Enlarged Tonsils Cured by Medicines

He had a number of remedies, Luet. C. and Thuja 30 did perhaps the most good. Where a case is of deep-going constitutional nature, it can only be cured by a series of remedies; and when the thing is cured, it is further of only historic interest. It is very difficult to say exactly how much of the curing was done by each separate medicine; so here.


Master X., ten years of age, was brought to me by his mother on October 19, 1899. He had been operated on for adenoids two years ago, but with no benefit. He has a chronic discharge from right ear, of which he is deaf; is stupid, cannot learn his lessons; sleeps very restlessly, and is often found walking in his sleep, causing much alarm and anxiety.

Rx Thuja 30.

Nov. 16.-He is better, and his schoolmaster reports him a little less stupid.

To continue with the Thuja 30. walking is very bad; the right ear runs very much; his violent out-bursts less frequent. Rx Luet. C.

Feb. 8.-The improvement in his powers of learning is reported by his schoolmaster to me personally as wonderful; no longer walks in his sleep.

Rx. Rep.

March 17.-The improvement is increasingly manifest; tonsils nearly normal.

Rx Rep.

April 12.-The improved condition is more than maintained. I recommend his mother to keep him under my observation at certain intervals till the cure is consolidated.

I think it may fairly be conceded that the cure of an individual’s enlarged tonsils by scientific medicinal treatment is incomparably better that merely ablating them.

Be it noted that not only the boy’s tonsils were cured but the boy himself; he became mentally much more active and efficient, his sleep improved, his somnambulism was cured.

Be it also noted that a child with enlarged tonsils is in bad health otherwise; the tonsils are not ill of themselves, but from the organism.


The deafness from enlarged tonsils is often due not only to the obstruction of enlarged tonsils, but to the quality of the lining membrane of the Eustachian tubes, and adenoids in the naso-pharynx, so that the mechanical removal of the tonsils bodily, together with the adenoids, is often of no avail in these cases of deafness, nor does it suffice when the mucosa of the pharynx is hypertrophied.

Thus a boy of ten years of age was brought to me on September I, 1889. He had been deaf for five years. His tonsils were removed by operation, but his deafness was in nowise improved. The boy was anaemic, readily took cold, and had ophthalmia.

After Morbill. 30 there was some improvement in his hearing, then followed Scarl. 30 for a few weeks, and on November 25 I wrote in my notes of the case-

“Hearing quite well; he is altogether different; his teeth are very soft.”

Rx Calcarea fluorica, 3 trit., tales xxiv. One dry on the tongue at bedtime.

Long afterwards, on Jan 22, 1898, he was reported as hearing quite well. It seems to me it is vain to expect to change the vital state of the tissues of the body by cutting bits off; at most we can expect only such amelioration as may accrue from the removal of obstacles to normal processes. In the foregoing case the deafness was not due to the obstructing tonsils, and hence their removal had, as to the hearing, no good result. As the quality of the removed tonsils was certainly of the same nature as that of the linings of the pharynx and Eustachian tube, it must follow that most probably the remedies that cured the deafness would also have cured the tonsils of that which caused their enlargement.


In the month of December 1896, a chubby little boy of seven years of age was brought to me for enlarged tonsils. His father had years before been a sufferer from fistula in ano, for which he was assured by eminent London surgeons and specialists there was absolutely no cure without operation, one going so far as to say that “any man who tells you he can sure fistula by medicines is a liar.” I assured this gentleman that medicines given with much patience would most probably cure his fistula. He put himself under me, and I cured his fistula with medicines.

Now he is told the same story about his son’s tonsils, which I entirely deny, and maintain that enlarged tonsils can be cured by medicines alone. This lad was under my care till the end of 1897, when his tonsils were, in his parent’s opinion, quite well.

Patient was thus a year under the influence of remedies. First he had Tuberculinum test. C.; then a month under Thuja 30, then for two or three months under Tuberculinum test. C., and finally Bacillinum 30 finished the cure.

