Category Archives: Provings

The power of our medicines. Lycopodium.


lycopodium_clavatumThe following experience with overdosing of Lycopodium, are narrated here for the purpose of seeing the effect of the substance on the economy, even in tiny doses.

Lycopodium was prescribed for a physical problem in the potency of LM 0/1. It was taken once a day for 4 days. In the event, it proved to be 3 doses too many.

From the patient:

“ I am currently in a change of life phase, with many things going on in and around me, and it can get a little stressful at times. The reality is that for the last 3 years, I have been facing a huge change in my life with friends, circumstances and location.

In taking the Lycopodium, an impact was felt on the problem prescribed for. Instead of waiting for the dose to complete its action I repeated the medicine 3 more times.

auccayvms1xgl-9v2ly9zgThe first and strongest symptom that appeared, was an absolute PHYSICAL anxiety in the epigastric fossa (scrobiculus Cordis). It gnawed away day and night. Like everything was wrong and I could not get relief from it.

I became irritable and snappy with everyone. An anger would just spring up in my mind and a hot flush of irritation would spew out of my mouth. I found tears in my eyes for no reason and incredible sadness. I began to distrust people with whom I had made plans to do things in the future with. My mind closed into a small room of thoughts bouncing around the thought of having made a big mistake in life and that no one really liked me for me and what I thought was a reality was really yet another cruel trick played and that my reality was loneliness forever and yet another step in the wrong direction of life.

Physically, I developed a rash in both axillae. I am prone to these for which bathing and drying and a little talcum powder clears up in 2 days. These have persisted for a week now with no sign of abating.

The mental symptoms reduced after 2 days and each day get better. Im still not sure if plans made will continue but the intensity of the feeling is much less.  I have yet to establish the reality of decisions made a while or so ago and if the status quo remains the same because of the crazy notion that everything changes when people have to deal with lifes other challenges. There was a huge loss of self respect and worth at the height of the proving. Suicidal almost.”

Symptoms in LYCOPODIUM proving. Hahnemann Chronic diseases.

he feels unhappy

Melancholy, in the evening.- Melancholy ill-humor, sad thoughts.

He weeps and cries, at first, about the past, then about the coming evils.- Great oppression in the scrobiculus cordis from vexation.-

Great anxiety, as it were, in the scrobiculus cordis,

Extremely distrustful and suspicious.- Despairing and inconsolable.

He has trouble to conceal his internal obstinacy and vexation.- Excessive excitement and apprehension.- He smiles without being merry, capricious. Obstinate, self-willed, refractory, passionate, angry.- Very violent and irritable.- Violent mood.

Cannot bear the least contradiction, and at once gets beside herself for vexation.- Angry fury, partly against himself, and partly against others.- Easily excited to vexation and anger.- He quarrels in mind with absent persons.-

Strangely enough, there is not much regarding the rash in axillae. I am presuming it is an aggravation of a recurring symptom rather than a proving symptom and and as such was used in conjuction with other symptoms to move on to the next indicated medicine.

Lycopodium is a very powerful medicine. Be sure to use it carefully and sparingly. Hahnemann states its effects can last up to 50 days on a single dose.


Lycopodium powder is also sometimes used as a lubricating dust on skin-contacting  goods, such as condoms and medical gloves.




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. Continue reading

Sepia, storytelling and delusional seductions

fairy story

By Vera Resnick

Now you tell me, which of the following is more interesting:

“Sepia is suited to tall, slim women with narrow pelvis and lax fibers and muscles; such a woman is not well built as a woman… the remedy seems to abolish the ability to feel natural love, to be affectionate… she may even be estranged and turned aside from those she loves. This is on the border land of insanity… (Kent’s lectures)”


Sepia is suited to all men and women who exhibit symptoms pertaining to that remedy, to be determined first with reference to the proving and subsequently to other materia medicas. (VR et al, 2015)

Continue reading

Sulphur and the art of map-reading

By Vera Resnick

Sulphur is a huge remedy. With 1969 symptoms listed in the Chronic Diseases proving, it is unwieldy to “just look at”.

