OverviewAfter 9 reprints in 12 years, The beloved Silver Book was revamped as The New Synoptic One.
Then in 2012 both Synoptic 1 and Synoptic 2 were replaced by the new single title Synoptic Reference
626 pp hb
"The book had originally grown out of Frans Vermeulen's need to structure the vast amount of homeopathic data into simple, straightforward remedy pictures for students. It proved dismayingly difficult. However, the man is a luminary, and he has a mission. Our patients and we homeopaths are the beneficiaries of his task."
Updated and revised using the work of many modern homeopaths: Bailey, Coulter, Grandgeorge, Gray, Klein, Mangialavori, Masters, Morrison, Murphy, Sankaran, Scholten, Schuster, Sherr, Smits, Tumminello, Vermeulen, Vithoulkas, Zaren, v.d. Zee and others.
Based in the experience of Boger, Borland, Clarke, Kent, Mathur, Nash, Tyler and Whitmont among others.
Latin Name, Natural order and Common names given for each Plant remedy. Useful for homeopaths working with analysis through Family Sensation, and Doctrine of Signatures.
Information on the Kingdoms:
- Stage and Series in the Periodic Table of the Minerals from Jan Scholten
- Family and Sensation for the Plants from Rajan Sankaran
- Symptomatic behavior for Animal, Insect and Sea Kingdoms from Jenni Tree
- Materia medica brought together thanks to the generosity of many living homeopaths, and the hard work of their predecessors.
ContentsAeon. -- 1
Aese. -- 5
Aeth. -- 8
Agar. -- 11
All-c. -- 15
Aloe -- 18
Alum. -- 21
Ambr. -- 24
Am-c. -- 27
Am-m. -- 31
Anae. -- 33
Anh. -- 37
Ant-c. -- 40
Ant-t. -- 44
Apis -- 46
Aran. -- 50
Arg-met. -- 53
Arg-n. -- 56
Arist -el. -- 60
Am. -- 66
Ars. -- 69
Ars-i. -- 72
Arum-t. -- 75
Asaf. -- 77
Asar. -- 80
Aur. -- 83
Bamb-a. -- 86
Bar-c. -- 90
Bell. -- 94
Bell-p. -- 97
Berb. -- 101
Borx. -- 105
Bov. -- 108
Brom. -- 112
Bry. -- 115
Bufo -- 118
Caet. -- 122
Calc-ar. -- 125
Calc. -- 128
Calc- f. -- 132
Calc-po -- 135
Calc-so -- 139
Calen. -- 141
Cann-i. -- 143
Cann-s. -- 147
Canth. -- 150
Caps. -- 153
Carb-an. -- 156
Carb-v. -- 159
Care. -- 163
Caul. -- 167
Caust. -- 169
Cham. -- 172
Chel. -- 176
Chin. -- 179
Cie. -- 183
Cimie. -- 187
Cina -- 190
Cist. -- 193
Clem. -- 196
Coca -- 199
Coee. -- 202
Coff. -- 206
Colch. -- 209
Coloe. -- 212
Con. -- 216
Cor-r. -- 220
Croe. -- 223
Cupr. -- 226
Cyel. -- 230
Dig. -- 233
Dios. -- 237
Dros. -- 239
Dulc. -- 242
Elaps -- 245
Eup-per. -- 249
Euphr. -- 251
Ferr. -- 254
Ferr-p. -- 257
Fl-ae. -- 260
Gels. -- 263
Glon. -- 266
Graph. -- 269
Grat. -- 272
Guaj. -- 275
Ham. -- 277
Hell. -- 280
Hep. -- 283
Hydr. -- 286
Hyos. -- 289
Hyper. -- 292
Ign. -- 295
lod. -- 298
Ip. -- 301
Iris -- 304
Kali-ar. -- 307
Kali-bi. -- 309
Kali-br. -- 313
Kali-c. -- 316
Kali-i. -- 319
Kali-m. -- 322
Kali-p. -- 325
Kali-s. -- 328
Kreas. -- 330
Lac-c. -- 333
Lac-d. -- 336
Lach. -- 339
Lat-m. -- 342
Led. -- 346
Lil-t. -- 349
Lith-c. -- 352
Lab. -- 355
Lyc. -- 357
Lyss. -- 361
Mag-c. -- 363
Mag-m. -- 367
Mag-p. -- 370
Manc. -- 372
Mand. -- 375
Mang. -- 379
Med. -- 382
Merc. -- 385
Mez. -- 388
Masch. -- 391
Murx. -- 394
Mur-ac. -- 397
Naja -- 400
Nat-ar. -- 404
Nat-c. -- 406
N at-ill. -- 409
Nat-p. -- 412
Nat-s. -- 415
Nit-ac. -- 418
Nux-m. -- 421
Nux-v. -- 424
Olnd. -- 428
Op. -- 430
Orig. -- 434
Ox-ac. -- 436
