29th. Breast continues hard, but there is less areolar redness.

Chelidonium O and Aconite 3x.

But I need not go on with these wearisome details; some more remedies were needed, patient got better and better, and returned early in 1888 to Germany, and I have not since seen her; but in a letter to me, under date of May 8th, 1888, patient says, “the hard lump is slowly decreasing”. Perhaps before this goes to press I may be able to give the end of the treatment, but this will not much matter, as patient was practically well before she left for the Continent.

I may add that the two English doctors who were so sure that it was cancer, and who insisted upon immediate operation, and whose letters I myself read, when asked by me through the patient (just before she left for the Continent) whether they would allow me to have their original letters containing their diagnosis, prognosis, and recommendation of operation; well-they refused! And now they deny that they ever said positively that it was cancer; thy only recommended the operation in case it should be cancer.

The frankness and honesty of ones allopathic colleagues are wonderful articles. However, they have, as usual, had to munch the leek. The great pity is that so much energy should be used up by us medical reformers merely to keep on our feet. We boast a good deal of our advanced state of culture and civilization, but will someone explain to me how it is that many of even the most wonderfully-cultured and most highly educated people of the day seem absolutely incapable of differentiating between self- denying, not to say heroic, medical reformers and persons who sell nostrums. In practical medicine this is a crux indeed. But the world was ever thus.

At the end of the month of November of the year 1886, a married lady of 40 odd years of age came to consult me in respect of a hard tumour of the size of a hens egg in the lower third of her left breast, painful at times, and due originally, it was stated, to a hurt. I find no note of the date of the hurt. Patient was the mother of a large family and she had also flooded and miscarried, and her menses had always been very profuse and long lasting, so that for years she had been barely ever able to completely recover from one period before she was overtaken by another, and hence she had acquired a weak heart from the chronic anaemia.

She had suffered also for many years badly from leucorrhoea, and latterly her feet swelled. She was stated to have had scarlatina, measles, and mumps, each twice, and besides having had smallpox, she had been four times vaccinated, the last three times unsuccessfully. There were many little wartiness here and there on the cutaneous surface, such as I have become accustomed to regard as pointing to cancer.

Rx. Thuja occidentalis 30.

December 18th. Very great improvement was reported and patient was well of the tumour and of herself by the spring of 1887.

Besides the Thuja occid, given repeatedly and over a number of weeks, Magnesia sul. 3x was given for some little time. Over a year later the patient was reported to me as being well.

Here the medicinal and curative action was not only very remarkable, but also very remarkably prompt, which I attribute to the fact that the swelling was merely a dyscratic organismic reaction to the trauma of such recent date that the swelling was not yet neoplastic. When the causal dyscrasia was extinguished the predisposing cause of the swelling was gone too, and hence the swelled tissue constituting the tumour had to shrink and shrivel. I thought it would have taken much longer to cure the tumour than it actually did, because it seemed to me probable that neoplasia had set in to a greater extent than was evidently the case.


At the beginning of 1888 I was consulted in regard to a tumour of the left breast of a healthy young lady of about 20 years of age, and which had not been noticed very long. It was in its upper and outer aspects, but deep in the body of the breast. Of course, the young ladys mother and friends were greatly alarmed, and an operation was thought to be the only thing to do. It stands described in my account of the case as of the size of a large orange, but I do not think it was quite so large.

In four months the tumour had quite disappeared, the remedies having been Thuja occidentalis 30, Bellis perennis O, Ceanothus Americanus I, and Cundurango Ix, and the last named being apparently the remedial force, and which was given because of the browny look of patients skin.

The rapid cure of the tumour was evidently due to the fact that it was from reflected ovarian irritation, and not a neoplasm. Nevertheless it was only “an operation” that the faculty and family representatives discussed together. Indeed, the ready way in which the operative carpenters, commonly called surgeons, recommend the removal of ladies breasts in whole or in part is truly staggering.


Although tumours of the breast are much more common in women than in men, still they do also occur in the breasts of males, more particularly in later life. Such a one is the following:

On April 23rd, 1881, there came to me a rather tall, spare, cachectic-looking gentleman, a London professional man, of about 70 years of age, telling me that ever since the previous February he had been greatly worried, and this was followed by a sensitiveness in his left nipple, which soon passed off and went to the right nipple, wherein it still was. On examining the part I found it the seat of a hard tumid mass of the size of a pigeons egg. Patient first noticed it was swelled a month previously. It is not actually painful, but there is a sensation of fulness and uneasiness, and he cannot lie on it, hence it arrests his attention.

Rx. Psor. 30, mvj.; s. l. q. s., ft. pulv., tales xij., j. nocte.

May 7th. There is still a sensation of fulness in it; patient thinks it is softer, in which opinion I share. It is a little smaller. Since taking the powders he has had some bilious attacks.

Rx. Repeat.

21st. It is much smaller; there is much less sensitiveness, and patient can now sleep lying on his right side, which was previously not possible.

Rx. Repeat.

May 28th. The sensitiveness is now confined to the nipple alone, still he can sleep lying on it. He is constipated, and his tongue is thickly furred.

Rx. Hydrastis canadensis 3x, 3iv.

S. gtt. v., nocte maneque.

June 14th. The sensitiveness still continues, but it has very much decreased.

Rx. Repeat.

July 2nd. Less sensitiveness; tumour still decreasing in size; on the sternum, on a level with the nipple, there is a scabby eruption of the size of a three penny piece, having a red ground, the rest being yellowish. He is still constipated.

Rx Tc. Hydrastis canad. 6, 3iv., gtt. v., n. m.

July 23rd. He has scabs on the scalp; a yellow scab at the middle of the sternum; also on his hands. The nipple is no longer sensitive at all.

Rx Tc. Thuja occid. 30, in infrequent doses.

August 13th. The tumour has disappeared, with the exception of one of the size of a hazel-nut. There is still some scaly eruption on the sternum.

Rx Psor. 30 (two to a month).

September 16th. No trace of the tumour to be found. There is still a patch of reddish scaly eruption on the skin of the chest.

Rx Tc. Chelidonium. maj. 3x, gtt. nocte.

October 13th. No trace of tumour; still a circular patch at midsternum. Bowels a little relaxed.

Rx Trit. 6, Nat. sul.

27th. Well; and has a healthy complexion, whereas it was, at the beginning of the treatment, quite earthy.

Six years have elapsed since then, during all which time the patient has remained well of the tumour, i.e., it has never returned. Two or three times or more in every year the gentleman is in the habit of coming to see me, “To be kept in repair.” Before I began the treatment I was importuned by his friends as to whether I was quite sure it was safe to forego an operation, “which, you know, Sir J.– says is the only chance !”.

What did the friends say after the tumour was cured by remedies? Were they grateful ? Perhaps; they have so scrupulously avoided the subject ever since that I have no means of knowing.

Nevertheless the tumour remains cured, and that is the main point.

If any care to know my opinion of the pathology of this tumour, I wish to say I think it was scirrhus. That it was a very hard lump is quite sure.

Speaking biopathologically, more meo, the basis of the thing was PSORA- VACCINOSIS.


Under this heading I desire to make a few cursory yet practical remarks on the causation of mammary tumours in women. To begin with, the tumours in the female breast are very rarely primary to the breasts, but are most commonly produced in the breasts much in the same way that the organ is enabled to perform its natural function of suckling the human offspring, i.e., the part is rendered physiologically active from the utero-ovarian sphere. Whether this view of the origin of mammary tumours has ever been promulgated before I do not know, in any case I have it from my own observations in practical life.

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.