A repertory is, or should be, an index to the materia medica, a dictionary of the materia medica, arranged strictly according to the alphabet in every respect. The compiler must know the symptoms useful in prescribing, yet it is better to record a symptom which is not of much value, than to miss one that is. Then he must be able to judge which word of the symptom is the key-word and place this first; then the repertory must be arranged according to anatomical parts and alphabetically.
Each part of the repertory should be divided into different chapters. The Romans said: “Divide and conquer.” Therefore I divided the two repertories to my “Therapeutics of Facial and Sciatic neuralgia” in this way; Aggravation, Amelioration, Concomitants, Location and Direction, Pains and Sensations. In this manner it is much easier to arrange and also to consult and should be done wherever practicable.
Then as to the head: Head in general, Forehead,-left,-right, Occiput,-left,-right, Sides,-left,-right, Temple,-left,-right, Vertex.
In order to make such an arrangement much simpler and more certainly correct and also to save a great deal of writing, with the danger of errors in each copy, the symptoms as gathered from the materia medica must be copied on slips of paper, size 2 by 3; if one side of such slip is not large enough for writing the complete symptom, both sides or two slips of these papers can be used, for such small papers are much easier to arrange, as they occupy much less space.
It is much easier for two persons to work together; one to read off the symptoms, the other to write them on these slips, and one is not so likely to miss a symptom; the slips when written,are deposited in a small paper box, in the order as written and tied together when each part is finished, for further revision, and comparison, and this is continued until the entire repertory is completed; then it can be revised and finally rewritten as it is to appear in printed form. Had I known enough to write the symptoms on such slips of paper and then to arrange the alphabetically, it would have saved me a great deal of time and labor, even in writing small repertories and this is the sole reason why I write this for the HOMOEOPATHIC RECORDER in order to be of aid to others.
It was a great loss to homoeopathy when Dr. Edmund Lee, of Philadelphia, lost his vision, after beginning to publish his repertory and becoming, therefore, unable to finish the work. However, this was to a great extent remedied when Dr. J.T.Kent published his great repertory; but it would have been much improved had he divided it in separate chapters for each part.
Dr.William Jefferson Guernsey wrote a fine repertory on diphtheria, splendidly divided into subjective symptoms, objective symptoms, aggravation and amelioration, region (or location), concomitants; and also a repertory on haemorrhoids. Dr.A.W. Holcombe, Kokomo, Indiana, wrote a find repertory on “Sensations as if.” Let us hope there will be others to follow and to encourage this I have written this article with the hint on writing the symptoms direct from the materia medica on these little slips of paper, the great time and labor saving device which insures better results as well.
A number of years ago a number of physician of a country society resolved to write a repertory of Dr. Herings Condensed Materia Medica, each one to complete a certain part. It never was completed and such parts as were written were very poorly arranged. It was as easy to find a symptom in the book as in these repertories. Had they thought to copy the symptoms on small slips of paper and then arrange them in dictionary style they would, no doubt, have had better success and would have completed their work.
Homoeopathy needs a repertory which shall contain every symptom in the materia medica that may be useful some time and is therefore at all worth recording properly arranged according to the part of the body and properly divided as indicated above and strictly alphabetical as a dictionary. Chest should be divided: Chest, External, Mammae, left, right; Chest, internal, Bronchi, Heart, Lungs, Cough, Expectoration, Respiration, Pains and Sensations and give left and right and Aggravation and Amelioration under each paragraph and so forth for each part of the body and its functions and have these parts bound in separate volumes for easy comparison.
This plan may cost a little more in paper and type setting, but the result would amply pay for this. The external eye, eyelids are a part of the eye, but also a part of the face and therefore should appear in both also a part of face and therefore should appear in both paragraphs as also with other similar symptoms. “Walk, must run when he wants to walk” is a symptom of the mind, but should also appear under lower extremities instead of referring to mind; it may save the doctor much valuable time.
When thus completed, revised and all errors. eliminated, two sets of stereotype plates should be made from the type and kept in fireproof vaults for future use and the work translated into all principal languages of the world.
The repertories of the characteristic symptoms, like that of Dr. J.T.Kent, are a great help, but characteristic symptoms are often conspicuous, by their absence only.