You can work with provings just as you would use maps to get to know a new city. Perhaps Sulphur is an ideal proving to show the importance of this way of working. When visiting a place you have not been before, it’s often interesting to get to know it on foot, with no prior information, absorbing the sights and sounds and getting interestingly lost. Continue reading

Viewed through proving: the not-so-serene Chamomilla

By Vera Resnick

As practitioners reading this blog will confirm, we often learn the most valuable lessons from our patients.

A patient mentioned to me that recently she found herself irritable and snappy, and didn’t quite know why. It turned out that since she stopped drinking coffee on a previous homeopath’s instructions, she had been drinking large amounts of chamomile tea. Continue reading

What’s in a name? Hahnemann’s warning to beware of disease names

By Vera Resnick

shaHahnemann’s warning to prescribers – beware of disease names…

Treating fibromyalgia? pneumonia? asthma? cancer? gingivitis? diptheria? meningitis?

In his introductions to provings, Hahnemann often gives a list of diseases where the remedy in question has been helpful. Many seem to see this as a clear therapeutic indication for the diseases named. It is noticeable that Hahnemann himself, a very prolific writer, did not write any form of therapeutic catalogue. Continue reading

Viewed through proving: Opium aggravates

Most of Opium’s proving symptoms can be summarized very simply in the following words: Opium aggravates.

The best overview of this remedy is that which Hahnemann gives in the introduction to the proving – so here it is. Go on, read the whole thing. You know you can do it. For those who get bored quickly, look for an important prescribing tip in the text relating to how to prescribe Opium effectively homoeopathically for pain relief.

Read on! Continue reading

Viewed through Proving: The Perfidious Poppy

red poppies

“It is much more difficult to estimate the action of opium than of almost any other drug.”

By Vera Resnick

You may already be familiar with my penchant for tables.  There’s a quote below which in usual unwieldy translation of originally unwieldy German is difficult to read.  Here’s the information in table form, and then read the quote: Continue reading

Hahnemann’s early Provings of Medicines.

Hahnemann was the first who made the proving of medicines a system.

As early as 1790 we see Hahnemann experimenting with drugs upon himself.

In 1796 he writes in Hufeland’s journal [II, St. 3, p. 465. Lesser Writings, 309 et. seq.] that the search for specific remedies [In this place we may observe that the word specific has a different meaning in homoeopathy to what it has among allopathic therapeutists. The latter understand by specific remedies such as are employed for a certain disease ; thus for them quinine is a specific for ague, mercury for syphilis, &c. The physician who seeks for one medicine for a form of disease, falls into routine practice. Homoeopathists understand by specific remedies such as are capable of influencing under certain conditions, certain organs and tissues, these and none other.] was the most desirable and praiseworthy undertaking, but he laments the utter want of any principle for discovering them ; hitherto experience only has been the doubtful guide.

“Nothing then remains for us but to test the medicines on our own bodies.

The necessity of this has been perceived in all ages, but a false way was generally followed, inasmuch as they were only employed empirically and capriciously in diseases.” In this way, he continues, no certain results could be gathered, more especially as medicines were given mixed together.

” The true physician whose sole aim is to perfect his art can make use of no other information concerning medicines , than :

” First, what is the pure action of each by itself on the healthy human body.

” Secondly, what do observations of their action in various simple or complicated maladies teach us ?”

In order to ascertain the actions of drugs on the healthy body, he recommends proving on ourselves and the study of records of poisoning.

” A complete collection of this kind of information with estimation of the degree of reliance to be placed on their reporters would be, if I am not very much mistaken, the foundation stone of a materia medica, the sacred book of its revelation…. “

He zealously occupied himself and others who devoted themselves to it with the proving of medicines, the collection of cases of poisoning and the formation from the results thus arrived at of a materia medica which should be free from all assumptions and founded only on experiment.

His great endeavour was to found a physiological materia medica.

His first essay of this kind was called, Fragments de viribus medicamentorum positivis, Lipsiae , 1805, wherein he arranged systematically the results of his provings and of his studies.

He himself says of it in the preface :

Nemo me melius novit, quam manca sint et tenua.”

Nevertheless a merely superficial glance at this collection will show with what devoted diligence and earnestness of conviction he worked at it.

