Category Archives: Provings

Hahnemann’s First Provings

hahnemann111Hahnemann’s First Provings.

by Peter Morrell

For the full original article click here
From the earliest beginnings until now, the materia medica has consisted only of false suppositions and fancies, which is as good as no materia medica at all.” [The Organon, v.110]

“Medicine tests [provings] constitute one of the most critical points of Hahnemann’s teachings. This grandiose attempt to acquire unhypothetical medical experience was outwardly justified by the complete lack of objective methods of investigation and experimental systems in those days…[Hahnemann had] the courage to break away from hypotheses and systems…” [Gumpert, 122]

This essay explores the early provings of Hahnemann and attempts to place them into some kind of historical and conceptual context.

Introduction

The first provings of Hahnemann really need to be measured in two ways… first, against what came after them and the way homeopathy unfolded forwards from that point, which is the view most homeopaths adopt. And second against what existed before the provings and where he got his remedies from. The plain fact is that most of the remedies initially came from the allopathic materia medica. Without doubt also, translation work opened up for him “a world rich in the most glorious prospects,” [Goethe] of medical data, therapeutic hints, clinical observations and notes about drug actions, which must have enormously enriched his medical thinking and which practically no-one else was party to. So, Hahnemann must have been imbibing a wealth of clinical and therapeutic ideas from his many translations and historical researches, during the 1780s and 1790s.

Measuring backwards from what followed is an inherently deceptive approach as it fails to fully illuminate certain crucial aspects of the project as it must have been conceived in Hahnemann’s mind. The idea of experimentation on healthy subjects was more or less floating in the air in that epoch: Haller expressed it clearly, Stork also and Alexander, for example, made in 1766 a proving of Camphora some years before Hahnemann’s experiment with Cinchona bark. The idea of conducting provings probably came to Hahnemann from Von Haller:

“Indeed, a medicine must first of all be essayed in a healthy body, without any foreign admixture; when the odour and taste have been examined, a small dose must be taken, and attention must be paid to every change that occurs, to the pulse, the temperature, respiration and excretions. Then, having examined the symptoms encountered in the healthy person, one may proceed to trials in the body of a sick person.” [von Haller, 12]

However, four key points seem clear about the first provings. Firstly, they derived from his studies and detailed knowledge of drugs in use at the time; secondly, that as the project evolved empirically he must have been made acutely aware that the number, subtlety and diversity of symptoms produced by a drug were much greater than the clinical records had initially suggested; thirdly, that he involved members of his family and circle of close friends from an early stage: “the family…and every free moment of every one of them, from the oldest to the youngest, was made use of for the testing of medicines and the gathering of the most precise information on their observed effects.” [Gumpert, 114] Fourthly, he realised that the instructions to provers had to involve them recording everything, every subtle change in their psycho-physical totality and consciousness and not just the main physical symptoms. Hahnemann gives “pure experiment, careful observation and accurate experience alone,” [Gumpert, 144] as the sole determining factors that can generate any authentic medical theory. He “demanded a complete break with everything,”[Gumpert, 149] that had gone before.

He sought “to discover the specific relations of certain medicines to certain diseases, to certain organs and tissues, he strove to do away with the blind chimney sweeper’s methods of dulling symptoms.” [Gumpert, 99] He “instituted “provings” of drugs upon himself, members of his family, friends, students and fellow practitioners, keeping all under the most rigid scrutiny and control, and carefully recording every fact and the conditions under which it was elicited.” [Close, 147-8]

“If one has tested a considerable number of simple medicines on healthy people in this way… then one has for the first time a true materia medica: a collection of the authentic, pure, reliable effects of simple medicinal substances in themselves; a natural pharmacopoeia…” [The Organon, v.143]

The second and fourth points meant that Hahnemann was more or less forced into a deeper appreciation of the reality of holism in the organism simply by conducting provings, in other words from his empirical studies. This must have been a wholly unexpected aspect for him. What started as merely a test of one drug soon became a revelation as it “ceased to be a little trickle…it became a broad flood,” [Wells] and an entirely new materia medica took birth, unfolding before him in incredible and undreamt-of detail. The third point suggests that he realised at a very early stage that a drug’s impact upon the female system is rather different from its impact upon the male, and though complementary to each other, these two aspects of a proving reflect entirely different dimensions of the same drug. From the minute details of a proving, a new sense of completeness eventually developed in his mind, so spawning a synthesis: the drug picture. Likewise, in accordance with his initial aim in conducting provings, he obtained for each drug a reliable database, based on experiment and in which personal responses as well as general effects were all compiled into the final picture.

The importance of the first point simply means that he obtained his first hunches about the therapeutic activity of drugs partly from using them himself, and partly “as he explored the muttering tomb,” [Auden, New Year Letter, 217] of his translation work, during which he ‘saw into’ the apparent sphere of action of a drug from reading the accounts of many others in the past who had observed their action or seen them cure specific diseases or symptom clusters. Thus, he probably realised in advance of the actual provings that most drugs tend to have a multi-faceted action upon the organism.

