The patient took a homoeopathic preparation of the remedy steadily for about three years, with gradual, slow amelioration, and eventual perfect cure. Since then eight years have elapsed, and she is still in excellent health. I think it must be manifest that, had it not been for Homoeopathy, this cure could not have been wrought, and patient must long since have died of the dire disease.

Therefore, please accept this as my sixth reason for being a homoeopath. And, learned, brother, what a proud position, too! Of course, it is not “regular”. Alas! that it is not.


This shall also be in further elucidation of my contention that Homoeopathy turns the groping. bungling treater of disease into a master of the healing art.

Ever since the year 1878 I have been in the habit of using Vanadium as a remedy in a class of cases that, outside of Homoeopathy, you cannot touch-I mean in certain cases of atheroma of the arteries, and fatty degeneration. I had been in the habit of using Phosphorus, Antimony, Arsenic, and the like, but was not satisfied with my result in certain cases : nothing satisfies me but a cure. So I went farther afield, and thought I had found what I wanted in Vanadium, whose physiological effects I studied in the Proceedings of the Royal Society. I got the differential points from an article in the Journal of Physiology by Mr. G.F. Dowdeswell entitled “On the Structural Changes which are Produced in the Liver under the Influence of the Salts of Vanadium.” In a word, let me say that it consists in true cell destruction, the pigment escaping, the liver being hit hardest. I had a case on hand of fatty liver, atheroma of the arteries, much pain corresponding to the course of the basilar artery, large deeply pigmented patches on forehead, profound adynamia, and so forth.

Well, my patient was then over seventy, and was very clearly breaking up and going to pass the big bourne whence no man returneth. Thanks to the use of Vanadium (I used the soluble ammonium salt) in homoeopathic preparation, chosen according to the homoeopathic law, that lady got quite well, and remains so, being now hard upon eighty years of age, and hale and hearty.

This is what I call being a master of the art of healing, and that you may truly realize the entire independence of my proceeding, I may tell you that thus far Vanadium (so far as I know) has never even now been used in medicine at all, except by myself.

Of course, as you are a “regular”, you would not so far have forgotten your dignity as to go in quest of a remedy for your case, holding on humbly and hopefully to the Hahnemannic law.

Please allow the now by me clinically proved homoeopathicity of Vanadium to a certain, form of fatty decay stand as my seventh reason for being a homoeopath.

My other Vanadium cases I will not trouble you with-they only prove the same point; besides, I have still forty-three reasons to give you.


A lady living not far from your uncle’s in Kensington, came to me on June 5th, 1882, with a sore, gnawing pain in her left side, the pain being at times sharp and darting and seated just under the ribs, in the region of the spleen: worse at night when she got warm in bed. Concomitantly herewith the left eye is involved : its puncta lachrymalia are very red. This is a comparatively simple case of disease, yet withal very painful, and patient came to me to be cured. I am sure as a “regular” this case would completely baffle anyone.

Without a scientific law to guide you, you would not be able to tackle the case curatively at all. It offered no particular difficulty to me, and I cured it with an essence of the common European walnut! Fancy the walnut tree for such a case! we call it Juglans regia, and I gave five drops of the first centesimal dilution in water three times a day. Would you like to know the scientific “why” of this case? Only Homoeopathy and the mundane doings of the late Clotar Muller can tell you.

Here again, you see how the law of similars gives executive potentiality to one’s knowledge of drug physiology and moreover, affords me my eighth reason for not being a “regular”.


You object to my “jeering, offensive tone”. May I remind you, my “regular” friend, that you began the “jeering”? At your uncle’s you plumed yourself upon being a “regular” and thought you were looking down from a mighty height upon the homoeopaths! You insisted upon having my fifty reasons, and I am sending them as fast as I can, and if I parenthetically do a little jeering, you will please remember that I have the most absolutely unspeakable contempt for your ignorance, from the top of which you had the brazen effrontery to call the homoeopaths quacks! You, the grossly ignorant, prejudiced “regular” call flippantly upon me to justify my professional position. When I speak of your ignorance I mean your ignorance of the art of healing: of other kinds of knowledge I know you are full.

I have given you a case of pain in the left hypochondrium cured by Juglans regia; not many weeks after that case was cured, as stated, a young lady came to consult me in regard to a very similar pain, but hers was of the right side, at the bottom of the right lung. She had it for three months, and was pulled down by it a good deal, having become weak and anaemic.

