoke... Dazed and melancholic, they live in a permanent cloud of smoke that masks the thorny reality outside. They would like the world to exist without a single shadow entering the picture, but there is always some small detail that disappoints them."

Tellurium: "Fear of Being Touched on Sensitive Spots ... corresponds to people who are shaken to the depths of their soul by one hurtful remark that strikes a sensitive chord."

Digitalis: "Failure.... too vulnerable to failed plans. They are full of anxiety about the future... Digitalis is an introvert who does not do things wholeheartedly."

Cocculus: "Controlling the Movements of Life... Cocculus wants to know the secrets of life and to control its movements, which gives rise to a sort of charitable nosiness, pushing these individuals into professions such as nursing, medicine, and psychoanalysis."

Sulphuric acid: "The Accident... The theme of accidents is one of the most important for people who benefit from Sulphuricum acidum. Somewhere in their history, there was an accident that changed everything, an accident for which they felt responsible (or for which a feeling of guilt has been transmitted to them). It may be an illegitimate birth experienced as an accident by the family, or a real accident with loss of a loved one."

Urtica urens: "The Death of the Father... often indicated in families where the members have been marked by the death of the father, whether physical or psychological (the father was absent or overshadowed by the mother).

In the original French the book is full of word plays and witticisms, which the translator, Juliana Barnard, describes in footnotes.

All in all I can readily recommend this book as a revealing and amusing addition to our materia medica.

JAIH Autumn 1998, Vol. 91, No. 3

 

This book review is reprinted from The Homoeopath with permission from Nick Churchill of The Society of Homoeopaths.

Reviewed by Anna Bryant

The spirit of this book, partly owing to a meticulous translation, is delicate and insightful. Dr. Grandgeorge writes with an easy charm which makes this materia medica a pleasure to read. The book is set out as an alphabetical materia medica, providing, as the subtitle explains, 'essential insights to 300 remedies'. Like Roger Morrison's Desktop Guide, the information is modern and based on the author's clinical observations, but The Spirit of Homeopathic Medicines is less formal and focuses on essences. Many of the remedy pictures are illustrated with cases from Dr. Grandgeorge's largely paediatric practice. Insights into character observed in children have been developed into themes which can be applied to adult cases. As a psychologist once said 'I've never met a grown up'.

A wide range of remedies is covered, and there are no dry one-liners. The case of Oleum Jecoris Aselli (cod liver oil to the uninitiated) is one of several examples in which the adult bringing the child is helped by the same remedy. While the text has a relaxed style it is also economical. You don't need to don your academic waders to glean useful and intelligent concepts. A helpful stylistic device is the subtitling of over half the remedies. For example, Kali bichromicum is 'The Scapegoat'; Sarsaparilla suffers 'Lost Heritage'. These themes are explained, developed and illustrated with cases and they help the reader to remember the central idea.

English-speaking readers will enjoy the freshness of this materia medica. Dr. Grandgeorge is a classical homoeopath practising in France. He writes in a less Kentian tradition than we are familiar with, and his modern influences are different from those we know. The French potencies are lower than our Kentian scale. As the introduction explains, the range is from 5c to 30c. A case example for Pyrogen tells of a boy rescued from death by a repeated seventh centesimal. The lesser influence of Kent in France has also meant that Dr. Grandgeorge has been free to think originally about well known remedies and, in conjunction with other continental homoeopaths, to develop modern perspectives. The idea for Tarentula hispanica, 'Fear of Slavery', is credited to a Swiss homoeopath, Dr. Guy Loutan.

The translation of the book is exemplary. Juliana Barnard has taken on the spirit of the text, entering into its conceptual precision and wordplay. The often punning remedy subtitles are adapted creatively and are explained in footnotes. The translator's notes help the reader to see through the linguistic barrier and enjoy the jokes. For example, the Calcarea fluorica patient shows her varicose vein, exclaiming 'Vous avez vu la varice?' 'La varice', the varicose vein, is phonetically identical to 'l'avarice', which is the theme for Calcarea fluorica.