Always intimately tied in with his views of drugs was his interest in and study of poisonings: “I found from the toxicological reports of earlier writers that the effects of large quantities of noxious substances ingested by healthy people…largely coincided with my own findings from experiments with those substances on myself or other healthy people.” [Hahnemann, 1810, v.110] “He collected histories of cases of poisoning. His purpose was to establish a physiological doctrine of medical remedies, free from all suppositions, and based solely on experiments.” [Gumpert, 92] The proving is in fact merely a mild and subtle form of poisoning, what we might term a ‘micro-poisoning,’ during which the power of the drug ‘takes hold’ of the prover and so reveals its therapeutic ‘sphere of action’.

samuel_hahnemann_s

First Proving

His studies of drugs had led him to the realisation that ‘single drugs in moderate doses’ offered up the best if not the only hope of creating a gentle and effective system of curative medicine. That point implicitly involved a prior and firm rejection of the Galenic diktat of using mixed drugs in strong doses, because instinctively and temperamentally he was “a most passionate opponent of mixed doses that contained a large number of ingredients.” [Gumpert, 96] This sets the scene for the first proving, of Cinchona in 1790, deriving as it did both from a translation work and from his own intimate knowledge and personal use of the drug in question. Here we have to note a possible peculiar sensitivity of Hahnemann himself to Cinchona bark, as he had contracted malaria in his youth, during his Hermanstadt journey.

It is important to recall that the first proving was not actually designed at the outset to study the effect of a drug on the entire human system, to prove a drug, as is often claimed. No, rather it was specifically designed to test a claim by Cullen that Cinchona acts curatively on fever because of its bitter action on the stomach. It is precisely this point which Hahnemann set about to test for himself: “in the following year, 1790, Hahnemann translated Cullen’s Materia Medica. Cullen (II. 108) explains the efficacy of Cinchona in intermittent fever by the “strengthening power it exerts on the stomach,” and adds, ” that he has never met with anything in any book which made him doubt the truth of his view.” [Ameke, 62] It is this point which inspired Hahnemann to see if the drug would indeed affect the stomach as Cullen suggested. To his surprise, he found it did not do that and his testing of it proved to be a revelation in other ways.

Hahnemann disagreed with Cullen’s theory of the action of Cinchona upon the stomach and so resolved to test the drug on himself. He “criticised the opinion of Cullen that the action of Peruvian bark [quinine] was that of a tonic to the stomach…and proceeded to argue that quinine acts in malaria because in healthy people it can produce symptoms similar to intermittent fever.” [Bodman, 3-4] In this first proving experiment, Hahnemann observed symptoms broadly similar to those of malaria, including spasms and fever. [Cook, 59; Haehl, I, 37, 39] With Cinchona, he had “produced in himself the symptoms of intermittent fever.” [Haehl, vol. 1, 39]

Much has been written about the first proving that need not be repeated here, but the main consequence of it conceptually for Hahnemann was that after ‘single drugs in moderate doses,’ the first proving firmly and irreversibly established his third axiom of homeopathy: the law of similars, and realisation of its significance must have finally extinguished any remaining fragmentary attachments Hahnemann may still have harboured concerning the therapeutic possibilities of contraries: “dying to embers from their native fire!” [Keats, line 366] The “similia similibus principle,” [Gumpert, 96] was indeed Hahnemann’s “brilliance of idea,” [Gumpert, 97] and was also “the doctrine which was to redeem him from the medical nihilism of despair.” [Gumpert, 104] This new principle, “was to him what the falling apple was to Newton, and the swinging lamp in the Baptistery at Pisa was to Galileo.” [Dudgeon, xxi] As Dudgeon says, “from this single experiment his mind appears to have been impressed with the conviction that the pathogenetic effects of medicines would give the key to their therapeutic powers.” [Dudgeon, xxi]

With the three axioms comprising the core of his newly emerging system: single drugs, moderate doses and similars, the drug proving thus became the fourth homeopathic axiom and around these axioms homeopathy not only more sharply crystallised and defined its doctrines and methods, but in this manner it finally separated itself entirely from its Galenic predecessor, emerging “from the ashes as a new phoenix,” [Hirsch, et al] and shaking off any remaining association with the dreaded ‘bleed and purge’ method of mixed drugs in high doses that Hahnemann had so detested and which had filled him with horror even from his first medical lectures in Leipzig and Vienna, for Hahnemann was indeed, “a most passionate opponent of mixed doses that contained a large number of ingredients.” [Gumpert, 96]

1790s Provings

Now, it would seem, Samuel Hahnemann towered like a colossus over the medical past and potentially over its entire future. It was doubtless at this “a crucial moment,” [Doren, 7] that he finally becomes a truly great pioneer, engaged in something momentous, prior to which he was only a potentially important figure. At this point, he probably first received “a hint of his future greatness,” [Doren, p.7], because it can hardly have escaped his attention that here was a magnificent moment, a turning point not only of solving a huge problem he had first set out to explore in 1783 when he gave up medical practice, but because in those moments had he not heard the “loud hymns that were the royal wives of silence?” [Auden, Kairos & Logos, 309] and seen the “shadows and sunny glimmerings,” [Palgrave, Wordsworth] of a new plan before him, the germ of an entirely new system pinned out like an architect’s drawing: “my system of medicine has nothing in common with the ordinary medical art, but is in every respect its exact opposite…the new method of treatment, called homeopathy, being the exact opposite of the ordinary medical art hitherto practised, has no preparations that it could give to the apothecary, has no compound remedies…” [Gumpert, 176-7] He had also manifested, “the courage to break away from hypotheses and systems…zones fatal to the human spirit.” [Gumpert, 122]

All he now needed were more provings—many more provings—and the opportunity to utilise these newly proven drugs on patients, on actual cases of sickness. “Day after day, he tested medicines on himself and others. He collected histories of cases of poisoning. His purpose was to establish a…doctrine of medical remedies, free from all suppositions, and based solely on experiments.” [Gumpert, 92]

