New England School of Homeopathy

Book Reviews: The Homeopathic Treatment of Children


The Homeopathic Treatment of Children:
Pediatric Constitutional Types

by Dr. Paul Herscu, ND, MPH

 Julian Winston
– Homeopathy Today – September, 1991

 Marianne Harling
– British Homoeopathic Journal

 Homoeopathic Links
– Winter 1992

 AJIH
– December 1991

 Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman, ND, DHANP
– Resonance March-April 1992

 

New England School of Homeopathy Press, Amherst, Massachusetts, 1996. 220 pages. Soft cover. ISBN# 0-9654004-0-9

Cost: $28.00 + shipping charges: $5.00 USA / $9.50 International orders. Payment accepted in US dollars only.

Reviewed by Julian Winston
Homeopathy Today – September, 1991

Homeopathy has remained alive for the last 200 years because of its literature. Above all, it is a literate science. Because we look for the symptomology in the words of the patient, the indications for the medicines we give have not changed very much. The sensation that “the top of my head is open and is letting in cold air” (Cimicifuga) is the same- be it said in the office today or in an office 100 years ago.

We have the literature we do because practitioners desired to share their experiences with others. Why have twenty materia medicae if they all contain the same information?

Yet, in the last fifty years, not many substantial books have been written. The best (Roberts and Vithoulkas) have been modern language restatements of homeopathic philosophy and practice. Many others, Panos/Heimlich and Cummings/Ullman among them, sought to expand on the concept of the “domestic-manual” bringing the older works of Pulte, Hering, Small, and Johnson into a modern light.

For the most part, however, the current crop of modern homeopathic literature is saying very little new. True, there are books to get people interested in homeopathy, but the majority of the great works are still reprints of a century ago.

It was, therefore, a pleasure to see this new book by Paul Herscu. There has been no work done on pediatric treatment since Douglas Borland wrote his Children’s Types over 40 years ago, yet, today, a large part of a homeopath’s practice is seeing children. As Paul tells it, “early in my career as a homeopath I was thrown into a busy practice that served hundreds of children. Overwhelmed by a flood of pediatric cases, I struggled to find the similimum with tools and training that were inadequate to the task.” He had his baptism by fire, and the experience he gained, and writes about, cannot be found in Kent’s Repertory, nor in any materia medica. It is new ground. It is amazing reading, and it is refreshing material. It is not a self-help manual. It is, however, as Paul suggests, a book to be read by both parents and physicians— to allow them to work as a team to bring the child to his or her fullest potential. Paul discusses eight “constitutional” remedies: Calcarea carbonica, Lycopodium, Medorrhinum, Natrum muriaticum, Phosphorus, Pulsatilla, Sulphur, and Tuberculinum. Each chapter begins with a narrative account of the remedy, in the Hahnemann schema, beginning with the mental/emotional characteristics, going through all they systems, and ending with the physical generals. There follows a short narrative about the remedy as seen in infants, an outline of the information presented, and, finally, a list of confirmatory symptoms for each remedy.

The writing is chock full of information. It was difficult to select a single part to share here, so I chose a part from the Sulphur chapter a part near and dear to my heart: “Their natural curiosity leads them to explore new objects, trying to find out how they work, why they work, and how they can be used. In their curiosity they may tear apart anything in the room. This may seem like Calcarea carbonica behavior, but there is one major difference. With Calcarea carbonica there is a desire to find out why all these things occur, why they are here, as if from a need to categorize them to know where they fit in the world. This is a small symptom that shows Calcarea carbonica’s anxieties about the unknown and about the future. With Sulphur, however, the desire is to know how things work, how they can be used to advantage, not out of anxiety but out of the naturalinquisitiveness that is distinctly human when not hampered by fear.

In Sulphur this may border on monomania, although the subject will change from time to time. I remember treating a boy who would habitually ask questions. Whatever the answer was, his next question was “why?” The answer to this question was followed by scores of “Why? Why? Why?” Many children go through the “why” phase, which is normal. However, in the Sulphur child it often lasts for years, never really ending but rather evolving from asking questions of others to an internalization of curiosity leading them to seek out answers via independent endeavor and study.”

Want more? Buy the book!

