Blog - Shilpa Bhouraskar

Which approach do you use, Boenninghausen or Kentian?


Today, I will share my experiences of working at Stage 3 using both Kentian and Boenninghausen approaches right from my very first introduction to them.

Final year in Medical School

During my last year of homeopathic medical school, we had to compare and study the two predominant approaches in homeopathy ie Kentian and Boenninghausen. It included the study of both repertories, their structure and the philosophy behind them in great detail.
Some part of this research was really a drudgery. I am not someone who enjoys statistical details of these repertories but what I enjoyed was comparing the usefulness of each approach in the real clinic.

Hence I loved observing various professors using these repertories in the hospital OPD's. I realised that most found the Therapeutic Pocket Book quite limiting, hence the Boger-Boenninghausen repertory was the preferred book when using the Boenninghausen approach. Whereas the Kent's repertory and the Synthetic repertory volumes were the most used books when using the Kentian approach then.

I was always fascinated by the simplicity of Boenninghausen's approach right from the start. I loved the lateral thinking behind the generalisation concept. It simply meant that I did not have the limitation of using just the proving data of a remedy.
I found that the Boger- Boenninghausen repertory was used very successfully in the paediatric OPD's and to this day I find it invaluable in children's cases.
Although I found the mental state very interesting, I did not prefer breaking it into individual rubrics as sometimes the essence of the mental state was lost while being converted into the rubric form.
I saw a lot of sense in repertorizing just the peculiar physical generals and then comparing the mental state of the final remedies by directly reading them from the materia medica.
Hence the Boger Boenninghausen remained my default repertory for most of my assignments during the final year.

My Final Exam

I still remember this incident which changed the way I work today. We had to solve a paper case of a man with chronic malaria in our final exam.
I decided to use the Kent's repertory just because the case had qualified mental symptoms which were quite prominent. I arrived at the remedy Nat muriaticum after spending about half an hour on the case.
However it being a fever case, I tried the Boenninghausen approach using the BogerBoenninghausen repertory. This repertory has an elaborate fever section and using just a few simple rubrics I arrived at the remedy Muriatic acid.
I again glanced at my Kentian repertorization and found it was the fifth remedy in my remedy list but I had missed it because the patient seemed so very Natrum Muriaticum. The patient was never well since the first malarial attack and quinine, he had a history of disappointment in love and was even aggravated by contradiction!

Later we found out from the professor that the patient was a Natrum Muriaticum patient constitutionally but it did not help his fever. It was Muriatic acid which had cured this person perfectly during the fever.

This helped me gain a lot of insight into both these approaches and the pitfalls that could occur using one or the other.

Handy Tip

I have found it very helpful to confirm remedies using multiple approaches for the same patient when working at Stage 3. This eliminates any bias about a personality using a Kentian approach or the restriction of not being able to repertorize qualified mental symptoms using a Boenninghausen's approach.
This way I can use the best of both approaches and compare the final common remedies.

For those who want to understand how this can be done, I have created a short video.It shows how you can solve the same case using both approaches and ways to avoid pitfalls.

Final Words

Today I understand homeopathic approaches in terms of the stages concept which has made it even more easier to classify the growing number of approaches in homeopathy. You can read more about it in my ebook series The Quest for Simillimum.
When I realise that my patient can travel to multiple stages during a consultation then I try and confirm my prescription using more than one approach or stage. This has increased the accuracy of my prescriptions rather than just limiting myself to one single approach.

Hope this helps you in your cases too. I would love to hear about it. Please share your experiences of working with these approaches. What works for you in practice?


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Very well presented, Jean

Thanks, Shilpa. This is a lovely explanation of the two approaches. In my homoeopathic education, we primarily used the Kentian approach. I attended a short seminar on Boenninghausen a couple of years ago, but apart from this, have little understanding of the repertory. Since having homeoquest, I have started to play with the B repertory more for acutes, as I like the specific rubrics. I also bought an old hard copy of Boger-B recently and now feel more inspired to look at it more closely. The college I attended was strictly 'classical'. Some lecturers did not even allow us to look at Synthesis when it first came out as they were not convinced of the validity of the newer additions.
I do question one aspect of your talk. It is my understanding that homoeopathic medicine pictures and Kent's repertory were a combination of proving data, poisonings and cured symptoms. I take your point that the bitter vomiting etc was omitted in this case, but now I am questioning if this is the case for all rubrics in Kent.