Dr. Grandgeorge's witty observation shows attention to the detail of the patient's language. Throughout the book I found only one ambiguity in translation. Medorrhinum is said to have 'cavities between the upper central incisors'. Are these cavities, or is it a gap, as exhibited by Chaucer's lusty Wife of Bath? There is also a rendition of French idiom to comic effect: 'In addition, it is good to know that Natrum carbonicum individuals are people who often hurt their ankles'.... Well, yes.

A part of the liveliness of the book derives from the drama of the clinic. Dr. Grandgeorge's aim is 'to relate the circumstances and the atmosphere in which the spirit of the remedy became I apparent'. The reader can imagine the six-year-old Lycopodium dictator who has to be told 'in my best firm voice that if he cries, the doctor will not be pleased'. This scene brought to mind the chapter on 'Doctorship' in Stephen Potter's book, One Upmanship.

Another example is of the sports trainer who ruined his championship chances by taking heroin; he 'could have been a diamond' and is given Graphites. The author demonstrates a poise between the right-and left-brained approaches to medicine. His thought incorporates ideas from the laboratory, psychoanalysis and mythology. He is confident in his application of the homeopathic principle to all human experience, 'To make our brain work, to create thoughts, we use substances similar to those present in certain flowers ... neurotransmitters are secreted into intercellular spaces in quantities ... equivalent to the fifth centesimal'. This book taught me that the plant and animal substances of remedies relate closely to human physiological analogues. Another example, Oscillococcinum, 'the homeopathic antiviral medicine', is made from the extract of ducks' livers and hearts. 'These extracts are rich in nucleic acids and other phosphoric compounds, which are structurally similar to viruses, and this produces an action in accordance with the law of similars'. This reminds me of 'Jewish penicillin', or chicken soup, which also has an anti-viral action.

For conscientious vegans I will add Dr. Grandgeorge's observation about the economy of substance in homoeopathic preparations: 'The homoeopathic dilution of remedies... brings about daily the miracle of the loaves and fishes: one single gram of the mother tincture of Arnica provides enough Arnica 15c to treat the entire human race'.

Psychoanalytical reflections are an important aspect of the book, and underpin much of the author's thought about remedy essences. As far as I know, Dr. Grandgeorge's correspondence of the Freudian developmental stages - oral, anal and oedipal - to Hahnemann's miasms, is original. The author's understanding of infant experience facilitates a new comprehension of the corresponding spirit of miasms and materia medica. For example, relating the oral stage to the psoric miasm, Dr. Grandgeorge demonstrates why it is that allergic patients so often need the psoric remedies: 'The fear of dying from lack of ... basic needs is the fundamental psoric anxiety. We are in the oral stage .... Pleasure is found in caresses received (the baby with eczema demands more through the need for care of the skin), through breathing (the asthmatic child holds in the air, in fear of expelling it, and thus develops spasms), through nursing (the obese infant guzzles until stuffed)'.

Much of the materia medica is beautifully observed. For example: 'Cocculus wants to know the secret of the movements that make life exist, and hopes to find this out by listening to the last words of the dying.' Aurum's theme is 'transgressing the law of the father'. '...the first homoeopathic dilution of Aurum appears in the Bible, when Moses comes down from Mount Sinai with the stone tablets on which the Law of God is inscribed. He finds the Hebrews absorbed in worship of the golden calf. In anger, he breaks the golden calf into pieces, reduces it to a powder, and scatters it on the water, which he then gives the Hebrews to drink',

There are practical tips too. In case of a nosebleed '...put a small piece of paper under the tongue. I do not know which reflex mechanism is activated, but the bleeding ceases right away, and this method rarely fails'.

On the whole, this is a useful book only to practitioners and students; not, as one cover review states, for 'each person concerned about staying healthy'. The book is clear in the way it conveys complex and original ideas. The least appealing aspect of the book is its cover. If you go beyond that, you will meet some familiar friends in a new country, and may encounter some new ones.

The Homoeopath
Summer 1998
Number 70

This book review is reprinted from the British Homoeopathic Journal Vol 87, July 1998, with permission from Peter Fisher, Editor.

Didier Grandgeorge is one of France's leading classical homoeopaths and his book reflects his deep, personal understanding of the remedies selected. The preface states 'know yourself .. by listening to others. Ignorance is the source of all ills'. An apt description of the sentiment of the book.