Pall. -- 438
Petr. -- 441
Ph-ac. -- 444
Phas. -- 446
Phyt. -- 450
Pic-ac. -- 453
Plat. -- 455
Plb. -- 459
Podo. -- 462
Psor. -- 465
PuIs. -- 467
Pyrog. -- 470
Rad-br. -- 473
Ran-b. -- 476
Rheum -- 478
Rhod. -- 480
Rhus-t. -- 483
Rumx. -- 486
Ruta -- 488
Sabad. -- 490
Sabin. -- 493
Samb. -- 496
Sang. -- 499
Sanic. -- 503
Sars. -- 506
Sec. -- 509
Sel. -- 513
Sep. -- 516
Sil. -- 519
Spig. -- 522
Spong. -- 525
Stann. -- 528
Staph. -- 531
Stict. -- 534
Stram. -- 536
Stront-c. -- 540
Stry. -- 543
Sulph. -- 545
Sul-ac. -- 549
Symph. -- 551
Syph. -- 553
Tab. -- 556
Tarent. -- 558
Tell. -- 562
Ter. -- 564
Teucr. -- 566
Thea -- 569
Ther. -- 572
Thuj. -- 574
Tub. -- 577
Urt-u. -- 581
Valero -- 583
Verat. -- 585
Vib. -- 589
Xan. -- 592
Zinc. -- 595
Bibliography -- 599
Repertory -- 603
NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL
A Comparative Review of Morrison's Desktop Guide to Keynotes and Confirmatory Symptoms and Vermeulen's Synoptic Materia Medica
Julian Jonas, C.A.
The arsenal of clinical tools was fortified over the second half of 1993 by the appearance of two new materia medicas.
Both Roger Morrison's Desktop Guide to Keynotes and Confirmatory Symptoms (herein referred to as the Desktop Guide), and Frans Vermeulen's Synoptic Materia Medica (herein referred to as the Synoptic) are valuable reference works intended to provide the practitioner with quick access to vital information on the most commonly used remedies.
At the expense of in-depth information covering all the homeopathic minutia of remedies large and small, they become wonderful allies when probing for confirmatory symptoms, reviewing the big picture of familiar remedies, or grasping a general overview if one is studying basic materia medica.
The overall design of both is quite similar: several hundred remedies listed alphabetically, with each entry typically covering several pages.
These books are probably best classified as keynote materia medicas, yet they offer much more than just a review of individual symptoms. Certainly, they seem destined to not only supercede such classics as Allen's Keynotes or Boger's Synoptic Key of the Materia Medica on the desks of most contemporary clinical homeopaths, but might even supplant Boericke's Materia Medica in many circumstances as well.
Though the similarities between the two are not insubstantial, they certainly are not entirely identical in form or function.
For starters, Vermeulen covers 190 remedies while Morrison covers 290. Another small difference is that while all listings in the Synoptic seem to be covered in one to three pages, the Desktop Guide contains descriptions as brief as one or two lines and as extensive as seven or eight pages.
But there are also deeper differences.
In North America, there is probably no classical homeopath unaware of the professional background and contributions of Roger Morrison.
This book is just the latest offering that solidifies his position as one of this country's premiere disciples of George Vithoulkas and as a leading homeopathic educator. The Desktop Guide is an outgrowth of his career.
While Roger has drawn on many other reference works along with his own extensive clinical experience to round out the information, the book has a definite Vithoulkian flavor.
