A Re-Proving of Peruvian Bark

by Donald Macfarlan, BS, MD, Philadelphia, PA

Journal of the American Institute of Homeopathy, January 1947, Vol. 40, No. 1., pages 1-3.

There have always been questions about the original proving of Peruvian Bark done by Hahnemann, especially by the detractors of homeopathy, who claim that those who have tried to repeat Hahnemann's seminal experiment did not obtain any of the symptoms Hahnemann claimed. This is the text of a reproving done by Donald Macfarlan in the mid 1940s. Macfarlan was the son of Malcolm Macfarlan who, about 40 years earlier, wrote a small text concerning provings with high potencies. The methodology of the Macfarlan provings would be considered highly unethical today. — JW

Presented before the Bureau of Pathogenesis and Therapeutics at the 102nd Anniversary Meeting of the American Institute, June 11, 1946, Detroit, Mich.

It is a source of gratification that the Journal is able to publish this mastery re-proving of Peruvian Bark. Dr. Macfarlan has been questioned as to his technique in getting healthy men and women to prove drugs without their knowledge. He writes, "I take my provers where I can find them. There is no special technique in the proving of medicines. Say a patient breaks his arm. He has nothing the matter with him besides the fracture. You ask him to take some medicine. You make a proving on him. Do not tell him you are making one. He will imagine things. Have no qualms about the slight inconvenience he may hove. His health is always made better by a proving. It is nowhere near as bad as a typhoid inoculation against typhoid. They both are immunizing in character. I should know whether it confers a benefit or not as I am qualified to pass judgment. One who has never made a proving may make all kinds of objections." The potency used in producing the symptom is indicated at the end of each one.

— Editor.

I would like first to thank Dr. Sutherland for asking me to read this paper before this section. The following re-proving is the summation of work carried on for quite some time. None of the provers knew they were making the provings, so there is nothing imagined. The health of all were benefited by the same. The contrary is only believed in by those who have never made provings, and there are many of these. Different potencies were used. As it is now about a century since the passing of Hahnemann in Paris, it would seem proper to re-prove this drug as it was through its sick-making powers that homeopathy came into being. Here are results, take them for what they may be worth.


On walking around, the prover felt dizzy. (3).(30). Vertigo as if she would fall (30). In the morning, everything became black in front of the eyes.(30). The memory is better(?).(30). He feels like working, but cannot do so. He lacks ambition. (30). So drowsy he can hardly keep his eyes open. (30) . Drowsiness (3). (3 ). A drowsiness from reading in the evening after supper. Cannot read then for five minutes about. (30) . The provers feel weaker. (3). (30). (30). (30). Dizziness (3). The dizziness is worse in the morning and when on the feet.(30). Matutinal sleepiness, tiredness and laziness (3). Vertigo in bed at night.(3). Cannot concentrate the mind so well? (6). Dopey and worse upon standing?(6). Kept feeling more active from early morning but was tired upon getting up. (6) . Sudden vertigo on standing at 8.30 P.M. (6) . Dizzy in the afternoon at 3.30 P.M. whilst in a dark room developing films.(6). The light touch of a fly caused great nervousness. (6) . The prover feels ragged and it is due to the occipital headache which is dull and mean.(6). The dull, frontal headache causes the head to be heavy.


