Clemens Maria Franz von Boenninghausen (1785 - 1864) who was cured by one dose of Pulsatilla C 30 followed four weeks later by Sulphur C 30 in 1828 by his botanical friend and homoeopathic physician Dr. Carl Ernst August Weihe (1779 - 1834) was one of the most prominent followers of Hahnemann. The founder of the homoeopathic healing art wrote in 1833:2“Government Counselor Baron von Boenninghausen of Muenster has studied and grasped my homoeopathic system of treatment so thoroughly that as a homoeopath he deserves to be fully trusted, and if I should be ill myself and unable to help myself I would not entrust myself to any other physician.”
Boenninghausen published a lot of contributions to homoeopathic literature. Unfortunately not all have been translated into English. He was the founder of two different lines of repertorial tradition:
1. The arrangement taken up by C.M. Boger (1861 - 1935) in his “Boenninghausen´s Characteristics and Repertory” (Parkersburg 1905) which is based on his translation entitled “A Systematic Alphabetic Repertory of Homoeopathic Remedies” (Philadelphia 1900) of Boenninghausens´s “Systematisch-alphabetisches Repertorium der antipsorischen Arzneien“ (2nd Ed. Muenster 1833)
2. The „Therapeutic Pocket Book“ (1st Ed. Muenster 1846) In the 19th century and early decades of the 20th century the Pocket Book was extensively used by the profession. Several editions in German, English and French were available. Some of the best American practitioners claimed in the 1920´s and 1930´s to solve difficult chronic case better with this repertory than with Kent´s. Even during the speedy decline of American homoeopathy Herbert Albert Roberts (1868 - 1950) published in 1935 „The Principles and Practicability of Boenninghausens Therapeutic Pocket Book“. In spite of this, the tradition to of practicing according to Boenninghausen was more or less forgotten especially in Europe including Germany.
In 1979 the German publisher Ulrich Burgdorf made reprints of two of Boenninghausen´s works available to the profession:
Die Aphorismen des Hippokrates Die Homoeopathie
The first book being written in ripe old age contains a great many practical hints. Unfortunately it has never been translated into English. The second was compiled in his younger days and informs educated laymen and patients about homoeopathy. Both reprints were met with no great interest probably because of lack of direct methodological approach.
In 1982 my teacher Dr. Will Klunker (1923 - 2002) of Heiden, Switzerland, became interested in Boenninghausen and after pointing out the “Lesser Writings” edited by Thomas Lindsley Bradford (1847 - 1918) requested me to prepare a collection of all of Boenninghausen´s original articles published in different periodicals, including those in English and French. This book, in chronological arrangement appeared in public under the title “Boenninghausen´s kleine medizinische Schriften” in 1984 and included the contributions Bradford had omitted. A close study of this over the next years was followed by a detailed insight into Boenninghausen´s method of case- taking and especially case-analysis as well as his mode of remedy application including intercurrent remedies etc. This led to the
-use of the “Therapeutic Pocket Book” in my practice, and
-reading of all of his other writings being obtained from antiquarian book dealers
-edition of an index to important subjects in all of his publications. 3
In 1983 a medical thesis on the life and work of Boenninghausen was published by Friedrich Kottwitz at the University of Berlin. 4
A study published two years later5 of the sources of our repertories inspired me to a comparison of Kent´s “Generalities” with corresponding rubrics of the “Therapeutic Pocket Book”. This showed that Kent´s repertory contains many entries from the Pocket Book.
From 1987 until 1995 several works of Boenninghausen have been reprinted in Germany, e.g. his Repertory of Antipsoric Remedies. Kottwitz, F. Clemens Maria Franz von Boenninghausen (1785-1864). Med. dent. Diss. Berlin 1983. Boenninghausens Therapeutisches Taschenbuch als Quelle der "Generalities" in Kents Repertorium. ZKH 29(1985)223-227.