The book consists of two parts, of which the first contains 269, the second with the repertory of the first, 470 pages.

The drugs in this work whose effects he partly proved on himself and partly gleaned from the toxicological observations of others, are the following in their order :

Aconitum napellus, tinctura acris (Hahnemann‘s causticum),
Lytta vesicatoria (cantharides),
Capsicum annuum,
Cuprum vitriolatum,
Ledum palustre,
Helleborus niger,
Nux vomica,
Veratrum album.

In the same year, 1805, he says in his Medicine of Experience : [Lesser Writings, p. 514.]

those substances which we term medicines are unnatural irritants, only calculated to disturb the health of our body, our life and the functions of our organs, and to excite disagreeable sensations, in one word to render the healthy — sick.

There is no medicine whatever which does not possess this tendency, and no substance is medicinal which does not possess it.”

Therefore he required the most exact proving of drugs on the human body in order to ascertain their powers.

Ameke, Wilhelm. History of Homœopathy, Its Origin; Its Conflicts. 1885

Viewed through proving: Sepia has left the gym…

exercise sudoku“… It is a sluggish state of the body which requires exercise, and violent exercise to keep it in a state of comfort. …The … symptoms are … better from exercise in the open air…”

What remedy does this describe? Sepia, of course. We all know that Sepia is better for lots of exercise. Don’t we?

This is where it gets interesting. In the proving, for the most part when any physical exertion is mentioned, it’s actually a cause for aggravation. Not amelioration. Walking is mentioned over 90 times in this proving. Around 7 instances are in the introduction, and amelioration from walking appears around 8 times in a proving containing 1655 symptoms. All the rest – approximately 75 mentions of aggravation from walking by my count. Around 21 on these mentions relate to walking in the open air, and Sepia provers did note sensitivity to cold, but that still leaves us with over 50 instances where walking aggravated.

The opening sentences are quoted from Kent’s lectures – most of those reading this probably first met Sepia through Kent. We met this unfeminine female, who is cold, angular, depressed, worn out, and needs violent exercise to keep her human. Add to that the image of the ink-spitting cuttlefish, attacking with sudden sarcasm and retreating – it all gets very picturesque, so to speak. The problem with all these images is that they stick so firmly in memory that even once you know they are fallacious they are very difficult to dislodge. I remember a live case where the homoeopath pointed at the patient, who shrank back in dismay, and declared in tones that brooked no argument – “behold Sepia, fix the image of this patient in your memories!” Needless to say (after such an intro) Sepia didn’t work…

It gets even more interesting however when we look at the therapeutic pocket book, where Boenninghausen included Sepia in amelioration from physical exertion – in 4 points. This brings us to the issue of the grading in the TPB, which is often erroneously considered to reflect the intensity of the symptom. The significance of the grading relates to the extent to which that symptom was verified in clinical use. A symptom appearing in 1 point is a completely valid remedy symptom – just one which has been used less and therefore verified less in the clinic. Sepia in 4 points in amelioration from physical exertion means that Boenninghausen saw this amelioration over and over again, sufficiently so to include it in his carefully and meticulously crafted TPB. Sepia also appears in the TPB under different expressions of aggravation from physical exertion, but only appears in one, two or three points.

So we have the proving – pointing to aggravation from physical exertion, repeated over and over again by provers and by Hahnemann himself in his introduction to the proving. And we have Boenninghausen’s TPB weighting the balance in the direction of amelioration from physical exertion. What’s the “take home” from all this?

I’d suggest the following:

1. Blank out the Kentian “image” (and those presented by other homoeopaths before and since). This image is not helpful for accurate, focused prescribing.

2. Amelioration from physical exertion was presented by Boenninghausen – a master clinician. This strengthens a modality which only found moderate expression in the proving. There is nothing to negate the symptom, and many clinical cases, together with Boenninghausen’s grading in the TPB, to support it.

And possibly most importantly:

3. If Sepia looks like a good fit but the patient is not ameliorated from physical exertion, or is even aggravated by it – don’t rule out Sepia. If it looks like the best remedy for the case, give it. Even if the patient is fair, round, has blue eyes, and is a 15 year old boy…