The ear noise is bettered. (3) . The right ear noise has improved.(3). An awful neuralgia develops on the vertex on the right side. It feels as if the top of the head would fly off. It is steady. It seems sharper at times. (30) . The prover can not see anything. "As if he was looking against a sun-rise." It was pinkish and glowing (30) . A mistiness of vision develops (30) . Increase of lacrymation.(30). Sharp pains over the left eye are intermittent.(30). The left eye is very sore and it is a constant smarting.(30). Could hardly see at all with either eye. (30) . Hard yellow crusted matter has gummed the eyes when walking?(30). The eyes feel dry and the lids seem to stick fast to the eye-ball (there is no lubrication). The eye-balls ache particularly in the morning. Scalding lacrymation affects the skin around the eye?(30). Awful burning and watering of the eyes (30) . Almost blind and the prover is better in a dark room. (30) . On awakening, the eye-muscles are so weak the prover has to pull them apart. (30) . Frontal headache. (6) . A dull and steady frontal headache.(30). Very sore on the top of the head to the touch. (30) . A toothache develops and the pain was constant. (30) . Dull headache(30) (30). The left ear "goes like a whistle all the time.'(3). The head was hot(3). The head felt heavy(3). The nose is running like water (6) . The eyes water and this is worse at night. (6) . The watery eyes are worse in a warm room; sneezing (worse in a warm room?) (6). A cold in the head and a running from the nose which is watery, and worse all day. Sneezing only in the daytime ( ?6 ) . The upper gums bleed on pressing and they are swollen(6). The neck feels as if it were sprained. (6). The face is swollen on arising in the morning. (6). The eyes are weak and aching in the evening. (6). The eyes feel heavy. (6).


The phlegm is very hard to raise.(30). Eructations remain in the throat ten to fifteen minutes. (30). The mouth is very dry.(3). Thirst with a dry and frothy mouth. (6) . The prover is hot from the throat to the stomach. (1). The proving cured a thick pasty taste in the mouth ( 8M ) . Burning in the throat and in the tongue(CM).


Burning in the rectum on passing the stool ? (30). Frequent (5) brownish, soft and offensive evacuations during the day. (30) . The proving cures gagging(30). The bowels are looser and the amount is increased (30) . Very hungry all day long.(30). Weight in the stomach after eating(30). Brownish stools a little soft and easily passed. (30) . Gaseous eructations which can be tasted. The eructations remain in the throat 10 to 15 minutes.(30). Hard to keep from vomiting due to the gagging, tight cough. (30). Belching of gas which relieves (30). After eating gagging, then tasted eructations. (30). Easily voided stools, neither tight nor loose. (30) . Belching (30). A fulness of the stomach, as if the prover had eaten heavily, although little had been taken. (30). A bitter, bilious, taste in the mouth. (30) Sleepiness after eating.(30). Yellowish small lumps in the motions. (6) . The upper part of the belly around the epigastric angle is swollen up(3). The prover did not want breakfast (3) . On arising the stomach beats. (6) . A couple of mouthfuls of food suffices.(6). Eating makes her sick.(6). Terribly puffed up all over the belly like a drum at night. The pain at the ensiform is removed by lying down. As if something had stuck there. Growling in the left belly.(6). The bowels are loose a couple of times (formed) . (6) . The stool was a clay color. Some of it was undigested (tincture). Sudden vomiting at 1.30 P.M. with a little precedent nausea.(CM). All bloated up all over the abdomen all afternoon and quite a bit of gas is coming up which is tasteless (CM).


Backache. (3) . Backache above the iliae develops. It is always dull and intermittent.(30). After supper there is pain in the left chest. On lying down, a dull catching intermittent pain. (30). Pains in the left anterior chest which are sharp and intermittent. (30) . Pains across the kidneys are sharp and intermittent. (30) (30). Pains all over the body were pretty sharp and nocturnal (30) . Around the back, knife-like pains. (80). Kidney pain worse on movement.(30). Pain across the kidneys is sharp and constant. (30) . When lying down on the right side at night, the pain in the side almost prevents the prover from getting out of bed. (30) . Grippy pains through the chest and back. (6) . Sharp pain in the left side (3). Sticking like needles under the left mamma.(3). All over the upper anterior chest it hurts but it is not sharp. (3) . The backache is worse on bending forward.(3). The whole body hurts when trying to move around. (3) . Very sharp pains in chest both sides. (3) . Shocks at intervals, like electricity in the body (3) . Pain around the heart as if turning over and as if it stopped beating.(6). Palpitation in the morning when she hurried. (6). Full of rumbling incarcerated gas (an aggravation) 8M. Trembling all day and very nervous CM. Very weak on awakening CM. The pulse was weak. Pulse fast and hard in the afternoon and evening. Worse on lying. Hard thumping. Thumping in the right ear CM.


