A Supplement to Clarke's Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica

by Peter David Fraser




Expanded polymer of phenylethene (CH5CH=CH2)

Expanded polystyrene. Polyphenylethene.

Trituration of granules of expanded polystyrene up to 3c then succussion to higher potencies.







Suppurating wounds

Throat irritation


A proving of Polystyrene was conducted by Rajan Sankaran in February 1995 with ten provers between the ages of 20 and 40, who did not know what the substance was. All were given a dose of 30c though three of them did not take it.

Polystyrene was first manufactured in !839 by a German apothecary named Eduard Simon. It is an aromatic polymer that is manufactured from petroleum. Pure polystyrene is a hard plastic that can be transparent as in jewel CD cases or can be coloured and is widely used to make things like plastic cutlery. It can also be combined with other polymers to form plastics with different properties. The most important form of polystyrene, and the form used to make the remedy, is expanded polystyrene which is composed of 5% polystyrene and 95% gaseous blowing agent. The immobile pockets of gas give expanded polystyrene an extremely low thermal conductivity, which with its light weight makes it an ideal insulating material and it is used extensively as building insulation. Its thermal insulating qualities and the ease with which it can be moulded and formed means that it is ideal for disposable coffee cups and packaging food, especially junk food. Its shock absorbing qualities make it an excellent packaging material and it is used widely, pre-shaped or in the form of loose "peanuts". It is also used for architectural models and for film sets.

Environmentally it is cause for considerable concern. Although CFCs are no longer used as blowing agents they were a major cause of damage to the ozone layer. It is also a virtually indestructible substance and a discarded coffee cup can float on the oceans circumnavigating the globe for centuries.

Medically, Polystyrene sulphonate resins bind potassium ions and are used to mop up excess ions in hyperkalaemia.

The proving showed that the idea of being insulated from the world is central to the remedy. There is a feeling of detachment and aloofness and a separation from the world. One prover described this as a barrier, that she wasn't in touch with the things around her or with herself, that she was mechanically living her life.

The primary expression of this is a lack of emotion in situations where emotion might be expected. (Op. and other opiates) A lack of fear and of feeling and particularly a lack of embarrassment in embarrassing situations were found throughout both the mental symptoms and the dreams. Shame and guilt were also absent which could be expressed as a lack of remorse after anger or violence. This was also expressed as an unfeeling cruelty. Dream of beating up a friend and feeling very happy. There was particularly a willingness to meet a threat with greater violence. (Anac., Androc.) Feeling of being threatened and that I should protect myself by being violent. When a prover felt threatened by a ferocious dog he felt that he should get a bigger and more ferocious dog.

There are violent impulses and a desire to hit people, though not if they are stronger than he is. There is a lack of forgiveness with violent, hateful and revengeful thoughts.

Being unable to feel emotion makes it more difficult to gauge other people's intentions and prover's felt constantly threatened by everyone; even family members and honourable persons might attack you.

There were many dreams of threats, of danger and violence and of accidents, again often without any feeling or emotion.

The lack of feeling and emotion mean that decisions and actions can be clearer and more immediate. Provers felt cool and collected. Making point blank decisions without getting involved or thinking what the other person might feel. Feeling of having done the right thing. There is a feeling of objectivity, that logic is driving decisions. There is also a refusal to be unfairly treated or taken advantage of and a demand for respect. There was a desire to put others in their proper place. Others, however, tended to see the provers as rude and dominating.

This lack of concern for the feelings of others was also expressed in selfishness and a willingness to use people for your own ends

A lack of emotion means that the real, physical world is the only one experienced and there is a materialism in the remedy and a concern for money and superficial appearances. There is also a need to impose the internal detached and logical nature onto the outside world with a desire for cleanliness, order and methodical ways of working.

In the dreams not only was emotion lacking but also pain was not felt.

There is an indolence, physical and mental, throughout the remedy an unwillingness to undertake things.

The indifference and lack of feeling applied as much to the good things in life as the violent or threatening. There was an indifference to pleasure. (Op.) Felt she had no pleasure in life. Feeling bored as if life is dull and monotonous. The music which previously he could feel in the depths of his soul does not touch him any more. He thinks and sings rather than being involved in the music.

Just as the detached feeling is matched by a desire to make contact with people; so the feeling of ennui is matched by a desire for amusement and an unattainable search for pleasure.

Sexuality is important in the remedy but it is without feeling. Thinking about sexuality and that sexual perversions are natural and normal. There were inappropriate sexual dreams involving close relatives. There were dreams of crude, physical sexuality without any emotions attached to it. There were also dreams of interaction between the sexes without a sexual content.

There is an interest in religion and religious ceremonies with out any religious feeling involved. Feeling that she was lacking in devotion to and communication with God, which was why she felt unsteady. Got much peace from religious ritual.

The issue of privacy and the lack of it seem to be very important in the remedy. There was a sense of being watched and spied upon especially in the dreams. Dreams of using the toilet or of being naked without privacy were common, sometimes without embarrassment, but some times with. There is also a lack of separation and boundaries between the public space and the private space.

There were dreams of dirt and of slimy things. A sense of disgust with these things but also a feeling of being dirty and feelings of disgust with the self and of being criticised.

Being not fully in touch with the self is expressed in awkwardness and clumsiness and in forgetfulness and an inability to concentrate.

The strongest modality of the remedy is an aggravation in the evening and night, and to a lesser degree in the morning, and an amelioration during the day.

