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

(Cucumis Colocynthis, Colocynth.)

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

(The dry fruit reduced to powder and digested with alcohol, in the proportion of 20 grains of the powder to 400 drops of alcohol, without heat, for a week, two successions being given every day so as to form a tincture, twenty drops of which contain one grain of colocynth-powder.)

The older physicians brought colocynth into disrepute by giving it in large dangerous doses as a purgative. Their successors, terrified by this dreadful example, either rejected it entirely, whereby the curative power it possessed was lost to mankind, or they only ventured to employ it on rare occasions, and then never without previous alteration and weakening of its properties by silly procedures, which they only ventures to employ it on rare occasions, and then never without previous alteration and weakening of its properties by silly procedures, which they called correction, whereby its pretended poisonous character was said to be tamed and restrained. With the aid of mucilage they mixed up with it other purgative drugs, or they partially destroyed its power by fermentation or by prolonged boiling with water, wine, or even urine, as had already been stupidity done by the ancients, But even after all this mutilation (their so-called correction) colocynth always physicians prescribed it.

It is really wonderful that in the medical school there has always been such an absence of reflection, and that in regard to matters like this the obvious simple thought never occurred to anyone that, if the heroic medicines acted too violently in a certain dose, this was owing less to the drug itself than to the excessive magnitude of the dose, which yet may be diminished to any extent required; and that such a diminution of the dose, whilst leaving the drug unaltered in its properties, only reduces its strength so as to make it innocuous and capable of being employed with advantage, and hence must be the most natural and appropriate corrigens of all heroic medicines. It is obvious that if a pint of alcohol drunk all at once can kill a man, this is owing not to absolute poisonousness of the alcohol but to the excessive quantity, and that a couple of drops of alcohol would have been harmless to him. It is obvious that whilst a drop of sulphuric acid immediately produces a blister and erosion on the part of the tongue to which it is applied a blister and erosion on the part of the tongue to which it is applied on the other hand, when diluted with 20 or 100,000 drops of water it becomes a mild, merely sourish fluid, and that hence the most natural, the simplest, corrigens of all heroic substances is to be found only in the dilution and the diminution of the dose until it becomes only useful and quite innocuous.

In this way, and in this way only, can the inestimable curative powers for the most incurable diseases that have hitherto lain concealed in the heroic – much less in the weaker – medicines (called poisons by those afflicted with intellectual poverty) be elicited in a perfectly sure and mild manner to the advantage of suffering humanity. By means of the knowledge so obtained we may effect results in the treatment of acute and chronic diseases such as the whole medical school has hitherto failed to effect. This method, so childishly simple, of rendering the strongest medical substances mild and useful remedies.

Guided by the following peculiar pathogenetic effects produced in the healthy by colocynth, I have been enabled by means of it to perform extraordinary cures on the homoeopathic principle by the administration of a small portion of a drop of the octillion – or decillion-fold dilution of the above tincture as a dose.

Thus, to mention only a single example, many of the most violent colics may, under the guidance of symptoms 69 to 109, be often very rapidly cured, when at the same time the other characteristic symptoms of the disease, or a portion of them, are to be found in similarity among the symptoms of colocynth.

The action of colocynth is of long duration.


The following old-school authorities furnished some of the symptoms:

ALIBERT, in Medorrhinum Nat. Zeit., 1799.

Breslauer Sammlungen, 1727.

HOFFMANN, J. M., in Ephem. Nat. Curios., Cent. x.

HOYER, in Misc. Nat. Cur., Dec. iii, Ann. 7, 8.

KOLPIN, in Hufel Journ., iii.

PLATER, Obs., Lib, iii.

SALMUTH, Obs., Cent. iii.

SCHENCK, Obs., Lib. vii.

SCHNEIDER, in Annal. D. Heilk., 1811, April.


TULPUS, Obs., Lib. iv.

VALENTINI, in Eph. Nat. Cur., Ann 3.


In the 1st edit. Colocynth has 227 symptoms, in this 2nd edit. 250; 33 additional symptoms appear in the Chr. Kr.]


On turning the head quickly, vertigo apparently arising in the left temple, as if he would fall, with a giving way in the knees. [Stf.]

Dazedness and confusion of the head. [ALIBERT, in Medorrhinum Nat. Zeit., 1799. (Not accessible.) ]

Confusion of the head, especially in the sinciput. [Gn.]

