“Would the results of a proving be different based on the specific part of the subject which was used? Would perhaps a proving of a leaf be different than the proving of a fruit, or a milk be different than saliva?”
This was the question, raised in a discussion at the 1996 International Foundation for Homeopathy case conference, that led to the proving presented here. There were those present who argued that beneath all substance of an organism was the same vital force, and when potentised, that same vital force would present itself regardless of the specific component of the organism used. It was mentioned that there would be likely differences if bone was used rather than blood due to the highly specific mineral makeup of bones. Questions were raised about using a male versus a female subject for an animal proving, and how the mental symptoms of the proving might be affected. All in all, it was an interesting question, with much speculation, but little evidence to support any particular point of view. There are some examples in the materia medica such as Agaricus and Muscarin, Belladonna and Atropia, Nux Vomica and Strychnia, all of which are pairs of plants and a derived alkaloid. These show distinct similarities, but different remedy pictures. However, the reduction from plant to alkaloid may be more extreme than the difference between leaf and root or blood and saliva might be, and the question remains.
Having just read The Dynamics and Methodology of Homeopathic Provings by Jeremy Sherr, this case conference discussion heightened my interest in conducting a proving. I resolved to use the approach outlined in the book to prove multiple components of the same organism as a trial to see if a difference in the proving results was identifiable. While casting about for a likely subject for the proving, I happened to have lunch with an acquaintance I did not know very well at the time. In our conversation, he mentioned that his family had a farm that raised pigs. As we chatted more, I learned that these were not just any pigs-on this farm the pigs were a specially bred and screened group of animals used as donor animals for xenotransplant (organ transplant between members of different species) and xenograft (tissue graft between members of different species) medical procedures.
Over the next few days, I thought and read and researched about pigs, hogs, and swine. My investigation showed that recent medical literature was sprinkled with articles involving pigs, and many more have appeared in the last few years. Increases in demands for donated transplant organs were noted: more than 50,000 people die every year waiting for a transplant organ, compared to the approximately 2,000 who receive one. This has prompted research into the use of donor animals, and pigs have been considered good candidates because they have many similarities to human physiology and anatomy. In March of 1997, the journal Nature reported that fetal pig neuronal tissue has been implanted into the brains of patients with advanced Parkinson’s disease, demonstrating that animal tissues can grow within the human body. Heart valves, skin grafts, and liver tissue from pigs have been used in various medical procedures. Porcine pancreatic transplants have been done in Europe for a number of years. Porcine heart and liver transplants were unsuccessfully attempted with extremely ill patients in 1992. In the 1996 January issue of Emerging Infectious Disease, xenotransplants of organs from pigs were discussed as being 3-5 years from clinical trials. An April 1997 issue of Biomedical News reported that there are now herds of genetically modified pigs which have had DNA segments relating to the pig’s immune system function altered so that humans won’t reject the tissue. In addition to organs, bone marrow transplant is being researched. Limiting factors continue to be immune system rejection of the foreign tissue and fears of viral transmission through xenotransplant. An ethics advisory group for xenotransplantation had directed a moratorium on xenotransplants in Britain and New Zealand. The Centers for Disease Control is currently drafting guidelines to prevent transmission of infectious agents, monitor xenotransplant and xenograft recipients with a national registry, and screen candidate animals and tissues.
While reading all this, I became curious about what the possible impacts could be to a human population if organ transplants were possible, and became commonplace. What influence could that bring to children born to a parent who had a xenographic organ? Could a state of ‘pig’ be recognizable in people who have received grafts or valves or other pig tissues? It seemed very worthwhile to conduct a proving of something foreign which has actually been incorporated into human bodies and is now living and growing there. Additionally, pigs offered an easy source for multiple components to prove. I contacted my acquaintance, explained my project, and he obtained the source substances for my proving from the pigs raised for xeno-transplant. Freshly obtained semen, saliva, milk and blood were added to individual bottles of alcohol and left for 24 hours. Each of these was potentized and potencies of 6C, 12C, 15C, and 30C were made in alcohol. Packets of remedies on pellets were made up, each identified with a number only. A cross reference was created to index the packet numbers to the source remedy/potency. Four additional packets of sac lac were added. No one knew what was in any of the packets until the proving was completed. The name of the remedy is Sus, the Latin word for swine which is the genus name used in biological classification.
“Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but it was already impossible to say which was which.” -George Orwell, Animal Farm
“It may be remarked that man is the only animal which can live and multiply in every country from the equator to the poles. The hog seems to approach the nearest to our species in that privilege.” -Gibbon
Pigs are widely distributed throughout the Earth in both wild and domesticated form. Hog, pig, and swine are interchangeable terms for domesticated mammals of the swine family of the order artiodactyla (hoofed animals with an even number of toes on each foot), suborder bunodontia, families suidae and tayassuidae. They are believed to have descended from two wild species (Asian and European), and first domesticated in China about 9000 years ago. Explorers, traders and immigrants eventually spread them around the earth. Pigs are well adapted to meat production because they grow and mature rapidly, have a short gestation period and produce a large number of young. As omnivorous scavengers, they can adapt to many environments and diets. In addition to meat, leather and bristles are produced. With the exception of Muslim and Jewish cultures, which regard them as unclean and therefore inedible, pigs are raised and eaten throughout the world.
Pigs have played a role in history as well. In his book Guns, Germs, and Steel, author Jared Diamond partially attributes to pigs the dominance of European cultures over many others around the globe. He discusses the evolution of epidemic disease as sourced by the close proximity of humans and domesticated animals in Eurasia, where it was not uncommon for peasants to live under the same roof with their animals. Then as today, the relationship between humans and pigs could be very close; in some places in the world today, human mothers nurse piglets from their own breasts. His book documents the gradual viral and bacteriological migration from animal diseases to human diseases and attributes influenza and pertussis to domesticated swine. In the first stage of evolution, a disease is found in animals but a transfer to humans is uncommon, and there is no human to human transmission. This is seen today with leptospirosis in dogs and pigs, brucellosis in cattle, psittacosis in birds, and swine erysipelas in pigs. In the second stage, a former animal pathogen evolves to a point where there is direct transmission between people, causing epidemics. In the third stage, a disease which was exclusively an animal disease has become an exclusively human disease. The impact of these diseases (measles, rubella, mumps, pertussis, smallpox, influenza) on indigenous cultures throughout the world was devastating, becoming one of the factors in the spread of European influence.
Pigs also feature in the culture and mythology of many countries. In his books, The Prydain Chronicles, Lloyd Alexander retells Welsh legends involving an oracle pig named HenWen who used sticks to tell the future. Pigs have been revered as weather forecasters, symbols of fertility or bravery in battle, creatures enraptured by music and much else as detailed in George Druce’s “The Sow and Pig: A Study in Metaphor” from the Archealogia Cantiana. They have contributed to our maps with hills called hogbacks; the city of St. Paul, Minnesota, was originally called Pig’s Eye. They have also been reviled, and connotations of the words pig, hog and swine are seldom complimentary. Pig iron is a crude casting of metal from a blast furnace. Hoggish and piggish are adjectives meaning dirty, greedy or stubborn. Pig-headed refers to a stubborn person, and a swine refers to a contemptible person.
There are some interesting oddities about pigs as well. They have no sweat glands and require other means to cool off, explaining the tendency of wild pigs to live in marshy places where they can wallow in water or mud. Newborn pigs are extremely sensitive to cold and die easily if left in a drafty place. Pigs are vulnerable to anthrax, but it is not uncommon for young pigs to become only mildly ill and recover completely from this disease which can be fatal to many other animals and humans. In a 1925 issue of the British Journal of Experimental Biology, Baker wrote about the inherited tendency to sexual abnormality producing both hermaphrodite and sex-intergrade pigs. In strains of pigs where this tendency was prevalent, over 10% of the pigs showed abnormality. He concluded that these were masculinized genetic females though they generally demonstrated male sexual instincts. In the true hermaphrodites, an ovary was consistently found on the left side and a testicle on the right side, the clitoris was enlarged and developed similar to a penis, and there was also a uterus and vagina.
