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How Homeopathic Provings Work

Before Homeopathic remedies are released into general practice, they are trialed by healthy human volunteers. During a trial, each prover records their experiences of how they felt, what they did, what they thought, what they dreamt about and believed in journals.
What symptoms a remedy can produce, in a healthy volunteer, is then an indicator of what it may cure in someone suffering from that symptom.
For instance. If you never suffer from headaches and during a proving you develop a hammering migraine, then we know that the remedy has an affinity with headches.
The Origins of Provings
When Hahnemann the originator of Homeopathy took repeated doses of Cinchona Bark (Cortex Peruvianus), after translating a medical text-book, to find out why it cured malaria, he discovered:
“I became languid and drowsy; then my heart began to palpitate; my pulse became quick and hard; an intolerable anxiety and trembling; prostration in all limbs; pulsation in the head; redness of cheeks; thirst. Briefly, these were all the symptoms usually associated with intermittent fever and they all made their appearance.”
He had accidentally discovered the major principle of Homeopathy, that ‘Like Cures Like”.
Provings Today
The journals the provers keep are then analysed by the master prover/s. They are then carefully graded, sifted through and analysed then added to the ‘Materia Medica’, (the Homeopathic listing of remedies), written-up and published. The symptoms are also converted into ‘rubrics’ (shortened sentences used to indicate a remedy) and added to the Repertory (the book of symptoms).
There are now over 2,000 Homeopathic remedies that have all gone through a similar rigorous process. Some provings only involve a few people. Some have larger amounts of volunteers. I have conducted 8 provings to date. They are time consuming, frustrating, amazing and wonderful experiences and they also need devotion and focus. Most colleges now expect 3rd year students to take part in a proving so they can experience first -hand what it actually feels like to sample a new substance and have it do strange, weird and wonderful things to your body and your mind. This is a collective encounter and knowing that your whole college-year is going through the same feelings as yourself is in some ways more comforting than doing it all on your own.
Provings can vary considerably in their format and while one proving might be classified as analytical and logical another might be considered more poetic or creative. I aim for the more creative side of provings because what fascinates me is how there is always one prover who ‘speaks’ the remedy. They touch-in completely with its source, its function, it expression.
The Homeopathic Proving of Aquae-Sulis the Roman Bath Spa Water
This prover recorded these images after allowing the energies of the remedy to ‘take her over’ during a meditation after taking one dose of the remedy. She succumbed to the feelings rather than fighting them.
Prover 9
Day One
9am Took Remedy
9.20am –Meditate “Image of green, tall grass as if I am inside a swamp-breeze blowing the grass above my head. As if I am very small-looking up to this grass and the sky beyond. My Guide took me up and we looked down on tall grass stretching out below us, some bulrushes in there as well. Water-small streams running through.
Now set me down in a deep dark forest-makes me think of rainforest. Very wet, I'm still small, some branches, things seem huge. I could be frightened but I feel secure at the moment. It'’s warm & damp. This forest, the grass has been here forever, since the planet began.
Stepped into a swampy hole, sucked down. Mouth, ears, eyes filled with swamp. Hands above my head, travelling very fast down a channel of light, feet first. Deep into the earth, into its core.
Hit rock with a bump. I'’m me, but more elemental than who I was, more the essence of me, part of a shaft of light. (Feel tired, heavy-the meditation).
Rock is cold, dark like jet, jagged, glistens in the light. Rocky landscape, no sky but light enough for me to see. Textures important-smooth rock, sharp, jagged rough not easy to walk so I sit in one place. No sound, sulphur smell-volcanic? I slip into a crevasse and become part of the rock- shaky, shard, brittle, easily broken up………...Stepping back from meditation now.”
9.53am

As she relates how she feels after taking the remedy, she is ‘sucked down’ to the source of where the Bath Spa Water comes from and even notes a smell of sulphur. The Roman Bath Spa Water smells of sulphur as it contains 1015 mg per litre of Sulphate.
Bath Spa water rises at 46° Celsius, the temperature of a hot bath, and contains 43 minerals. The water comes out of the ground at a point where a geological fault (the Pennyquick fault) fractures impermeable strata above the water bearing rocks, allowing it to rise up from great depth.
This proving ran along-side a proving of the same substance in New Jersey in the US with Homeopath Kim Kalina.

