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


(From vol. ii, 3rd edit., 1833.)

(Filings of soft iron are powdered by sufficient triturition in a cast iron mortar, then sifted through linen, and of this dust-like iron powder (in the pharmacopoeias called Ferrum pulveratum) one grain it triturated for three hours with milk-sugar (in the manner taught for arsenic) up to the million-fold or third attenuation, and then brought to the thirtieth potency (X) through 27 dilution phials.)

Although most of the following medicinal symptoms were observed from the employment of a solution of acetate of iron, it is beyond doubt that they correspond essentially with those of metallic iron as exactly as do the symptoms obtained from dry calcareous earth with those of acetate of lime.

This metal is said by ordinary physicians to be a strengthening medicine per se, and not only innocuous, but entirely and absolutely wholesome.

How far from being true is this dictum pronounced without consideration and testing, and handed down by teachers to their disciples equally without consideration and testing, we are taught by the reflection that, if iron possess medicinal power it must also for that very reason alter the health of human beings, and make the healthy ill, and the more ill the more powerfully curatvie it is found to be in disease.

Nil prodest, quod non loedere possit idem.

The actual sanitary condition of persons residing near waters impregnated with iron might have taught them that this metal possesses strong pathogenetic properties. The inhabitants of chalybeate (It is mere charalatanry to call solutions of iron steel-drops, and chalybeate mineral waters steel-waters, steelbaths. By these expressions it is intended to convey the notion that they indubitably possess an absolute strengthening power in a high degree; for to steel is a metaphorical expression for to strengthen. But iron only becomes steel when its peculiar elasticity and hardness are developed. In its solution by acids the steel disappears; the solution then only contains a substratum of iron, and the oxyde (iron ochre) collected from chalybeate waters, when smelted, produces nothing but ordinary iron.) watering places, where all the springs and wells in the neighbourhood usually contain some of this metal, show marked signs of its morbific influence.

In such localities there are few persons who can resist the noxious influence of the continued use of such waters and remain quite well, each being affected according to his peculiar nature. There we find, more than anywhere else, chronic affections of great gravity and peculiar character, even when the regimen is otherwise faultless. Weakness, almost amounting to paralysis of the whole body and of single parts, some kinds of violent limb pains, abdominal affections of various sorts, vomiting of food by day or by night, phthisical pulmonary ailments, often with blood-spitting, deficient vital warmth, suppressions of the menses, miscarriages, impotence in both sexes, sterility, jaundice, and many other rare cachexies are common occurrences.

What becomes of the alleged complete innocuousness, let alone the absolute wholesomeness of this metal? Those who are constantly drinking chalybeate waters, called health-springs, and the other iron-impregnated waters of the neighbourhood, are mostly in a sickly state!

What prejudice, what carelessness has hitherto prevented physicians from observing these striking facts, and referring them to their cause, the pathogenetic property of iron?

How they can, ignorant as they are of the action of iron and its salts, determine in what cases chalybeate waters are of use? Which of their patients will they send thither for course of treatment? Which of their patients will they send thither for a course of treatment? Which of their patients will they send thither for a course of treatment? Which will they keep away? What, on short, seeing that they know nothing accurately concerning the peculiar effects of this metal on the human body, leads them to determine the cases suitable for chalybeate waters? Is it blind fancy? Hap-hazard conjecture and guess work? Fashion? Do not, indeed, many of their patients come back from the chalybeate springs in a more miserable (The attempt of the common run of practitioners to produce a purely strengthening effect is a capital mistake. For why is the patient so weak? Obviously because he is ill! Weakness is a mere consequence and a single symptom of his disease. What rational man could think of strengthening his patient without first removing his disease? But if his disease be removed, then he always, even during the process of the removal of his disease, regains his strength by the energy of his organism freed from its malady. There os no such thing as a strengthening remedy as long as the disease continues; there is no such thing as a strengthening remedy as long as the disease continues; there can be none such. The homoeopathic physician alone knows how to cure, and in the act of being cured the convalescent regains his strength.) and diseased condition, showing that iron was an unsuitable remedy for them? God preserve patients from a doctor who does not know, and can give no satisfactory reasons, why he prescribes this or the other drug, who cannot tell beforehand What medicine would be beneficial, what injurious to the patient!