Chelidonium majus, 1 five drops in water night and morning, cured it specifically in just a fortnight. I should like to discuss with you the reason why I gave Juglans regia in the one case of pain in the one side, and Chelidonium majus in the other; but I have not the time, so this must end my account of my ninth reason.


You are quite mistaken in saying that what rendered me, after my “manner of speech”, a master of the healing art, is limited in its application. That is just what it is not, else where is the mastership? Getting a firm grip of the homoeopathic law affords me a guide under almost all circumstances. Let me further exemplify my meaning by adducing a case of-


To begin with, if you have no experience with really bad cases of hiccough, ask your older partner, and he will tell you that they are very troublesome at times, and by no means easy to cure. And hiccough is again one of those cases that do not fit easily into any nosological system.

In the early part of 1883, a young lady was brought to me suffering from a number of morbid symptoms, the most promising of which was Singultus (hiccough). She would get it in attacks lasting about half an hour each, and of these there were generally four a day. In view of the concomitants-emansion of the menses, leucorrhoea, thirst, much saliva in the mouth-I considered that the hiccough was reflected from the uterus. You know something of the views I hold on vaccination and the theory of vaccinosis, which I have elsewhere sought to establish and defend. Well, I proceeded on these lines and gave Thuja, but it did no good.

I followed with Sepia which is a classic remedy with the homoeopaths for leucorrhoea, but it also did not help. What did I do? I went to the law of homoeopathy and to the prophet Hahnemann! Now my patient was thirsty; her tongue was coated; she had nausea; her mouth filled with fluid; she had headache; she yawned a good deal; she had hiccough she complained of great weakness, and of fatigue in all her limbs; and altogether her symptoms were very much like those of Cyclamen, as given in Hahnemann’s Materia Medica Pura, and THEREFORE if the old seer’s notion of similitudes was worth anything, Cyclamen ought to cure my patient and so it did.

The third decimal nearly cured her, but not quite; and so I went down to the second decimal when the menses appeared. But the second decimal dilution did not seem to act so well as the previously used third, and hence I harked back to the third. Then, as the hiccough was not quite well, I went down to the first decimal, and then for the same reason shot up to the thirtieth centesimal, when-repeat it only in a whisper to your friends-no more remedies were needed for the hiccough!.

So please accept as my tenth reason for being a homoeopath the fact that with its aid I can cure hiccough safely and pleasantly: this time the cure was wrought with Cyclamen.


I would fain beg you to allow me to give you as my eleventh reason for being a homoeopath also a most singular case of hiccough. It has already been published in my Natrum muriaticum, whence I will transcribe it.

CASE.XI. A clergyman’s wife of about 50 years of age consulted me on February 20th, 1878 complaining of severe dyspepsia with other symptoms of Natrum muriaticum. My visit was a burried one, so I did not enter very fully into the case. Nat, mur, 6 trit. vj grains in water twice a day was the prescription; it cured in three days these symptoms : “Hiccough occurring morning, noon and night for at least ten years, which was brought on by quinine; it was not a hiccough that made much noise, but shook the body to the ground; it used to last about ten minutes, and was very distressing.

“How do you know that the hiccough was really produced by quinine?” I enquired. She answered : “At three separate times in my life I have taken quinine for tic of the right side of my face, and I got hiccough each time; the first and second time it gradually went off, but the third time it did not; when the late Dr.Hynde prescribed it I said, do not give me quinine as it always gives me hiccough, but he would give it to me; I took it, and it gave me the hiccough, which lasted until I took your powders; it is more than ten years ago since I took the quinine.

The cure of the hiccough has proved permanent.

This patient is a most truthful Christian woman, and her statement is beyond question.

She has been a homoeopath for many years, and my patient off and on for more than three years, during which time I have had to treat her for chronic sore throat, vertigo, palpitation, and at one time for great depression of spirits.

She had also previously mentioned her hiccough incidentally, but I had forgotten all about it, and on this occasion she did not even mention it; so far as the hiccough goes the cure was…a pure fluke! But it set me a thinking about the Hahnemannian doctrine of drug dynamization for the thousandth time, and has seriously shaken my disbelief in it.

Hiccough is a known effect of Chininum sulfuricum: Allen’s Encyclopaedia, Vol. III, p. 226, symptoms 370 and 379.

