Synoptic Materia Medica II by FRANS VERMEULEN


Frans Vermeulen


This materia medica is the BEST book for information on the new and “lesser known” homeopathic medicines.
Letter from the publisher:
This book is about old and new remedies as well as remedies small or still too unknown to be big. In order to compile this book, Frans Vermeulen made use of some well known sources such as Boericke, Phatak, Blackwood, Clarke, Allen, Hering and many more.

Moreover, he was able, thanks to his mastering of the French and German languages, to access vital information in the works of Mezger, Voisin, Julian, Charette, Kohler, Leeser, Dorcsi, Horveilleur, Madeus, Vrijlandt (Dutch). Reference material was even taken out of the Russian S. Venetsky’s book “Tales about metals”. This makes available in English new additions and provings that were until now only accessible in German or French.

Furthermore, Frans Vermeulen made use of many sources such as Reference Works, particularly the magazines section, as well as numerous other publications and periodicals from homeopathical libraries. The number of remedies discussed so far is about 325.

Because an effort has been made to preserve the primary texts as much as possible, Synoptic Materia Medica 2 is closer to the original documents than a Materia Medica that is built up from Repertory extracts.

In order to further complete and elucidate the remedy pictures, more than fifty works about plants, animals en minerals were thoroughly researched. The layout of Synoptic Materia Medica 2 is similar to Synoptic M.M. 1, although this volume incorporates additional sections such as “signs” (background information), and “comparisons.”

To improve the readability and user-friendliness, modalities concomitances and such were systematically placed on new lines.

1,019 pages, hard cover

This book review is reprinted from The Homoeopath (No. 63 1996) with permission from Nick Churchill of The Society of Homoeopaths, 2 Artizan Road, Northampton NN1 4HU, United Kingdom.Reviewed by Alistair Dempster

This is a Materia Medica of the “small” remedies from the author of the well received and immensely useful Synoptic Materia Medica. As a visiting lecturer at several venues in Europe the genesis of the first volume was inspired by his approach to presenting materia medica in an easily readable and digestible format. This is also true of this second volume.

My initial impressions of the hardback cover and silver “balicron” surface gave an understated but quality look to the book. It is the same size but thicker than the first Synoptic materia medica so still able to be carried with you. The paper quality is excellent and the type face easy to read. It is well laid out – in a similar format to the first volume, with which I am familiar, which aids scanning of remedies in the practice room. There is a handy remedy index at the beginning to avoid unnecessary flicking through pages to ascertain the inclusion of a particular remedy. I must agree with the author when he states in the preface with reference to the proving of new remedies – “Stagnation means decline, as Sepia shows us. That is why this book contains old as well as new ‘small’ remedies. Some are predestined to become polycrests, others may remain small. Whatever their outcome they all belong in this book.”

Vermuelen has used old and modern sources in compiling the book; he was also able to transfer to English information from French, German, Dutch and even Russian authors that made otherwise inaccessible remedy information available to the English reading homoeopath. Thanks are due for this alone. Other resources include Reference Works, particularly the magazines section, as well as numerous other publications and homoeopathic periodicals.

The Preface is not only interesting and colourful to read but is important to the user as it explains the author’s reasons for the layout of each remedy picture and his insights on homoeopathy in general. There are specific Sections at the front of the book devoted to botanical Relationships, Food and Drink and Comparisons.
— Botanical Relationships – plants used as homoeopathic remedies are classified according to Natural Order contrary to the usual Family hierarchy. “Plant orders are placed above the families. This is done to emphasise relationships between plant families and also family relationships of species.”
— Food and Drink – gives desires, aversions, ameliorations and aggravations of the remedies listed in the book. These could be useful additions to food and drink sections of most repertories.
— Comparisons – split into Kentian repertory layout from Mind to Generals. this section details symptoms in one column and in the opposite column the remedy to find this symptom under. This is not an exhaustive exercise and applies only to remedies contained In the book. The extensive bibliography is impressive and offers readers the opportunity of expanding their mind as well as their own library from this list of excellent sources and reference material.

The big plus about this materia medica is the abundance of information about the remedies compared to other synoptic materia medicas, plus the gathering together of all those “smaller” and newer, and the not so well known remedies. In other books on smaller remedies the information can be scanty so their relevance may not be so obvious. It also includes provings of new remedies and those not so well known provings, translated into English for our benefit. The book enables you to access many of those normally difficult to find remedies in one volume. It found a place on my desk immediately and it was pressed into service the next patient that I saw. There are descriptions of Marble, Granite, Androctonos (Scorpion), Hydrogen, Plutonium, Kali nitricum, Sequoia, Pituitary anterior, DNA, sarcodes, tautopathic remedies – from the phenoziathine anti psychotic drugs to Morphinum and so on; there are 348 remedies listed in all.

What is fascinating about the book is the section at the beginning of each remedy headed ‘Signs’. In this section the history and source of the remedy is brought to life and draws on sources ranging from Greek mythology to Pharmacology, and from Metallurgy to Botany, Biology and Entomology. The Signs describes the essential nature and source of the remedy followed by remedy relations and affinities before setting out the symptomatic picture. I enjoyed the descriptions of Sequoia, Formica rufa, Ginko biloba, Lac.felinum, Thallium to name but a few, and these served to whet the appetite for further reading. It also reminded me of the importance of the source material and its natural state and thus nodded in recognition of the Doctrine of Signatures from the old alchemist Paracelcus. The concluding section, as in the first volume, gives a list of characteristic symptoms set out in repertorial fashion from Mind through to Generalities. I was so impressed by the book with its wealth of coherent, definitive information that I struggled to find any criticism serious enough to avoid using it. Materia Medica are often the foundation and confirmatory basis for our prescriptions and this volume offers an extremely cogent description of many of the so called smaller remedies and the newer remedies and thus is a useful tool. For the busy peripatetic homoeopath, or for regular use on the desktop, I have found it has become an indispensable part of my everyday practice and would not hesitate to recommend it to others for the same purpose.


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