ABSTRACT: Contributions of Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, who is regarded as father of Homoeopathy, to the mankind, are incredible. He not only treated the diseases but completely changed the way how diseases are treated. He not lived for himself but for the betterment of the humanity. He was the first person who opened up the path that drug proving should be done on healthy human beings. His contributions, as writing, have great value in homoeopathy. In this article we will discuss one of his important writing i.e. Fragmenta de viribus medicamentorum positivis sive in sano corpore humano observatis. This is the first collection of proving of medicines upon the healthy body.
Keywords: Pars Prima, Pars Secunda
This work, containing the first collection of remedies which had been proven on a healthy subject, deals with the remedies together with a number of symptoms found by proving.
After the first discovery of the healing principle (1796) he collected the effects of injurious medicines and poisons from all the old and recent literature (pharmaceutical and toxicological) which was at his disposal. Hahnemann says “I began to collect the unfortunate accidents which occasional observers had related when medicines in large quantities had entered the stomach of healthy men” — experiences which they had described in their books without any set purpose.
Thus he obtained, in the years 1796-1798 a partly usable materia medica, with the help of which he began to treat his patients according to his newly discovered therapeutic principle. But he soon noticed that the extant reports of others were inadequate, inaccurate and consequently thoroughly unreliable. He therefore arrived at a further determination — namely, to observe the effect of medicines on himself. Hahnemann says “I made it a serious occupation for myself to prove several drugs on the healthy human body.” The results of these investigations were then collected in his book : ” Fragmenta de viribus medicamentorum.”
Fragmenta de viribus medicamentorum positivis sive in sano corpore humano observatis (the title can be translated in English as “Fragmentary Observations Relative to the Positive Powers of Medicines on the Human Body”) was published in the year 1805, written in Latin language. It was published in Leipzig by M/s Sumpter Joan Ambrose Barthii.
It has two volumes.
- Pars Prima
- Pars Secunda
(i) The first volume was published in 1805. It has 8 pages of introduction and 269 pages of main text of the book. The first and smaller part of the book contains the symptoms of all the remedies which Hahnemann had proved on himself, in so far as they are not taken from other toxicological observations.
(ii) The second volume was the Repertory or Index. It has 6 pages of Preface and a Repertory of 470 pages.
Later on the two parts were published in one combined volume.
German and French translations of the book were also published. Fragments sur les effets positives des medicaments observes chez l’homme sin, Pars Prima was translated by Champaeux and Milcent in French in 1855 and it was published at Brussels. This translation was reprinted in 1958. Marion Wetterman translated this into German in 2000, as “Fragmenta de viribus medicamentorum”– the first homoeopathic materia medica, Faculty of Medicine, Eberhand-Karls- University, Tubingen.
In 1834 Dr. F.F Quinn, father of British Homoeopathy, edited this book and published it in one volume from London.
This book contains 27 drugs which were as follows:
– Aconitum napellus.
– Acris tinctura (Causticum).
– Arnica montana.
– Capsicum annuum.
– Copaifera balsamum.
– Cuprum vitriolatum.
– Melanpodium helleborus.
– Nux vomica.
– Papaver somniferum (Opium ).
– Veratrum album.
Out of the 27 drugs, 24 drugs are from vegetable kingdom, 1 from animal kingdom and 2 are from mineral kingdom. The maximum symptoms were recorded in Pulsatilla (280) and minimum in Copaifera balsamum (17). Out of the 27 drugs, 22 were incorporated into Reine Arzneimittellehre. Of the remaining 5, Cuprum and Mezerium appeared later in the second edition of Die Chronischen Krankheiten Vol. 3 (1837) and Vol. 4 (1838) respectively, whilst Cantharis, Copaiva, and Valeriana were not furthered by Hahnemann.
He also mentioned this, in his book Organon of medicine, § 109 footnote 3, – ‘The first fruits of these labours, as perfect as they could be at that time, I recorded in the Fragmenta de viribus medicamentorum positivis, sive in sano corpore humano observatis, pts. i, ii, Lipsiae, 8, 1805 ap. J. A. Barth.’
Although Hahnemann says in the preface to the book: “nobody knows better than I do, how imperfect and insufficient it all is”, it shows much diligence, extensive observation, and fearless love of truth.
For the sake of accuracy of his observations and conclusions, he put his own health and even his life, the health and life of his own children and his friends at stake. This proves his dedication towards his work and humanity, this quality of Dr. Samuel Hahnemann makes his each and every work a masterpiece. This book contains the proving of remedies on the healthy human beings and became the foundation of his other books like Materia Medica Pura and Chronic Diseases and books of repertories by many other authors.
- Haehl R; Samuel Hahnemann His Life and Work, volume I, 11th impression: 2013, B.Jain Publishers (P) Ltd.; New Delhi.
- Haehl R; Samuel Hahnemann His Life and Work, volume II, 11th impression: 2013, B.Jain Publishers (P) Ltd.; New Delhi.
- Dudgeon R.E; Lecture on the Theory and Practice of Homoeopathy, reprint edition: 2002, B.Jain Publishers (P) Ltd.; New Delhi.
- Singh Subhas; S.Hahnemann’s, Organon of Medicine, A study in its History and Evolution, first edition: 2003, Homoeopathic publications, Kolkata.
- Singh, Dr. Mahendra, Singh, Dr. Subhas,:First corrected,Re-translated & Redacted Edition of Organon of Medicine, 6th & 5th edition By Samuel Hahnemann; First edition 2004, Published by Homoeopathic Publications, Kolkata-700009(W.B.).
- Chakma A, Ghosh MS. Fragmenta de viribus medicamentorum positivis sive in sano corpore humano observatis. Indian J Res Homoeopathy [serial online] 2014 [cited 2020 Jun 17];8:177-9. Available from: http://www.ijrh.org/text.asp?2014/8/3/177/141742
Dr. Sandhya,M. D. (Hom)
National Institute of Homoeopathy (WBUHS), Kolkata.B.H.M.S., Nehru Homoeopathic Medical College and Hospital (DU), New Delhi