(Article published in The Homeopathic Panorama- Published by IHMA, India)
Rare drugs, as the name indicates, are prescribed very rarely and yet we homoeopaths use this term commonly in our day today practice. It is needless to say that these drugs are used rarely and are usually confined to shelves within sealed bottles.
Which are rare drugs?
There is no clear-cut demarcation line between rare and common drugs. A rare drug for one doctor may be a commonly used one for another. Hence the classification of a drug in to rare or common differs from person to person. However, differentiating polycrest drugs from other short acting drugs is not that difficult.
Why are they considered as "rare"?
Now the question arises, why these drugs are prescribed rarely. There are a few reasons worth mentioning.
1. These drugs are not well proved. Hence their therapeutic value is not fully known.
2. Their proving mainly contains less important symptoms such as clinical symptoms, pathological symptoms, pharmacological actions and clinical experience of doctors. Here generals are very few.
3. Because of the low intensity of symptoms or lack of authenticity, these drugs are not given in many repertories. If at all considered, they are given in a low grade and therefore are not usually selected in the process of repertorization.
4. When we come to a group of similar drugs for the final selection, we omit the rare drugs due to partial similarity, and polycrest drugs are prescribed usually.
5. Only the polycrest drugs are considered as deep acting drugs.
6. Majority of doctors are having an impression, “Rare remedies rarely cure”.
7. Our previous experience with rare remedies may not be favorable and hence we gradually stop prescribing such drugs.
8. Now the trend of classical homoeopathic prescribing is becoming more popular and usually polycrest drugs are used.
9. Rare remedies are considered as short acting drugs and are prescribed in lower potencies, as they don’t usually seem fully similar to the case.
All these reasons make rare drugs untouched and they get evaporated easily.
Despite all these, there are a number of doctors using them even for chronic diseases based on partial similarity or on the basis of clinical proving and experience. Some of these drugs are used or even misused as favorite drugs by many practitioners.
Do rare remedies rarely cure? Is their therapeutic value little compared to that of polycrests?
Theses questions can be a topic for debate. It is true that the result we get from these drugs may not be favorable as compared to that of commonly used polycrest drugs. This is because of the low level of similarity. If we compare the drug picture of a polycrest drug with a partially proved drug, we can make out the difference. Some of the rare drugs are used as organ remedies and some are used as specifics. Many drugs used in Ayurveda and other traditional systems are also used in our system. When we go through the literature of these drugs, we feel the scarcity of symptoms with which we can prescribe homoeopathically. Only clinical provings, clinical verifications and pharmacological actions are given in many drugs. It doesn’t mean that these drugs are of little importance for a homoeopathic prescription. To perceive the therapeutic value of these drugs completely, we need to have keen observation, dedication and utmost sincerity, which our masters had while proving drugs in those days.
It is needless to say that only a similar remedy can cure and when we use a poorly proved drug, the similarity is partial or in a low level, resulting in the temporary ease of symptoms. Truly speaking, there are no rare drugs in homoeopathy. Each and every drug ranging from A to Z is equally important as far as our holistic approach is concerned. We usually make some wrong statements like ‘useful drug’, ‘helpful drug’, ‘commonly used drug’, ‘very good medicine’ etc even though our principles are totally against such concepts. If we get a case that shows homoeopathicity with a so-called rare drug, it can definitely cure but normally the fully proved polycrests overcome all rare drugs. It cannot be considered as a drawback of homoeopathy but indicates the importance of proving these drugs completely so that their therapeutic value can be ascertained and utilized completely in our day-to-day practice. Therefore, it is the duty of present day doctors to do reproving of all existing poorly proved drugs before we introduce new drugs into our system.
Some books on rare remedies: The first book we consider is Materia Medica by William Boericke. Allen’s Encyclopedia of Pure Materia Medica, Clark’s Materia Medica, 1001 Rare Remedies by Dr Fredrick Schroyens, Rare Remedies by D r P N Verma, New Manual of Homoeopathic Material Medica, Dr Jeremy Sher’s Provings, Dr Anshutz EP’s New and Old Forgotten Drugs, Bedside Clinical Tips by Dr Farokh Master etc are some useful books. Of course magazines, periodicals, Internet resources and new versions of homoeopathic softwares are also helpful.
Dr Muhammed Rafeeque, BHMS.
Family Homoeopathic Clinic