More complete and accurate than any other summary of Vithoulkas's remedy pictures previously published in English, it contains well sculpted images touching on the major aspects of the entries. Strictly speaking, these are not the "essences." There is no attempt to exclusively focus on a psychological perspective. Ample space is given to both relevant physical and clinical symptoms.
Yet, each entry is skillfully crafted to give the reader a taste of the Vithoulkian "essence" along with the broad strokes of the remedy.
An introductory paragraph tops each entry and outlines a perspective on the most salient themes. It may focus on any combination of mentals, emotions, physicals, or clinical information. The introduction is followed by a series of one- or two- line sentences organized by systems.
These contain the most important bits of data relevant to that remedy. Any attempt to cram in lots of small details that may result in information overload is studiously avoided.
Particularly consequential keynotes are highlighted in boldface. Morrison also adds a diamond to indicate that the particular remedy under discussion is the most important one for that symptom. (E.g., under Helleborus, "Stupefaction and mental dullness" is listed with a diamond.)
After the symptoms sections, there is a list of the most common clinical conditions for which the particular remedy is used. This is reminiscent of Clarke's Materia Medica where a similar section is placed near the beginning of each entry. The next section lists complementary remedies.
Following this there is a brief differential that introduces the remedies most easily confused with the given remedy, along with the similar symptoms that could lead to the confusion. Another useful touch is the book's excellent index.
Where relevant, Morrison adds one more section on combined symptoms. These are a group of two or more symptoms which, when found together, are an indication that a certain remedy should be considered.
As an example, under Lithium carbonicum, combined symptoms are "hip pain and heart disease" or "rheumatism and valvular heart disease." Although somewhat formula-like, this can help point toward a remedy from what other, wise can seem to be insignificant, overly generalized, or pathological information.
The book is self-published through the Hahnemann Clinic, and it costs sixty-five dollars a copy. The binding appears to be durable and the paper of high quality. Just as important, the expansive pages contain lots of white space, the layout is very clean, and the type is very easy on the eyes.
This makes for easy going when quickly surveying the information on a remedy in the midst of a consultation. Unfortunately, the cover on my copy has already begun to warp and the denim-like material is starting to exhibit wear marks at the corner. Hopefully, the publisher will be able to correct this problem in subsequent editions, since the reader is paying for more than an inexpensive copy.
Taken altogether though, the Desktop Guide has succeeded in being a truly, "user friendly" clinical aide. It is also a wonderful, accurate introduction to the basic material that George Vithoulkas has developed over the years.
Not as well known in this country is the Dutch homeopath Frans Vermeulen. As a teacher throughout Europe, he labored to put together a coherent summary of the often-used remedies for his students. This information grew into the Synoptic Materia Medica.
Drawing from many different sources, Vermeulen has created a compact volume packed with information. The presentation is a more eclectic one that draws on material directly from Barthel's Synthetic Repertory, Boger's Synoptic Key, and the Complete Repertory of Roger van Zandvoort.
It is also replete with many references to Vithoulkas, Phatak, 0. A. Julian, Mathur, Kent, Clark, Tyler, Borland, Lou Klein, Roger Morrison, and others. Yet, in spite of its richness, the author has been diligent in editing each entry to fill no more than a few pages.
The organization of the volume is somewhat unique, with the information on each remedy broken into six parts. The first describes the region of the body, side, tissues and/or organs for which the remedy has an affinity. This is followed by the modalities. Both of these borrow directly from the Synoptic Key and, to a much lesser extent, the Synthetic Repertory.
Following this is a section called the "Leading Symptoms." Often the meatiest part of each presentation, it provides a picture of the remedy through a list of its most outstanding features. Since it is not limited to simply enumerating individual symptoms, a more accurate name might be "Leading Characteristics.
While some of the leading symptoms are straightforward keynote symptoms, others are statements or explanations of some facet of the remedy that can cover a full paragraph. Quite a few of the latter are direct quotes from other sources.
One of three boldface letters - M, G, or P - is also placed at the head of each leading symptom to denote whether what follows relates to mentals, generals, or physicals. Information that the author feels is particularly important is written in capitals or, less frequently, in italics.
The "Repertory" section follows. These are small rubrics where the remedy appears in either italics or bold type in van Zandvoort's Complete Repertory (MacRepertory). Although there is some repetition from the leading symptoms, most of these symptoms are less broad and more peculiar than the information found in the previous section. Between the two sections, the remedy picture is covered in both broad and fairly detailed strokes.
