Guiding Symptoms - reg size

Guiding Symptoms - reg size

  • Constantine Hering, MD


*Click here for details on ordering

About WHN Books

WHN has partnered with Nature Reveals to bring you every author and every text at the best possible price.

Why should you purchase through WholeHealthNow and Nature Reveals? Your money goes to support homeopathy when you spend it with WHN.

WHN provides many free services to the homeopathic community ~ our website is a rich resource ~ with Introductory Information for the Student, Information for the Professional, our Historic Homeopathic Timeline, Homeopathy Around the World ~ a groundbreaking documentary, hundreds of hours of FreeCasts, and our reasonably priced Courses with World Class Instructors. Our commitment remains strong to support you in your study and practice of homeopathy, and we appreciate your patronage!

Once on the Nature Reveals store page, simply search for the title you are interested and complete the purchase process there.


This book is as valuable today, as when it was conceived.

For Hering, a symptom does not acquire the status of a guiding symptom unless, apart from its appearance in the provings, it has been verified at the bedside a number of times.

He spent his lifetime in producing this work, trying to collect verifications and confirmations from all reliable resources.


Constantine Hering, MD, is considered to be the "Father of American Homeopathy". His 10 volume Guiding Symptoms is a product of almost 50 years of practice.

For Hering, a symptom was not a 'guiding symptom' (other than proving symptoms) unless it had been confirmed clinically more than a few times. Borrowing Boenninghausen's idea from the repertory, Hering evaluated symptoms on a basis of 4 grades.

"| Is the lowest, and designates an occasionally confirmed symptom. It is omitted in most cases, and is sometimes used to mark a difference of value in the same line.

|| Symptoms more frequently confirmed.

Symptoms verified by cures.

Symptoms repeatedly verified.

"The finger" indicates an approved characteristic, but is seldom used, by reason of our not wishing to appear authoritative. It is to be hoped that the combined experience of many practitioners, solicited from all sides, will enable us in a future edition to designate many more symptoms with this mark.

The Greek letter "theta" stands between the cured symptom and the pathological condition, or the physiological general state, f. i., pregnancy or climacteric years. This by no means excludes the characteristic nature of the symptom in other forms of disease."

Dr. Hering refuted the idea that a characteristic was "a symptom not found under more than one remedy" On the contrary he stated, "all our most approved characteristics, as they have been corroborated time and time again, are never such as are found in one medicine alone."

He felt that characteristic symptoms were to be found within the sensations, locations, modalities, or concomitants. This work is an attempt to give the Materia Medica in such a form as to make the selection of a curative medicine in any given case as easy as possible. It is a complement to all other works on the Materia Medica, being principally a collection of CURED SYMPTOMS.

Hering spent his life producing this work, assembling information from reliable sources. He died after publishing the first two volumes of this work and completing part of the third. His trusted students and colleagues, Drs. C.G. Raue, C.B, Knerr, and C. Mohr completed the remaining volumes.

Knowing that he would not live to finish his masterpiece Hering trained his successors and gave them all associated manuscripts and pertinent instructions before his death.

The first volume was published in Hering's time in 1879. The second volume appeared the next year in 1880. After that his successors published the later volumes during the period from 1881 to 1891. It took them ten years to complete the work.

Dr. Constantine Hering, M.D.

(1800 - 1880)

Dr. Hering is aptly called the 'Father of Homoeopathy' in America. His conversion to Homoeopathy is very interesting. At the age of 17 Dr. Hering became interested in medicine and joined the University of Leipzig, where he was the favorite pupil of the eminent Surgeon, Dr. Henrich Robbi.

At this time, Hahnemann was an eyesore to the stalwarts of orthodox medicine, because 'Organon' was a challenge to their system of medicine. Dr. Robbi was a critic of Hahnemann, and like other physicians ridiculed homoeopathy and Hahnemann.

In 1821, when the campaign against Hahnemann was at its worst, C. Baumgartner, the founder of a publishing house in Leipzig, wanted a book written against Homoeopathy, a book which would quite finish the system.

Robbi was asked to write it, but he declined for want of time and recommended his young assistant Hering. Hering set about the work and nearly finished it in the winter of 1822.

