A Manual of Pharmacodynamics by Richard Hughes

Richard Hughes (1836-1902)
He actively cooperated with Dr. Timothy Field Allen to compile his ‘Encyclopedia of pure materia medica’. Rendered immeasurable aid to Dr. Robert Ellis Dudgeon in translating Samuel Hahnemann’s ‘The Materia Medica Pura into English. In 1889 he was appointed an Editor of the ‘British Journal of Homeopathy  and continued in that capacity until his demise.

He contributed to the American Institute of Homeopathy Proceeding and Transactions of the Homeopathic Medical Society of the State of New York, the Hahnemannian Monthly, and many other pamphlets and journals.

In 1876, Dr. Hughes was appointed as the Permanent Secretary of the Organization of the International Congress of the Homoeopathic Physicians in Philadelphia.

About the book
The book available is the 6th edition.(total 6 editions).Preface to 6th edition is written by Richard  Hughes himself.No information about 5th edition. Arranged in lecture form.

These lectures are delivered as part of the course of instruction of the London School of Homoeopathy.

Based on sources of our materia medica,ie original provings.


Total 6 editions

First edition  1867 as the first part of “manual of homoeopathic practice for students and beginners”

Second edition 1870

Third edition 1875-76 (re-written) appeared in two  parts 1875 and 76 respectively

Fourth edition  1880 (revised and augmented) more than one fourth larger than the predecessor

Sixth edition 1893


PREFACE. __first preface to the sixth edition  Then prefaces to the fourth edition.

It contains a review of an eminent practitioner  which says that the book is in lecture form,in a pleasantly personal fashion,which contains history of the plant or mineral , its use or abuse,preparation,and action on proving,and the narration gives an image about the drug to the reader even to layman.”First 105 pages are about sources of materia medica, general principle of drug action, posology etc .(September  1893)

Gives details about different editions.first edition was communicated in the form of letters to an inquiring friend.The book is based on original provings and french german literature.Dr hughes delivered a course on lectures n homoeopathic materia medica at British homoeopathic society in London, in 1875 and 76  .fourth edition contains the same lectures. Each lecture contains  the source , preparation  and drug pathogenesis.

In 1877 London school  of homoeopathy was founded and Dr Hughes was appointed to fill the chair of materia medica and therapeutics there and his manual became a textbook of the  course, and so he   had the opportunity to add improvements.In  the  fourth edition supplimentary lecture on some minor and recently introduced medicines are appended. And a few which were added to the minor category in the former edition were added to the main series. New section appeared for picric  acid, salycilic acid , chlorine  and its derivatives.

Following upon the introductory lecture Will be found six new ones. The two on the sources of the Homoeopathic Materia Medica Those on the general principles of drug-action.   which bear the same relation to the lectures that Dr HUGHES delivered at the London Homoeopathic Hospital in 1877 which appeared in  Monthly Homoeopathic Review of that year.

That entitled ” HOMOEOPATHY WHAT IT IS “( a similar reproduction of the paper on ” The Two Homoeopathies which Dr Hughes presented at the British Homoeopathic Congress held at Liverpool in 1877.) that on ” HOMOEOPATHIC POSOLOGY “(already appeared in the British Journal of Homoeopathy for January, 1879).


  • Lecture                                                  
  • Introductory
  • Sources of homeopathic materia medica(two chapters)
  • The general principle of drug action(two chapters)
  • Homoeopathy what it is
  • homeopathic posology

Then starts medicines acidum benzoicum onwards  in alphabetic order upto zincum; in a single lecture few medicines are described but rarely single medicine in a chapter.(medicines of main series)

Supplementary series of medicines.

Finally, an appendix, index of medicine,and clinical index are given.


Which begins as follows

We are met to-day to inaugurate a course of instruction upon Materia Medica and Therapeutics, i.e. , upon the materials used in the practice of medicine, ………(as beginning a lecture to a group of people,as already mentioned)

He speaks about action of drugs ie both physiolgical and therapeutical,second one is more important.

