Comparative Materia Medica

Comparative Materia Medica

  • Dr. Eugenio Candegabe


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Translated from Materia Medica Comparada.

This study of thirty-seven homoeopathic remedies displays how the materia medica may be learned through understanding the mental symptoms of the repertory.

330 pp pb
ISBN: 0-906584-36-1
Beaconsfield Publishers, Ltd.


The book is structured around seven chapters, based on major polychrests.

Each chapter opens with a detailed description of the remedy, presenting all the rubrics that may in some way add to our understanding.

This is followed by symptomatology, summarizing the rubrics that best define the character of that remedy. These outstanding symptoms are called the Minimum Characteristic Syndrome.

From the Book

All English-speaking homeopaths are aware that some of the most important homeopathic remedies have their origin in Latin America.

Because of the barrier of language, far fewer realize to what extent some of the most important work in homeopathy also comes from that subcontinent.

In this comparative study of thirty-seven homoeopathic remedies, Dr. Eugenio Candegabe displays how the materia medica may be reconstructed through the mental symptoms of the repertory; so as to find the remedy whose action most closely corresponds to the totality of an individual patient's life.

These constructions are always substantiated in the provings from which the repertory symptoms were originally extracted.The book is structured around seven principal chapters, each based on a major polychrest.

Each chapter opens with a detailed description of the remedy, presenting all the rubrics that may in some way add to its fullest possible image. This is followed by a comprehensive synthesis of the symptomatology; summarizing in a schematic diagram those few interrelated rubrics that best define the character of that remedy.

These outstanding symptoms - not less than five or more than ten of them - are termed the Minimum Characteristic Syndrome. Each chapter is then completed by a differential analysis of the remedy against numerous other remedies whose own most significant features closely overlap the character of the major remedy in question.

The reader is reminded throughout that the value of symptoms will also be influenced by the miasmatic elements present within the case. This is a rigorous process by which the search for the correct prescription is simplified and facilitated.


Acknowledgements -- xi
Foreword by Dr. T. P. Paschero -- xii-xiv
Preface ---xv-xviii
Note -- xviii

1. Introduction -- 1-19
Pathogenesis and Medicine -- 2-3
The Search for the Patient through the Repertory -- 4-10
The Value of Symptoms -- 11-15
The Miasmatic Significance of Symptoms -- 16-19

2. Comparative Materia Medica
Lycopodium Clavatum -- 20-67
Silicea -- 68-91
Thuja -- 92-126
Medorrhinum -- 127-168
Natrum Muriaticum -- 169-206
Kali Carbonicum -- 207-236
Lachesis -- 238-292
Calcarea Sulphurica -- 294
Sepia -- 303
Sulphur -- 306

Bibliography -- 321

Appendix I:
Rubrics Referred to in the Repertorisation Tables -- 322-326

Appendix II:
The Minimum Characteristic Syndrome for Each of the Seven Remedies -- 327

Index to Remedies -- 328

Dr. Eugenio Candegabe

Dr. Candegabe qualified in medicine at the University of Buenos Aires in 1949.

His interest in homeopathy began as a result of successful homeopathic treatment of members of his family, and in 1954 he went on to study the subject under his great mentor, Dr. Tomás Pablo Paschero, with whom he subsequently worked closely.

He was a founding member of the Argentine School of Homeopathic Medicine in Buenos Aires, serving as Professor of Materia Medica from 1971 until 1986, when he was nominated Emeritus Professor.

Dr. Candegabe has traveled extensively in Europe and North and South America to teach and lecture on homeopathy.


Two Reviews:
1. British Homoeopathic Journal
2. Homoeopathic Links

British Homoeopathic Journal
October 1997, Volume 86

Reviewed by Gabriela Rieberber

What a welcome publication -- finally Candegabe's Comparative Materia Medica is available in English. Eugenio Candegabe is a contemporary Argentinean medical homoeopath trained in the excellent tradition of the South American Schools.

He studied homoeopathy under his great mentor Dr Tomas Paschero, with whom he worked closely.

