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

(From vol. iv. 2nd edit., 1825.)

[The alcoholic solution of the almost crystalline substance resembling a solified aetheral oil, derived from the camphor-tree, Laurus camphora, L.]

I give here the symptoms hitherto observed from camphor, not as a complete list of all the effects to be expected from it, but only as a commencement thereof, so that at some future period the remainder of its effect may be added to this list.

From the earliest times this medicine has been blindly used and improperly employed in large and massive doses, so that its true action has never been ascertained, nor could it be acertained, as it has almost always been given only with several other drugs, either mixed up with, or administered at the same time with it, and moreover, and this is the worst, it has only been employed amid the tumult of the symptoms or diseases. For the pure effects of it, observed by ALEXANDER, (WILL, ALEXANDER, Medical Essays and Observations, 1755.), are very meagre and confined to mere general expressions.

The action of this substance is very puzzling and difficult to determine, even in healthy organisms, because, its primary action more often rapidlyalternates and becomes mixed up with the reactions of the life (secondary action) than is the case with any other medicine, so that it is frequently hard to distinguish what is to be ascribed to the reaction of the body, and what to the alternating action of the camphor in its primary action.

But, at all events, commencement of a pure proving of it must be made, and as such I offer the following symptoms.

In its curative action camphor is just as puzzling and wonderful, for it removes the violent effects of very many, extremely different, vegetable medicines (and even those of the animal drug cantharides and of many mineral and metallic drugs), and hence it must have a sort of general pathological action, which, however, we are unable to indicate by any general expression; nor can we even attempt to do so far fear of straying into the domain of shadows, where knowledge and observation cease, we, in short, abandoned by the guiding of plain experience, grope about in the dark, and with every desire to penetrate into the inner essence of things, about which little minds so presumtuously dogmatize, we gain nothing by such hyperphysical speculations but noxious error and self-deception.

Camphor, as I can testify from experience, removes the too violent action of very many drugs, whether unsuitably employed or given in too large doses, but generally only in the primary action, as a kind of contrarium, as a palliative. For this purpose it must be given very frequently, but in very small doses – when requisite every five to fifteen, or when there is great urgency every two or three minutes, about one drop of the saturated alcoholic solution (one eighth of a grain) shaken up in half an ounce of water until dissolved, or by means of olfaction of a saturated alcoholic solution of camphor every three, four, six, ten, fifteen minutes.

One grain of camphor (dissolved in 8 drops of alcohol) combines with 400 grains of tepid water, and when shaken becomes completely dissolved, contrary to the assertion in almost all works on materia medica that is quite insoluble in water.

I have not found camphor suitable as an antidote to the violent effects of ignatia. (In the preface to Ignatia, camphor is said to be the antidote to some of its effects.)

The rapid exhaustion of its action and the quick change of its symptoms render it incapable of curing most chronic diseases.

That cutaneous inflammation, which spreads in a radiating manner, is bright red, the redness disappearing for an instant when pressed with the finger, commonly called erysipelas (rose), when it arises from internal causes is always only a single symptom of the disease. Now, as camphor when applied externally excites a kind od erysipelas, so, in acute diseases accompanied by erysipelas, it is useful as an external application, if the other symptoms of the internal malady are present among the symptoms of camphor.

When the influenza endemic in Siberia comes among us, as it does occasionally, when the hot stage has already commenced, camphor is of service, only as a palliative, seeing that the disease is one of short duration. It should be given in frequent but ever increasing doses, dissolved in water as above described. It does not shorten the duration of the disease, but renders it much milder, and hence it conducts the disease innocuously to its termination. (On the other hand, nux vomica, in a single dose, and that the smallest possible, will often remove the disease homoeopathically in a few hours.)

When dangerous effects ensue from a large dose od camphor, opium is useful as an anitdote; and, on the other hand, camphor is a prompt antidote in opium poisoning; thus each of these substances removes the effects of the other, It is therefore astonishing how opium and camphor have hitherto been given in combination in one prescription!

[ In this proving HAHNEMANN was assisted by FRANZ, HERRMANN, STAPF, WILSLICENUS.]

The following old-school authorities are quoted:

ALEXANDER, Experim. Essays.

BREYNIUS and PAULINUS, in Murray’s App. Medorrhinum

COLLIN, Observat, circa morbos.

CULLEN, W., Mat. Medorrhinum, ii.