Homoeopathy is a therapeutic method,materia medica consist of pathogenetic power of drug, obtained  by  human proving,poisoning and overdosing and animal proving .

3 kind of action : mechanical ,chemical and dynamic The classifications of manuals of therapeutics-which study drugs as cathartics, diuretics, expectorants, and so forth-help to localise the sphere of the influence of each.Gives importance to toxicology, by knowing  the poison as  narcotic, narcotico-irritant, or irritant is a clue to class of diseases to which the drug corresponds.Also give importance to clinical experience to to understand  primary seats of its influence.  Give importance for  sphere of action,  kind of action  of each drug.

Under each drug – the authorities for our knowledge of each  (original provings, and any special sources of information which may exist.)  therapeutic uses of the drug . A list of allied medicines will next be given, Lastly, about dose, whether the lower or higher dilutions seem to have been most efficacious

Few words about nomenclature of our medicines. A few words about pharmacy , how mother tincture  is prepared, its drug strength,further potency preparation in decimal and centismal scale. through out these lectures, whenever attenuation is mentioned,  understand that the centesimal scale is intended. Hughes give preferance for tincture and trituration.


Contains details about  original sources of our materia medica.

1- FRAGMENTA DE VIRIBUS- year of publication,

Total no: of drugs , their names, and number of observation made by Hahnemann and others for each drug.

2-MATERIA MEDICA PURA-  both editions

Including different volumes with year of publication.no: of drugs in each volume. Along with observations by hahnemann and others.

Name of provers in MMP

Explains how Hahnemann built up his MM

Doses used-insoluble substances in first trituration and vegetable drugs in tincture


Infinitesimal dose-

Not on healthy-observation on sick from 2nd to 12th potency.

History and growth  of each medicine.

English translations  of  MMP and CD  (Hempel) and its demerits

Later contributions which has been made t the MM of homeopathy  a professor of the University of Leipsic, Dr. Johann Christian Gottfried Jorg. drug provings conducted by Drs. Hartlaub and Trinks.

Details about Nenning symptoms.

Dr. Ernst Stapf. “ARCHIV”

Austrian provings

Vienna society of physicians

France- dr Alphonse , dr Jahr ,d Roth

England –Drysdale , Russel and    Casanova(cedron)

Spain- Nunes-Tarentula

Italy- Rubini – Cactus

American provings-Dr Hering

Contribution of Dr Hale of chicago

Allen’s contribution


Acton of drugs – mechanical , chemical ,   dynamical (of this we are concerned with)

Drugs have an elective affinity-one or more organs or tissues

Two important things– 

                  a) seat  of action

                   b)kind of action

there must be a qualitative difference in the affections produced by  various causes, and a corresponding one in the drugs which thus become their best remedies.

All drugs are stimulants ,it may be primary stimulant/depressant

        eg  : strychnia  and  Amyl nitrosum

Or may be irritant

           eg : cantharides ,arsenic etc,

  So drugs are  classified into two classes

         a)those which affect its performance of function,

         b) those which disorder its nutritive processes.

some come in both groups(acro-narcotics)

some properties are common to a number of drugs-as emesis, purgation, and the like-and others peculiar to individuals pointing out that the common dynamic effects-of medicines are producible at will, while the peculiar ones depend for their production on the presence of a special susceptibility in the subject.  Generic actions of drugs, belong to functional excitation or depression; while the peculiar effects, which require special susceptibility, are nearly,  always disorders of nutrition.

Hughes says peculiar symptoms are disease symptoms –specific remedies .

Drug action is modified by dose  larger dose : secondary action  smaller dose : primary action

“in any case of disease, we must select a remedy. Whose primary and secondary symptoms correspond with those of the malady to be treated,”

Two types of homoeopaths

the one diverging under the attraction of   modern science,

 – the other prolonging his own line of advance into regions unknown and undreamt-of by hahnemann.

How homeopathy  was invented-cinchona-experiment,is it possible  in all disease?

Can acquire knowledge by observation and experiment.