By writing this book, Paul Herscu has made a major contribution to homeopathy. The information he has learned is now accessible to be shared with others. It will be used, and the result will be a healthier population. That’s what the literature should be about, and this book certainly fulfills that requirement. It belongs on every homeopath’s book shelf.

Homeopathy Today
National Center for Homeopathy
801 North Fairfax Street, Suite 306
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 548-7790
info@homeopathic.org
www.homeopathic.org

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Reviewed by: Marianne Harling
British Homoeopathic Journal, Volume 81, Number 2, April 1992

Children respond well to homoeopathic treatment. Their vital force is young and strong, and the web of life has not, in most cases, become tangled by disease, suppressive treatments, environmental pollution and emotional stress. They present the homoeopathic artist with, not a blank canvas, but one on which the picture stands out clearly, and if the right medicine is applied they get well, and stay well in a rewarding fashion.

Apart from Borland’s classic monograph on Children’s Types, I am not aware of any English language textbook devoted to pediatric homoeopathy. Children are mentioned, alongside their elders, in materia medicas and repertories, but not very much when these depend on provings, because you cannot conduct a homoeopathic proving on a small child. Pediatric homoeopathy is akin to veterinary homoeopathy in that clinical observation of symptoms and behaviour replace the subjective experience of the prover or patient.

Dr. Paul Herscu, a naturopathic physician and classical homoeopath with a special interest in pediatrics, has attempted to fill this gap with a materia medica of the eight constitutional medicines which he has found most frequently in children. It is based primarily upon his own clinical observations and those of his colleagues.

The medicines chosen are: Calc. carb., Nat. mur., Phosphorus, Sulphur; Pulsatilla and Lycopodium; and two nosodes, Medorrhinum and Tuberculinum. (Pupils of the late Dr. Foubister would surely have included Carcinosin.) Dr. Herscu comments that he hopes to follow these with thirty further medicines when he has collected sufficient material.

Each medicine is described in considerable detail under the headings of Mental/Emotional Characteristics, Sleep, Vertigo, Physical Symptomatology, Fever, Physical Generals, and Notes on Infants. the symptoms are recapitulated in an Outline, and finally, in case anything has been overlooked, there is a confirmatory Check List. This all adds up to a very comprehensive picture. In his Introduction the author states that he has only included symptoms of which he has had personal clinical verification. This may explain the almost total lack of reference to other authors in the book. Dr. Herscu does not hesitate to recommend amendments and additions to Kent’s Repertory, and feels that every physician should construct his own repertory, based on experience.

This is not an easy book to read, owing to the large number of facts presented, with inevitable overlap and repetition. It is not a ‘chapter at bedtime’ book-the sections are too long and detailed, and Dr. Herscu lacks the light touch of a Margaret Tyler or an Elizabeth Wright Hubbard, although his descriptions are true to life. Serious study will bring rewarding insights into the behaviour, motivation, preferences and appearance of these children. The author attaches significance to the feelings which his little patients arouse in himself (all the more important if they cannot communicate their own feelings). Like many of us, he is attracted to Phosphorus children, but may experience a feeling of disgust from a Medorrhinum child.

This book is a materia medica, not a manual of treatment. It describes mental and physical symptoms, not specific illnesses, and there is no mention of potency, dosage or management. I could have wished for more discussion of related medicines. It is well produced and printed, with a good index and a charming cover, and the price is very reasonable for the amount of information it contains.

I look forward to the sequel.

British Homoeopathic Journal
2 Powis Place, London
WC1N 3HT, U.K.
Tel: 0171-837 9469. Fax: 0171-278 7900.

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Homoeopathic Links
Winter 1992

In his book Paul Herscu presents 8 remedies well known to every homoeopath: Calc.c., Lyc., Med., Nat.mur., Phos., Puls., Sulph. and Tub. Nothing new one can say – but how wrong! This materia medica is different to other Materia Medicas handed down to us by the old masters. Thanks to his observational skills and his talent to synthesize the information he presents a new materia medica, one which describes whole syndromes and syndrome complexes as they are presented to the homoeopath by the ‘living patient’ in every day practice. He selected 8 remedies that he found most frequently indicated. He has empirical data from 300 cured children for each one of these remedies.

