Viewed through proving – a mystery

Ladies and gentlemen – a mystery. Not really, but I’d like you to look at the symptoms below before scrolling down, and think what remedy proving they belong to.

– Anxiety, thinks he will be ruined (aft. 1 h..).
– Anxiety in the region of the heart, with suicidal impulse, and feeling of inclination to vomit in the scrobiculus cordis.
– Trembling anxiety, as if about to die (aft. 1 h.).
– Anxious solicitude about his health.
– Restless state of the disposition, as if he did not do his duty properly (aft. 18 h.).
– Extreme hesitancy.
– Neglect of his business, hesitancy, sobbing respiration and loss of composure.
– Sometimes he wants to do one thing, sometimes another, and when he is given something to do, he will not do it (aft. 10 h.).
– Dull, cross, very chilly.
– Sullen, lachrymose, anxious. [Stf.]
– He is very silent. [Fr. H-n.]
– He hesitates in his speech; it vexes him to have to answer.
– Everything disgusts him; everything is repugnant to him.
– Her head is so quiet and all about her is so empty as if she were alone in the house and in the world: she does not wish to talk to anyone, just as if all around her were no concern of hers and she belonged to nobody.

You could just add more “cold” and find yourself in one remedy, add some “dry” and maybe it’s another, and the death thing? Business and duty? And the desire to be alone? No concern of hers and she belongs to nobody? Every symptom throws us in different directions, especially those of us who received a stiff, toxic dose of “personalities of remedies” as part of our training.

OK, so if you’ve gotten this far, some of you may be interested to know (and some may know already) that these are Pulsatilla proving symptoms. And apart from some hesitancy symptoms, the proving exhibits absolutely nothing in mental symptoms bearing any resemblance to the timid, yielding, gentle Pulsatilla we all have come to know and love through homoeopathy studies…

But here’s the problem. There is strong clinical evidence for this application of Pulsatilla. Hahnemann himself states in the introduction to the proving:

“Hence the medicinal employment of pulsatilla will be all the more efficacious when …there is at the same time in the patient a timid, lachrymose disposition, with a tendency to inward grief and silent peevishness, or at all events a mild and yielding disposition… It is therefore especially adapted for slow, phlegmatic temperature ; on the other hand, it is but little suitable for persons who form their resolutions with rapidity, and are quick in their movements, even though they may appear to be good tempered.”

I put Pulsatilla through the reversed materia medica in the P&W Therapeutic Pocketbook and got the following, which really shows that Pulsatilla can run a very broad gamut of emotional symptoms, but doesn’t stress timidity, hesitancy or a tendency to be conveniently yielding over many other expressions of the remedy. The main representation is in the symptom Gentleness, where Pulsatilla appears in four points, but that is one symptom amongst many others.

Pulsatilla screenshot 2

Pulsatilla screenshot 1

More than that – reading through the proving of Pulsatilla, it is clear that this remedy is probably very under-prescribed, with most practitioners looking for a mild yielding temperament as part of the disease picture which, certainly in my experience and I hope in that of many readers, does not necessarily have to be present in order for this remedy to work its wonders.

Prescribing effectively requires examination of provings (in order to work in accordance with the principle of like cures like), and then examination of clinical experience. The attribution of a mild, yielding disposition to Pulsatilla is a clinical finding. This is demonstrated both by Hahnemann’s words in the introduction, and in the grade given to Pulsatilla by Boenninghausen, the fourth, which together with the third indicates his observation of the symptom in clinical work.

So while the forsaken, forlorn and timid blond haired blue-eyed Pulsatilla will probably always retain her (always her…) place in our imaginations, we must also pay attention to the surly, peevish Pulsatilla who may be hesitant, suicidal, or merely wants to be alone…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.