During a seminar on repertories in Lucerne, Switzerland, in September 1991 I compared this method of repertorization with Kent´s and others. This was followed by an invitation of the “Schweizerische Aerztegesellschaft fuer Homoeopathie und Phytotherapie” (“Swiss Medical Society for Homoeopathy and Plant Therapies”, SAHP) to deliver seminars on the Boenninghausen method which started in 1992 and took place for several years. They included also the repertorization with the so-called Lieth card index repertory published in 1989. This covers 551 perforated cards and is based primarily on entries having 3rd and 4th grade in the “Therapeutic Pocket Book”, and the repertorial part of Boger´s “Synoptic Key”. Fortunately for German practitioners the publisher Bernd von der Lieth reprinted the original edition (1846) of the “Therapeutic Pocket Book” in 1985 on the occasion of Boenninghausen´s 200th anniversary. Thanks to the availability of this tool it was possible now to teach the so-called Boenninghausen method.
In February 1993 a group of 5 or 6 colleagues came to me to get instructed in regard to the Boenninghausen method. This led to the foundation of the “Boenninghausen Study Group”. Soon the number of attendants increased to 30 - 35.
George Dimitriadis invited me to Syndey to present a seminar for his colleagues comparing Kent´s and Boenninghausen´s method in Spring 1995. As a consequence of this a co-operation with him and our Boenninghausen-Group resulted. In the year 2000 the revised edition of the Pocket Book entitled “Boenninghausen´s Therapeutisches Taschenbuch - Revidierte Ausgabe 2000” (Stuttgart 2000) was published as well as a corresponding software6. It included the “Pocket Book” of 1846 and all entries from other (later) works of Boenninghausen being in harmony with the general plan of the “Pocket Book” as well as the additions Boenninghausen made up until his death that he sent to Carroll Dunham (1828 - 1877). Until now there are four German editions of this revised “Pocket Book”. Starting in June 2000 Bernhard Moeller delivered many seminars in German speaking countries explaining the method of using the revised Pocket Book including its corresponding program.
In 1995 Raimund Friedrich Kastner published a materia medica compilation of Boenninghausen, using all works of Boenninghausen dealing with materia medica known to this date in one huge volume entitled “Boenninghausens Physiognomik der homoeopathischen Arzneimittel“. In the same year Martin Stahl made public a medical thesis on the letters between Hahnemann and Boenninghausen entitled “The Correspondence between Samuel Hahnemann (1755 - 1843) and Clemens von Boenninghausen (1785 - 1864)”. In the year 1997 Bernhard Moeller
published a very detailed introduction into the methodology of
Boenninghausen entitled “Einfuehrung in die Methodik Clemens von Boenninghausen´s“. 7 In the year 1997 during a meeting of the Boenninghausen Study Group in Darup, Westfalia, where Boenninghausen lived, his great grand-son Lothar von Boenninghausen presented to me the personal interleafed copy of a materia medica Boenninghausen had published in 18368 and used until his death. It contained many handwritten additions from his pen. Our colleague Andreas Jansen took up the task and transcribed and edited this manuscript very carefully in 1999. It was published by Bernd van der Lieth.9
In 1998 it was again Raimund Friedrich Kastner who presented to the homoeopathic community a repertory compiled of all repertorial rubrics Boenninghausen had published in his various works. In the same year the “Deutscher Zentralverein homoeopathischer Aerzte” invited me to present a paper on its 150th annual meeting about “The Basic Principles of the So-called Method of Boenninghausen“. Dr. Heiner Frei of Laupen, Switzerland, who was deeply impressed by the Boenninghausen method since my early seminars delivered before the SAHP made use especially of the Lieth card index and since 2000 of the software of the revised Pocket Book edition 2000. In consequence to his successful case- analysis by this method he published three very valuable books full of cases demonstrating the principle: Kastner, R.F. Boenninghausens Repertorium der homoeopathischen Arz-neimittel. Heidelberg 1998. *Die homoeopathische Behandlung von Kindern mit ADS/ADHS. Stuttgart 2005(The Homoeopathic Treatment of Children with ADS/ADHS). *Effiziente homoeopathische Behandlung. (Efficient Homoeopathic Treatment) Stuttgart 2008. *Homoeopathische Behandlung multimorbider Patienten. (Homoeopathic Treatment of Multi-morbid Patients) Stuttgart 2010.