Dr. Grandgeorge shows 'the central psychological core' of the remedies, in a totally unique manner. Several homoeopaths including George Vithoulkas and Rajan Sankaran, have focused on the psychological profile of the remedies in recent years. None, to my knowledge, have blended Freudian psychology, miasmatic theory and a deeper spiritual viewpoint, as Dr. Grandgeorge has in this book.

For this very reason, it will be viewed as provocative by some, even heretical, and certainly controversial. The opening paragraph asks whether illness is a chance event, or indicative of a deeper, hidden message. Most can accept the concept of stress-induced illness, but not all will be fully receptive to the theories that evolve in the text.

Dr. Grandgeorge firmly believes that unresolved childhood conflicts lay the foundation of future illness. 'Dis-ease' literally becomes disease. Using Freudian phases of psychological development, he elaborates on them, intertwining Hahnemann's miasmatic theory, religion, mythology and spiritual ideas.

Birth, the struggle of evolving life, is seen as psora, the oral phase. The development of teeth marks the transition into the sadistic, or active, oral phase. One can bite or be bitten.

The anal phase at the time of toilet training is the choice between law and anarchy, sycosis. Later the sadistic anal phase begins, and sadomasochism develops. Dr. Grandgeorge suggests that modem Western society is in this phase of evolution; concerned totally with control and materialism. The Oedipal phase is in evidence with the excessive sexual liberation. The 'less developed' societies are stuck in psora, struggling for survival.

The Oedipal phase of development, the conflict with the father, relates to the syphilitic miasm. There is a glorious description of Aurum metallicum, in which this is more fully expanded. Moses is credited with using 'homoeopathic dilutions' of Aurum, when he pulverises the golden calf, casts the dust into the waters which the Hebrews then drink. Their later behaviour confirms the first homoeopathic cure!

The issue of right and left-sided symptoms is explained beautifully, again using Freudian concepts. The left brain, controlling the right side of the body, is the concentration of mathematical thought, strength and the paternal side. The right hemisphere (left side of the body) is the artistic, emotional side and that of the mother. An imbalance between the two, signifies deep-seated paternal issues, which manifest in unilateral physical ailments. The left brain is that of allopaths, the right brain, that of (most) homoeopaths.

Using these concepts. Dr. Grandgeorge presents a unique insight into the remedies. The text is full of information gleaned from his vast experience, without any great detail on the symptom pictures. No apologies are made for this; the reader is referred to other Materia Medicas which list pathological symtomatology, as this is outside the scope and purpose of the book.

Concise case histories illustrate and expand the understanding of the remedies.

Each remedy is given a subtitle, which encapsulates the central issue. Abrotanum is described as 'the Vampire', because those requiring it seem to drain others physically and emotionally. Certainly one to remember!

Lachesis is 'too far to the left', in other words the emphasis is too far on the paternal left side. It is the main remedy for the Oedipal complex, hence the domination and the deep ingrained jealousy. Head-lice are prevalent in the children of the age group associated with this emotional phase and Dr. Grandgeorge plays on the French colloquialism 'jaloux comme un pou', as jealous as a flea. The whole nature of homoeopathy, and the deep division from 'orthodox' medicine may have been very different had our founder, Samuel Hahnemann, discovered this snake venom, instead of Constantine Hering!

Lycopodium, by contrast, is the main remedy of right-sided complaints and, especially the liver. A fascinating interpretation is proposed, using Annick de Souzenelle's view, that the porta hepatis is symbolic of the narrow gates of heaven. Once one has passed through, the spiritual faith achieved will temper the 'biliousness' of human nature. Those requiring Lycopodium are bound up in their oral/anal phase and have not yet reached that level of spiritual enlightenment. Thus their physical symptoms focus in the gastrointestinal tract. Some readers may well find such esoteric interpretations very difficult to stomach!

Throughout the book, there are unique perspectives on polychrests, and lesser known 'rarer' remedies. Natrum muriaticum, for example, is sub-titled 'the father'. Most associate this remedy with the mother, but Dr. Grandgeorge challenges this view. The father is the person who normally causes a rift between mother and child. It is, therefore, an imbalance in the father-child bonding which can cause the well-known Natrum muriaticum state.

