Organon & Philosophy

Boenninghausen’s Remedy Relationships – The Missing Link

Last modified on November 18th, 2014

Hans Weitbrecht
Written by Hans Weitbrecht

Hans Weitbrecht presents Boenninghausen’s view that the use of remedy relationships in remedy selection, can vastly improve and speed up the curative process.


The remedy relationships are an integral part of homeopathic prescribing . Most Materia Medicas and Repertories make reference to them, yet their usefulness and value in day-to-day practise is largely unknown to the homeopathic community.


boenninghausenC. M. v. Boenninghausen in the publication:
Versuch über die Verwandtschaften der homöopathischen Arzneien nebst einer abgekürzten Übersicht ihrer Eigentümlichkeiten und Hauptwirkungen, Münster, Coppenrath. 1836 ( Relative Kinship of homeopathic remedies) gives for the first time a comprehensive introduction to the usefulness of the concordances.

The concordances themselves are found in part seven of the Therapeutic Pocketbook. They can now be downloaded in their original form:

The “Characteristics” forming the first part of this work were translated and augmented by C.M. Boger and now form part of his work: Characteristics and Repertory, (first ed. 1905, second 1937.)

The “Relationships” being the second part including the all-important introduction to the subject. This introduction was not translated or published in English before. I therefore took it upon me to translate this article, hoping, that it will encourage the homeopath in the use of the remedy relationships.

Relationships of Remedies (Boenninghausen, 1836)
Translated: Hans Weitbrecht

Definitions / explanations:

If one remedy has the ability to annihilate according to its own action by cure (ie. In the reaction) the symptoms caused by another remedy, I then term the apposition , as it exists between these two remedies as Relationship.(1)

From this definition emerges, that I make a major difference between related and the only antidotaric appositions of the remedies to each other, whereas in the latter also the first action can be taken into consideration, if it is similar in fast acting remedies, and if in the case of poisoning a weakening                          (indifferentiation, neutralisation) of the poisonous substance is achieved by it.

By the use of an antidote against morbid symptoms, caused by another medical substance, which (in case of the timely application) by its first action are removed, only those very symptoms are eradicated, but other disease conditions, present in the patient, are by no means improved.

It is a different outcome, if in this situation an antidote is applied, which brings about the cure by its second action. If the remedy for the suffering person is selected, matching the presented symptom-group the closest in a homeopathic way (Therefore is related to the former), one will find that not only the later medical symptoms are removed, but also the former complaints curatively, if they were within the sphere of action of this remedy.

This experience stands as an explanation for another experience, which undoubting was made by every attentive homeopath, and in my own estimate the continued observation is of greatest importance for to bring about cure-, that numerous remedies act more profoundly curative, if another remedy (related) is applied before. (2)

We credit the first hint of this finding (like everything really reliable in homeopathy) to the attentive and skilful founder of the new school in the par. 172ff. Organon (fifth ed.) concerning the cure of one-sided diseases.

As examples stand, thanks to his later observations, the excellent effectiveness
of Calc after Sulph,
of Caust after Sep,
of Lycopodium after Sep,
of Nit-ac after Calc and Kali-c,
of Phos after Kali-c ,
of Sulph after Ars and Merc, and
of Sep after Sil, Nit-ac, and Sulph.
And which homeopath didn’t have the opportunity to rectify this observation, provided, he kept in view the basic principle of homeopathy (Similia similibus).

G.H.G. Jahr collected these experiences (of which the importance was also noticed by others such as Rummel in the allgem. Homöopathische Zeitung 4. S. 25.) alongside some other experiences in his handbook (P.44) under the heading: Notable Order for the application of the remedies. The number listed there is yet too small, and would easily lead to a routine application, and on the other hand, there are but few occasions to make use of them under homeopathic principles. Furthermore the listing as it stands gives rise to the opinion (already uttered), that following it, it would make a difference in which order the remedies follow each other. There are even opinions that remedy A can follow B but not the other way around in order to be beneficial.

Yet, indeed, this is not the case, and if one considers those experiences carefully with all the accessory circumstances, one will find, that here or there a contraindication was left unconsidered, and that overall the homeopathic principle was not followed strictly enough. This was particularly alleged of Calc and Lyc, whereby I can assure that I have seen excellent results of Calc after Lyc, if the symptom-complex was of that nature, that at the beginning Lycopodium had preference and after its action Calc suited the rest of the disease, which is not always the case.(3)

The importance of the knowledge of the remedy relationships (which I realized in an early stage) urged me during the last two years to make comparisons in that direction, and to have a steady eye on the subject while prescribing.

