PHOSPHORUS symptoms of the homeopathy remedy from Homeopathic Drug Pictures by M.L. Tyler. What are the symptoms of PHOSPHORUS? Keynote indications and personality traits of PHOSPHORUS…


      BECAUSE everything that can hurt can heal, Homoeopathic Materia Medica is really illimitable. It is only by constant reading and study that one can get an idea of the promise it already offers us in our fight with sickness and suffering.

As we have previously said, even diligent repertory work may to some extent cramp our style. It can never supersede Materia Medica, to which it is merely, and only up to a point, an INDEX;and for this reason, that it is impossible that all drugs, not only those of daily use and utility, but those of only occasional need, should be equally well represented in any repertory that it would be possible to handle, far less to compile.

But most of the known drugs of unique and definite action do get a mention, if only in striking black type in some solitary rubric, and when we see an unfamiliar black type drug standing for the symptom or condition for which we are hunting, we shall do well to turn it up in Materia Medica, to see whether it does not in toto fit the case.

But PHOSPHORUS is not a drug of unproved, or unrepresented symptoms: on the contrary it is one of the best proved and recorded of drugs, a polycrest–a drug of many uses. In Allen’s Encyclopedia it has no less than 3,920 recorded symptoms, each with its tiny reference number that refers to the beginning of the Phosphorus section, where, not only the authority for every single symptom is to be found, but how it occurred, whether in a child who had sucked matches (in the good old days when matches were anything but “safety”), or to workmen in match factories here or abroad, or to persons who ended their lives horribly, with rat poison, or again to the provers of more or less potentized Phosphorus from Hahnemann down; and here the very potency that evoked the symptoms is given.

The Homoeopathic Materia Medica is no fancy compilation, no haphazard collection of questionable drug symptoms. It is all so orderly, so carefully investigated, so tersely set forth, so scientific. One can only marvel at the enormous labour of the men who with patient purpose built up for us such a veritable temple of healing–not only Hahnemann and his band of provers, mostly doctors, but Lippe, Hering, Dudgeon, Hughes, Carroll Dunham, and all the rest down to Kent, who have made our work not only comparatively easy but safe, and have bequeathed to humanity a science–so unique and ordered, so simple, and accessible–and so practical that “the wayfaring men, though fools, may not err therein”

Phosphorus, then, is among our best-proved–our most constantly useful drugs, and besides this, a remedy of very definite characteristic symptoms. For practical purposes of prescribing it may be useful to compare and to contrast it with Sepia and Natrum mur., because Sepia (cuttle-fish ink) must get some of its symptoms from the phosphorus and some from the salt that go towards its make-up. But, as with Ferrum, Pulsatilla and Kali sul. with Calcarea, Calcarea phos. and Calcarea sulph., or with Colocynth, Elaterium and Mag. phos., even when certain chemical substances are common to their elaborate make-up, and though some of the symptoms must resemble one another, the totality is not the same, and one remedy will not do for another.

Phosphorus, in its poisonings and provings, and in the conditions it can cure, is markedly INDIFFERENT (Sepia; and Natrum mur. less so): is indifferent to relations and loved ones (Sepia). Is apathetic: answers slowly, has a great sense of fatigue with disinclination to work. It is a great headache medicine, with Natrum mur. and Sepia. But the head pains of Phosphorus are worse in a warm room and from heat, and better from cold applications, quite unlike Sepia,

Phosphorus is sympathetic, craves company, and touch, and rubbing, and help. Sepia and Natrum mur. are better alone, and Sepia “only wants to get away and be quite”. And Sepia and Natrum mur. hate, or are irritated by sympathy–can’t stand it– weep. Natrum mur. and Phosphorus crave salt: not so Sepia: while Sepia and Natrum mur. are recorded as loathing fat, which is not the case with Phosphorus Phosphorus and Sepia are chilly drugs, i.e. suit chilly persons, while Natrum mur. is one of the drugs recorded as being better when cold. Again, it is Phosphorus and Sepia that fear thunder, and suffer in a thunderstorm–or even on approach of thunder–and so on. Sympathetic Phosphorus — — Hates sympathy — Nat. mur. Sepia Wants company Phosphorus — — Better alone — Nat. mur. Sepia Craves salt Phosphorus Nat. mur. — Loathes fat — Nat. mur. Sepia Worse cold Phosphorus — Sepia Chilly, but better cold — Nat. mur. — Fear thunder Phosphorus — Sepia

Groupings of symptoms with contrasts and likenesses are a great helps to rapid and correct prescribing.

