SULPHUR signs and symptoms from the Characteristic Materia Medica by William Burt of the homeopathic medicine SULPHUR …


The king of remedies, around which centres the whole Materia Medica, acts especially upon the vegetative, or ganglionic nervous system, and through it upon the venous capillary vessels throughout the body: upon the lymphatic glandular system; mucous membranes; Skin; portal system, and genito-urinary organs.

Prof. Hempel says: That it is the venous capillary system which receives the primary shock of this mighty agent, together with that portion of the ganglionic system of nerves which is immediately connected, or interwoven with the capillary tissue.

If you remember that under the depressing action of Sulphur, the nervous capillaries become congested, the stagnant blood resisting the arterial current, which seeks to drive it outward, you cannot have any difficulty in understanding the various drawing, tearing, cramping, boring, laming, stitching, and other pains, which Sulphur is capable of exciting.

When it is remembered that venous capillaries are to be found in every organ and tissue in the body, and that Sulphur produces through the ganglionic system, which forms plexuses or retinae around the capillary vessels, paralysis of their walls, we can readily understand the consequences of paralysis and stagnation in the venous capillaries, such as chronic congestion, exudation, and suppuration of internal organs, and the various eruptions, vesicles, pustules, boils, ulcers, &c. with which Sulphur is in so eminent a degree in curative adaptation. This explains why Sulphur has such a vast and wide range of usefulness.

Upon the mucous membranes, especially those of the eyes, bronchi, urethra, and rectum, it produces-

Upon the skin, it causes an eruption so much resembling the itch, that one of the provers feared it might be this disease.

It also causes vesicles, pimples, blotches, boils, various forms of herpes, erythema, tinea capitis, ulceration of the nails, intertrigo, and various other forms of ulceration.

Upon the portal system, it has a great influence, producing venous engorgement, with a long train of symptoms, especially in the lower bowels, as shown by the great congestion of the haemorrhoidal veins, and it is a well known fact that no remedy is more useful in piles.

Upon the sexual organs, especially of women, it has a powerful influence, producing swelling of the external parts, acrid leucorrhoea, and the menses become profuse, the blood is black, clotted and gluey.

Upon the cerebro-spinal system, we find it produces, and cures many prominent symptoms; this is done through its action on the ganglionic nervous system, and through this, on the venous and lymphatic systems.

Sulphur is the first remedy, as a rule, to be thought of in treating all chronic diseases; but it is very frequently indicated in acute, where well chosen remedies do not have the desired affect. A close examination of the patient will show that there is a morbid state of the great vegetative nervous system, and a few doses of Sulphur, or– some other remedy that acts especially upon the ganglionic nervous system, will produce such a change in the system that the indicated remedy will take action again and soon cure the case. The fixed fact that Sulphur has such a powerful action upon the lymphatic glandular system, and all the secreting surfaces, shows us at once why it is so useful in all chronic diseases.

One word as to Hahnemann’s psora-hypothesis to explain the curative action of Sulphur. All chronic diseases originate, and are especially located in the ganglionic nervous system, and this being the. grand centre for the action of Sulphur, explains why Sulphur is so useful in chronic diseases, and instead of calling Sulphur an anti-psoric, it should be called a ganglionic, for this expresses its exact centre of action; whereas, anti-psoric, expresses nothing.


Burning hot distress on the top of the head; this constant heat on the top of the head is one of the most prominent symptoms we have for Sulphur.

Chronic vertigo.

Rush of blood to the head, with roaring in the ears, and burning creeping in the face.– HEMPEL.

Throbbing headache at night.

Small vesicles on the top of the head- – filled with limped fluid; itch a great deal, and form dry, yellow, or brown crusts.

Tinea capitis; dry form.

Sensorium.- Despondent; out of humour; weeps much. Talks much in sleep; awakens with a start.

Irresistible drowsiness in the day time, and wakefulness the whole night.-.

Short naps of sleep all night, or a dead, heavy sleep, which produces exhaustion.

Has happy dreams; wakens singing; is very happy.

Ears.- Deafness, with roaring, itching, and dampness in the ear.–HEMPEL.

Eyes.- Dimness of vision; gas or lamp lights appear to be surrounded with a halo.–HEMPEL. Scrofulous ophthalmia, with chronic inflammation and hypertrophy of the lids, with itching and smarting, and purulent exudations.– MARCY and HUNT.

Face.- Vivid redness of the face.

Liver spots on the face.

Chronic swelling and inflammation of the nose, face and lips. -.

Comedones; black pores of the skin, particularly in the face.

Mouth and Tongue.- Child is voracious;- – wishes to put into his mouth every thing it sees.

Sour, clammy taste.

Tongue coated whitish or yellow.

Dryness of the throat, and a constant desire to swallow saliva in order to moisten the affected parts.–KAFKA.

Diphtheria, large yellowish deposit all around the posterior wall of the pharynx. — G.

Insufflation of the flowers of Sulphur, according to Dr.

Sultz, is the specific for malignant diphtheria.

Organs of Digestion.- Abdominal plethora.

Chronic constipation; the stools are hard, dark, and dry, and are expelled with great straining, even to such an extend that blood is discharged; with itching and burning of the anus, and frequently accompanied with piles. In such a case give Sulphur for one or two weeks, when another remedy must be chosen; if continued it will spoil the case.-. (Better wait for the Sulphur to do all it can.) Piles, either blind or flowing; with discharges of dark venous blood, and violent bearing-down pains in the small of the back, towards the anus. –RAUE.

Suppression of piles, with hemorrhoidal colic, congestions, rigidity of the small of the back, as if it had been bruised.

Chronic hemorrhage from the bowels.

Alternate diarrhoea and constipation, from enlargement of the mesenteric glands.