Only a thorough knowledge of the characteristic primary effects of medicines. And whether they present a great similarity to the symptoms of the disease to be cured (as homoeopathy teaches), could protect patients from such fatal mistakes.

The following list of morbid symptoms which iron causes is far from being as complete as it might be, and yet it will contribute not a little to prevent such mistakes being made by those who will refrain from prescribing medicines in a hap-hazard manner, and from feeling no scruples of conscience whether they draw death or life for their patients in the lottery.

Large and oft-repeated doses of iron, as also frequent baths in chalybeate waters, have a very long duration of action, extending to months even. Doses of even the thirtieth potency (X), such as the homoeopathic physician now gives in ordinary cases, act for a good many days.

Chronic ailments caused by iron are mostly ameliorated by (calcareous) hepar sulphuris ((1/100 or 1/1000th of a grain in one or several doses), and most of the remaining sufferings by pulsatilla, when the symptoms are not (as sometimes happens) of such a kind and complexity as to require some other medicine according to the rule of similarity of action.


Symptoms are derived from the following old-school sources:

HARCKE, in Hufel. Journ., xxv.

LENTIN, Beitr.

NEBEL and WEPFER, Diss, de Medicamentis Chalybeatis. Heidelb., 1711.

RITTER, in Hufel Journ., xxiv, 1.

SCHERER, in Hufel. Journ., iii.

SCHMIDTMULLER, in Horn’s Archiv, ix, 2.

ZACCHIROLI, in Kuhn’s Magazin fur Arzneimittellehre, I, St. Chemnitz, 1794.

In the 1st edition ferrum has 264 symptoms, in the 2nd edit, 290, and in this 3rd edit. 295.]


Confusion and stupefaction of the head. [RITTER (Observations referring to the employment of the waters of Pyrmont and Schwalbach, in which the carbonic acid is to be taken into account.) in Hufel, Journ., xxiv, 1.]

On lying down a vertigo as if he were knocked forwards, or driving in a carriage (especially when the eyes are shut).

Vertigo on going down hill, as if she would fall forwards.

When walking staggering and as if intoxicated, as if she would fall down.

5. When walking, very whirling and sick: he feels as if the head inclined always to hang to the right side.

On looking at running water she becomes reeling and giddy in the head, as if all went round with her.

Great rushing up to the head.

Intoxication. (Not found.) [RITTER, l. c.]

Undulating headache, like waves, for an hour (aft. ½ h.). [Rz.]

10. Drawing headache. [Rz.]

A rush of blood to the head; the blood-vessels of the head were swollen for two hours, with severe flushes of heat in the face.

A momentary, giddy blow in the brain (immed).

The cool open air gives her a peculiar pressure on the top of the head, which gradually went off in the room.

Disinclination to think and confusion of the head.

15. Headache every evening; dulness about the root of the nose.

In the morning very dull in the head.

Headache, as if the brain were lacerated (also in the morning during slumber before awaking).

Empty feeling in the head.

The head is dull and stupid.

20. The head is dazed and stupid.

Heaviness of the head.

(Pressive headache in the forehead, as if it would burst.)

A cutting shooting in the forehead.

Violent shooting pain in the left side of the head, in the afternoon, for five hours.

25. (Every two or three weeks, for two, three, or four days, headache, hammering and beating, so that she must sometimes lie down in bed: then loathing of food and drink.)

Falling out of the hair, whereby the scalp is painful, with formication.

A drawing from the nape up into the head, in which there is then shooting, roaring, and rushing.

