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DOS Versus Windows Homeopathy Repertory Analysis

DOS Versus Windows; Pedantic Versus User-Friendly Boenninghausen's versus Kent's Repertory
Dr. M. A. Usmani

There are discussions, these days, on Repertories, their different kinds and their comparative usefulness. Some nostalgic souls desire to give currency to the long forgotten magnum opus of Boenninghausen’s Therapeutic Pocketbook, or Boger’s Boenninghausen’s Characteristics and Repertory. This is tantamount to feeling nostalgic, as some pedantic souls still feel, for the restoration of DOS, as computer operating system. But we all know that DOS is not only obsolete now, but have been surpassed and superseded by WINDOWS. DOS is no more relevant now. Most of its applications can’t run now, on any computer screen.

But let’s talk a bit on the relevant virtues of Boenninghausen viz. a viz. modern format of repertories, with historical background:

The first rudimentary form of repertory was compiled, as we all know, by the founder of homeopathy himself. He prepared a symptom register, in the form of an index, as an aid to his memory, in his daily practice. Finding its usefulness as a ready reference, he assigned to his two disciples, Boenninghausen and Jahr, a duty to compile a systematic index of symptoms. The botanist Boenninghausen, being a scientific mind, conceived a scientific method in constructing a repertory. He in fact wanted to make repertorization a therapeutic science of prescribing medicines. A very noble intention! So, to generalize the particulars became his logical need. He, without any compunction, generalized any and every modality, may it belong to a very particular symptom, as predicating (or belonging to) the whole patient. This was a mortal fallacy in the face of solid facts of pathogenesis of drugs. Facts of pathogenesis are facts of life, not of any formal or mathematical science. Pick up any remedy from a complete materia medica, and you will find that it has many particular symptoms just the opposite of the general symptoms of the same remedy. E.g.:

  • You will find a generally cold patient, who cannot tolerate slightest cold, can’t bear slightest heat on his feet. His feet are burning and he washes them with cold water, and can’t cover them in bed or wear socks. This patient cannot be generalized as a hot patient; or worse from heat.
  • Anorexia with insatiable appetite; that is, although an anorexic patient, but when he starts eating, he does not feel surfeited. Where should we place this patient? ‘Appetite lost’ or ‘Appetite insatiable’?
  • Almost every remedy has a dichotomy of opposite symptoms, when we compare generals with the particulars. We have, for example, the same remedies for quite opposite conditions. E.g. ‘fever with predominant chill’ and ‘fever with chills absent’: Bry., Chin., Lyco., and Nux vom.’
  • ‘Aggravation cold drinks’ and ‘Amel. Cold drinks’: Kali. Carb., Verat.Alb.

One can go on adducing such examples indefinitely; so it should suffice to bring home the conclusion that a symptoms codex of pathogenesis of drugs cannot be given the tight garb of science. It will get ruptured at very shameful places sometimes.

It is said that Hahnemann liked Boenninghausen’s repertory very much. But it could not be the final repertory, which was published in 1845, with the title: Therapeutic Pocketbook. As Hahnemann died on July 2,1843, it must be his first book, which was published in 1832, with the title: Repertory of the Antipsorics, of which the preface was written by Hahnemann, himself.

Dr. Jahr also compiled a repertory at the same time, but very little is known about it, except that Kent praised it, in contradistinction with Boenninghausen’s. Kent took help from this along with Lippe’s Repertory and Symptom-Register of Allen. About Boenninghausen, Kent says that he mixed up modalities of the parts with the modalities of the whole. [For the veracity of this remark, see Boger’s Boenninghausen, Ch. ‘Aggravations & Ameliorations in General’ (pp1105-1153). One finds this chapter, at least one-half of it, ridiculous. Take these random examples as generally aggravating factors ‘Biting teeth together’, ‘Blinking eyes’, ‘Raising eyes’, ‘Licking lips’, etc. Can these become general modalities???

Another confusion which Boenninghausen created was about the CONCOMITANTS. A new concept, whether introduced by Boenninghausen or not, but he definitely was the first who incorporated it in his works. [I’ll discuss Concomitants in a separate blog].

