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

(The alcoholic tincture of the powdered root of Smilax sarsaparilla.)

Because this root has some resemblance in external appearance to the root of the carex arenaria, the teachers of materia medica recommended the latter to be used in diseases instead of sarsaparilla, because, stupidity imagining that the root of the carex was quite as good if not better than imagining that the root of the carex was quite as good if not better than sarsaparilla, and the carex was an indigenous plant whereas the sarsaparilla was a foreign drug, it was to be preferred from patriotic motives.

This is a sample of the ordinary capricious conduct if our beloved teachers of materia medica, and illustrates the honourable and rational mode in which the medicines of the materia medica, and illustrates the honorable and rational mode in which the medicines of the materia nedica have come to be vaunted on account of their pretended virtues, viz. By the arbitrary decrees of writers on materia medica ! They reasoned thus; because carex arenaria is indigneous and has a stronger taste (which, however, differs toto coelo from that of sarsaparilla) it ought to have the preference, for it must possess the same powers, as is evident from its similar long thin shape. Consequently, the similar form of the two roots proves that their powers must be identical! An excellent inference, altogether worthy of the ordinary materia medica! And what pure peculiar effects do the one and the other possess so that we may know in what morbid states the one or the other may be employed with the certainty of a happy result? Not a syllable of information on this point.

In the following list I make a small commencement to reveal the peculiar action of the root of sarsaparilla in some symptoms observed from its administration. From this will be seen in some degree, what good homoeopathic employment may be made of its medicinal powers by boiling. Apparently it acts for more than two weeks in a single not too small dose. For homoeopathic use the undiluted tincture in the dose of one drop is much too strong.

[HAHNEMANN was assisted in this proving by HARTMANN, HERMANN, TEUTHORN,.

The only old-school authority quoted is: BRUNNER, in Rahn’s Magazin, I, vi.

The 1st edit has the same number of symptoms as the 2nd, viz. 145.]


Vertigo when sitting and walking; the head tends to sink forwards (aft. ½ h.). [Hrr.]

Head as if confused and stupid all the forenoon; in the afternoon cross and indisposed to do anything.

A pressive headache like a great weight in the head; it tends to sink forwards. [Hrr.]

Aching pain in the left side of the forehead. [Htn.]

5. An aching pain in the forehead and occiput (aft. ½ h.). [Htn.]

Pressive pain on the left side of the head, particularly in the temple, when a rest and when moving. [Htn.]

Slowly increasing pressure in the right frontal protuberance, accompanied by fine pricking. [Htn.]

Slowly increasing and slowly declining pressive headache, chiefly in the upper part of the brain. [Htn.]

Aching pressing pain in the forehead. [Htn.]

10. Severe pressure in the right temple with drawing pain from the occiput to the forehead (aft. ½ h.). [Htn.]

Acute fine pricks in the middle of the forehead (aft. 1.1/4 h.). [Htn.]

Shooting pain in the left side of the occiput. [Htn.]

Violent pressive-like tearing stitches in the right side of the head, which on account of their severity caused shivering (aft. 7 h.). [Htn.]

Violent pressive shooting pain on the right side of the crown (aft. 3 h.). [Htn.]

15. Violent aching followed by shooting in the left frontal protuberance (aft. 1 h.). [Htn.]

Shooting pressive pain on the temporal bone increased by touching. [Hrr.]

Shooting tearing pain in the left side of the vertex. [Hrr.]

Pressive-like tearing in the whole left side of the head (aft. 7 h.). [Htn.]

Shooting tearing on the left parietal bone, not altered by touching. [Hrr.]

20. Pressive tearing on several parts of the head, outwardly, more violent when moving and walking. [Hrr.]

Shooting drawing on the right mastoid process extending to the left frontal protuberance (aft. 2 h.). [Hrr.]

Shooting drawing on the right parietal and temporal bones (aft. ½ h.). [Hrr.]

Pressive drawing on the right temporal bone and cartilage of the ear at the same time. [Hrr.]