“Many before Hahnemann, from Hippocrates down, had glimpses of the law [of similars], and some had tried to make use of it therapeutically; but all had failed because of their inability to properly graduate and adapt the dose.” [Close, 1924, p. 215]

The bright prospect that emerged from the provings meant that everything that had gone before was only theoretical, but now he stood on the brink of a new practical method and the exultation of being able to go beyond and take forward the work of his vitalist predecessors, Stahl, van Helmont and Paracelsus [“Paracelsus’s system…was a rude form of homoeopathy…but it was not equal in value to Hahnemann’s system…” [Dudgeon, 14]], in being able to adapt that previously elusive and will-o-the-wisp ‘law of similars’ into a practical working method, rather than just a theoretical aim, a hopelessly wistful medical dream: “he fought with redoubled energy for the purity of medicine,” [Gumpert, 96] and “strove to do away with the blind chimney sweeper’s methods of dulling symptoms.” [Gumpert, 99] The grim and ground-breaking task before him in the 1790s was therefore to conduct as many provings as possible. And that is precisely what he did: “undeterred by the magnitude of the task, Hahnemann set about creating a materia medica which should embody the facts of drug action upon the healthy.” [Close, 147]

It is worth stating that very little of a hard factual nature is known about precisely which drugs he proved and when. We have to try to piece that together from only “a few crumbs.” [Adams] Although in 1790 Hahnemann had only proved one drug in Cinchona, yet he had proved 27 by 1805, when he published his Fragmenta: “Hahnemann’s ‘Fragmenta de viribus medicamentorum positivis’…gives us, for the first time, an insight into the remarkable, and so far unknown, methods of investigation, which he employed. It supplies reports on the tests of twenty seven medicines the results of years of experiment on himself and his family.” [Gumpert, 122]

Given that the Fragmenta probably contained work completed up to the year 1804, when he settled in Torgau, then he had proved 27 drugs in only 14 years…almost two per year. Even by modern standards that is impressive progress. Indeed, such impressive progress for a “a cautious man, notwithstanding his utmost circumspection,” [Wollstonecraft, p.12] like Hahnemann suggests that he knew very clearly in his own mind that he was engaged in something “supremely important,” [Columbia, 7] and which demanded his complete attention at all times. Otherwise, such progress would inevitably have been slower, far less impressive, less driven and presumably much more haphazard.

The actual situation is complicated by the fact that in the same decade he was moving about all over Saxony with his growing family. The decade of the 1790s sees Hahnemann living in many different places and coincides with his most intense period of “wandering, yearning, curious—with restless explorations.” [Whitman, line 91] He changed town or residence fifteen times between 1789 and 1805: He lived in Leipzig, [1789-92], then “in 1791, poverty compelled him to remove from Leipzig to the little village of Stotteritz.” [Bradford] In 1792 he was in Gotha [1792], then Georgenthal [summer 1792 to May 1793], nursing Klockenbring; Molschleben [1793-4], Gottingen [1794], Pyrmont [Oct 1794-Jan 1795], Wolfenbuttel [1795], Brunswick [1795-6], Koenigslutter [1796-8], Hamburg, Altona [summer 1799], Molln, near Hamburg [Sept 1800-1801], Machern & Eilenberg, nr Leipzig [1801], Dessau [1802-4], Torgau [June 1805 to summer 1811]

It is also complicated by the fact that in 1792-3, for almost a whole year, he was resident in Georgenthal treating the insane patient, Herr Klockenbring. All such factors reduce the time he could have devoted solely to provings to something like 12 or 13 years and means he either proved several drugs back-to-back or he managed to prove several simultaneously using different groups of people. Furthermore, the remedies in the Fragmenta do contain a few surprises and it is very informative for us to scour the 1790 decade for other hints of what remedies he was scrutinisng at what point. For example, Bradford mentions [p.57] that Hahnemann was using Hepar sulphuris c.1794.

In 1796, in his “Essay on a New Principle,” Hahnemann mentions the following 46 remedies, of which 19 [41.3%] later appear in the Fragmenta as fully proven drugs: Nux vomica [p.318 p.278] Mercury [287], Chamomilla [267], Achillea [269], Valeriana [269], Viscum [269], Conium [270], Aethusa [271], Cicuta [271], Cocculus [271], Paris [271], Coffee [271], Dulcamara [272], Belladonna [273], Hyoscyamus [275], Stramonium [276], Tabaccum [277], Ignatia [279], Digitalis [279], Viola [281], Ipecac [281], Arbutus [282], Rhododendron [282], Ledum [282], Opium [283], Plumbum [287], Arsenic [291], Taxus [290], Aconite [291], Helleborus [292], Anemone [293], Geum [293], Drosera [294], Sambucus, [295], Rhus [295], Camphor [295], Ulmus [298], Cannabis [298], Crocus [298], Scilla [299], Veratrum alb [303], Sabadilla [302], Agaricus [303], Nux moschata [303], Rheum [Rhubarb] [303]

That Valeriana, Hyoscyamus, Stramonium, Ignatia, Mercury and Belladonna, were among the first drugs proved in the 1790s, might arouse curiosity and raise a few eyebrows. It somehow implies that Hahnemann regarded such predominantly ‘mental’ drugs, and perhaps mental symptoms in general, as highly important aspects of health and sickness in general. The degree to which this might also derive in part from his treatment of Klockenbring in 1792-3 seems also to be an interesting point to raise. After the Cinchona proving of 1790 he spent some time treating an insane man in 1792-3 but no mention is made of remedies…then in 1795 he mentions remedies like Ignatia and Hyoscyamus which MIGHT have been needed for his insane case…it is thus tempting to presume some undisclosed connection between that insane case of 1792-3 and his apparent use of remedies like Hyos and Stramonium and Ignatia with such very strong mental profiles. It also seems to suggest “entirely changed points of view,” [Whitman, lines 8-9] with him coming to regard mental symptoms as very valuable in all remedies around this time. It implies that he was widening his concept of the nature of sickness beyond a small compass of physical symptoms, which was at that time the standard allopathic conception in which he had been trained. It is difficult to discern exactly when he abandoned specific allopathic concepts and then placed his adherence solely upon specifically homeopathic ones. All these conceptual changes arguably derive from the provings.

