Encyclopedia of Pure Materia Medica
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OverviewTwelve volumes comprise one of homeopathy's most comprehensive materia medica. References include the actual prover or clinical experience. The last two volumes are T.F. Allen's repertory.
7764 pp hb
DetailsIn 1874, Timothy Field Allen published his 10-volume magnum opus, The Encyclopedia of Pure Materia Medica. This is a record of most of the homeopathic drug provings and toxicology up to this point.
With contributions from Richard Hughes, Constantine Hering, Carroll Dunham, and Adolphus Lippe, each symptom is given with the name of the prover, the dosage that produced that symptom, and the reference for that symptom.
Here you will find the original text of a symptom, undistorted by the lens of the repertory. It is an amazing experience to find the words of a 21st century patient expressed by a prover over 125 years ago.
Though Allen attempted to make corrections to this voluminous work, some feel that many mistakes of translation made it into the final copy. Even so, this materia medica remains today a mainstay of homeopathic practice.
HeritageThis massive work was listed in the Hahnemann schema. It is an almost complete record of all provings and poisonings recorded to that date.
Each symptom is referenced as to the prover, the dosage which elicited the symptom, and the source of the information. Allen credits Hughes, Dunham, Hering, and Lippe with helping him compile the information.
The volumes were issued over a five year period:
Vol.1 (Abies to Atropin):1874
Vol.2 (Aurum to Carduus): 1875
Vol. 3 (Carlsbad to Cubeba):1876
Vol. 7 (Nicotinum to Plumbago); 1878
Vol. 8 (Plumbum to Serpentaria):1878
Vol. 9 (Silica to Thuja)' 1879
Vol 10 (Tilia to Zizia): 1879.
In 1881 Allen published 'A Critical Revision of the Encyclopedia of Pure Materia Medica.' A reprint from the North American Journal of Homeopathy of 16 pages, this small work is, essentially, an errata for his larger work.
It covers revisions to remedies from Agaricus to Carbo veg. No further work was done. In a small four-page printing with no date, Allen gives the number of the symptoms that have been clinically verified by Dunham.
A classic work, considered an essential reference in the serious practitioner's library. However, at the time of its publication a review in the December 1879 Homeopathic Times, described the work as "Dr. Allen's gigantic and most discredible fiasco."
The review described the work as...
"...mass of trash, of wild vagaries, of symptoms which seem to have been gathered at random from every language under heaven, from every insane asylum in the land, and from nurseries where fond mothers take seriously to heart the symptoms and sayings of their young offspring."
"Mixed with all this trash, the trained searcher may possible find the real gems of our therapeutics, for they are there; but they are often so covered with what is perfectly worthless, that a special training is necessary to evolve them from the surrounding rubbish."
It seems that Allen himself claimed responsibility for all the translations from the German, but in the reviewer's persual of the Nux vomica chapter, several gross translation errors were found.
For example, a literal translation of Hahnemann reads:
"She regards the present pain as intolerable."
....while Allen translated it as:
"The usual pain seems intolerable."
"After midnight, very violent palpitation with extreme anxiety which impels him to suicide."
...which Allen translates as:
"Extreme anxiety with violent palpitation which impels him to suicide."
Says the reviewer: "...if we find a simple translation, from so important writer as Hahnemann, full of errors, what reliance can be placed on any of the editor's work?"
Julian Winston writes:
This review, although unsigned, was probably written by Egbert Guernsey, one of the editors of the Journal. It places into question the accuracy of a book which has been thought by many to be one of the primary sources of materia medica.
The Heritage of Homoeopathic Literature
copyright 2001 by Julian Winston
Reprinted with the permission of the author