Mercurius corrosivus

Proving Symptoms of homeopathy medicine Mercurius Corrosivus, described by Richard Hughes in his book, A Cyclopedia of Drug Pathogenesis, published in 1895….


Mercuric chloride, HgCl2, corrosive sublimate.


1a. Dr. J. BUCHNER, aet. 34, took, Sept. 7th, 1847, 8 a. m., 10 dr. Mercurius cor. 2. 10 a. m., feeling of urging to urinate in urethra, with scanty discharge – later no. call though bladder was full – after micturition persistent sense of fulness in bladder. Noon, dull pain in right frontal eminence, tenderness to touch of left angle of inferior maxilla. N. very restless, frequent waking, slept only 2 or 3 m., then woke, changed position, tossed about. M., great prostration and malaise, so that after shaving had to lie down again and slept 1 hours; cold hands and feet, increased pain in inferior maxilla, dysphagia, so that he could eat no bread at breakfast, flow of viscid saliva which he could scarcely spit out. He went about his usual business, but on account of increased coldness, flow of saliva, dysphagia, &c., he had to go to bed at 10 a. m. and apply warm wraps to his feet. He got warm very slowly and then had confusion of head, except in temples, the salivation continued and the inflamed state of lower jaw. After 1 hours head heavy and confused; he could not speak connectedly, and could not express his sensations distinctly. He noticed his unconnected speech and was vexed at it, so that he remained silent some time. At the same time great restlessness, he could not lie long in one position, and he had to get up. In afternoon digging and shooting in left ear so severe that for 3 m. he wept and cried aloud. Later the same symptoms in a slighter degree. N., slept only for minutes at a time. Urine scanty, red, with brickdust – coloured sediment; ill – smelling sweat towards m. At the same time pricking rheumatic pains in lower extremities. The symptoms lasted 4d., the sweat 6 d. 1b. After 3 months took 20 dr. 2nd dil. Soon, burning and heat in stomach with contractive pains involving bowels, at same time congestion of heart and anxiety until he had a loose stool. The symptoms lasted 16 h. 1c. Dec. 12th, 1846. Rubbed into left forearm 1/2 gr. Mercurius co. dissolved in alcohol. Woke about midnight, tossed about for 3 h. Confusion of sinciput with undulating pain in both cerebral hemispheres. Interrupted sleep in m. 1d. Rubbed 1/2 gr. into gums. M., slight bleeding of gums and drawing pains in teeth. 1e. The same dose in clyster caused long – continued tenesmus. (Allg. Ztg. f. Hom., i, Suppl. 78.)

2. Dr. FORSTNER took, 25th Nov., 1847, 10 a. m., 2 dr. of a solution of 1/50th gr. Mercurius cor. in 110 dr. alcohol. No effect – 26th, 10 a. m., 4 dr. No effect. – 27th, 10 a. m., 7 dr. On walking, m., peculiar pressive pain in right inguinal glands, as though they would swell; this lasted 1 hours, and went off on getting up. – 28th 10 a. m. 10 dr. During day frequent urging to stool, increased discharge of flatus. – 29th, 8 a. m., 15 dr. After dinner faint feeling and great exhaustion. – 30th, 10 a. m. and 10 p. m., 20 dr. No effect. – Dec. 1st. No medicine, 5 a. m., tensive pressive pain in left inguinal region, with sense of swelling of glands. N. restless, sleep frequently broken, vivid dreams, pulse febrile, skin, dry. After rising, transient stitches through both sides of chest, bruised feeling in abdomen, particularly in caecal region and in course of transverse colon; on pressure these parts feel as if bruised. This pain lasted all forenoon, got better towards evening, but did not go quite off. – 2nd. 10 a. m., 20 dr. 1 p. m., after dinner febrile pulse, drawing pain in pericranium. Frequent darting stitches through chest, bruised feeling in caecum and transverse colon increased by pressure. Evening, irritation in larynx causing dry cough, throat dry. – 3rd. No medicine. Irritating cough as yesterday, abdominal pain less. Great irritability of larynx. – 4th, 9 a. m., 5 dr. Afternoon, feeling as if left axillary glands would swell, with frequent transient stitches in them. Cough gone. (Ibid., 79)