After the repertory, food aversion, desires, aggravations and ameliorations are listed separately. Although these are good confirmatory rubrics, it is not clear why they cannot be incorporated into the previous section.
The final part, titled "Nucleus", is a very useful, simple summary of the dominant themes of the remedy. The content is mostly an abbreviated outline of the information detailed in "Leading Symptoms." A quick glance here gives an instantaneous overview of the remedy.
After using this book for a few months, I have come to appreciate it tremendously. With six different sections, the format is very flexible and a lot of information is presented in a relatively limited space. More importantly, Vermeulen has succeeded in pulling together useful images from many sources to give very well rounded views on the remedies.
Often, I find myself first looking at the nucleus section, then at a more detailed reading of the leading symptoms. If I have something in particular in mind, I will read through the repertory, the modalities, or the region or food section.
Hopefully, subsequent editions will expand on the number of remedies discussed. Although all the polychrests and most of the commonly used remedies are found in the Synoptic, the inclusion of some others would enhance the value of this book even further. For instance, when looking to confirm the choice of Kalmia for a particular case, I was disappointed to find it missing.
The addition of an index and some differentials would also be welcome, though the empty space allotted under "Notes" is a nice touch.
It is also too bad that this fine work is somewhat marred by an unattractive edition. From the glossy silver cover to a crowded layout, the physical structure of the book is simply uninviting.
To better understand the differences between these two works, let us compare the information presented about a few remedies. In particular, I have chosen three non-polychrests used for hyperactive children. This will also afford us an opportunity to work in a little thematic materia medica study to boot.
Arsenicum iodatum is described in the Desktop Guide as a remedy frequently used in hyperactivity. Morrison explains how "these children can literally tear apart the doctor's office, not out of maliciousness, but from restlessness."
The one page of information he provides on this remedy centers on three boldface symptoms: tremendously restless (this can be expected since both Arsenicum and Iodum are that way), warm-blooded (Arsenicum iodatum can be used for cases that seem to fit Arsenicum but are warm), and hay fever with acrid, watery discharge. (It is useful for allergies and respiratory problems.)
Other material is fairly sparse. Malignancy is listed under generals, while psoriasis and eczema are listed under skin. The clinical conditions are basically the same as listed above. His differential is with five remedies (Ars., Sulph., Kali-i., Iod., and Lach.) although there are no comparative symptoms.
He also adds a useful list of "the most common remedies for hyperactivity in children" (Tub, Verat., Sulph., Hyos., Med., Nux-v., Stram., Ars-i., Lyc., Tarent., Anac., Rhus-t.) But again little information is provided on those characteristics of Arsenicum iodatum that differentiates it from the others.
Vermeulen writes that the nucleus of Arsenicum iodatum is burning, acrid discharges, hyperactivity, a warm Arsenicum, and the tubercular diathesis.
With the exception of the tubercular diathesis, these themes are quite similar to what is found in the Desktop Guide. A majority of the text enlarges upon these points.
Also added are the following interesting symptoms which are garnered from diverse sources: aggravations from both heat and cold, deafness from hypertrophied Eustachian tubes (Mathur), heart disease combined with chronic cough (Clark), and psoriasis.
The main mental symptom, "hyperactive children," is credited to Morrison, but is not enlarged upon. Most other symptoms listed from the mind section of MacRepertory - sudden impulse to kill, restlessness aggravated by warm bed, and sensitive to sensual impressions - are traits shared with Iodum. Only "anxiety from heat of the bed," which is an addition from Vithoulkas, stands out as an independent, characteristic symptom.
The Synoptic does give a good deal of space to the specifics of the discharges and other physical symptoms along with a long list of modalities. An explanation of how it relates to the tubercular diathesis, though, is missing.
In general, although the overall picture is much the same as described in the Desktop Guide, the Synoptic gives more symptoms with which to confirm the remedy while the Desktop Guide focuses slightly more on a mental/emotional picture of the remedy.
Vermeulen has enumerated many of the symptoms that the remedy shares with Arsenicum and Iodum, while Morrison summarizes these by simply stating that it "takes on the symptoms of both its constituents."