The drugs in this list are ones he was using, ones he had read about and had an interest in, and some that he was proving or had proved. These were all drugs that stood out as significant to him; they were clearly all on his ‘shopping list’ for deeper investigation. It is clear that he was focused at this time on 40-50 drugs which he believed, when used singly, acted by similars and which he could add to his growing materia medica.

In 1798, the remedies mentioned in the essay “Antidotes to Some Heroic Vegetable Substances,” [Lesser Writings, pp.322-29] are as follows: Camphor, Mezereum, Coffea, Ignatia, Verat alb, Gamboja, Ant tart, Stramonium, Cocculus ind, Arnica, Opium, Cantharis, Scilla = 13 remedies of which 9 [69%] appear also fully proved in the Fragmenta of 1805.

The Fragmenta

The 27 drugs proved in the Fragmenta are as follows [Haehl, vol 2, p.82]:[followed by number of symptoms obtained by Hahnemann and those by others]

Aconitum napellus 138 75 [h got 65% of sx]
acris tinctura (Causticum) 30 0 [he got 100% of sx]
arnica montana 117 33 [he got 78% of sx]
belladonna 101 304 [he got 25% of sx]
camphora 73 74 [he got 50% of sx]
cantharis 20 74 [not listed by Bradford, p.80] [he got 21.3% of sx]
capsicum annuum 174 3 [he got 98% of sx]
chamomilla 272 3 [he got 99% of sx]
cinchona 122 99 [he got 55% of sx]
cocculus 156 6 [he got 96.3% of sx]
copaifera balsamum 12 8 [he got 60% of sx]
cuprum vitriolatum 29 38 [he got 43.3% of sx]
digitalis 23 33 [he got 41% of sx]
drosera 36 4 [he got 90% of sx]
hyoscyamus 45 290 [he got 13.4% of sx] [104 478 according to Seror]
ignatia 157 19 [he got 89.2% of sx]
ipecac 70 13 [he got 84.3% of sx]
ledum 75 5 [he got 93.8% of sx]
Helleborus 32 25 [he got 56% of sx]
mezereum 6 34 [he got 15% of sx]
nux vomica 257 51 [he got 83.4% of sx]
Papaver somniferum) opium 82 192 [he got 47% of sx]
pulsatilla 280 29 [he got 90.6% of sx]
rheum 39 13 [he got 75% of sx]
stramonium 59 157 [he got 51% of sx]
valeriana 25 10 [he got 71.4% of sx]
veratrum album 161 106 [he got 60.3% of sx]

As we can see, the number of symptoms which Hahnemann recorded for each drug ranges from 12 for Copaifera to 280 for Puls. Perhaps as an insight into his personality, or constitutional type, Hahnemann himself obtained the maximum number of symptoms from Chamomilla, Pulsatilla and Nux vomica; and the least number from Cantharis, Copaifera, Digitalis and Valeriana.

The Materia Medica Pura

This work was published 1811-31, and contains the following 65 fully proven drugs:

Aconitum napellus, Ambra grisea, Angustura, Argentum, Arnica, Arsenicum, Asarum, Aurum, Belladonna, Bismuthum, Bryonia, Calcarea acetica, Camphora, Cannabis sativa, Capsicum annuum, Carbo animalis, Carbo vegetabilis, Chamomilla, Chelidonium, China, Cicuta virosa, Cina, Cocculus, Colocynthis, Conium, Cyclamen europaeum, Digitalis, Drosera rotundifolia, Dulcamara, Euphrasia officinalis, Ferrum, Guaiacum, Helleborus niger, Hepar sulphuris calcareum, Hyoscyamus, Ignatia, Ledum, Magnes, Magnetis polus arcticus, Magnetis polus australis, Menyanthes trifoliate, Mercurius, Moschus, Muriaticum acidum, Nux vomica, Oleander, Opium, Phosphoricum acidum, Pulsatilla, Rheum, Rhus, Ruta, Sambucus, Sarsaparilla, Scilla, Spigelia, Spongia, Stannum, Staphisagria, Stramonium, Sulphur, Taraxacum, Thuja, Veratrum album, Verbascum

The Chronic Diseases

Contents of the Chronic Diseases [1829]

Agaricus, Alumina, ammon carb, ammon mur, anacard, ant crud, arsenic, aurum, Aur mur, Bar c, borax, Calc carb, Carb-an, carb-v, caustic, clem, coloc, conium, cuprum, digitalis, dulc, euphorb, graph, guiacum, Hepar sulph, Iodium, kali-c, lyc, mag-c, mag-m, manganum, mez, muriat ac, Natr carb, Natr mur, nitr ac, nitrum, Petroleum, Phosphorus, phos ac, Platina, sars, sepia, silicea, stannum, sulph, sul-ac, zincum [48 drugs]

A comparison of the remedies listed in the Fragmenta, the Materia Medica Pura and the Chronic Diseases is most informative and “throws a totally different light on,” [Berger] some interesting questions about Hahnemann’s methods and why certain remedies seem to ‘come in and then go out’ of favour. This is a very interesting study and presumably throws to light aspects of his changing views as the provings progressed. My own tentative view of this is that though he was initially excited by every new proving, as time wore on he sometimes saw few applications, or few successful applications, of some drugs in cases of sickness.