We note from this case that.

1. The effects of quinine, given for tic in medicinal doses to a lady, may last for more than ten years: that:

2. Natrum muriaticum in the sixth trituration antidotes this effect of quinine, while:

3. The same substance in its ordinary form, viz. common salt, does not antidote it even when taken daily in various quantities and in various forms for ten years. Inasmuch, then, as the crude substance fails to do what, the triturated substance promptly effects, it follows, therefore, that:

4. Trituration does so alter a substance that it thereby acquires a totally new power, and consequently that:

5. The Hahnemannian doctrine of drug dynamization is no myth, but a fact in Nature capable of scientific experimental proof, and, inasmuch as the crude substance was taken daily for many years in almost every conceivable dose, in all kinds of solutions of the most varied strength, it results:

6. and lastly. That the Hahnemannian method of preparing drugs for remedial purposes is not a mere dilution, or attenuation, but a positively power-evolving or power-producing process, viz. a true potentization or dynamization.

This case is probably as good a one as we may ever expect to get, and it might here fitly close the subject as far as its simple demonstration is concerned, but I have others in my casebook, both corroborating it and presenting new features.

Before leaving this Case XI let us reflect for a moment on the certainly immense number of modifying and perturbating influences this lady has been subject to during those ten years, as well as living at the seaside, and including the daily use of salt, and yet her hiccough persisted until dynamized salt was given.

Before coming to these conclusions I exhausted all my ingenuity in trying to explain it away, and that backed by no small amount of scepsis, not to believe it than to believe it.

I am thus in a dilemma : either I must believe in the doctrine of drug dynamization, or disbelieve the most incontrovertible evidence of facts, which is the province of the demented.

Or canst thou, critical reader, being more ingenious and more sceptical than I, help me out of the dilemma? Fain would I believe thou canst, for this doctrine of drug dynamization seems to take away firm material ground from under one’s feet, and leaves one standing in the air.

This is rather a long account of a case of hiccough, but it taught me much, and that must be my excuse for not curtailing it.


As you have not acknowledged my last communication, I will inflict a third case of hiccough upon you, and that will be my twelfth for being a homoeopath.

On March 29th 18187, a young lady of 10 was brought to me, her mother complaining that she suffered from bloodlessness, languor, biliousness, sore throat, nausea, faintness, frontal headaches, matutinal lassitude, poor memory, sour breath, rising in the throat, hiccough, white and scant motions, pain in the left side on going up hill. I found an endocardial bruit, best heard at the base, and very notable enlargement of the spleen. Patient could not stand cold, had been only once vaccinated, had had varicella and measles.

You know I consider vaccination a disease, and I have ventured to call it vaccinosis, and have written a small book on the subject; however, I am not concerned with that theme here, but with the greater subject of Homoeopathy, which leads to the same prescription as my theory of vaccinosis. Thuja occidentalis 30 in infrequent doses cured the hiccough, reduced the spleen by about one-half, oddly enough, the endocardial bruit also disappeared. The cure of the hiccough by Thuja is, however, the point I desire to call your attention to more particularly.

Now note that I have offered you three cases of hiccough, one cured by Cyclamen europaeum, the second by Natrum muriaticum, and the last one by Thuja occidentalis : this diversity of remedial measures for a symptom such as hiccough exemplifies alike the spirit of Homoeopathy and the immensity of its mastership over disease. Nevertheless, to an outsider who does not understand Homoeopathy, this diversity of remedial measures constitutes a great stumbling block, and has prevented many able, conscientious investigators from understanding it, and yet this is the strength of the system, rendering, however, its practice disgustingly difficult.

All nature is our pharmacopoeia-that is, for any homoeopath who has grasped the subject, and who has learned to walk without crutches, and who is WILLING TO WORK! And although I have thus narrated three cases of hiccough cured by as many different homoeopathic remedies, still if you were to ask me what remedy I would recommend you to try for hiccough, I should only be able to say, “that remedy (not necessarily either of my three) which can be proved to be pathogenetically like the to-be-cured case of hiccough,” I fear I am firing over your head!