Conversely, Pulsatilla takes the place of 'the mother'. Here the mother-child bond is unnaturally strong and attempts to break it, lead to the characteristic behaviour patterns and illnesses associated with that remedy.

Dr. Grandgeorge presents an alternative viewpoint of many remedies, challenging one's preconceptions. The translation from the original French is very elegant. Many puns and witticisms could potentially be lost in an insensitive translation. An excellent balance has, however, been struck between a book that is easy to read and the amusing play on words. The extremely entertaining French wording is quoted and explained by means of footnotes, so that the prose is not laboured or unnaturally stilted by attempts to provide a literal translation.

It is very unusual to see such a coherent analogy between Freudian concepts and miasmatic theory, and it certainly stimulates deeper thought. To fully appreciate it, one must obviously be well acquainted with the remedies. It is not aimed at beginners in homoeopathy.

Although a few 'pathological' remedies are included, (how could Oscillococcinum be exempt from a French text!), the main emphasis is on a deeper, more spiritual plane. To fully enjoy it, one must have an open mind.

'Duality reigns on Earth', to quote the author. The right brain dominant amongst us will be enthralled by Dr. Grandgeorge's ideas, and will benefit from his spiritual philosophy. Those who are bound to the domination of their left brain, will dismiss it all as pernicious nonsense. Unless, of course, their mothers have given them Lycopodium to open their spiritual portals!

MARYSIA KPATIMENOS

British Homoeopathic Journal
Volume 87, July 1998

Review

This book review is reprinted with the permission of the National Center for Homeopathy

Reviewed by Julian Winston

"What? Another Materia Medica of keynotes?" you might ask. The question is, "Why does someone write a book?" The answer should be that they wish to share their knowledge and insights with others. That is why we have Materia Medicas by Kent, Farrington, Nash-to name a few. Each has his own way of seeing the morass of information that we get from the original provings.

Dr. Grandgeorge is a Hahnemannian homeopath in France-a "unicist" in a "pluracist" country. He is the head of clinical instruction in homeopathy at the Faculty of Medicine in Marseille. In his twenty years of practice he has developed a unique perspective on our materia medica, and he shares it in this new work.

It is clear that this is not a full materia medica-it is not a replacement for the larger, more detailed works of other authors. Yet, it is filled with gems that could make a seasoned practitioner sit up and notice.

In the introduction, Grandgeorge says:

"Do our ills come by chance, their only purpose to make our life on earth a painful ordeal? Or do they contain a hidden message? If so, can a deeper understanding of the meaning of illness help us advance along the path of knowledge?"

"As homeopaths, we choose the second hypothesis. We consider this earthly life to be a journey of initiation, over the course of which we have a number of problems to solve, like steps on a staircase. We can go up those steps or we can go down."

"Each time we reach a new step, we waver, off balance, as we face this new question that demands a response. If we are able to find the answer, all will go well; if not, we lose our balance and the stage is set for illness to begin."

With an introduction like that, this is certainly not going to be a regular "keynote" book!

Since this book is translated from the French, many of the wordplays and puns that existed in the original are footnoted for our enjoyment. For example, the remedy Sanicula aqua, is subtitled "the Silent Spring." The remedy is derived from the Sanicula Springs in Ottawa, Illinois (the author mistakenly says that the spring is in Ottawa, Canada), and the source of the spring has long since dried up. In the French original version, the title was "Ote ta voix" (Takes away your voice), phonetically similar to "Ottawa."

Each remedy is described by a word or two, and then Grandgeorge elaborates upon that. In many of the descriptions, a case is offered to show the use of the remedy.

Some of the titles are: Aconite: The Sphinx; Arnica: The School of Hard Knocks; Digitalis: Failure; Opium: Paradise.

Cocculus is described as "Controlling the movements of life." Says Grandgeorge, "In truth, Cocculus wants to know the secrets of life and to control its movements, which give rise to a sort of charitable nosiness, pushing these individuals into professions such as nursing, medicine, and psychoanalysis. A case is presented:

"A nurse asks for my help with an attack of sciatica. The few symptoms she has point to a small number of remedies, among them Cocculus.

'How do you react when you are faced with death in your work?'

"Her gaze becomes intense: 'Whenever someone is dying on our ward, I have to hold their hand right through the end. I can't keep myself from doing it. My co-workers do my work for me during that time...'"