In this sense, his initial excitement for a freshly proven drug must have given way to a sense of disappointment about, say, its limited therapeutic application. In such an eventuality he was forced to downgrade such remedies as ‘lesser’ while retaining his enthusiasm for those ‘higher’ remedies, which tended to match many disease states and which had thus shown an ability to produce some successful cures. This seems be the best explanation of why remedies do appear to come and go across the visor of homeopathy as it evolved. I hold this view primarily because he was above all else an empirical and pragmatic man and nothing seemed to have impressed him more than results. He wished for a medicine “without the superfluous rubbish of hypotheses.” [Gumpert, 26] Everything “that savoured of theory was swept dramatically out of his mind. In his opinion there was only one criterion: success.” [Gumpert, 24] It also reveals the basic nature of the materia medica as it exists today with some 50 or 100 remedies doing most of the work and dozens of others that are very rarely used. That the materia medica is like this would simply seem to be an “inexorable law of nature.” [Harding, 20]

Another issue concerns the provings he published. For example, why does Hahnemann fail to include the Fragmenta drugs in the Materia Medica Pura or the Chronic Diseases? It seems strange that he does not aggregate these separate publications as he goes along into a growing and expanding work showing all provings in one volume: a growing homeopathic materia medica. He even updated the MMP and CD as separate works as time went on and failed to add some of the drugs in the Fragmenta. This would seem to reflect a mysterious and undisclosed attitude on Hahnemann’s part in relation to the provings. Why leave drugs out of later works that were fully proved in earlier publications? It does not seem to make any sense.

The following analysis of the drugs he proved yields many interesting facets of this subject.

1. Remedies mentioned in 1796-8 and then appearing in the Fragmenta are:
acon, bell, canth, camph, cocc, dig, dros, hell, hyos, ign, ledum, mez, nux-v, opium, rheum, stram, val, veratr
= 19/27 = 70.4% match between previous mention and proving in Fragmenta

2. Remedies mentioned in 1796-8 and appearing in MMP
acon, arn, bell, cann, camph, canth, cham, cicuta, cocc, con, dig, dros, dulc, hell, hyos, ign, ledum, merc, nux v, opium, rheum, sambuc, scilla, stram, taxus, val, veratr
= 27/65 = 41.54% match between previous mention and proving in MMP

3. Remedies mentioned in 1796-8 and appearing in CD
Dig, dulc, agar, arsen, con, hepar, mez
= 7/48 = 14.6% match between previous mention and proving in CD

4. Remedies mentioned 1790s but never proved by Hahnemann:
achillea, aethusa, anemone, arbutus, crocus, gamboja, geum, paris, plumbum, rhodo, sabadilla, tabacum, taxus, ulmus, viola, viscum
= 16/51 = 31.4% mentioned 1790s but never proved later

5. Remedies in Fragmenta never previously mentioned
caust, copaifera, cupr, puls
= 4/27 = 14.8% no previous mention and proving in Fragmenta

6. Remedies in MMP; never previously mentioned
ambra, argent, angustura, asaraum, aurum, bism, bry, calc-ac, carb an, carb veg, chel, cina, coloc, cycl, euphras, ferrum, guiac, magnetis arct, magnetis austr, manganum, mur ac, oleandr, phos ac, puls, ruta, sarsap, spig, spong, stann, staph, sul, thuja, verbasc
= 35/65 = 53.85% of MMP Remedies never previously mentioned

7. Remedies common to Fragmenta and MMP
acon, arn, bell, camph, cham, china, coccul, copaifera, dig, dros, hell, hyos, ign, ipecac, ledum, nux v, opium, puls, rheum, stram, val
= 22/65 = 33.85% overlap between Fragmenta and MMP

8. Remedies in CD also in MMP
aur, carb an, carb v, coloc, con, dig, dulc, guiac, hep, manganum, mur ac, phos ac, sars, stram, sulph

= 15/48 = 31.25% overlap between MMP and CD

9. Remedies in Fragmenta and CD
caust, cupr, dig, mez
4/48 = 8.3% overlap Fragmenta to CD

10. Remedies with no previous mention but in CD
agar, alumina, ammon carb, ammon mur, anac, aur-m, bar-c, borax, calc-c, clematis, coloc, euphorb, graph, iod, kali-c, lyc, mag-c, mag-m, nat-c, nat-m, nit ac, nitrum, petr, phos, platin, sep, sil, sul-ac, zinc
= 29/48 = 60.42% CD Rx totally new and previously unmentioned

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Provings

A discussion on some modern views of Provings from the OpenRep university.

Hahnemann nails the argument…

By Vera Resnick

Thinking-Man-RodinIn his preface to the proving of Arsenicum Album in Chronic Diseases, Hahnemann really nails many of the arguments we face in our own, modern allopathically brainwashed societies today. Rather than comment, here is Hahnemann in his own pithy, erudite, and very sharp words. I’ve highlighted some words in bold. This is only an excerpt. There’s more. Go read.

“ARSENICUM ALBUM.

