Materia Medica Pura - Samuel Hahnemann



(From vol. iv, 2nd edit., 1825.)

(The freshly expressed juice of the Conium maculatum obtained from the whole plant at the commencement if flowering, mixed with equal parts of alcohol.)

Hemlock is one of those medicines whose primary and secondary actions are most difficult to be ascertained, and respecting which it is most difficult to form a judgement. Among its symptoms we find several of a somewhat opposite character which should only be regarded as alternating actions (perhaps as a transient secondary action suppressed for some time by the repeated attack of the medicine) On the other hand the sad effects resulting from the long-continued employment of hemlock in increasing doses, as we observe in the results of STOERCK’s LANGE’s EHRHARDT’s, GREDING’s, BAYLIES’, REISMANN’s, COLLIN’s and TARTREUX’s disastrous treatments, are true secondary actions of the depressed vitality overpowered by the repeated attacks of such large doses of hemlock: a dissolution of all the connexions of the fibres combined with asthenic inflammation and the most painful sensitiveness – see 264 to 273, 276, 342 to 345, 349, 350, 205, 207, 209. The opposite of this seems to lie in the primary action of hemlock, which appears to indicate a tension, condensation, contraction of the fibres (and glandular swellings), with suppression of the sensibility – compare 28, 60, 127, 147, 148, 178, 179, 212, 215, 216, 225, 238, 249, 253, 254, 286. These are primary actions which seem to be corroborated by some of my own homoeopathic cures (glandular indurations on the lip, the breasts, &c, arising from a bruise, and two cases of cataract produced by an external blow). These recorded primary actions of hemlock (especially 127, 286), together with the symptoms 10, 11, 115, 117, 293, 333, 359 to 367, point to it as an excellent remedy for that bad kind of hypochondriasis which is sometimes observed in unmarried males who are strictly chaste, where it does not depend on a miasmatic cachexia.

Experience must decide as to the value of hemlock in the morbid long-sightedness (presbyopia) of elderly persons, as indicated in 38, and perhaps it will confirm the curative power here hinted at.

The homoeopathic practitioner will know how to make use if the curative indications given in the other symptoms of the primary action of hemlock.

Coffee has been found to be the antidote of hemlock.

[HAHNEMANN was assisted in this proving by FRANZ, LANGHAMMER, WISTLICENUS.]

The following old-school authorities furnished symptoms:


ANDREE, Obs. upon a Treatment by Stoerk, London, 1761.

ANDRY, Quoest. Med. an cancer ulceratus cicutam eludat, Paris, 1763.

BAYLIES, Essays on Med. Subjects, London, 1773.

BIERCGEN, Tal om Kraftskador.

BOERHAVE, Prael. Ad Instit., vi.

CLARK, essays and Obs. Phys and Liter., iii, Edinb., 1771.

COLLIN, Annus Med., iii, Vindob., 1764.

CULLEN, Materia Medica, ii.

EHRHARDT, Diss. de Cicuta, Argent., 1763.

FOTHERGILL, Med. Obs. and Enq., iii. – Works.

GATAKER, Essays on Med. Subj.

GREDING, Verimische Schriften.

HALLE, in Samml. f. pr. Aerzte, xv, iii.

HALLER, in Gotting. Anzeigen, 1775.

KALTSCHMIDT. Progr. De Cicuta., Jen., 1768.

LANDEUTTE, Journal de Medicine, xv.

LANGE, Dubia cicuta vexata, Helmst., 1764.

LIMPRECHT, Acta Nat. Cur., i. Med. Obs. and Enq., ii, Lond., 1771.

OBERTEUFFER, in Hufel. Journal, ix.

PAULLI, SIM., Quadrip. Botan. Pharm. Helv.

REISMANN (reference not given.)

ROWLEY, W., Seventy-four cases, LONDON, 1779.

SCHMUCKER, Chir. Wahrnehm., ii.

STOERCK, Lib. de Cicuta, – Lib. de Colchico. – Lib. de Stram Hyos. et Acon.

VALENTINI, in Hufel. Journ., xxix.

TARTRUEX, Epist apol.

VAN EEMS, in Boerhave Proelect. De m. n. i.

WATSON, Philos. transact No. 473, 1744.

WHYTT, on Nervous Disorders. Zurcher Abhandlungen, tom. ii.

The 1st edit gives 373 symptoms; only two more are added in this 2nd edit.: the Chr, Kr. gives 912 symptoms.]


Vertigo. [BAYLIES, Essays on Med. Subjects, London, 1773.(Not accessible) – ANDRY, Quoest. Med. an cancer ulceratus cicutam eludat, Paris, 1763.(Not accessible) – ANDREE, Obs. upon a Treatment by Stoerck, Lond., 1761.(Symptoms observed in patients taking conium.) – WATSON, Philos. Transact., No. 473, 1744.(Case of poisoning.) – LANGE, Dubia cicutoe vexata, Helmst.; 1764, pp. 12, 20.(Not accessible ; probably as in note.)Pharm. Helv., p. 50.(General statement from experience.) – SCHMUCKER, Chir. Wahrnehm., ii, pp. 82, 84.(As in note.) – WHYTT, on Nervous Disorders, p. 22.(Observed in self.) – GATAKER, Essays on Med. Subjects, Intro., p. 8. – FOTHERGILL, Med. Obs. and Inqu., iii, p. 400, and Works, ii, p. 58.(General statement from observation.) – OBERTEUFFER, in Hufel. Journal, ix, iii, p. 77. (Observation.) – CULLEN , Materia Medica, ii, p. 300. (From thirty grains of the powder in an adult.) ]

Vertigo that affects the head. [FOTHERGILL, l. c.]

Vertigo round in a circle , when he rises from a seat.

Vertigo, so that all seemed to go round in a ring with him. [BOERHAVE, Proel. Ad Instit., vi, p. 255. (Observed on self.) ]

5. Staggering. [VAN EEMS, in Boerhave Proelect. De m. n., I, p. 236. (Effects of Cicuta aquatica.) ]

Intoxication. [BIERCHEN, Tal om Kraftskador. (Observation.)]

Heaviness of the head. (During convalescence.) [WATSON, l. c.]

Want of memory.

Loss of memory. [W. ROWLY, Sevent-four cses, London, 1779. (Not accessible.)]

10. Stupidity, the head is confused; difficulty of comprehending what he reads.

Stupefaction; he understands with difficulty what he reads.

After drinking he becomes stupid in the head.

Apoplexy. [LANGE, l. .c p. 20.]

Serious apoplexy. [COLLIN, Annus Med., iii, Vindob., 1764, p. 104. (Symptoms observed in patients taking conium. This occurred in an old woman of 80, ten days after leaving off the medicine.)]

15. When walking in the open air, simple headache; he feels stupid; also in the morning till breakfast.

Violent headache, with vertigo, owing to which she remains seated in one spot, sad, and speechless, for three or four days. [LANGE, l. c., p. 12.]

Sensation in the right half of the brain, as if a large foreign body were therein.

Gradually increasing, semilateral headache, like a pressing downwards, as from something heavy therein, and as if bruised, aggravated by moving the eyes towards the affected side of the head (aft. 2, 3, h.).

About the author

Samuel Hahnemann

Samuel Hahnemann

Samuel Hahnemann

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