Book Review: Staphysagria –The Wounded Hero
Pradnya A. Joglekar, MD (Hom)
Address of correspondence: Dr. Pradnya Joglekar
How to cite this article:
Joglekar PA. Book Review: Staphysagria –The Wounded Hero. Journal of Integrated Standardized Homoeopathy (JISH) 2019; 02(03)
Received on: October 03, 2019
Accepted for Publication: October 21, 2019
Staphysagria –The wounded hero
Author: Dr. Bipin S. Jain, Head, Academics group, Dr. M. L. Dhawale Group of Organizations
Published by: Dr. M.L. Dhawale Memorial Trust, Mumbai
First Edition, 2009
Price: Rs. 125/-
Book Review by Dr. Pradnya Joglekar
Staphysagria –The wounded hero, a monograph by Dr. Bipin S. Jain, Head, Academics group, Dr. M. L. Dhawale Group of Organizations, is a must-read for all practicing Homoeopaths.
The title says it all! The Homoeopathic remedy Staphysagria is restricted for many to post-surgical retention of urine, headache or toothache after vexation, indignation. This book breaks the shackles and unfolds the remedy on a very large canvas. The 20 cases are but a window to the infinite beyond. The book deals in depth about the remedy, evolving the remedy through various stages of life and weaving together clinical experience with the data from the source books.
“The faculty of mastering a drug is not dependent on encyclopaedic memory but rather upon the inquisitor’s ability to pick out among the essential embodiments of each picture the things which show how it exists, moves and has its being as distinguished from its nearest similar”.
This quote by Dr. C. M. Boger is the central axis around which this book evolves. This monograph can be treated as a model by aspiring authors for exploring numerous remedies of our materia medica.
The book has been structured with the purpose of integrating theory with practice and study of the remedy through the patients. It thus starts with core clinical experience, the experience of the patient and the physician. The experience narrated in the book is the crux of the life led by the patient, his experiences of the world outside and his reaction to the world within. The book gives the evolution of the person from childhood to the day of case-taking and evolution of the Essential Evolutionary Portrait. It also explores psychosomatic correlations as the price paid for the inner turmoil. Though 20 cases have been recorded, 11 chronic cases have been chosen for the core clinical experience and 9 cases have been summarized highlighting the entry point of the prescription.
The Wound or Hurt is experienced in the form of criticism, neglect, comparison, humiliation, ridicule, teasing, injustice, insult, disappointed love, nagging and such emotions and injuries, trauma, surgery. And the responses are varied, encompassing escapism – leaving job, wanting to leave the country, anger – expressed as violence breaking things, playing violent video games where he can kill, seeking sympathy, loving animals – pets give unconditional love, being anti-authority – abusing politicians, quarreling with parents or boss. Various cases demonstrate the wound at different junctures of life. The wound may be felt very early in life – a case of humiliation experienced by a small boy who passes urine uncontrolled, a small scrawny boy who is teased for his looks, or late in life – humiliation by the boss for being incompetent, fights with wife who insults and leaves.
The book shows us patterns, where our hero is wounded at different times, in different situations by different people and events. So it is not a solitary episode of injury but a chain of injuries and the feeling of being wounded runs very deep.
After a quick journey of the world of the patient, we travel into the world of the remedy. Through mythological stories and the physical appearance of the plant we get a glimpse into the physical and mental characteristics. Use of mythological stories is quite innovative and the story of Hyacinthus is very interesting. The pathogenesis has been noted and references to cases demonstrate the sphere of action, sensitivity, locations, pathology and miasmatic understanding. We see the amalgamation of the source books with our clinical experience.
We then move on to the mind of Staphysagria – the most important, characteristic and significant part of the book. The beauty of the book lies in noting not a symptom as a solitary entity but a spectrum of presentation which is the result of the interaction of the individual and his environment. So shades of a symptom and variance have been described. Again references to the cases vis-a-vis narration is the characteristic of the monograph. If we see case 1, the patient desires freedom and wants to go to a country like Holland where there are no inhibitions and he harbours negative feelings for those who oppress, wants to shoot them. As against this in case 6 the patient wants freedom so he respects everyone, does not scold anyone, treats women colleagues with respect and equality. He does not take attendance in college. So we see a wide canvas of the symptom. We see sensitivity to criticism in case no. 7 where there is no vocal protest but panic attacks, withdrawal and fears. In case no. 4 the patient is sensitive to criticism and he becomes angry on subordinates and speechless in front of superiors, he cannot concentrate and plans revenge. The focus is on the triggers and the cascade of feelings, emotions, responses and reactive patterns that follow. This helps us to trace the present mental state to its origin and focus on the core rather than the expressions. The genesis, evolution and patterns of the Staphysagria mind have been discussed at great length. The differential materia medica is discussed to differentiate the remedy from remedies which are coming close, specially Ignatia, Natrum Mur, and Ferrum.
Another highlight of the book is the conceptual image – collation of the data of 20 cases into a collective totality culminating in a fine structure of Staphysagria. The conceptual image has all the symptoms of 20 cases arranged under the various Miasms and categorized as physical generals, mind, modalities, physical particulars (analysis) followed by Structuralization (synthesis). The cases have been described in great detail, the first case representing the entire process from receiving the patient, history form, recording in the Standardized Case Record (SCR), analytical tools like life space table, and follow-up. Majority of the cases are functional in nature except case 11 – a case of Tuberculoma with vasogenic edema.
The monograph unlike many others available on the stand, is not a narration or listing of symptoms of the drug but narrates a live interaction between the patient and the physician and the reader is an observer to this transaction. The evolution of the drug and the evolution of the patient are simultaneous processes in the book and their correspondence is the objective. The suffering of Staphysagria and its aetiology is understood beautifully through this monograph. It makes us feel a part of the journey and learning the drug becomes an enriching experience.
The shortcomings of the book are follow-ups which are too brief and feel incomplete. Another is the absence of integration of repertory which could have helped the readers.