“As I write down the word Arsenic, momentous memories seize upon my soul.

“When the All-merciful One created iron, He granted to mankind, indeed, to fashion from it either the murderous dagger or the mild ploughshare, and either to kill or to nourish their brethren therewith. How much happier, however, would they be, did they employ His gifts only to benefit one another! This should be the aim of their life; this was His will.

“So also it is not to Him, the All-loving One, we must impute the wickedness practiced by men, who have dared to misemploy the wonderfully powerful medicinal substances in diseases for which they were not suitable, and besides this in doses so enormous, guided only by frivolous ideas or some paltry authorities, without having subjected them to any careful trial, and without a well-grounded selection.

“If now a careful prover of the effects of medicines arise, they inveigh against him as an enemy to their comfort, and do not refrain from the most dishonest calumnies.

“The ordinary medical art has hitherto employed in large and frequently repeated doses the most powerful medicines, such as arsenic, nitrate of silver, corrosive sublimate, aconitum napellus, belladonna, iodine, digitalis, opium, hyoscyamus, etc. Homoeopathy cannot employ stronger substances, for there are none stronger. Now, when ordinary physicians employ them, they evidently vie with one another who shall prescribe the largest possible doses of these drugs, and even make a great boast of their mounting to such enormous doses. This practice they laud and approve in their fellow practitioners. But if the Homoeopathic medical art employ the same drugs, not at random, like the ordinary method, but after careful investigation, only in suitable cases and in the smallest possible doses, it is denounced as a practice of poisoning. How partisan, how unjust, how calumnious is such a charge made by men who make pretensions to honesty and uprightness!

“If Homoeopathy now make a fuller explanation, if she condemn (as from conviction she must) the enormous doses of these drugs given in ordinary practice, and if she, relying on careful trials, insists that very much less of them should be given for a dose, that where ordinary physicians give a tenth, a half, a whole grain, and even several grains, often only a quadrillionth, a sextillionth, a decillionth of a grain is required and sufficient, then the adherents of the ordinary school, who denounce the Homoeopathic healing art as a system of poisoning, laugh aloud, abuse it as childishness, and declare themselves convinced (convinced without trial ?) that such a small quantity can do nothing at all, and can have no effect whatever, is, indeed, just the same as nothing. They are not ashamed thus to blow hot and cold from the same mouth, and to pronounce the very same thing to be inert and ludicrously small, which they had just accused of being a system of poisoning, whilst they justify and praise their own enormous and murderous doses of the same remedies. Is not this the grossest and most wretched inconsistency that can be imagined, invented for the very purpose of being shamelessly unjust toward a doctrine which, they cannot deny, possesses truth, consistence and agreement with experience, and which practices the most delicate cautiousness and the most unwearied circumspection in the selection and administration of its remedies?

Not very long ago a highly celebrated physician [Marcus of Bamberg] spoke of pounds of opium being eaten every month in his hospital, where even the nurses were allowed to give it to the patients according to their fancy. Opium, mind! a drug that has sent several thousands of men to their graves in ordinary practice! Yet this man continued to be held in honor, for he belonged to the dominant clique to which everything is lawful even if it be of the most destructive and absurd character.

And when, a few years since, in one of the most enlightened cities of Europe almost every practitioner, from the physician of lofty title down to the barber’s apprentice, prescribed arsenic as a fashionable remedy in almost every disease, and that in such frequent and large doses in close succession, that the detriment to the health of the people must have been quite palpable, yet this was held to be an honorable practice, though not one of them was acquainted with the peculiar effects of the semi-oxide of this metal (and consequently knew not what cases of disease it was suited for). And yet all prescribed it in repeated doses, a single one of which, sufficiently attenuated and potentized, would have sufficed to cure all the diseases in the whole habitable world for which this drug is the suitable remedy.

Which of these two opposite modes of employing medicines best deserves the flattering appellation of a “system of poisoning” -the ordinary method just alluded to, which attacks with tenths of grains the poor patients (who often require some quite different remedy), or Homoeopathy, which does not even give a little drop of tincture or rhubarb without having first ascertained whether rhubarb is the most suitable, the only appropriate remedy for the case? Homoeopathy which, by unwearied, multiplied experiments, discovered that it is only in rare cases that more than a decillionth of a grain of arsenic should be given, and that only in cases where careful proving shows this medicine to be the only one perfectly suitable ? To which of these two modes of practice does then the honorary title of “thoughtless, rash system of poisoning” properly apply ?

There is yet another sect of practitioners who may be called hypocritical purists. If they are practical physicians, they, indeed, prescribe all sorts of substances that are injurious when misused, but before the world they wish to pose as patterns of innocence and caution. From their professional chairs and in their writings they give us the most alarming definition of poison; to listen to their declarations it would appear unadvisable to treat any imaginable disease with anything stronger than quick-grass, dandelion, oxymel and raspberry juice.

According to their definition, poisons are absolutely (i. e., under all circumstances, in all doses, in all cases) prejudicial to human life, and in this category they include (in order to prejudice against Homoeopathy), as suits their humor, a lot of substances which in all ages have been extensively employed by physicians for the cure of diseases. (sounds familiar? vr)But the employment of these substances would be a criminal offence had not every one of them occasionally proved of use. If, however, each of them had only proved itself curative on only one occasion -and it cannot be denied that this sometimes happened- then this blasphemous definition is at the same time a palpable absurdity. Absolutely and under all circumstances injurious and destructive, and yet at the same time salutary, is a contradiction in itself, is utter nonsense. If they would wriggle out of this contradiction, they allege, as a subterfuge, that these substances have more frequently proved injurious than useful.

