Boenninghausen's Therapeutic Pocket Book
OverviewEdited by T.F. Allen, this work is often prized for its section on concordances; describing similarities between medicines. The current resurgence of interest in the Boenninghausen method has practitioners giving this gem a second look.
503 pp hb
DetailsThe Therapeutic Pocket Book (For Homeopathic Physicians, to be Used at the Bedside of the Patient, and in Studying the Materia Medica Pura) by Clemens von Boenninghausen, was first published in 1846. T. F. Allen's translation came out in 1891.
This opus is the quintessential Boenninghausen, presenting his ideas in their most effective manner. He used 5 grades to differentiate symptoms in this repertory, from 'doubtful' to 'proving symptoms repeatedly verified'. Though extensively used by some of our most gifted practitioners-Lippe, Case, etc., others such as Kent disparaged its value.
In his Preface Boenninghausen says, "There is no doubt that a diligent and comprehensive study of the pure materia medica cannot be thoroughly accomplished by the use of any repertory whatever."
At the same time he recognized the need for a reference that contained the characteristic symptoms. Thus permitting the busy practitioner to select from the remedies generally indicated the one most homeopathically suitable, without too great a loss of time.
He felt that other repertories were incomplete due to the listing of partially complete symptoms. Body parts listed without sensation, omitted aggravations and ameliorations, the absence of concomitants, etc. Boenninghausen felt that the older repertories scattered symptoms among different rubrics making the comprehension of the totality difficult.
To remedy these identified defects he gathers together all the affected localities, all the sensations, all the aggravations and ameliorations, all the concomitants, each fitting into its own place in the case. This process creates the totality of the symptom ultimately ending with the selection of the appropriate remedy.
HeritageAlong with the German edition in 1846, there was also an English edition (translated by Stapf), and a French edition.
Several other editions were printed: 1847, translated by A. Howard Oke; Otis Clapp; 483 pages. 1847, translated by Charles J. Hempel; William Radde; 504 pages. 1891, edited by T.F. Allen, MD, Hahnemann Publishing House; 484 pages.
In 1846 Bonninghausen produced his Therapeutic Pocket Book. It served as the final synthesis for his ideas.
Five type faces were used to indicate the manner in which the remedies were encountered in the provings:
parentheses for those remedies which are doubtful;
symptom seen in a proving (plain);
symptom seen in several provings (italic);
symptom seen in provings and verified as cured (lower case bold);
symptom seen in provings and repeatedly verified (upper case bold).
Several translations were made of this work over the years, the most recent being the revision by Gypser and Dimitriadis in 2000.
Julian Winston writes:
It is THIS book that most people see as "Bonninghausen" and it is this book that Kent talked about when he said he didn't understand the method of Bonninghausen. It was never well explained except through the teaching that took place through preceptorships.
It was thought to be so valuable that Erastus Case, MD, copied one by hand when he could not find a copy for sale. It was more than a repertory-- it was a method. Bonninghausen was not only a lawyer, he was a botanist and taxonomist. He saw things in large generalities, and used this ability to synthesize several rubrics into a generality-- something Kent never quite understood.
As the title implies, the book was also intended to be used in the reverse as well-- as a guide to the study of the materia medica. With the recent revision in print, more people are beginning to understand and use the method with the book.
The Heritage of Homoeopathic Literature
copyright 2001 by Julian Winston
Reprinted with the permission of the author