The information presented on Sulphuricum acidum is quite similar in both books. In contrast to the restlessness of Arsenicum iodatum, the feeling of this remedy is one of always being in a rush. Morrison encapsulates this with the term "frantic hurriedness." He provides us with a very nice thematic summary by describing how the substance is found in exhaust fumes and "by metaphor, it is thus both a by-product of our culture's frantic pace... and a cause of that same hurriedness." Vermeulen describes this as "being nervous and anxious to get things done in time. Cannot relax."
Beyond the hurriedness, there are several other major themes of Sulphuricum acidum listed by both authors, the first being aggravations from fumes, exhaust and other pollutants in the air. Morrison states that this remedy is a consideration when dealing with patients who are very sensitive to chemicals or have environmental illnesses.
The acid in the remedy shows up as a tendency toward exhaustion with internal trembling. As a useful combined symptom, Morrison gives "hurriedness and complaints from exhaustion." Along with the weakness is a chilliness and aggravation from cold. The Desktop Guide also lists sexual weakness in the form of premature ejaculation.
Another part of the picture is an acidic condition in the body. This manifests as sourness of perspiration and other discharges, with aphthae (it is a 3 in the repertory), and heartburn. Vermeulen also lists yellow-colored stools.
Another keynote of Sulphuricum acidum is the predisposition toward bruising. Vermeulen specifies such phenomena as purpura haemorrhagica, ecchymoses, and petechiae. Both authors state that it follows Arnica after injury or bruising. Morrison also adds soft tissue injuries or gangrene after injury.
This remedy is fairly common in menopausal women. While the Desktop Guide states this as "general aggravation at the menopause," the Synoptic specifies flushes of heat, perspiration, weakness, internal tremor, hurriedness and bruises relative to the climacteric.
Both books point out that Sulphuricum acidum has a strong connection with alcohol. Under the food section, Vermeulen shows that both desire for and aversion to alcohol are listed in italics in MacRepertory, while the aggravation from alcohol is in bold print. Morrison emphasizes the craving for brandy in particular (listed in italics in MacRepertory), and gives as one of his boldface symptoms "Aversion to water unless liquor or brandy is added to it."
There are a few other keynote symptoms listed by both authors. Pains appear gradually and disappear suddenly. There is a feeling of looseness of the brain in the head. Perspiration appears after eating warm food.
The Desktop Guide contains three small keynotes not found in the Synoptic. These are "talks to himself," "itching of the fingertips," and "sensation of egg-white on the face." The Synoptic has "amelioration from walking fast," "monosyllabic speech," and "difficult respiration that is ameliorated by hanging down the legs."
Again, the difference between the presentation of Sulphuricum acidum is more one of format than information. The Desktop Guide develops a better picture of the mentals in the introductory paragraph, while the Synoptic has slightly more data listed in the leading symptoms and MacRepertory sections.
To a great extent this distinction holds true for the respective presentations of Tarentula hispanica. The basic picture and use of this remedy for hyperactive persons is common knowledge. Both materia medicas very adequately present this information, though certain aspects of the symptomatology receive more or less attention.
In his introductory remarks, Morrison begins with a useful insight into the early, less developed stages of the remedy. While reading this description, it becomes clear that it is easy to miss the early stage Tarentula hispanica and prescribe something like Nux vomica instead.
Before reaching a state of intense hyperactivity, these people are always keeping themselves busy. They are hard workers and are prone to workaholism. Both remedies are chilly and crave spicy foods as well.
It is only as the pathology deepens that the well known restlessness, hurriedness, and impatience appear more dramatically. Morrison characterizes this as "nervous over-stimulation," while Vermeulen describes it as "boundless energy." Both books portray this state in similar terms. There is extreme restlessness, ceaseless motion, and the perception that others are not moving quickly enough.
In this state there is a hypersensitivity to many types of stimulation. Best known is the effect of music, which either further excites or soothes the nerves. Tarentula hispanica is also sensitive to colors and touch. And it is listed as being averse to black, blue, red, yellow and green, as well as "charmed by blue, green and red."
As the condition evolves even further, other aspects of the symptomatology begin to appear. Morrison gives an image of an inner stimulation so great that mere movement or activity no longer can relieve it.
