Everything from the natural world can be classed as animate or inanimate. The
inanimate elements, salts and compounds can be loosely categorized as belonging
to the mineral kingdom. Animate substances can can roughly divided into
substances from the animal kingdom and substances from the plant kingdom.
Since homeopathic remedies come from the natural world, they can also be
categorized into the kingdoms of nature, plant, animal and mineral. People who
need remedies from animal sources will have different characteristics and types
of symptoms from people who need remedies from mineral or plant sources. Rajan
Sankaran developed this idea in his book, The Substance of Homeopathy.
It makes immediate intuitive sense that people needing plant remedies will be
like plants in some way, and people needing animal remedies will be like
animals, but until very recently homeopaths had not really considered that this
idea could be helpful in prescribing. In clinical practice, the remedy picture
was not considered to be related very much to the characteristics of the source
material. A great body of knowlege has been collected about the symptom
pictures of remedies and their similarities and differences, but not much work
had been done on looking at this data from the point of view of the kingdoms.
Farrington's Comparative Materia Medica is the best of the old
homeopathic works in this area. Farrington looks at the commonalities and
individual characteristics of groups of remedies like snakes, spiders, oils,
milks and mineral salts. It may seem obvious, but it was something of a
revelation to realize just how intimately the symptoms in a remedy's picture do
correspond to the characteristics of the original substance and the common
characteristics of members of its natural kingdom.
Since studying with Sankaran, we have come to believe that categorizing
according to kingdom can be a very useful, if not vital, tool in finding the
correct remedy for the patient. In figuring out the characteristics that we
might expect from remedies in the different kingdoms, it is important to look
at the characteristics of the members of each kingdom as they appear in nature.
Although no one person will have all of the following characteristics, enough
will often be present to identify him predominantly with one kingdom.
Think of plants. Plants vary from unicellular organisms to huge trees. The
common features of plants include photosynthesis, rootedness, spreading out,
various forms of reproduction and sensitivity to environmental changes. They
use sunlight, oxygen, nitrogen, water, soil and other nutrients as sources of
energy and life.
According to Sankaran, the basic quality of a plant is sensitivity. Plants
grow, but do not move under their own power from place to place. They stay in
one place and must be sensitive to the environment in order to adapt to the
changes around them. Your house plants don't just get up and move when the sun
moves, like your cat or dog, but they grow slowly toward the source of
sunlight. Plant remedies in homeopathy are also quite sensitive, trying to
adapt to changing circumstances. People who need plant remedies are often soft,
sensitive, attempting to adjust to the people and environment around them. They
are passive, emotional, easily hurt, changeable, and lack structure. Just as
plants can spread out into the available space, absorbing what is necessary for
life, these people are more diffuse by nature, wandering in thought and speech,
guided by their emotions, looking for support and nurturing. They are often
creative and artistic, looking to create and surround themselves with beauty,
such as art and music. They are flowing, reactive, fragile, and more random in
thought and speech. Their writing may look irregular, or disorganized, with