In the evening darkness before the eyes; he got an aching pain over the orbits, and some blood dropped out of the nose.

Pain externally on the head, as if blood were extravasated; the hairs are painful to the touch.

30. Earthy complexion, with blue spots on the face.

Earthy jaundiced complexion.

Paleness of the face and lips. (Effects of uterine haemorrhage induced by iron, not of the metal itself.) [RITTER, l. c.]

In the evening itching in the eyes and aching as from a grain of sand in them.

For five days, red eyes with burning pains (aft. 3 d.).

35. Burning in the eyes.

The eyes are painful, as when one is very sleepy, and they tend to close; also burning in them.

An aching in the right eye; the eyelids stick together at night.

When he writes for only a couple of hours, he is unable to open the eyes wide; they become watery, as if he had not slept enough.

Redness and swelling of the upper and lower eyelids; in the upper a kind of stye filled with pus; the lower eyelids are full of eye-gum (purulent mucus).

40. (Shooting in the left eye.)

The pupils are only capable of slight dilatation.

In the evening on stooping some bleeding from the nose.

Bleeding from the left nostril(four times in ten hours.)

Painfulness of the left auricle, as if there were an ulcer on it. (aft. 12 h.).

45. Stitches in the right ear, in the morning (aft. 12 h.).

Rushing in the ears, which, as well as the disagreeable feeling in the brain, is relieved by laying the head down on the table.

Stinging before the ears, as from crickets.

Pale lips.

At the back and on the middle of the tongue a continued painfulness, like fine uninterrupted pricks, which is aggravated by the contact of the food and drink; when not eating and drinking the part has the feeling as if it had been burnt, and is numb and stiff.

50.(Swelling of the gums and cheeks.)

(Rough and sore throat with hoarseness.)

(On swallowing, an aching with sore sensation in the gullet, as if blisters had been crushed there and so the part had become sore.)

(Sometimes a sensation as from a plug in the throat, when not swallowing, not whilst swallowing.)

On swallowing, aching pain in the throat, with heat in the fauces; the cervical muscles feel stiff, and are painful when moved.

55. Sensation as of constriction in the throat.

Chronic glandular swelling in the neck.

Very great nausea in the throat, as if vomiting would ensue; it ended with eructation. [Gss.]

As soon as she eats something it is ejected by vomiting.

Vomiting only of food, immediately after eating, for eight days.

60. When she eats something she heaves, like nausea from loathing. The vomiting is before midnight, worst when she is lying, and especially when she lies on the side.

Vomiting of food, immediately after midnight, whereupon there follow dislike to food and repugnance to the open air (aft. 6 h.).

She vomits every morning and after eating, only mucus and water (not food); a kind of water-brash; the water runs from the mouth and the throat feels as if drawn together.

She has always loathing and nausea.

65. Inclination to vomit for three hours.

Everything she vomits is sour and acrid.

She vomits much after taking acids and beer.

After sourish beer (in the evening) heart-burn.

Beer gets into her head.

70. From beer-soup, heat and anxiety.

Anorexia without bad taste and without thirst.

(She became pale, had rumbling in the abdomen; the chest was squeezed together, a rushing up to the head; she got spasmodic violent eructation, then heat in the face, especially in the right cheek, and pain in the crown of the head like shooting.)

Constant eructation, as soon as she has eaten anything.

Little appetite, least of all for meat; he felt full.

75. He eats with normal appetite and taste at noon; but after eating there comes eructation in jerks and the food is belched up, without nausea or inclination to vomit.

After a walk such a feeling of fulness, as though he would eructate; this went off after eating.

As soon as she eats anything it oppresses her.

Aching, very acute pain in the stomach. [SCHMIDTMULLER, (From very fine iron powder.) in Horn’s Archiv, ix, 2.]

Violent stomachache and extraordinary tension. [ZACCHIROLL, (From some grains of iron filings.) in Kuhn’s Magazin fur Arzneimittelehre, I, St., Chemnitz, 1794.]