Herscu’s book covers the lack of theoretical and practical information in the homoeopathic treatment of children.

The remedies are presented in a structured way and include remarks about babies and infants, with a survey and checklist to confirm the remedy.

The summary at the end of each chapter helps to build up a frame which can be completed through time and experience. It also serves as a quick checklist to confirm or reject a remedy.

Each remedy is provided with many symptoms that can be observed and which quickly lead the homoeopath to the indicated remedy. In addition there is a large index which allows quick access to relevant points in the text.

Although Herscu’s book is an invaluable addition in the ‘tool-box’ of the homoeopath, he also recommends that parents read it to get an idea of the enormous possibilities that homoeopathy offers in the treatment of children. Knowledge about constitutional types also helps parents to understand, protect and support their child particularly if they know about the child’s potential weak points.

It is without a doubt an important book for all practitioners of homoeopathy.

Homoeopathic Links
E-mail: homeolinks@antenna.nl
www.antenna.nl/homeolinks

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AJIH
December 1991, Vol. 84, No. 4

Herscu’s new book, The Homeopathic Treatment of Children, is hopefully the first of a new genre of homeopathic writings. New in the sense that it contains not a rehash of what every experienced homeopath already knows but honestly new information based on fresh clinical observations.

As he points out in the introduction, there are three sources of symptoms which the homeopath recognizes: poisonings, provings and clinical cures. When a symptom not found in the first two categories is cured several times by a homeopathic remedy, it is considered admissible to include that symptom as clinically curable by that remedy. “To my knowledge,” writes Herscu, “this is the first book that is exclusively devoted to the third source the clinic.”

It is precisely this aspect of Herscu’s book that makes it so interesting, so valuable and at the same time so difficult to review. So many of the symptoms Herscu deems important aspects of the eight polycrests he writes of simply cannot be verified in Kent’s Repertory, his Lectures, Boericke’s Materia Medica, or even in Hering’s Guiding Symptoms that one is left to verify them (or not) in one’s own practice. In this sense Herscu presents a challenge: These are my observations on eight polychrests. Try them out on your pediatric patients and find me right or find me wrong.

It was for this reason that this reviewer used his book for six months before attempting to evaluate The Homeopathic Treatment of Children. Though I do not have primarily a pediatric practice, I can say that as a result of Herscu’s observations I am clearly more able to spot the correct remedy in the child in front of me than ever before.

The insecure Lycopodium child does look to the parent for confirmation or help when asked a question; on the other hand, the Calcarea child, including the infant, does look forthrightly and deliberately at the doctor an unswerving stare that bespeaks the little one’s ability to concentrate on whatever activity he is engaged in; the Natrum muriaticum teenager is well-groomed, wearing color-coordinated outfits and spending a half to a full hour on her hair in the morning; the Sulphur child does revel in vigorous messy play and his parents will confirm that he often comes in covered with mud with tears in his clothes. And on and on. Herscu’s book is literally crammed with fresh observations about Calcarea carbonica, Lycopodium, Medorrhinum, Natrum muriaticum, Phosphorus, Pulsatilla, Sulphur, and Tuberculinum. The book needs to be read at least three times and be in front of the practitioner as he interviews children.

Herscu describes some of the gambits children try. At the toy store the Lycopodium child may keep picking up a toy over and over against his parent’s wishes. The parent keeps telling the child not to touch the toy. The child continues to disobey. Finally the parent grabs the child by the arm to emphasize he means business at which point the Lycopodium kid starts screaming out of all proportion, “Stop it! You’re killing me.” The child acts as if the parent were committing a public atrocity. Herscu’s point is that Lycopodium children are famous for this kind of exaggerated behavior.

This is the first pediatric materia medica since Borland wrote his brief Children’s Types, and it is my belief it will soon prove to be one of the most important additions to the homeopathic literature in the last 90 years. It needs to be used. Herscu’s observations deserve to be corroborated or not, and he openly invites all of us to send him our comments.

American Institute of Homeopathy
925 E. 17th Avenue
Denver, CO 80218

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Reviewed by Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman, ND, DHANP
Resonance March-April 1992

Children live in worlds of their own. They are unique human beings with unique characteristics and idiosyncrasies, sometimes quite unlike their grown-up counter-parts. There has been a new wealth of materia medica information, beginning with the essences of George Vithoulkas and expanded upon by Dr. Roger Morrison and others. However, very little of this often brilliant information applies directly to children.