GEOFFRAY Matriere medic., iv.

GRIFFIN, Diss. De Camphoroe viribus, Edin.

HEBERDEN, Medic. Transact., i.

HERGT, in Hufel. Journ., xxvii.

HOFFMANN, FR., Diss. De usu int. Camph., 1714.

HUFELAND, Journal fur pract. A., i.

KOOLHAAS, in Med, Not. Zeit., 1799.

LOSS, Obs. med.

MEZA, DE, Compend. Medorrhinum pract.

MURRAY, Appar. med.

ORTEL, Med, pract.

POUTEAU, Melanges de Chirurgie.

QUARIN, Method med. febr.

SOMMER, in Hufel. Journ., vii.

SPONTIZER, in Hufel. Journ., v.

TODE, in Acta Haffn., iv.

UNZER, Medorrhinum Handbuch, ii.

WHYTT, Works.

In the Frag de vir. Canphor has 147 symptoms, in the 1st Edit. 344, and only one additional symptom in this 2nd Edit.]


He staggers to and fro when walking, and must catch hold of something in order to stand firmly. [Ws.]

He rubs his forehead, head, chest, and other parts, knows not what is the matter with him; he leans against something, his senses leave him, he slips and falls to the ground stretched out quite stiffly, the shoulders bent back, the arms at first somewhat bent, with hands directed outwards and somewhat flexed, spread-out fingers, afterwards all parts stretched straight out and stiff, with head bent over to one side, with stiff open lower jaw, witn incurved lips and gnashing teeth, closed eyes and incessant twitchings of the facial muscles, coldness all over, and breathlessness for a quarter of an hour (aft. 2 h.). [Ws.]

Vertigo. [UNZER, (Not accessible.) Medorrhinum Handbuch, ii, 25. – ALEXANDER, (Proving with large doses.) Experiment. Essays, p. 227. – COLLIN, (Proving with large doses.) Observat. Circa morbos, pt. iii, p. 148.]

Vertigo, he must hold on by something, he felt as if he could not stand firmly. [Hrr.]

5. Intoxiation. [COLLIN, l. c. – GRIFFIN, (Proving with large doses.) Diss, de Camphore viribus, Edin. – DE MEZA, (Not accessible.) Compend. Medorrhinum prac., p. 3.]

Heaviness of the head with vertigo, the head sinks backwards (aft. 10 m.) [Hrr.]

Giddy heaviness of the head (aft. ½ h.). [Hrr.]

When walking he staggers as if drunk. [Hrr.]

Vertigo recurring at difeerent times. [GRIFFIN, l. c.]

10. Frequent short attacks of vertigo. [HUFELAND, (From large doses in rheumatic patients.) Jour. fur. Pract. A., i, p. 428.]

Confusion of the head with perfectly clear consciousness. [Stf.]

Want of memory. (With Alexander, this describes the state of his mind after recovering consciousness.) [ALEXANDER. – UNZER, l. c.]

After the attack of tetanus with unconsciousness and vomiting, complete want of recollection, like loss of memory (aft. 3 h.). [Ws.]

The senses vanish (aft. a few m.).

15. Loss of consciousness.

His senses leave him. [Alexander, l. c.]

Heaviness of the head. [GEOFFROY, (General statement from authors.) Maties’s medic., iv, p. 30.]

Headache. [HUFELAND, l.c.]

For several successive days headache after rising in the morning. [.]

20. Severe headache. [UNZER, l. c.]

Throbbing headache.

Aching feeling in the head. [Stf.]

Aching tearing headache.

Headache like bruised feeling or soreness of the brain.

25. Headache as from constriction of the brain.

Aching in the occiput. [Stf.]

In the evening, aching headache over the left eye (aft. 9 h.). [Fz.]

Throbbing shooting headache in the forehead, which lasts all night, with general dry heat, but without thirst.

In the temples, throbbing aching. [Stf.]

30. Transient headache, as if the brain were compressed from all sides, but only left in semi-consciousness when he pays no attention to his body; when, however, he becomes conscious of his pain and thinks of it, it immediately disappears (aft. 4.1/2 h.). [Fz.]

Pressure in the middle of the forehead (aft. 3.1/2 h.). [Hrr.]

Obtuse headache over the frontal bone, with inclination to vomit.

Headache pressing from within outwards (immediately). [Ws.]