Diarrhoea in the morning, driving the patient out of bed; has hardly time to keep from soiling himself. This is one of the greatest keys for Sulphur.

Tenesmus for an hour after stool.

Pulsation in the anus, after stool, which continues all day.– RAUE.

Sour diarrhoea, with excoriations.

Fetid, watery diarrhoea of scrofulous children. –RAUE.

Chronic diarrhoea of mucous and fecal matter. –RAUE.

Itching, soreness, and discharge of acrid fluid from the anus..

Cutting pains before and after stool in the anus.

Chronic diarrhoea in phthisical patients, give one dose very high. –F.

Stool so acrid that the child becomes excoriated..

Soreness, excoriations, exudations, and itching of the anus.– RAUE. (Excoriation of the anus is, as a rule, a certain symptom for Sulphur.) Lancinating pains all night in the anus, in piles.

Chronic vomiting is arrested by Sulphur, more surely if given high, than by any other drug. –BAEHR.

She feels very weak and faint from eleven to twelve a.m., cannot wait for dinner..

The first effort to stool is often very painful, compelling the patient to desist. — G.

Constipation, from abdominal plethora; stools hard, knotty, and insufficient, especially if accompanied with hemorrhoids; frequent hot flushes, and burning of the top of the head, and soles of the feet.

Urinary Organs.- Incontinence of urine; urinates very often, with feeling of obstruction in the sphincters, and great pressure on the bladder.

Cloudy urine with penetrating odor.

Weak and slow stream of urine.

Chronic gonorrhoea, with shooting, burning pains, or without pain, with discharge of white mucus.

Generative Organs of Women.- Menses- – thick, black, and so acrid as to make the vulva and thighs sore.– G.

Has a cough in the evening before menstruation.

Pain in the abdomen during the menses, as if the intestines were strung up in knots by threads; has to take a sitting posture for relief. — G.

Menses too early, too profuse, and last too long. — G.

Chronic hemorrhages; she seems to get almost well, when it occurs again and again, for weeks, with weak faint spells.– G.

Acrid leucorrhoea, making the vulva sore.– G.

Burning in the vagina, so violently she can hardly keep still.– G.

Voluptuous itching; scratching relieves, after it burning; sometimes little vesicles.– H.

Offensive, corrosive, ichorous leucorrhoea; it burns like salt, making the vulva sore.– G.

After nursing, the nipple chaps and bleeds, with much smarting and burning.– G.

Profuse suppuration of the mammae, with chilliness in the fore part of the day, and heat in the after part. — G.

At the climacteric, weak, faint spells, frequently through the day; top of the head hot; goneness at the pit of the stomach, and burning in the soles of the feet.

Air Passages.- Catarrhal symptoms become worse and worse.

She feels suffocated; wants the doors and windows open. — Much rattling of mucus in the lungs; cough worse in the morning.

— G.

Suppressed, choking cough. — G.

Does not walk erect; stoops or bends over forwards in walking or sitting. -.

Feeling as of a lump of ice in the right chest.

With single doses of Sulphur 55M., I have cured numerous cases of incipient phthisis, indicated by the usual symptoms. — Acute, plastic form of pleurisy, it will disperse rapidly; use the tincture.

Weakness in the chest in the evening.

Morning sweat setting in after walking.– H.

Chills and fever; no reaction; stupid; constantly sinking. Hot flushes, with spells of faintness, or passing off with a little moisture, and fainting with debility. — G.

Skin.- After violent scratching, aching numbness of the skin; swelling of the skin, even ulceration. — B.

In itch, Sulphur is the specific. The eruption is vesicular or pustular; much worse at night; warmth of bed greatly aggravates the itching.

In boils, nettle-rash, and nearly all kinds of skin diseases, this is the first remedy to be thought of.

Scrofulous people, that are frequently troubled with boils, and every little scratch has a tendency to fester.

Varicose ulcers, which bleed easily, secrete a fetid pus, and burn and itch much. — G.

Rhagades after washing. — LIPPE.

Hang-nails. — LIPPE.

Child dislike to be washed and bathed. — H.

Extremities.- Heat in the soles of the feet or cold feet, with burning soles; wishes to find a cool place for them, or puts them out of bed.

Unsteady gait; tremor of the hands.– H.

Standing is the most disagreeable position. — H.

Cramps in the calves and soles; particularly at night.– On going to sleep, one leg is suddenly drawn up and shot out again, particularly when rousing him. — RAUE.

Fever.- Dry, husky, scaly skin; no scaly skin; no sweat from beginning; pulse frequent; skin, especially of the feet, very hot; no change from day to day in cases of continued fever. In all such cases sulphur 3. M., in water every two hours, until sweat, which occurs always in about twelve hours, and is followed by convalescence.– DR. D.R. GARDINER.

An excellent remedy in chronic cases of ague; take all the constitutional symptoms.

Chills and fever; no reaction; stupid; constantly sinking.

In chronic rheumatism, Sulphur is of great value. Comes out of her spasms happy; at the end of each spasm, voids large quantities of colorless urine. — G.

During the action of Sulphur, all excretory organs are brought to increased activity, discharging carbon and nitrogen from the body. — H. N. M.

Adapted to lymphatic temperaments, venous constitutions, disposed to hemorrhoids, with constipation, or morning diarrhoea; to scrofulous diseases which seem to get almost- well when they return again and again, and especially to diseases caused by suppressed itch. In most chronic diseases a few doses of Sulphur at first will be found of great benefit.

William Burt
William H. Burt, MD
Characteristic materia medica Published 1873
Physiological materia medica, containing all that is known of the physiological action of our remedies; together with their characteristic indications and pharmacology. Published 1881