Category Archives: Remedies

Our Pharmacy and Boenninghausen LM remedy kit.

There are only two things a practitioner has in his or her favour. The first is the ability to practice homoeopathy in the Hahnemannian manner to elicit prescribing symptoms that are accurate, and the second is a good preparation of the appropriate medicine.

remedyThe I.H.M. is addressing the first issue via its teaching course. The second issue had proved harder to overcome, but long discussions with a dedicated Pharmacist here in Seville Spain, and many hours of working through the making of the remedies according to Hahnemanns protocol, has produced the manufacture of the LM potencies from source to finished product in the correct way.

What we cannot prepare ourselves, has been made by 2 other laboratories, of which Gary Weaver has personally visited and examined the manufacturing process of each remedy.

p1060360Each country has its own Pharmacopeia for which the pharmacies adhere to in manufacture of the remedies. Where it conflicts or deviates from the instructions in the Organon has proved to be an issue for the IHM. We have striven to overcome these obstacles by making the source tincture as best we can in the original manner. The preparations are made in a strictly controlled environment of a one way air flow, sealed chambers, extraction units, and everything is done by hand. Each part of the manufacture process is exactly as Hahnemann instructed.

p1060363In our Seville Pharmacy, The final medicating of the granules is done in sealed laboratory conditions.

We are pleased to offer a Boenninghausen Remedy kit of the following medicines in the LM 0/1 potency for use with the P&W Therapeutic Pocket Book. We made the decision to supply the kit in a delivery container rather than a lovely box or remedy case, to keep the costs down. These can be bought through companies on the internet for various prices.

For students of the IHM courses, we offer the following remedies for €280 plus postage if required. (€2.24 a medicine. £1.99 each!)

For non students, we offer the kit for €380 plus postage.

We know the hours that have gone into preparing these medicines. For this quality of hand preparation, the remedies individually sell for €10 a vial.

Recently, I cracked a rib and had complications arising from the situation. I was using a medicine prepared by another pharmacy, and while it helped, it was not moving along as expected. As soon as the same remedy was prepared in our pharmacy, I used it. Within 2 days a marked improvement set in and the complications disappeared. The rib was pain free within 5 days. Also, for a patient with joint pains, the remedy worked IMMEDIATELY and a reduction of 80% of the pain was felt within one day.

Contact the IHM regarding purchase of the kits by filling in this form here.


Acon.  Aconitum napellus
Agar. Agaricus muscarius
Agn. Agnus castus
Alum. Alumina
Ambr. Ambra grisea
Am-c. Ammonium carbonicum
Am-m. Ammonium muriaticum
Anac. Anacardium
Ang. Angustura
Ant-c. Antimonium crudum
Ant-t. Antimonium tartaricum
Arg. Argentum foliatum
Arn. Arnica montana
Ars. Arsenicum album
Asaf. Asa Foetida
Asar.  Asarum europaeum
Aur. Aurum foliatum
Bar-c.  Baryta carbonica
Bell. Belladonna
Bism. Bismuthum
Bor.  Borax
Bov. Bovista lycoperdon
Bry. Bryonia alba
Calad. Caladium seguinum
Calc. Calcarea carbonica
Camph. Camphora Officinalis
Cann-s. Cannabis sativa
Canth. Cantharis vesicatoria
Caps. Capsicum annuum
Carb-a. Carbo animalis
Carb-v. Carbo vegetabilis
Caust. Causticum
Cham. Chamomilla
Chel. Chelidonium majus
Chin. China officinalis
Cic. Cicuta virosa
Cina Cina maritima
Clem. Clematis erecta
Cocc. Cocculus indicus
Coff. Coffea cruda
Colch. Colchicum autumnale
Coloc. Colocynthis
Con. Conium maculatum
Croc. Crocus sativus
Cupr. Cuprum metallicum
Cycl. Cyclamen europaeum
Dig. Digitalis purpurea
Dros. Drosera rotundifolia
Dulc. Dulcamara
Euph. Euphorbium officinarum
Euphr. Euphrasia officinalis
Ferr. Ferrum metallicum
Graph. Graphites
Guai. Guajacum officinale
Hell. Helleborus niger
Hep. Hepar sulfuris calcareum
Hyos. Hyoscyamus niger
Ign. Ignatia amara
Iod. Iodium
Ip. Ipecacuanha
Kali-c. Kalium carbonicum
Kali-n. Kalium nitricum
Kreos. Kreosotum
Lach. Lachesis muta
Laur. Laurocerasus
Led. Ledum palustre
Lyc. Lycopodium clavatum
Mag-c. Magnesium carbonicum
Mag-m. Magnesium muriaticum
M-art. Magnetis poli ambo
M-arct. Magnetis polus arcticus
M-aust. Magnetis polus australis
Mang. Manganum aceticum
Meny. Menyanthes trifoliata
Merc. Mercurius solubilis
Mez. Mezereum
Mosch. Moschus
Mur-ac. Muriaticum acidum
Nat-c. Natrium carbonicum
Nat-m. Natrium muriaticum
Nit-ac. Nitricum acidum
Nux-m. Nux moschata
Nux-v. Nux vomica
Olnd. Oleander
Op. Opium
Par. Paris quadrifolia
Petr. Petroleum
Ph-ac. Phosphoricum acidum
Phos.  Phosphorus
Plat. Platinum metallicum
Plb. Plumbum metallicum
Puls. Pulsatilla pratensis
Ran-b. Ranunculus bulbosus
Ran-s. Ranunculus sceleratus
Rheum Rheum palmatum
Rhod. Rhododendron chrysanthum

