Installment 14 of a series on case analysis
© Will Taylor, MD 2001 (bio)
Provings in Crude Dose vs. Provings in Potency
Hahnemann's earliest provings were performed with crude or tincture doses. By the time of his Chronic Diseases - 30 years into the development of homeopathy - he preferred the use of the 30C potency.
Richard Hughes, the dean of British Homeopathy (mid-late 1800's), rejected the use of "non-material" doses. Hughes considered provings with potencies of 30C or higher to be without value.
This resulted in some perplexing entries in his Cyclopaedia of Drug Pathogenesy; e.g., under Theridion, he rejected all of Hering's symptoms (as these were obtained with the 30C potency), and substituted for these the toxicologic effects of the bite of other spiders - principally the European malmignatte.
Conversely, H.A. Roberts, in The Principles and Art of Cure by Homeopathy wrote:
The best provings that we have, showing the finer differentiations and the most pronounced reaction, are made from the potencies from the 30th upward, because it is in this form that they more readily meet the vital energy as it pervades the whole organism, and they create reactions that are not capable of being produced in the cruder exhibitions, which are largely toxic.
In those instances where we have careful observations of both the effects of crude doses and the higher potencies, it appears that these sources of information complement each other, together giving us the full range of pathogenesis of a remedy.
Crude or toxicological doses bring out strongly the grosser pathologies and tissue affinities of a remedy; higher potencies bring out the more dynamic symptoms, with finer definition of sensations and modalities, along with the more subtle aspects of the mental/emotional state. Prejudice and theoretical reasoning aside, our most useful provings include observations on the full range of potencies.
Implications for the future
H.A. Roberts suggested that:
The field here is ripe for much investigation, and the results of such investigation would enrich the homoeopathic materia medica by completing provings of some of the older remedies, and by bringing out provings of new remedies.
This remains as true today as it was in Roberts' time. While the introduction of new remedies through provings will continue to be of significant value to our practice, it is just as important to review our existing body of proving data; to pick out those places where our glass is truly half-empty so that future investigations may be made, as well as to appreciate those places where our glass is half-full; to find the full measure of value in our existing collection of pure materia medica.
Next Installment: Families of Remedies for the EH Database