I was first introduced to synthetic prescriptions in my second year of homeopathy school around 1995 when we learnt the remedies in the mineral kingdom as groups.
It was taught by our well known HOD of materia medica who was a “classical” Kentian homoeopath.
We studied various groups of elements such as the Natrums, Calciums, Potassiums, Bariums etc as well as the Carbonicums, Muriaticums etc with respect to their physical and mental characteristics. This was based purely on materia medica and clinical experiences.
The purpose was that when these group symptoms were elicited in a clinical case, we would not just look at the main polycrest that came up in the repertorization grid but also look at the lesser known salts that did not show up as easily. This would also ensure that all these minerals were equally emphasised during the final prescription.
I was fascinated about understanding remedies in terms of groups. It also meant that if we knew the group symptoms well, and found a combination of these in our clients, we could combine two elements together and prescribe a virtually unknown salt to help our patients.
This was way before Jan Scholten and Sankaran's books or lectures on minerals and elements were introduced to us. It happened much later during our internship and early practice.
The understanding of this concept has now been well established in the last decade with the approaches at Stage 4.
Having said that I personally have found group analysis to be an extremely useful approach at Stage 3 when using a Kentian Analysis. (For more information on stages in homeopathy please read the free ebook on this page - The Quest for Simillimum-an overview.)
How to avoid pitfalls when prescribing a synthetic remedy at Stage 3
As much as this approach is fascinating, there are chances that one can go completely off track. The common mistake I have made in cases that have failed is when I have completely focused only on the mind symptoms to prescribe the remedy. Using only mental symptoms can polarise a case and it is quite easy to lose balance of the totality.
I remember learning some great tips from some excellent synthetic prescribers in our college OPD to prevent pitfalls in synthetic prescriptions.
I will try and share some really practical tips here -
To start with it is not a mathematical combination of two elements. Although you find themes of each element group the key to a good prescription is to find at least one key symptom that is a unique representation of the whole compound.
I remember the first case when I had observed this synthetic approach being used in my hospital clinic as an intern.
A lady in her late 20's came with cystic acne and menstrual irregularities.
We took her case. Her acne was around her chin area. They were hard and inflamed. She was overweight, perspired freely, sensitive to cold draft and complained of menorrhagia. She was still studying and was dependant on her parents and sisters. She was extremely anxious and fearful if something were to happen to them.
Not surprisingly the remedy that came strongly in the repertorization was Calcarea Carbonica.
When we came back to the OPD, the consultant asked her about her childhood. She was the youngest of three sisters. She mentioned that she was constantly being compared to her sisters and envied them. She struggled to keep up with their achievements to get the attention of her parents. She strived hard and remained at the top of her class for many years. She wept while narrating that she was pursuing a Ph D and even until today her parents have never really appreciated her for her pursuits.
The prescription she got was Calcarea Sulphuricum. One of the key symptom that confirmed this salt was Lamenting that she was not being appreciated.
She did very well on this remedy.
Today when I work at Stage 3 using a Kentian approach and use synthetic prescriptions the best way to confirm it is to differentiate it thoroughly with the related polycrest remedy. Looking for the key qualifying mentals from the provings is a good starting point. But if the proving is patchy as is the case in some of the lesser known remedies, then I look at the sphere of action or the organ of affinity of that remedy. Even in a patchy proving the main affinity will always come through in the toxicological or clinical information and I ensure that it matches with our main complaints.
Let me give you an example of how you can do this through this video from my own clinical case of a lesser known remedy.
Hope this helps you with your own cases.
I would love to hear about your own cases and how you use this approach in your own practice.