This book review is reprinted with the permission of the American Institute of Homeopathy
The Spirit of Homeopathic Medicines
by Didier Grandgeorge, M.D.
221 pages, paperback. $20
Reviewed by George Guess, M.D., D.Ht.
I am unfamiliar with Dr. Grandgeorge; however, based upon his book The Spirit of Homeopathic Medicines, I can surmise that he is a very experienced and insightful prescriber. And he makes homeopathy seem so easy!
This book could perhaps best be described as a collection of "essence" confirmatory symptoms of materia medica pearls consisting of extremely distilled psychological or thematic essences which are often just a word or short phrase. A few additional symptoms for each remedy are provided as well, and a large number of case illustrations are included.
In several of the cases Dr. Grandgeorge either confirmed or was put on the track of the remedy by a brief comment. I suspect the actual dialogues that took place between Dr. Grandgeorge and patients were considerably more extensive than those recorded in this book. If not, Grandgeorge's questioning is remarkably incisive and even intuitive.
Though this volume makes homeopathy seem simplistic, clearly it is not. The experienced homeopath knows this and can appreciate the depth of Grandgeorge's vision. Neophytes, on the other hand, could easily get the wrong impression of homeopathic method from this book. They certainly could not begin to appreciate the often complex sifting of symptom data frequently required to make an accurate prescription. For this reason I would recommend that the book be studied mostly by experienced homeopaths!
This book is a pleasure to read, and it offers some revealing and at times surprising information. Grandgeorge's uncluttered writing style helps drive home his points. Following are some examples of what appear to me original remedy descriptions.
Curare: "Refusal of Self Responsibility .... helpful for children who do not want to do anything for themselves when they are older .... a poison which paralyzes and prevents any action."
Caladium: "Up in Smoke... Dazed and melancholic, they live in a permanent cloud of smoke that masks the thorny reality outside. They would like the world to exist without a single shadow entering the picture, but there is always some small detail that disappoints them."
Tellurium: "Fear of Being Touched on Sensitive Spots ... corresponds to people who are shaken to the depths of their soul by one hurtful remark that strikes a sensitive chord."
Digitalis: "Failure.... too vulnerable to failed plans. They are full of anxiety about the future... Digitalis is an introvert who does not do things wholeheartedly."
Cocculus: "Controlling the Movements of Life... Cocculus wants to know the secrets of life and to control its movements, which gives rise to a sort of charitable nosiness, pushing these individuals into professions such as nursing, medicine, and psychoanalysis."
Sulphuric acid: "The Accident... The theme of accidents is one of the most important for people who benefit from Sulphuricum acidum. Somewhere in their history, there was an accident that changed everything, an accident for which they felt responsible (or for which a feeling of guilt has been transmitted to them). It may be an illegitimate birth experienced as an accident by the family, or a real accident with loss of a loved one."
Urtica urens: "The Death of the Father... often indicated in families where the members have been marked by the death of the father, whether physical or psychological (the father was absent or overshadowed by the mother).
In the original French the book is full of word plays and witticisms, which the translator, Juliana Barnard, describes in footnotes.
All in all I can readily recommend this book as a revealing and amusing addition to our materia medica.
JAIH Autumn 1998, Vol. 91, No. 3