Hahnemann’s proving symptoms of homeopathy remedy Angustura from Materia Medica Pura, which Samuel Hahnemann wrote between 1811 to 1821…

(From vol. vi, 2nd edit.,1827)

(The best pieces of the bark of this South American tree, called Bonplandia trifoliata, are about one line in the thickness, slightly bent on their external convex side covered witha greyish- whitish, easily scraped off, fine coating; traversed by fine transverse furrows; on the inner concave surface of a bright brownish yellow, very friable, and cinnamon coloured and porous on the fractured surface; of a disagreeable spicy smell, and of a penetrating, somewhat hot, spicy bitter taste, the powder of which resembles rhubarb powder in colour; the decoction is not precipitated by a solution of sulphate of iron. Fifty grains of this powder digested in 1000 drops of alcohol without heat so as to form a tincture are employed for medical purposes after appropriate dilution.)

For many years complaints have been publicly made about a substitution in commerce for this true angustura bark of a false bark, which displays dangerous and poisonous properties, and for many years the tree from which this false bark was derived was unknown.

Now the Brucea ferruginea is said to be the tree from which this false suspicious bark is derived; chemical investigation has shown that it furnishes the same alkaloid as nux vomica, ignatia, & c.

However, the above-described genuine angustura bark likewise possesses uncommonly great medicinal power, so that, when is procured direct from the tree Bonplandia trifoliata at St. Thomas del Angustura, in South America, as it is now, without any doubt it can, like every other very powerful medicine, do great harm if given in immoderate doses and insuitable cases. In F.A.G. Emmert’s Curgeschichte (Hufeland’s Fourn., August, 1815, p.75) a case is related where three tablespoons of a decoction of five ounces of (presumably spurious) angustura bark, evaporated to five ounces of liquid, were given to a boy five and a half years old. This unreasonable dose, which contained about an ounce and a half of angustura power, proved fatal, as we read with a shudder, in a couple of hours, with horrible sufferings. This substance would in the same dose have a like effect not only on a boy but on an adult person.

In this fatal case described by EMMERT the boy presented this following symptoms:

Trembling, soon passing into violent convulsions (aft. ½ h.)

When the medical attendent touched the arm in order to feel the pulse tetanus suddenly ensued.

The eyelids were wide open.

The eyes were staring, projecting, and immovable.

Trismus, with wide separation of the lips, so that the front teeth were quite exposed.

Tension of individual facial muscles.

The limbs were stretched out to the utmost, stiff and stark.

The spinal column and the head strongly drawn backwards.

The trunk was from time to time shaken by violent jerking along the back, as from electric shocks, and somewhat raised.

Cheeks and lips became blue.

Respiration intemitting.

After an attack that lasted six minutes the boy breathed with great effort, panting with blueness of the cheeks and lips.

Great and frequent longing for coffee.

Even swallowing tepid water excited tetanic spasms.

Pulse 102, spasmodic, irregular.

The tetanus sometimes returned without perceptible cause, sometimes was excited by a noise, or by touching any portion of the body; he constantly called out that one should touch him.

After the tetanus the eyes were closed, the forehead and face covered with sweat; blueness of the cheeks and lips, groaning without (acknowledged) pains.

The whole body became flaccid and relaxed; the eye dead-like; convulsive breathing came back only after long pauses.

Death after an hour.

Half an hour after death the body was stiff and stark.

After twenty-four hours there was already a strong corpse-like smell outside and inside; on opening the veins cherry-coloured fluid blood was found.

The right lung was externally pale and bloated, internally full of blood; the left lung was externally blue, when incised blackish and very heavy from blood.

Besides the above other reports of the consequences of strong dosesof angustura have been recorded, such as spasmodic twitchings, vertigo, anxiety, immobility of the muscles as from stiffening, and a report has been communicated to me by late Dr. Wurzner, of Eilburg, relating to four persons, each of whom took from ten to twelve grains of the extract in the form of pills, in whom there occurred:

Stiffness of all the muscles of the body, like tetanus; one fell to the ground suddenly, retaining his consciuosness.

Closure of the jaws, trismus.

Very similar though slighter will be found in the following list of the effects of carefully selected pieces of angustura bark on the healthy body.

I have employed for homoepathic purposes the smallest portion of a drop of billionth dilution of the above-described alcoholic tincture, but have found that in some cases a still higher delution would have been more suitable.

Camphor is not an antoidote for its too violent effects, but coffee is.

