A study of the relationship between the natural history of the Solanaceae species and the general and mental symptomatology of the Solanaceae remedies utilised in homoeopathy
Until recently, various attempts have been made to simplify the prescription process in homoeopathic prescribing. The doctrine of signatures, miasmatic theory, the homoeopathic repertory and more recently, kingdom analysis by authors such as Sankaran (1994) and Scholten (1993) are some of the attempts that have been made to understand the materia medica. With the materia medica constantly expanding and considering that plants make up a significant percentage of the materia medica (Kayne, 2006), it is evident that new systems of homoeopathic prescribing are continually needed to help practitioners both study the remedies and prescribe more accurately. Aim The Solanaceae plant family are an important and well utilised plant family in homoeopathy (Vermeulen, 2004). Considering this, it was felt that a study investigating the relationship of the natural history of the family to its general and mental symptoms be conducted in order to apply a previously unexplored research paradigm in order to create a greater understanding of Solanaceae remedies utilised in homoeopathy. The study conducted was a non empirical correlation study of the Solanaceae plant family‟s natural history and general and mental symptoms manifested in Solanaceae remedies utilised in homoeopathy. The aims of the study were to establish if commonalties existed between general and mental symptoms of individual remedies belonging the Solanaceae family and their natural histories, as well as to establish if collective commonalities and correlations existed between the general and mental symptoms and the natural history of the Solanaceae family as a whole. Methodology The homoeopathic remedies obtained from the Solanaceae family of plants for the study were analysed in terms of rubric representation (size) using homoeopathic software packages, Radar 10.4 (Archibel, 2009b) and v Encyclopedia Homoeopathica (Archibel, 2009a) a sample selection was chosen. This selection was analysed in terms of general and mental rubrics. Qualitative thematic analysis was used to establish commonalities in keyword concepts between the respective natural histories of the studied family and their respective general and mental symptoms. Keywords obtained from data tables which included criteria such as habitat and distribution, plant description, active principles (primary alkaloids), uses, physiological action if ingested, historical significance, mythology and toxicology were subjected to thesaurus consultation and tabulated in an attempt to identify synonyms relating to the general and mental symptoms of individual remedies of the sample group in the study. This facilitated in the grouping of similar themes. Once commonalities pertaining to each individual species and remedy was further tabulated and discussed in terms of keywords relating to their natural histories, a collective analysis of common correlations between the plant family as a whole was performed. Results Common themes related to general and mental symptoms and to the natural histories of species in the study included “aggression” found in Atropa belladonna, “depression” found in Solanum dulcamara, “anxiety” found in Datura stramonium, “confusion” found in Hyoscyamus niger, “burns” found in Capsicum annuum, “ convulsions” found in Nicotiana tabacum , “ hallucinations” found in Mandragora officinarum and “delirium” found in Solanum nigrum. Common themes relating to general and mental symptoms and the natural history of the Solanaceae plant family as a whole included convulsions, hallucinations, confusion and anxiety. These themes were further compared to themes exhibited in Solanaceae studies conducted by Mangialavori (2007) and Sankaran (2002).