“But did the more frequent injury caused by these substances come from these substances themselves, or from their improper employment, i. e., from those who made an unskillful use of them in diseases for which they were not suitable ? These medicines do not administer themselves in diseases, they must be administered by men ; and if they were beneficial at any time, it was because they were at one time appropriately administered by somebody ; it was because they might always be beneficial, if men never made any other than a suitable use of them. Hence it follows that whenever these substances were hurtful and destructive they were so merely on account of having been inappropriately employed. Therefore all the injury is attributable to the unskillfulness of their employers…”.

Clinical hints: Aconite

ACONITUM NAPELLUS

The convulsions arrested or prevented by Aconite are not dependent upon a chronic constitutional taint, but result from a sudden nervous shock, such as fright, or are of recent origin, as in the puerperal, state; the face is red, hot and sweaty, with other symptoms as above.

In hysterical spasms, neuralgias, congestions, hemorrhages, and effects of shock from injury or fright, the terrible mental distress characteristic of the drug must be the guide to its successful use;also after exposure to sun or great heat, with a plethoric appearance, some anaesthesia or great sensitiveness to touch, Acon. may be used always with mental anxiety and acute sensitiveness to pain.

The pains are usually acute, sticking, and often associated with or followed by numbness.

Restlessness and agonized tossing about are essential in a case requiring Aconite.

In delirium, with ravings about death, hot face and head; effects of fright; fear of crowds or of death, with anguish, etc.

The headache associated with fever is a hot, full, pulsating, bursting pain, with flushed face, etc., reminding one of Bell.; the neuralgia of scalp and skull varies; usually sharp, shooting along nerves (Spig.), drawing, tense, numb (Verbasc.), or pulsating (Glon.).

The anterior portion of head is usually involved.

The peculiar mental distress accompanies all the headaches (clinically).

In the first stage of acute inflammations of various tissues of the eye and its appendages, with heat, dryness and sharp pain, before any exudation has taken place.

Acute inflammation from foreign bodies, etc.

In acute aggravations of chronic disease (catarrh, trachoma, etc.).

In recent paralysis from cold.

In ciliary and orbital neuralgia.

Acute symptoms from overstrain of muscles.

inflammation of external parts, even involving the tympanum, with fever, excruciating pain, caused by a draught of cold air.

Neuralgia, involving ear and parts about it.

Incipient coryza, nares hot and dry, or with hot fluid discharge, with chills and fever.

Haemorrhage of bright, hot blood, with anxiety (Ham., Secale, Phos., Croc., blood dark).

The expression in fever is flushed and anxious, in neuralgia pinched and suffering in tetanus drawn and rigid.

The neuralgia commonly cured results from cold, is of recent origin, and usually associated with tingling and numbness (Verbascum).

Several cases of tetanus have been cured.

Neuralgic toothache.

Teething with hot inflamed gums, great distress, etc.

The tongue often feels swollen with the fever; acute glossitis, with dry hot mouth (Mercur. with salivation).

Acute inflammation of various portions of the throat, with swelling, dryness, sticking pain (rarely, if ever, indicated after infiltration, exudation or ulceration has taken place).

Acon. is indicated in distress at the stomach, retching and vomiting (especially of green substances), associated, with fever (at the outset of an eruptive disease), or without fever following a severe shock, such as fright, or with sudden suppression of menstruation or perspiration, with anxiety and restlessness; occasionally also in infants during dentition when the general state corresponds.

Haematemesis.

In various inflammatory processes, peritonitis; enteritis, in the early stage with severe, agonizing pain, tossing about, high fever, etc.; violent colic from cold; early inflammatory symptoms in the hepatic region; severe inflammation or engorgement of the pelvic viscera when the other conditions correspond, Aconite has been promptly efficacious.

Violent pain in rectum, with chill and fever, inflammation, tenesmus and bloody discharges (dysentery), in early stage.

Bleeding piles, with heat and sharp stitches, blood bright.

Diarrhoea, stools green, watery, after a chill or fright.

Choleraic discharges with collapse, deathly anxiety and restlessness.

Acute inflammation of various parts, with fever, hot urine, great agony at the thought of micturition, etc.

Retention of urine (especially in infants).

In fever the urine is dark, hot and scanty, but with no evidence of nephritis.

Rare cases of congestion of the kidney, with bloody urine; pain in kidneys, fever, etc.

Acute prostratitis, from cold especially, supervening on chronic disease.

Suppressed or painful menstruation from violent emotions (fright), sudden chill, with anguish, fever, etc.

Metrorrhagia, bright and hot, with general Aconite symptoms.

Acute orchitis, with general fever.

The Aconite cough is dry, either short hacking or hard ringing and croupy, it hurts the larynx (in laryngitis) or the chest (in pleurisy or pneumonia).

In the first stage of membranous croup, with high fever, great anxiety and restlessness, it will often abate the attack.

(Iodine is also applicable at this stage of high fever, but the patient is quiet and the exudation has already become plastic; after the fever abates neither Acon. nor Iodine is indicated).

The cough is aggravated by warmth (on expiration) usually.

In congestion of the lungs, with great oppression, distress and anxiety, expectoration of bright, hot blood.

In the hyperaemic stage of inflammations of the thoracic viscera (with the general indications), prior to exudation, Acon. will be found invaluable.

After Acon. either Iodine or Bryonia follows well; both these have high fever without anguish, both seem to be associated with an exudative process.