I purpose going a little further into the uses of the large number of known homoeopathic remedies for enlarged tonsils. There are a good many of them, and many thousands of cases of enlarged tonsils have been cured by homoeopathic remedies; but the ignorant prejudice of mankind has pretty well laughed the thesis- that enlarged tonsils can be cured by medicines-out of life; so much so, that it is not thought quite the proper thing even in homoeopathic ranks to admit that large tonsils can be lessened by gentle remedies. Just as I get to this point I happen to see the subject of the following case of


A thin, puny boy, eleven-and-a half years of age, was brought to me on November 17, 1898, his father telling me that the patient was in a very unsatisfactory state; was thin, listless, apathetic, could not learn his lessons-his school- master saying the boy was stupid and incapable of learning. His tonsils very large, bulging out under his jaw; naso-pharynx half filled with adenoids. No one could get an answer from him.

I have seen him every month, and now, after sixteen months’ treatment, his tonsils and adenoids are much improved; patient has captured a good position in his school, is much praised by his master, and his father tells me now delighted he is to see the progress in every way.

I might go on and fill a big book with records of cases of enlarged tonsils cured by medicines, but for that I have neither time nor inclination.

When I first became convinced by practical experiment of the workability of the law of likes in the cure of disease, I took the trouble to read the history of the good work done by the veteran practitioners in old files of their journals, and I must confess that the present race of homoeopathic practitioners compare very unfavourably with those of twenty, thirty, and forty years ago.

Many years ago Baryta carb. 30 or 12 was in very high repute for the cure of enlarged tonsils. Its reputation was well founded, as I can testify. Taken by itself, it is the biggest tonsil medicine we have. Where the tonsils have enlarged from vaccinosis, Baryta will not do much until the vaccinosic quality has been got rid of by Thuja, or Silicea, or what not.

Similarly, where the tuberculosic quality lies behind, Bacill. is needed first, and then the Baryta, and so on.

The old practitioners cured enlarged tonsils with relative facility, but then they followed a live pathology of enormous value in clinical life. They regarded the tonsils as belonging to the living individual who is ill; for his tonsils are swelled- people that are well do not get enlarged tonsils. But in these clever days, when we doctors knows so much better than the Great Architect what our anatomical parts are good for, we have decreed that the tonsils are of no great service-in fact no good at all- and, indeed, not only no good, but actually in the way; moreover, they are nasty little lumps that stick in our throats just for the purpose of catching disease germs and impeding our breathing, in fact, the tonsils are nothing but a nuisance, and the sooner they are lopped off and cast away the better. That being the creed of the great bulk of learned doctors, why should any one waste his time trying to mend medicinally such wretched odd bits as the tonsils. Why indeed?

Well generally speaking, we don’t! Just a few give a few doses of Baryta I for a few days, or may be weeks, and if the Baryta has not cleared them right away by our next visit, we are rather than pleased than other-wise for did we not always say that enlarged tonsils could not be cured by medicines, and that Baryta was no good in tonsillitis?


There are views private and public, and my private view of the tonsils is as follows:-

They are placed on either side of the fauces for the primary purpose of lubricating the food as it passes along, and so prepare it for its passage down the gullet into the stomach proper. That the tonsils actually do lubricate the food can be tested by any one so disposed, unless he has lessened his organic integrity by having them removed, or unless disease has done it for him. A pair of good it for him. A pair of good it for him. A pair of good, healthy, well-formed is a rare sight indeed, it is quite pretty to see them when normal.

The tonsils lie at the top of the digestive tube, and whenever certain parts or portions of the body have to deal with something harmful, the same is passed along the circulation to the tonsils to be cast out, and the tonsils then act vicariously for said parts from elsewhere. A great advantage in having it cast out at the top of the gullet is that what is cast out at that part may be rolled up in the food and so rendered harmless, and if it is disposed to decay, it is disinfected by the gastric juice. In fact, an evil-disposed particle of anything sent by the economy to the tonsils to be dealt with, has a very poor chance of doing any harm in its journey from throat to anus.

The various ailings of the tonsils are for the most part not on their own account, but for and on behalf of the organism or one of its parts.

During the past two years I have watched several cases of phthisis cured by the tonsils, -that is to say, a series of abscesses formed in the tonsils each going through the various stages of heat, inflammation, swelling, suppuration, and bursting, and had these degenerative processes been in the lungs or bowels, they would have been of great and serious moment. But being in the tonsils, they were slowly sacrificed for the organism, and the patient’s lives were saved, and also their health. The organism works from its centre towards the periphery and into the tonsils, which cast out. An uninjured tonsil is clothed with epithelial cells, and these form a perfect protection against infection from without. I have never seen any real proof that uninjured tonsils take up disease germs; in fact, I do not believe it, and not only do I not believe the tonsils guilty of carrying in infection from without, but, on the contrary, they are specially arranged to defend themselves and the organism against outside enemies, and all the ailments and diseases that I have ever encountered in the tonsils have come from the within of the organism. The life and the diseases of the tonsils come from within, and they are but useful servants of the organism, and always at their post.

