James Tyler Kent describes the symptoms of the homeopathic medicine Mercurius in great detail and compares it with other homeopathy remedies. …

General features: The pathogenesis of Mercury is found in the provings of Mercurius viv. and Mercurius sol., two slightly different preparations, but not different enough to make any distinction in practice.

Mercury is used in testing the temperature, and a Mercurius constitution is just as changeable and sensitive to heat and cold. The patient is worse from the extremes of temperature, worse from both heat and cold. Both the symptoms and the patient are worse in a warm atmosphere, worse in the open air, and worse in the cold.

The complaints of Mercury when sufficiently acute to send him to bed are worse from the warmth of the bed, so that he is forced to uncover; but after he uncovers and cools off he gets worse again, so that he has difficulty in keeping comfortable. This applies to the pains, the fever, ulcers and eruptions and the patient himself.

He is an offensive patient. We speak of mercurial odors. The breath especially is very foetid, and it can be detected on entering the room; it permeates the whole room. The perspiration is offensive; it has a strong, sweetish, penetrating odor. Offensiveness runs all through; offensive urine, stool and sweat; the odors from the nose and mouth are offensive. When Mercurius is used in large doses and the patient is salivated he gives off these odors.

One who has once smelt a salivated patient will remember the mercurial odor. I remember when I was a student, almost every room had the mercurial odor. Mercury was given till the gums were touched and salivation was produced. That odor is often an index to the use of Mercurius

He is worse at night. The bone pains, joint affections and inflammatory conditions are all worse at night and somewhat relieved during the day. Bone pains are universal, but especially where the flesh is thin over the bones. Periosteal pains, boring pains, worse at night and from warmth of the bed.

The glands are inflamed, and swollen; the parotids, sub-linguals, lymphatic glands of the neck, groin and axilla are all affected; the mammae swell and there is inflammation and swelling of the liver. It is pre-eminently a glandular remedy. Induration is also a general; inflamed parts indurate. If the skin is inflamed it is hard. Inflamed glands are hard.

There is induration with ulceration. A tendency to ulcerate runs through the remedy. Ulcers are found everywhere, in the throat, nose, mouth, and on the lower limbs. Ulcers sting and burn and have a lardaceous base, an ashy-white appearance looking as if spread over with a coating of lard. It looks like a diphtheritic exudate, and Mercurius has diphtheritic exudations on inflamed surfaces.

Ulcers in the throat have this appearance. The mucous membrane sometimes inflames without ulceration, but with exudation, and hence it is useful in diphtheria. It has the same condition in ulcers; when the system is run down they exude a grey lardy or ashy deposit. Chancres take on that form, a whitish cheesy deposit on the base. When you realize that the complaints of Mercurius are worse at night, and think of the bone pains, periosteal inflammations, etc., it is not surprising that Mercurius sometimes cures syphilis. It is wonderful that the allopath hit upon it for this disease, and he cures or suppresses enough cases by similarity to justify its continued use. When given suitably it cures.

Another marked feature is the tendency to the formation of pus. With inflammation there is burning and stinging and the rapid formation of pus and the part is aggravated by both warmth and cold. Abscesses burn and sting; inflammation of joints is attended with pus formation; in inflammation of the pleura the cavity fills up with pus. The discharges of pus are yellow-green. The Mercurius gonorrheal discharge is thick greenish-yellow, with stinging and burning in the urethra.

Rheumatic inflammation of joints and catarrhal inflammation of mucous membrane are features running through the remedy, and these are attended with sweat, and an astonishing feature is that the sweat does not relieve, and there is even an aggravation while sweating.

Rheumatism in old syphilitic, gonorrhoeal and gouty patients. It is similar enough to relate to some cases of psora, syphilis and sycosis. It partakes of the nature of all three miasms.

After a prover has taken Mercurius a long time he emaciates. This is seen in old mercury takers and in syphilitics who have been mercurialized. It is a great remedy in this condition-steady emaciation with trembling, worse at night and from the warmth of the bed, great restlessness, can’t find peace in any position. These miserable wretches, who are breaking down, are great sufferers, whether psoric, syphilitic or sycotic.

A strange feature is repeated swelling and abscess formation without any heat. An abscess or swelling in a joint forms, and he sweats from head to foot, is worse at night, loses flesh, trembles and is weak, but there is no heat while the abscess goes on. Abscesses form when the life force is so low that there is no tendency to repair; a slow and prolonged pus formation, no irritability in the abscess, no tendency to granulate, it opens and keeps on discharging and seems dead. Mercurius will warm it up, stop the sweat and favor granulation.

The superficial ulceration is inclined to spread and become phagedenic; it is not deep but grows larger. These open ulcers are especially seen in old syphilitics; lardaceous base; not much irritability, they are even numb, and if pus is discharged it is greenish-yellow; false granulations appear. Mercurius cor. is a greater remedy for the superficial, eating, phagedenic ulcer.

