Homeopathic Doctor in Houston Texas

Provings—What They Are—Why They Matter

How do we know how our homeopathic medicines function? How do we know what each medicine can cure? We know because of PROVINGS.

So what is a proving? Let’s start simply. Say you don’t react well to cow’s milk. Every time you drink milk you get diarrhea. Whenever you drink milk you “prove” that milk causes diarrhea, at least in you, an otherwise healthy person. You have just done a mini-proving.

In a homeopathic proving, a potentized substance (diluted and shaken) is tested on healthy human volunteers until they begin to show symptoms. This potentized substance could have originated from a plant, a mineral, an animal product (milk, venom, etc.), a simple or a compound chemical. It is given to the volunteers, called provers. Whatever the provers experience is attributed to the medicine. Interestingly, these symptoms occur in all parts of the body and also affect the mind.

The symptoms are then recorded by each prover in a notebook and will eventually make up the core of our knowledge about that substance.

Usually, the group of provers numbers between ten and thirty, males and females. No one in the proving knows what they are taking except the person in charge, who is called the “master prover.” In a double-blinded study, even the master prover does not know what substance is being proved.

During the course of the proving, which can last up to thirty days, the master prover periodically interviews each prover in order to better understand the symptoms the prover is reporting. He attempts to clarify each symptom. For example, if the prover reports a pain in the left side of the head, he will ask what time of day the headache began and when it left, the precise sensation of the headache (sore, dull, sharp, pressing, bursting, throbbing, etc.) and what made it better or worse (heat, cold, pressure, movement, lying down, etc.) In this way, the master prover makes a symptom more complete.

When the provers no longer report new symptoms, the proving concludes. Then comes the laborious part. All the symptoms that have been recorded from all the provers are assembled and arranged in a prescribed order (mind symptoms, head symptoms, eye, ear, nose and throat symptoms, etc., right down the body to the toes), At this point, there are hundreds and hundreds of symptoms—symptoms of the mind and symptoms relating to every area of the body.

In the original proving of Alumina (oxide of aluminum) by Hahnemann, there were eleven provers including Hahnemann himself. Altogether, they reported 1,161 different symptoms! A tiny sampling follows:

  • She cannot see blood nor a knife without horrible thoughts pressing in upon her, as if she should commit suicide though she has the greatest horror of it.

  • A numb feeling in the head as if his consciousness was outside of his body; when he says anything, he feels as if another person had said it; and when he sees anything, as if another person had seen it, or as if he could transfer himself into another, and only then could see.

  • Vertigo even to falling, the whole room turns with her; she has to sit down at once.

  • Unbearable itching on the head; he has to scratch until it bleeds.

  • Itching burning in the anus.

  • Frequent sneezing.

  • The nose is stopped up.

  • Pain as from a sprain in the shoulder-joint, especially on raising up the arms.

  • Burning in the arms and the fingers, and in the left elbow, as from a red-hot iron.

  • During the siesta, when he is about to go to sleep while sitting, a jerk through head and limbs, like an electric shock, with stupefaction.

  • She talked aloud in her sleep, laughed and wept.

These few proving symptoms of Alumina are amazingly detailed and show how the medicine affected both the minds and bodies of the eleven provers. And remember, these are eleven symptoms out of 1,161!

All proving symptoms are reported in the words of the prover and contain no medical terms. It is our good fortune that medical terms were not used two hundred years ago, when many of the provings were done, since no one today would recognize them.

Realize that all homeopathic provings are done with human subjects. It is very different from the testing a new pharmaceutical drug undergoes. It is tested first on animals and later on patients with a specific disease. Since animals don’t talk there can be no information about what sensations the drug might produce or what mood changes might occur. When the drug is finally tested on patients the investigators are mainly concerned with how it affects that disease. For example, does the new antihypertensive lower blood pressure? Does the antidepressant improve the mood? etc.

A good homeopathic proving will produce one to two thousand symptoms and will affect many, many areas of the body and mind. So detailed are the symptoms of a good proving that homeopaths often refer to a proving as though it were a person. We talk among ourselves of a Sulphur type, a Phosphorus type, a Pulsatilla type, etc. We speak of these medicines as if they were alive! We’ll say, “He’s a real Sulphur,” or “She really acts like Pulsatilla.” It is homeopathic “code” that refers to the proving symptoms of that medicine which were so detailed that they suggested the way a person who might need that medicine would behave both emotionally and physically.

A homeopathic proving constitutes the data base of that substance. It is detailed evidence of what that substance causes in healthy humans. By consulting this data base (proving) we search in it to find out what the medicine produces in the way of symptoms.


This is another way of saying, “Like Cures Like.”

Remember—anything a homeopathic medicine can cause, it can cure.

We consult the proving of a given medicine, looking to see if the symptoms it contains MATCH the symptoms of our patient. When we are satisfied that most of the patient’s key symptoms CORRESPOND closely to the proving symptoms, we then prescribe that homeopathic medicine. When we have chosen wisely, the patient returns to health.

It sounds easy. But it is far from easy. Of the several hundred homeopathic medicines in common use, many symptoms from many different medicines are either the same or similar. There is tremendous crossover. So we have to use our judgment, our intuition and our experience to select the most homeopathic medicine, i.e., the medicine that most corresponds to the symptoms of the patient.