Review on The Encyclopedia of Pure Materia Medica

Review on The Encyclopedia of Pure Materia Medica– A record of the positive effects of drugs upon the healthy human organism.

Edited by Timothy F. Allen, A.M, M.D
Professor of materia medica and therapeutics in the New York Homeopathic medical college.

With contributions from

  • Dr. Richard Hughes, of England.
  • Dr. C Hering, of Philadelphia. Dr. Carroll Dunham, of New York.
  • Dr. Ad. Lippe, of Philadelphia, and others.

Dr.Timothy Field Allen(1837-1902)
He organized the “Encyclopedia of pure materia medica”, in 12 vol., the largest compilation on the subject written so far, and of “handbook of materia medica and homoeopathic therapeutic“.

  • Year of publication-  1874-1879
  • Volumes – Twelve-12 (vol 10+ 2 (index= symptom register)
  • Voume 1  (abies to atropine) –1874
  • Volume 2 (aurum—cardus) –1875
  • Volume 3 (carlbad- cubeba0—1876
  • Volume 7(nicotinum- plumbago)
  • Volume 8 (plumbum – serpentinum)—1878
  • Volume 9( silicea- thuja)&vol 10( tilia- zizia)- 1879
  • Total number of medicines- 1039 ( 755 in main part+ 284 in supplementary part)
  1. Dr. T. F. Allen was born on 24th April 1837. He got his degree in 1861.
  2. He started his practice as a partner of Dr C. Dunham and later on became professor of materia medica in the New York homoeopathic medical college. Later he became the dean of the faculty and then president.
  3. He completed the exhaustive volumes of the encyclopedia of pure materia medica and later on the handbook of materia medica.
  4. He also produced a fine edition of Boenning-hausan’s therapeutic pocket book.
  5. He died in Dec 5, 1902 


Aim of this work is to supply a complete & accurate record of effects of drugs upon the healthy human organisms.(pathological anatomy excepted)

These Symptoms are recorded as facts, while  their interpretation of their physiological action is sure to change as physiology is to advance, will ever remain the same, &be re-read and reinterpreted with increasing clearness and satisfaction


The sources from which this compilation has been made are 3

1)Experiments made upon healthy individuals for the purpose of noting the effects of the drug.

2)Effects observed after poisonous doses (accidentally or maliciously administered).

3) Symptoms (cautiously admitted) observed in the sick after the administration of the drug.

  • To these must be added a VERY FEW symptoms which have been observed as effects of drug action, but which have been so repeatedly verified clinically, that they clearly indicate the remedy; these are designated by a small cipher after the symptom.
  • A large amount of literature has been searched that the work might be complete & reliable. Original sources have been obtained & transcribed or translated.
  • The authorities quoted by Hahnemann (whose original publications he was in many instances, unable to obtain), have been referred to by DR. HUGHES, of England, the circumstances under which the effects were noticed, furnished us, & when necessary, corrections made.

Sample of Dr.Hughes work

  • Antimonium crudum
  • BONETUS. Statement of occasional effects of
  • CAMERARIUS. Effects of overdosing in adults.
  • EPHEMER.Effects of overdosing in an adult.
  • DIOSCORIDES. Only mentions beneficial effects of its external application to ulcers of the eyes ……

Notes by Dr.Richard Hughes
This work  has regard solely to the pathogenesis of Hahnemann., These are derived from 2 sources  – observations made by himself & his disciples and cases of poisoning & overdosing recorded in medical literature

There are thus, Hahnemann has contributed to the materia medica a large number of quotations, like any other author, it needs verification

Hahnemann has given so little information regarding circumstances underwhich the symptoms were observed. But regards the observations he has cited from authors , the information we desire is accessible to us. Many misconceptions which we are liable to form of themare removed & whole series becomes intelligible and available for practice.

It has been suggested in explanation, that Hahnemann left this part of his work for others and must not be blamed for their errors; and that he gave these symptoms as corroborative only

These facts thus stated had been there in my mind , when I undertook to arrange belladonna for Hahnemann materia medica. It was my duty to cosult yhe originals of 1440 symptoms , cited by Hahnemann, in his pathogenesis of drug and the results I arrived at , both quickened my sense of the need of such examinations. My attention was then drawn to Dr. Allen’s project of Encyclopedia , & it seemed to me a grievious that Hahnemann’s pathogenesis should once more go for,  to the world with their citations unverified, unilluminated and unrevised. So, I wrote to Allen, offering I to do for this work for him.,& I have been engaged in this work eversince.