Rhus-t. Rhus toxicodendron
Ruta Ruta graveolens
Sabad. Sabadilla
Sabin. Sabina
Samb. Sambucus nigra
Sars. Sarsaparilla officinalis
Sec. Secale cornutum
Sel. Selenium metallicum
Seneg. Senega
Sep. Sepia officinalis
Sil. Silicea terra
Spig. Spigelia anthelmia
Spong. Spongia tosta
Squil. Squilla maritima
Stann. Stannum metallicum
Staph. Staphysagria
Stram. Stramonium
Stront-c. Strontium carbonicum
Sul-ac. Sulfuricum acidum
Sulph. Sulphur
Tarax. Taraxacum officinale
Teucr. Teucrium Marum verum
Thuj. Thuja occidentalis
Valer. Valeriana officinalis
Verat. Veratrum album
Verb. Verbascum thapsus
Viol-o. Viola odorata
Viol-t. Viola tricolor
Zinc Zincum metallicum


Note to Homoeopathic pharmacies..

Dear Pharmacies…. We put our trust in you for preparing our remedies. The photo below shows a remedy recently purchased in Spain. It is an LM potency.


Now I happen to know that the medicating potency was made painstakingly by IBERHOME in Zaragoza. I know the pharmacy there. I have toured the premises and have seen the laboratory and medicine preparation. I trust the medicines. I have used the medicines and seen them work powerfully.

However, the pharmacy (NOT IBERHOME-they prepare their medicines using poppy seed granules.) that sold me this remedy, did not medicate the correct tablets. Does it matter? Well I am afraid it does. Very much so. There is NO EXCUSE for not medicating the correct tablets. A pharmacy has the instructions how to make and medicate AND how many tablets to medicate per drop. Selling a tablet that fits a certain type of dispenser or to please a customer is not an excuse.Below is a photo of the most common type of tablets available. The MIDDLE poppy seed size is the medium as specified by Hahnemann. 500 to be wetted by one drop of medicating tincture.


Small arent they? Yet the curative power is such that only ONE poppy seed is used in preparing the dispensing dose… ONE.

So I am sat here, slightly irritated, buzzing with an aggravation from the medicine simply because the SIZE (surface area) of the tablet and therefore volume of the dosage was larger than required or specified.

I enclose the footnote from aphorism 270 to anyone who needs to know how the preparations are made.