3a. Dr. GERSTER, aet. 34, took, Aug. 1st, 1847, m., 5 drops of Mercurius cor. 2, without knowing what it was. – 2nd, m., 10 dr. Experienced a styptic metallic taste for 1 hour – 3rd, m., 20 dr. Same symptoms. – 4th, 30 dr. After 3 hours slight vertigo, confusion in upper part of forehead, yawning, objects appear smaller and farther from eye than usual, for several h. All afternoon drowsy, heavy and confused head, desire to lie down. N., dreamt of incendiarism and murder. Stool smaller and firmer than usual. – 5th, 7 a. m., 40 dr. Soon, slight burning and pressure in stomach, followed by frequent eructations of air. After 1 hour, confusion of head, frequent yawning and desire to stretch himself, slight burning and dryness of eyes, Conjunctivae of both eyes red and much injected. Same delusions of vision as yesterday. Humming in right ear, to which he was accustomed, became much louder. Symptoms relieved by eating. No stool. – 6th, 40 dr. No symptom except slight burning (in stomach?) for 1/2 h. The next 3 days the stools were harder, drier, and smaller than usual, and the 3 following days softer and moister than usual. 3b. October 16th, m., took 10 dr. of a solution of 1/4 gr. Mercurius cor. in 3j alcohol. Immediately an astringent metallic taste, followed by slight burning in stomach, then slight congestion of head and face with burning of cheeks and uncommonly great discharge of flatus. After 2 hours all objects, especially letters, appeared smaller for several h. After 4 hours burning at edges of eyelids like commencing catarrhal ophthalmia; photophobia in sunshine. – 18th, m.,15 dr. Nothing but the metallic taste and burning in stomach. – 19th. 20 dr., astringent taste, flow of saliva and several attacks of rigor, then burning in stomach for 1/2 h. During day frequent attacks of spasmodic cough. – 20th. About the same as yesterday. – 21st. Same, and also two clayey, light yellow stools. – 22nd, 7 a. m., 14 dr. Metallic taste and rigor whilst and after swallowing the dose; slight burning in stomach for 1/2 hour 11 a. m., burning in eyes. Objects all appear smaller and more distinct. This occurred several times during day, especially after yawning, which he required to do all day, though he was not sleepy, and had slept well the previous n. No stool. – 23rd. Quite well. (Ibid. 80.)

4. Katherine H -, aet. 21, took, October 16th, 1 hours before breakfast, 10 dr. of a solution of 1/4 gr. Mercurius cor. in 3j alcohol. Astringent taste. – 18th. 15 dr., astringent taste and rough feeling in throat. – 19th. 20 dr., astringent taste, flow of saliva, burning in stomach till dinner, shooting headache in frontal region for 1 hours, nausea and inclination to vomit all day – 21st. 25 dr., astringent taste and flow of saliva for several hours, then a transient rigor, several fits of spasmodic cough during day (Ibid., 82)