[ Hahnemann was aided in this proving by:- FRANZ, GROSS, HARNISCH, LANGHAMMER, Meyer, MICHLER, MOSSDORF, WISLICENUS.]

No old school authorities are quoted.

In this 2nd edition Hahnemann has added 3 to his own symptoms, and excluded 6 of those of his disciples that appeared in the 1st edition.]


In the open air, vertigo (aft. 20 h.).

A feeling of vertigo comes over him when he crosses flowing water or walks at the side of a canal; he fears he will sink. [Fz.]

Dulness and stupid feeling in the head, as from intoxication on the previous day.[Mlr.]

The head is confused; throbbing in the forehead.

5. Confusion and contractive feeling in the head on walking quickly. [Fz.]

Suddenly great confusion of the head, as from a skin stretched over the brain, for half an hour (aft. ¼ h.). [Mss.]

Great distraction; when he occupies himself with something serious, other things immediately come into his head (aft. 45 h.). [Fz.]

Sometimes he loses himself, now in a dreamy state, now in complete absense of thought, and he readily falls asleep when reading. [Fz.]

In the afternoon, along with repeated (occurring the first three afternoons) warmth of the body, excessive livliness, and very active memory; but he can think of nothing attentively on account of a not disagreeable scheme that forces itself upon him, which he almost thinks is true and feasible, and owing to which he neither sees nor hears anything beside- akind of very strong waking dream (aft. 4 d.). [Fz.]

10. In the afternoon great sprightliness and vivacity of the mind; he comprehends everything much more easily than on the first day, and more readily than before, but on account of a feeling of inward restlessness as if a great happiness awaited him, and on account of a concourse of scheming ideas, he is unable to stick to his subject(aft. 35 h.). [Fz.]

In the morning after rising great weight in the forehead without confusion (aft.3 d.) [Fz.]

In the open air he had some headache and heat (towards evening).

Cramp-like headache.

Headache : aching in the forehead above both eyes, as if all would come out there, during rest and when moving.

15. Aching in the left half of the brain on bending down the head, which is relieved by raising it up (immediately). [Mss.]

Aching in the temples (aft. 1 h.). [Fz.]

Towards evening, aching pain in the forehead, with great heat in the face. [Fz.]

Headache only occurred when there was heat of face. [Fz.]

The headaches always occur in the evening when it becomes dark and last till he goes to sleep.[Gss.]

20. Headache as if all moved round in the brain, with aching and boring pain, especially in the temple; if he lays his head down on the table, he feels, with the exception of some tension in the forehead, for the moment nothing, but the pains soon come back, only not so severe; on the other hand, when he raises the head up, they again increase to their former intensity (aft.12 h.) [Fz.]

Aching in the forehead.[Hsch.]

Bruised pain in the brain in the sinciput, increased stooping, diminished in the open air (immediately).

Boring headache in the temples.

A stitch as from electricity darting up and down from the temples.

25. Drawing, aching pain in the temporal region. [Hsch.]

Headache: aching in the occiput, in the afternoon.

In the evening aching, drawing pain in the right side of the head, with aching in the lower jaw (aft. 16 h.) [Fz.]

Rather external tearing headache from the crown forwards over the temple (aft. 24 h.) [Ws.]

Intermittent needle-pricks in the right temporal region, rather externally (aft.4 h.) [Lr.]

30. Continued itching stitches in the forehead and temple, externally, which are not removed by rubbing (aft.5 h.) [Ws.]

Stiffness, numbness in the temporal muscles, as if something were forced out there.

Tensive pain in the temporal muscles on opening the jaws.

Twitching under the skin of the left parietal region, on a small spot, which when pressed pains as if bruised (aft.1 h.) [Mss.]

Whilst reading a quivering between eyebrows.

35. Some stitches above the eyes.

Contraction of the pupils (aft. 3.3/4 h.) [Lr.]

Samuel Hahnemann
Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843) was the founder of Homoeopathy. He is called the Father of Experimental Pharmacology because he was the first physician to prepare medicines in a specialized way; proving them on healthy human beings, to determine how the medicines acted to cure diseases.

Hahnemann's three major publications chart the development of homeopathy. In the Organon of Medicine, we see the fundamentals laid out. Materia Medica Pura records the exact symptoms of the remedy provings. In his book, The Chronic Diseases, Their Peculiar Nature and Their Homoeopathic Cure, he showed us how natural diseases become chronic in nature when suppressed by improper treatment.