One-third of one hundred grains sugar of milk is put in a glazed porcelain mortar, the bottom dulled previously by rubbing it with fine, moist sand. Upon this powder is put one grain of the powdered drug to be triturated (one drop of quicksilver, petroleum, etc.). The sugar of milk used for dynamization must be of that special pure quality that is crystallized on strings and comes to us in the shape of long bars. For a moment the medicines and powder are mixed with a porcelain spatula and triturated rather strongly, six to seven minutes, with the pestle rubbed dull, then the mass is scraped from the bottom of the mortar and from the pestle for three to four minutes, in order to make it homogeneous. This is followed by triturating it in the same way 6 – 7 minutes without adding anything more and again scraping 3 – 4 minutes from what adhered to the mortar and pestle. The second third of the sugar of milk is now added, mixed with the spatula and again triturated 6 – 7 minutes, followed by the scraping for 3 – 4 minutes and trituration without further addition for 6 – 7 minutes. The last third of sugar of milk is then added, mixed with the spatula and triturated as before 6 -7 minutes with most careful scraping together. The powder thus prepared is put in a vial, well corked, protected from direct sunlight to which the name of the substance and the designation of the first product marked /100 is given. In order to raise this product to /10000, one grain of the powdered /100 is mixed with the third part of 100 grains of powdered sugar of milk and then proceed as before, but every third must be carefully triturated twice thoroughly each time for 6 -7 minutes and scraped together 3 -4 minutes before the second and last third of sugar of milk is added. After each third, the same procedure is taken. When all is finished, the powder is put in a well corked vial and labelled /10000, i.e., (I), each grain containing 1/1,000,000 the original substance. Accordingly, such a trituration of the three degrees requires six times six to seven minutes for triturating and six times 3 -4 minutes for scraping, thus one hour for every degree. After one hour such trituration of the first degree, each grain will contain 1/000; of the second 1/10,000; and in the third 1/1,000,000 of the drug used.* Mortar and spatula must be cleaned well before they are used for another medicine. Washed first with warm water and dried, both mortar and pestle, as well as spatula are then put in a kettle of boiling water for half an hour. Precaution might be used to such an extent as to put these utensils on a coal fire exposed to a glowing heat.

* These are the three degrees of the dry powder trituration, which if carried out correctly, will effect a good beginning for the dynamization of the medicinal substance.
2 The vial used for potentizing is filled two-thirds full.
3 Perhaps on a leather bound book.
4 They are prepared under supervision by the confectioner from starch and sugar and the small globules freed from fine dusty parts by passing them through a sieve. Then they are put through a strainer that will permit only 100 to pass through weighing one grain, the most serviceable size for the needs of a homoeopathic physician.
5 A small cylindrical vessel shaped like a thimble, made of glass, porcelain or silver, with a small opening at the bottom in which the globules are put to be medicated. They are moistened with some of the dynamized medicinal alcohol, stirred and poured out on blotting paper, in order to dry them quickly.
6 According to first directions, one drop of the liquid of a lower potency was to be taken to 100 drops of alcohol for higher potentiation. This proportion of the medicine of attenuation to the medicine that is to be dynamized (100:1) was found altogether too limited to develop thoroughly and to a high degree the power of the medicine by means of a number of such succussions without specially using great force of which wearisome experiments have convinced me.
But if only one such globule be taken, of which 100 weigh one grain, and dynamize it with 100 drops of alcohol, the proportion of 1 to 50,000 and even greater will be had, for 500 such globules can hardly absorb one drop, for their saturation. With this disproportionate higher ratio between medicine and diluting medium many successive strokes of the vial filled two-thirds with alcohol can produce a much greater development of power. But with so small a diluting medium as 100 to 1 of the medicine, if many succussions by means of a powerful machine are forced into it, medicines are then developed which, especially in the higher degrees of dynamization, act almost immediately, but with furious, even dangerous violence, especially in weakly patients, without having a lasting, mild reaction of the vital principle. But the method described by me, on the contrary, produces medicines of highest development of power and mildest action, which, however, if well chosen, touches all suffering parts curatively.* In acute fevers, the small doses of the lowest dynamization degrees of these thus perfected medicinal preparations, even of medicines of long continued action (for instance, belladonna) may be repeated in short intervals. In the treatment of chronic diseases, it is best to begin with the lowest degrees of dynamization and when necessary advance to higher, even more powerful but mildly acting degrees.
* In very rare cases, notwithstanding almost full recovery of health and with good vital strength, an old annoying local trouble continuing undisturbed it is wholly permitted and even indispensably necessary, to administer in increasing doses the homoeopathic remedy that has proved itself efficacious but potenized to a very high degree by means of many succussions by hand. Such a local disease will often then disappear in a wonderful way.
7 This assertion will not appear improbable, if one considers that by means of this method of dynamization (the preparations thus produced, I have found after many laborious experiments and counter-experiments, to be the most powerful and at the same time mildest in action, i.e., as the most perfected) the material part of the medicine is lessened with each degree of dynamization 50,000 times yet incredibly increased in power, so that the further dynamization of 125 and 18 ciphers reaches only the third degree of dynamization. The thirtieth thus progressively prepared would give a fraction almost impossible to be expressed in numbers. It becomes uncommonly evident that the material part by means of such dynamization (development of its true, inner medicinal essence) will ultimately dissolve into its individual spirit-like, (conceptual) essence. In its crude state therefore, it may be considered to consist really only of this underdeveloped conceptual essence.

