The relationships of remedies according to their chemical constituents is a highly interesting and all too undeveloped subject. It illuminates relationships, as for instance, Pulsatilla contains Kali sulph., and Bell. has much Mag. phos., Allium cepa and Lyc. contains Sulph. Quantitative chemical analyses should be done on all our vegetable remedies.



The subject of the relationship of remedies is one of the most fascinating in homoeopathy, and many aspects of it have not been developed in the literature. Long before Hahnemann, Paracelsus wrote much on the doctrine of signatures and the old herbalists determined the uses of their remedies partly from those suggested signs. A vast amount of work on the relationship of remedies to each other, rather than to symptoms, has been done by such men as Boenninghausen, Hering, Clarke, Gibson Miller, the Allens, Kent, Guernsey, and Lippe. Most of this work has been along one main line, that of COMPLEMENTARY remedies, in other words, those remedies which carry on or complete most successfully the action of other given remedies.

Certain disparities exist in the lists of the above men, and the lists in the original should be studied by the student. The best sources for this are: Gibson Millers little pamphlet, The Relationship of Remedies, printed in London but obtainable from Boericke and Tafel in Philadelphia, (no homoeopathic practitioner should be without one.

When your case has repertorized out to three or four remedies and it seems evident that no similimum will unravel the whole condition,and, at the moment, it is impossible to decide which of two to give first, Millers tables will often indicate that one follows the other to better advantage than vice versa); and fourth volume of Clarkes Dictionary, the Clinical Repertory, which contains the same type of tables and material on a greater number of remedies, although we feel that Gibson Miller has pruned wisely; Compare Olds Complementary Remedies, Homoeopathic Recorder, April 1928, p. 205. and the very suggestive (unfortunately he does not explain how he arrived at his groupings).

There are several classes of complementary relationships. A word of explanation about the practical application of each is in order: A plain complementary remedy,such as those listed immediately below, is related by symptomatology and sometimes, as in the case of Ars. Phos., by occurrence in nature, and sometimes by constituents, i. e., Badiaga-Iodium.

In explanation of this type of complementary remedy, it may be said ideally “one remedy, one dose”, should cure, but most cases are so mixed, so confused by miasms, drugging, etc., that one must tack against the wind, using more than one remedy. Some of the main complementary relationships of this type are as follows:

Ant. tart.-Ip. Cham.-Mag. carb. Nat. sulph.-Thuja

Apis-Nat. mur. China-Ferrum Op-Plb.

Arg. nit.-Nat mur Con.-Bar. mur. Petr.-Sep.

Ars.-Phos. Cupr.-Calc. Phos.-Carbo veg.,

Bar. carb.-Dulc. Iod.-Lyc. and Ars.

Berb. vulg.-Lyc. Lach.-Lyc., Nit. ac. Puls.-Kali sulph.

Bry.-Rhus Med.-Sulph. Sab.-Thuja

Calc. For Bell. Mez.-Merc. Stann.-Puls.

See under acute and chronic.

A more specialized class of complementary remedies is the acute complements of chronic remedies or the chronic complement of acute remedies, according to whether your patient is first seen as an acute or chronic case. For instance, an acute Bell. throat to prevent recurrence and finish off the case, may need the chronic complement Calcarea; or a chronic Natrum mur. case may develop an acute cold which will call for its acute complement, Bryonia. One of the confusing points is that a chronic remedy may have more than one acute complement, for example, Natrum mur. has Bryonia, Ignatia and Apis; Lyc. has Rhus, Chel., and Puls., and sometimes Iod. Some of the best known examples, putting the acutes first, are:

Acon.-Sulph Coloc.-Staph.

Ars.-Thuja Hepar-Sil.

Bac.-Calc. phos Nux vom.-Sep.

Bell.-Calc. Puls.-Sil.

Bry.-Alum., or Nat. mur.

