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.]

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.