Tearing pressure in the right temple (aft. 1 h.). [Hrr.]

35. Tearing aching and pressing outwards in the left side of the forehead (aft. 7.1/2 h.). [Hrr.]

Headache: cutting blows dart through the forehead and temples to the middle of the brain, returning after short pauses, immediately after lying down (aft. ½ h.). [Ws.]

Violent single shoots in the right half of the brain (aft. 4 h.).

Cutting pressure from the left side of the occiput to the forehead (aft. ½ h.). [Hrr.]

Tearing shooting headache in the forehead, and pressive on the upper part of the frontal bone (aft. 4 h.). [Fz.]

40. Fine tearing in the head, especially in the forehead (aft. 7 h.). [Htn. (Probably a misprint for Hrr., as Hartmann does not appear as one of the provers.)]

A constrictive pain in the base of the brain, especially in the occiput and above the root of the nose, which continues without intermission, during which the head is leant to one side or the other; a pain that is much aggravated by stooping low, lying down, or external pressure – with coldness of hands and feet, hot forehead, and waking slumbar.

Fine tearing pain in the left side of the forehead and left side of the occiput (aft. ½ h.). [Hrr.]

Heat in the head and tearing headache, transient in character, and going off by by pressing on it (aft. 11 h.). [Fz.]

45. Rush of blood to the head (aft. 6 h.).

Extraordinary rush of blood to the head. ( The priliminary vertigo and the unconsciousness from a strong dose, along with the coldness of the rest of the body (See note to 47, 304, 311 to 313), seems to be the primary action of camphor, and points to a diminshed flow of blood o parts at a distance from the heart; on the other hand, the rush of blood to the head, the heat of the head, &c., are only a secondary action or reaction of the life in the same degree of intensity as was the previous opposite state, the primary action above mentioned. Just so, rapidly occuring, slight inflammation may therefore sometimes be removed by the palliative refrigerant effect of the primary action of camphor given internally, but long-standing inflammations cannot be so removed. The prolonged, or frequently repeated administration of camphor, is not unfrequently followed by obstinate inflammations of the eyes, which are of long duration, like every secondary action or reaction of the organism (comp. 283 to 292 and 297.) I will not deny that the external applications of camphor acts homoeopathically in acute cases of ophthalmia but I will not venture to say that this is my experience, as I never treat such cases by external remedies.) [WHYTT, (Effect of thirty grains.), Works, p. 646.- MURRAY, (General statement from authors. Here he is merely quoting Whytt.) Appar. Medorrhinum, iv., p. 584.]

The head is drawn spasmodically towards the shoulder(From a large dose given to a child, which caused loss of consciousness and deathly coldness of all parts of the body.) (aft. some m.)

(Fatal) inflammation of the brain. [QUARIN, (Occasional effects of large doses in fever patients. Query always, how much is fever and how much camphor?) Method. med. febr., p. 57.]

Paleness of the face.

50. Very pale face, with eyes at first closed, afterwards open and staring, with eye-balls directed upwards (aft. 2 h.). [Ws.]

Very red face. [QUARIN, l. c.]

Spasmodic distortion of the facial muscles, with foam before the mouth. (From several grains of camphor injected into the median vein.) [ORTEL, (Not accessible.) Medorrhinum pract. Beob., I, 1, Lpz., 1804.]

Pressure on the right palpebral muscle (aft. ¾ h.). [Hrr.]

Staring inflamed eyes. [QUARIN, l. c.]

55. He stares at every one with an astonished expression, without consciousness (aft. 2 h.). [Ws.]

Sensation of tension in the eyes (aft. ¾ h.). [Hrr.]

In the outer canthus of the eye a smarting (aft. ½ h.).

Frequent twitching in the outer canthus of the eye (aft. 28 h.). [Fz.]

Visible twitching sand quivering of the upper eyelid (aft. 36 h.). [Fz.]

60. Smarting itching in the eyelids. [Stf.]

Smarting and shooting in the eyelids (aft. 5 h.). [Fz.]

The eyelids are studded with many red spots (aft. 24 h.). [Ws.]

The eyes water in the open air. [Stf.]

In the white of the right eye a couple of red spots, without pain (aft. 24 h.). [Ws.]

65. Out-pressing pain in the right eyeball on moving it (aft. 2 h.). [Fz.]

Sensation in the left eyeball like pressure and blows from behind upon it (aft. 2.1/2 h.). [Fz.]