The third type of complementary remedies is one on which the least work has been done, most of the data being found sprinkled around in Kents Materia Medica. This is remedies in series. For instance, Calc,-Lyc.-Sulph.; (it will be noted that all three of these are chronic remedies. They must be used in this order and not the opposite one); Ign.-Nat. mur.-Sepia; Puls.-Sil.-Fluor. ac.; Ars.-Thuja-Tarant.; All.cep.-Phos.-Sulp.; Acon.-Spongia- Hepar, and many others.

Of course only a few examples from among those listed in the suggested study books have been given here. The student will notice that for the most part the nosodes have been omitted, also the tissue salts; moreover certain notable remedies, like Kali carb., for which many complements have been suggested but none seems wholly satisfactory.

In the above sources certain remedies are listed as incompatible. This means not only that these remedies cannot be given together-for no two remedies are given together by the true Hahnemannian homoeopath-but it means that they must not follow each other without an intervening remedy or considerable time. Some of these are as follows:

Acon.-Acet. ac. Ign.-Coff., Nux Tab.

Amm. carb.-Lach Lach.-Dulc., Psor.

Apis-Rhus Led.-Chin.

Aur. mur. natr.-Coffea Lyc. after Sulph.

Bell.-Dulc. Merc.-Sil.

Calc. after Kali bi. or Nit. ac. and before Bar. carb. or Sulph.

Caust.-Phos. Phos.-Caust.

Cham.-Nux or Zinc. Psor.-Sep.

Cocc.-Coff. Rhus-Apis

Ferrum after Dig. Sep.-Lach.

The subject of remedy analogues in the animals, vegetable and mineral kingdoms has been but little studied and offers a fruitful field. (Theoretically some hold that there should be a remedy in each of the three kingdoms for every ill). Examples are: Ignatia is the vegetable analogue of Natrum mur.; and Phytolacca of Mercury.

The relationships of remedies according to their chemical constituents is a highly interesting and all too undeveloped subject. It illuminates relationships, as for instance, Pulsatilla contains Kali sulph., and Bell. has much Mag. phos., Allium cepa and Lyc. contains Sulph. Quantitative chemical analyses should be done on all our vegetable remedies.

Among the animal remedies, Badiaga and Spongia contain Iodine.

The botanical relationship of the vegetable remedies is very suggestive. These are to be found in Clarkes Clinical Repertory. The student would do well to familiarize himself with the better known remedies in this group, a few of which are given below:

Loganiaceae: Mitchella.

Brucea China.

Curare Ip.

Gels. Galium.

Hoang nan Rubia tinct.

Ign. Solanaceae:.

Nux Bell.

Spig. Caps.

Upas Duboisin.

Ranunculaceae: Daturas.

Adonis Dulc.

Clem. Hyos.

Hepatica Lycopersicum (tomato).

Hydrastis Mandragora.

Puls. Pichi.

Ran. bulb. Solanums (potato, etc.).

Ran. scel. Stram.

Aconites Tab.

Actea rac. (Cimic.) Berberidaceae:.

Actea spic. Berb.

Aquil. vulg. Caul.

Caltha pal. Podo.

Hellebores Melanthaceae:.

Staph. Colch.

Paeonia Helonias Rubiaceae: Sabad.

Cainca Verat.

Coff. Yucca.

Some of the therapeutic snags in connection with the relationship of remedies will be taken up in a later lecture on the dangers of homoeopathic prescribing.


Elizabeth Wright Hubbard
Dr. Elizabeth Wright Hubbard (1896-1967) was born in New York City and later studied with Pierre Schmidt. She subsequently opened a practice in Boston. In 1945 she served as president of the International Hahnemannian Association. From 1959-1961 served at the first woman president of the American Institute of Homeopathy. She also was Editor of the 'Homoeopathic Recorder' the 'Journal of the American Institute of Homeopathy' and taught at the AFH postgraduate homeopathic school. She authored A Homeopathy As Art and Science, which included A Brief Study Course in Homeopathy.