Hahnemann proposed a simple method of treatment

1. The apprehension of disease by its symptoms, i.e. , as we say at the present day, by its clinical characters and history.

– 2. The ascertainment of the powers of drugs by experimentation on the healthy human body.

– 3. The application of drugs to disease by a principle which at least insured directness of aim.

– 4. The administration of remedies singly, instead of in complex admixture.

– 5. Their, prescription in doses too small to aggravate existing troubles or cause

Auxillaries and mongrel sects

Considering  homoeopathy in two parts

Upto 1806 (hahnemann 52)-ripest fruits of a man’s thoughts and observation.

1806-1828 —Hahnemann’s greatest activity as a practitioner and a writer.

There are four points about advance f homoeopathy at this time.

After 1828  —-The new points which a man makes after seventy-four have no a priori recommendation in their favour;

1) the principle on which selection by similarity should be carried out.hahnemann gave importance t indvidualisation  but hughes gave importance to pathological similarity)

2) Up to 1806 Hahnemann had affirmed only about minute doses then comes attenuation(earlier Hahnemann was using pathlogical similarity so used low potency)

3) warned against the needless repetition of doses.hughes—genuine repetation possible

4) doctrine of chronic diseases. The psora theory (hughes says he accepts the discovery of psora,but cant accept every disease is due to psora or need antipsorics fr all)

Homeopathic dosage is a special one ,main object is the reduction of drug to fractional proportions.

Law of minimum dose – comparative smallness of dose; dose varies, according to age and sex, the strength or weakness of the patient, and the amount of medicinal susceptibility he possesses.

Crude form-inert

Rubbed with vehicle-active

Hahnemann developed this mode of preparing drug by trituration with SL

In order to produce the pathogenetic power of a drug larger dose is needed,and to  cure smaller dose is needed.

1808  —1829  potency was  raised from 3rd to 12th and later fixed at 30,later to 200.but Hughes says he had experience only upto 30

Drugs (lecture 8 ) onwards

  • Arranged in alphabetical order .
  • Main series and supplementary series
  • Total  number of drugs 304
  • Begins with acids
  • First medicine is acidum benzoicum
  • Last medicine  zincum
  • Supplementary-starts with abies nigra

Under drug   starts with  source and preparation  ,Prover  ,Source book(result of proving or poisoning or clinical experience)Animal experments –result

  • Common names are mentioned.
  • The characteristic feature of the drug
  • Seat of action
  • Old school use
  • Different author’s  remarks
  • Several clinical experiences are mentioned (of others and him self)
  • Physiological actions
  • Clinical conditions
  • Case mentioned
  • comparisons
  • Dosage
  • supplementary
  • Contains a few more remedies.
  • Spiders under aranea  diadema
  • Organ  remedies (cardus , ceanothus)
  • Clinical index to lecture  angina,asthmlic ,colic,cough etc

APPENDIX: Hahnemann’s dosage  dosage from 1796 to 1843


CLINICAL INDEX : different clinical condition in alphabetical order


  • Details of the source of homoeopathic MM mentioned.
  • Origin and development of homeopathy mentioned
  • How homeopathic materia medica is constructed
  • Details about drug including common name prover  preparation effect of poisoning pathology etc
  • The best reference book – to study about source of MM ;origin and development of homoopathy
  • Medicines arranged in alphabetical order,
  • Minor  drugs are also included
  • List of medicines and clinical index useful
  • Clinical index can be used for pathlogical prescription
  • Dose preference in each drug mentioned
  • Hahnemann’s dosage mentioned.
  • Posology mentioned.
  • Book is based on original sources
  • Footnotes(references are given throughout)
  • Seat of action mentioned
  • Similar drugs mentioned


  • Hughes gives more importance for pathology
  • Most drugs have small description.
  • Generals like mental and physical –less mentioned
  • Modalities rarely are given
  • Only lower potency is advised
  • Clinical experiences of different authorities are given which are crowded up,  hughes own ideas less mentioned or difficult to find out in the book.
  • Major and minor drugs are mixed up
  • It is not easy to read.
  • The introductory section is more elaborative.

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