The process by which new homeopathic remedies are discovered is referred to as a homeopathic proving. Provings are performed on healthy individuals called provers. A number of provers take a newly prepared homeopathic remedy and their symptoms are collectively analysed to build the foundations of the new remedy picture.
This proving method was devised by Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, in the 18th century. His provings used a small number of provers, largely male, and focused on physical symptoms. Nevertheless these provings still provide the basis for our materia medica. Provings conducted today still use Hahnemannian methods, however alternative and newer methods have also been developed, such as dream provings, meditative provings and homeopathic pathogenetic trials (HPTs). HPTs are more aligned with the contemporary requirements of a scientific study, with randomisation to an active or placebo group, and blinding of participants and investigator. There is still a debate as to whether HPTs provide clinically useful homeopathic information to the same level as traditional proving methods.
Jeremy Sherr’s website www.dynamis.edu/new/provings.html provides the most up to date information about provings, and his book “The dynamics and methodology of homeopathic provings” continues to be the main reference text1. Documents have been produced by homeopathic bodies to ensure best practice when conducting provings such as the ECH Homeopathic Drug Provings Guidelines for Good Clinical Practice2. The ECCH have also produced a set of clinical guidelines3, as have the North American Network of Homeopathy (NANHE)4.
These guidance documents outline how provings (or HPTs) of any methodology should be conducted according to high ethical standards ensuring the safety of participants at all times. The Society does not advocate a particular proving method above any others, but does recommend that provings are performed to high ethical standards to ensure that the rights and well-being of proving participants are protected.
- Sherr J. (1994) The dynamics and methodology of homeopathic provings. Dynamis Books
- ECH Homeopathic Drug Provings Guidelineshttp://homeopathyeurope.org/publications/guidelines/homeopathic-provings
- ECCH guidelines for homeopathic drug provings (2009). http://www.homeopathy-ecch.org/images/stories/pdf/ecch%20guidelines%20for%20provings.pdf
- North American Network of Homeopathy (NANHE) Homeopathic Proving Standards.www.amcofh.org/sites/default/files/NANHE%20Proving%20Standards.pdf