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.

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.