Head dazed and empty, as after a noisy nocturnal debauch. [Hbg.]

5. Vertigo and stupid feeling in head, at the commencement of the bellyache. [Fr.H-n.]

Violent pains in the head, as from a draught of air, which go off when walking in the open air (aft. 3 h.). [Lr.]

Single, slight pressure here and there in the interior of the head. (From colocynth given in apoplexy.) [L.Rkt.]

Pressing, aching pain in the sinciput, most violent on stooping and when lying on the back, for six hours. [Gn.]

Aching pain along the sagittal suture, worse on moving and shaking the head and on stooping forwards. [Stf.]

10. Pressing squeezing pain in the upper part of the brain. [Gn.]

Aching pain along the sagittal suture, worse on moving and shaking the head and on stooping forwards. [Stf.]

10. Pressing squeezing pain in the upper part of the brain. [Gn.]

Digging pressive pain in the left temple. [Gn.]

Pressing drawing headache on the left side of the forehead. [Gn.]

Drawing, semilateral headache.(aft. 1.1/2 h.). [Hbg.]

Tearing pain in the whole brain, which became a pressure in the forehead, as if it pressed out the forehead – more violent on moving the eyelids. [Gn.]

15. In the morning after rising, a dull pricking pain on the forehead, as if externally (aft. ¼ h.). [Lr.]

Burning pain in the skin of the forehead, above the eyebrows. [Gn.]

Boring stitches in the right temple, which went off on touching (aft. 8.1/2 h.). [Lr.]

Smarting burning pain on the hairy scalp, left side. [Gn.]

Burning sensation in the right upper eyelid (aft. 34 h.). [Gn.]

20. Burning pain in the whole of the right eyeball. [Gn.]

Sharp cutting pain in the right eye-ball (aft. 7 h.). [Gn.]

Sparks before the eyes. [SCHNEIDER, in Annal. D. Heilk., 1811. April. (From colocynth given in apoplexy.) ]

Prickling burning pain in the right lower eyelid, when at rest. [Gn.]

Burning cutting pain in the right lower eyelid, when at rest. [Gn.]

25. Severe itching in the right eyeball, rendering rubbing necessary. [Gn.]

Paleness and relaxation of the facial muscles; the eyes looked sunk in, [Gn.]

Eruption of a pimple on the left cheek, which smarts when touched, and after scratching discharges a watery fluid (aft. 4.1/2 h.). [Lr.]

Digging burning pain in the cheek worse when at rest than when moving. [Gn.]

Eruption of white pimples on the face, especially betwixt eye and ear, on the forehead and chin, which itched a little, but smarted when touched (aft. 4 h.). [Lr.]

30. Tearing and tension on the left side of the face to the ear and into the head.

Earache in the right ear, not going off by introducing the finger. [Gn.]

Cutting shooting pain in the lower cavity of the right auricle that goes off on introducing the finger. [Gn.]

Deep in the ear an itching shooting pain which extends from the Eustachian tube to the membrana tympani, and is momentarily removed by boring in the finger (aft. 1.1/2 h.). [Stf.]

Formicating sensation in the inner ear which goes off on introducing the finger. [Gn.]

40. A suppurating pimple on theleft right commissure of the mouth (aft. 12 h.). [Gn.]

Quivering in the muscles of the chin, only when the parts are at rest. [Gn.]

Pain in the lower row of teeth, as if the nerve were tugged and stretched. [Hbg.]

(A shooting throbbing pain in the right lower molars, as if struck with a metal wire. [Stf.]

In the morning, white tongue with rough sensation upon it as from too much tobacco-smoking (aft. 1.1/4 h.). [Lr.]

45. Rough tongue as if sand were strewed upon it (aft. 36 h.0. [Fr.H-n.]

On the upper surface of the tip of the tongue, a metallic astringent taste. [Stf.]

Smarting pain on the inside of the right cheek and side of the tongue. [Gn.]

A scraping feeling on the palate, also when not coughing. [Stf.]

In the throat, a fine pricking as with needles, or as if an awn of an ear of corn were sticking there, on the upper part of the velum pendelum palati. [Stf.]

50. Fine smarting stitches in the fauces, not observed when swallowing. [Gn.]

Frequent hiccup (aft. 1.1/4 h.). [Lr.]

