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Natrum — an inner view PDF Print

JANTA Vol. 1 No.4 Spring 1984

Kevin Ryan

The large number of homoeopathic texts available do little to make the study of this subject any easier. Many of the texts are duplications of, or extracts from, the works of other writers. Also much of what has been written has failed to clarify the complexities of homoeopathic philosophy and practice. This is equally true in the method of presentation of materia medica adopted by even the giants of homoeopathic literature such as Kent, Allen or Clarke. Most certainly each has included sufficient detail of the characteristic symptomology of each remedy to be considered both comprehensive and useful.


However, to the practitioner who chooses to use the constitutional approach, it is necessary that the literature provides a clear and detailed picture of the type of person that the particular medicine will be active on. The picture presented may be one in which the physical type is described in detail, such as the classic concept of the physical characteristics of the Calcarea patient that we all know so well. Alternatively the picture presented may be that of the predominating mental symptoms such as the easily consoled hysteria in the Pulsatilla patient. It is necessary, however, when studying the pictures presented of the constitutionally acting remedies such as the minerals and their salts in the various homoeopathic materia medicas, that the basic core of that picture is arrived at. For example, indolence in the Calcarea picture and repression in the Magnesium picture.
The other vital element in practice is to take such a case history from the patient so as to arrive not only at a clear and complete set of symptoms and modalities, but also to enable understanding of the individual behind the presenting symptoms. This then enables the central core of the patient to be matched with that of the remedy picture. This concept allows for a more rapid selection of the constitutional medicine than that achieved by strict repertorial work alone, It does require that a clear picture of the central theme of the remedy or group of remedies is held. The symptoms presented by the patient may then be used to differentiate between close medicines. Previous articles in this series have described the essential differences within the calcium salts as they may present as well as the central theme of the calcium cation.


There have been several writers in the homoeopathic field who have Shown great insight into the pictures presented in the materia medica. Douglas Borland was one such author. His book on Children’s Types is evidence enough of this talent, the ability to bring together the detail of Kent’s writing into a vivid picture of the real person.

Insight brings more than this. It brings out the very basic nature of the type of patient sensitive to that particular remedy. Another, but lesser known work by Borland 1, is the collection of his lectures titled “Homoeopathy in Practice”. George Vithoulkas 3, an author of our time, is another who demonstrates remarkable insight in interpreting the essential character of constitutionally acting remedies, It is interesting to compare for example, the central core of the Natrum patient as brought out by these two writers with the greatly detailed but more lifeless symptom picture in Kent’s treatise in his Materia Medica 2. It is the Kentian concept that homoeopaths tend to cling to and that very rigid image may often prevent the perceiving of the Natrum patient in practice.

Borland describes the common feature through all of the Natrum salts as hypersensitivity. He attributes the adverse reaction to the sun, to noise, music, thunder, to people, the anger heightened sensitivity. The sullen appearance that the patient may present is but an exterior, hiding and protecting the apprehensive, fearful and anxious interior, protecting the hypersensitive inner being.

Vithoulkas3 takes up this point when he describes the underlying primary characteristic as being “introversion arising out of great vulnerability to emotional injury”. This results in the creation of a wall or mask so as to enable them to have control over their circumstances. He also mentions the independent nature of their problem solving technique and develops further the theme of their great sense of responsibility. The emotional sensitivity with this strong sense of independent purpose and their acute objectivity and mental awareness may, however, lead to feelings of guilt. This will, more often than not, express itself through the physical plane as migraine, arthritis, digestive disease etc. The inner torment may become so great as to over whelm the patient, resulting in brooding, deep depression or schizophrenia The great sensitivity of the Inner self filters through the whole being, forming a patient in which allergies and skin symptoms are commonplace.

The above gives only a brief understanding of the Borland and Vithoulkas concepts of the central core of Natrum. It should be interesting for the reader to now look at the Arsenate, Carbonate, Phosphate and Sulphate salts of Natrum in Kent’s Materia Medica. The mass of detail should appear to shrink as the jigsaw of symptoms fit together around the theme.

There is little doubt a detailed symptom based case history will bring forward many rubrics in most patients. These in turn will bring forward a few remedies for final choice when repertorised. The greater the insight which the homoeopath has into the materia medica, the more easily are some rejected as having little relevance to the “person’ behind the patient. This insight will also be of great help in matching the central theme of the remedy detailed in the materia medica with the core of the patient’s totality. Study of the great homoeopathic writers with this concept in mind will be of invaluable help in remedy selection and lead to a greater understanding of the individual in their struggle through life. After all, a homoeopath, as much if not more than any other physician, has more to offer the sick than medicine alone.

1. Borland Douglas: Homeopathy Practice. Keats Publishing, Connecticut 1983
2. Kent James Tyler: lectures on Homoeopathic Materia Medica, N.H.L. Calcutta. 1970
3 Vithoulkas George: Homeopathy, Medicine of the New Man, Arco Publishing, New York, 1980

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