The Homoeopathic Proving of Chocolate
by Jeremy Sherr
Most of the book is proving symptoms, but there is also 40 pages of fascinating information on the subject and a 43 page repertory.
- Author: Jeremy Sherr
- ISBN: No ISBN
- 195 pages
- Printed in United Kingdom
Reprinted with the permission of The Society of Homeopaths, from 'The Homeopath' Journal, No. 53, 1994 edition. Reviewed by Andreas N. Bjorndal.
Kent starts his lecture on Capsicum - Most of the substances that are used on the table as seasoning in foods will in the course of a generation or two be very useful medicines, because people poison themselves with these substances, tea, coffee, pepper, and these poisonous effects in the parents cause in the children a predisposition to disease, which is similar to the disease produced by these substances.
Chocolate is perhaps one of the things that is used more than any of them. As Jeremy writes about why he chose to prove it: It seemed that the desire for chocolate was always impressive. It seemed that the desire for chocolate exceeded any other category of food craving.
I sat down one evening to enjoy the new book from Jeremy Sherr, after having read in the introduction:
Persons who habitually take chocolate are those who enjoy the most equable and constant health and are least liable to a multitude of illnesses which spoil the enjoyment of life.
A number of myths have been shattered by the result of scientific research. The four paragraphs which follow touch upon weight gain, acne and tooth decay as myths. Well there I sat de-mythalised on my way into the text of a proving, but one thing was missing. Yes, I had a chocolate bar in a cupboard. Yum yum! I don't think I have ever in my chocolate-myth-life enjoyed chocolate as much as this time. Once the proving had come down upon me I was ready to enjoy the book.
When you read about a new remedy everybody enjoys knowing the connection of the remedy with nature, culture, history etc. This makes the remedy become a living thing, not only a name with symptoms. All this is taken care of in the book. The plant, the substance, Aztec and Mexican legend, arrival in Europe, aspects of health , health myths and associations are some of the topics of the first chapter to be followed by Cacao from Allen's Encyclopaedia and comments by Jeremy Sherr. In his comments Jeremy tells how the element of romantic love so prevalent in chocolate folklore was not a strong element in the proving, rather it was a theme revolving around family issues often in connection with nourishing and raising children. The book expresses how this theme has different expressions in Sepia, Phosphorus, Lyssine, and all remedies that have a strong desire for chocolate.
Looking at the Complete repertory one can find many remedies related to Chocolate. Quite a few of them have a relation to this theme. Like Argentum nitricum deserted, forsaken or Oxalic acid with Desire to beget/have children or Lycopodium with Children, dislikes her own and Children, flies from his own. I would have delighted in Jeremy elaborating a little longer in this aspect.
The chapter on anecdotal information touches upon cockroaches - Blacks Veterinary Dictionary, toxicological report and reports of chocolate lovers. Listen to this:
According to Family Practice News, asthmatics who are allergic to chocolate may in fact be reacting to its cockroach content. Or from the reports from the chocolate lovers: One associates it with parental approval.
It's a fun thing, it's pleasure, it's going back to mummy's womb.
Following on from there are sections from classroom discussions containing reasons, for eating, addiction, breast feeding, kids, wildness, hoarding, miscellaneous particular symptoms and ending with a case. There is a lot of information placing chocolate in its historical, chemical, cultural, social and mythical position.
The next section of the book is dedicated to the proving. After listing the provers and the method, John Morgan from Helios Pharmacy describes the pharmaceutical preparation.
Then follows a detailed description of prover number one, which had and amazing reaction, starting minutes after the first dose:
Overwhelming desire to curl up under the duvet and to keep warm,...nose cold, wet and dripping...felt very unsympathetic to the children...begin to have many thoughts and images of hedgehogs.
This becomes astonishing.
I keep wanting to push my hair back. I don't want it over my face. I'm pleased it is short and I would like to have more of it off so that it is very short and bristly.... Desire to touch short heads of hair and beards....smell and hearing more acute....I feel like a hedgehog-especially the cold and wet nose....on seeing a bristly carpet, started laughing...like meeting a friend. The texture was very spiky like a hedgehog.
This fascinating proving covers many pages of symptoms and ends with the comments from the supervisor and other observers:
The prover's face, expression and mannerisms certainly changed radically during the proving. Her nose twitched and was cold to touch, her hairline seemed higher and broader and she held her hands together in a manner of a small animal holding a nut.
After this description we go from Mind to Generalities symptom by symptom, with time of appearance, potency (C6, C30, C100, C200 ) and the number of the prover who had the symptom. This is interesting and done in the same way as in the proving of Hydrogen. For all that enjoyed the book on Hydrogen, you will find its sister in this book, same size, same way of organising it and same way of representing the proving. Jeremy has with these books set up a new standard which is easy to follow and gives us more freedom to use the exact information from the proving.
The last part of the book consists of a repertory, built as Kent's repertory and with page reference to the Synthetic and Kent but also rubrics from the Complete Repertory and quite a number of new rubrics have got their place. Dee MacLachlan is responsible for this part. Some of the new rubrics are: Animal consciousness; Colours, aversion to blue, maroon and green; Colour, yellow and brown, desire to wear; Confident; Delusion, double, mouth is; Delusion, hedgehog, she is; Irritability, children, towards his own; Political; Sensitive music, birdsong, and many more.
I have enjoyed reading the book, I am waiting for my first case to turn up and for the experience of the homoeopathic community of this new remedy. We can see that the dichotomy between animal instinct and over civilised behaviour which is obvious through the proving, is a theme prevalent in our modern society both in the most civilised parts of it and in the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum.