The Rationale behind the P&W Therapeutic Pocket Book

The P&W TPB is primarily an English language facsimili of the original 1846 edition of the aid to Materia medica as designed by Boenninghausen.

Vladimir Polony and Gary Weaver translated the German text into English utilising Medical Dictionaries of the time period. Vladimir, although fluent in German, also was ably helped by NATIVE German speaking colleagues to define language nuances and changes in meaning of words over a 200 year gap. Once the old German was translated into new German, but retaining the meaning of the original intention, we were then able to translate into English.

We spent thousands of hours in examining each rubric in the German, comparing the meaning and then finding the correct English medical term, sensation and location to reflect the correctness of the rubric.

Looking at the layout in the German edition, and after exhaustive experimentation, we concluded that the Allens Pocketbook design would be more familiar to the eye of the European and USA practitioners. We therefore implemented that layout when compiling.

One of the advantages of retaining the original/Allens layout was that the Concordances could be used for each remedy. This fitted in with our intention of making an accurate facsimili as opposed to a new design.

Boenninghausen had several rubrics of similar meaning in different chapters. It may have been designed that way so that he did not have to leave the chapter he was in and go looking somewhere else, but in any event, we resisted the urge to combine rubrics for the following reasons:

We noted that some rubrics had the same remedies and the same grades applied. However, we also noted that in some rubrics, ie Tetters, which is an eruption, (yet not placed under the general heading Eruptions) that although in general similar remedies and similar grades existed, there were additional remedies present AND some of the remedies had different grades. We were faced with the choice of merging tetters into eruptions and then deliberately being forced to upgrade the grading to the higher one. We thought long and hard about this and rationalised it this way:

When Boenninghausen split a rubric into its components, he applied the same grade to each of the parts. So if a combination of a symptom is made and happens to recombine an exact symptom via rubrics, the noted grades in a 3 part recombination would be 2-2-2. This numerical value does not reflect intensity, but rather a  presence of the symptom clinically or observed via the M.M. in use regarding the symptom under question. If we were to merge a rubric into a similar one, and one symptom had a grade of 2 and the other a grade of 4, the lower value would be changed to a 4. So we did not do it.

In the computer program, we linked similar rubrics or rubrics pertinent to the search, via placing them in the colour blue so a practitioner could view all related rubrics. We also put a rule in the program, that where a similar rubricd had IDENTICAL remedies and values, that it is impossible to input 2 rubrics of a similar meaning and skew the results accidentally.


There are certain rubrics which go against the protocol but MAY have similar meanings under different circumstances AND have the same remedies and grades. We have not applied any rules regarding these.

We have not included footnotes in the book version of the Repertorial work. We believe the work is self explanatory, but……. in our seminars and online course we delve into the rubrics which may give rise to confusion. We are in the process of writing a separate book to accompany the TPB.

The P&W Therapeutic Pocket Book is available from here.

One response to “The Rationale behind the P&W Therapeutic Pocket Book

  1. i find it useful to have the paper book and the program as you can learn a lot from leafing through a book in a way that is hard with a program. on the other hand, searching for a word you know or think is there but not sure where, is much eased with software.

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