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May 14, 2017



G. William Jones, M.D.

53 remedies are posted under the rubric "critical" or "CENSORIOUS" in Kent's Repertory. Of these, 13 are of particular importance. In considering this differential diagnosis I have added Graphics. Rhus, the remedies which will be discussed here include Arnica, Arsenicum, Baryta Carbonica, Causticum, Graphites, Ipecac, Lachesis, Lycopodium, Mezereum, Nux Vomica, Pratima, Sepia, Sulphur and Veratrum Album.

Inclusion of a remedy under a rubric implies on outstanding degree of severity of the symptom, qualitatively or quantitatively. Most of us can be overly critical of others at times, but patients requiring these remedies manifest the quality of being critical to an unusual degree.

The rubric is listed in the repertory as censorious. Critical is placed as a qualification in parentheses. The dictionary indicated a slight difference between the two words. The word "criticize" seems to have a broader connotation. It may mean merely to evaluate without necessarily finding fault, but usually it does imply a detailed expression of disapproval. "Censure" on the other hand refers to an open and strong expression of disapproval. It may also imply a reprimand or formal criticism of a person or persons by someone in authority. I was interested in finding an old 1914 dictionary and in reviewing these words in it, since after all the repertory was written in the early 1900's and not in 1981*. The meanings of words have frequently changed to some degree since the repertory was originally written. In the older dictionary, the word "critical" is defined as "inclined to criticize,, especially captious, censorious." To criticize is "to judge as a critic especially to find fault.". Captious means "Apt to catch at faults, caviling, carping". In this old dictionary the word "censorious" is defined as "given to censure, apt to condemn" and "the act of finding fault with or condemning as wrong; hostile criticism, blame, condemnation."

Arsenicum and Sulphur are the two remedies in bold print in the repertory– this is interesting as Kent mentions that these two remedies are opposites in many respects.

Let us consider the characteristics of the 14 remedies as they pertain to the Rubric – critical or censorious, in alphabetical order.


Kent has the dental symptoms "I am not sick, I did not send for you". The ARNICA patient does not want to be approached, does not want to be talked to. Full of anguish, may have sudden fear of death at night. "When in a state of health he was friendly, kind-hearted, glad to shake hands, but now he is irritated at seeing me and insists there is nothing the matter with him."


ARSENICUM, the insecure perfectionist, is full of these traits. Arsenicum is very forthright, judgemental. Tastes are very definite with a strong impression of intolerance, of incompetence, weakness, poor performance. Demanding and critical in their nature. Clarke mentions indecision and changeable humor– which demands this at one time, that at another and rejects everything after having obtained it. A tendency toward ill-humour, impatience, vexation, inclination to be angry, repugnance to conversation, inclination to criticize and great susceptibility.

And the provings come out with this quality with frequency. "Ill humour alternating with gentle kindliness", "vexed about trifles".

"He is vexed at every trifle and cannot stop talking about the faults of others."

"Very peevish and dissatisfied with everything, she finds fault with everything. Everything seems to her too strong and loud, all talk, every noise, all light."

"Very peevish and sensitive; the least thing insults him and angers him."

"Very peevish and passionate, capricious, she takes every word I'll and is cross when she has to answer."

"Inclined to sarcastic mocking."


Mentally Baryta Carbonica manifests an arrested mental development. Children grow up without the ability to perceive and fail to develop. All sorts of complaint and grievances that may happen are hatched up. "The more he thinks about the complaint the worse it gets". From this background, characteristics develop which include mistrust, want of self confidence, and to quote Clarke "Sudden fits of passion from struggling causes".


On the physical level, Causticum may manifests in a progressive, slow decrease of muscular power– paralysis. Mentally there may be a gradual increasing hysteria. Prolonged anxiety. Unhappy– looks on the dark side– suspicious and distrustful. Timid, nervous and anxious. And from the provings, "Very much vexed,peevish, irritable, censorious". Clarke says "Inclined to fits of anger with scolding".


The well known description of this remedy is "Graphites is fat, chilly and costume". This is one of the remedies which can have constantly changing moods. Kent mentions that there is a slowness of thought– worse in the morning, but often excited, hurried and exhilarated in the evening– and extremely fretful and impatient, irritable about trifles and very critical.


The most important feature of Ipecac is its nausea. However, mentally, , Clarke mentions moroseness with contempt for everything. And in the provings are: "Sulky humor that disposes everything and he desires that others should not esteem or care anything." – and – "Ailments from vexation and reserved displeasure."


Lachesis has an intolerance to restrictions, constriction or pressure. There is overstimulation attempting to find an outlet for relief. He is impatient at tedious and dry things. It is not surprising that the tendency to be critical would be present in this remedy.


Here we have another of the great polycrests. A most complex remedy, indeed. A very cool character with habits of superiority and haughtiness. In the provings we find: "Sensitive, irritable, peevish, and cross on waking. Easily excited to anger. Cannot bear opposition and is speedily beside himself." Ailments from fright, anger, mortification or vexation with reserved displeasure."


Here is our type A personality – full of the ability to be critical. Kent mentions "they all show over-sensitiveness; irritable, touchy, sensitive to conditions. They are never contented, never satisfied, disturbed by their surroundings , and they become so irritable they want to tear things, to scold. Impulses are strongly marked at times." And among the provings: "takes everything amiss, readily breaks out into scolding and abuse".

"It seems as if he would like to strike anyone in the face who speaks a word to him, so irritable and uncontrollable in his disposition."

"Every harmless word offends. Peevish malevolent, first, excited temperament. Ill humor , vexation, and anger, breaking out in acts of violence".

"Much disposed to scolding crossness".

"Much given to reproach other for their faults".


Platina with its great feeling of pride, arrogance and haughtiness and with its hysterical aspects would be expected to manifest this trait. Clarke mentions,"great irritability with prolonged ill humour – after a fit of passion and mania; with great pride, with fault finding, with unchaste talk; trembling and clonic spasms, caused by fright or from anger."


Sepia tends to be repressed in their affections and sexuality. Accompanying this can be a very irritable side. Kent mentions that the Sepia woman permits no opposition to her opinions. "The best impressions of her are lost if controversy arises". "Passionate, irritable, the greatest irritability from slight causes", "Very easily offended", "Vexed and disposed to scold", "She vents her spite on those she loves best."


Sulphur, certainly, is a very grand remedy. It is interesting that Kent in his discussion of Sulphur does not directly mention the words critical or censorious. However, as we know, Sulphur can be very impatient with others. He wants to get along, he can be argumentative – especially on the intellectual level. Clarke mentions "ill humour, moroseness, quarrelsome this position and a disposition to criticize."


This is a remedy characterized by coldness of discharges, coldness of body and prostration on the mental level, there is violence and destructiveness and hysteria. Wants to destroy and tear something. Always wants to be busy. Clarke mentions "quarrelsome and delirious, striking a kidney with a hand and foot changed to a happy and comical delirious state."

In summary, I have reviewed some of the characteristics of the important remedies relating to the Rubric "Censorious or Critical". This has been a helpful exercise to me and I would recommend it to others as one method of study of the materia medica and of the relationship of remedies to each other.

From:– Similia Similibus Curentur, Journal of the American Institute of Homeopathy, June, 1981

★This article was presented to the California State Homeopathic Medical Society, March 7, 1981, El Cortez Hotel, San Francisco, CA.

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