The encyclopedia of pure materia medica by TF Allen

The encyclopedia of pure materia medica by TF Allen 

Book Review by Dr Sreenath.B  MD(Hom)
Medical Officer Department of Homoeopathy, Govt of Kerala 

DR. TIMOTHY FIELD ALLEN, M.D    (1837-1903)

  • Timothy Field Allen was born in Westminster, Vermont. He received his undergraduate education at Amherst College and his medical degree from New York University in 1861 
  • After serving as a surgeon during the Civil War he returned to New York where he partnered with Dr. Carroll Dunham. He also studied homoeopathy with Dr. P.P. Wells. 
  • In 1871 Dr. Allen was appointed professor of Materia Medica at the New York Homoeopathic Medical College. Later he became the Dean of the Faculty. While professor and surgeon at New York Ophthalmic Hospital, Dr. Allen was responsible for its conversion to a homeopathic institution.
  • In addition to his devotion to homeopathy, Dr. Allen was an accomplished musician and botanist. Dr. Allen dedicated 40 years of his life to the art and science of homeopathy. 


  • Encyclopedia of pure materia medica(1874)
  • Boenninghaussen’s therapeutic pocket book (1861)
  • Homoeopathic calculator from BTP
  • Handbook of materia medica and homoeopathic therapeutics (1889) 
  • A primer of materia medica(1892)
  • Ophthalmic Therapeutics (1874)
  • The Symptom Register (1880)
  • Pocket Characteristics (1894).


  • A Record of the Positive effects of drugs upon the healthy human organism.
  • Edited by Timothy Field Allen AM M.D
  • With Contributions from
    • Dr. Richard Hughes
    • Dr. C. Hering
    • Dr. Carroll Dunham
    • Dr. Ad. Lippe
  • Dr. Allen compiled this book over the course of 10 years. 
  • This is a record of most of the homeopathic drug proving and toxicology up to this point.The volumes were published between 1874 and 1879. 

Vol.1 :1874
Vol. 2 :1875
Vol. 3 :1876
Vol. 7 :1878
Vol. 8 :1878
Vol. 9 :1879
 Vol.10 : 1879. 


  • The main aim of this work is to supply a complete and accurate record of the positive effects of drugs upon the healthy human organism  (Pathological anatomy excepted).
  • The editor mentioned in the introduction that these symptoms are recorded as facts, which, while the interpretation of their physiological action is as sure to change as physiology is to advance, will ever remain the same, and re-read and re-interpreted with increasing clearness and satisfaction.


The sources from which this compilation has been made are three.

First    g Experiments made upon healthy individuals for the purpose of noting the effects of drugs.

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

Third     g Symptoms (Cautiously admitted) observed in the sick after the administration of the drug.

According to Dr. T. F. Allen, to these must be added a VERY FEW symptoms, which have never 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 (o) after the symptom.


  • Translations have been made with special care to preserve the accurate meaning of the original.
  • When existing translations have been found accurate, their phraseology has been 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 and 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 and conferences with German Scholars. 
  • Much aid has been obtained from a table of terms published in the Viertel Jahrschrift especially in the matter of provincialism.  
  • A few extracts will illustrate this part of the work.

Eg: Frost – chill;

MATT – A sensation of weakness/ weariness                

 Daemisch- confused.

  • By such means the editor has endeavored to make the translation as accurate and uniform as possible. 
  • The translation from the French mostly been made by DR. G.L. FREEMAN, a good French scholar and translator. 


  • This book is now available in 12 volumes.
  • The last 2 volumes (11th & 12th) contains index to the encyclopedia of pure MM.
  • Total 1039 drugs are present in this book. 

Volume I- Abies canadensis to Atropinum( contains 106 medicines)

Volume II- Aurum to Carduus marianus( contains 74 medicines)

Volume III- calsbad to Cubeba( contains 73 medicines

Volume IV- condurango to Hydrocotyle( contain113 medicines) 

Volume V- Hydrocyanic Acid to Lycopersicum (Contains 83 medicines)  

Volume VI- Lycopodium to Niccolum( contains 72 medicines)

Volume VII- Nicotinum to Plumbago littoralis( contains 63 medicines) 

Volume VIII- Plumbum to Serpentaria( Contains 69 medicines)

Volume IX- Silicea to Thuja( contains 50 medicines)

Volume X- Tilia to Zizia (contains 51 medicines)

Volume XI- contains index from A to J

Volume XII- contains index from K to Z 




i) List of remedies with page number

ii) Introduction about the book

iii) Materia medica proper



i) List of remedies with page number

ii) Materia meidca proper

In addition to this in vol III and X, notes and corrections are given at the end.

Volume XI


i) Introduction

ii) Abbreviation of medicines- from Abies Canadensis (Ab.C) to Zincum sulfuicum( Zn.S) 

iii) index- From A to J. The index starts with rubric Abandoned and end with the rubric jumping (see springing).

Volume XII – This volume contains index from k to Z starts from kicks to zygoma. 


  • The index embraces everything except Houat’s “provings” of Anantherum, Bufo, Cubeba, Curare, Kali iodatum, Piper nig. & sarracenia and Wolf’s “proving” of Thuja. 
  • These have been omitted, since it has been demonstrated that they are untrust worthy as pathogenesis.
  • Aconitum, Aethusa & hypericum have been indexed from the revised pathogenesies in Vol X supplement.  
  • All corrections noted in the work, especially at the end of Vol. III & X have been observed.
  • The arrangement is strictly alphabetical, first the part affected, seconds the sensation, conditioned or modified.

Here the part affected will be found by referring to its first letter.

E.g.:   Symptoms of the brachialis anticus muscle will be found under “B”,

of wrist under “W”;

  of the eye under “E”.