Each prover was given a number between 1 and 12 and is the only way to identify them afterwards. Confidentiality was paramount. Things can 'come up' during a proving that volunteers don't want to share. Talking it through with the supervisor and verbalising it, can ensure that only relevant symptoms are published. Keeping a journal can be tedious. Having to write everything you do and feel for weeks on end can seem endless and frustrating but the more the provers can record, the more we will understand the healing potential of a new substance.
We don't tell the provers what the substance is until after the proving finishes. This is to ensure we do not influence their mental state and make them ‘imagine’ symptoms. As they have no idea what the substance is, they can just assume that everything they feel is because of the remedy. However, humans are complex beings and during a proving will justify a symptom that has arisen maybe by saying: '“I feel tired because I stayed-up late”', forgetting that they'’ve had a new remedy. This is where the supervisors help the provers process their feelings and their symptoms.
This prover kept writing that she was feeling no different and nothing was happening:
Prover 10
Day one
Lots of trouble with the house and a flooded garage-lots of phone calls-I can think of a better way to spend an evening but it did not really affect my mood.
So, even though she thinks 'nothing is happening', (as her mood wasn't affected) she has taken a remedy made from water and her garage floods!
This prover has a realisation about Homeopathy. He’ is not a Homeopath, he’ is a lecturer in Science at a Further Education College:
Prover 11
Day 9
Dreams- still a lot, and detailed-holiday near beach: sudden solar eclipse (unpredicted)-yet I wasn't ‘fazed’ by this.
Day 15
I’d like to learn more about “the memory of water” and how Homeopathy might work. But analysis is not the answer!
The proving commenced on Monday 23rd January 2007. The provers were asked to take the remedy at 9am. Before the proving started Usha, Mabel and myself 'took the cases' of all the provers. This was a 'before' analysis, then we could see, if during the proving, anything changed.We asked them their best time of day, their likes and dislikes, weather, food, sleep and most important, Dreams.
Dreams from an Aquae-Sulis Prover
Prover 9
Day 4
This is based on my concern for a great niece. The dream is set in her house and in the sea. There is contamination in the sea. The great niece collects water in a plastic container and continues to fiddle with it in the house- I didn'’t recognise her but her Mum was there. The great niece develops sores on her arms and she is taken to hospital with smallpox. Her mother is told to clean the house, wash everything. I can’t keep awake so occupy a room to sleep. In the early hours, the doctor + other people bring their car with the niece into the entrance hall and have to wait as I have to clean the room I am in-very dusty, messy. In the midst of this, my father goes out, stays out all night and returns to sleep in the early hours.
Day 10
In charge of a school having to organise a day of events. Events happen, everything goes smoothly, I have nothing to do. I give a speech which no one can hardly hear, but those who do think it’s good. A happy contented dream! Needed to find a toilet in the dream.
Day 24
Very mixed with images + people from the day before + unknown + family. The main feeling was getting ready for the wrong thing, in the wrong clothes which kept unravelling + no-one seemed to be able to help, basically not being ready. I needed to wash my hair + in the dream someone gave me a shampoo which made my hair fall out-public place like a swimming pool.

Other Provings
It’'s amazing how things change for a prover as the proving progresses.For instance, in the Homeopathic proving of Naufragium Helvetia (Shipwreck) prover number 7 recorded:
Prover 7: 'Tues 30th Oct I woke in the night for a wee.'
'Thurs 31st Oct I woke up in the night for a wee.'
'Fri 1st Nov I woke up in the night for a wee.
'Sat 2nd Nov Took 5th and final pill before bed last night. I woke up in the night for a wee.'

..........after he'd finished the pills this didn't happen again.
In the Homeopathic proving of Ruina Castellum (Old Wardour Castle) prover number 2 recorded:
Prover 2
Day 5
I didn't want to eat much when I got home. I seem to have lost my appetite lately. I also don't want to drink coffee. I can't seem to finish a whole cup. I want to eat light foods like salads or vegetables. We have hardly any food in the house because I haven't been bothered to buy any.

This is why we talk to provers before the proving starts, so we can establish 'who they are', because as the proving goes on, they become more influenced by the remedy.

Anti-dote.
At the end of the proving on Sunday 12th Feb 2007 the Aquae-Sulis proving finished. We asked the provers to take an anti-dote of Sulphur 1m before bed.They didn't have to take it as some provers have liked remedies so much that they didn't want to change things. If they experienced this, then they skippped the antidote, but for those who wanted to go back to the 'way they were', they took the anti-dote, then recorded their last feelings before bed and on Monday 13th 2007 posted their completed journals to us.

I would like to thank the volunteers very much for their help also Usha Pearce RSHom and Mabel Smith RSHom who supervised this proving. Only Usha and I knew what the substance was.
The remedy was sourced from a sample of water from the Roman Baths and potentised to 30c and 200c at Helios Homeopathic Pharmacy in Tunbridge Wells and the full proving can be read on my websiteMary's Provings where there are links to my other provings.


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