Inflammation of the eyes (aft. 10 h.).

The eyeballs are turned upwards.

Distorted eyes. [ORTEL, l.c.]

70. Staring, distorted eyes.

Contracted pupils.

Extremely contracted pupils (aft. 35 h.). [Hrr.]

Dilated pupils (aft. 5 h.).

Obscuration of the sight. [WHYTT, – UNZER, l. c.]

75. Sensation as if all objects were too bright and shining (aft. 5 h.)

Wonderful figures hover before his eyes. [UNZER, l. c.]

He cannot bear the light (aft. ½ h.).

Feeling of heat in the lobes of the ears. [Stf.]

Redness of cheeks and lobes of the ears.

80. Hot, red ear-lobes. [Stf.]

Ringing in the ears. (Just before losing consciousness.) [ALEXANDER, l. c.]

A kind of tearing in the left ear (aft. 1 h.).

In the left meatus auditorius externus a dark red abscess, larger than a pea; on touching it he felt a shooting pressure (aft. 12 h.); it suppurated after 36 hours. [Hrr.]

In the anterior angle of the nostrils a shooting pain, as if the part were ulcerated and raw (aft. 2 h.).

85. Painful looseness of the teeth (aft. 10 h.).

The teeth feel too long, with a toothache apparently proceeding from swelling of the submaxillary glands.

Toothache: transient cutting blows dart through the gums at the roots of the incisors and canine teeth (From the smell.) (aft ¼ h.). [Ws.]

Dry feeling on the back of the tongue, like scraping, with much saliva. [Stf.]

Constant collection of saliva in the mouth (aft. ½ h.). [Hrr.]

90. Collection of saliva in the mouth, which is sometimes slimy and viscid (aft. 1.1/2 h.). [Hrr.]

Foam appears in front of the mouth (aft. a few m.).

A dry scraping sensation on the palate. [Stf.]

Single coarse stitches in the palate (aft. 4 h.).

A chilly sensation rises into the mouth and along the palate (aft. 4 to 6 h.). [Fz.]

95. Disagreeable warmth in the mouth. [ALEXANDER, l. c.]

Violent burning on the palate down into the oesophagus, that urges him to drink, but is not allayed by any amount of drinking (From the smell.) (immediately). [Ws.]

Sensation of heat in the mouth and stomach. [MURRAY, l. c.]

In the morning, bad smell from the mouth, which he is himself aware of (aft. 20 h.).

Closure of the jaws (trismus).

100. (Nocturnal) sore-throat per se, and still more when swallowing, as if the gullet were sore and excoriated, with sensation in the throat as from partaking of something rancid.

Eructation and bringing up of the contents of the stomach.

After a meal frequent and almost constant empty eructation (aft. 3 h. and later). [Hrr.]

Pleasure in drinking, without thirst.

The first 24 hours, adipsia. [Ws.]

105. The first 36 hours, adipsia. [Hrr.]

Increased taste of all food; the beef-tea tastes too strong (aft. 2 h.).

The taste in the mouth is in itself correct, but everything he eats, and even the (accustomed) tobacco smokin, tastes bitter (aft. 13 h.). [Fz.]

Tobacco has a disagreeable bitter taste (aft. 2.3/4 h.). [Fz.]

Dislike to (accustomed) tobacco smoking; although it does not taste ill, tobacco is repugnant to him, and causes him to vomit.

110. Food tastes bitter, meat more so than bread, with erucation during and after eating, tasting of camphor (aft. 4 h.). [Fz.]

Frequent ejection of watery saliva. [Stf.]

Nausea. [GRIFFIN,- ALEXANDER, l. c.]

Nausea with flow of saliva. [Stf.]

Nausea and inclination to vomit, which always goes off after an eructation (aft. ¼ h.). [Fz.]

115. After several attacks of inclination to vomit, short attacks of vertigo. [HUFELAND, l. c.]

At the commencement of the vomiting, cold sweat, especially in the face. [Ws.]

Bilious vomiting, tinged with blood. [GRIFFIN, l. c.]

In the scrobiculus cordis, feeling as if it was distented and bruised, with fulness in the abdomen (aft. 25 h.). [Fz.]

Pain in the stomach.

120 Pain the gastric region. [HUFELAND, l. c.]

Aching pain in the scrobiculus cordis or in the anterior part of the liver.