Acute symptoms occurring during the progress of chronic diseases occasionally require Acon.

Exceedingly valuable in acute inflammations, with fever, stitches at heart, violent beating and anguish.

The febrile pulse of Acon. is full, hard and rapid.

In cardiac inflammations requiring Acon., the patient must lie on the back with the head raised.

Neuralgia, especially of the upper extremities, with numbness of the limb as if the blood did not circulate freely, resulting from a sudden check of perspiration; finds a prompt remedy in Acon.

(Aconitum uncinatum, from Virginia, has made some brilliant cures of this sort.).

Neuralgic pains in the lower limbs point to its use in sciatica.

Acute muscular rheumatism of the back and limbs occasionally demands Acon., but it is rarely useful in true arthritic inflammations.

It will be noticed that the pains are usually drawing, tense and numb and relieved by open air.

While Acon. is not applicable to the cure of diseases of the skin dependent on a constitutional dyscrasia, yet its power to produce vesicles associated with the neuralgic pains naturally leads to its use in the prodromal stage of Herpes zoster (Ram. b.).

The nervous sensations, especially formication and the asleep-sensation,point to its use in certain neuroses.

The Aconite fever is sthenic in type and for the most part not remittent, though the aggravation towards evening is decided.

It is not useful in fever as a symptom of any form of malarial or septic poisoning, nor of a localized inflammatory process, but is adapted to a general febrile state without a pathological lesion (in this respect differing from Iodine, Bryonia, Gelsemium, etc.).

The never-failing characteristic is the mental anguish, without which Aconite is useless; if the patient be quiet and apathetic Acon. is not the remedy, no matter how high the temperature; thirst and restlessness are present.

Frequently there are alternations of chill and fever, but the sweat is usually critical and terminates the attack.

It is valuable in the chilly as well as the febrile stage preceding the development of many eruptions and lesions, but when the preliminary storn has passed and the lesion has become established, the picture changes from Aconite to some other remedy.

It has proved palliative in cardiac dyspnoea (Curare, Phos..) (with “Cheyne-Stokes” respiration).

Ignatia’s sore throat: Hahnemann’s prescribing notes

By Vera Resnick

The following are some of Hahnemann’s prescribing notes on Ignatia’s sore throat, to be found within the proving.  All I’ve added are some font changes (and perhaps a comma or two):

Symptom 157:
Stitches in the throat, when not swallowing; when swallowing feeling as if swallowing over a bone, during which it jerks (aft. 3 h.).

Hahnemann’s note:” If there is an alternating action of Ignatia where it produces a sore throat with shooting when swallowing (though I have never observed such a symptom), it must be of very rare occurrence, and hence of very little use from a curative point of view.

“Consequently I have never been able to cure a sore throat with Ignatia, even when the other symptoms resembled those of this drug, in which there was shooting only when swallowing.

“But, on the other hand, when stitches in the throat were only felt when not swallowing, Ignatia cured, and that the more certainly, more quickly and more permanently when the other morbid symptoms could be covered by similar Ignatia symptoms.”

And a word on the famous Ignatia lump in the throat, which does feel worse on swallowing:

Symptom no. 164.
Sore throat, like a lump or knob in the throat, which pains as if excoriated when swallowing. (aft. 16 h.).

Hahnemann’s note: ” The Ignatia sore throat, in which there is felt, when not swallowing, internal swelling of the throat, like a lump, is generally attended by only sore pain in this lump when swallowing.

“The sore throat must be of this description which Ignatia (when the other symptoms correspond) will remove, and under such circumstances it will be rapidly and certainly cured by Ignatia.)”

So on the one hand we have:  a sore throat with shooting pain.  If the shooting pain is only felt when not swallowing, if the other symptoms fit, Ignatia will cure.  Note – Hahnemann doesn’t rule out Ignatia curing if there is shooting pain with and without swallowing, but he does say that he has not cured where there is shooting pain only with swallowing.

And on the other hand – we have the Ignatia lump in the throat – according to Hahnemann’s note, felt when not swallowing, but only painful when swallowing.

Enough to make one want to swallow the strong stuff and know no pain  – but that’s Ignatia for you!

Viewed through Proving: Alumina and Shakespeare

Any Shakespeare lovers out there?  Or are we a dying breed?

Lady MacbethWhich extremely famous Shakespearean tragic figure do these Alumina proving symptoms remind you of?

16.          Anxiety with external heat and restlessness, as if she had done something wicked.
17.          Anxiety and fearfulness, as if he had committed a crime (on 5th d.). [Ng.].
18.          Restlessness in the evening, as if evil was imminent.
22.          She cannot see blood nor knife without horrible thoughts pressing in upon her, as if she should, e. g., commit suicide ; though she has the greatest horror of it.
26.          Discontented with everything, and as it were desperate.

and these:

1107.     Much talking in sleep, as if he had anxious dreams.
1108.     Before midnight great restlessness during sleep with violent weeping and disconsolate grief, without any proper consciousness, for some minutes.
1109.     She moans and groans at night as if she were weeping, but she is unconscious of it, soon after going to sleep (7th d.).
1110.     [1110] He rises at night unconsciously from his bed and with his eyes firmly closed, he walks anxiously from one room into the other, rubbing his eyes ; being brought again to bed, the boy went straight to sleep again.

Didn’t get it yet?  I’ll add in a comment by Hering in his Guiding Symptoms:
“Red rhagades on hands, worse in winter and from washing”

It’s like one of those 3-D pictures – once you see it, you can’t “unsee” it…

Click here for the answer