Cocculus was prescribed.

There are fascinating tidbits throughout the book:

The use of Oleum jecoris aselli to counter the effects of Sterogyl-a Vitamin D medication.

A little girl is suffering from an intense sore throat-the latest in a recurrent series. Antibiotics have had no effect in three days. The sore throats began while the mother was pregnant with her brother. A culture was taken and Lachesis prescribed. By the next morning the child has no fever and no sore throat-and the laboratory found anaerobic bacteria that were antibiotic resistant. Says Grandgeorge, "... the child does not relapse. It seems she had her little brother stuck in her throat!" (Lachesis: ailments from jealousy).

A case of a child with bleeding hemorrhoids and the mother who is suffering from nightmares. She dreams every night that her mother is dying. In Hahnemann's Materia Medica Pura we find symptom 545 under Muriatic acid: "Dreams that his mother died." Muriatic acid helped both the mother and the son.

This is not a book for a beginner, and it certainly isn't the only materia medica one should have. But for those who have some knowledge of materia medica, this book offers some wonderful insights from the direct experience of a seasoned prescriber.

HOMEOPATHY TODAY
JULY/AUGUST 1998

 

This book review is reprinted with the permission of the American Institute of Homeopathy

Reviewed by George Guess, M.D., D.Ht.

I am unfamiliar with Dr. Grandgeorge; however, based upon his book The Spirit of Homeopathic Medicines, I can surmise that he is a very experienced and insightful prescriber. And he makes homeopathy seem so easy!

This book could perhaps best be described as a collection of "essence" confirmatory symptoms of materia medica pearls consisting of extremely distilled psychological or thematic essences which are often just a word or short phrase. A few additional symptoms for each remedy are provided as well, and a large number of case illustrations are included.

In several of the cases Dr. Grandgeorge either confirmed or was put on the track of the remedy by a brief comment. I suspect the actual dialogues that took place between Dr. Grandgeorge and patients were considerably more extensive than those recorded in this book. If not, Grandgeorge's questioning is remarkably incisive and even intuitive.

Though this volume makes homeopathy seem simplistic, clearly it is not. The experienced homeopath knows this and can appreciate the depth of Grandgeorge's vision. Neophytes, on the other hand, could easily get the wrong impression of homeopathic method from this book. They certainly could not begin to appreciate the often complex sifting of symptom data frequently required to make an accurate prescription. For this reason I would recommend that the book be studied mostly by experienced homeopaths!

This book is a pleasure to read, and it offers some revealing and at times surprising information. Grandgeorge's uncluttered writing style helps drive home his points. Following are some examples of what appear to me original remedy descriptions.

Curare: "Refusal of Self Responsibility .... helpful for children who do not want to do anything for themselves when they are older .... a poison which paralyzes and prevents any action."

Caladium: "Up in Smoke... Dazed and melancholic, they live in a permanent cloud of smoke that masks the thorny reality outside. They would like the world to exist without a single shadow entering the picture, but there is always some small detail that disappoints them."

Tellurium: "Fear of Being Touched on Sensitive Spots ... corresponds to people who are shaken to the depths of their soul by one hurtful remark that strikes a sensitive chord."

Digitalis: "Failure.... too vulnerable to failed plans. They are full of anxiety about the future... Digitalis is an introvert who does not do things wholeheartedly."

Cocculus: "Controlling the Movements of Life... Cocculus wants to know the secrets of life and to control its movements, which gives rise to a sort of charitable nosiness, pushing these individuals into professions such as nursing, medicine, and psychoanalysis."

Sulphuric acid: "The Accident... The theme of accidents is one of the most important for people who benefit from Sulphuricum acidum. Somewhere in their history, there was an accident that changed everything, an accident for which they felt responsible (or for which a feeling of guilt has been transmitted to them). It may be an illegitimate birth experienced as an accident by the family, or a real accident with loss of a loved one."

Urtica urens: "The Death of the Father... often indicated in families where the members have been marked by the death of the father, whether physical or psychological (the father was absent or overshadowed by the mother).

In the original French the book is full of word plays and witticisms, which the translator, Juliana Barnard, describes in footnotes.

All in all I can readily recommend this book as a revealing and amusing addition to our materia medica.