80. Distension of the gastric region. [SCHMIDTMULLER, l. c.]

Spasms in the stomach. [NEBEL and WEPFER, Diss. de Medicamentis Chalybeatis, Heildelb, 1771. (Not accessible.)]

An aching in the abdomen, immediately below the stomach, as soon as she has eaten or drunk anything.

After drinking and eating violent stomachache.

Cramp-like pain in the stomach.

85. Stomachache from eating butcher’s meat.

He can only eat bread and butter; butcher’s meat does not agree with him.

Solid foods taste too dry, as if they had neither juice nor strength in them; they have, certainly, the natural taste, but it is not pleasant; he prefers thin warm articles of food.

He has no appetite, because he always feels satiated; but drinks taste well, and are taken with relish.

Even when she has appetite, she can eat but little; she is immediately full, and food oppresses her.

90. After dinner he is thirsty, but he does not know for what.

Complete adipsia.

He feels very full.

(In the morning, sourish taste in the mouth.)

Everything she eats tastes bitter.

95. Sweetish taste in the mouth, as of blood. (With SS. 157 and 181.) [RITTER, l. c.]

Sometimes an earthy taste in the mouth.

In the afternoon, a putrid taste rises up into the mouth, which destroys all his appetite.

When he has slept an hour before midnight, a heat rises as from his abdomen; the mouth becomes dry, and a nauseous vapour and putrid taste rise up into his mouth.

(Burning in the stomach.)

100. The scrobiculus cordis is painful when touched.

Some stitches in the abdomen.

Fine shooting pain in the abdomen.

A severe stitch in the side, beneath the ribs(aft. 24 h.).

Quiet swelling of the abdomen, without flatulent sufferings.

105. Great rumbling in the abdomen by day and night.

Hard distension of the abdomen.

Distension of the abdomen. [SCHMIDTMULLER, l. c.]

A quantity of flatus passes away. [LENTIN, Beitr., p. 75. (Symptoms not found.) ]

Violent contractive pains in the abdomen and back. [RITTER, l. c.]

110. Colicky pains (immediately). [RITTER, l. c.]

(On touching the abdomen, and on coughing, the bowels are painful as if bruised, or as if they were irritated by purgatives.) (aft. 36 h.).

Especially when walking, painful heaviness of the hypogastric intestines, as if they would fall down.

Contractive spasm in the rectum, for some minutes.

Itching and erosion in the rectum, and thread-worms pass away in the slimy stool.

115. The thread-worms seem to be increased by it; he cannot sleep at night on account of itching in the rectum; the worms crept out at the anus at night. (From drinking Pyrmont waters.)

Obstinate constipation. [RITTER, l. c.]

Constipation and piles, which cause painful pressure during stool.

Tearing in the rectum.

With every stool mucus, and also some discharge of blood.

120. Protrusion of large at the anus.

Violent discharge of blood from piles. [RITTER, l. c. ]

Frequent urging to stool with burning at the anus and backache during movement.

Frequent diarrhoea.

Diarrhoeic stool. [Fr.H-n.]

125. Diarrhoea with nervous spasmodic pains in the abdomen, back and anus. [RITTER, l. c.]

Severe diarrhoea. [LENTIN, l. c.]

Frequent, diarrhoeic stools. [RITTER, l. c.]

Violent purging. [RITTER, l. c.]

Involuntary emission of urine, especially by day.

130. Erections of the penis.

Erections of the penis by day, almost without cause.

Nocturnal seminal emission.

(When urinating, burning pain in the urethra, as if the urine ran out hot.)

(Clap) discharge of mucus from the urethra after a chill.

135. Leucorrhoea, like milky water, which (at first) scalded and excoriated.

A previously painless leucorrhoea became painful, as if the parts were excoriated.

Before the occurrence of the menses, discharge of long strings of mucus from the womb, during which she had pain going about in the abdomen, such as usually occurred during the menses.