It is a chilly remedy with a sensitivity to cold.

There is a weekly periodicity or on every fourth day.

Pains are pressing and particularly around the eyes and in the sinuses.

Heaviness is felt in the head and in the chest which is worse at night and prevents sleep.

The throat is sore and constricted and must be constantly cleared. > warmth, < swallowing.

Nausea throughout the day but worse from the sight of food, with a loss of appetite or an appetite that is easily satiated.

Discharges tend to be yellowish and can be stringy.

Peculiar sensations

As if mind and body were separated.

Of a foreign body in the right eye.

Of a bunch of hair in the throat which has to be cleared.


< Evening < Night > Daytime

< Weekly < Every fourth day

< Cold > Warmth

< Swallowing (sore throat)

< Sight of food (nausea)



Chemically: Carbon (need for structure and order) and Hydrogen (floating and disconnected)

Lack of feeling and constipation, Op., Heroin.

Restlessness, coldness, desire for order, asthma, Ars.

Unfeeling, cruel, meeting threats of violence with greater violence, Anac., Androc.

Feelings of superiority: with theorising, Lyc.; with a lack of feeling, Plat.

Follows well



Stool & Anus
Neck & Back
Upper Limbs
Lower Limbs


Detached and aloof. Feeling that people should not get involved. A lack of emotion and of fear. Lack of embarrassment in embarrassing situations. Composed and unaffected by things. Lack of feeling. Feeling there is a barrier, mind and body separated. Not in touch with myself or with the things around me. Feeling of being in a trance. Untouched by music which had previously been felt in the depths of his soul.

Practical and decisive. Making quick decisions. Logical. Materialistic. Concerned by superficial appearance.

Desire for cleanliness and order. Need to be methodical and organized. Impatience. Time passes too quickly. People move too slowly.

Feeling of superiority. Desire for respect and success. Desire to impose their will. Put people in their place. Critical and censorious. Hatred for those who oppose them. Selfishness. Will not be taken for granted. Meeting threat with greater force. Fear of violence with desire to protect oneself with greater violence. Violent impulses, to hit or strike out. Violent, hateful and vengeful thoughts.

Ennui and boredom. Indifference. No feeling of pleasure. Desire for company.

Desire for hard intellectual work. Need for conflict.

Anger, irritability and scolding, with desire to strike and without any remorse.

Anxiety, about children, about money.

Confusion, clumsiness and forgetfulness.

Cheerful in the morning, depressed in the evening.

Wearing only white clothes.


Dizziness and inability to concentrate. Throbbing pains. Pain above the eyes and pains in the temples. Pains worse for noise. Heaviness of the head. Head pains < evening and night, > morning.


Sensation of foreign body in right eyes. Burning in eyes. Sticky discharge and agglutination. Dull pain in eyeballs in the morning.


Buzzing noise in ears. Heat in ears < exercise.


Sneezing in the morning. Yellow or greenish yellow discharge.


Sinusitis, worse in the evening.



Itching of palate.


Sensation of a bunch of hair in throat. Soreness, > warmth. Rawness and pain, < morning, < worse swallowing. Must clear the throat. Irritation. Rattling mucus in throat with cough.


Sudden hunger. Loss of appetite. Hunger but quickly satiated. Desire for apples. Decreased desire for sweets. Tremendous thirst. Desire for Pepsi.


Nausea throughout the day. Nausea from the sight of food. Nausea and water-brash after eating. Loud belching. Nausea with loss of appetite. Burning pains.


Gripping pains.

Stool and Anus


Urinary Organs

Burning in urethra

Male Sexual Organs

Female Sexual Organs

Spotting one or two days before menses. Menses heavy with indolence.

Respiratory Organs

Rattling cough. Cough < evenings. Breathlessness with aching back. Asthmatic breathing. Breathlessness < evening, > genupectoral position, or lying on back. Expectoration yellow and stringy.




Neck and Back

Backache with breathlessness. Backache with menses. Stiffness and backache < on waking, > during daytime. Back pain < on the side lain on. Dull ache in sacral region extending to legs.

Limbs in general

Upper Limbs

Lower Limbs

Nagging in the ankles. Oedema in feet. Cramps in foot. Icy coldness in the evening. Neuralgic pain. Pains in the legs < evenings. Pains in the hollows behind the knees.


Extreme prostration, desire to lie down. Bodyache. Bodyache during menses. Chilliness with aversion to draft of air. Periodicity, weekly and every 4th day. Worse in the evening.


Suppuration of injuries. Itching eruptions.


Tiredness in morning, no desire to rise. Sleeplessness from heaviness and activity of thoughts. Waking with a jerk.


Famous actresses. Dreams without emotions, guilt, embarrassment, shame or pain. Threatened rape with indifference. Sexual dreams without feelings or emotions. Sexual situations without sexual feelings. Dreams of rats without the usual fear. Religious situations without religious feelings. Lack of privacy, private space open to view, private conversations being listened to, being spied upon. Embarrassment. Danger and threatening situations. Accidents. Inappropriate sexual attentions from bosses or relations. Disgust at situations particularly sexual situations with close relatives. Disgust with dirty and slimy things. Excrement and passing stools, with disgust. Frightful and fearful dreams. Dreams of danger. Dreams of weddings. Colourful dreams, particularly the colour pink.



Sankaran, Rajan, Provings. Homoeopathic Medical Publishers, Mumbai, India. 1998