JAIH Autumn 1998, Vol. 91, No. 3

 

This book review is reprinted from The Homoeopath with permission from Nick Churchill of The Society of Homoeopaths.

Reviewed by Anna Bryant

The spirit of this book, partly owing to a meticulous translation, is delicate and insightful. Dr. Grandgeorge writes with an easy charm which makes this materia medica a pleasure to read. The book is set out as an alphabetical materia medica, providing, as the subtitle explains, 'essential insights to 300 remedies'. Like Roger Morrison's Desktop Guide, the information is modern and based on the author's clinical observations, but The Spirit of Homeopathic Medicines is less formal and focuses on essences. Many of the remedy pictures are illustrated with cases from Dr. Grandgeorge's largely paediatric practice. Insights into character observed in children have been developed into themes which can be applied to adult cases. As a psychologist once said 'I've never met a grown up'.

A wide range of remedies is covered, and there are no dry one-liners. The case of Oleum Jecoris Aselli (cod liver oil to the uninitiated) is one of several examples in which the adult bringing the child is helped by the same remedy. While the text has a relaxed style it is also economical. You don't need to don your academic waders to glean useful and intelligent concepts. A helpful stylistic device is the subtitling of over half the remedies. For example, Kali bichromicum is 'The Scapegoat'; Sarsaparilla suffers 'Lost Heritage'. These themes are explained, developed and illustrated with cases and they help the reader to remember the central idea.

English-speaking readers will enjoy the freshness of this materia medica. Dr. Grandgeorge is a classical homoeopath practising in France. He writes in a less Kentian tradition than we are familiar with, and his modern influences are different from those we know. The French potencies are lower than our Kentian scale. As the introduction explains, the range is from 5c to 30c. A case example for Pyrogen tells of a boy rescued from death by a repeated seventh centesimal. The lesser influence of Kent in France has also meant that Dr. Grandgeorge has been free to think originally about well known remedies and, in conjunction with other continental homoeopaths, to develop modern perspectives. The idea for Tarentula hispanica, 'Fear of Slavery', is credited to a Swiss homoeopath, Dr. Guy Loutan.

The translation of the book is exemplary. Juliana Barnard has taken on the spirit of the text, entering into its conceptual precision and wordplay. The often punning remedy subtitles are adapted creatively and are explained in footnotes. The translator's notes help the reader to see through the linguistic barrier and enjoy the jokes. For example, the Calcarea fluorica patient shows her varicose vein, exclaiming 'Vous avez vu la varice?' 'La varice', the varicose vein, is phonetically identical to 'l'avarice', which is the theme for Calcarea fluorica.

Dr. Grandgeorge's witty observation shows attention to the detail of the patient's language. Throughout the book I found only one ambiguity in translation. Medorrhinum is said to have 'cavities between the upper central incisors'. Are these cavities, or is it a gap, as exhibited by Chaucer's lusty Wife of Bath? There is also a rendition of French idiom to comic effect: 'In addition, it is good to know that Natrum carbonicum individuals are people who often hurt their ankles'.... Well, yes.

A part of the liveliness of the book derives from the drama of the clinic. Dr. Grandgeorge's aim is 'to relate the circumstances and the atmosphere in which the spirit of the remedy became I apparent'. The reader can imagine the six-year-old Lycopodium dictator who has to be told 'in my best firm voice that if he cries, the doctor will not be pleased'. This scene brought to mind the chapter on 'Doctorship' in Stephen Potter's book, One Upmanship.

Another example is of the sports trainer who ruined his championship chances by taking heroin; he 'could have been a diamond' and is given Graphites. The author demonstrates a poise between the right-and left-brained approaches to medicine. His thought incorporates ideas from the laboratory, psychoanalysis and mythology. He is confident in his application of the homeopathic principle to all human experience, 'To make our brain work, to create thoughts, we use substances similar to those present in certain flowers ... neurotransmitters are secreted into intercellular spaces in quantities ... equivalent to the fifth centesimal'. This book taught me that the plant and animal substances of remedies relate closely to human physiological analogues. Another example, Oscillococcinum, 'the homeopathic antiviral medicine', is made from the extract of ducks' livers and hearts. 'These extracts are rich in nucleic acids and other phosphoric compounds, which are structurally similar to viruses, and this produces an action in accordance with the law of similars'. This reminds me of 'Jewish penicillin', or chicken soup, which also has an anti-viral action.