Dull shooting pain on the left frontal protuberance. [Hrr.]

25. Burning obtuse stitches on the left temporal bone. [Hrr.]

The pains on the head are aggravated by touching and walking. [Hrr.]

Eye affection: in the morning all objects hurt the eyes; everything he looks at by daylight gives him pain in the eyes; the eyelids are dry and as if inflamed; in the evening when reading by candlelight he has aching in the eyeball and white paper has a red appearance.

Constant burning in the eyelids sometimes alternating with an aching pain in them.

As if mist were before the eyes; he has difficulty in reading (aft. 12 h.). [Hrr.]

30. Dilatation of the pupils (aft. 2 h.). [Trn.]

Ringing in the left ear. [Htn.]

Violent aching and compression in the left ear, which seems to go into the temple and causes a pressing there (aft. 2 h.). [Htn.]

Contractive sensation in the right ear (aft. 3.1/2 h.). [Htn.]

Aching tearing pain in the cartilage of the right ear and external meatus. [Hrr.]

35. Painful contraction on the right auricle.

(A scab on the lobe of the ear, where there was at first a burning pain and afterwards itching)(aft. 19 d.).

Obtuse shooting pain on the root of the right mastoid process, which went off when touched. [Hrr.]

Drawing (shooting) tearing pain in the masticating muscles of the right side which seemed to have spasmodically contracted themselves (aft. 4.1/2 h.). [Htn.]

A fine pricking itching round the neck, on the shoulders; the face and hairy scalp, with feeling of increased warmth on those parts; scratching allayed it at one place, but immediately recommended on another part (aft. 2.1/2 h.). [Htn.]

40. A transient heat in the face with sweat on the forehead, heat on the chest and back, combined with needle-pricks from within outwards, most frequent and most severe on the neck. [Hrr.]

(An itching pimple on the cheek, with inflammation to a considerable extent round about it, with severe burning; a large thick scab came upon it, with tearing pain in the open air)(aft. 10 d.).

Pustules on the face, without sensation. [Hrr.]

(Epistaxis). [BRUNNER, (Not accessible). In Rahn’s Magazin, I, vi, p. 545.]

Little pocks on the upper lip. [BRUNNER, l. c.]

45. Pressive shooting pain on the lower and inner border of the lower jaw on the right side, but only when touched and when bending back the head (aft. 33 h.). [Hrr.]

Aching painful stitches in the thyroid cartilage, which, however, do not interfere with swallowing. [Htn.]

Aching shooting pain in the cervical muscles, aggravated by touching and moving. [Hrr.]

Violent, long-continued drawing stitches in the cervical muscles of the right side, from the clavicle to the os hyoides (aft. 2.3/4 h.). [Htn.]

Shooting tearing pain in the gum and root of the last lower right molar. [Hrr.]

50. Aching drawing pain in the soft palate. [Hrr.]

Nauseous, heraceous taste in the mouth.

In the morning a nasty sour slimy taste like fermented dough in the throat.

Bitter taste of bread. [Trn.]

No appetite and no hunger, food has too little taste, and when he had eaten, he felt in his stomach as if he had not eaten, just as though the stomach were insensible.

55. He felt loathing when he thought of the food he had eaten.

A nauseous exhalation comes from below up into the mouth, that causes nausea in the throat, with confusion of the head.

A constant, incomplete (not rising up into the mouth) eructation (immediately). [Htn.]

Though he eats but little it distends his stomach, just as though he had eaten a great quantity.

In the morning, great nausea even to vomiting, with increased, sickly, herbaceous taste in the mouth.

60. After dinner, nausea, and then exhaustion.

Aching pain just below the ensiform cartilage and in the scrobiculus cordis, aggravated by touching. [Hrr.]

Severe pinching in the abdomen (aft. ½.); followed by a painful contraction of the sphincter muscles of the anus. [Htn.]

Aching drawing pain in the abdomen, as after a chill (aft. 1 h.). [Hrr.]

