Homeopathy Pharmacology

Collection of Drug Substances

Though the aphorism of the Organon of Medicine and its certain portion are not directly connected with the process of collection, yet the advices given by Hahnemann forms the fundamentals of preparing a drug, in which the process of collecting a drug substance is an important part for the genuineness of the drug so prepared. In aphorism 264 of Organon of Medicine, Hahnemann holds, “The true physician must be provided with genuine medicine of unimpaired strength, so that he may be able to rely upon their therapeutic powers.” In aphorism 66 of Organon be also emphasises that “substances belonging to the animal and vegetable kingdoms, possess their medicinal qualities most perfectly in their raw state”. As such advices of Hahnemann are to use fresh animal and vegetable drug substances

Vegetable Kingdom – Purity and genuinity of the original drug substances must be ensured. All vegetable drug substances should be procured fresh, as far as possible, except the substances which has to be imported from outside. It should be collected only in healthy or well developed state; free from worms, insects, or as per direction of the particle drug preparation given in Homoeopathic pharmacology. All those are in decayed state should be discarded. They shall show no discolouration, abnormal odour, slimness or any sign of deterioration. The wild ones are preferable to cultivated ones. They should be collected when their medicinal virtue is greatest. They must not be packed too closely in carrying; and be used quickly in preparing the substance after collection, so that they may yield their full medicinal strength unchanged. Never collect them during morning dew, nor immediately after a shower, nor during too heat of the day. They should be gathered when the weather has previously been sunny and dry, and just after disappearance of the morning dew. Cleaning of the drug materials, so collected, should be done carefully so that any part of it is not erroded. Never wash with profuse water; if become unavoidable, use only too little water for washing. Exotic drug substances should never be imported in powder form, and without proper identification of their genuineness (vide Organon of Medicine-aphorism 268).

‘Narcotic’ plants should be collected while in bloom and: partly just before or when coming into bloom. The general directions are as follow, with the few exceptions:

Whole Plant-By the term ‘whole plant’ is meant the whole plant with root. The whole plants should be collected in sunny whether, when they are partly in flowers and partly in bud.

Root- They should be used fresh. Roots of ‘Annuals’ must be collected early in the autumn, as they die after ripening of the seeds. Roots of ‘Biennials’ should be collected in the spring and of ‘Perennials’ should be collected in the 2nd and 3rd year, before they develop woody fibres; and should be free of moulds, dampness and woody appearance and must not be cleaned with much water.

Stems-Should be collected after the development of leaves.

Woods- Collected early in the spring or late in autumn before the juice are not exhausted and also from mature young trees and tree like shrubs.

Barks- Barks should be collected from mature, vigorous young trees. Barks of ‘Resinous’ trees should be collected at or about the time of development of leaves and blossoms. ‘Non-resinous’ barks are to be collected late in the autumn. The same principle is also for root-barks.

Young Shoots- They are collected in the spring, when the whole plant is in full vigour.

Leaves- Only fully developed leaves should be collected just the before or during the flowering time. In cases of Biennials plants the leaves which first appear in the spring of the second year are the best and so these should be collected as soon as any the flowering stems begin to shoot.

Twigs- Twigs of current year’s growth only.

Herbs- Fullly developed herbs are to cut above the root leaves.

Flowers- Should be collected in dry whether, when they are partly in bud and partly in blossoms.

Fruits, Seeds and Berries- If not otherwise specified, are to be collected when they are fully ripe. Succulent fruits, seeds or berries should be used while fresh. Only dried fruits, seeds or berries may be stored in well-closed glass containers. Fresh fruits when collected are to be used immediately after their collection.

ANIMAL KINGDOM – Animal substances must be collected from perfectly healthy specimen, wild animals are preferable, as they are natural specimens. Secretions and excretions should be obtained in hygienic conditions and from healthy beings. Medicines from them should be prepared in their pure and unadulterated state, without mixing with any other substances.The animal drug substances are obtained from either the young wild or domestic ones and zoological gardens. Some are gathered by fishing, e.g., Asterias rubens, Cod fish (for Oleum .rousJec. Aselli). Cuttle fish (for Sepia). Jellyfish(Medusa)etc.Wild animal procured by hunting, e.g., Sperm whale (Ambra grisea), Musk deer (Moschus), Beaver (Castoreum) etc. Insects like Cantharides (Cantharis), Apis melifica, Cochneal (Coccus cacti) etc. are procured wild, or they are also cultivated in scientific way. Toads (bufo) ; different spiders (Aranea avicularis, A. diadema, Mygale, etc.); Lizards (Lacerta agilis etc.) are also caught by different processes. Venoms are either collected from wild snakes or cultivated ones from the snake farms, e.g, Coral viper (Elaps cor.), Lachesis mutus (Lachesis), German Viper (Vipera), Spectacled snake (Naja tripudians) etc., venoms are collected in glass container by experts of the line. Different ‘Lacs’ are generally collected from domestic animals.


Bufo -The live toad is fastended to a slab of cork by four strong pins stuck through the webs of the feet. Next the poles of an ‘induction apparatus’ in action are slowly drawn over the back of the animal, whereupon the poison exudes from the dorsal glands of the toad, which is removed with a small horn knife.

Hydrophobinum- (The saliva of a live rabid dog) Most carefully collected in milk sugar.

Venoms of serpents- May be obtained from the live snake by collecting the poison on milk sugar by pressing the fang upwards against the ‘poison sac’. Different types of venoms may also be obtained from sereological laboratories.

MINERALS AND CHEMICALS – The minerals, metals and chemicals should be collected in natural state and natural source or in pure chemical form if not available from natural source as stated for the individuals.

SARCODES AND NOSODES: The ‘endocrine’ products and few ‘enzymes’ may be collected from cattle, sheep etc. from the slaughter houses. Collections of these drug substances require some special and elaborate techniques and should have sufficient knowledge in morbid anatomy and physiology of the particular specimens.

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