A great opportunity arose, when I started to arrange the repertories and furthermore the arrangement of the main areas of actions of the remedies, being combined and simultaneously worked at. By this cumbersome process, I gained certain insights, which then had to be tested in practise.

The results of these findings and comparisons I herewith present to the science for further proof and completion. I feel that something had to be done in a more serious way, than done before, to shed light in this for the practice of homeopathy a so extraordinarily influential subject, and if, as I believe, the not unimportant results of my findings will inspire ready homeopaths to publish their findings, then, the aim is not missed, and I don’t need to be afraid of having presented a premature work to the knowledgeable world.

Practical application:

The understanding and the use of the following chart of remedy relationships (more elaborate and augmented in the back of the Therapeutische Taschenbuch 1846 under the heading: Concordances, and in their generalized form in the: sides of the body and relationships 1854) is already outlined above. Yet, it should be helpful for the beginner to familiarize with the following additional points.

1. The related remedies are antidotes to each other (4), and can (by means of similitude of their symptoms) be used preferably with success for that aim. The related remedies do this more definitely than other remedies only partially similar, because they take away curatively (and not palliative or by mere first action) the symptoms brought out by another remedy. The reason for this probably lies in the observation that every remedy brings out besides the noticed, strongly apparent symptoms a number of other, weaker, less noticed symptoms, which often don’t belong to the non-related remedy, and by which the total symptom-picture of the latter is incapable of curing. It should not be overlooked, that not every related remedy is capable of removing all disease symptoms, caused by the previous, but that every remedy can only cure within its sphere of action.

2. Related remedies, given one after another act by far more curative, than non-related remedies. That the principal of similarity is given preference in the selection of the remedy goes without saying. But usually one will find the situation, that of the group of competing remedies, (particularly in chronic cases) the one or the other is found under the related ones (to the previous applied remedy). It is advisable then to give preference to this related remedy, if there are no contraindications found. It frequently happened to me, that a further more detailed inquiry brought out such symptoms, (previously unattended), which would have given definite preference to this remedy, and the result then always was delightful.

3. The one-sided diseases give an excellent opportunity for the use of the remedy relationships.
The cure of the one-sided diseases often renders difficult by the lack of characteristic symptoms. Here an incompletely fitting remedy (5) brings on quite often a change in the symptom picture and simultaneously of characteristic symptoms, so that it is easy now to alleviate the complete main malady in combination with the new side complaints (brought on by the remedy), by a remedy related to the first and homeopathic to the now existing symptom picture. This might have formed the basis of the opinion, that intermittent fevers are cured by Nux-v after Ipecac., or Cina after Caps, over the last few years, where the disease often appeared in the way, that these latter remedies were pretty similar, yet the ground was prepared by the former, which increased the curativeness of the latter tremendously. Even in other (chronic and acute) situations I often found similar evidence.

4. The advantage of the exact knowledge is even more prominent in the treatment of chronic disease, (than in one-sided disease). Chronic diseases demand for their cure almost always different remedies given in succession.
Here, I experienced always the advantage, if I could apply after the previous remedy has finished acting beneficially, a follow-up remedy, which was in close relation to the previous. The beneficial result of such a remedy, if it is selected homoeopathically often exceeds all expectations.

Therefore I found it of advantage in those chronic diseases, which have only few characteristic symptoms, and are therefore difficult to cure, to determine the successive order of remedies (to be applied) in which (provided it does not need to be changed later on by other symptoms), every time only related remedies follow each other, ideally such remedies, of which the one corresponds more to the main malady and the other more to secondary complaints. In my latest experience the result is by far better and quicker, than by the straight repetition of the remedy. I therefore rarely repeated a remedy lately and only did so in cases where there was only a quantitative lessening of the disease without any qualitative change of the total picture of the disease.(6)

5. More than once it occurred, that two related remedies were so close in a disease, that the selection was difficult, and each of them covered some side- symptoms (concomitants), which were missing in the other. Here I saw the best result by alternating the two remedies, in not too long of a time span, so that always the next was given before the previous had acted out completely. The first action decreased and weakened then gradually the steps in improvement increased and often there was no other remedy necessary to finish the cure. Lately I found it of advantage, (following Hahnemann’s advice) to use different, the best descending potencies in this case of repetition.(likewise in all the other incidents)

6. It happens sometimes, that after an apparently suitable remedy the symptoms increase in intensity, like in a first action, but no improvement follows.(7) The reason is not always the previous abuse of the remedy, and sometimes a reason cannot be found at all. Here the application of a related and homeopathic (to the symptoms) remedy is beneficial. In these cases I don’t wait for the reaction to come, but give the following perfectly homeopathic remedy quickly, and I was blessed most of the time with the delightful experience, that I had induced not only an amelioration of the aggravated symptoms, but also a sizeable improvement of the original state of disease.

