In the case of a patient who has never been prescribed for, this classification cannot be utilized in the old intuitive method of prescribing until some constitutional remedy has been definitely worked out. Once a patient has been established in a group, the remedies, in that group should always be studied when a prescription is required. If it be not found there, study the related or neighboring groups and, if it be no there, consult the whole materia medica.


The William E. Boyd classification of remedies, published in the Homoeopathic Recorder in September 1929, p. 641, has proved itself so valuable as to call for re-publishing in order to make available such additions as have been made in the interim.

The groups are the results of Boyds research with his Emanometer, whereby he has demonstrated that every individual causes a characteristic effect which tends to remain at a constant Emanometer reading during his life. This particular effect can be shown to appear at twelve different readings on the Emanometer, in twelve different types of individuals. He has also found that each drug causes a similar characteristic effect, thus making it possible to classify our materia medica into twelve groups.

A patient usually requires a remedy that belongs in the same group to which he belongs but, in acute conditions, his characteristic reaction may change to any reading on the Emanometer, so a remedy outside his usual group-reading may be needed.

McCrae of London, a co-worker with Boyd, states that certain of the twelve groups are peculiarly related to one another. He thinks that there is evidence to show that when, during acute conditions, a patient changes to a different group, he is likely to show a predilection for one of such related groups or for a neighboring group. His observations show that an inter-group relationship exists among I, VI and probably X and between V and VIII. 2 Up to now. the relationship (if any) of the seven remaining groups has not been observed. Although these groups have been worked out by means of physical apparatus, they can be utilized in the old intuitive method of prescribing. A remedy outside of the patients group is not apt to bring about the optimum result but, where such a remedy is needed, a remedy within his group is usually required to polish off the case.


The grouping of the patient who has been under ones care for some time can be found by analyzing his response to the prescriptions which he has hitherto received. It will be found that most of the remedies that have yielded satisfactory results are in one group, and a study of the patient in connection with this group will usually confirm the patients similarity to it. It is common experience that the first prescription for a chronic case is much easier to find than the second one, and the records of many patients will show that the results subsequent to the first prescription have never been as good as the result from the first. This one satisfactory remedy may place the patient in his true group and it may be found that all the other prescriptions have been in different and unrelated groups.

If, on the other hand, a patient responds well to a remedy from one of the related groups, for instance V, but fails to so respond to subsequent remedies from the same group, this might be an indication to seek for a remedy in the related group (VIII). If the group VIII drug acts satisfactorily, it will indicate that VIII is the the patients proper group and V his related group.

In the case of a patient who has never been prescribed for, this classification cannot be utilized in the old intuitive method of prescribing until some constitutional remedy has been definitely worked out. Once a patient has been established in a group, the remedies, in that group should always be studied when a prescription is required. If it be not found there, study the related or neighboring groups and, if it be no there, consult the whole materia medica.


1. A chronic hay-fever sufferer wrote from out-of-town that he had an attack of epidemic influenza which affected the larynx and left him with a husky voice, irritation in the post-nares, and a feeling as of a woolly plug in the region of the soft palate.

When this patient first applied for treatment, many years before, Sulph. was worked out as his chronic remedy and benefited him for two or three years, thus placing him in group VIII. By using group VIII as a rubric and taking the remedies in Kents Repertory covering “husky voice,” Selenium was found to cover his present case. A powder of the 200th cleared up the condition at once.

2. A woman of seventy-two, suffering from cardiac asthma, was seen in consultation with Dr. Lawrence M. Stanton. She had been ill for twelve days and appeared to be in extremis. She was drifting into a stupor, was flighty and was talking continually of death, rolling her head from side to side in anguish and gasping for breath. Whenever she fell asleep, she would awake in an asthmatic paroxysm. She craved ice and ice-cold water. Her heart was dilated and pulse was 116. Her blood-pressure was 200/100. Lach. had given much temporary relief, then Ipecac had helped slightly. Phos. was then given, without relief.

From a repertorial and materia medica study of the case, the remedies were narrowed down to Lycopodium and Spongia. Lyc. appeared to cover the whole case best, but Spongia appeared best to cover the asthmatic phase, because of which Spongia was the remedy of choice. Lyc. is in group V and Spongia is in group VI. In the past, the patient had occasionally required Caust., Gels., and Arsenic, all of which were in group VI, and, once she had been benefited by Phos., which is in group V.3 At other times, she had been much benefited by Kali Carb., which is in group VII. 4 With this suggestive evidence before us, and fortified by previous experience with the groupings, it was easy to determine that she was more like group VI than like group V or VII. This helped to clarify the situation for Spongia, which was given in the 2M potency. Her response was one of those examples of an apparently dying patient being brought back to life. The comfort that this classification gave to the physicians was almost comparable to the relief that the patient experienced from the remedy.

However, the comfort of all parties lasted for only a few days, for a relapse occurred which did not respond to Spongia nor did recognized indications develop for any remedy in either hers or her related groups.

At one time, burning feet and other temporarily. She slipped from one relapse to another, with no remedy holding as long as Spongia held, until she reached a state worse than that for which Spongia was given, all of which dampened our enthusiasm for the groups but, after a month, she developed intense constrictive pains around the heart and concomitantly painful constriction of the throat, bladder, wrists and ankles and she appeared to be in deeper extremis than at the time Spongia was given.

This was a clear case for Cactus, which is in the same group with Spongia. Cactus 30th was given with quick improvement which has continued and now, after three weeks, she appears to be recovering. The point confirmatory of the use of the groupings is that Spongia and Cactus were the only remedies that yielded sustained curative effects. The lack of indicative symptoms prevented the finding of Cactus until the patient was nearly lost.

This list is by no means final; it is the result of research which is in a fluid state. Boyd says: “Later on, I have no doubt that some of the groups will be split up into sub- groups, once better apparatus is obtained.” The method by which the grouping was developed is available only to those who are impelled to undertake research among the phenomena being investigated by Boyd and a few others. For the intuitive prescriber the results of drug provings must be the main guide for the selection of the similar remedy and the physician must be competent to know when the classification is or is not of value.

The method that led to the grouping has been found of great assistance clinically and the groups have proved of such assistance in intuitive prescribing that I feel justified in publishing the list again in its present development. In my experience, the patients remedy group is as great an aid in finding the similimum as is a rubric that covers a general characteristic of the patient.

Another thought presents itself. During an epidemic there is usually one remedy which covers the majority of cases and a few scattered remedies that cover the remainder. Each epidemic produces its own similimum. Since an epidemic illness affects only the individuals who are susceptible, it will be of interest to observe whether the remedies which best fit the given epidemic belong to one of these groups.

If they do, this grouping will be useful as a broad background from which to work during the busy times of influenzal and other invasions. Only the collaboration of a large number of observers will determine this. Please test this grouping in your practice and report, failures or assistance to Dr. Stearns or to Dr. William E. Boyd, 17 Sandyford Place, Glasgow.

1. McCrae, in a recent paper, stated that, in a pregnant woman the basic wave may change during the period of pregnancy, but not necessarily to a related group. This point is useful to the intuitive prescriber in that the related groupings may at times be ignored during the pregnancy.

Guy Beckley Stearns