But going through Hahnemann's works for the sake of making quotations, he came across the famous 'nota bene for my reviewers' in the preface to the third volume of 'Materia Medica Pura', which said, among other things, "The doctrine appeals not only chiefly, but solely to the verdict of experience - 'repeat the experiments', it cries aloud, repeat them carefully and accurately and you will find the doctrine confirmed at every step' - and it does what no medical doctrine, no system of physic, no so-called therapeutics ever did or could do, it insists upon being judged by the result."

Hering decided to accept the challenge. The first step was to repeat the cinchona experiment. The result was what Hahnemann had predicted. Hering began to see the truth in homoeopathy. Further study of the homoeopathic 'Materia Medica' convinced him about Hahnemann's conclusions. The book against Homoeopathy thus never saw the light of day.

In the winter of 1824, Hering's right forefinger was cut while making a dissection on a dead body. The wound rapidly became gangrenous. In those days such wounds were mostly fatal. The routine orthodox medicines had no effect. Luckily for Hering and for homoeopathy, a disciple of Hahnemann named Kummer persuaded him to take homoeopathic treatment and gave him Arsenicum album.

After a few doses he felt better and the gangrene healed completely. Hering was surprised and his interest in homoeopathy knew no bounds. He contacted Hahnemann for further instruction.

Hering received the degree of M.D. from the University of Wuerzburg with highest honors. The theme of his thesis was "De Medicine Future" (The Medicine of Future). Hering arrived in Philadelphia in January 1833. He established a Homoeopathic School at Allentown, Pennsylvania (Allentown Academy).

He became a member of the Academy of Natural Sciences, and presented to it his large and valuable zoological collections, including the original Lachesis mutus from South America, the snake with whose poison he had made the first provings of Lachesis.

Hering wrote many articles, monographs and books. He was the Chief Editor of the 'North American Homoeopathic Journal', 'The Homoeopathic News', 'The American Journal of Homoeopathic Materia Medica', and the Journal of the Allentown Academy. He wrote the 'Domestic Physician', and the 'Guiding Symptoms', a monumental work of 10 volumes.

It is in the sphere of drug provings, however, that Hering's effort shines at its best. It has been remarked by Nash and others that if Hering had done nothing else for medicine but the proving of the single drug Lachesis, the world would owe him an everlasting debt of gratitude; that alone would immortalize him.

Dr. Hering proved 72 drugs, out of which the following are the most important: Cantharis, Colchicum, Iodum, Mezereum, Sabadilla, Sabina, Psorinum, Nux moschata, Lachesis, Crotalus, Apis, Hydrophobinum, Phytolacca, Platina, Glonoin, Gelsemium, Kalmia, Ferrum-met, Fluoric acid, and Phosphoric acid.

He enunciated the "Law of Direction of Cure" known popularly as Hering's Law. This describes how "The cure takes place, from center to periphery, from head to extremities, and in the reverse order of the development of the symptoms." Thus Hering took up the work left by his master, Hahnemann, and held the flag of homoeopathy till the last breath of his life.


1879 marked the release of the first volume, Abies to Amoracea sativa. The second volume, Arnica to Bromium, was released in 1880 shortly before Hering's death.

The subsequent volumes were completed by his students Raue, Knerr, and Mohr. They were as follows:
Vol. 3 (Bryonia to Chamomilla): 1881
Vol. 4 (Chelidonium to Cubeba): 1884
Vol. 5 (Cundurango to Helonias): 1887
Vol. 6 (Hepar to Lachesis): 1888
Vol. 7 (Lachnanthes to Natrum muriaticum): 1888
Vol. 8 (Natrum phos. to Pulsatilla): 1889
Vol. 9 (Ranunculus bulbosa to Stannum): 1890
Vol. 10 (Staphisagria to Zizia): 1891.

Julian Winston writes:
Sadly, the book was not completed by Hering, (who died during proof-reading Cainca in Volume 3) but by his pupils, and thus contains innumerable questionable judgments about remedy and symptom grading.

Says Kent:

"The first two volumes were very good, but after the dear old man was taken from us the rest of the work was not up to standard and is full of foolish things."

"Though it is the best reference book of the present day, it is far from the perfect work needed."

The information is a grand record of confirmed symptoms seen in over 50 years of practice. It is, with all its faults, an invaluable resource to the homeopathic practitioner and should be one of the first "larger" purchases when one is looking for a very complete materia medica.

The Heritage of Homoeopathic Literature
copyright 2001 by Julian Winston
Reprinted with the permission of the author