Viewed through proving – a mystery

Ladies and gentlemen – a mystery. Not really, but I’d like you to look at the symptoms below before scrolling down, and think what remedy proving they belong to.

– Anxiety, thinks he will be ruined (aft. 1 h..).
– Anxiety in the region of the heart, with suicidal impulse, and feeling of inclination to vomit in the scrobiculus cordis.
– Trembling anxiety, as if about to die (aft. 1 h.).
– Anxious solicitude about his health.
– Restless state of the disposition, as if he did not do his duty properly (aft. 18 h.).
– Extreme hesitancy.
– Neglect of his business, hesitancy, sobbing respiration and loss of composure.
– Sometimes he wants to do one thing, sometimes another, and when he is given something to do, he will not do it (aft. 10 h.).
– Dull, cross, very chilly.
– Sullen, lachrymose, anxious. [Stf.]
– He is very silent. [Fr. H-n.]
– He hesitates in his speech; it vexes him to have to answer.
– Everything disgusts him; everything is repugnant to him.
– Her head is so quiet and all about her is so empty as if she were alone in the house and in the world: she does not wish to talk to anyone, just as if all around her were no concern of hers and she belonged to nobody. Continue reading

Sepia, storytelling and delusional seductions

fairy story

By Vera Resnick

Now you tell me, which of the following is more interesting:

“Sepia is suited to tall, slim women with narrow pelvis and lax fibers and muscles; such a woman is not well built as a woman… the remedy seems to abolish the ability to feel natural love, to be affectionate… she may even be estranged and turned aside from those she loves. This is on the border land of insanity… (Kent’s lectures)”


Sepia is suited to all men and women who exhibit symptoms pertaining to that remedy, to be determined first with reference to the proving and subsequently to other materia medicas. (VR et al, 2015)

Continue reading

Sulphur and the art of map-reading

By Vera Resnick

Sulphur is a huge remedy. With 1969 symptoms listed in the Chronic Diseases proving, it is unwieldy to “just look at”.

You can work with provings just as you would use maps to get to know a new city. Perhaps Sulphur is an ideal proving to show the importance of this way of working. When visiting a place you have not been before, it’s often interesting to get to know it on foot, with no prior information, absorbing the sights and sounds and getting interestingly lost. Continue reading

Viewed through proving: the not-so-serene Chamomilla

By Vera Resnick

As practitioners reading this blog will confirm, we often learn the most valuable lessons from our patients.