A list of diseases that affect pigs reads much like a list of human diagnoses: meningitis, encephalitis, polio (Talfan disease), tuberculosis, pneumonia, rheumatism, tetanus, osteoporosis, cirrhosis of the liver, hepatitis, gall stones. Urinary and kidney diseases are commonly found in pigs, and nephritis has been associated with exposure to cold, direct drafts on pigs’ backs. Like many other illnesses found post-mortem, diabetes mellitus is not diagnosed in pigs because they are generally slaughtered at six months of age, but pancreatic degeneration found in some slaughtered animals is consistent with glycosuria. Swine erysipelas is a disease of pigs, caused by Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae, which raises characteristic diamond shaped red patches on the skin, and sometimes appears as a diffuse red coloring all over the skin. The condition can be fatal to pigs, causing hemorrhage of the kidneys and other complications. This disease can affect people who come in contact with a diseased pig, has been fatal to humans, and may last for years in some people, with diamond shaped blotches on the hands and face that are aggravated by heat of a fire or stove. This same E. rhusiopathiae agent has been identified as a cause of arthritis in pigs in the U.S. , and in one study as many as 75% of pigs affected with arthritis were shown to have this organism.
“Even when I felt my stomach was full, I wanted to go on eating. I would have eaten anything. I would have eaten garbage if you had put it in front of me.” Sus prover
The proving was conducted gradually from the fall of 1996 through the summer of 1997 in the U.S. and Canada. The methodology laid out in Jeremy Sherr’s book was used, and instructions copied from the book were handed out to provers. Supervision was done by myself and Joan Raddysh, a Canadian homeopath now in Toronto whose contribution was invaluable. Finding suitable candidates who were interested in participating, relatively self-observant and articulate, and conscientious about avoiding interferences such as coffee, medical or recreational drugs, herbs, supplements, etc, proved to be a challenge, and so the proving was done with a few individuals at a time in several very small groups as people agreed to participate, for a total of 27 provers for the four remedy components. In addition to the supervision before and after the remedy was taken, follow-up was done with the majority of provers at 3 months, 6 months and 1 year. Three of the provers observed no symptoms of any kind; one of these had been given sac lac. The notable results are given below in the words of the provers, followed by two successful acute cases. I have not found a constitutional case for Sus yet, but hope that the publication of this material will make homeopaths aware of what is known about the remedy so far and create the opportunity for further clinical use.
While knowledge of the remedy is incomplete and additions to the repertory seem premature at this stage, rubrics consistent with Kent’s Repertory have been noted here using plain type for lowest grade, italic for middle and bold for highest grade. Whenever possible, existing rubrics have been used. Following Jeremy Sherr’s lead, I make no attempt to offer an essence or summary picture for the remedy, letting the symptoms of the proving speak for themselves. However, in response to the questions raised at the 1996 IFH case conference, the results of the proving were so similar from each of the four components of pig (saliva, semen, blood and milk) that I was unable to differentiate them in any way.
There were many symptoms related to work including positive anticipation of work, desire to work, increased sense of satisfaction and accomplishment at work, anxiety about having forgotten how to do one’s job. It was interesting to find that almost 50% of the provers noted that they worked overtime, double shifts, increased responsibility, or increased hours at some point within the first 3 days after taking the remedy.
• “I had to work tonight and was actually looking forward to it which was unusual.”
• “I had a wonderful feeling that I had a task, a purpose and I had finished it. I feel at peace now.”
• “I felt like I could accomplish everything at work today and I did. I feel great and have lots of energy.”
• “I was at work twice as long today, funny how that happens.”
• “I was at work from 9 am to 11 pm; I had not one chance to leave or take a break.”
• “Someone else wasn’t coming in to work so I had to do her job on top of mine. I lasted the entire day without feeling drained once.”
• “I thought I couldn’t do my job. In a sense I believed that I had forgotten how to work. That’s why my hands started to shake, because I was actually scared. It still bothers me now, much later.”
Two provers noted a difficulty in answering questions.
