Homoeopathy is based only upon experience: it wants to be judged by results. If you wish to obtain the same success imitate me frankly and loyally.–HAHNEMANN.
Before developing the subjects of Hahnemannian proving, one of the most solid bases upon which homoeopathic therapeutics rests, I will begin by pointing out what we shall understand as a remedy.
Since time immemorial many opinions have been emitted on this matter, but until today not all of the authors have thought in the same way. At the present time Manquat says:.
A remedy is any substance used to cure, to help the cure, to relieve or contribute to the repair of the sick organism. (Therapeutics Treated, Vol. 1, page 7, 1918.).
Remedies are substances which on being introduced into the organism develop certain energies according to their composition and state. (Cahis and Balmanya, Scientific Concept of Homoeopathy.).
Every remedys quality is that of producing within the protoplasm only transitory and not destructive changes with the therapeutic dose. But if these modifications are profound within the cellular elements and disturb their vitality by physical or chemical action, it is not then a remedy, it is a poison.
(Arnozan, Handbook of Therapeutics, Testut Collection, Vol. I, page 10. 1925.).
Mayoral Pardo in his Therapeutics and Pharmacodynamics says:.
A remedy is any substance which may produce neither destructive nor irreparable transitory changes in the protoplasm. (Only volume, page 10. 1940.).
And in this fashion we could continue quoting from various authors which would not bring us to any conclusion, on the other hand we are of the opinion of the founder of homoeopathy who wisely says:.
A remedy is any substance which has the property of sickening a healthy man and of curing a sick man: a remedy is distinguished from the morbid causes in that these sicken but do not cure. (Dr. Higinio G. Perez, General Pathology, page 240. 1914.).
And Dr. Leon Simon in his Lectures on Materia Medica sustained in Paris, 1894, completes this criterion as follows:.
Every remedy must fulfil three conditions:.
1. That of sickening the healthy man.
2. That of having the power of restoring the sick man to health and.
3. That of having the property of producing these double effects even when given in small doses.
The provings in the healthy man preconized by the founder of homoeopathy has been outlined by Heraclitus of Tares, from the most ancient of times, five hundred years before the Christian era, who carried it out with the intention of opposing the action of poisons.
In 1549 one of the most remarkable doctors of the Renaissance, Peter Andrew Mattoli, physician to Ferdinand I, on proving Aconitum napellus on himself, left us a brief but unfinished description of the case. Conrad Gesner, a Swiss naturalist (1516-1555) proved Eupatorium aquaticum. Daniel Sennert (1572-1637), a German philosopher and a conspicuous physician of his epoch, along with his contemporaries Baglivio, Sydenham and Hoffmann mentioned the necessity of knowing the action of remedies upon a healthy man without having carried out any real proving.
Stoerck (1731-1803) from Swabia, called the “emetics champion,” was the first in this epoch to carry out studies on toxicology and experimental pharmacology with Indian hemp, stramonium, henbane, colchicum, aconitum, conium maculatum and pulsatilla. Kratochwill makes observations about colchicum and Krapf makes known the action of ranunculus with which only obtained vesicular eruption on the skin.
The founder of homoeopathy tells us that Albert von Haller (1708-1777). an eminent Swiss physician from Bern, was the only one who pointed out the necessity of knowing the action of simple remedies upon a healthy man, in fact, in his book entitled Helvetic Pharmacopoeia, von Haller affirms:.
A remedy must be proven first upon a healthy man introducing into his organism a little dose of it without any extraneous mixture: one takes note of all affections produced by it, pulse, warmth, breathing, excretions and afterwards using as a guide the phenomena observed in a healthy man, the remedy will be proven upon a sick man.
Notwithstanding that he never did realize a proving in the real sense of the word.
Vicat (1776), in his History of Switzerlands Poisonous Plants, carried out important studies with hyoscyamus and ranunculus sceleratus. The experimental studies upon opium of John Leigh from Edinburgh (1785) with which he obtained the Harvey Prize, are indeed worthy of mention.