E.g.-Some years since, as you may perhaps know, a drug called Cundurango came up in your school as a cure for cancer, much as Chian turpentine did subsequently and, like it, had its little day, and then passed out of sight.

Cundurango, thought I, will certainly only cure one variety of cancer, not all. How are we to know which? The clinical records of Cundurango showed that it really has genuine curative power over some cases of cancer, particularly of the stomach. Hahnemann taught that the true way to define the curative sphere of a drug is to give it to healthy people, to see what it would do to them.

I procured some of the Cundurango bark, made an infusion, and drank quantities of it. You will find my report on the subject in Allen’s Encyclopaedia of Pure Materia Medica. Well, I found that it causes (inter alia) cracks in the angles of the mouth.

Subsequently I had to treat a case of cancer of the left breast in a middle-aged woman, but patient had also a deep crack in the angle of her mouth on the left side, with thick indurated edges, probably of an epitheliomatous nature. I think you would have agreed with the diagnosis had you seen the case. I therefore reasoned thus: We know empirically that Cundurango can cure some cases of cancer; I now know from the direct experiment on myself that it causes the angles of the mouth to crack; the homoeopaths maintain that likes cures likes, ergo, Cundurango ought to be the curative agent in this case.

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!.

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.