Boenninghausen himself has never written any contribution to explain his method in full detail. But his various writings contain a lot of remarks giving hints to his method. Taken together they form the so-called “Boenninghausen method”. Some basics have to be lined out to make possible a proper understanding of Boenninghausen´s intentions. In first instance he was a practitioner - working in the early times of homoeopathy. In those days a successful prescription depended mainly upon a proper knowledge of the remedies. Repertories gave hints only for the selection of a remedy. Therefore the study of the materia medica was Boenninghausen´s favourite subject in homoeopathy during his lifetime. Arnold Lorbacher (1818 - 1899) wrote in 1879: “Boenninghausen … we can call with no exaggeration the best well-founded and greatest expert of our materia medica.11
What is the most important subject in his study of materia medica? The “Goldkoerner” (gold nuggets) being single symptoms generally related to one remedy only, and the “genius” of the remedy. To cut a long study (first published in 199212) short concerning the latter: With reference to Asa foetida Boenninghausen pointed to the remedy´s stitching pains from inward to outward. These occurred in the proving in several parts of the body. He discovered the following: If these characteristic pains occur in any other part in the sick than those displayed in the proving, they can be employed. Gypser, K.-H. Der „Genius der Arznei“ bei Boenninghausen. Zeitschrift fuer klassische Homoeopathie, 36(1992)224- 230.
The definition of a so-called genius symptom is the following:
1. It has to occur often in different parts of the body in the provings.
2. It has to be clear and not vague.
A genius symptom is quite often only a part of a complete symptom. With reference to Constantine Hering (1800 - 1880) a complete symptom is composed of:
-locality (including extension)
- sensation (including findings)
- modality in regard to time and circumstances
The genius symptom is often met within the sensations or modalities, and rarely among the concomitants - e.g. the red face or cheeks of Capsicum is concomitant to many of its symptoms, and therefore it can be classified as genius. Returning to Boenninghausen it is important to understand his idea of a genius symptom being represented in the third and fourth (and rare fifth) grade of his “Pocket Book” otherwise its general plan cannot be grasped completely. Another part of the above- mentioned basics deals with the procedure of case-taking by Boenninghausen. With reference to the Organon VI section 95 he divided the patient´s symptoms into two groups:
1. The main symptom - the symptom being the motive to consult the doctor,e.g. a headache with its sensations, modalities and concomitans;
2. The side symptoms - bearing obviously no relation to the main symptom, e.g. a change in regard to appetite or thirst, sleep, mental condition or whatever.
The totality of symptoms consists of all more or less persistent symptoms from the beginning of the main symptoms, the suffering of the patient, until the first consultation.
From Boenninghausen´s original case-books the division in main and side symptoms is apparent. He even had special sheets of paper printed in that line. With reference to Boenninghausen this classification of symptoms has to be extended:
**First in regard to causation. If there is really a causa occasionalis in the meaning of Hahnemann it has to be used but a warning of Boenninghausen14 has to be taken into account: If cold is the causa occasionalis perhaps of an acute disease and at the time of consultation the patient reports an amelioration of his complaints from cold the causa “cold” is no longer of any worth and its use for the selection of the remedy is forbidden. The present state of the patient is ameliorated by cold, and therefore this modality has to be considered.
**Second in regard to mental symptoms. With reference to the Organon VI section 210 and 212 the change of the mental disposition has to be considered. In Boenninghausen´s weighting of symptoms it comes last to decide between two or three final remedies. Here we deal with broader dispositions like irritability, sadness, changing mood, despair, indifference etc. Of course the mental state might also be the main symptom, e.g. the patient comes for consultation because of his attacks of anxiety occurring in crowded rooms being accompanied by profuse sweat. Then it is of first importance.
**Third in regard to the polarities. Taking into account the genius (compare the example of Asa foetida) there are symptoms or parts of symptoms in our remedies running through their pathogenesis, e.g. for Pulsatilla the thirstlessness, the aggravation in the evening or in warm rooms, the ameliorations in cool open air. If one arrives in his repertorization at Pulsatilla one has to consider the patient´s symptoms being not in contradiction to these (and other) genius symptoms of Pulsatilla. Of course the patient must not have these genius symptoms at all but he should not present their contrary. This is more detailed outlined in the foreword to the revised edition of Boenninghausen´s Therapeutic Pocket Book 2000, p. XXXIII-XXXIV. At least to me the polarities15 were one of the most important re-discoveries I made studying Boenninghausen in the 80´s, and they were of immense practical use to me right after re-discovery.