We have been told that the temperature tendencies of children may be uncharacteristic of the remedy that they need, and that this information should sometimes be ignored in choosing a remedy. We soon come to learn that many of the food cravings of the child end up being pizza, hamburgers, and sugar. Of these food desires, only “sweets” is represented in the repertory, and the rubric probably does not contain all of the remedies which can have a desire for sweets. In addition, those of us who are not pediatricians are often unsure about specific developmental stages. What is normal for a particular child at a particular age and what should be considered pathologic, slow, or precocious?

Paul Herscu had the good fortune of inheriting a busy pediatric practice immediately after graduating from naturopathic medical training. He jumped into the pediatric frying pan, so to speak. He quickly developed excellent pediatric homeopathic skills through his intensive on-the-job training, aided by the addition of two children of his own. Paul took as his mission the goal of sharing his vast experience in treating children and of updating the homeopathic literature of children’s materia medica.

Paul is a very keen observer and has a great talent for painting vivid, living images of the children he describes. He also has excellent powers of discrimination which allow him to zero in adeptly on a child’s symptoms to see why the child would benefit from one remedy rather than another similar one.

In this book, the first of a series Paul is working on, he covers the eight most frequently prescribed remedies for children. The organization of the book is consistent and clear. First, Paul discusses, one by one, the most significant mental and emotional characteristics of each remedy as far as children are concerned. Then he presents concise information on the sleep patterns of children for each remedy, as well as physical symptoms, physical generals, and specific notes on infants. Each chapter concludes with an outline of the information presented for each remedy.

The amount of information presented is vast. Where appropriate, Paul differentiates the subtleties between boys and girls within a specific remedy picture. Interspersed throughout the book are myriad vignettes of children seen by Paul and his wife, Amy. These brief glimpses into children as they present in an everyday clinical setting are invaluable and they lighten the sometimes tedious reference orientation of the information. Paul’s work is a tremendous break-through in pediatric materia medica and high-quality scholarly work.

This book is a must for any homeopath whose practice includes pediatrics. You will want it on your shelf as a reference text when mulling over your challenging children’s cases. Paul is now soliciting cases from other practitioners on a number of less common, yet still frequently prescribed, remedies for children. The future sequels in this series are likely to be just as outstanding.

“There is at present a great necessity for information on the homeopathic treatment of children. We do not actually have enough literature on the subject apart from Borland’s booklet which is quite good but not sufficient for the needs of our time. I feel that Paul Herscu’s book goes further than any other homeopathic book in giving detailed information which will be very useful to any practitioner who treats children.” – George Vithoulkas, internationally respected teacher of homeopathy and author of The Science of Homeopathy and Homeopathy: Medicine for the New Man

“I was very impressed with the careful and thorough treatment that Dr. Herscu gives to each remedy. This is a book which will be extremely useful for any serious student or practitioner of homeopathy. I will highly recommend your book to all my colleagues and students.” – Roger Morrison, M.D., Founder and Senior Instructor, Hahnemann College of Homeopathy

“Dr. Herscu’s work is the first modern pediatric materia medica. This book represents a significant step forward in helping practitioners who treat children to understand the importance of seeing the integration of body and mind, the developmental aspects of each, and their manifestation in health and disease. This book will greatly aid my pediatric practice, for his writings enabled me to see, hear, smell, taste and experience each of the major childhood constitutional types.” – Richard Solomon, M.D., Assistant Professor, Medical College of Pennsylvania, Allegheny General Hospital

“This book is a compelling description and impressively practical guide to the use of homeopathic medicines in treating underlying health problems of children. Herscu’s clear and vivid depictions of these constitutional types will help anyone understand children more deeply and help to cure them more completely” – Kenneth P. Stoller, M.D., Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, CA. 1991 374 pages. soft cover.
ISBN# 1-55643-090-6

Cost: $22.50 + shipping charges: $5.00 USA / $9.50 International orders. Payment accepted in US dollars only.

International Foundation for Homeopathy
PO Box 7
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(206) 776-4147