In curing tonsillary enlargements, it is often necessary to find out the causes of such enlargements. Thus in rheumatic tonsillitis the rheumatic state of the person should be mended, and therewith the tonsillitis. The statement that rheumatic fever has been known to follow tonsillitis-that is true enough. The inference usually drawn is, that had there been no tonsils there would have been no rheumatic fever. I read the phenomena the outer way. Had the tonsils been stronger and more adequate, they would have borne the whole burden of the rheumatism, and there would have been no fever. It is highly probable that minor degrees of rheumatism are arrested by the tonsils, and there dealt with, and that their function is very largely vicarious, protective of the organism and its parts.


In course of the year 1899, Miss E.T., aet. 13, was brought to me by her mother, telling me that patient was deaf from enlarged tonsils, and that her doctor had ordered their removal. I could only find one enlarged lymphatic gland on the left side of the neck. This was her vaccination side, and the lassie being strong and otherwise in good health, I thought we had to do with a simple case of vaccinosic hypertrophy of the tonsils.

In a few weeks the tonsils went down and her hearing was quite restored.

The remedy: Thuja 30, in in-frequent doses.

It is not to be forgotten that a competent (or, at any rate, orthodox and qualified according to law) medical man had declared an operation absolutely necessary. No medicines would, he said, be of the least avail.

Still Thuja 30 cured the case.


On September 23, 1889, a strumous girl of eleven years of age was brought to me by her mother for enlarged tonsils and deafness arising supposedly therefrom. The tonsils met in the middle, so that the uvula was in part invisible.

Thuja 30, Bacill. C., and one or two other remedies were given, when-

January 17, 1890.-“I do not see much difference in her tonsils yet.”

Rx Vaccinin C.

March 12.-“Tonsils about the same.”

Rx Trit. 3x Baryta carb., gr. iv.

One dry on the tongue night and morning.

April 19.-The tonsils are distinctly smaller.

Rx Rep.

May 30.-No further diminution in the size of the tonsils.

Rx Silico-fluoride of Sodium, 3x trit., gr.vj. One dry on the tongue at bedtime.

July 16.-Tonsils are considerably smaller. The case was cured by the spring of 1890, and the remedies that achieved this result were the foregoing, and then two months of Phytolaccin 3x, two months of the third trituration of the Silico-fluoride of Sodium, and finally a two month’s course of the third decimal trituration of the Phosphate of Lime.


In 1899 a gentleman brought his nine year-old son to me for what his physicians term Imperfect Development of the Brain. This was supposedly due to enlarged tonsils and adenoid growths. The boy did not speak till two or three years of age-indeed he cannot articulate properly even now. He wets his bed, and has a piled-up cranium; but the point I wish to bring out is that the influence of the removal of tonsils and adenoids is not an unmixed blessing.

He breathes better since their removal, but since then he is much more nervous; he squints, and is very odd in his ways; he gesticulates and assumes odd attitudes, looking idiotic, and yet he seems to me to have ample brain power. He is cryptorchic. He hits his mother on the face and throws teacups at his parents, and throws people bits out of window.

These nervous symptoms have come on so very much worse since the removal of tonsils, etc.

There appears to be no doubt that there was very great exacerbation in all his nerve symptoms subsequent to the operation, though the breathing was distinctly improved. I am, perhaps, be permitted here to refer to my little work On Delicate Children for further particulars on this subject.


There are certain cases of enlarged tonsils historically readily diagnosed that will mend rapidly, and by rapidly I mean in a few months. Thus a gentleman brought his little girl of eight years of age to me in the fall of last year. The tonsils were moderately enlarged and also many of the lymphatics, but the most distressing thing was the girl’s sleep. Here the amelioration was very great-in fact she was practically cured in six months. There was a period of two months under Luet. C. to start with, then Thuja 30 for a month, and the former prescription then repeated, when patient was discharged cured.


