” Why?”

” I was very seedy the last time I was vaccinated; in fact, I felt awfully ill for about a month,” and he again hurriedly protested that he would not like to be vaccinated again. The vaccination that had made him so ill was either in 1852 or 1853.

This seemed to me to be a case of vaccinal neuralgia, and therefore I ordered Thuja 30, in infrequent dose. This was on June 28th, 1882.

July 8th.- But very little pain after the first powder. To have the same medicine again.

The cure proved permanent, and is interesting as proof of the rapidity with which the most like remedy can cure a neuralgia.


Being a case of


On December 22nd, 1882, a young lady of twenty-six came under my care for an ugly state of the nails of her fingers. Naturally, a lady of her age would not be indifferent to the state of her nails. These nails are indented rather deeply, and in addition to these indentations there are black patches on the under surface of the nails, reaching into the quick. Very slight leucorrhoea occasionally. She had chicken-pox as a child of eleven. On her shoulders there is an eruption of roundish patches, forming mattery heads. The black patches have existed these eighteen months.

I ordered Thuja 30 (one in six).

March 19th, 1833.-Has continued the Thuja 30 for just about three months, with the result that within a fortnight from commencing with it the black patches under the nails began to disappear, and there is now no trace of them.

I will not trouble you with any more reasons based on the therapeutic action of Thuja.

You want to know whether I really claim that Homoeopathy can cure cataract with medicines. You know very well that that has been my contention for a number of years; but I will revert to that again.


As my thirty-third reason for being a homoeopath I propose to give you a case of cataract cured by medicines. You said in one of your letters to me that you would like to see the man who could dissolve a case of genuine senile cataract with medicines. Well, I will recount to you how I was converted myself.

The limits of the curable and of the incurable are not represented by any fixed lines; what is incurable to-day may be curable to-morrow, and what we all of this generation deem incurable may be considered very amenable to treatment in the next generation.

When walking the hospitals years ago I was taught, in respect of cataract, that there was nothing for it but an operation; a few months since, I spent a little time at an excellent metropolitan hospital for the eye, and found that that is still the one thing taught- viz. if you have a cataract, there is no hope for you beyond that of getting blind, and then trying to get your sight again by having the cataractous lens removed.

On May 28th, 1875, I was sent for to see a lady suffering from acute ophthalmia. She informed me that her friend Dr. Mahony, of Liverpool, had recommended her to try Homoeopathy when she should again require medical aid, and had also mentioned my name to her. She seemed rather ashamed of calling in the aid of a disciple of Hahnemann, and was very careful to lay all the blame upon Dr.Mahony: for, said she, I know nothing about it. My patient was in a darkened room, and hence I could not well see what manner of woman she was; but I soon learned she was the widow of an Indian officer, had spent many years in India, where she had ophthalmia a great many times, and that she was in the habit of getting ophthalmia once or twice a year, or even oftener, ever since. It generally lasted several weeks, and then got better; no kind of treatment seemed to be of any avail. Did I think Homoeopathy would do her any good? I replied that we would try it.

I made an attempt at examining the eye, by lifting up one of the laths of the Venetian blind to let in the light, and then everting the lid; but the photophobia and consequent blepharospasm were so great that I barely succeeded in recognizing that the right eye was a red, swelled mass, while the left one was only comparatively slightly affected;. in fact, a case of ophthalmitis. A more minute examination was impossible, as the pain was so great that the patient screamed whenever any light was let into the eye. I took a mental note of the chief symptoms, notably of the fact that the inflammation was chiefly confined to the right eye, and went home and worked out the homoeopathic equation; I was specially anxious to make a hit, and so I spent about half and hour at the differential drug- diagnosis. The drug I decided upon was Phosphorus. Thus-Rx. Tc. Phosphorus 1m.xij. Sac. q.s. Div in p. aeq.xij.

s.-One in a little water every hour.

That would be about the one-hundredth part of a grain of Phosphorus at a dose, or rather less.

I called the next day, about eighteen hours thereafter, and my patient opened the door herself, slightly screening her eyes with her hand, and quite able to bear a moderate amount of light. The inflammation was nearly gone; the next day it was quite gone.

Patient’s amazement was great indeed; in all the twenty years of these ophthalmic attacks she had suffered much, and had a number of doctors, including London oculists, to treat her, but to no purpose. And yet she had been treated actively, and there had been no lack of physic and leeches, and also no lack of medical skill; but there was lacking in their therapeutics the one thing needful.. THE LAW OF SIMILARS.

How was it that I, with no very special knowledge of the eye or its diseases, and with only usual practical experience, could thus beat skilled specialists and men of thrice my experience?

Was it, perhaps, greater skill, deeper insight into the disease, more careful investigation of the case? By no means… It was just the law of similars, patiently carried out in practice.

My dear allopathic confrere, WHY are you so very simple that you leave us homoeopaths with this enormous advantage over the best of you? Any little homoeopathic David can overcome the greatest allopathic giant if he will only keep to his Materia Medica, and the directions of Hahnemann. And the good thing lies so near, and is so constantly thrown at you. If we homoeopaths were only to make a secret of our art, you would petition the Government to purchase it of us!

But revenons a nos moutons. My patient was naturally very grateful, and said,”If that is Homoeopathy, I wonder if could cure my cataract?”

On examining the eyes now with some care could readily perceive that there were opacities behind the pupils, that of the right being the much more extensive. She then informed me that she had had cataract for some years, and was waiting for it to get ripe so as to undergo an operation. She had been to two London oculists about it, and they agreed both as to diagnosis and prognosis, and eventual operative treatment. She had waited a year and gone again to one of these eye surgeons, and been told that all was satisfactorily progressing, although but slowly; it was thought it might take another two years before an operation could be performed. Her vision was also getting gradually worse, and she could not see the parting in her hair at the looking glass, or the names over the shops, or on the omnibuses in the street, could see better in the dusk than in broad daylight.

In answer to her question as to the curability of cataract with medicines, I said I had no personal experience whatever on the subject beyond one case, and I thought that from the nature of the complaint, one could hardly expect medicines to cure, it or even affect it at all. Still, some few homoeopaths had published such cases, and others had asserted that they sometimes did really succeed in curing cataract with homoeopathic treatment. I added that, inconceivable as it was to me, yet I had no right to question the veracity of these gentlemen, simply because they claimed to do what seemed impossible.

In fine, I agreed, at patient’s special request, to try to cure her cataract with medicine given on homoeopathic lines!

I must confess that I smiled a little at my own temerity. But I consoled myself thus: What harm could it do to treat her while she was waiting to get blind. At the worst I should not prevent it!

So it was agreed she should report herself every month or so, and I would each time prescribe for her a course of treatment.

All this was there and then agreed to.

She took from May 29th to June 19th, 1875, Calcarea carbonica 30, and Chelidonium 1, one pilule in alternation three times a day. Thus she had two doses of the Calcarea one day, and one the next, and conversely of the Chelidonium.

There were indications for both remedies, though I cannot defend the alternation: I hope I alternate less frequently now.

Then followed Asafoetida 6, and Digitalis purp.3.

Then Phosphorus 1, and subsequently Sulphur 30, and then Calcarea and Chelidonium.

Thus I continued ringing the changes on Phosphorus, Sulphur, Chelidonium, Calcarea carbonica, Asafoetida, and Digitalis, till the beginning of 1876.

On February 17th, 1876, I prescribed Gelsemium 30 in pilules, one three times a day. This was continued for a month.

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.