Painful inward pressure and pinching in the left side of the abdomen, on a small spot, aggravated by deep breathing, unaffected by touch (aft. 4 h.). [Htn.]

65. Rumbling in the abdomen, and sensation of emptiness in it (aft. 4 h.). [Hrr.]

Sensation of emptiness in the whole abdomen, which causes a gurgling and rumbling. [Htn.]

Pinching in the left iliac region. [Htn.]

Call to stool, but no evacuation.

First the abdominal intestines are drawn together, and though he has a great call to stool he is unable to evacuate, and he must wait some time on the night stool, with excessive pressure downwards, as if the bowels would be forced out; then something evacuated with a jerk, but with great smarting and cutting in the rectum, and immediately thereafter another stool, as if the rectum would be pressed out, so that he can hardly sit for pain.

70. The first day hard stool, the second day constipation, the third day evacuation first of hard then of soft faeces. [Trn.]

In the night he is awakened by a sore pain at the anus, which changes into a (burning) itching, that lasts all day.

He has call to urinate and pressing and forcing in the bladder (strangury), and yet the urine will not pass; when at last the urine passes, it cuts.

Almost all day he has urging to make water, but little urine passes.

Without any particular thirst, he passes urine more frequently than usual, and each time (with the exception of the first day) daily in larger quantity, (As will be perceived from symptoms 72, 73, the symptoms 74, 75, 76, 77 seem to be merely reaction of the organism (secondary action).) the longer he took the medicine, and also for 48 hours afterwards. [Trn.]

75. More frequent and more copious micturition (aft. 4 and more h.). [Htn.]

Every morning he is awakened from sleep by urging to urinate, even after 24, 48 hours. [Trn.]

The urine passes without being felt in the urinary passages, as after taking a diuretic drink. [Trn.]

(When the urine has been discharged there is pain like burning and itching tearing from the glans to the root of the penis.)

Burning when urinating, with discharge of long flaks. [BRUNNER, l. c.]

80. Severe strangury, as in stone in the bladder, with discharge of white, acrid, opaque matter with mucus. [BRUNNER, l. c.]

Painful constriction of the bladder, with urging to urinate. [Htn.]

(Coryza and cough.)(Though no name is given this belongs to the “observations of others,” )

Pressive drawing pain on the clavicle, close to the sternum (aft. 8 h.). [Hrr.]

Pressive pain on the sternum, increased by touching (aft. 2 h.). [Hrr.]

85. Stitches on the centre of the chest, near the sternum, without relation to inspiration or expiration. [Htn.]

Stitches in the right side of the chest, not affected by inspiration or expiration. [Htn.]

Aching shooting pain under the last true ribs. [Hrr.]

Palpitation of the heart, frequently, by day.

Small violent stitches in the middle of the spine between the scapulae (aft. 14.1/2 h.). [Htn.]

90. Tearing shooting pain worming down from the scapulae to the lowest false rib, much more severe on inspiration; on breathing deeply the breath is quite stopped by it (aft. 9 h.). [Hrr.]

Shooting pain near the spinal column, from the right scapula to the last false rib; much more severe on inspiration. [Hrr.]

A pulse-like, intermittent, shooting, transient, outward pain on the upper arm near the shoulder-joint. [Trn.]

Obtuse shooting pain on the upper and anterior part of the humerus.[Hrr.]

Paralytic tearing pain on the inner side of the forearm, near the elbow-joint. [Hrr.]

95. Paralytic tearing on the right forearm, especially on the elbow-joint, more severe when at rest than when moving. [Hrr.]

Pressive tearing pain on the right ulna, which sometimes extends to the metacarpal bones. [Hrr.]

Pressive shooting pain on the ulna, in the muscles of both forearms. [Hrr.]

Drawing shooting tearing on the muscles of the inner side of the left forearm (aft. 1.1/2 h.). [Htn.]

Tearing stitches over the left wrist-joint, upwards. [Htn.]

