following up on the previous issue of our newsletter (where we discussed the principle of similarity and how it is generally insufficiently understood), we'd like to take one step further and see how the symptoms and sensations produced during a drug proving are actually used to cure diseases. Again, this may seem very clear and self-explanatory, yet there are many layers to understanding and we feel there are important points to emphasize in this regard.
In paragraph 25 of his Organon, Hahnemann tells us that "...medicine which, in its action on the healthy human body, has demonstrated its power of producing the greatest number of symptoms similar to those observable in the case of disease under treatment, does also, in doses of suitable potency and attenuation, rapidly, radically and permanently remove the totality of the symptoms of this morbid state...".
Apart from the symptoms and pathology observed in cases of accidental poisoning or involuntary long-term exposure, voluntary provings usually produce alterations of function and sensations and very rarely are they pushed so far that serious pathology ensues.
Usually, provers can tolerate various kinds of eruptions (such as found here), but one would hardly wish to wait to develop a cyst or a similar kind of pathology that could prove difficult to reverse, even if proving is performed with potentized substance.
Hence, we cannot reasonably expect a remedy to produce pneumonia, tuberculosis or broken bones during the proving, but rather a change in sensations that resemble those experienced during a case of actual disease (or injury) – then we can think of using that particular remedy in that specific case of disease. For example, Cantharis, Cannabis or Mercurius corr. cause various burning pains in urethra, hence they are often used in cases of gonorrhea. Arnica or Eupatorium cause "pain as if broken" and they are used to facilitate healing of fractures, if the symptoms agree (on the other hand, Symphytum, also used in bone fractures, is not known to produce such sensations, hence its use must be based on clinical experience alone, not on a proving).
A great example of proving-to-disease thinking process is provided in Lippe's paper on diseases of the prostate gland, where he lists various symptoms produced by our remedies as they relate to the treatment of disease in question. Looking at the indications, it is quite clear these relate to the sensations experienced and NOT to pathology of the prostate gland.
As Lippe emphasizes – in the treatment of any of "abnormal conditions of the prostatic gland, the true physician will never be guided by the name of the disease or by the pathological condition of the diseased organ in the choice of the remedy; it will not matter whether the inflammation is chronic or acute, the true physician knowing that the totality of symptoms alone constitutes the disease, will select the remedy which is most similar in its effects to the symptoms of his patient, and while the various abnormal conditions of various organs and parts of the body will present characteristic changes and symptoms, these symptoms are in every case more or less modified by the conditions and peculiarities of the patient attacked by the abnormal condition of the organ; making therefore each case to be treated as a special case."
This is a very important point to think about, especially heeding the fact that a great many materia medica mix clinical and proving symptoms without making a clear distinction between these two groups. As a result, some remedies become "connected" to certain kinds of pathology and, even worse, the characteristics of the remedy obtained by provings are LOST in the flood of clinical information and so-called ESSENCES (which are mostly fairy-tales derived from clinical information), not rarely of questionable quality. An exercise when you'd use just OLD materia medica with proving information and VERIFIED clinical information to find the remedy, is potentially eye-opening.
If you have any comments, questions etc., feel free to contact us.
Question for André Saine
Q: Could you please comment on proving symptoms? If somebody produces proving symptoms while taking a remedy which has improved his condition in general significantly, is the appearance of proving symptoms just a sign of a very sensitive patient, or is it a wrong chosen potency or does it express a high degree of similarity between the remedy and the patient, from where a good prognosis of the case could be expected?
A: Patients can experience symptoms they never had before taking a homeopathic remedy which clearly belong to this remedy. These symptoms are called proving symptoms. Their occurrences are associated with two factors, hypersensitivity of the patient or...
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