This is when Tarentula hispanica can become destructive, full of rages and violent impulses. Vermeulen quotes from Tyler: "Sudden violent [sic] ... are absolutely characteristic... Sudden impulse to do harm ... Violence of onslaught."
This characteristic is coupled with a dishonest nature. Morrison uses "cunning," "manipulative" and "deceitful" to describe it. Vermeulen gives "foxy," "devious" and "sly destructive" (Tyler). Of course, the combined picture is of the spider coyly awaiting its prey, and then pouncing on it with incredible speed.
Deeper pathology also increases the speed and frequency of movement to the point of being uncontrollable. Again Vermeulen uses Tyler's description: "Incredible quickness: jumps out of bed and smashes something before she can be prevented," to which he adds "Followed by laughter and apologies."
The Synoptic also quotes Kent: "Rolling from side to side to relieve the distress." Twitches, jerks, and general choreic movements also appear.
The sensitivity reaches to every part of the body. A keynote described by both authors is "extreme hypersensitivity of the tips of the fingers." Vermeulen says that the spine is overly sensitive and that touching it refers pain to the heart, chest and other areas.
The genitals are also sensitive. In the Desktop Guide this is described as "hypersexual ... promiscuous." The Synoptic gives "sexual erethism," meaning abnormally sensitive to stimulation (Yasgur, A Dictionary of Homeopathic Medical Terminology).
Relative to the genitalia, Morrison lists uterine fibroids, and "tumors and diseases of the ovaries and testes." This is not mentioned in the Synoptic, though both discuss the itching of the vulva and vaginal area, which is worse after the menses.
The Desktop Guide also notes that Tarentula hispanica is useful in heart conditions such as angina or mitral valve disease. As one of his combined symptoms he gives "heart and ovarian disease." (The other is "hurriedness and genital itching.")
One aspect of the remedy that is emphasized in the Synoptic is a cheerful disposition. If we look in the repertory, it is under cheerful, mirth" and "jesting" in italics. Under "exhilaration" it is in boldface. Vermeulen writes, "Extreme disposition to laugh, play, joke, to do absurd things."
Other differences between the two presentations are relatively minor. Morrison notes that Tarentula hispanica is chilly and aggravated by cold, Vermeulen that it is chilly but desires cold drinks and open air.
It also lists the remedy in the third degree under "desire to eat sand." While both mention genital itching, Morrison also lists abscesses, skin ulcers and formication as relevant symptoms.
All in all, these are two valuable books whose similarities are greater than their differences. If I were to have only one on my desk, either one would be fine ... but I would miss the other for its complementary information.
The outstanding attributes of the Desktop Guide are the concise summary at the beginning of each entry along with the faithful description of the Vithoulkian remedy image. The Synoptic offers a greater diversity of information from many different sources and more detailed data for study or confirmation.
Julian Jonas, C.A., graduated from the Meiji College of Oriental Medicine in Osaka, Japan. He has practiced in Japan and Sri Lanka, holding licenses also in California, Massachusetts, and Vermont. He completed the NESH course in 1991. Julian currently practices in Saxtons River, Vermont. He is one of the instructors at the New England School of homeopathy and is currently participating in the 18- month NESH Level 3 course.
New England Journal of Homeopathy Volume 3 Number 1, Winter 1994
Reprinted with permission from New England Journal of Homeopathy
Heritage"Originally compiled as a remedy summary for the Finnish and Irish Schools of Homeopathy, this materia medica soon grew into a book from which, I hope, others may also benefit."
Saying how difficult it was to compose a cohesive picture of a remedy from the fragmentary and often contradictory information in most materia medicae, the author summarized the remedies "in such a way that the mental picture (M), the generalities (G), and the physical symptoms (P) are clear to the reader."
The exposition of 194 remedies is followed by a listing of rubrics derived from VanZandvoort's Complete Repertory. Each entry has space for "Notes" at the end, encouraging users to add their own information.
The work has gone though six editions, all unchanged from the original. A seventh edition, revised and enlarged, is due in December 2001.
The Heritage of Homoeopathic Literature
copyright 2001 by Julian Winston
Reprinted with the permission of the author