• “I have a time delayed response when answering questions. There is a brief period of blankness and then I can respond.”
No provers reported their own violent behavior, but in the few days prior to taking the remedy (while keeping records in the proving notebooks) or the first week after taking the remedy, several events involving conflict were noted, and the following are representative.
• “I have never before been punched in a street confrontation. Three guys came up to me as I got off work, made various comments that I am a nerd and have no friends. It is, in effect, playground bullying. One of the guys punched me on the right cheek just above the mouth, chipped a tooth. I did not see the blow coming.”
• “I struck a blow against a mouse that sent it limping off for cover last night. I had already received the remedy proving kit so I thought to include it in my notes.”
• “I was woken up at 3 am by a couple of wailing cats that were fighting right outside my window.”
This last is a strange, rare and peculiar type of symptom which was experienced by the one person who seemed to experience most of the proving symptoms.
• “I had the idea that my foot was split between my big toe and my other toes, going up into my foot part way, like a snake’s tongue is split.”
Mind, Occupation ameliorates
Mind, Answers slowly
Mind, Fear, work, feared he had forgotten how to (new subrubric)
Mind, Delusion, foot split in two (new rubric)
Almost 90% of the provers who reported any symptoms at all had headaches. In several provers, there were daily headaches for weeks, with intense headaches on a weekly frequency for up to 2 months. Invariably the same words were used: dull ache, vague ache, pressure pushing outwards, but too dull to be a bursting sort of pain. In fact, dull ache was the most common description used for every kind of pain experienced by the provers in any symptom.
• “Vague headache, centered behind the eyes”
• “Ache in the head with much dull pressure inside the head, pushing outwards”
• “Mild headache from 3 to 5 pm which slowly went away”
• “Dull ache which strengthens, then recedes every few hours through the day”
• “An ache in the forehead at and above my eyebrows”
• “Aching pain in my head which was better after eating hot soup”
Provers also noted increased itching of the scalp which was improved by scratching and followed by the formation of small scabs which flaked off with more scratching.
Head, Pain, headache in general
Head, Pain, dull pain
Head, Itching of scalp
Approximately 75% of the provers reported increased hunger and increased satisfaction with food. In particular, many provers mentioned seeking out a desired food and finding it extremely satisfying when they had eaten it, although there was a very wide range of the things desired with no two the same. For a few provers this lasted for weeks, but for most it lasted only the first few days. Approximately 30% of the provers reported nausea.
• “I was very hungry as soon as I woke up.”
• “I was unusually hungry at times through the day.”
• “I was ravenous, eating and eating, even when I knew I was full I wanted to eat more.”
• “Even when I felt my stomach was full, I wanted to go on eating. I would have eaten anything. I would have eaten garbage if you had put it in front of me.”
• “By 10 am I was starved.”
• “When I ate it, it was the best thing I had ever tasted.”
• “After I ate, it seemed like the end result of a craving, when one feels accomplished that they have fulfilled the desire.”
• “I had a craving today for a blueberry bagel with cream cheese and I wasn’t let down-it was excellent.”
• “I felt nauseated after taking the remedy.”
• “From 3 to 3:30 pm I felt mild nausea.”
• “There was a lot of cigar smoke and this made me feel nauseated. It felt like I would have vomited if I had not gotten fresh air.”
Stomach, Appetite, increased
Stomach, Appetite, ravenous, canine, excessive
• “Within 15 minutes of taking the first dose of the remedy, I felt a colicky feeling in the abdomen.”
• “After the remedy I had stomach cramps followed by diarrhea.”
Abdomen, Pain, cramping
Rectum / Stool
• “I had diarrhea several times a day, after starting the remedy.”
• “After having stomach cramps, I had very soft stools.”
• “I had diarrhea which was very forceful, like an explosion into the toilet.”
Kidney pain was both produced as a proving symptom and resolved during the proving for a prover who had chronic pain in the kidneys. Several provers reported waking at night to urinate, something very out of the ordinary for them.
• “My back began to ache in the area of my kidneys, more on the right side. This lasted for an hour and a half then faded away.”