100. Tearing pain over the upper aspect of the left wrist-joint, which goes on with drawing tearing stitches to the fourth finger (aft. 2 h.). [Htn.]

Cold hands, colder towards the tips of the fingers (for eight days). [Trn.]

Pain in the right wrist-joint as if the hand were dislocated, which seemed to extend towards fourth finger. [Htn.]

(Pain in the left hand, without swelling.) [BRUNNER, l. c.]

In the first joint of the thumb, a pain as from innumerable pins, afterwards the part was painful to the touch.

105. Pressive-like shooting in the muscles of the left thumb, when at rest and when moving. [Htn.]

Small pricks in the proximal joint of the right finger (aft. 2.1/2 h.). [Htn.]

Drawing tearing in the fourth finger of the right hand through the bones, increase by moving the joints. [Htn.]

Intermittent pressive shooting pain on the metacarpal bones of the right index finger (aft. two day). [Hrr.]

When he presses with the finger tips they are painful as if gathering, or as when salt gets into a wound.

110. Pressive shooting pain on the right ischium, in every position. [Hrr.]

Pressive though painless heaviness in the left thigh, when sitting and walking (aft. 2.1/4 h.). [Hrr.]

Dull pressive pain on the right thigh, a little above the hough, when sitting (aft. 3.1/2 h.). [Htn.]

Shooting pressive pain on the left thigh, not far from the patella (aft. 9 h.0. [Hrr.]

Pressive pain on the inner side of the left thigh near the knee-joint.[Hrr.]

115. Pressive tearing pain on the thigh near the the knee-joint, upwards and outwards (aft. 13 h.). [Hrr.]

Single, acute, fine pricks on the inner side of the left knee. [Htn.]

Aching drawing shooting pain over the right knee (aft. ½ h.). [Htn.]

Dull drawing pain upwards over the right tibia (aft. 3 h.). [Htn.]

Tearing pain in the muscles of the right leg (aft. 3.1/2 h.). [Htn.]

120. Pin-pricks above the right outer ankle, forwards.[Hrr.]

a painful drawing changing into twitching on the dorsum of the right foot (aft. 7.1/2 h.). [Htn.]

(Pain on the right tarsus with swelling and redness which was increased at 2 p.m.). [BRUNNER, l. c.]

Drawing tearing in the right big toe (aft. 4.1/2 h.). [Htn.]

Painful pressive throbbing and throbbing-shooting on the inner side of the right sole, but afterwards on the whole sole, when sitting (aft. 2, 6 h.). [Htn.]

125. Itching on the forearm to the hand, and in the inner side of the knee, above the hough, especially in the evening in bed.

(Every evening before going to bed, an itching, that goes off in bed.)

A pricking itching all over the body, in the evening from 5 to 7 o’clock, and in the morning on rising.

When he goes from the warm room into the cold air, miliary papules appear.

Burning itching all over the body, with rigor.

Red pimples the size of a pin’s head, without moisture, on the back and thighs, they itch (eroding) only in the warmth; the itching went off by scratching, without leaving any other sensation, but only for a short time (aft. 8 h.). [Hrr.]

At night, waking up as from a startling noise. [Trn.]

Frightful dreams during profound sleep.

Restless sleep, dreams of misfortunes (aft. 72 h.).

135. A shivering that spreads from below upwards, all over the body. [Hrr.]

Inward chilliness and drowsiness.

Chilliness all over the body, except the face and chest which are unusually warm; the other parts of the body are cold, even when near the stove. [Hrr.]

In the evening in bed, one hour before falling asleep, he becomes so hot, that the blood boils, the heart palpitates, and sweat stands on the forehead (for two successive evenings).

At night in bed, severe chilliness, especially on the feet, which are very cold, whilst the face and chest are hot. [Hrr.]

140. Distraught disposition.

Silent crossness. [Hrr.]

Extremely cross; the flies on the wall annoy him.

Sullen humour, and yet disposed to work. [Trn.]

Sullen and yet disposed to work. [Htn.]

145. Every word can offend him. [Htn.]

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.

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