7. To the advantages of a fairly comprehensive chart of the remedy relationships it has finally to be added, that one gets a full picture of the sphere of action of the remedies multitude of curative powers. Surely this cannot be achieved by an incomplete effort like this alone. If by collaboration and by the sharing of experiences on the subject a list of higher grade completeness will be achieved, then it will add to the knowledge of the true genius of the remedies, if in the comparing study of their pure actions on the human body one keeps in view the relationship to others at the same time.

I want to conclude this treatise with the wish, that all attentive homeopaths would please forward any definite and non-doubtful experience on this subject. (private or in the periodicals) The importance of this already emerges from the above.

Equally importance for the practise is the knowledge of the inimicals. Those have been in the same way a subject of my previous study. The results are very scarce so far, so that I decided to withhold this information for the moment. Again on this subject I would like to ask fellow homeopaths to submit their findings.

1. Dr. Hering, our genius, has used this expression first publicly (Archiv 9.3. s.1130) and simultaneously pointed out the usefulness of a comprehensive knowledge of these relationships for the practise.
2. We find a noteworthy hint of the powers of related remedies affecting the human body in Dr, Schmidt’s article (Archiv 8.2.86) about the treatment of chronic diseases where he says: that the cure of those is most tedious and prolonged, even impossible in those cases, where for a long period medicines (in a allopathic way ) were used, which stand to each other as antidotes. My own experience supports these findings completely.
3. There are different reports in the journals ( Archiv) where Calc after Lycopodium worked particularly well and other cases where Lycopodium after Calc did not well.
4. Compare what I said in the introduction to the first edition to the repertory of the antipsoric remedies. (page: 18 in the second edition).
5. Those cases of one-sided diseases, where the body shows little receptivity to the remedies and where side-symptoms are desired, were the only cases in the recent past where I had to resort to slightly stronger doses. In all the other cases I achieved with the smallest drop of the 30th dilution, even only by olfaction, all that I wanted. I guess therefore, that some sort of an external disturbance is to be blamed for, if the apt remedy does only work in strong doses.
6. Even under the last mentioned circumstances I have seen in the recent past (where I paid special attention to the repetition), only seldom from any dose sufficient improvement, quite often setbacks, particularly, where the highest attenuations were used.
7. Only once a second dose of the remedy seemed to have brought improvement under those circumstances, but even this improvement did not last.

1846 Boenninghausen wrote in the introduction to the Therapeutic Pocketbook:

The seventh and last section, under the rubric Concordances, presents the results of the comparative action of the various remedies mentioned in the work; firstly, in regard to the preceding sections noted with corresponding numbers, and finally under the figure VII, according to each particular remedy, everywhere with their value in rank, indicated in the same manner as indicated in the preceding sections.

This laborious and time-consuming work (which indeed, has broadened and rectified my knowledge of the Materia Medica Pura) will take over the place of the Relationships, published 1836.

For myself, who for the past fifteen years have made the Materia Medica Pura my chief study as one of the most indispensable works of homeopathy, these concordances have been of extreme importance,

— not only for the recognition of the genius of the remedy,
— but also for testing and making sure of its choice,
— and for judging the sequence of the various remedies especially in the chronic diseases.

General Outlay of the entries in the concordances:

1) Mind/mood
2) Location
3) .1 sensation general, .2 glands, .3 bones, .4 skin
4) Sleep
5) Fever
6) .1 aggravation times, .2 aggravation general. .3 amelioration7) General
5) spaced italics
4) single italics
3) spaced roman
2) single roman
1) single roman in brackets


rational-homeopathyA few words on Boenninghausen’s prescribing

Boenninghausen realized early, that in almost all of his cases he needed different remedies in succession. Being a travelling homeopath most of his life, it was impractical to leave patients waiting until the next time he would be around, so he had to develop a way to facilitate the follow-up remedy without another consultation.

He realized, that a well suited remedy (selection based on the newest most troubling symptoms) will remove/improve the symptoms of the case which lay in the sphere of action of this particular remedy. As a result the first remedy will leave the patient already improved, but not cured, a second remedy needs to be administered.