5. Dr. HELD, aet. 27, July 26th, 7 a. m., 2 dr. 2nd dil. Mercurius cor., not knowing what it was. Towards evening slight chilliness with short hot fit. Slept badly. – 27th. 2 dr., very exhausted. Afternoon, cutting in bowels and slight drawing in ossa femoris; legs felt gone asleep. Frequent starting up in sleep at n. – 28th. 2 dr., after some hours toothache, which gradually increased and tore from supra – orbital region to superior maxilla. This lasted all day, and was accompanied by chilliness of head and shooting pains in adductor and extensor pollicis of hand and extensor muscles of foot. Afternoon, several watery stools with cutting in bowels. All day very depressed in spirits. Could scarcely sleep at n for the toothache, which increased, and if he did sleep he had a feeling of anxiety. – 29th. The pains increased from 7 a. m. so that he took no more of the med. Forenoon, several bilious stools, with violent pains in bowels and troublesome tenesmus. – 31st. 2 dr., the same kind of toothache for several hours, confusion of head. N., could not find a comfortable position to lie in, so was rather sleepless. – Aug. 1st. 1 dr., the toothache increased; headache involving temples; in left ear, which was painful, full pulsation of arteries; throat rough; gums of last incisors began to swell with burning pain. Evening, drawing in limbs deeply seated as if in bones. N., sleepless till m. – 2nd. – Left off med. on account of toothache, prostration, and painful swelling of gums. Next day, the head was confused, the toothache continued in lessened intensity, as also the drawing pains in cranial bones. – 4th. 2 dr.; 4 p. m., with borborygmus 3 pappy brown stools. When at rest shooting in hip – joint relieved by movement. Evening, chilliness, especially in head, anorexia, thirst. N., sleeplessness and frequent starting on going to sleep. – 5th. 2 dr., same symptoms in increased intensity, chilliness in head, pains in temples, shooting in muscles lower limbs; great pulsation in ears, especially left; eyes painful; tearing burning pain from teeth of upper jaw to eye; roughness in throat, tiresome pressure in stomach. Afternoon, several bilious stools with tenesmus. N., could not sleep on account of anxiety; burning in orifice of urethra. – 6th. 2 dr., pressive burning pains in eyes, vessels of conjunctiva slightly injected, pain in temples, pressure above left eye. Tearing pains from left eye to incisors, burning pain in mouth, throat rough, difficulty of swallowing. In lower parts of right side of thorax shooting pain; painful pressure in stomach; cutting in bowels followed by thin bilious stools with straining. Violent itching in orifice of urethra, changing to smarting during micturition, sore stitches through urethra. Pressive shooting pain in hip – joint. Skin equally sore when moving and at rest. Slighter pains in other limbs. No appetite, thirst great, stomach tender. Evening, intellect so dull could not understand what was said. Before going to sleep, chilliness of head. On falling asleep, which he did later, a shock through whole body; could not sleep again on account of heat and pressure in chest with anxious feeling. N., the gums round right incisors swelled.7th. No more med. Felt rather unwell, no appetite, great thirst, burning pain from mouth to stomach, relieved by drinking cold water. Roughness of throat increased; coryza. Afternoon, bad – tempered, toothache and swelling of gums continued. – 8th. Woke pretty well, the only symptoms being burning in throat, toothache, and coryza. Afternoon, darting stitches in hip – joint. The swelling of gums lasted 2 day longer, as also the roughness in throat. (Ibid., 82.)

6. Dr. J. NUSSER, aet. 36, took, September 27th, 1847, 10 a. m., 10 dr. 2nd dil. During day the following symptoms were observed in the order here given: Itching an left eye, tension about left scapula, itching between right big toe and next one, burning – shooting in middle of right side of chest as if in muscles, slight shooting in middle of liver, m pinching shooting in upper part of abdomen as if in muscles, shooting in left parietal bone, slight shooting – drawing in left inguinal region, scraping roughness in pharynx, making him hawk frequently, tearing in left zygoma, shooting in head of left hip – joint towards outside, shooting pain in gastric region after food, painful griping in middle of left testicle (continuing next d.), painful tearing in bone of proximal joint of index and ring fingers and thumb (continuing next d.), itching in several parts of skin (scalp, thighs, & c.), often changing to pricking and burning, itching, burning, and pricking under skin in various parts, on breathing deeply shooting in upper part of left side of chest internally, itching in anus; when walking, itching, changing to pricking, in skin of middle of back, tearing in upper part of inner side of left scapula as if in bone, tearing – shooting in a back tooth, extending thence into ear, tearing as if in bone about left eye near root of nose, and in other bony parts, cutting in abdomen and above navel after food, simple pain in hypogastrium, tearing inwards in left calf, burning – tearing in left upper eyelid, then tearing in left arm while standing, trembling of this arm and of the whole left half of body; all day frequent obtuse shooting in upper part of left side of chest internally, worst when breathing deeply, frequent tearing pain in lowest right costal cartilage. Evening, weariness of feet and drowsiness. – 28th. Slept well till 3 a. m., but with dreams of ridiculous situations, of travelling, & c. M., after breakfast a liquid, yellow, painless stool, with frequent tenesmus, followed by inclination to go to stool, shooting in hepatic region. Noon, pinching on right side of navel, tearing in right hip – joint. – 29th. Slept well till 3 a. m. Voluptuous dreams, violent erections in sleep and after waking, during coitus tardy emission of semen. After midnight tearing in middle of sternum. M., pricking in scrob. cordis, normal stool. Afternoon, cutting in abdomen with slight call to stool. The 2 last days constant dryness at back of nose, as if in upper surface of velum palati, chiefly in open air, and tearing frequently in left shoulder. Many of the symptoms aggravated by walking in open air. Evening, shooting in interior of left ear, shooting in upper part of right side of chest, cutting below navel after eating sour apples, when walking in open air, with slight call to stool. From commencement of proving till now occasional soreness of uvula. – 30th. Sleep with many disagreeable dreams. Though for 3 days he had only slept till 3 a. m., yet he did not feel tired or sleepy. M., violent erections and sexual desire, after coitus burning in fore part of urethra and feeling of strength and lightness. 9 a. m., after micturition slight shooting in fore part of urethra and in sphincter ani. From 8 to 10 a. m. shooting in fore part of urethra when walking in open air, then itching in anus. Noon, when eating beef and vegetables, shooting deep in chest, as if in lower part of oesophagus, as though something stuck there that distended the oesophagus and could not go down, he could swallow food and drink, but the pain was increased by swallowing, as also by eructation of air, this was followed by cutting in right side of upper part of abdomen. Evening, when walking return of shooting in fore part of urethra and pricking in left testicle, also sharp shooting in tip of left thumb. – Oct. 1st. Sleep restless and only till 3 a. m. M., normal stool, tearing in left metacarpal bones, itching in skin, changing to pricking and burning, tearing in bones (finger – joints, hip – joint, & c.), shooting in lungs, liver, and testicles. – 2nd. Slept till 3 a. m. During day unusual shooting in right testicle. – 3rd. Slept all n. After smelling Mercurius c. 3 shooting in hepatic region. The symptoms lasted till Oct. 9th. He only slept till 3 a. m., but did not feel fatigued in consequence. He always had cutting in bowels after eating fruit or potatoes. The sexual desire diminished, he had often cutting in urethra. His disposition was cheerful, and he felt increased facility in mental work. (Ibid., 84).

7. Dr. PEMERL’s proving lasted from 15th to 25th Aug. He took the medicine, Mercurius cor. 2, daily, 1/2 hour before breakfast. – 15th. 5 dr., no symptoms. – 16th. 12dr., greasy, scrapy taste. After 2 hours, when walking, anxiety, discomfort in vesical region as before stool. After 3 hours a peculiar contractive, twitching pain in some muscular fibres of the right rectus abdominis near navel, lasting 3 m., and frequently returning. After 5 hours dryness of mouth, greasy and nauseous feeling in mouth, but without loss of appetite. Discomfort in umbilical region, no stool. – 17th. 18 dr., felt sick on taking the dose. After 1 hour some nausea, inclination to vomit, confusion of head, especially over eyebrows. Soft stool at noon. 5 p. m., the discomfort in lower part of abdomen recurred in increased degree. – 18th. 25 dr., same discomfort and pain in hypogastrium and rectus muscle. Normal stool. – 19th. 30 dr., after 1 hours peculiar lax feeling in deltoid muscles. He had felt the same sensation on the 16th and 17th in calves and muscles of thighs. Twitching of some muscles in calves (inner side of gastrocnemius). Twitching contractive pains in muscles of right metacarpus. – 20th and 21st. No symptoms except twitching in rectus abdominis. – 22nd. 36 dr., no symptoms. – 24th. 30 dr., rheumatic pains in right deltoid muscle when walking. M., 2 soft stools. Urine scalding. – 25th. Itching – pricking pain in muscles in right hypochondrium and in muscles of right eyeball, also in umbilical region. For some days afterwards felt the twitching counteractive pains in some fibres of the right rectus abdominis muscle. (Ibid., 91.)

8. Soon after the second dose of 12 1/2 milligrammes, sensation of obstruction and anxiety in the praecordial and epigastric regions, then several palpitations. After the third dose, general sick feeling; some pains in the stomach; transitory colic; sensation of weakness and shuddering in the limbs; palpitations. After the fourth dose, painful twitchings in the stomach; weariness of the limbs and trembling when he rises and stands still; great anxiety; frequent palpitations; vague chilliness; sensation of coldness; paleness of face; some nausea; distension of abdomen; borborygmi; colic with tenesmus and 6 stools during the n. On the next day there remained only some sick feeling and less appetite than usual. Three days later the experiment was again made in the same way; the same effects were again manifested, only more intense, especially the anxiety, paleness, inclination to chilliness, weariness of the limbs, and the tenesmus. In addition to this, he had several attacks of vertigo, and twice spasmodic vomiting of serous – like fluid, not preceded by nausea. It required 2 days before he was again in status integro, and he had no desire to make a third experiment. These doses were given fasting, or at least 4 hours after a meal. (MASSELOT, in Arch. Gen. de Medorrhinum, ser. iv, xi, 58.)

9. To ascertain effects of M. on nutrition in healthy subjects, Liegeois injected 4 ctgrms. daily of M. corr., subcutaneously, on four subjects of soft chancre. They gained considerably in weight. (Gaz. des Hop., 1869, p. 350.).


1. May 22nd, 1815, about 5 p. m., I dipped my hands repeatedly into a very concentrated solution of corrosive sublimate to take out some anatomical preparations. I forgot to wash my hands, and went about my other occupations. About 11 p. m. I went to bed perfectly well, and was wakened about 1 a. m. by violent pains in the epigastrium, which rapidly increased to a frightful intensity, somewhat ameliorated by bending the body. They were especially severe in the region of the stomach, and seemed to spread thence over the whole diaphragm. the abdomen was rather sunken and painful to pressure; constricted feeling in the entire thorax; respiration costal, obstructed and irregular; mouth dry, thirst considerable, forehead, temples, chest, and hands covered with sweat, and having an unpleasant feeling of coldness in them. I was in this condition about 1 1/2 hours, when repeated eructations and nausea ensued. I made an unsuccessful attempt to vomit, and then for the first time remembered the sublimate. Putting my fingers to my tongue, I perceived by the sharp taste that I had forgotten to wash them, which I did now as quickly as possible and drank a quantity of sugar – water. About 2 I finally vomited repeatedly, and at first very sugar – water. About 2 I finally vomited repeatedly, and at first very profusely. The vomit was slimy, thick, and had a metallic taste, very acrid, causing a painful constriction of the fauces. Epigastrium very sensitive to touch, and the slightest pressure caused most violent pains. The vomiting ceased towards 4 o’clock. The umbilical region became somewhat painful, and I had three very liquid stools, with tenesmus. Towards 5 I slept, and wakened about 8, with a dry mouth and skin covered with sweat, but I no longer had the feeling of coldness on the forehead, in the umbilical region, and in the hands. the disposition to vomit was gone, but the epigastrium was still very painful. I took that day only six cups of bouillon and three dishes of rice – water. The next day I was able to return to my duties, but an unpleasant feeling remained in the epigastrium for 8 days (CLOQUET, in Huber, op cit.)