A disgusting putrid taste, stronger in the fauces than in the mouth. [Gn.]

Bitterness in the mouth, for four hours (immediately). [Fr.H-n.]

After drinking beer, bitter taste in the mouth, which increases for several minutes (aft. 27 h.). [Gn.]

55. Anorexia. [ALIBERT, l. c.]

Diminished appetite, though the food tastes all right. [Fr.H-n.]

Much desire to drink, without thirst; the mouth is always watery, the liquid drunk tastes very good, but immediately after every draught a flat taste comes into the mouth.

Feeling of thirst in the gullet. [L. Rkt.]

Eructation of a bilious fluid.

60. Empty eructation. [Hbg.]

Nausea. [SCHNEIDER, l. c.]

Nausea for two hours (immediately). [Fr.H-n.]

Nausea for six hours, until he falls asleep at night; in the morning after waking the nausea returns. [Fr.H-n.]

Nausea for eight hours. [Fr.H-n.]

65. Vomiting twice of food only, without anusea and without bad taste (aft. 10 m.). [Fr.H-n.]

Very frequent vomiting. [J. M. HOFFMANN, in Ephem. Nat. Curios., Cent. x, Obs. 30. (Poisoning by a whole apple.) ]

A pressure in the stomach, as from a stone. [Hbg.]

Violent stomach-ache, precordial pressure (immediately). [HOFFMANN, l. c.]

After eating particularly, an aching sensation in the gastric region, with sensation as of hunger, not relieved by eating more – everyday. [L. Rkt.]

70. Cutting pressure in the epigastrium, as from flatulence, on inspiring. [L. Rkt.]

Transient cutting in the epigastrium, as from flatulence, on inspiring. [L. Rkt.]

Single stitches under the last ribs. [L. Rht.]

Pressure in the bowels, which seems to come sometimes from emptiness, but is rather increased than diminished by eating, especially by bending forwards when sitting, for about six successive days, particularly in the evening. [L. Rkt.]

Great distension of the abdomen occasionally.

75. Pressure as from fulness in the abdomen. [Hbg.]

Along with some distension colic-like pain in the abdomen and discharge of flatus. [Stf.]

Colic. [TULPUS, Obs., Lib. iv, Cap. 25.(Poisoning.) – ALIBERT, l. c.]

Continued pain in the abdomen through al the bowels, compounded of bruised pain and aching.

In the hypogastrium, a sore cutting pain, which commenced when walking and increased in violence at every step )aft. 5 d.). [L. Rkt.]

80. Cutting pains in the abdomen. [ Breslauer Sammlunge, 1727, p. 148. (Nothing about colocynth can be found here.) ]

Continued cutting in the hypogastrium, at last so violent that he must walk in a bent- forward attitude; at the same time weakness in the whole body, so that walking was a trouble to him, with dread of the work he had to do. [Gn.]

The most violent pains in the abdomen. [HOFFMANN, l..c]

Indescribable bell-yache. [STALPAART VAN DER WIEL, Cet. I, Obs. 41. (Poisoning.) ]

Excessive pain in the abdomen, on a small spot below the navel, which, after the night-sweat, spread through the whole abdomen. [Fr.H-n.]

85. At each attack of pain in the abdomen, restlessness in the whole body, whereby a kind of shudder rushes through both cheeks, which gradually rises up from the abdomen, and after a more severe pain immediately goes off.[Hbg.]

Movement in the abdomen, as if he were still fasting, in the afternoon (aft. 8 h.). [Lr.]

Emptiness in the abdomen, as if there were nothing in it (aft. 10 h.). [Hbg.]

An emptiness in the abdomen, as though he had had a severe diarrhoea. [Stf.]

Pains in the abdomen, as if from catching cold, or from having eaten a variety of incongruous articles of food. [Hbg.]

90. Alleviation of the violent belly-ache by smoking tobacco, but a sensation long remains in the abdomen as if he had taken cold. [Fr.H-n.]

Pinching sensations in the abdomen, which terminate above the pubes. [Hbg.]

Pinching and grasping pains in the abdomen (aft. 21 h.). [Hbg.]

Acute pains, as if severely clawed in the abdomen – a grasping in the bowels; on account of these pains he can neither lie quiet nor sit, and can only walk bent double; by lying still these pains were not allayed, but they were when he had moved quickly or tossed about (aft. 6 h.). [Hbg.]