Hi Michelle, I too was under the impression the information in Kent's repertory included provings, cured symptoms and poisonings - I've just had a look through the introduction of Kents repertory and it seems to be provings and cured symptoms only, no mention of poisonings.

Is this correct Shilpa?

If so, I'm going to have to revise what I say - and wonder where I obtained the poisonings from, maybe it's in relation to materia medicas only??

Thanks Michelle and Sandra for your thought- provoking questions,

What I understand is that Kent used direct proving symptoms from older materia medicae, apart from cured symptoms. Most symptoms in the older Materia medica were a combination of provings and toxicological data so that should be a part of the source. What was interesting is that when it was a clinically confirmed symptom or a symptom found in a larger number of provers he graded them higher for the remedy. So in a way it is a good dictionary of direct proving symptoms.

The difference in the Boenninghausen repertory on the other hand is that he separated proving symptoms into components and entered the remedies under each of these components separately. So various permutations and combinations are possible in a way when you combine them during repertorization.
What we lack today is a reliable source of clinically verified combinations which were never found in the provings.


Thank you Shilpa, your experiences are reassuring and supportive. Through my study I was taught both yet didn't really understand boennInghausen completely so I tended to favor kentian and attempt Sankaran in some cases in clinic with mixed results. I concluded at the end that the patient's case would determine the approach I would use in my clinic. However, looking back at the cases of my first year in clinic I would have to say that the majority were taken and analysed using the boenninghausen approach with some confirmations with kent if down the track the patient platued or the symptoms had reappeared. Knowing that mixing these approaches can be quite possibly the best thing for a particular patient is reassuring.
Thank you for your guidance and wisdom. Kimberly

Thanks for sharing your experiences Kimberly.


It is an intereting observation and valuable insight to be shared witth others interested.
But I have a contrary view to this.I feel it is better to have a common complete repertory covering all the rubrics of every known repertories for quick search of an similimum.
Then using the complete repertory,find similimum through Bonninghausen,Kentian or Boger Bonningausan approach etc.
The complete repertory compiled by Roger seems to have some limitations.
Basically,it is important to to have the same rubrics similar with medicines and their gradings in any repertory.If it differs,then whole system may go haywire,in spite of the fact finally succss depends on the homeopath.

Hi Pushpakaran,
Thanks for pointing that out. Its great to be reminded that the Complete Repertory can be used for both approaches very well. I was very excited when Roger explained to me that the Complete Repertory was not just an expanded Kentian Repertory but an expanded Boenninghausen repertory as well a few years back.

And more so when it did not have the limitation of rubrics and remedies which the original repertories did.
Ultimately how the repertory is used depends a lot on how the homeopaths use the philosophy behind the approach.
So it would be interesting to work out this case using both approaches through the complete repertory and see how the remedies compare.


good explanation silpa
thanx for sharing her views

Thanks Neeraj

Dear Shilpa, Thanks for so intresting nd valueable approaches of two repertory to find the remedy.I have found Kents repertory more practical for rubrics and also use Borrickes materia medica and compare the remedy with Kents approach and try to get the results.
Thanks and keep on sending such knowledge for the practice of homeopathy.
With regards,
Asefa Firdosy.

Dear Shilpa,

I make my words, the ones of Michelle Hookham.
Trying at the moment to get the Therapeutic Pocket Book from Peter Vint, as I was told that is as good as the one of George Dimitriadis, but the latest is in my view overpriced.
Love watching your videos.
Thank you for your time and effort,


why are all these comment over two years ago Shilipa ?

Hello Dr.Shilpa! In this blog, I really like the most interesting point of arriving at muriatic acid using BBCR and NM by using Kent repertory. It is wonderful to read your analysis behind it. Thus you made us know the utility of both at appropriate instances.