Observations on the Homoeopathic Materia Medica
Failure to achieve results us usually put down to incorrect prescribing, very often quite rightly, but it should be appreciated that the Homoeopathic Materia Medica is incomplete. There are not records of any unsuccessful proving in over a century and a half, which suggests that all, or nearly all, substances on earth are capable of affecting man in the potentized if not in the crude state; which means that there are several thousand potential homoeopathic remedies as yet untouched.
Even if the almost insuperable difficulties of proving and clinically testing were overcome, the addition of so many new medicines would tend to offset any gains by making the already unwieldy and complex material medical so large that it would virtually impossible for anyone to become familiar with it and the difficulties of remedy selection would even greater than they are at present. The immense field covered by the existing materia medica is surprising, however the selection was made.
The only way that appreciable progress can be made through provings is to be able to predetermine the potential value of the substance to be proved. However difficult the problem, much more thought must be given to it. Most recent provings have been almost entirely wasted because there is little incentive to carry out an intensive clinical trial of a remedy which might in the end turn out to be of very little value, although the proving themselves have been carried out scientifically and with the utmost care. Clinical testing is necessary to provide the more important part of the drug picture.
In the meantime, obviously the best possible use should be made of the valuable materia medica available and careful attention to past history is one way by which this can be achieved. Also, in view of the limitations of the proved and tested materia medica, there should be no hesitation in prescribing unproved remedies such as the nosodes of acute disease as occasion demands.
This is not intended to imply that the vast resources of the Homoeopathic Materia Medica of thoroughly tested remedies should be in any way neglected or that the exacting discipline of remedy selection on a symptomatic basis be escaped. The object of this paper is rather to draw attention to the value sometimes obtainable from the patient’s past history, and to justify the administration of unproved potentized medicines in certain specified circumstances.