The localization of symptoms is carried out to the fullest extent.

e.g.: in back we may find, first all sensations of back (in general) alphabetically arranged from ache to weakness, then the various parts of the back arranged alphabetically.

Back.  – Above anus

    Arteries of 

    Near axilla 

    Opposite bowels

    Dorsal region etc.

Under each of these subdivisions of back, the sensations or symptoms will be found in alphabetical order, conditioned or peculiar as the case may be.

If the anatomical region has a specific and independent name, it is placed by itself, 

Eg. Thigh, cheek, hypochondrium, umbilicus, etc. 

  • Regarding sides: 

In the chest, abdomen, back and other parts, the numerous symptoms of the sides are placed together under a special subdivision of the general part and when the particular side is specified, The letter “r” or ‘l’ follows the drug. 

E.g. Chest, anterior part, aching, at 8 am naj (l). Cramp at 3.25 pm, Con. (r). 

  In those portions of the body; which are paired, the subdivision is unnecessary as in thigh, hand etc.


The patients and provers vary their ability to distinguish sensations, what may seem to one only stitching pain may be recognized others as cutting pain. 

Allen said that, the pain and sensations are used  synonymously. 

E.g. Cutting pain, cutting sensation, means the same. We have placed them all under cutting. 

Sensations are arranged alphabetically under the various headings and have given numerous cross – references.  


Under each sensation will be found its conditions and peculiarities

The conditions are first given and arranged in 3 sections.

A. General conditions: First  – Time, Second – Circumstance

The time is arranged by the hours of day and night, the circumstances alphabetically.

B. Conditions of Aggravation:  First  – Time, Second – Circumstance.

C. Conditions of Amelioration:  First  – Time, Second – Circumstance.

The drugs found under the sensations conditioned will not be found under the sensations unconditioned; but aggravation and ameliorations, repeats the drugs in the unconditioned section.

E.g. the drugs found under aching in morning will not found under general aching.

While the drugs found under aching < or > in the morning can also found under general aching. 

The peculiar sensations are arranged alphabetically after the unmodified sensation. 

e.g.: Back pain, All the drugs having simply pain are given with the conditions, then follow all the Peculiar Pains alphabetically arranged, each with its conditions.

Among these peculiar sensations will be found all modifications of the original sensation – 

 such as   course and direction (always under the initial region) , alternations of sensation etc.

He was intended to add to the index a chapter of conditions; but the size of the work renders it impossible to arrange them properly. This will be done in separate work to be called Book of Conditions. 

At the end, he said that as long as our knowledge of the action of drugs upon the health is imperfect, so long we are obliged to rely upon the clinical conditions. 

In this moment we recommended the use of clinical repertory, which contains such indications.


1.For each remedy in the Encyclopedia, the actual symptoms are preceded by the name of the prover, the dosage that produced that symptom, and the reference for that symptom.

2.Other sources of information, such as accidental poisonings, are also included.

3.The incompactable benefit of Allen’s work is that the symptoms are recorded in the actual words of prover.

5. Allen credits Hughes, Dunham, Hering, and Lippe with helping him compile the information.

6.This materia medica remains today a mainstay of homeopathic practice. 

7.. Modern homeopaths consider Allen’s Encyclopedia to be an essential reference. 

8. For making the work more complete and reliable, a large number of literature has been searched.

9.That is, in the heading “authorities”, instead of a bare list of names authorities from whom Hahnemann was 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. 

10. Index to encyclopedia of pure materia medica-  in short,we have repertory to materia medica.

11. Handbook of Materia Medica and Homoeopathic Therapeutics, by T. F. Allen, was published in 1889.

  • The preparation of this book was begun immediately after the completion of Allen’s ‘Encyclopedia’, in order to have a condensed work. 
  • Errors were corrected and omissions from the ‘Encyclopedia’ were rectified. 
  • Most of the provings and many cases of poisonings from the intervening 10 years were added, as well as Allen’s clinical notes. 


1. In 1881 Allen published A Critical Revision of the Encyclopedia of Pure Materia Medica.

It was a reprint of 16 pages from the North American Journal of Homeopathy. 

This small work is an errata for his larger work. It covers revisions to remedies from Agaricus to Carbo vegetalis. 

Dr. Allen published nothing similar for the rest of the remedies in the Encyclopedia. 

2. At the time of its publication, a review in the December 1879 Homeopathic Times, described the Encyclopedia as “Dr. Allen’s gigantic and most discredible fiasco.” 

The review described the work as a ……. 

“…mass of trash, of wild vagaries, of symptoms which seem to have been gathered at random from every language under heaven, from every insane asylum in the land, and from nurseries where fond mothers take seriously to heart the symptoms and sayings of their young offspring.” 

3. The editor is unable to compile the imponderabilia in a manner satisfactorily to himself, or useful this profession. 

The material in hand for such a work will be turned over to Dr. John butler, who has made the most careful reproving o electricity.

 4. Proving of “lacs” by Dr. Swan is left for separate publication. 

5. According to Hughes, Dr. Allen’s work is an unrevised edition of the homoeopathic Materia Medica.

It lacks genuinity or worth.

Dr. Allen’s work is,  the editor has himself acknowledged that the translations which form so large an element in it are often incorrect.

Again, in his earlier volumes especially, Dr. Allen has too frequently worked with second-hand material. 

6. Earlier volumes do not exclude so-called “clinical symptoms,”  -i.e. such as have disappeared during the use of the medicines under which they are placed. But such signs are not frequently used in this book.

The result is that this great work, Encyclopoedia of Pure Materia Medica is  to a large extent untrustworthy, and the work must be done over again.

Allen’s work  has laid the foundation of the Materia Medica of the future.,And this must considered as the “Fountain Head of the new work”.