|During the past two decades, hundreds of new Materia medicas have flooded the market. Still, there are very few, which stand out as original works. Sherr’s new book is an exception.
The book revolves around the study of eleven syphilitic medicines – Androctonus, Aurum met, Haliaeetus, Guaicum, Hepar sulph. calc., Mercurius, Phytolacca, Platina, Stillingia, Syphilinum, and Thallium. This is a beautiful group of homeopathic medicines: on one hand, the author has picked up well-known medicines like Aurum met and Syphilinum, and on the other hand there are lesser known medicines like Stillinigia and Guaicum. The newer remedies like Haliaeetus and Thallium complete the spectrum.
“The purpose of this book,” says Sherr in the Introduction, “is to amalgamate a number of parallel concepts into a unified and holistic composition that reflects the intrinsic nature of homeopathy.” Sherr has been very successful in creating a harmony out of the different approaches towards studying the Materia Medica.
Every medicine in this work has been presented in a different manner. Some have been presented as toxicological information, some as original provings, some as reprovings and still others as remedy portraits. These various aspects of studying a remedy have been used very beautifully to bring out the essence of each medicine, while at the same time drilling the importance of every approach into the reader’s mind. Materia medicas are not supposed to be read from cover to cover. And even if you try to do that, you get bored easily. Not with this book! Sherr’s novel and beautiful presentation makes this book and interesting read – from cover to cover!
In the study of all these medicines, Jeremy has tried to use a new approach to synthesize the core of each medicine. He calls it “The Verb”. The “Verb” stands for its literal meaning, i.e.; “action”. Actions are reflections of the underlying sensation or feeling. In Natrum mur, for instance, there is a sensation that there are thieves in the house or under the bed. The sensation leads to the action of looking under the bed, searching the whole house or double checking the doors and windows.
When a person is healthy, his sensations and feelings modify as per the circumstances and the actions are free and reflect the need. But when a person is sick, the sensations get pathologically stuck. Whatever be the situation, the same sensation will percolate to all levels of existence. When the sensations are ‘stuck’, the actions are also repetitive and a reflection of the underlying sensation. For example, Sepia has that underlying sensation of emptiness – uterus is being emptied, empty sensation in the stomach, fear of poverty (which reflects empty coffers) etc. All the functions then are reflection of this stuck sensation of ’emptiness’. There is a desire to support the uterus (to prevent it from being empty, come out) and there is need to hold on to the money (avarice).
Such a common sensation and its reflection in the action has been called “The Verb”. All the remedy pictures have been presented in a way to bring out the verb from the plethora of symptoms obtained in provings. If a verb is universal to a remedy, it should reflect on both the physical and the mental plane. But in certain remedy pictures (like Haliaeetus), the “Verb” seems to be derived from mental aspects only. I really wanted to see how the “Verb” of Haliaeetus would reflect on the physical plane.
The book ends with an effort to synthesize the “verb” of the Syphilitic miasm and a history of Syphilis as a disease. Sherr has not given any explanation of his verbs for Syphilis. The synthesis of the verbs for Syphils seem to rely heavily on themes from Syphilinum, Haliaeetus, Androctonus etc. There are some remedies in which the “Syphilis Verbs” are not clearly apparent. A more explanatory analysis of “The Verb” towards the conclusion would have added more weight to this wonderful book. As a last note, I must say that the inductive proving of Phytolacca could have been left out. It seems out of sync with the original provings and the remedy synthesis. It adds nothing to the book.
Another common aspect that runs through all the medicines is “medicine in verse”. Sherr has written some wonderful poems describing the essence of each remedy. Being a poet myself, it was a joy to read these well-written poems. I can safely say that these were by far the best homeopathic poems I have ever read. The poet in Jeremy is often visible even in the plain text that he has written. The language is beautiful. The presentation is equally beautiful too, with different shades of blue on different pages exciting different emotions and an excellent print quality.
After having said all this, I must summarize my opinions: Dynamic Materia Medica-Syphilis, is a beautifully presented and very well written book. The concept of “The Verb” presented by Jeremy in this book, makes it a must read for every homeopath. The book is not just a source of information about our medicines but it also teaches us the significance of various methods of studying Materia Medica. The books leaves you hungry for more such works!