95. Shooting pain in a small spot in the umbilical region, which compels him to bent and stoop forwards, and is increased to the severest degree by lifting anything, for eighteen hours (aft. ¾ h.). [Fr.H-n.]

Belly-ache, which compels him to crouch and bend together. [Fr.H-n.]

Dull tensive pain in the abdomen, which went off by pressure,. [Gn.]

Pains as if the bowels were squeezed in and pressed; at the same time cutting pain towards the pudendum; below the navel the pains were so violent that the facial muscles were much distorted and the eyes closed; this pain was only allayed by pressing with the hand on the abdomen and bending in the abdomen (aft. 8 h.). [Hbg.]

Constriction of the bowels in the hypogastrium always gradually increasing every ten to twenty minutes, which goes off by strong pressure with the hand (aft. 24 h.). [Hbg.]

100. Forcing together of the abdominal intestines, especially round about the pudendum. [Hbg.]

Sensation in the whole abdomen as if the bowels were squeezed between stones and threatened to burst out, sometimes so severe that the blood mounted to the upper parts, the face and head, with outbreaks of perspiration on these parts; the face and head felt as if a cool air blew on them when the cramp-like pains declined (aft. 7 h.). [Hbg.]

Cramp-like belly-ache, so that he can neither sit still, not lie, nor walk; after a meal there ensued immediately an almost resultless urging to stool, tenesmus (aft. 10 h.). [Hbg.]

A forcing from both sides of the hypogastrium towards the middle of the pelvic cavity, like flatulence which will not come away )compelling emission of semen).

Boring pain in the left illiac region, close to the bones of the pelvis (aft. 12 h.). [Gn.]

105. Digging. Tearing pain in the umbilical region, more violent when expiring and laughing loud. [Gn.]

All the abdominal pains from colocynth went off on drinking a cup of coffee; but he must then go immediately to stool. [Hbg.]

After eating a single potato, violent pain in the abdomen and hurried evacuation of the bowels. [Fr.H-n.]

Violent urging to stool, which consisted of copious yellowish-brown, semi-fluid faeces, as from a purgative, of sourish-putrid smell: after this evacuation the belly-ache seemed to disappear, but soon returned (aft. 9 h.). [Hbg.]

Greenish-yellow diarhoeic stools, with sensation as if he had taken cold. [Fr.H-n.]

110. Quite thin, frothy stool of saffron-yellow colour and mouldy smell, almost like burnt grey blotting-paper (aft. 12 h.). [Hbg.]

Diarrhoea; fifteen motions in eighteen hours, by which the bellyache was gradually allayed (aft. 1 h.). [Fr.H-n.]

Day and night, diarrhoea with nausea, without being able to vomit. [Fr.H-n.]

Frequent urgent call to stool; at the same time sensation at the anus and in the lower part of the rectum, as if these parts were weakened by long-continued diarrhoea and had lost their tone. [Hbg.]

He must keep back the evacuation by a great effort, in order that it should not come away involuntarily before reaching the night-chair (aft. 10 h.). [Hbg.]

115. Small faecal evacuatiwhich was viscid and slimy. [Hbg.]

Hard stool with little evacuation which was viscid and slimy. [Hbg.]

Hard stool with little pressing (aft. 48 h.). [Gn.]

Very hard stool, which comes away in pieces. (Secondary effect.) (aft. 5, 6 d.). [L. Rkt.]

First watery and slimy, then bilious, at last bloody stools. [HOFFMANN, l. c.]

Bloody stools. [HOYER, in Misc. Nat. Cur., Dec. iii, A.., 7, 8, Obs. 178; (From the decotion.) and Bresl. Samml., l. c. ]

120. Haemorrhage from the anus. [TULPIUS, l. c.]

Excites dysentery. (From a whole gourd macerated in wine.) [PLATER, Obs. Lib. iii, p. 858.]

Haemorrhage from the anus, some hours after death. (From a drachm in a clyster. (Administered for apoplexy.) ) [SCHENCK, Obs., Lib. vii.]

Pain in the lower part of the rectum from swollen haemorrhoidal venous lumps, when sitting, walking, and during stool.

125. Blind haemorrhoids.

A constant grumbling and croaking in the abdomen, as if frogs were in the bowels.

