This book review is reprinted with the permission of the International Foundation for Homeopathy
PO Box 7
Edmonds, WA 98020
The Homeopathic Treatment of Children - Pediatric Constitutional Types
by Paul Herscu, N.D. DHANP
North Atlantic Books, 1991
374 pages, soft cover, $18.95 [Editor's note: As of July 1996 Minimum Price Books' price is $22.50]
reviewed by Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman, ND, DHANP
Children live in worlds of their own. They are unique human beings with unique characteristics and idiosyncracies, sometimes quite unlike their grown-up counter-parts. There has been a new wealth of materia medica information, beginning with the essences of George Vithoulkas and expanded upon by Dr. Roger Morrison and others. However, very little of this often brilliant information applies directly to children.
We have been told that the temperature tendencies of children may be uncharacteristic of the remedy that they need, and that this information should sometimes be ignored in choosing a remedy. We soon come to learn that many of the food cravings of the child end up being pizza, hamburgers, and sugar. Of these food desires, only "sweets" is represented in the repertory, and the rubric probably does not contain all of the remedies which can have a desire for sweets. In addition, those of us who are not pediatricians are often unsure about specific developmental stages. What is normal for a particular child at a particular age and what should be considered pathologic, slow, or precocious?
Paul Herscu had the good fortune of inheriting a busy pediatric practice immediately after graduating from naturopathic medical training. He jumped into the pediatric frying pan, so to speak He quickly developed excellent pediatric homeopathic skills through his intensive on-the-job training, aided by the addition of two children of his own. Paul took as his mission the goal of sharing his vast experience in treating children and of updating the homeopathic literature of children's materia medica.
Paul is a very keen observer and has a great talent for painting vivid, living images of the children he describes. He also has excellent powers of discrimination which allow him to zero in adeptly on a child's symptoms to see why the child would benefit from one remedy rather than another similar one.
In this book, the first of a series Paul is working on, he covers the eight most frequently prescribed remedies for children. The organization of the book is consistent and clear. First, Paul discusses, one by one, the most significant mental and emotional characteristics of each remedy as far as children are concerned. Then he presents concise information on the sleep patterns of children for each remedy, as well as physical symptoms, physical generals, and specific notes on infants. Each chapter concludes with an outline of the informtion presented for each remedy.
The amount of information presented is vast. Where appropriate, Paul differentiates the subtleties between boys and girls within a specific remedy picture. Interspersed throughout the book are myriad vignettes of children seen by Paul and his wife, Amy. These brief glimpses into children as they present in an everyday clinical setting are invaluable and they lighten the sometimes tedious reference orientation of the information. Paul's work is a tremendous break-through in pediatric materia medica and high-quality scholarly work.
This book is a must for any homeopath whose practice includes pediatrics. You will want it on your shelf as a reference text when mulling over your challenging children's cases. Paul is now soliciting cases from other practitioners on a number of less common, yet still frequently prescribed, remedies for children. The future sequels in this series are likely to be just as outstanding.
"There is at present a great necessity for information on the homeopathic treatment of children. We do not actually have enough literature on the subject apart from Borland's booklet which is quite good but not sufficient for the needs of our time. I feel that Paul Herscu's book goes further than any other homeopathic book in giving detailed information which will be very useful to any practitioner who treats children." - George Vithoulkas, internationally respected teacher of homeopathy and author of The Science of Homeopathy and Homeopathy: Medicine for the New Man
"I was very impressed with the careful and thorough treatment that Dr. Herscu gives to each remedy. This is a book which will be extremely useful for any serious student or practitioner of homeopathy. I will highly recommend your book to all my colleagues and students." - Roger Morrison, M.D., Founder and Senior Instructor, Hahnemann College of Homeopathy
"Dr. Herscu's work is the first modern pediatric materia medica. This book represents a significant step forward in helping practitioners who treat children to understand the importance of seeing the integration of body and mind, the developmental aspects of each, and their manifestation in health and disease. This book will greatly aid my pediatric practice, for his writings enabled me to see, hear, smell, taste and experience each of the major childhood constitutional types." - Richard Solomon, M.D., Assistant Professor, Medical College of Pennsylvania, Allegheny General Hospital
"This book is a compelling description and impressively practical guide to the use of homeopathic medicines in treating underlying health problems of children. Herscu's clear and vivid depictions of these constitutional types will help anyone understand children more deeply and help to cure them more completely" - Kenneth P. Stoller, M.D., Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
RESONANCE MARCH-APRIL 1992