XIII Quite so; I did not maintain that hiccough was a mortal malady; what I do maintain is that it is often very troublesome, and that Homoeopathy can cure it pleasantly and safely. More than a safe and pleasant cure I ask of no system of medicine. But let me pass to my thirteenth reason, viz.:


A well-known soprano singer came to me with aphonia: the throat was what is commonly called follicular and congested. You may have heard that the homoeopaths think a good deal of Arnica for the ill effect of bruises, hurts, sprains, and the like; in fact, for trauma in general. Well, after using numerous remedies in vain, it slowly became manifest to me that the aphonia in question was from an overstrained state of the vocal chords. Moreover, patient had a small pustule on the nape, and mattery pimples on the skin.

Arnica cured the case, affording in its physiological action symptoms similar to it.

You will perhaps say that this aphonia case is also not a mortal malady. Will you once for all disabuse your mind of the very vulgar professional and popular error, according to which the homoeopaths are said to claim to cure the incurable! Just note, at least for your own information, that the homoeopaths make no such claim; what they say is this : Homoeopathy cures what can be cured much better than any other system of medicine hitherto made known to the world. The homoeopaths do not maintain that other systems are valueless, or that the homoeopathic system is faultless, only that thus far in the art-treatment of disease by remedies, Homoeopathy, by very long odds, beats all the records. Do you see?

Be that as it may, I trust that curing an old case of singer’s aphonia with Arnica is a fairly sound reason for being a homoeopath; any way it is my thirteenth.

P.S.-When I say that Homoeopathy does not claim to cure the incurable, that leaves the question of curability an open one; Homoeopathy does not accept anything as incurable because certain physicians who are “regular” declare it to be so. Incapacity to cure does not render the uncured incurable. Kindly take a mental note of this, because what you “regulars” consider incurable may, or may hot, be so considered by the homoeopaths. My old pleuritis trouble was declared and proved to be incurable by and for the entire faculty, and yet the Bryonia alba of the homoeopaths cured it!


You “do not believe that Arnica is any good for injuries and, moreover, it is a poisonous drug, causing very dangerous, or, at least, very severe, erysipelas”. I have nothing to do with your beliefs: clinical facts are what I am concerned with. I cured an old case of aphonia with Arnica, and an account of that I have sent you as my thirteenth reason for being an homoeopath. Whether you believe in the anti-traumatic virtues of Arnica or not is your affair : I fearlessly affirm that your scepsis would not have cured it, anyhow.

Further, I did not deny that Arnica causes very severe and even dangerous erysipelas. Indeed, I know it well, and have seen it, and out of your own mouth will I take my fourteenth reason for being a homoeopath.


Some years since an eminent member of the Society of Friends wrote to me, stating that he had for a number of years been suffering from erysipelas of the face at odd intervals. I ordered him Arnica in a rather high dilution and in infrequent dose, and thereupon his erysipelas faded and came no more. Long afterwards he wrote me a very grateful letter, giving me much undue praise for having wit enough to see that the almighty has His laws in therapeutics for the guidance of His poor, sick children.

I have it from you that Arnica causes erysipelas; I will not doubt your statement; you may now take it from me that Arnica cures erysipelas, and this I offer you as my fourteenth reason for being a homoeopath. You know the bad character of Arnica in that it is apt to cause erysipelas; I tell you of its good fame, viz. that it possesses the power of curing erysipelas, and the intellectual link that completes the little chain is the law of likes that God put into the mind of one Samuel to explain to the world.


You need not be so angry at my last reason; I did not make Arnica grow in the world; I did not endow it with the power of causing erysipelas; and I did not discover the therapeutic law in question; I just use this law in order to cure my patients, even as I use the useful invention known as a spoon wherewith to partake of my broth. With me it is merely a means to an end; there is no hocus-pocus about it.

Just as I was writing you my last reason for being a homoeopath, I was suddenly summoned by telegraph to a very severe case of quinsy. I hastened to the suffering damsel, and found that various remedies had been used in vain, and the patient was in great distress, having been for twelve hours unable to swallow even a few drops of fluid. Not even the juice of one grape would pass, and some operative interference seemed absolutely imperative. I gave five grains of the third centesimal trituration of a remedy you may not be acquainted with, but which the heterodox homoeopaths quaintly call Baryta carbonica, and which is now generally known as the Carbonate of Barium, In about a dozen hours patient ate a basin of basin of bread and milk. I have often cured quinsies before in the same way and I beg you to believe that the little trick has been done thousands of times by others, and though no clinical tip of mine, it nevertheless must serve you as my fifteenth reason-and not a bad one either, as said damsel would gratefully bear witness.

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.