THE PROVINGS ONLY ON THE HEALTHY
The tendency of Medicine has always been to experiment on the sick. Hahnemann experimented only on the healthy, in order to have an exact Materia Medica ready and proved for administration in sickness. He soon gathered round him as enthusiastic band of disciples (some fifty of them were medical men) and he and they “proved” (i.e. tested) drug after drug, with all possible precautions to eliminate error; and these original provings, carefully and faithfully recorded, form the nucleus of the Homoeopathic Materia Medica. They are embodied in his wonderful work – his Materia Medica Pura – which is as alive and up-to-date to-day as on the day when it was published – and in his subsequent work. Chronic Diseases. These two, with his Organon on the Art of Healing, are the best known among his numerous work, and embody the essentials of his teaching.
The purely scientific bent of Hahnemann’s mind and the reason why his medical works have survived those of his contemporaries, to be as illuminating and useful to-day as on the day when they were penned, is seen by the following : –
“A true Materia Medica”, he says, will consist of the genuine, pure, and undeceptive effects of simple drugs”, and again “Every such Materia Medica should exclude every supposition – every mere assertion and fiction – and its entire contents should be the language of nature, uttered in response to careful and faithful enquiry.”
Many remedies, since Hahnemann’s day, have been added to our armoury against disease; but all subsequent work has been done on his lines. It has never been found necessary to eliminate or to alter. Recorded in the simple language of nature, free from theory, safe from the transient language of succeeding generations, they stand for all time compete and true; while science, in discovering new truths, has never been able to touch Hahnemann’s premises – except to confirm – since they are based on Law.
It is interesting that, in Austria, many years ago, when doubt was thrown on some of the original provings, they started to re-prove certain of the drugs. But, findings their results identical with those of Hahnemann, they concluded to accept the rest.
For the more purposes of Homoeopathy, experiments in drug- action on animals are useless, as Hahnemann pointed out, and that for two reasons. The proverb “One man’s meat is another man’s poison,” applies with ten-fold force when it comes to animals. “Aliments and poisons are convertible, according to the specific nature of different animals, so that aliments become poisons, and poisons alimentary,”
Opium, with us a medicine is to some Eastern nations an alimentary substances.
Hedgehoghes feed on Cantharides and take no hurt.
Rabbits eat Belladonna with impunity.
Morphia makes dogs drowsy and vomit, but excites eats.
Stryian mountaineers take doses of Arsenic sufficient to kill ordinary persons; and horses are given large doses of Arsenic to improve their wind and to make their coats glossy.
Cats are said to be immune to tubercle, whereas guinea-pigs and monkeys are highly susceptible to that infection.
By experiments on animals it may found that certain drugs affect certain tissues- of certain animals. That is all.
But more than this homoeopathic provings have to be very fine, very delicate, and very definite; and the subjective and mental symptoms (all-important for our purpose) can only be obtained from humans.
It is only men and women who, in provings, could have given us the mental symptoms, which have led to so many brilliant cures – such as the depression to the verge of suicide of Aurum; the insane jealousy of Lachesis; the terror of insanity of Mancinella; the frantic irritability and intolerance of pain of Chamomilla; the suspicion and restlessness of Arsenicum; the terrors of anticipation of Argentum nitricum; the fear of the death of Aconite and Arsenic; the sensation of tallness and superiority of Platina; the sensation of unreality of Medorrhinum; the sensation of two wills of Anacardium; the indifference to loved ones of Phosphorus and Sepia – all straight cuts to the curative remedy, and they can only be got by provings on human beings. Even provings on the sick are not accepted, since sickness modifies the response of the organism to drugs and from the sick no true drug-picture can be obtained. Remedies also need to be proved on women as well as on men, in order to get their whole range of usefulness. The provings of Lilium tigrinum, for instance, entailed intense sufferings on the heroic women who undertook them; but they have given us a most useful remedy for the peculiar suffering of women, in uterine displacements. after miscarriage, etc.
As we said, the experiments of Homoeopathy have always been on healthy human beings. They have always been voluntary experiments. And they have never proved detrimental to health (whatever the immediate sufferings may have been) but on the contrary they tend, as Hahnemann pointed out, to raise the resistance of the prover. And Hahnemann should know, who having spent the greater part of his life in proving drugs, lived on, in full possession, of health and senses, till only one years short of ninety.