2. A lady had struck the left leg against a door, some ten years before, so that she could not lie upon it. Subsequently a hardness appeared on the place, which a quack treated with two caustic plasters. On the evening of May 7th he sprinkled upon the place 3ss of sublimate, with the direction not to remove the plaster before 4 a. m. Meanwhile the lady was attacked with such an intolerable pain that she walked the room as if crazy, and uttering loud screams. Up to the next evening there were added general cramps and convulsions of the hands and feet. 9th. – Retching and actual vomiting. 10 and 11th. – Swelling of the throat, m which increased in the n., so as to threaten suffocation. On the 12th Degner was called, and found her head and neck very much swollen; the tongue rigid and swollen; the throat so inflamed that it was only with difficulty she could speak or swallow; the teeth loose; the breath mercurial; on the leg a crust a hand’s breadth wide and twice as long; below the scab an open sore the same size; and about the affected locality a great inflammatory swelling. 13th. – With the rest, the throat continued so swollen that she could not swallow any fluid; besides heat in mouth and throat as from red – hot coals. 14th. – Having expectorated clots of blood, the patient pulled the membranes from the roof of the mouth with her fingers, causing so great a haemorrhage that Degner feared she might die, in consequence, that very d. The apothecary, on calling that evening, found roof of mouth, throat, and tongue so swollen that she could scarcely speak; in the fauces an ulcer the size of a pea, and on left side of soft palate a fissure; loose teeth and profuse salivation. 15th. – Condition the same; salivation profuse; diarrhoea, the excrement having the same odour as the mouth. Next day throat seemed less swollen externally, but face and cheeks were swollen as much, and hard. 17th and 18th. – the same pitiable condition. Pain in stomach; inclination to vomit; sleeplessness; bloody salivation; headache, especially about temples. The next day the patient complained greatly of slight delirium; she did not know what she was about. 20th. – Increased delirium; she could scarcely be moved any longer, and refused both medicine and nourishment on account of the pain in swallowing. The next day worse. Beside the daily expectoration of clotted blood and membranes from the mouth, weakness, which would not permit her to get up; constant salivation. 23rd. – No improvement. The next day swelling in right cheek was less, but not the hardness. In the n. of 24th to 25th a tooth fell out of itself. 25th. – Salivation less. Weakness and delirium increased. In m. pulse imperceptible; salivation less; she seemed to sleep a little, which had not been the case previously, wakening in a fright, and no longer complaining of pain. 27th. – No pulse. Great anxiety. At n. she wept bitterly, and her cries filled the house. 28th. – She died at 7 a. m., unconscious, with distortion of limbs. During the whole time there was no fever, and the urine was natural, with a white sediment. The surgeon who attended to the dressing of the limb said that not only were the cheeks, gums, palate, and throat ulcerated, but the maxillary bones were exposed also. Autopsy not permitted. (App. ad. vol. vi. Actea Nat. Curios., Norimb. 1742; p. 22.)

Richard Hughes
Dr. Richard Hughes (1836-1902) was born in London, England. He received the title of M.R.C.S. (Eng.), in 1857 and L.R.C.P. (Edin.) in 1860. The title of M.D. was conferred upon him by the American College a few years later.

Hughes was a great writer and a scholar. He actively cooperated with Dr. T.F. Allen to compile his 'Encyclopedia' and rendered immeasurable aid to Dr. Dudgeon in translating Hahnemann's 'Materia Medica Pura' into English. In 1889 he was appointed an Editor of the 'British Homoeopathic Journal' and continued in that capacity until his demise. In 1876, Dr. Hughes was appointed as the Permanent Secretary of the Organization of the International Congress of Homoeopathy Physicians in Philadelphia. He also presided over the International Congress in London.