The word repertory brings hazy thoughts to physicians of something mysterious, difficult, something better left alone. To others the value of repertory study is clear but the amount of work necessary to enable one to use a large repertory to advantage is appalling. So all the earlier works are out of print, every edition is small; it is hard to persuade a publisher to undertake the many difficulties of printing; the cost of the student remains high and the danger of typographical error great.
Yet the repertory to the homoeopathic materia medica is its key; it unlocks the treasure house of provings and makes them available for practical use.
1 – REPERTORY MAKING.
In order to understand any repertory it is necessary to consider how the different general ones were made. By general repertory I mean one which aims to cover the whole field in distinction from the repertories of special symptoms or special diseases. The general repertories,so far as I know them, will be considered in this paper and the special repertories listed as an addition to it. I am indebted to Dr. F.E. Gladwin for her clear presentation of repertory making and to an editorial by Dr. H.A. Roberts in the November 1930 Recorder fro the fullest list of special repertories I have seen.
Repertories were started as soon as provings became so numerous and bulky that ones mind could not retain the characteristic symptoms. One student after another cast about for some satisfactory method of cataloguing symptoms so that the remedy might be found without reading the whole provings. Naturally each compiler chose a method suited to his own needs; therefore the methods are different and it becomes necessary to search for the framework on which each repertory is built before we can use it intelligently either for remedy study or for compiling new repertories.
The first repertory in America was a Repertory to the Manual published in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in 1838 by Constantine Hering and the faculty of the Allentown College. This is not in existence now, so far as I know, hence its plan or method cannot be stated, though undoubtedly it influenced the work of later compilers, especially that of Constantine Lippe.
Boenninghausens Therapeutic Pocket Book came out in 1845. It has had several editions and translators and is still in daily use, a masterpiece in generalizations. Each translator was likely to add a few remedies from his own observation and experience, some thoroughly proven and some included on clinical ground only.
Boenninghausen showed his plan for a repertory to Hahnemann and secured his approval when the work was far larger than it finally became in the much condensed Pocket Book. The idea of generalization controlled his work more and more, so we finally have a book small enough to carry in ones pocket with enough suggestion all through its generalizations so that a student whose mind works the same way can read much between the lines and reduce the remedies similar to the case in hand to a small group, which is all any repertory can do.
A symptom is general, according to Boenninghausen is one without modification. No matter what the modification may be as to time, place or circumstance, any remedy having the symptom should be placed under that symptom in general. Also location is very strong in the Therapeutic Pocket Book. Therefore the parts of the body are leading headings and under each is listed all the remedies having anything to do with that part. For instance, head in general has under it all remedies that produce any kind of symptom in any part of the head. Then parts of the head are listed with their symptoms in general. Some symptoms of parts are given under these general headings and these in turn are generalized. A few of the large headings or departments close with a group called accompanying symptoms, as “accompanying troubles of respiration”, “troubles associated with cough”, etc.
The requirement that each case be individualized is met by the mental symptoms in general at the beginning of the book divided into Mind and Intellect, by the full list of Sensations and the sections called Aggravations and Ameliorations. These three sections are also done with emphasis on the part affected and done in general.
To study a case with the Therapeutic Pocket Book one must look up the part or parts affected with any general groups under them pertinent to the case, combine these with Sensations noted, circumstances of Aggravation and Amelioration and anything characteristic that can be found under Mind, Hunger and Thirst and the “accompanying troubles” groups.
The remedies are given in five kinds of type to grade their values in the symptom groups. Therefore, the student can find those remedies running through these general headings which have the highest values. The Pocket Book then furnishes him further aid. The last third is given over to “Relationships of Remedies”. This is an alphabetical list of remedies with the same general headings for each and under each heading related remedies printed in the four types to show the degree of relationship.
The headings here follow the same thought as the first part of the book, stressing location, sensation, aggravation. Under each of these remedies is a heading called “Other Remedies”. This gives the student the remedies related to the one under discussion, also in the four grades of relationship. Some advanced students, who know the materia medica quite well, make great use of this last group, often seeing there at once the remedies most closely related to the case in hand and going from there directly to the provings to make the final choice.
To Quote Dr. C.M. Boger:.
I have nearly all the card indices, but could not use them to advantage, so I slowly worked out one to suit myself. It was first printed in book form for pocket reference and later transferred to punched cards to insure greater facility in use. The production of these cards was very troublesome until I found a firm that gets out statistical card indices for the government. It agreed to print my rubrics on their forms and punched them accurately as per sample. the continued use of these cards slowly evolved a system which depends upon a three fold classification of symptoms; first, fundamental, constitutional or life time effects; second, the present display which is a fresh or acute outburst of the deeper lying tendencies; and third, the modalities. As you see its basis is essentially that of the philosophy of the Organon.
Obviously, every mind has more or less of its own point of departure from which it views the symptom image. Boenninghausen originally followed the regional-general-continual method as found in the Pocket Book; in his later life he picked out the essentials, found their concomitants and conditions and added the weight of clinical confirmation. All this is very plain in his Aphorisms of Hippocrates published shortly before his death.
A controversial subject concerning the Boenninghausen repertory is this, to quote from a lecture by Dr. Gladwin:.
For an illustration let us take the sensation of “Intolerance of Clothing”. Under this rubric are the remedies that have intolerance of clothing about the neck only; about the stomach only; about the abdomen only; and the remedies that are sensitive to clothing everywhere.
This arrangement makes it look as though Boenninghausen believed what was true of a part was also true of a whole and what was true of a whole was true of all of the parts, viz., if a remedy had one kind of a pain in the head, it was likely to have any kind of pain in the head; if it had nausea or one kind of pain in the stomach, it could have distension or any kind of pain in the stomach; if it had an aggravation in one part, it could have the same aggravation in any part or all of its parts.
Logic teaches that what is true of a whole is true of its part, but it does not teach that what is true of a part is necessarily true of the whole.
However, Boenninghausen selected so well and grouped so well that the Pocket Book seldom fails the careful student.
Next we come to Jahrs Repertory as translated into English from the French by Curry. This is the second part of Jahrs New Manual of Homoeopathic Materia Medica. Jahr did what many teachers are trying to do in these days. he sought to meet his students on the ground of their previous instruction and lead them into homoeopathic thinking.
He wanted to make a repertory that such students would understand, so he listed remedies for disease, then he listed remedies for symptoms of diseases, then finally he gave the symptoms of the patient, general symptoms modified and lastly particular symptoms with their modifications. He emphasized in his preface that the symptoms of the patient were the most important and must be sought before a curative remedy could be found. Therefore this repertory is really two, a repertory of disease and a repertory of the patient.
Later in translating his work into German (his Hand Book) he endeavored to call groups of symptoms diseases and asked his students to prescribe for as many of these diseases as possible, in this way hoping to lead them to consider the patient as an individual.