Study of Our Materia Medica

A homeopath should be master in the Materia medica by heart. Another warning to the beginner, that he may not be too hasty in giving medicine to sensitive, nervous patients….

The artist studies his model until he feels the lines and shadows, and in his mind sees the image on canvas or carved in stone. He builds a model and carves in granite the similar. The student of our Materia Medica must study a proving until he feels the image of the totality of sick feelings of al] the provers as if he had proved this remedy and felt all the morbid feelings of the provers.

The doctor that prescribes for symptoms they look on paper fails to feel the weight of responsibility of the true healer. The physician that first places all the morbid feelings of his patient on paper and then ponders over that complexity of symptoms until he feels and sees what that patient suffers, and next searches the Materia Medica till he finds the same image, will be able to cure the sick as Hahnemann did. This gives him the sphere of sicknesses either produced by disease or by drugs. This sphere is an important feature of the study of cure and sick-making causes. Through this study we discover the sphere of action of Aconite as it differs from Sulph, of Belladonna as it differs from Calcarea, of the natural successors, complements and inimicals. We may study pathology until the dawn of the twentieth century, and it may not reveal what we need in the art of healing the sick, but the careful study of each picture of sensations may reveal to the student and artist the sphere of medicinal powers and curative possibilities.

Some may study much longer than others to reach this mastery of a drug image, but study will bring out the picture in time. There are drugs that are largely proved, yet so badly proved that the true image has never been brought out. This is generally the case when man has meddled with the statements of the simple-minded lay provers. The language of nature cannot be interfered with if the proving is expected to be a guide to the cure of our fellow-man. Modern proving, are commonly a farce and will not lead to the elevation that Hahnemann’s remedies sustain. The old masters knew how to do it, they were governed by the principles of the Master, they were governed by the philosophy, and their provings will stand and forever be safe guides to the cure of all animals and man.

The wrangle between the material and the immaterial philosophers may end in some good; both sides have truth, but to some extent perverted. Both sides evade the facts that oppose their own methods of reasoning, and their own conclusions. Some will not accept a cure as a fact, because it was made with an infinitesimal medicine. Some will not accept a proving because it has been made with infinitesimal doses. The actions of such men do not change the facts that exist, but they do retard the study of our Materia Medica. A proving that was made under my own eye, under the proper rules for proving, demonstrated most clearly that real symptoms were produced by the 10 millionth potency of Lachesis. I had heretofore not believed it possible to procure symptoms from this potency. The prover not know what the dose was that she took. She brought out one symptom as perfectly new, and it might be doubted as a genuine Lachesis symptom, but the fact that I had discovered the symptom, several years before clinically, and confirmed it and verified it. Such a symptom the prover did bring out; and such a symptom known to belong to the drug, and that in the very high numbers, removed all doubt in my mind of the possibility of procuring symptoms in such high numbers.

This prover was not in perfect health, I am willing to say in answer to the proper question. She was a very nervous person, extremely sensitive, and a subject of many nervous symptoms. This must of course greatly impair the value of the proving in the eyes of many. A singular fact that I want fully stated here, is, the symptoms of the prover were entirely new and ran their course as an acute miasm should have done, completely subduing all the symptoms peculiar to the prover (with exceptions mentioned), and when the proving or drug symptoms departed, all her old symptoms came back. This shows that she was not proving, a similar, that it was not a Homoeopathic aggravation, that it was a genuine proving. The proving of Lachesis was so clear that Dr. B. Fincke and Dr. P. P. Wells have made remarks or, it to the effect that there can be no doubt about the genuineness of the proving. That the proving suspended the old symptoms of the prover is the proper thing, and what is constantly observed when scarlet fever or measles or small pox run their course; and as all know the symptoms come back after the acute disease has run its course. It may be gleaned that a proving may suppress a given sickness. That is just what happened in this most wonderful proving, and is just what happens in some of our best Provings. If this be true, it must refute the idea that no value can attach to provings on persons riot perfectly healthy. No one denies that healthy men and women are the proper provers, neither is; true that provings on sick persons may not have a high value.

Another grand lesson is found in the proving, viz.; that highly dynamized medicines are capable of suppressing the symptoms of natural diseases, and implanting themselves instead. Another warning to the beginner, that he may not be too hasty in giving medicine to sensitive, nervous patients.

In presenting this proving, as it comes from the pen of the prover, it is my purpose only to say for it, it must stand or fall on its own worth as a proving made to throw light on the great pathogenesis of Lachesis.

James Tyler Kent
James Tyler Kent (1849–1916) was an American physician. Prior to his involvement with homeopathy, Kent had practiced conventional medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. He discovered and "converted" to homeopathy as a result of his wife's recovery from a serious ailment using homeopathic methods.
In 1881, Kent accepted a position as professor of anatomy at the Homeopathic College of Missouri, an institution with which he remained affiliated until 1888. In 1890, Kent moved to Pennsylvania to take a position as Dean of Professors at the Post-Graduate Homeopathic Medical School of Philadelphia. In 1897 Kent published his magnum opus, Repertory of the Homœopathic Materia Medica. Kent moved to Chicago in 1903, where he taught at Hahnemann Medical College.