by Amanda Bate
published in Homeopathy in practice Spring/Summer 2016
I was keen to review this book as I run a weekly children’s clinic and the biggest pro- portion of my client base has always been babies and children, since I became a homeo- path 21 years ago.
This A5 hardback fits easily into coat pocket or handbag; and the cover has a lovely photo of two children, a boy and girl clearly brimming with health and vitality!
I dived right in, reading the short portraits at random; some of the remedies were familiar, others were new to me. I soon realised I wasn’t sure if I liked the book, but I could not pinpoint why. I felt it was a bit repetitive but, acknow- ledging that I was trying to rush through, I decided to go back to the beginning and start with the Preface by Dr François Gassin. Dr Gassin says the book is for practitioners, paediatric health professionals and parents, and that the book is an ‘indispensable work which imparts in those who read it the desire to study’ other books by the author. I did come to agree with this last part, and thought I would find out where Dr Le Roux worked and see if I could sit in with her. Sadly she died in a tragic accident in 2011. However, I disagree that it is ‘an indispensable work’ and neither do I agree that it is a book for parents. I feel that parents would be trying to prescribe constitutionally for their babies and children. On the other hand, there will be other homeo- paths who feel that whichever remedy is needed there and then is ‘the constitutional’. So straight away we have a good discussion point for homeopaths from this little book.
The next few pages are given over to a summary of the basic principles of homeo- pathy. Under the paragraph about the Law of Similars, I find something that challenges my learning and understanding:
According to the Law of Similars, the follow- ing concepts arise: A substance that has not been proved on a healthy person cannot be qualified as a homeopathic remedy.
I strongly disagree with this. A remedy is only homeopathic if it is prescribed in accordance with the Law of Similars. For example, hands very cold from playing in the snow can be remedied by placing them in cold water; a sunburned back will have the heat and sting removed more quickly if the person has a warm shower rather than a cold one; a small burn from the cooker or iron will have the heat removed if run under a warm tap rather than a cold tap. These are examples of homeopathic treatment; that is, the remedy is water of a similar temperature to the problem, and because it is similar it is homeopathic, but no proving had to take place. We also use reme- dies from elements from the periodic table of elements where we cannot possibly prove the original substance on a healthy person, but from others’ studies of the elements (for exam- ple, Jan Scholten) we can make the remedy on a machine, apply the Law of Similars and bring about a homeopathic cure.
Still in the same section, Dr Le Roux writes that the … goal of homeopathic medicine is not only to obtain a clinical diagnosis, but also a therapeutic diagnosis, with the intention of finding the homeopathic remedy most fitting to the patient.
I agree with the last phrase, but we do not have to have a clinical or a therapeutic diag- nosis. We need to perceive what needs to be cured and see which remedy will quickly, gently, permanently heal the patient. This raises questions and curiosity within me: did Dr Le Roux not know about homeopaths with- out medical backgrounds? Did she only mix with French homeopaths who, I believe, have to be medical doctors first? I have to assume this is why she held these particular views. However, for me it makes the book appear even more unsuitable for parents who do not have the skills or knowledge to make clinical and therapeutic diagnoses.
Moving on, I was happy with her brief expla- nation of the minimum dose and the source of homeopathic medicines – although I always want to add that a remedy is only homeopathic when it has been prescribed in keeping with the Law of Similars; otherwise it is just a poten- tised substance. The next paragraph is about homeopathic prescriptions in paediatrics. I find a bone of contention here too: apart from pillules, powders and aqueous solutions, Dr Le Roux also says suppositories are available for new- borns. Horror! Why? There is no need. I have asked a mother to hold an Aconite 30 tablet against the head of her minutes-old baby and watched it take immediate effect. I have placed a remedy on a dying comatose man’s wrist and watched, with the nursing staff, the monitors show him to immediately calm. There is no need to use a suppository in homeopathy.
Things begin to look up with Dr Le Roux’s paragraphs on classification of types of patients, although I had a little chuckle when I read that she feels the brief descriptions of the miasms is a ‘little outdated, yet still has some value’. This book classifies remedies into four ‘king- doms’: Chilly, Hot, Slow and Restless. I like this, it immediately helps a homeopath if they take a case and feel ‘I don’t know where to begin’! Or am I the only one to have felt that?
Each of the 60 remedies is given two or The conclusion reminds the reader what a conscientious and passionate homeopath Dr Le Roux was three sides of A5. [Ed: the first edition is 40 portraits and the English version is 60. Presum- ably Dr Le Roux updated it from 40 to 60 portraits between editions.] Each description is succinct, beginning with characteristic symp- toms in bold type, then a grey shaded box with key words. The baby picture (age 0-2 years) for each remedy is described, both at home and what would be observed at the clinic. The same is done for a child (aged 2-12 years) needing the remedy. Then main clinical indications are listed, followed by a couple of lines under the heading ‘Conclusion’. Because I had forced myself to slow down and read this book more carefully, I now understand my ambivalence
towards it. The repetition I saw was because Dr Le Roux describes the remedy for a baby and then for a child and, of course, the same symp- toms will be present in both. Once I understood this, the book no longer seemed repetitive!
The ‘Chilly’ section contains 18 remedies, not in alphabetical order and no explanation as to why, but I believe the most commonly used remedies are listed first. The remedies I have never used for children are Marmor album, Hekla lava, Bambusa arund and Aqua marina. Thirteen Hot Children remedies introduced me to Mancinella, Hydrogenium, Vipera, and Abrotanum.
The ‘Slow’ section also contains 13 remedies, and those I have never considered for a child are Capsicum annum, Beryllium, Ginkgo biloba, Helium and Oxygenium.
‘Restless’ children remedies, of which there are 16, renewed my awareness of Saccharum album and introduced me to Ozonum, Jalapa, Bombyx processionea, and Adamas.
The ‘Conclusion’ reminds the reader what a conscientious and passionate homeopath Dr Le Roux was. She said we need ‘constant vigilance’ in both chronic cases and the challenging acute cases, that homeopathy is complex but there is an art to using it in acute situations or as a preventative. She saw the unique- ness of each child and said that through the homeopathic approach we get to know the child better and take into account the child’s ‘personal reaction to illness and to the outside world’. She felt that her book would help all medical professionals to not only find the remedy a child required but also help a child ‘in a manner both complementary to and inte- grated in our modern medical system’.
At the back of the book is a bit about the author and the considerable achievements in her career as a paediatric consultant and homeopath. She sat on various homeopathic committees, wrote a complete study on the Lac family, and another piece on the homeopathic Acids, now in English and German. The titles of her other books include: The Actinides in Homeopathy; Metals in Homeopathy; Butterflies. Finally, at the end of the book is a bibliography, index and repertory.
My conclusion is – I like this little book very much after all. I realise my initial questioning about whether or not I liked the book was because it highlighted quite a few remedies that not only did I not know at all, but others within which I have never been able to see the ‘child picture’. However, settling down and reading the book cover to cover unearthed my own lack of knowledge which then allowed me to let the new learning in. I still don’t think it’s indispensable; I think to get the most from this book a homeopath also needs to look at other materia medicas, but it has added much to my knowledge of remedies for children. I wish I could have met Dr Le Roux.
Amanda Bate RShom