Dr Muhammed Rafeeque
Once our pioneers had a clash over the name of a remedy- Cimicifuga vs Actea Racemosa. One group proposed Cimicifuga and the other group proposed Actea Racemosa. And finally, as a compromise, most of the homeopaths use Cimicifuga-Actea Racemosa. Similarly, there are a few more medicines in homeopathy having different names used in labeling, materia medica description, and most importantly while giving a prescription. The use of different names for the same medicine can confuse the pharmacists, students and also the doctors who are not familiar with the synonyms.
When I was a student, I had a bet with my classmates. In our college OPD, we had a case of Bronchial asthma with a strong modality- breathlessness relieved by passing stool. Pothos is the only remedy for this indication, I strongly suggested. But one of my classmates were not ready to agree, he said, there is one more remedy called Ictodes. A few students supported me, but the majority in the other group. Finally we referred some books and felt sorry for an unnecessary argument, because Pothos and Ictodes are the same remedy! The name given in the materia medica is Pothos and the repertories give Ictodes.
On another occasion, I prescribed Ox gall 6X for a gall stone patient. Immediately, the patient reported that it is not available in the nearby pharmacy. When I changed the prescription by writing the synonym Fel Tauri 6 X, it was available there!
In India, some medicines are marketed and prescribed as per the common names instead of the scientific name. Example: Brahmi Q, 1x, 3x etc is prescribed by many, but the scientific name Bacopa moneeri is also used by many pharmacies.
Our materia medica, therapeutic books and the repertories follow different names for many drugs. Here I am listing a few among them:
• Fel Tauri - Ox gal
• Kalmeg - Andrographis Paniculata.
• Cimicifuga Racemosa - Actaea Racemosa
• Solanum Lycopersicum - Lycopersicum Esculentum
• Pothos Foetidus - Ictodes Foetida
• Kurchi - Holarrhena Antidysenterica
• Anacardium Orientale - Semecarpus Anacardium
• Cyperus Rotundus- Mutha.
• Calcarea Carbonica – Calcarea Ostrearum
• Damiana – Turnera Diffusa
• Calcarea ovarum - Ova Tosta
• Nux Moschata – Myristica Fragrans
• Arjuna – Terminalia Arjuna
• Dolicos Pruriens - Mucuna Pruriens
• Psoralea Corylifolia – Babchi or Bavchi
• Bhrahmi - Bacopa Monnieri
• China - Cinchona
• Asoka - Saraca indica - Jonosia Asoka
• Adhatoda vasaka - Justicia Adhatoda
• Eriodyction Californicum - Yerba Santa
• Camphora Officianalis – Camphor
• Saw Palmetto - Sabal Serrulata
• Aviaire - Tuberculinum Avis
• Tongo Odorata - Diptrix Odorata
• Guaiacum Officinale - Guajacum Officinale
• Withania Somnifera - Aswagandha
• Vinca Rosea - Catharanthus Rosens
• Serum Anguillar Ichthytoxin - Elserum
• Terminalia Arjuna- Arjuna
• Quercus glandium spiritus- Spiritus glandium quercus
• Mercurius Iodatus Ruber- Merc bin iod
• Mercurius iodatus flavus- Merc proto iod
• Kli Iodicum- Kli Hydroiodicum
• Jborandi- Pilocarpus
• Hydrophobinum- Lyssin
• Boerhavia Diffusa- Punarnava.
• Golondrina - Euphorbia Polycarpa
• Verbascum Thapsus - Mullein oil (Verbascum Q with Glycerine)
Drugs prepared from acids can also confuse while dispensing. For example: Some pharmacies label Acid Nitricum and others mention Nitric acid or Nitricum Acidum.
While giving prescription, we make a great mistake by writing only the genus name of the medicine, without writing the species name. Prescribing only “Phytolacca” is meaningless; because we have Phytolacca decandra and Phytolacca berry. True that some remedies are more popular, for example: If anybody prescribes Aconite, most probably it is Aconitum Napellus. Acon Napellus is popular, but we have different varieties of Aconite such as: A.napellus, A.anthora, A.cammarum, A.columbianum, A.ferox, A.lycotonum, A.septentrionale etc.
Some materia medica books also confuse the readers. In Allen's keynotes, the drug picture of Tarentulla cubensis and Tarent hispanica are written together as a single drug.
Silicea is marketed as Silicicum Acidum by some companies (Courtesy: Dr Mas)
To avoid the confusion, use the scientific names that are accepted world wide. This is the main intention behind the introduction of Binomial nomenclature by Carolus Linnaeus.
© Dr Muhammed Rafeeque
Department of Homeopathy
Govt of Kerala, India