Drug Provings Homeopathy Papers

Some Proving Symptoms of Salix Fragilis / Crack Willow

Marisa Laguna
Written by Marisa Laguna

Dr. Marisa Laguna describes some proving symptoms of Salix Fragilis (Crack Willow) and compares it to other remedies.

This is a species of willow native to Europe and  Western Asia; its grey bark creases and cracks in older trees; it contains salicin (the main ingredient of aspirin).

It has been used as antirheumatic, antipyretic and analgesic since ancient times[1].

Common Name: Crack Willow

A proving was conducted by Penelope Stirling, in 1988, following Hahnemann’s methodology (Stirling, 1999).  7 provers (6 women), potencies: 6C, 12C, 30C.

Preparation Methodology:

Mother tincture was made from the stem and leaves. Subsequent dilutions were prepared in 90 percent alcohol by the traditional single vial Hahnemannian method[2].

The remedy was prepared at Helios Pharmacy.



It is present in the complete repertory in 2235 rubrics and in the radar repertory 10 in 761 rubrics.

Eight cases were published online by Dr. Anna Pla, member of The Homeopathic Medical Academy of Barcelona (AMHB) (Pla, 2011)[3].

Other varieties of willow have also been proved: Salix Alba, Americana, Mollissima, Nigra, Purpurea and Vitellina.

Substance and Etymology

Salix: from Latin, the family of willow trees.

Fragilis: Latin for fragile.

“Fragilis” evokes the way the twigs break off easily and cleanly at the base; its branches are pliable and flexible enough to weave, which is why is has been long used in basketry, but at the same time, its wood is quite hard and resistant, and is often used to make shields, cricket bats and windmills.

The tree grows on the edge of rivers and streams, between water and land.

Reproduction: its fragile branches easily break and fall into waterways, “travel” downstream, readily take root on riverbanks, and grow into new trees.

It is important to emphasize and remember these substance characteristics:

Fragile and hard.

Grows “on the edge” between water and land. (Prescribed according to P. Stirling in extreme situations).

Reproduction: Salix Fragilis presents corresponding sexual and reproductive issues we will describe later.

As mentioned, its common name in English is “Crack Willow

If we remember this term, we will remember Salix Fragilis.

These words speak of substance identity, revealed in the proving subjects.

“Crack means: to fail, break up, fissure, opening[4].

In Salix Fragilis these are core symptoms: the want of self-confidence (fear of failing) as well as metaphorically “breaking” and wanting to change in a critical situation.  Also the cracking is on the skin (skin, cracks, fissures), orifices (skin, cracks, fissures, orifices), lips (cracked lips) and sensations of feeling separated (from the world, from themselves, from friends, from family, from a group, parts of the body feel separated).

“Crack” means, as we said, opening.  Salix Fragilis dreams with doors opening and doors that close.

Penelope Stirling says:

“A remedy for patients living a critical situation, acute or chronic. An extreme situation that they will tolerate until they “break”, when they  feel it is all over, they cannot go on. They feel they need an important change in their lives, sometimes after a long period of indecisiveness and suffering.

Seemingly fragile, they endure serious difficulties. Courage to face difficult situations. Ailmenst from the loss of a loved one, with feelings of conspiracy or distrust. They cry easily and feel better when crying. They cry for rage or reproach. Deep sadness. It is no surprise that this remedy is effective in cases of reactive depression or pathological grief.   Core themes: life and death, pregnancy, fertility, sexuality. Another theme orienting its prescription is doors: fear of closed doors, dreaming of sliding doors, dreaming of doors closing”.

Substance nature: hard and fragile at the same time;

It may be inherent to its “breaking” potential, the “cracking” and its dynamic correlation with crisis or extreme situation.

Proving Phrases:

“No feeling or intention of having anything to do with partner. Her action was beyond the pale and I don’t see why I should take it anymore.

05P 09 XX. XX NS


“I felt pushed to the edge by my boyfriend and completely lost my temper (…).

 I sat in my car and just shouted and shouted at my boyfriend. I was so fed up. I was crying. I drove home very depressed. I felt that there was a definite line and that he had crossed it”.
06P 04 XX.XX NS

“I must make a decision or fate will make a decision for me” 07P 16 XX.XX NS


“Feel a definite tension “in the air” between my boyfriend and I. Makes me feel uncomfortable and uneasy.”

 07P 03 XX.XX NS

Correlated Repertory Rubrics[5] .

Firmness: that also means fixation or tenacity (Firmness)

Discontented, with firmness, drawing the line. (Discontented; firmness, drawing the line).