Painfulness of the vagina during coitus.

Before the appearance of the menses, shooting headache and singing in the ears.

140. In the morning bearing-down pains in the abdomen, as if the menses were coming on (aft. 12 h.).

The menses, which were due, came on immediately after the chalybeate bath, and twice as profusely as usual. (This is the primary action of iron; the following symptoms are secondary actions, hence it is only in those cases of suppressed menstruation, in which the other symptoms are in homoeopathic accordance with iron, that this metal can be curative.)

The menses cease for two or three days and then reappear.

Metrorrhagia. [RITTER, l. c.]

The menses come on one day later, little and watery blood comes away with severe cutting in the abdomen (aft. 6 d.).

145. Menses delayed some days beyond the proper time.

The menses are delayed for eight weeks.

The menses are absent for three years. (During continued use of chalybeate water.)

Prolapsus of the vagina, only during pregnancy, not otherwise.


150. Sterility without abortion.

A hot vapour rises up from his wind-pipe. (With SS. 157 and 181.)[RITTER, l. c.]

Sensation of dryness and phlegm on the chest; the dryness is diminished for a short time only by drinking.

On the chest fulness and tightness.

Oppression on the chest, as if it were constricted. [RITTER, l. c.]

155. Tightness of the chest. [RITTER, l. c.]

Tightness of the chest; difficult slow respiration, diminished by walking or speaking, or by being continually engaged in reading to writing, it is wrist when sitting quitely doing nothing, and still worse when lying, especially in the evening; he must take several breaths before he can fill the lungs with air. [Rz.]

Rush of blood to the chest. [RITTER, l. c.]

Tightness of chest and weariness of the limbs, generally worst in the forenoon; often better when he has walked a little; only sometimes it becomes intolerably bad when walking in the open air.

He cannot get his breath; even when sitting he has dyspnoea.

160. (The child’s chest is oppressed; it wheezes.)

In the evening in bed her larynx is closed, the blood rushes to the head, she feels a burning externally on the neck and between the scapulae, and generally on the upper part of the body, whilst the feet are cold; in the morning, sweat.

In the morning in bed (about 6 o’clock all is drawn painfully together in the scrobiculus cordis, then there occurs a kind of spasmodic cough with mucous expectoration.

Tightening of the chest as if it were constricted; severe anxious asthma, which is aggravated by walking.

Contractive spasm on the chest.

165. Difficult respiration and oppression of the chest, as if were pressed on by the hand.

A pressure superiorly, beneath the sternum, with catarrh and cough.

Sometimes he must sit up in bed after midnight, owing to tightness of the chest.

A kind of asthma; an anxiety in the scrobiculus cordis, that impedes inspiration.

During corporeal exertion heat from the scrobiculus cordis upwards, like an anxiety; she must lie down.

170. At night in bed shooting in the sternum.

During bodily exercise stitches in the side.

Pain in the chest and shooting and tension between the scapulae; he could not stir.

Pain on the chest as if it were beaten.

Contractive spasm on the chest and cough, only when moving and walking.

175. (Increased dry cough.) [RITTER, l. c.]

Dull cough without expectoration, and when coughing she feels as if she could get no air.

In the evening after lying down the cough is dry, but on walking it is attended with expectoration.

Cough more when moving than when at rest.

A burning in the upper part of the sternum after the cough.

180. Nocturnal coughing up of blood followed by increased tightness of chest.

Haemoptysis. (With SS. 151, 154 and 157.) [RITTER, l. c.]

Scanty, thin, frothy expectoration with streaks of blood. [RITTER, l. c.]

Coughing up of blood on rising from bed in the morning.

By hacking cough he expectorates bloody mucus (aft. 5 d.).

185. Whilst stuckling, cough with expectoration of blood.

Copious white purulent expectoration after slight coughing, which is increased by smoking tobacco and drinking brandy.

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.