A patient mentioned to me that recently she found herself irritable and snappy, and didn’t quite know why. It turned out that since she stopped drinking coffee on a previous homeopath’s instructions, she had been drinking large amounts of chamomile tea. Continue reading

Viewed through proving: Opium aggravates

Most of Opium’s proving symptoms can be summarized very simply in the following words: Opium aggravates.

The best overview of this remedy is that which Hahnemann gives in the introduction to the proving – so here it is. Go on, read the whole thing. You know you can do it. For those who get bored quickly, look for an important prescribing tip in the text relating to how to prescribe Opium effectively homoeopathically for pain relief.

Read on! Continue reading

Viewed through Proving: The Perfidious Poppy

red poppies

“It is much more difficult to estimate the action of opium than of almost any other drug.”

By Vera Resnick

You may already be familiar with my penchant for tables.  There’s a quote below which in usual unwieldy translation of originally unwieldy German is difficult to read.  Here’s the information in table form, and then read the quote: Continue reading

Viewed through proving: Sepia has left the gym…

exercise sudoku“… It is a sluggish state of the body which requires exercise, and violent exercise to keep it in a state of comfort. …The … symptoms are … better from exercise in the open air…”

What remedy does this describe? Sepia, of course. We all know that Sepia is better for lots of exercise. Don’t we?

This is where it gets interesting. In the proving, for the most part when any physical exertion is mentioned, it’s actually a cause for aggravation. Not amelioration. Walking is mentioned over 90 times in this proving. Around 7 instances are in the introduction, and amelioration from walking appears around 8 times in a proving containing 1655 symptoms. All the rest – approximately 75 mentions of aggravation from walking by my count. Around 21 on these mentions relate to walking in the open air, and Sepia provers did note sensitivity to cold, but that still leaves us with over 50 instances where walking aggravated.

The opening sentences are quoted from Kent’s lectures – most of those reading this probably first met Sepia through Kent. We met this unfeminine female, who is cold, angular, depressed, worn out, and needs violent exercise to keep her human. Add to that the image of the ink-spitting cuttlefish, attacking with sudden sarcasm and retreating – it all gets very picturesque, so to speak. The problem with all these images is that they stick so firmly in memory that even once you know they are fallacious they are very difficult to dislodge. I remember a live case where the homoeopath pointed at the patient, who shrank back in dismay, and declared in tones that brooked no argument – “behold Sepia, fix the image of this patient in your memories!” Needless to say (after such an intro) Sepia didn’t work…

It gets even more interesting however when we look at the therapeutic pocket book, where Boenninghausen included Sepia in amelioration from physical exertion – in 4 points. This brings us to the issue of the grading in the TPB, which is often erroneously considered to reflect the intensity of the symptom. The significance of the grading relates to the extent to which that symptom was verified in clinical use. A symptom appearing in 1 point is a completely valid remedy symptom – just one which has been used less and therefore verified less in the clinic. Sepia in 4 points in amelioration from physical exertion means that Boenninghausen saw this amelioration over and over again, sufficiently so to include it in his carefully and meticulously crafted TPB. Sepia also appears in the TPB under different expressions of aggravation from physical exertion, but only appears in one, two or three points.

So we have the proving – pointing to aggravation from physical exertion, repeated over and over again by provers and by Hahnemann himself in his introduction to the proving. And we have Boenninghausen’s TPB weighting the balance in the direction of amelioration from physical exertion. What’s the “take home” from all this?

I’d suggest the following:

1. Blank out the Kentian “image” (and those presented by other homoeopaths before and since). This image is not helpful for accurate, focused prescribing.

2. Amelioration from physical exertion was presented by Boenninghausen – a master clinician. This strengthens a modality which only found moderate expression in the proving. There is nothing to negate the symptom, and many clinical cases, together with Boenninghausen’s grading in the TPB, to support it.

And possibly most importantly:

3. If Sepia looks like a good fit but the patient is not ameliorated from physical exertion, or is even aggravated by it – don’t rule out Sepia. If it looks like the best remedy for the case, give it. Even if the patient is fair, round, has blue eyes, and is a 15 year old boy…

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.


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’.


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