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Only a proportion of the several thousand substances in use as homoeopathic medicines or 'remedies', have received ‘provings’.
Our knowledge of the others arises in a number of ways, the most common being clinical experience - see below.
A ‘proving’ is an experiment carried out on healthy volunteers under careful conditions to discover what happens to the health of each participant after taking the substance being ‘proved’.
Only when tested - proved - on a sufficiently large number of people can one say with fair certainty that a remedy is known sufficiently well to be useful.
Once proved, we know what conditions that remedy can cure. So new provings are an important activity for homeopaths.
But they take time and considerable care and patience. Often they take up to a year to do. They are carried out by keen volunteers from time to time.
It is not the proving itself that inhibits quick access to this new knowledge, but the care needed to carry it out and the time taken to assemble and organise, then understand, and finally tabulate the results of the proving in an easily understandable and usable form.
Many provers believe that doing provings keeps them healthy, because taking a homoeopathic remedy challenges their Vital Force, making it - and them - better at adapting to life.
Assiduous work by Jeremy Sherr and others has led to a resurgence in interest in this important activity: not that they were never done before - far from it - but they were seldom conducted with the thoroughness and rigour we expect nowadays, including control groups and double-blind prescriptions.
Examples of provings since the mid-1980s include:
The basic premise in homoeopathy is that one should treat diseases with medicines that would produce similar conditions in healthy volunteers. That being so, it is important to find out what medicines do to healthy people!
So, first mildly poison a healthy volunteer. See what happens.
When you have a good idea of what happens - in a large group of different kinds of people - you can use that information to treat someone who presents with similar symptoms.
Because there are so many people on Earth and so many possible ways of responding to ill-health, it is unlikely that we'll ever have a remedy for every individual and condition.
However, that still leaves a huge number of people for whose diseases we do have remedies.
Many were discovered through provings.
Samuel Hahnemann, who discovered homoeopathy, was the first to recognise this and proved new medicines on himself first and then on his family and friends before the medicine was allowed to become a 'remedy'.
But not all! Some are discovered through clinical experiment, such as when someone is given something (which could be a normal orthodox Western-style medicine) that makes the patient better much faster than usual. A homoeopath might reasonably argue that in this particular individual's case, the medicine was very closely homoeopathic to the patient's condition.
By very carefully studying that patient's symptoms before taking the remedy a picture can be drawn of what that medicine can cure. (Bear in mind the primary and secondary actions of medicines, for more about which also read Homeopathic Remedy.)
If you have enjoyed this or other pages on this site, you might enjoy reading one of Jonathan Clogstoun-Willmott's books - see below.
Alternatively, ring him on 07950 012501 or freephone (only free to telephone within the UK) 0800 298 7015.
Please note! The Kindle editions are less easy to read! Although the paper editions cost more, they are much easier to read and to refer back and forth to the contents and index. But ... there is no paper edition of Yang Deficiency as yet.
Here are some of the books Jonathan has written:
No comments yet: only just published.
3000 years of Chinese being stressed, and at last, here's a book showing how all that experience can help you!
By the author of this website, it explains in simple English how to use stress to improve and enhance your life.
NB You can also order 'Qi Stagnation - Signs of Stress' from your bookseller.
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