Contractive pain under the short ribs extending into the lumbar vertebrae.

Aching pain in the hypochondria (aft. 1 h.).

Manifest coolness, especially in the scrobiculus cordis [Fr. HOFFMANN, Diss. De usu int. Camph., 1714, p. 20.]

125. Cold sensation in the epigastrium and hypogastrium (aft. ¼ h.). [Hrr.]

Violent burning heat in the epigastrium and hypogastrium (aft. 4 h.). [Hrr.]

Burning heat in the hypogastrium (aft. 1.1/4 h.). [Hrr.]

Burning in the stomach. [WHYTT, – UNZER, – GRIFFIN, l. c.]

First discharge of much flatus, and after several hours, pressure in the abdomen, in the morning, as from distension with flatulence.

130. Flatulent sufferings in the abdomen.

The digestion is impeded [W. CULLEN, (From forty grains taken by a female maniac. This symptom not found.) Arzneimittell., ii, p. 331.]

Cutting colickly pain, at night (aft. 5.).

Feeling of hardness and weight in the abdomen above the navel. [Stf.]

In the whole right side of the abdomen, as far as the hepatic region and chest, drawing bruised pain, more internally than externally, especially when inspiring (aft. 3.1/2 h.). [Fz.]

135. Pinching pain in the hypogastrium, especially the umbilical region (aft. 7.1/2 h.). [Hrr.]

In the right side of the hypogastrium a shooting drawing heaviness, which is still more distinctly felt on pressing on it. [Fz.]

Hard pressure in the left side of the hypogastrium (aft. 1 h.). [Hrr.]

Drawing in the left side of the hypogastrium with a tensive bruised sensation (aft. 12 h.). [Fz.]

Burning shooting on a spot the size of the hand, below the anterior crst of the ilium towards the grion. [Fz.]

140. Aching on the left side of the pubes at the root of the penis, in the groin, when standing (aft. 10. h.). [Fz.]

Itching formication in the right groin, which goes off on rubbing it (aft. ¼ h.). [Ws.]

Out-pressing on the pubes in the groin, at the root of the penis, as if a hernia would come out (aft. 12 h.). [Fz.]

Ascites of short duration. [HERGT, (From three grains twice daily.) in [Hufel. Journ., xxvii, I, p. 151.]

Urging to stool: the stool is of the ordinary character, but little is passed, whereupon there is again urging with the evacuation of a still smaller quantity (aft. 1 h.). [Hrr.]

145. Urging to stool (aft. 4 h.). [Hrr.]

The first day two stools after some pinching in the abdomen, the second day no stool, the third day rather hard and difficult stool. [Fz.]


The excrements are passed with difficulty, not without exertion of the abdominal muscles, just as if the perstlaltic movement of the bowels were diminished, and at the same time the rectum were contracted (aft. 24 h.).

Obstinate constipation of the bowels. (Alexander simply states that he was “Extremely costive at stool the day after.” Swallowing the dose.) [ALEXANDER, l. c.]

150. The rectum is as if contracted, swollen and painful when flatus is expelled.

Soreness in the rectum. [Stf.]

Greenish-yellow turbid urine of a mouldy smell (aft. 10 h.). [Ws.]

He passes turbid urine, which on standing becomes quite turbid and thick, of a whitish-green colour, without depositing a sediment. [Hrr.]

Red urine.

155. Red urine. (“Very rarely,” the author says.) [Fr. Hoffmann, l. c.]

In the first hours, little urine and without suffering, but after several hours (in the afternoon) when urinating a smartingpain, for several days, in the posterior part of the urethra, and after urinating pressure in the vesical region, like a fresh call to urinate. [Fz.]

Diminished power of the bladder; although there is no mechanical obstruction the urine passes very slowly out of the bladder when urinating (aft. 20 h.).

Thin streamof the urine discharged.

The urine passes in a very thin stream, as in stricture of the urethra (aft. 2.1/2 h.). [Hrr.]

160. Retention of urine with urging to urinate and tenesmus of the neck of the bladder.

Retention of the urine the first twelve hours, with constant pressure in the bladder and call to urinate, during which nothing passed; but after twenty-four hours, frequent urination in the ordinary quantity, therefore on the holw increased quantity of urine discharged, but after forty-eight hours more frequent and more copious urination. [Hrr.]

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.