Delusion: relationship, partnership or commitment must end. (Betrothal must be broken).

“Hardness”  : Positiveness, dictatorial, pertinacious, courageous.

“Fragility”   :  Yielding, delusion of fragility.

Stiffness and tension:

In cervical region, painful tension, during headaches.

In joints, upper limbs; shoulders, elbows, wrists.

lower limbs: knees, going down the stairs.

Salix Fragilis – Crack Willow

Groups of Symptoms

1- Splitting and Antagonism.

2- Want of Self-Confidence

3- Feeling Forsaken, Isolation, Sensation of Weeping.

4- Anxiety of Conscience that we will develop in correlation with the multiple delusions of punishment.                                                                 

1) Splitting and Antagonism.

Proving Phrases:

“Feel like there are two people in me, one living the life that is seen and one living a secret life which is not compatible with the other. 03P 06 XX.XX NS.

Sudden cracking, splitting and breaking, I want to be free of this remedy, it’s as if I had no control of myself now”. 01P 16 XX.XX NS

“Do not feel integrated into myself – as if I am a blurred image of myself”.

01P 17 XX.XX NS

“Why should I be with someone who doesn’t want the things that are most precious to me? Feeling of being split in two.

I don’t believe relationships should be like that, split between partner and children”.

07P 16 XX.XX IOS

Complete Repertory:

Antagonistic with themselves.

Contradicting will.

Sensation as if they had two wills.

Two different trains of thought at the same time.

Head separated from body.

Mind separated from body.

Sensation of being split in two.

Confusion as to their identity.

Dreams of being fragmented .

2) Want of Self-Confidence

Main modalities: with fear and delusion of failing or feeling inadequate or useless.

Proving Phrases:

It was my first day of working in a clinic. I was very apprehensive and quite nervous. I had a feeling like …I was going to be ‘found out’. I felt inadequate. I was surprised by how nervous I was”. 06P 11 XX.XX NS

 “Feel teary, depressed, angry (…. )

  Feeling of futility, because of not much response from partner”.

02P 15 XX.XX NS

“Feelings of being hopeless at everything and useless. Tears are flowing easily.”

07P 02 11.00 NS

“I am putting my boyfriend “on hold”, I can’t fight trying to make things happen. I feel unsafe, on the edge”.

07 P 19 XX.XX NS

Complete Repertory:

Want of self-confidence, feels inadequate.

Want of self-confidence, feels a failure.

Fear and delusion of failure.

Delusion of never succeeding, of always doing everything wrong.

Delusion of having made a mistake.

Self-contempt (can show contempt for others).

Discontent of themselves, feeling of being useless.

Ailments from anticipation.

Anticipation, of betrothal.

Irresolution. Indecision.


Delusion of feeling wretched when looking in the mirror.

3) Feeling Forsaken

Modalities: with feeling of isolation.

                  with weeping.

 “I had stopped going to my Buddhist group when we first took the remedy (with which I have been involved for some years) because when I last went after taking the remedy I felt alienated, as if I did not belong.

I also felt like that when I went to a Graduation Ceremony.

I felt very alone, isolated and not part of the group.

I slunk off and cried all the way home because I felt so lonely.” 06P 00 XX.XX NS.

Modalities in reference to their anxiety emphasize some of Salix Fragilis’ core symptoms: they remind us of their want of confidence, their anxiety for anticipation, how they live their anxiety of consciousness with sensation of wrong or inadequate doing.  With regard to anxiety of consciousness, it reflects in numerous dreams and delusions of punishment that we describe later on.

Also feeling forsaken with weeping can be linked to anxiety when being alone.


“Still depressed on walk to work. Want to escape from it all. Feel much better for talking to Mum, better for consolation, better for female emotional support”. 04P 17 XX.XX NS.
Depressed and tearful all day. (…) I just want to escape. No enthusiasm for anything. Don’t want to go out in evening when my boyfriend comes round, not even to cinema. Weeping but only temporarily better for it. Depression soon returns. ”. 04P 16 XX.XX NS.

“I went to a classical music recital at lunch time and got quite aggressive.

About the author

Marisa Laguna

Marisa Laguna

Dr. Marisa Laguna was born in 1964, in Argentina. She studied medicine at the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), graduating as a doctor of medicine in 1989. She subsequently graduated from the Homeopathic School "Tomas Pablo Paschero" (Argentina) and begain her homeopathic practice in 2008. She is Professor of materia medica and coordinator of provings. Dr. Laguna is part of the editorial committee of the Journal Acta Homeopática Argentinensia (EMHA).

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