HAHNEMANN tells us in regard to Phosphorus that it acts most beneficially in persons who suffer from chronic loose stools and diarrhoea. He also draws attention to the favorable reaction of the Phosphorus patient to mesmerism. Phosphorus is one of the drugs that loves to be rubbed.

Hahnemann also uses Phosphorus to prove that potentized medicines “are no longer subject to chemical laws”. We all know that phosphorus when exposed to air oxidizes: that indeed when dissolved in disulphide of carbon, and deposited in finest subdivision as the latter evaporates, it spontaneously combusts. This is supposed by some to have been the ancient “Greek fire”, used for incendiary purposes, and more recently, one imagines, by militant suffragettes, when, to annoy, they burnt the letters in pillar boxes. And yet, as Hahnemann points out, a powder of Phosphorus in highest potency may remain for years in its paper in a desk, without losing its medicinal properties, or even changing them for those of Phosphoric acid. He gives other instances also to show that “A remedy which has been elevated to the highest potency is no longer subject to the laws of neutralization.” If this were not the case how could we carry about our little phials of medicated globules, secure in the knowledge that they would not interfere with one another, or neutralize one another, but would be always ready for use, and never fail us–provided they were correctly prescribed.

GUERNSEY, that man of “Key Notes to the Materia Medica”, says “Phosphorus is particularly adapted for the complaints of tall, thin persons having dark hair.” He draws attention to the characteristic stool, long, slim, hard and dry, evacuated with great difficulty. He calls attention to the WEAK, EMPTY, or GONE SENSATION, felt in the whole abdomen, especially when accompanied with a burning sensation between the shoulder blades. And a striking stomach symptom, when cold drinks are tolerated till they become warm in the stomach, when they are vomited. (Opp. to Arsenicum Ars has burning pain in stomach, relieved by hot drinks. With Phosphorus the burning pain is relieved by cold.) Also, he emphasizes the hard, dry, tight cough, which racks the patient, and the saltish sputum.

To Lachesis belongs the worse on waking: worse from sleep: fear to go to sleep for the aggravation of symptoms. The exactly opposite belongs to Phosphorus and Sepia: they have great relief from sleep, even a short sleep: headaches cured by sleep.

“In Phosphorus wounds bleed very much, even if very small: wounds that appear to have healed break out again.” Phosphorus is a bleeder, and bruises easily.

NASH paints his vivid little miniature of the Phosphorus patient, i.e. the person who needs Phosphorus.

“Tall, slender, narrow-chested, phthisical persons, delicate eyelashes, soft hair; or nervous weak persons who like to be magnetized. Waxy, anaemic, jaundiced persons.

“Anxious; universal restlessness, can’t stand or sit still: worse in the dark, or when left alone, or before a thunderstorm.

“BURNINGS everywhere, mouth, stomach, intestines, anus, between scapulae, intense, running up spine, palms of hands.

“Craves cold things, ice-cream which agrees, cold water, which may be vomited when it gets warm in stomach. Must eat often or is faint. Gets up to eat in the night.

“Sinking, faint, empty feelings–everywhere.

“Diarrhoea, profuse, pouring out as from a hydrant; with wide- open anus.

“Cough, worse lying on left side. In lungs, right lower lobe most affected. Cough worse going from warm to cold room. Worse inhaling cold air” (Rumex), etc.

He says, “Zincum had fidgety feet, Phosphorus is fidgety all over.”

He says, “Phosphorus is bound to bleed” and “Phosphorus attacks the bones in the form of necrosis.” What about “phossy jaw”?

GUERNSEY’S typical Phosphorus is dark-haired: NASH has “tall, slender persons of sanguine temperament, fair skin, blonde or red hair, quick, lively, sensitive.” Both are right.

Abnormal craving from salt (Nat. mur., Nit. a., Argentum nit., but Nat. mur. craves salt with a loathing for fats. Nit. a with a craving for fats, and Argentum nit. with a craving for sweets and sugar).

And now we will turn to KENT, that fine observer and great teacher, to help us to see Phosphorus in the patients that need the help of that remedy. We will merely run through his lecture on Phosphorus, just picking and choosing, and taking and leaving, as seems good.

Margaret Lucy Tyler
Margaret Lucy Tyler, 1875 – 1943, was an English homeopath who was a student of James Tyler Kent. She qualified in medicine in 1903 at the age of 44 and served on the staff of the London Homeopathic Hospital until her death forty years later. Margaret Tyler became one of the most influential homeopaths of all time. Margaret Tyler wrote - How Not to Practice Homeopathy, Homeopathic Drug Pictures, Repertorising with Sir John Weir, Pointers to some Hayfever remedies, Pointers to Common Remedies.