Homoeopathy means “like cures like.”
The characteristic features of different medicines have been investigated for thousands of years. People have repeatedly faced different poisons and have known their nature. Socrates was made to drink Conium 2500 years ago.
Although people knew the effects of this poison before this, the personal experience and the moment-by-moment, detailed description of the effects of this poison as given by Socrates had never been known as before. As the poisonous symptoms gradually worsened, he kept describing to his attendants precisely as to what, where and in what order was his body being affected by the poison.
Dr. Hahnemann also tried many poisons on himself, in diluted form, and also noted the effects minutely as described by Socrates. He also found that when a weakened poison is administered in small doses repeatedly, its unique properties become manifest but do not last forever.
This process of registering minute details of the actions of the poison and like substances is called “Proving”.
Along similar lines to Dr. Hahnemann, many homoeopaths have experimented on themselves with various poisons and noted their detailed effects. In this way, the Homoeopathic Materia Medica” has steadily expanded.
Extended proving cannot be based on one person’s experimentation. For proper acceptance, the proving has to be done by many: in different times, weather and localities and on people with different dispositions. Proper registry into the Materia Medica is attained after collective group discussions on the methods and results of proving arrived at individually, as some drugs may work better on obese people and some on thin and lean people. The volunteers of these experiments are not told of what and from what source they have been given a substance. Experimentation is repeated in different seasons and the effects are noted on the body as well as the mind. All studies are carefully scrutinised and determined.
Dr. Hahnemann has given the most weight to the effect on the mind. One remedy has a similar effect on two patients with similar mental symptoms, but may not have a similar effect on two patients with similar physical appearance.