• “I awoke again without the pain I usually feel in my kidneys every morning. This was very different for me-I have had this pain every day for years.” (Pain was remitted for 3 months.)
• “Waking at 4:20 am with a strong need to urinate.”
• “Frequent need to urinate.”
Kidneys, Pain, morning
Bladder, Urination, frequent
Bladder, Urination, night
Several of the provers reported symptoms of trembling or joint pain, and most of these were on the left side of the body. Provers who already had joint pain noted that it became worse after taking the remedy, but none of those provers reported that it improved afterwards-the discomfort gradually returned to its previous level.
• Trembling in the hands and forearms, with fear of having forgotten how to work, lasting 30 minutes.
• Cramping in the left hand lasting 3 minutes
• “While driving, my hand and foot on the left side started to cramp up. Better after stretching.”
• “My left shoulder seems to have been wrenched somehow. It is a dull ache.”
• “Dull ache in both knees.”
• “Dull aching feeling in the left hip and knee.”
• “There was a feeling of wasting away in my arms. It was mid-afternoon. It felt as if the fluids and strength of my arms was ebbing. Sapping of strength.”
Extremities, Trembling, anxious
Extremities, Pain, joints
Extremities, Cramps, hand
Extremities, Cramps, hand, left
Extremities, Cramps, foot
Extremities, Weakness, upper limbs
There were many dreams reported involving the need to urinate, and the provers, upon waking, actually did need to urinate. This was one of the most commonly reported symptoms in the proving.
• “I dreamed that I was at a rally where we were forced to hear a talk about the end of technology. In my dream I had to get up and go to the bathroom. When I did wake up, I realized my bladder was full and I did need to go to the bathroom.”
• “In my dream I was going to see a film in a big old movie hall. On my way into the hall I had to line up to pee-I actually did need to when I woke up.”
• “In my dream I was with my brother and we were traveling in a green countryside near the coast. My brother and I were peeing on the grass near an old house, and we were told off by a young guy who said we should have used the toilet. I woke up really needing to pee.”
There were also quite a few dreams about eating.
• “I dreamed that I was sitting at a dinner table having a meal with others. Everyone was friendly.”
• “In my dream I was gathered around a bowl of food with other greedy followers.”
• “There were people wandering around in a farmyard eating food from a huge cabinet-fruit and veggies and bacon.”
• “People are around cooking fires in the orchard.”
There were dreams from which people awoke frightened, as from a nightmare, and some of these were dreamt multiple times in the same night.
• “In my dream I looked towards the window and saw a reflection. I thought it was me. As I got closer, it became clear that it was someone else. At that point I woke up, terrified that somebody was outside my window.”
• “There was a long stemmed red rose with a note saying ‘I don’t want you to ever do that again.’ And signed by my friend, but I did not know what she was referring to. I awoke frightened because I thought I had done something to jeopardize our friendship.” (Dreamt 3 times in one night)
• “I had a nightmare about a friend-a guy and his wife who were threatening to kill me with a gun. I tried to pretend I was already dead, but he was not fooled. Then I had to empty out my pockets and was surrounded by many coins. When I awoke I was anxious and the feeling stayed with me for a long time.”
• “I was in a bar but it was all light and sunny outside. Whenever I touched someone, their skin would flake off. It was creepy.”
Sleep, Dreams, urinating, of
Sleep, Dreams, nightmare
Sleep, Dreams, eating
Sleep, Dreams, frightful
Sleep, Dreams, repeating
Dry, itching and red skin on the waist, sides, back, shoulders, arms, scalp and face were reported. Scratching relieved the itching, as did water, lotion, and in one case, a mud bath.
• “I had red patches of dry, itchy skin around my waist. I put lotion on them and it felt better.”
• “My skin felt dry and very itchy. Scratching felt good, but the only thing that really made it go away was a mud bath at a local spa.”
• “My scalp has been very itchy. I have been scratching it and now there are little scabs flaking off when I scratch.”
• “I have a terrible itch between my shoulder blades. If I scratch long enough it stops itching.”
Skin, Itching, scratching amel.