In this comparative study of materia medica, Candegabe focuses on the mind symptoms of 6 polychrest medicines and one nosode, each dealt with in a separate chapter:

  • Lycopodium clavatum
  • Silicea
  • Thuja occidentalis
  • Medorrhinum
  • Natrium muriaticum
  • Kali carbonicum and
  • Lachesis

Calcarea sulphurica, Sepia and Sulphur are studied in less

Around the hub of the 6 more detailed studies, a total of 37 drugs are compared, like spokes meeting in the centre of the wheel with common characteristic symptoms, going out into the periphery with the individual characteristics of each.

The chapters open with a detailed description of the drug, drawing on rubrics from Kent's Repertory, encompassing dreams, delusions and sensations as well as generals for some drugs. Candegabe then synthesizes and summarizes the key features of each, referring to rubrics from Kent's Repertory.

These key symptoms are further synthesized and condensed to form the Minimum Characteristic Syndrome-a small close-knit group of symptoms which provide a clear characteristic definition of the drug, encompassing not less than 5 and not more than 10 symptoms.

This is illustrated in a schematic diagram with the Minimum Characteristic Syndrome in the centre and interrelated rubrics grouped according to common themes around this circle.

The key symptoms, from 20 to 39 in number, are then repertorized according to the Minimum Characteristic Syndrome and related groups, i.e. for Lycopodium, intellectual deficiency, irritability, paradoxical emotional problems, release of tension, need for freedom, fears and nervous reactions and mental degeneration.

From this repertorization up to 22 drugs are compared that cover at least 50% of rubrics in the Minimum Characteristic Syndrome, bringing out the characteristics of related drugs in a differential analysis.

The chapters are well structured and the diagrams clearly arranged. Each section opens with a description of the drug broken down into subsections, i.e. dreams, delusions and sensations. Within the text, rubrics are quoted indicating the degree of the drug.

This is followed by a summary of the key features with the respective rubrics relating to the issue. A diagram illustrating the Minimum Characteristic Syndrome and repertorization of the related drugs fills one page each, with a list of the symptoms on the opposite page, allowing easy orientation.

Candegabe's book encompasses 30 years of hard work and experience. It is his aim to make the language of the repertory more dynamic to enable homoeopaths to attain a deeper understanding of the medicines and their patients, so that they may restore the sick to health and lead us to fulfill our higher purpose in line with paragraphs 1, 2 and 9 of the Organon.

In line with paragraph 3 of the Organon, he tries to bring out what is curative in the medicines so we may apply them to what needs to be cured in our patients. He restricts himself to the mind symptoms in line with Paschero's words:

"The mental symptom is the antechamber of the clinical picture. The patient's mental disposition is the result of many interrelated physiological and pathological factors that affect his life.

The way that the individual deals with his particular problems, whether of an emotional or physical nature, is revealed through his mental symptoms.

Candegabe's approach illuminates the homoeopathic medicines in the context of the repertory with reference to the Organon and miasmatic reaction patterns. I have gained a deeper understanding of well-known polychrests through this presentation; in particular through the way Candegabe creatively quotes rubrics to draw a drug picture.

It is regrettable that Candegabe is still caught in the gender trap. Pulsatilla, Ignatia, Sepia and Lachesis are described using the female pronoun, whereas all the others are described with the male pronoun. This is a very limited way of presenting a drug, as many of us have seen female 'Nux vomicas', as well as male 'Pulsatillas'.

Sepia gets particularly bad press:

'The essence of Sepia is her emotional indifference, especially towards her husband, who brings out in her all the jealousy of the castrating female.'

I have found no reference in the provings nor in Kent's materia medica to justify such a description of Sepia, nor have I encountered it in my clinical practice. It would have enhanced the illustration of the drug pictures had he abstained from such restrictive descriptions and interpretations.

I would have liked to have seen an inclusion of the key features on a local and general level, where they reflect the expression on the mental emotional level. Both Hahnemann and Kent speak of a totality of symptoms that encompasses our whole being, not only our mind. The vital force expresses itself in a wide spectrum.

The focus on the mind section reflects the general practice of the Paschero school based on Kentian philosophy with a strong Freudian overlay.

Clearly this publication is a success. Not only does it enhance our understanding of widely used polychrests, more valuable is the inspiration it gives the reader. Candegabe gives the tools to access and study materia medica in a deeply satisfying way.

He has accomplished what he has set out to do, making a contribution that enables the homoeopath to understand what is curative in the medicament to restore health. His love for homoeopathy and his deep understanding of Hahnemann and Kent shine through his writing.

There is nothing greater a teacher can do but to wake the appetite in her/his students to continue their quest.

Homoeopathic Links
Winter 1998
Volume 11, No.4

reviewed by Marguerite Pelt
The Netherlands

The core of the book is a study of seven polychrests, written in a most original and extensive way, bringing out the essence, based on the rubrics in the mind section of the repertory.

Each remedy is dealt with in the same way: first a description, then a summary, followed by a diagram and a differential diagnosis.

The description refers continuously to rubrics in Kent and Barthel & Klunker.

Like Candegabe I have always found it very profitable to study remedies reading the 'Materia Medica of the human mind' in which Agrawal rearranges the rubrics of the mind of Kent's Repertory for each remedy.

It is fascinating to note in which rubrics a remedy is mentioned as the only remedy and in which rubrics it is in bold type (or italics).After the general description, Candegabe gives a summary where the rubrics are grouped according to themes, this is the best part.

Masi and Mangialavori also work according to this same principle of subdivision into themes.

In the third part the mind rubrics are presented in a schematic diagram that is best understood after having read the preceding 'description' and 'the summary'.

The diagram is based on five to ten symptoms that form the 'minimum characteristic syndrome', and of course the choice of the symptoms that represent the core of the remedy can be discussed. Candegabe has deliberately chosen rubrics that have no less than 20 and no more than 100 remedies.

For colleagues who like diagrams this will be the most interesting part of the book.

The last chapter on every remedy is a comparison with other polychrests (mainly). This part has given rise to the title of the book.

I always like comparative Materia Medica because here the author usually gives a succinct summary of his view of a remedy. Farrington is very clinical in his comparisons, Nash trenchant with his keynotes, and Candegabe a master in his references to mind rubrics.

I miss a comparison with the nosodes, especially Carcinosinum and Tuberculinum.So the whole book is based on the repertory and not on provings or Materia Medica. The seven remedies the author has picked out to study are:

  1. Lycopodium - a remedy that is very useful in Argentina according to colleagues from that part of the world, as I was told during the Liga congress in Amsterdam. This is the best part of the book.
  2. Silica - the description is short and compact.
  3. Thuja - only a certain aspect of Thuja is brought up, but how could it be as extensive as in Catherine Coulter's book or Kees Dam's handout.
  4. Medorrhinum - here he also mentions some physical symptoms, as well as new rubrics to add to the repertory like 'Memory, weakness of, stating her symptoms, great difficulty' because the patient relies heavily on her notebook when narrating her symptoms.
  5. Natrium muriaticum - a very classical analysis
  6. Kalium carbonicum - this chapter is based on the polarity in the symptoms and is thereby innovative and refreshing.
  7. Lachesis - a sweeping narrative but unfortunately written in the 'she' form so that I involuntary associate the Fall of man out of paradise with snakes and women.

Why did I like the introduction and the addendum the most? Probably because the style is more personal, there are references to patients and the great knowledge and experience of the author are disclosed.

For example he mentions that Nux vomica is the only remedy in the rubric 'Quiet disposition, wants to be, desires repose and tranquillity' but not in the rubric 'Tranquillity' or 'Slowness' because Nux Vomica desires the repose but does not have it: 'his impatient and fiery nature constantly searching outside for something he will never find inside himself'.

The addendum on Calcarea Sulphurica is brilliant in its simplicity, it is a continuation of the article on this same remedy in the British Homoeopathic journal of July 1987, Vol 176, pp 144-144 that cleared the picture of this under prescribed remedy for me, before the method of Scholten was known.

And the lecture on Sulphur makes you itch to turn these last thirteen pages.

In short this is a book for (advanced) students, and especially for those colleagues who are at the beginning of their practice and who have to find their way in the repertory and in the differential diagnosis of remedies.

And of course it is a book for every homoeopath who cannot get enough of our wonderful art of medicine.

There is always more to be learned from other people's experience, because every patient and every remedy is unique and so is every homoeopath in his views and writings.

Reprinted from: Homeopathic Links