Boenninghausen defined a symptom as composed of four parts: viz. Location, Sensation, modality, and concomitants. We can construct an example of a patient with recurring headache. Boenninghausen will split the case thus for repertorization:

· Location(head),
· Sensation (Pains: throbbing, pulsating),
· Time Modality (morning, on waking),
· Amel-Agg. Modalities (> uncovering head, washing in cold water),
· Concomitant (constipation);

Now you can prescribe on these parts of the single complaint: i.e. HEADACHE; not bothering about the gender, personality, personal and family pathologic history, habits, liking and disliking, allergic reactions to various foods or any other environmental elements, etc. But not bad! If it can do this faultlessly and unconditionally, then we verily have a very effective instrument for ACUTE PRESCRIBING, and we should wholeheartedly accept that. A Pocket Book does not mean anything more or anything less than this. A pocket book is a tool or a gadget for the bedside prescribing.

In this sense we can take Boenninghausen as the forerunner of the apostle of the School of Pathology in Homeoprescribing, the great Dr. Burnett. (cf. my blog: Pitfall).

As to the format of the Boenninghausen’s repertory , it is as difficult and intricate and tortuous and un-user-unfriendly, as DOS, the old, now, thank God, obsolete, computer operating system; whose syntax of commands one was wont to forget every time and anon. The format of B’s (i.e. Boenninghausen) repertory is Anatomical, as most of the present-day repertories; but the order in which these anatomical parts are placed, in the body of the repertory, are confusing, to say the least. I will adduce a very small part of it as an example.

Let’s discuss Ch. FACE (pp. 390-416, on Boger’s B). It includes as sub-titles: Lips, Lower-Jaw, Maxillary Joints, and, last of all, Chin. First the sides of the face are discussed, then the structural parts of the face (e.g. cheeks, zygoma, etc.), then the skin and then pains and sensations. Giving to LIPS some 4-5 pages, Lower jaw, two and half page, one page for Chin is given. The Time modalities and Aggravations & Ameliorations, for the Face and all the three subtitles is given collectively. How is it possible? B and the admirers know better!

After the Face chapter we are plunged suddenly into the TEETH chapter, with the sub-title of GUMS. The MOUTH chapter comes after this; and it contains many sub-titles: viz.
· Palate
· Throat & Gullet
· Saliva
· Tongue

One keeps wondering how Teeth & Gums came before Mouth? Many pre-Kantian repertories have such structural anomalies. Foe example Knerr’s Repertory (pub. 1896), has this unnecessary anatomical splitting, but it is much more sensible than B’s repertory. Let’s review its FACE chapter, which is Ch.8 and 9.
• Ch. 8, titled ‘Upper Face’ contains: Eruption, Expression, Face and Faceache.
• Ch. 9, titled ‘Lower Face’ contains: Chin, Lips, Lower Jaw and Outer Mouth.
Then come 3 chapters, relating to mouth:
• Ch. 10, Teeth & Gums,
• Ch.11, Taste, Tongue and Speech,
• Ch. 12, Mouth & Saliva.

In modern repertories no such splitting is done. Giving a separate chapter to Teeth, everything else of the mouth is mentioned under MOUTH.

Let me mention another drawback which is not less conspicuous. Symptoms under ‘extending to’ are scattered among other rubrics. E.g.
• Faceache extending to ear, on page 394
• Faceache extending to teeth, on page 403,
• Faceache extending to temple, same page
These could be put under one rubric ‘extending to’.


Let’s now pass on to Kent. He gave a very pleasant and down to the earth practical shape to the project of repertrization. Soon after its publication in 1897, it became the Bible for the profession. Since that time on it has become the coveted tool for repertorization in the hand of every serious homeopath. With so vast popularity and universal appeal it seems that when we talk about Kent’s repertory, we, in fact, are not talking about Kent, but rather about the Kentian era. Since the publication of the first edition of Kent’s repertory, repertories’ interface, and layout have underwent unprecedented metamorphosis. All the post-Kentian repertories are, in fact, variations on the Kent’s structure. May their layout be anatomical or alphabetical; they are 90% Kent’s repertories. Let’s mention few:

Synthetic Repertory of Barthel and Dr Klunker, which consists of Generalities, Sleep, Dreams, and Male and Female Genitalia, is totally dependent on Kantian syntax and material.

Synthesis: Repertorium Homoeopathicum Syntheticum, in 1987, by Dr.Frederik Schroynes. is verily the enlarged edition of Kents repertory.

Homeopathic Medical Repertory by Robin Murphy; (1993), is an alphabetical repertory, with many new chapters, and many additions, is nonetheless 90% Kentian in subject-matter and rubric sequence.

Kent's Repertorium Generale, by J. Kunzli von Fimmelsberg, and

Vithoulkas Edition are also Kentian.