From what has been outlined before an order (weighting, arrangement, hierarchy) of symptoms for repertorization follows:
-Causation (if there is any at all)
-Mental disposition (change in) -Polarities.
Boenninghausen gave us two exceptions from this rule of arranging symptoms: 1.If a remedy corresponds very well to the side symptoms and not at all to the main symptom, in spite of this that the remedy should be given and will cure. Boenninghausen reasoned that the lacking symptom (in this case, the main symptom) had not yet been displayed by a sensitive prover. 2.Finally there are two remedies at equal disposal: One (A) corresponds better to the main symptom, the other (B) to the side symptoms. Then he applied A, after a couple of days B, and after some days A again (in chronic cases; in acute the intervals were shorter, hours only). This procedure is somewhat connected with the subject of intercurrent remedies he used very often. This is a very detailed matter and cannot be outlined in this survey more extensively. But this can be said: In a study I made choosing at random 55 chronic cases of his practice the average time of cure by this mode of prescribing remedies was two and a half months. The general plan of the “Therapeutic Pocket-Book” was necessary to Boenninghausen because another type of repertory would have required many volumes. Hahnemann agreed to his idea as shown by their correspondence dated 24 September 184216. Having in mind Hering´s definition of a complete symptom and Boenninghausen´s idea of a genius symptom one understands the plan of the Pocket Book: It divides every symptom into its elements and lists the entries of remedies in their corresponding grades. This opens the possibility of re-combining the symptoms and enlarged the therapeutic sphere of our remedies enormously. All rubrics are spread over six chapters and various subchapters. A short case history from my practice taken from the introduction of the revised Pocket Book17 will demonstrate the use of this tool: The 43 year old female patient G.N. suffered from drawing pains in her left shoulder blade as a result of long stooping for two weeks. These pains extend from time to time to the heart like a cramp. They are decidedly aggravated by sitting and especially by sitting bent as well as by deep breathing, and they are ameliorated by stretching, standing and lying.
In this minor case of acute disease there were no side symptoms. According to the hint of Boenninghausen the remedy must accord first and foremost to the result and not to the cause, so prolonged stooping was not taken into account. Furthermore the quality of pain was not considered as there were a lot of clear modalities. Here are the titles of rubrics with their corresponding rubric code numbers (If these are put into the software program the whole process of repertorization is done automatically. Of course they can also be found by word searching.):
Back, left (792)
< Sitting bent (2383)
< Breathing deep (1994)
> Standing (2613)
This resulted in three remedies covering all symptoms in high grades, Scilla (6/17, P 14), Bry. (6/17, P 9), and Rhus tox. (6/15, P 0). The first number indicates how many symptoms are covered by the remedy, the second number the addition of grades, and P the differences of polarity. If the number is high, there is a great difference, and therefore one has not to face contradictions. Consequently Rhus tox. was eliminated at once, and finally Bry. as well because of lower grades in two important modalities. The patient obtained a single dose of Scilla C 200 (ISO). By next morning the pains had disappeared never to return. Dr. Heiner Frei has been fascinated by the idea of polarities since the revised Therapeutic Pocket Book appeared in print. He developed a special method of case-analysis based on polarity rubrics marked “P”. We are fortune that he enriched our literature with the book entitled “Polarity Analysis” (in English) demonstrating case histories18. It is very useful in cases with strong modalities.
One remark has to be made concerning T.F. Allen´s (1837 - 1902) edition of “Boenninghausen's Therapeutic Pocket Book“, first published in Philadelphia in 1891 being followed by four American and many Indian reprints and even a German edition dating back to 1897. In comparison with the edition of 1846 it has been mainly enlarged by the addition of new remedies. It is not known whether T.F. Allen really understood the exact plan of grading by Boenninghausen. Boenninghausen never gave exact details on how he arrived at his grades, but only faint hints. Maybe T.F. Allen learned more about Boenninghausen´s system of determining grades from Carroll Dunham (with whom he was acquainted) who had visited Boenninghausen twice in 1851 and 1854/1855. But this is absolutely not sure, and therefore it would be wise to be very careful with these added remedies.
