Our first question is — Who should prove drugs?
Everyone in a tolerable state of health, able to observe on himself any changes that may take place, different from his ordinary feelings and sensations, is able to prove a medicine. The more diversified the constitution, disposition, age and sex of the provers, the better will be the provings.
To be most fully prepared for the task he is undertaking, the prover should note down his daily state of health for a week before he begins his provings. He will then find it much easier to describe such sensations and feelings as deviate from his usual normal condition.
The art of observation is one of the most important faculties to be learned by the Healer. Nothing will aid him more in the acquisition of this art than self-examination. Proving of drugs will be more fruitful in developing this self-observation than anything else.
Once acquired, it will make the art of observation upon others a comparatively easy task. Skill in proving, leads to skill in examining the sick. Having, as a prover, carefully observed all the minutest symptoms caused by the drug, one will almost involuntarily compare these new symptoms with those produced by other (already proved) drugs, and obtain, by such comparisons, an insight into our materia medica, which he could not possibly acquire in any other way.
The Drug To Be Proved
The first object is to procure the drug or other matter to be proved in its purity, then to make a full statement as to how and where it was obtained and how it was prepared. The preparation of chemical substances was always given in detail by Hahnemann, so as to insure the reproduction of precisely the same chemical sub- stance in the future.
Plants should be collected by the prover, if possible, at the right season and where they grow on their original soil. For instance, a flower taken from the Cactus grandiflorus growing in a hot-house will not make a good preparation, either for provings or as a curative agent.
This preparation should be made, as it was made, on the spot where the Cactus grows wild, and at the right time and season, when the flower opens at night and fills the atmosphere with its fragrance. If the drug be taken from the animal kingdom, the animal should, if possible, be preserved and subsequent supplies should come from the same species, and under similar circumstances.
The few drops of poison taken from the Trigonocephaly Lachesis by Dr. Hering in Surinam, over fifty years ago, has sufficed so far to supply all the demand for Lachesis. What is more, the identical snake from which the poison was taken is still preserved in the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia.
Preparations taken from the same species of snake, while confined in cages in menageries or any public institutions, cannot reasonably be expected to have the same medicinal power as those from the wild snake brought alive to Dr. Hering by the Indians in the country where it was caught.
Source: The Homeopathic Physician A Monthly Journal Of Medical Science. E. J. Lee, M.D., Editor, Vol. I. – 1881