Jan Scholten's Periodic System of Plants
“All the cosmic and natural laws are written in trees, in flowers, in grass, in the shining of the sun, in the flow of rivers, in rains and the wind… and in all the beauties of nature.” Edmund Szekely, “Medicine To-Morrow”, 1938
Jan Scholten presented his new system in October to North American audiences through two well attended seminars in Vancouver, British Columbia and Toronto, Ontario. These seminars provided an introduction to Jan’s forthcoming book Wonderful Plants, to be released in early 2013. He presented interesting cases, many remedies of which were found in his recent Lamu Provings (Alonnissos, 2011), a new book of sixteen plant trituration provings.
In Jan’s own words, his goal is to create a systematic overview of the plant kingdom in order to get a grasp on the prescription of plants. From my perspective as a homeopath, his system creates a clearer and more extensive accessibility to the plant kingdom, much as his Elements System did for me with the mineral kingdom.
The Periodic System
of Plants uses many aspects of Scholten’s Elements system in conjunction with
the botanical APG III (Angiosperm Phylogeny Group) classification system. The APG III (published in 2009) is based upon
current DNA analysis. The beauty of Jan
Scholten’s new system is that it uses a clear, systematic approach yet
incorporates the complexity and multi-dimensionality of plants. He believes
that categorizing plants for homeopathic prescribing has been a difficult
process for several reasons:
- Complexity; much more so than minerals
- The fact that relationships in the plant kingdom are less sure than in the mineral kingdom
- In homeopathic prescribing the vast majority of plants are unknown.
He highlighted the importance of utilizing plant evolution information in our prescription of plants because evolutionary difference is reflected in the APG III classification and seen throughout nature.
Scholten believes that a good classification works on all levels, for example the periodic table works for chemistry but also works for homeopathy. The same applies to APG classification: it is good for botany and it should be good for homeopathy.
He has devised an innovative numeric-based classification system which is specific to each plant. I liken it to the Dewey Decimal system - a library classification system. It is similar in that it moves from a general grouping to a specific grouping, allowing the user to access or place the plant within a larger classification. In Scholten’s system, each plant will have its own 7 digit number reflecting its APG III phylum, order, family, class, sub-class, and genus. Seven digits is not a random choice. Jan believes that the number seven is very special and is provided by nature. For example, you can see it reflected through the seven series in the periodic table and in the development of a life cycle. One of the beautiful aspects of Jan Scholten’s Element system is the series concepts which follow the life cycle. You come into existence (Hydrogen series), move into childhood (Carbon series), then into teenage-hood (Silica) and finally into various ages of adulthood (Iron to Gold series).
Scholten has combined the concepts and organization of the APG III system and the Element system and used them as the underpinning of his new Periodic Plant System. In his Plant system, the Angiosperm phylum corresponds to the Gold/Lanthanide series in the periodic table. This represents a high level of self-reflection and evolution. Scholten believes that everyone is an Angiosperm, part of the monophyletic group (clade), i.e. descended from a common evolutionary ancestor or ancestral group, especially one not shared with any other group. It is the sixth series and represented by the number 6.
As in his Element System, answering the question “what is the problem” in case analysis leads you to a series. This is reflected in the Plant System through the class, for example, monocots. Once that is determined, you ask “what is the main focus of the case”, which leads you to the sub-class. There are seven classes and seven sub-classes which mirror the periodic table series. To determine the phase and sub-phase, you ask “what happens (externally)”, “how it is for them”, “and how do they feel about it”. There are seven phases, and seven sub-phases which take the 17 periodic table stages and synthesize them into seven. Finally, “how they handle it” and “how they react to what happens” is the stage as it is in the Element System, e.g. she fights (stage 12). There are seventeen stages.
The Periodic Plant System diagrams and charts lead you to answering these questions. Complete detailed charts, including those essential for determining the sub-phase of the prescription, will be available in the book.
For example, a prescription of Amaryllis would be 63356.12 in Scholten’s Periodic system of Plants. The number 6 represents Angiosperm, #3 represents Monocots (class), #3 represents Lilliales (sub-class), #5 represents Asparagales (phase), #6 represents Amaryllidaceae (sub-phase) and #12 represents the stage, just like the Element System.
Jan Scholten stated that his Periodic Plant System is still evolving and will have continuing refinements. A wonderful bi-product of this system is that it clearly shows where the gaps are in our plant materia medica and where we can be doing future plant provings. He noted for example that in the Amborellales, Pandanales and the Celastrales plant families we have no or very few remedies.
One aspect that I love about Jan Scholten’s system is that it works with current Botanical knowledge and research. His system can evolve along with changes in botanical information. It really reflects the totality expressed in homeopathy by reflecting the intention of our profession and following the order of the natural world. It is greatly needed in these complex times. I already know that when his book comes out it will transform my prescribing the same way Elements did, and the world and all in it will benefit greatly.
Jan Scholten; Narayana Verlag
Keywords: Jan Scholten, periotic system, Wonderful Plants, APG classification