In the heading, instead of a bare list of names of authors from whom Hahnemann has quoted, there is affixed to each a brief statement of the nature of his observations, sufficient to show generally the value of the symptoms derived from this source.

To each symptom that requires it a note is appended, throwing light upon its causation  & connections.

All doubtful symptoms are bracketed squarely, to distinguish them from those which Hahnemann himself has bracketed, with like intent.

The existence of typographical & other errors in the original text of some provings , has been brought to the notice of the editor , by Dr.C.Hring

Authorities are given at the beginning of each proving, & each symptom is followed by a small no, referring to this list of authorities, so that any symptom may be readily traced & reliance placed upon it according to its authority, the dose which has produced it, or the time when it occurred, the time (when noted by the provers) being given in brackets after the symptom.

Translations have been made with special care to preserve the accurate meaning of the original. When the existing translations have been found accurate, their phraseology has been found retained, in order to make as little change as possible in existing Repertories or habitual use of symptoms

For several years the editor has kept, added to, & elaborated a small manuscript vocabulary, which includes the most obscure terms used in describing symptoms, the translation of which has been adopted after numerous comparisons & conferences with German scholars.

Much aid has been obtained from a table of terms published in the Vierteljahrschrift, esp in the matter of provincialisms. A few extracts will illustrate this part of the work.

  • ABGESCHLAGENHEIT. Mental dejection: physical prostration or weariness. (compare Mattigkeit).
  • ANGEGRIFFENHEIT. Indisposed; sick. (compare Abspannung.)

By such means the editor has endeavored to make the translations as accurate and uniform as possible, & hopes that very few errors will exists in this part of the work. The translations from the French have mostly been made by DR.G.L. FREEMAN, a good French scholar & conscientious translator.


  • The drugs have been arranged alphabetically, which arrangement has been strictly followed, separating even Atropine and Belladonna.
  • The only scientific or satisfactory grouping of drugs possible must be in accordance with their generic effects on the human body.
  • Many of our drugs are too imperfectly known, and indeed, our bodies themselves are too imperfectly known, to render such a classification possible at this time.
  • Theoretically, grouping of drugs must  be left to text books, or treatise on the MM; it is out of place in a work of this character

Are arranged in accordance with the anatomical plan. Sub-grouping has been made in accordance with the following general principles in any part:

First – general symptoms not localized definitely.

Second – localized symptoms.

Attention has been paid to objective and subjective symptoms, & when possible the appearance of a part (objective) is first given, & afterward sensations (subjective). Symptoms denoting increased action or activity are given first; those denoting depression & loss of action or function follow.

For the purpose of making the work practically useful (the great aim in view), those symptoms which have been repeatedly cured by the drugs are distinguished by stars,[ *] with italics, or full faced type; the latter class is most important.

Symptoms in italics, without stars, have been repeatedly observed by provers but not yet verified on the sick.

Most generous & efficient help in this portion of the work has been rendered by two of our most distinguished therapeutists, Dr. Carroll Dunham and Dr. Ad. Lippe.

  • Dr. Dunham has looked over nearly all the manuscript when ready for the press, & put in his stars and italics; in Arg.nit, for e.g., he starred symptoms 6,31,58,61,…….553.
  • Dr. Lippe has taken the trouble to send the editor the numbers of symptoms in his text book which he has verified; has also made additional observations.
  • The other verifications have been inserted by the editor, after consulting nearly the whole of the Homeopathic literature.
  • Doubtless numerous symptoms now undistinguished deserved stars. The editor will be duly thankful for any suggestions in the matter.
  • It is obviously beyond the power of any one man to do, in a limited time, all the clerical & other labor which this work has required.
  • Dr. George L. Freeman has been constantly employed upon it, for nearly 2 yrs preceding the issue of the 1st vol; he has translated all, nearly all, the French provings, has visited libraries for the purpose of copying provings & poison cases, has arranged the symptoms in accordance with the scheme & has made up the conditions.
  • Partner Dr. St. Clair Smith, has furnished numerous verifications for the work, & has very efficiently assisted its progress through the press.
  • Dr. H.M.Smith, for the use of his most valuable English library, complete in its files of early & recent homoeopathic literature

The work is now offered to the profession with the hope that , by its accuracy and completeness , it will advance the healing are & be the means of more effectually relieving suffering.

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