The selection of the second remedy is based on the symptom picture he was able to predict after the first remedy had done what it could do. These so called deep and long acting remedies, used in such a way will act rapidly and profoundly. We frequently find that even chronic deeply acting remedies are only left to act for a few days using 200C potencies in single doses. This was done, because after 1 -2 days this remedy has done what it was able to do in this particular case, and another remedy was needed then.

We also find cases where Boenninghausen alternated remedies. This was done based on his experience, that he got faster and more profound action of the same remedy when it needs repetition, if another related remedy, suited for the case was given in advance of the repeat and left to act for a short time.

Using his approach, he got sweeping results. My own experience with this approach improved my results to such a point, that I left Kent’s “wait and see” and let a remedy act out approach behind. To this end part 7 of the TT is published, and without those rubrics, it is a cumbersome undertaking to determine the successive remedies.

©Hans Weitbrecht 2013

About the author

Hans Weitbrecht

Hans Weitbrecht

Hans qualified as Heilpraktiker in 1988. Since 1990 he has a full time homeopathy clinic in Ireland. He has treated approximately 20 000 cases with Q – potencies. He is a founder member of Irish society of homeopaths. He is the author of the book Rational Homeopathy.


  • dear Hans, thank you for your article, I only scanned over it so far, but will read it properly and get the book(s). i completely agree with what you say and i almost exclusively base my follow-up prescriptions on remedy relationships, in acute, acute followed by chronic and chronic cases. to me it would be strange to give one remedy and follow it with a completely unrelated one, for several reasons. one would be that it means the first prescription would have had to be incorrect for the person now to present something completely unrelated. second, to me holistic practice means to observe the whole of the patient and therefore there absolutely must be a link between following remedies. our whole art and science would not make sense to me otherwise. the third reason is a very practical one, ie the material medica becomes ordered at least to some degree and predicting the possible future remedies helps tremendously. For instance it helps when i want to supply a mother with acute remedies when she comes for a chronic complaint of her child. acutes are a vital part of raising vitality so it is important to predict what type of acute will come up. but also in purely chronic adult cases i like to make a note of possible follow up remedies, such as obviously nosodes, but even earmarking Sulph (after Med) for a particular type of Thuja case, or noting that after a another Thuja we will possibly need Ars, or in yet another one need to move to Nit ac to be more precise. i find this all fascinating and cannot imagine being without it. the person who opened my eye to this type of prescribing was Mike Bridger (UK) and later Luc de Schepper. as a matter of routine i always check my remedy relations books by Blasig&vint and Abdur Rehmann and it is so surprising and eye opening what I find in there! Thank you again and i will study what you wrote and order those books to learn more. Maria

  • Thanks to the editorial team for making this article available to the homoeopathic comunity.

    Historically, this article was never translated or published in the English spoken world. So, Hering may have had it but certainly not the American masters of the nineteenth century.
    Mike Bridger and Luc de Schepper did not utilize this article to my knowledge, but rather relied on early American commentaries.

    This article deserves an in debt study.

    My book is available now and can be ordered from:
    The sales price is 42 Euro + postage from Germany / Ireland

  • Hello Hans, nice to see you again!

    I like your points 3 and 5 above! Good to have it clearly stated.

    One question regarding point 6 – could you explain it with an example? I wasn’t clear how another remedy is chosen over the first one that did not work. Unless you mean that two close remedies were indicated so if the first did not provide a beneficial effect you switched to the other remedy without waiting for the aggravation to settle.

    Maybe you could also publish your article on the use of the Concordance chapter of the TPB in one of the following editions of the ezine.


  • Hallo Leela
    It has been a long time indeed since I was active on this site.

    As to point 6:
    This means, that that two remedies were indicated, both equally close to the disease-symptom-picture and the first did not work, only aggravated, so the second One is administered without leaving the first act out.

    This was Boenninghausen’s experience at 1833 when this book was published. This was at the beginning of his career as a homeopath. He lived till 1863, the Tt was published in 1846. With growing experience this situation occurred less and lesser, and I must say, that I did not have this situation for many years.

    More commonly, towards the end of one remedy, the improvement slows down and one or a few symptoms come forth, not necessarily new, but now more prominent. Here the Remedy relationships are of great help to narrow down the choice.

  • Right, I agree.
    Hans, in case you don’t publish here – you could email me your article or the link to it on use of the Concordances. My email id is [email protected]
    I want to be clear on how to use the parts of the body (sectional) relationships .

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