“The best opportunity for exercising our sense of observation and to perfect it, is by proving medicines ourselves.” ~Samuel Hahnemann
The NEW YORK SCHOOL OF HOMEOPATHY is dedicated to the belief that modern homeopaths should continue to prove substances that can be made into homeopathic remedies. Jeremy Sherr says “Provings are the pillars upon which homeopathic practice stands”.
Yes, they are the pillars. But can one use a remedy that has not been proven yet? Of course, especially when a patient clearly describes his/her experience of the source during the interview. Even in a Sensation case, it’s confirmatory to see that the symptoms described by the patient are the same ones produced during the proving. It gives one confidence in the prescription. In non- Sensation cases, the correct remedy is solely determined by the proving symptoms, because the most reliable symptoms listed in the repertory all came from provings.
For those of you who may not know, a proving is the testing of a substance to find out which symptoms the substance is capable of producing and hence curing. They are conducted on volunteers in a reasonable state of health (provers) who generally have no knowledge of what substance it is they are taking. Doses (at NYSH we use 30c) are repeated until provers start to experience symptoms of a change in state. The provers record and report to their supervisor everything they experience, whether physical, emotional, mental, or even spiritual, as long as the change in state persists. At the end of the proving all the records are collated and compared to find the physical symptoms, states of mind, feelings and experiences that the provers have had in common and which can reasonably be attributed to the emerging signature resonance of the substance.
Homeopathic provings are a great deal of work. Even before the months, and often years of work that are required to gather, extract and compile the information, there is the very daunting task of convincing between 10 and 20 people to take an unknown substance in the name of research, and then to find an equal number of homeopaths who have the time and inclination to supervise them. It’s a wonder that any of us conduct provings at all.
But a proving is in fact a wondrous thing–it is a wonderful confirmation of the basic principles of homeopathy. At the extraction meetings, it’s thrilling to see the similarities among the individual reactions of the provers, and it’s even more exciting to see these similarities clearly confirmed in their notebooks, all the while realizing that, one day, this new remedy is going to cure people. This is why many of us in our profession continue to take on the work of conducting provings, and why many brave volunteers continue to take these unknown substances while busy homeopaths take the time to supervise them. In doing so, everyone involved contributes to the well-being of mankind. Hahnemann would be pleased.
Sometimes the results can be unpleasant (see the Musca domestica, housefly proving at . It is important to remember that as Hahnemann said, regardless of the symptoms that are produced during a proving, everyone involved is in a higher state of health or awareness after the experience. Not only have we helped to expand our materia medica, but both provers and supervisors end up in a healthier state as a result. The kind of introspection that provers indulge in during a proving is a mind-expanding treat. That is why prospective provers, rather than feel as if they are about to become guinea pigs, can consider themselves more like Alice in Wonderland, and be confident that whether or not they suffer with temporary symptoms, the experience will enlighten them.
A proving is a journey–an honorable journey for all involved. It should be embarked on with care and caution, but without fear. With this article we hope to encourage many more Hahnemannian provings, not only to increase and strengthen our materia medica, but to increase awareness and strengthen the homeopathic community.
At the NEW YORK SCHOOL OF HOMEOPATHY we strongly support and encourage the proving of new remedies. We also encourage the circulation of this material throughout the homeopathic community, free of charge. NYSH has conducted three provings; Musca domestica, (housefly), Hippocampus kuda, (seahorse) and Didelphis Virginiana, (opossum) and these are available for reading or download on our site . Our latest proving of Didelphis Virginiana, the Virginia opossum is printed here for HPATHY readers, followed by a successful case.
If you use Musca domestica, Hippocampus kuda, or Didelphis Virginiana with success, please send us your results. These remedies are all available at HAHNEMANN PHARMACY, 888-4-ARNICA.