Kent’s method is essentially and logically deductive, that is, it runs from generals to less generals or particulars. The generals belong to mental generals and physical generals; the first and the last chapter of his repertory. Other generals are mentioned under their relevant chapters; for example generals of food craving and aversion are given in the Stomach chapter. Through these generals you draw a personality that is expressed in one or two or three remedies, and from those remedies you select one that contains the maximum number of particulars, for which the patient has come to you. This approach is most secure and nearest to reality. Even if one or two particulars are left out and are not found in the most resembling medicine, (a medicine which you feel is the nearest to the personality traits of the patient), it usually happens that those particulars are also redressed. If such particulars are cured in many more similar instances, by the exhibition of this remedy, those particulars, or those symptoms, attain the status of clinical symptoms, that are kept for further verification to be included subsequently in the body of the repertory, with full repertory status. Thus this method of deductive logic is a fertile source of repertory growth and expansion. Inductive method has no such advantage or possibility. Deductive method’s premises lead you to the sure conclusion. E.g.

All crows are black,
The bird-X is a crow,
Therefore, the bird-X is black.

That is, going from general to particulars. It is the logically essential outcome. But in inductive logic, the reasoning process will go like this:

The bird-X is a crow,
It is black,
Therefore, all crows are black.

In this inference, conclusion is not logically sound. There can be some crows that are not black. So generalization from particulars is not a sure science.

The following repertories are currently used, consulted, followed in homeopathic dispensaries and institutions, throughout the world: they are virtually


Synthetic Repertory- Dr. Barthel & Klunker, (1982)
Kent's Expanded Repertory- Dr. P. Sivaraman

Kent's Final General Repertory- Dr.P. Schmidt & Dr.Diwan H.Chand, (1980)

Synthesis Repertory- Dr. Schroyens, (1987)
Homoeopathic Medical Repertory- Dr. Robin Murphy, (1993)

Kent's Repertorium Generale- Dr.J. Kunzli

Additions to Kent's Repertory- Dr.C.M. Boger
Additions to Kent's Repertory- Dr.G. Vithoulkas
The Complete Repertory- Dr. Roger V. Zandvoort

In conclusion I want to assert that whatever one may think otherwise, the fact is that we, the homeopaths, are living in Kentian era, and this era, it seems, will remain indefinitely, since Kent’s masterpiece has all the capabilities of growth, modifications and diversification.

Usmani Resource Page

Copyright 2011/All rights reserved © Dr Usmani
Contact author for permission to use

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Comment by Debby Bruck on August 15, 2010 at 3:56am
It saddens me to see an argument when we all know that everyone has favorites with their toolbox. One person uses PC and another a Mac. Either they perform in a way that is more comfortable or is easier, or more comprehensible for that individual. In my mind, I don't see the need to downgrade either one, or to try one-up-man-ship. Just use what ever suits you best.

Everyone also knows that there are those who practice Kentian or Hahnemannian or etc. So be it. For goodness sakes. Just accept that we are different in what foods and tastes we enjoy and how we see the world. Some people are conceptual, abstract, theoretical thinkers and others into practical, details, methods, etc. We are all different and that diversity is what keeps the world alive. Just be happy we have food on the table, a roof over our heads and people to talk to.
Comment by Dr. Wequar Ali Khan on August 14, 2010 at 1:38am
Gary with your software coming on,i think if its possible you can shed light on the points raised by you to clear many of the perceived misconception that you think exists.

Since Kent is considered the "GURU" and "PUNDIT" by many of his followers, including myself as i had no insight into others,except the fact that latter followers tried to diversify and sort of improve and make it more user mention a few like Murphy,Dr Luc,and Barthel.

i would request you to start with and shed light on items 6 to 8 though it would be best to write a detail answer from your research experiences which i think very few may have on this thorny subject.
Comment by sajjadakram on August 13, 2010 at 10:32am
Dear Dr Usmani,
You misunderstood.I am sorry for that.
Best regards.
Comment by sajjadakram on August 13, 2010 at 3:41am
O K.we can say Kent is more reliable,useful, comprehensive,free of mistakes and easy to use than others.
Comment by sajjadakram on August 13, 2010 at 3:31am
Dear usmani,
I am neither harsh not abrut.
Comment by Dr. M. A. Usmani on August 12, 2010 at 10:13pm
Dear Dr. Sajjad,

Warm regards,
Don't be so harsh and abrupt.
I never have meant such a thing as you ascribe to me, nor is it revealed by the drift of my article.

Comment by sajjadakram on August 12, 2010 at 7:24am
According to your observation and experience all repertories except that of Kent are bogus, outdated and unreliable.

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