Grumbling and creaking in the abdomen, with cutting pains. [Hbg.]

Frequent noisy discharge of flatus (aft. ½ h.). [Lr.]

Illusory desire to discharge flatus fro some minutes; after that some came away with great violence. [Hbg.]

130. In the whole abdomen, flatulence., which is not discharged.[Hbg.]

Retained flatus. ((Apparently secondary action.) [Hbg.]

Pain above the hips with nausea and chilliness (aft. 3 h.). [Fr.H-n.]

Tensive shooting pain in the right loin only felt on inspiration, and most violent when lying on the back. (Note to 132 and 133. This lumbago, which colocynth is apt to produce in the healthy, explains how DALBERG (Konigl. Vetensk. Handl., 1785, p. 146) was able to effect such happy homoeopathic cures with this plant in some kinds of lumbago,. The symptoms 184, 185, point to the curative power of colocynth in affections of some parts near the hip.)(aft. 54 h.). [Gn.]

Constant pressure in the pubic region (aft. 8, 10 h.). [Hbg.]

135. Tensive pain in the right iliac region worse when pressed on. [Gn.]

A violent itching stitch in the anus, not connected with the evacuation of the bowels. [Gn.]

Pressure on the pubic (In the original “Scheibein- Gegend” (region of the tibia), evidently a misprint for “Schambein-Gegend” (region of the os pubis). (Corrected thus in Chr. Kr., S. 160.)

Some minutes after passing urine, an aching pain at the end of the urethra, as if it were bruised (aft. 14.1/2 h.). [Lr.]

Urine seems to be secreted sparingly. [Hbg.]

Frequent strangury, with scanty discharge of urine (aft. 1 h.). [Lr.]

Strangury, with inability to pass urine, which as a rule was passed very sparingly. [Hbg.]

Urine, immediately, of intolerable odour,; in the utensil it became at once thick, gelatinus, viscid, like coagulating albumen. [SCHNEIDER, l. c.] (Not found.)

Complete impotence; the prepuce, that at other times always covered the glans, remained retracted behind the glans, though he was not deficient in sexual desire.

In the morning, fluent coryza, without sneezing (aft. 1.1/2 h.). [Lr.]

145. In the morning, when inspiring, a whistling in the chest (aft. 1.3/4 h.). [Lr.]

In the evening short cough when smoking tobacco (aft. 15 h.). [Lr.]

Frequent irritation to dry cough in the larynx, like a tickling (aft. 1 h.). [Stf.]

The place in the larynx where it scrapes and tickles so as to cause cough, becomes more scrapy during inspiration. [Stf.]

Pressure in the middle of the strenum, as if something lay on the lung. [L. Rkt.]

150. For several days, breathing twice as short as normal, without tightness of chest or heat.

In the night, an attack of tightness of chest with slow difficult breathing, which forces him t cough.

Oppressive pressure anteriorly on the chest; it seems to be mush too narrow – also compression on the sides, especially when sitting bent forwards, and in the evening, for six days (aft. 2.1/4 h.). [L. Rkt.]

Increased oppression of the chest; on inspiring the lung feels as if squeezed by a pressure from without, but on inspiring there are stitches in it (aft. 6 d.). [L. Rkt.]

A running and creeping in the skin of the left side of the chest and abdomen, as if insects were running about in it (aft. 6 d.). [Gn.]

155. Pressure with obtuse stitches in the scrobiculus cordis, which compels rapid breathing; the lung appears to be unable to expand itself sufficiently. [L. Rkt.]

Obtuse stitches in the right side of the chest, no inspiring, but on expiring a slight pressure, for six days (aft. 1 h.). [L.Rkt.]

Muscular twitching in the right intercostal muscles, which went off on raising himself up (aft. 5 h.). [Gn.]

Single stitches in the chest and under the ribs, here and there everyday. [L. Rkt.]

A grasping pain in the right intercostal muscles (aft. 2 h.). [Gn.]

160. Betwixt the scapulae a shooting tensive pain, chiefly when walking, so that he must walk for some time crooked.

An aching bruised pain in the lower part of the back, with, at the same time, hard pressure in the scrobiculus cordis, equally felt when at rest and when moving.

Obtuse stitch under the right scapula, during inspiration. [L. Rkt.]

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.