Dr Mohammed Salih MA
Abstract: This article attempts to explore the necessity of more homoeopathic drug provings by women, particularly by female homoeopaths, in light of Dr. Carroll Dunham’s article “A weak spot in our Materia Medica.”
Keywords: Materia Medica, Drug Proving, Carroll Dunham, Women proving
In 2011, the global population reached the 7 billion mark, it stands at almost 7.9 billion in 2021, and it’s expected to grow to around 8.5 billion in 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050, and 10.9 billion in 2100.1
The population of females in the world is estimated at 3,904,727,342 or 3,905 million or 3.905 billion, representing 49.58% of the world population. The Majority of countries and regions in the world have more females than males. But the top two most populous countries China and India, have a higher male population with a margin. Therefore there are more males than females in the world. If the population of China and India is excluded, there are more females than males in the rest of the world.2
According to different research studies and statistical analysis regarding the disease burden among women population, women are equally affected by various diseases all around the world. Women’s diseases could be effectively treated using homoeopathy. However, there is a critical need to conduct more provings among women due to the dearth of high-quality provings among females.
In order to shed light on the significance of this problem, Dr. Carroll Dunham (1828–1877), one of the greatest philosophers, author of “Lectures on Materia Medica” and “Homoeopathy the Science of Therapeutics,” and a great stalwart of homoeopathy from America, wrote an article addressing it.
“A weak spot in our Materia Medica” By Dr. Carroll Dunham3
He introduces the paper by discussing the importance and distinctiveness of drug proving in homoeopathy. “Well proved drugs,” according to him, are “Drugs with very clear statements of symptoms, also with sharp and well-defined discriminations especially of subjective symptoms as regards character, locality, direction and conditions.”
Later he speaks about one of the strong areas of our Materia Medica by citing the example of symptoms of respiratory organs. According to Dunham, drugs like Aconite, Bryonia, Squilla, Phosphorus, Sulphur, Chelidonium, Antimonium tartaricum, Spongia, Veratrum, Bromine, etc. have sharply defined symptoms so far as the symptoms of respiratory organs are concerned. Their symptoms are very clear regarding what part of the apparatus is affected, and how it is affected, down to the finest shades of difference. “With what remarkable precision and certainty, as compared with former medical experience, are we enabled to prescribe in affections of the respiratory organs.” he exclaims.
The next paragraph introduces the article’s main theme by stating, “A strong contrast with this precision and certainty is presented by the indefinite indications we possess for prescriptions in diseases of the sexual organs of women.”
According to Dunham, even the best proved drugs furnish comparatively few symptoms referable to these organs and of these few, the language is generally very vague that we are at a loss to determine what part of the apparatus may have been the seat of the sensation described. Even the descriptions of the objective symptoms are often most unsatisfactory and indefinite.
And this is the weak spot in our Materia Medica according to Dr. Carroll Dunham. And he insists fellow Homoeopaths that this is one area we must greatly explore. By stating that “Women’s diseases constitute a large majority of our cases, at least half of the community are women; because of our mode of living, which bear so hardly upon women; upon the unequal struggle which women are forced to maintain – this half of the community, as the records of all of us must show, call for the professional aid at least twice as often as the other.”
Dunham’s observations regarding the reasons of our Materia Medica being weakest in reference to women’s disease includes:
- Comparatively few symptoms of drug action upon women, because comparatively few women have been provers of drugs.
- Symptoms we have are lacking in precision, because our women provers have been deficient in definite knowledge of the structure and physiology of the organs distinctive of their sex, and have been to some extent they were incompetent observers.
By stating all these, Dunham concludes the short article by saying, “This want in our Materia Medica can be supplied only by the voluntary labors of women as provers of drugs”. He suggests the proving should be taken up by women have acquired professional knowledge as to understand the anatomy, physiology and relations of the apparatus peculiar to their sex, in other words, they must be physicians.
He once again stresses on this and concludes the article with these words. “None but women can do this work. None but women educated in medical science can do it worthily and well, so that our Materia Medica may be an efficient means for the treatment of women’s diseases.”
Conclusion: Even though a good number of women participants are taking part in new drug provings, more Homoeopathic physicians need to come forward to take up this great task. So that we shall strengthen our Materia Medica in every aspect and offer aid to the suffering women all over the world.
- United Nations. 2022. A world of 8 billion: Towards a resilient future for all – Harnessing opportunities and ensuring rights and choices for all. [online] Available at: <https://www.un.org/en/observances/world-population-day#:~:text=World%20Population%20Trends&text=In%202011%2C%20the%20global%20population,and%2010.9%20billion%20in%202100.> [Accessed 19 September 2022].
- World sex ratio 2021 – StatisticsTimes.com [Internet]. Statisticstimes.com. 2022 [cited 19 September 2022]. Available from: https://statisticstimes.com/demographics/world-sex-ratio.php#:~:text=The%20population%20of%20females%20in,101.68%20males%20per%20100%20females.
- Dunham C. Homoeopathy – The Science of Therapeutics. Noida: B.Jain; 2020
Dr. Mohammed Salih. M. A
MD Part 2,Department of Organon of Medicine & Homoeopathic Philosophy
Government Homoeopathic Medical College, Bangalore, Karnataka