For conscientious vegans I will add Dr. Grandgeorge's observation about the economy of substance in homoeopathic preparations: 'The homoeopathic dilution of remedies... brings about daily the miracle of the loaves and fishes: one single gram of the mother tincture of Arnica provides enough Arnica 15c to treat the entire human race'.

Psychoanalytical reflections are an important aspect of the book, and underpin much of the author's thought about remedy essences. As far as I know, Dr. Grandgeorge's correspondence of the Freudian developmental stages - oral, anal and oedipal - to Hahnemann's miasms, is original. The author's understanding of infant experience facilitates a new comprehension of the corresponding spirit of miasms and materia medica. For example, relating the oral stage to the psoric miasm, Dr. Grandgeorge demonstrates why it is that allergic patients so often need the psoric remedies: 'The fear of dying from lack of ... basic needs is the fundamental psoric anxiety. We are in the oral stage .... Pleasure is found in caresses received (the baby with eczema demands more through the need for care of the skin), through breathing (the asthmatic child holds in the air, in fear of expelling it, and thus develops spasms), through nursing (the obese infant guzzles until stuffed)'.

Much of the materia medica is beautifully observed. For example: 'Cocculus wants to know the secret of the movements that make life exist, and hopes to find this out by listening to the last words of the dying.' Aurum's theme is 'transgressing the law of the father'. '...the first homoeopathic dilution of Aurum appears in the Bible, when Moses comes down from Mount Sinai with the stone tablets on which the Law of God is inscribed. He finds the Hebrews absorbed in worship of the golden calf. In anger, he breaks the golden calf into pieces, reduces it to a powder, and scatters it on the water, which he then gives the Hebrews to drink',

There are practical tips too. In case of a nosebleed '...put a small piece of paper under the tongue. I do not know which reflex mechanism is activated, but the bleeding ceases right away, and this method rarely fails'.

On the whole, this is a useful book only to practitioners and students; not, as one cover review states, for 'each person concerned about staying healthy'. The book is clear in the way it conveys complex and original ideas. The least appealing aspect of the book is its cover. If you go beyond that, you will meet some familiar friends in a new country, and may encounter some new ones.

The Homoeopath
Summer 1998
Number 70

This book review is reprinted from the British Homoeopathic Journal Vol 87, July 1998, with permission from Peter Fisher, Editor.

Didier Grandgeorge is one of France's leading classical homoeopaths and his book reflects his deep, personal understanding of the remedies selected. The preface states 'know yourself .. by listening to others. Ignorance is the source of all ills'. An apt description of the sentiment of the book.

Dr. Grandgeorge shows 'the central psychological core' of the remedies, in a totally unique manner. Several homoeopaths including George Vithoulkas and Rajan Sankaran, have focused on the psychological profile of the remedies in recent years. None, to my knowledge, have blended Freudian psychology, miasmatic theory and a deeper spiritual viewpoint, as Dr. Grandgeorge has in this book.

For this very reason, it will be viewed as provocative by some, even heretical, and certainly controversial. The opening paragraph asks whether illness is a chance event, or indicative of a deeper, hidden message. Most can accept the concept of stress-induced illness, but not all will be fully receptive to the theories that evolve in the text.

Dr. Grandgeorge firmly believes that unresolved childhood conflicts lay the foundation of future illness. 'Dis-ease' literally becomes disease. Using Freudian phases of psychological development, he elaborates on them, intertwining Hahnemann's miasmatic theory, religion, mythology and spiritual ideas.

Birth, the struggle of evolving life, is seen as psora, the oral phase. The development of teeth marks the transition into the sadistic, or active, oral phase. One can bite or be bitten.

The anal phase at the time of toilet training is the choice between law and anarchy, sycosis. Later the sadistic anal phase begins, and sadomasochism develops. Dr. Grandgeorge suggests that modem Western society is in this phase of evolution; concerned totally with control and materialism. The Oedipal phase is in evidence with the excessive sexual liberation. The 'less developed' societies are stuck in psora, struggling for survival.

