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Same Remedy, But Different Names - No More Confusion!

Once our pioneers had a clash over the name of a remedy- Cimicifuga vs Actea Racemosa. One group proposed Cimicifuga and the other group proposed Actea Racemosa. And finally, as a compromise, most of the homeopaths use Cimicifuga-Actea Racemosa. Similarly, there are a few more medicines in homeopathy having different names used in labeling, materia medica description, and most importantly while giving a prescription. The use of different names for the same medicine can confuse the pharmacists, students and also the doctors who are not familiar with the synonyms.


When I was a student, I had a bet with my classmates. In our college OPD, we had a case of Bronchial asthma with a strong modality- breathlessness relieved by passing stool. Pothos is the only remedy for this indication, I strongly suggested. But my classmates were not ready to agree, they said, there is one more remedy called Ictodes. A few students supported me, but the majority in the other group. Finally we referred some books and felt sorry for an unnecessary argument, because Pothos and Ictodes are the same remedy! The name given in the materia medica is Pothos and the repertories give Ictodes.


On another occasion, I prescribed Ox gall 6X for a gall stone patient. Immediately, the patient reported that it is not available in the nearby pharmacy. When I changed the prescription by writing the synonym Fel Tauri 6 X, it was available there!


In India, some medicines are marketed and prescribed as per the common names instead of the scientific name. Example: Brahmi Q, 1x, 3x etc is prescribed by many, but the scientific name Bacopa moneeri is also used by many pharmacies.


Our materia medica, therapeutic books and the repertories follow different names
for many drugs. Here I am listing a few among them.


Fel tauri- Ox gal


Kalmeg- Andrographis Paniculata.


Cimicifuga racemosa - Actaea racemosa


Solanum lycopersicum- Lycopersicum esculentum


Pothos foetidus- Ictodes foetida


Kurchi- Holarrhena antidysenterica


Anacardium orientale - Semecarpus anacardium


Cyperus rotundus- Mutha.


Calcarea carbonica – Calcarea ostrearum


Damiana – Turnera diffusa


Calcarea ovarum - Ova tosta (toasted egg shell)


Nux moschata – Myristica fragrans


Arjuna – Terminalia Arjuna


Dolicos pruriens - Mucuna pruriens


Psoralea Corylifolia – Babchi or bavchi


Bhrahmi - Bacopa monnieri


China - Cinchona


Asoka - Saraca indica - Jonosia asoka


Adhatoda vasaka - Justicia adhatoda


Eriodyction californicum - Yerba Santa


Camphora officianalis – Camphor

Saw palmetto - Sabal serrulata


Aviaire - Tuberculinum avis

Tongo Odorata - Diptrix Odorata

Guaiacum Officinale - Guajacum Officinale

Withania Somnifera - Aswagandha

Vinca Rosea - Catharanthus Rosens

Serum Anguillar Ichthytoxin - Elserum

Terminalia Arjuna- Arjuna

Quercus glandium spiritus- Spiritus glandium quercus

Mercurius Iodatus Ruber- Merc bin iod

Mercurius iodatus flavus- Merc proto iod

Kli iodicum- Kli hydroiodicum

Jborandi- Pilocarpus

Hydrophobinum- Lyssin

Boerhavia diffusa- Punarnava.

Golondrina - Euphorbia polycarpa W. Boericke has written Golondrina, and Blackwood has written Euphorbia. Both are same.

Verbascum thapsus is also used in homeopathy as Mullein oil, which is Verbascum Q mixed with Glycerine.


Drugs prepared from acids can also confuse while dispensing. For example: Some pharmacies label Acid Nitricum and others mention Nitric acid or Nitricum Acidum.


While giving prescription, we make a great mistake by writing only the genus name of the medicine, without writing the species name. Prescribing only “Phytolacca” is meaningless, because we have Phytolacca decandra and Phytolacca berry. True that some remedies are more popular, for example: If anybody prescribe Aconite, most probably it is Aconitum Napellus. Acon Napellus is popular, but we have different varieties of Aconite such as: A.napellus, A.anthora, A.cammarum, A.columbianum, A.ferox, A.lycotonum, A.septentrionale etc.


[Some materia medica books also confuse the readers. In Allen's keynotes, the drug picture of Tarentulla cubensis and Tarent hispanica are written together as a single drug]


To avoid the confusion, use the scientific names that is accepted world wide. This is the main intention behind the introduction of Binomial nomenclature by Carolus Linnaeus.


Dr Muhammed Rafeeque, BHMS, PGNAHI.

Family Homoeopathic Clinic


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Comment by HOMEOPATIA SOUZA MARQUES on August 24, 2010 at 8:22am
Very good this treatise on the names of medicines. Dr. Rafeeque. Our pharmacy also has this problem but we decided because we know a lot about synonymy of homeopathic medicines have a complete book with all the synonyms. Many doctors give the synonymy of drugs, since the names are in Latin. This article is very important for pharmacies and doctors.

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