Sneezing quite often from 7 to 7.30 P.M.(30). The rhinorrhea is watery and nocturnal. (30). When she takes a breath it catches her in the left lung, a knife-like pain. Cannot lie on the left side (30) . Pressing pain in the left lung. (30) . A male could not take a deep breath and the left lung is involved. This is from 9 to 11 A.M.(30). A gagging tight cough and it is hard to keep from vomiting. (30). It hurts to breathe a little in the left chest.(3). Cannot lie on the right side.(3). Cannot breathe properly. (3). Dry cough which is worse inside from coming in from the cold(6?) Hiccough-like spasm(1). Severe pain in the left chest along the sternum and down the left arm a steady pain and the whole arm was numb. A feeling of heaviness across the chest. It was constant. Could not breathe at this time nearly as freely. CM.


Sleepy all day. C.M. Could hardly hold the eyes open, but on lying down could not go to sleep CM. Very drowsy and could hardly see. CM. Nightmare about 11-12 P.M. It was very disagreeable. (30). Sleeping much better.(30). Very sleepy all morning (3). Could not sleep until 2 A.M.(6) ? Unremembered dreams at night and the prover is all in a haze. It is a long time before she gets asleep. Restless and tossing all over the bed.(6). Sleepless from 3 to 4 A.M. and lies awake for one and one-half hours(1). Very drowsy at noon(1). Sleep is poor of late (high potency). Can sleep now without dreaming. The dreams were annoying and the mind was active.8M. The proving made the sleep restful. 8M. When she awakened at night, the heart was beating very rapidly. CM. Accasional film across the eyes and the prover was amaurotic. CM.


The skin all over is sore to the touch.(30) The skin of the nose becomes very shiny. (6) . Pimples develop on the right shoulder area; they have a yellow centre (6) . Scalding skin at the end of the nose where the rhinorrhea runs(6?) A greyish color is produced. (6) .


Diminished the nocturia (30) (30). Diminished the nocturia from two to three times to only once (30) . The proving changes the urine from watery coloration into a rusty hue.(30). Diminished nocturia from three or four times to once. The 8M potency causes a very large amount of urine to be voided day and night.


For the last week drinking much more water because of the feverishness(30). Every morning nearly, the prover gets up in a moist perspiration, better by crawling back into bed and getting warm.(30) (30) (30). Awakens at night in a perspiration, and worse in cold weather is the perspiration. (30). A fever is produced. (30) (30) (30). Covered all over with sweat at night.(6). The pulse is 92 and a fever of 2 1/2 degrees after about a week's proving. (3) . Feverish in the mouth and throat(6?). Burning hot in the forehead at 11 A.M. (6) . Hot head. (6). Profuse sweat in the arm-pits. (1).


Prolonged menstruation is brought about from three to five days or more. (6). Emission at night in a male prover. (6). Right testicle had a big lump in it (6).


Vertigo when walking (30) (30). Dizziness in the morning and when walking (30). An aggravation from bending over. (3) An aggravation from bending over; can hardly straighten (30). Aggravation at night (30) ? On awakening, the eye muscles are so weak the prover is forced to pull them apart. (30). A strong modality is Worse after Eating. The following have this aggravation, after eating: (a) weight in the stomach; (b) sleepiness; (c) gagging, then tasted eructations. (30). Aggravation on walking (3). Better on lying down(3). The light touch of a fly caused nervousness (6). Sore to the touch, on both outward flanks of the belly (6). From one to two hours after eating, a diarrhea (tincture). Amelioration after stool (griping pains) (tincture). Right after eating there is pain, and the food passed undigested (1). Pain after eating (sharp gripes) (1). Worse from anything cold (eating or drinking) (1). Worse in the morning (loose, very offensive, very free stools).