A very delicate backward child was brought by her mother to me at the beginning of 1899, suffering from enlarged tonsils. Although the adenoid growths from which she had suffered had been removed by operations, still her eminently silly expression had not improved. She did not breathe nicely, a little phlegm in her throat see-sawed backwards and forwards without seemingly ever being got rid of. Though ten years of age, her eye-teeth are still absent. After three months of Bacill. 30, her intelligence very greatly improved; she breathed better, and without the phlegmy nasal state.

She was then a few weeks under Thuja 30, and then again another Bacillinum 30. Whereupon her eye-teeth at last appeared, and that quite sound.

There afterwards followed the same remedies repeatedly, and also Sabina 30.

Now, after thirteen month’s persistent treatment by medicines, her tonsils are about the right size, the breathing is good, and patient is somewhat nearing the normal; she articulates now, and answers a question promptly, and her parents and their friends are struck by the very great change that has come over her. It is to be borne in mind that where the tonsils are enlarged that is not, as a rule, the only abnormality, for very commonly the enlargement is only one of the ailings of the individual. The tonsils are glands, and where one gland is swelled there are often many, and after all is said and done you cannot cut away disease with the surgeon’s knife.


In the medicinal treatment of enlarged tonsils there are two main lines of procedure, and the first is to cure the cause of the enlargement, which is commonly not only not attempted, but it is not even thought of. For it must be manifest that to get rid of the cause of the enlargement is the prime consideration. If this be done the enlargements usually disappear-this is the best way. When you cut off a tonsil you certainly get rid of it, so you do if you shrivel it with gland tissue destroyers, but the perfect cure is where the enlargement disappears under the influence of dynamic remedies: here the normal tonsils remain to do the work allotted to them within nature’s cycle.

That this is really so may be seen in cases where the tonsils are not bilaterally enlarged, but only on one side, and in such other cases where the tonsils are enlarged at the beginning of the cure, but where only one tonsil will yield to a given remedy. Thus Miss Marjorie X. was put under me on June 26, 1899 for her huge tonsils; they literally held the uvula tightly between them, and breathing was distressing, and swallowing miserable. After the patient had been two months under Thuja 30, and then a month under Bacill. C., I find the following note in my record of her case.

Nov. 20. 1899.-“The left tonsil is no longer enlarged, but the right one is very large.”

So we have here a rather curious find: under Thuja and Bacillinum one tonsil becomes normal in size while the other is still enlarged.

If we want to be quite successful in the treatment of enlarged tonsils by medicines, we must look away from the mere tonsils, and remember that although the tonsils are the thing complained of, the constitutional cause of their enlargement is the real disease, and this it is that can not be removed by operation. Those who see the mere enlargement, and give remedies for such enlargement merely-those practitioners will mostly fail to cure enlarged tonsils by medicines, and will have much to say of the advantages of their mechanical removal.

It is not at all a bad plan to begin the course of treatment with Sulphur 30; after a while follow with Calcarea carb. 30., and in the third place give Thuja occidentalis 30. Each remedy should have a month or two to develop its action, to do its work.

As a rule before these have done all their work there is evidence of amelioration in the child’s health, and the enlargement has somewhat lessened.

Calcarea phosphorica-say 3x-two or three doses a day follows well; indeed I have often been almost startled at the sudden improvement that will set in under its use: the whole child brightens up, coughs disappear, the intelligence awakens, the ribs stiffen, and the surroundings are well aware that something is being done for the enlarged tonsils.

The third trituration of the Iodide of Mercury will often rapidly and radically change the aspect of the enlarged tonsils.

Calcarea iod. 3x is often useful in the abjectly strumous.

In puny boys whose testicular development is very backward- in fact can scarcely be said to exist at all-Aurum met. 3 trit is, with me, an old and well-tried remedy; it may often be noticed that, as the testicles take on life and increase in size, the tonsils diminish in bulk.

Where tonsils are very hard and there is evidently much sclerosed connective tissue in them, the Iodide of Barium will help.

James Compton Burnett
James Compton Burnett was born on July 10, 1840 and died April 2, 1901. Dr. Burnett attended medical school in Vienna, Austria in 1865. Alfred Hawkes converted him to homeopathy in 1872 (in Glasgow). In 1876 he took his MD degree.
Burnett was one of the first to speak about vaccination triggering illness. This was discussed in his book, Vaccinosis, published in 1884. He introduced the remedy Bacillinum. He authored twenty books, including the much loved "Fifty Reason for Being a Homeopath." He was the editor of The Homoeopathic World.