The Oedipal phase of development, the conflict with the father, relates to the syphilitic miasm. There is a glorious description of Aurum metallicum, in which this is more fully expanded. Moses is credited with using 'homoeopathic dilutions' of Aurum, when he pulverises the golden calf, casts the dust into the waters which the Hebrews then drink. Their later behaviour confirms the first homoeopathic cure!

The issue of right and left-sided symptoms is explained beautifully, again using Freudian concepts. The left brain, controlling the right side of the body, is the concentration of mathematical thought, strength and the paternal side. The right hemisphere (left side of the body) is the artistic, emotional side and that of the mother. An imbalance between the two, signifies deep-seated paternal issues, which manifest in unilateral physical ailments. The left brain is that of allopaths, the right brain, that of (most) homoeopaths.

Using these concepts. Dr. Grandgeorge presents a unique insight into the remedies. The text is full of information gleaned from his vast experience, without any great detail on the symptom pictures. No apologies are made for this; the reader is referred to other Materia Medicas which list pathological symtomatology, as this is outside the scope and purpose of the book.

Concise case histories illustrate and expand the understanding of the remedies.

Each remedy is given a subtitle, which encapsulates the central issue. Abrotanum is described as 'the Vampire', because those requiring it seem to drain others physically and emotionally. Certainly one to remember!

Lachesis is 'too far to the left', in other words the emphasis is too far on the paternal left side. It is the main remedy for the Oedipal complex, hence the domination and the deep ingrained jealousy. Head-lice are prevalent in the children of the age group associated with this emotional phase and Dr. Grandgeorge plays on the French colloquialism 'jaloux comme un pou', as jealous as a flea. The whole nature of homoeopathy, and the deep division from 'orthodox' medicine may have been very different had our founder, Samuel Hahnemann, discovered this snake venom, instead of Constantine Hering!

Lycopodium, by contrast, is the main remedy of right-sided complaints and, especially the liver. A fascinating interpretation is proposed, using Annick de Souzenelle's view, that the porta hepatis is symbolic of the narrow gates of heaven. Once one has passed through, the spiritual faith achieved will temper the 'biliousness' of human nature. Those requiring Lycopodium are bound up in their oral/anal phase and have not yet reached that level of spiritual enlightenment. Thus their physical symptoms focus in the gastrointestinal tract. Some readers may well find such esoteric interpretations very difficult to stomach!

Throughout the book, there are unique perspectives on polychrests, and lesser known 'rarer' remedies. Natrum muriaticum, for example, is sub-titled 'the father'. Most associate this remedy with the mother, but Dr. Grandgeorge challenges this view. The father is the person who normally causes a rift between mother and child. It is, therefore, an imbalance in the father-child bonding which can cause the well-known Natrum muriaticum state.

Conversely, Pulsatilla takes the place of 'the mother'. Here the mother-child bond is unnaturally strong and attempts to break it, lead to the characteristic behaviour patterns and illnesses associated with that remedy.

Dr. Grandgeorge presents an alternative viewpoint of many remedies, challenging one's preconceptions. The translation from the original French is very elegant. Many puns and witticisms could potentially be lost in an insensitive translation. An excellent balance has, however, been struck between a book that is easy to read and the amusing play on words. The extremely entertaining French wording is quoted and explained by means of footnotes, so that the prose is not laboured or unnaturally stilted by attempts to provide a literal translation.

It is very unusual to see such a coherent analogy between Freudian concepts and miasmatic theory, and it certainly stimulates deeper thought. To fully appreciate it, one must obviously be well acquainted with the remedies. It is not aimed at beginners in homoeopathy.

Although a few 'pathological' remedies are included, (how could Oscillococcinum be exempt from a French text!), the main emphasis is on a deeper, more spiritual plane. To fully enjoy it, one must have an open mind.

'Duality reigns on Earth', to quote the author. The right brain dominant amongst us will be enthralled by Dr. Grandgeorge's ideas, and will benefit from his spiritual philosophy. Those who are bound to the domination of their left brain, will dismiss it all as pernicious nonsense. Unless, of course, their mothers have given them Lycopodium to open their spiritual portals!

MARYSIA KPATIMENOS

British Homoeopathic Journal
Volume 87, July 1998