It was intended to give a short overview about the revival of practising homoeopathy according to Boenninghausen in the German speaking countries within the last decades. Much more could have been said, and of course many colleagues not mentioned here have contributed by seminars and publications to spread Boenninghausen´s hints and method. One should always keep in mind the method of Boenninghausen being one approach only among others to arrive at the proper remedy. The method applied - Boenninghausen´s, Boger´s, Kent´s or others - to obtain the simillimum in a given disease depends completely upon the symptoms of the patient. We have to adjust the method of case-analysis to the symptoms and not reverse!
To summarize Boenninghausen´s major contributions to homoeopathy we arrive at the following:
*author of the first repertory in homoeopathy
*development of a grading system
*the first to use high potencies regularly in his practice
*introduction of the genius of a remedy
*case-analysis by dividing the symptomatology into main and side symptom•intercurrent remedy •Late symptoms (those appearing in the later part of a proving being of highest value)
The following is a list of all publications of Boenninghausen not yet translated into English (to my knowledge):
-Abgekuerzte Uebersicht der Eigenthuemlichkeiten und Hauptwirkungen der homoeopathischen Arzneien. Hrsg. A. Jansen. Hamburg 1999. -Beitraege zur Kenntnis der Eigenthuemlichkeiten aller bisher vollstaendiger geprueften homoeopathischen Arzneien. 2. Aufl. Muenster 1833.
-Der homoeopathische Hausarzt. Muenster 1853.
-Die Aphorismen des Hippokrates. Leipzig 1863.
-Die Heilung der asiatischen Cholera. Muenster 1831.
-Die Homoeopathie. Muenster 1834.
-Die homoeopathische Diaet. 2. Aufl. Muenster 1833. -Kurze Belehrung fuer Nicht-Aerzte ueber die Verhuetung und Behandlung der asiatischen Cholera. Muenster 1849. -Uebersicht der Haupt-Wirkungs-Sphaere der Antipsorischen Arzneien. Muenster 1833.
-Versuch einer homoeopathischen Therapie der Wechselfieber. Leipzig 1833.
Allen, T. F. Boenninghausen's Therapeutic Pocket Book. Philadelphia 1891. Boenninghausen, C.v. A Systematic Alphabetic Repertory of Homoeopathic Remedies. Ed. C.M. Boger. Philadelphia 1900. Boenninghausens, C.v. Systematisch-alphabetisches Repertorium der antipsorischen Arzneien. 2nd Ed. Muenster 1833 (11832).
Boenninghausen, C. v. Abgekuerzte Uebersicht der Eigenthuemlichkeiten und Hauptwirkungen der homoeopathischen Arzneien. Hrsg. A. Jansen. Hamburg 1999.
Boenninghausen, C. v. Die Aphorismen des Hippokrates. Leipzig 1863.
Boenninghausen, C. v. Die Aphorismen des Hippokrates. Nachdr. Goettingen 1979 (1863). Boenninghausen, C. v. Die Homoeopathie. Nachdr. Goettingen 1979 (1834).
Boenninghausen, C. v. Manual of Homoeopathic Therapeutics. Transl. J. Laurie. London 1847. Boenninghausen, C. v. Therapeutisches Taschenbuch. Muenster 1846.
Boenninghausen, C. v. Therapeutic Pocket-Book. Muenster 1846.
Boenninghausen, C. v. Therapeutic Pocket Book. Ed. C. J. Hempel. New York, London 1847.
Boger, C.M. Boenninghausen´s Characteristics and Repertory. Parkersburg 1905.
Boger, C. M. A Synoptic Key of the Materia Medica. Parkersburg 1915.
Bradford, T. L. The Lesser Writings of C. M. F. von Boenninghausen. Philadelphia 1908.
Frei, H. Die homoeopathische Behandlung von Kindern mit ADS/ADHS. Stuttgart 2005.
Frei, H. Effiziente homoeopathische Behandlung. Stuttgart 2008. Frei, H. Homoeopathische Behandlung multimorbider Patienten. Stuttgart 2010.
Frei, H. Polarity Analysis in Homoeopathy. Kandern 2013.
Gypser, K.-H. Boenninghausens Therapeutisches Taschenbuch als Quelle der "Generalities" in Kents Repertorium. ZKH 29(1985)223-227.
