Viewed through proving: The hardened criminals of Hahnemann’s materia medica

a hardened criminal

The Jewish New Year and Day of Atonement are approaching.  Traditionally the New Year is a time for deep soul searching, for seeking to atone for our sins. Which led me to thoughts on sinning in general and on sin in the materia medica in particular.

Interestingly enough, in the materia medica, Hahnemann seems to reserve the term “sinner” for practitioners who, although knowing the truth, choose to ignore it…

In the preface to Chamomile discussed previously on this blog:

“As long as you really did not know, did not suspect the peculiar sufferings camomile is capable of occasioning, you sinned out of pure ignorance; but now that you have here displayed before you a list of the pure pathogenetic effects of camomile, you may well begin to be ashamed of your sin in inflicting so much suffering on your patients, who come to you in order to obtain from you an alleviation of their sufferings, a cure and relief of their diseases, by your everyday employment or unlimited permission to take it in cases for which it is unsuitable, and moreover, in such enormous doses.”

However, there are remedies that can produce the sense that the prover has committed a crime.  It seems to me that this symptom is only worthy of repertorization if the patient in question has not committed a crime.  If the various extreme criminals of the 20th century would stream into my clinic (unlikely), sit down with a world-weary sigh and mournfully announce “I constantly feel as if I have committed a crime” – to repertorize?  I don’t think so.

So who are the pathologically hardened criminals of Hahnemann’s material medica?  A search under “crime” and a back-up search under “done wrong” revealed the following.

First we have the dreamers.  They don’t necessarily agonize about having done wrong, but they dream that they’ve done the dirty, somehow, somewhere, or at least were accused of it:

Clematis: Symptom 147: Dream, that he was innocently arrested on account of a crime of which he was accused.  (CD)
Nit-Ac: Symptom 1349:Dreams of crimes, which he commits (CD)
Nat-Mur: Symptom 511:  After little more than his usual supper, many confused dreams of crimes, for which he with others was called to account. (CD)

Then we have the agonizers.  If something has been done, they are sure they have done it.

Mercury stands out with four symptoms – but since Mercury was such a common remedy for Syphilis, one can’t help thinking that patients needing it may well feel they have really done wrong…

Alumina: Symptom 17: Anxiety and fearfulness, as if he had committed a crime (on 5th d.).  (CD)
Am-C: Symptom 8:  Every afternoon between 5 and 6 o’clock she is seized with anguish, as if she had committed the greatest crime ; this passes off in the evening. (CD)
Carbo Veg: Symptom 8:  For restlessness and anguish every afternoon, he trembled all over the body ; he felt as if he had committed a great crime, this dissolved itself into copious weeping, even before strangers on the street. (CD)
Cocculus: Symptom 536:  Anxiety as if she had committed a great crime. (MMP)
Cyclamen:  Symptom 196:   Inward grief and anxiety of conscience, as if he had not done his duty or had committed a crime (aft. 1 h.). (MMP)
Digitalis: Symptom 9:   Internal anguish, like anguish of conscience, as if he had committed a crime, or had to expect reproaches (continuing for more than three months).  (CD)
Nux-V: Symptom 1236: Anxiety and anguish as if he had committed some crime. (MMP)
Pulsatilla: Symptom 1002: Nocturnal anxiety on awaking , as if he had committed a crime. (MMP)
Calc Carb: Symptom 13: Anxious at heart, as if he had done wrong, or had to apprehend reproaches, with constant inclination to work. (CD)
Caust:  Symptom 6: Anxiety the whole day, as if he had done something wrong, or had to fear it, or as if a misfortune had happened.  (CD)
Mag. Pol. Aust: Symptom 182: Pain compounded of aching and drawing on both sides of the sternum at the same time, with an anxiety that will not allow him to remain in any one place, as if he had done something wrong. (MMP)
Silica: Symptom 8: He feels the greatest conscientious scruples about trifles ; as if he had done a very great wrong.

*And the winner is*:
Mercurius (MMP):
1222: Restlessness, he cannot remain quiet in any place; he can neither stand nor lie, and is as if mad, or as if lie had committed a great crime.
1229: Anxiety as if he had committed a crime.
1234: Anxiety and apprehension in the blood, he knew not how to compose himself; he felt as if he had committed a crime, without heat, also at the same time as if he was not quite master of his senses, all day.
1235.  Anxiety that could drive him far away as if he had committed a crime or some misfortune were about to happen to him.

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