Gypser, K. -H. Boenninghausens kleine medizinische Schriften. Heidelberg 1984.
Gypser, K.-H. Boenninghausens Therapeutisches Taschenbuch. Revidierte Ausgabe 2000. Stuttgart 2000.
Gypser, K.-H. Der „Genius der Arznei“ bei Boenninghausen. Zeitschrift fuer klassische Homoeopathie, 36(1992)224- 230.
Gypser, K. -H. Generalregister zu den Werken Boenning-hausens. Heppenheim 1992.
Hahnemann, S. Organon der Heilkunst. 6. Aufl. Leipzig 1921.
Kastner, R. F. Boenninghausens Physiognomik der homoeopathischen Arzneimittel. Heidelberg 1995.
Kastner, R.F. Boenninghausens Repertorium der homoeopathischen Arz-neimittel. Heidelberg 1998. Kottwitz, F. Clemens Maria Franz von Boenninghausen (1785-1864). Med. dent. Diss. Berlin 1983. Lieth, B.v.d. Therapeutische Taschenkartei fuer homoeopathische Aerzte. Hamburg 1989.
Lorbacher, A. Die Reihenfolge der Arzneimittel. Allgemeine homoeopathische Zeitung, 99(1879)129-131.
Moeller, B. Einfuehrung in die Methodik Clemens von Boenninghausen´s. Archiv fuer Homoeopathik, 6(1897)7- 21, 53-80, 149-168.
Roberts, H. A. and A. C. Wilson. The Principles and Practicability of Boenninghausens Therapeutic Pocket Book. Philadelphia 1935.
Stahl, M. Der Briefwechsel zwischen Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843) und Clemens von Boenninghausen (1785-1864). Med. Diss. Goettingen 1995.
2 Gypser, K. -H. Boenninghausens kleine medizinische Schriften. Heidelberg 1984, p. 811
3 Gypser, K. -H. Generalregister zu den Werken Boenninghausens. Heppenheim 1992.
4 Kottwitz, F. Clemens Maria Franz von Boenninghausen (1785-1864). Med. dent. Diss. Berlin 1983. 5 Boenninghausens Therapeutisches Taschenbuch als Quelle der "Generalities" in Kents Repertorium. ZKH 29(1985)223-227.
7 Moeller, B. Archiv fuer Homoeopathik, 6(1897)7 - 21, 53-80, 101-108, 149-168.
8 Boenninghausen, C. v. Versuch ueber die Verwandtschaften der homoeopathischen Arzneien nebst einer abgekuerzten Uebersicht ihrer Eigentuemlichkeiten und Hauptwirkungen. Muenster 1836.
9 Boenninghausen, C. v. Abgekuerzte Uebersicht der Eigenthuemlichkeiten und Hauptwirkungen der homoeopathischen Arzneien. Hrsg. A. Jansen. Hamburg 1999.
10 Kastner, R.F. Boenninghausens Repertorium der homoeopathischen Arzneimittel. Heidelberg 1998.
11 Lorbacher, A. AHZ 99(1879)130
12 Gypser, K.-H. Der „Genius der Arznei“ bei Boenninghausen. Zeitschrift fuer klassische Homoeopathie, 36(1992)224 - 230.
13 Gypser, K. -H. Boenninghausens kleine medizinische Schriften. Heidelberg 1984, p. 774 - 775.
14 Boenninghausen, C. v. Die Aphorismen des Hippokrates. Leipzig 1863, p. 303.
15 In lack of a better term I choose “polarity”. Boenninghausen had never used it but described the fact in his publication “Die Aphorismen des Hippokrates”, Leipzig 1863, p. 215, 341, 408, 447.
16 Stahl, 1995, p. 154-155.
17 Boenninghausen´s Therapeutisches Taschenbuch 2000. Ed. K.-H. Gypser. Stuttgart 2000, p. XXXVI-XXXVII.
18 Frei, H. Polarity Analysis in Homoeopathy. Kandern 2013.
My thanks go to Daniel Cook MD of Dallas,Texas who kindly helped to improve the style of this article.
Author: Dr. med. Klaus-Henning Gypser Schaeferei 22 56653 Glees Germany e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: LMHI Newsletter, nº 14, April 2015.