At times Mercurius takes on a gangrenous condition. This may be seen anywhere, but especially on the lips, cheeks and gums. Cancrum oris. Gangrenous chancre, foetid and black; a sphacelus forms in the chancre and the part sloughs off. All these conditions are aggravated by beat.

A patient with a typical Mercurius abscess rebels at times against the poultice, for it makes the trouble worse.

Trembling runs through the remedy, quivering all over. It has been used with benefit in paralysis agitans. Tremor of the hands so that he cannot lift anything or eat or write. Mercurius is a great remedy in children with epileptiform fits, twitching and disorderly motions. It will help children to grow out of these in coordinate angular movements of the hands and feet.

Jerking, twitching and trembling. The motions of the tongue are disorderly and the child cannot talk. Convulsions. Involuntary motions which can be momentarily controlled by volition. The restlessness is extreme.

The trembling, weakness, sweat, foetor, suppuration and ulceration, the aggravation at night and from heat and cold, give the earlier impressions of the remedy.

Mind: The mental symptoms, which still more deeply show the nature of the medicine, are rich.

A marked feature running all through is hastiness; a hurried, restless, anxious, impulsive disposition. Coming in spells, in cold cloudy weather, or damp weather, the mind will not work, it is slow and sluggish and he is forgetful. This is noticed in persons who are tending toward imbecility. He cannot answer questions right off, looks and thinks, and finally grasps it. Imbecility and softening of the brain are strong features.

He becomes foolish. Delirium in acute complaints. From his feelings he thinks he must be losing his reason. Desire to kill persons contradicting her. Impulse to kill or commit suicide; sudden anger with impulse to do violence. She has the impulse to commit suicide or violent things, and she is fearful that she will lose her reason and carry the impulses out. Impulsive insanity, then, is a feature, but imbecility is more common than insanity.

These impulses are leading features. The patient will not tell you about his impulses, but they relate to deep evils of the will, they fairly drive him to do something. Given a Mercurius patient, and he has impulses that he tries to control, no matter what, Mercurius will do something for him. During menses, great anxiety, great sadness. Anxious and restless as if some evil impended, worse at night, with sweat.

Al these symptoms are common in old syphilitics, broken down after mercurial treatment and sulphur baths, at the springs, with their bone pains, glandular troubles, sweating, catarrhs and ulcerations everywhere.

Head: Mercurius is suitable to rheumatic troubles of the scalp, and neuralgias and brain trouble when there are burning, stinging pains and pains affected by the weather, and when there are head troubles that have come on from suppressed discharges, such as suppressed otorrhoea after scarlet fever, or when there are head troubles in scarlet fever.

Think of Mercurius if you are called to a child with sweating of the head, dilated pupils, rolling of the head, and aggravation at night, who has had scarlet fever or a suppressed ear discharge. Mercurius cures lingering febrile conditions analogous to the typhoid state, but caused by suppressed ear discharge. I have cured cases that were due to packing the ear with borax, iodoform, etc., the patient having first a remittent and later a continued fever.

This would go on for five or six weeks and be relieved only when the discharge returned after a dose of Mercurius I remember a case of this type. It was called cerebro-spinal meningitis; the head was drawn back and twisted and held to one side.

It began as an otitis media with discharge which was suppressed. Two or three doctors were called and could do nothing. In the night I went to the bedside and got the history and symptoms of Mercurius Mercurius re-established the discharge in twenty-four hours, the torticolis passed away, the fever subsided and the child made an excellent recovery. I can recall many such cases.

There is a tension about the scalp as if it were bandaged. Nervous girls have headache over the nose and around the eyes as if tied with a tape, or as if a tight hat were pressing on the head. Pressing, tearing pain in the eyes. Burning pains in the temples ameliorated by sitting up and moving about, worse at night.

Periosteal pains worse in cold, damp weather, in rheumatic and gouty constitutions, with sensitiveness in the eyes and ears, sore throat and glandular swellings. Headaches in old mercurialized syphilitics; they become barometers; sensitive to the weather. The catarrhal headaches are very troublesome; headache in those suffering from chronic catarrh with thick discharge.

The thick discharge becomes watery and the pain in the forehead, face and ears very distressing. These headaches are violent. Chronic rheumatic headache from the suppression of a discharge from any part, or from foot sweat suppressed; alternation of foot sweat and headache. When the foot sweat is gone he has pain and stiffness in the joints.

Silicea has that also. Silicea and Mercurius do not follow each other well, when well selected; but if crude Mercury has been taken for a long time, Silica, like Nitric acid, is a good remedy to eliminate it when the symptoms agree.

With all headaches there is much heat in the head. Bursting headaches, fullness of the brain, and. constriction like a band. Vise-like pressure. He is sensitive to the air when he has headache. This is true of Mercurius all through. He is relieved in the room, but worse in a warm or cold room, and violently worse from a draught. He wants to be covered but is worse from heat. The hoop-like sensation is worse at night.

Mercurius is a wonderful remedy to ward off acute hydrocephalus after measles and scarlatina; the child rolls the head and moans, and the head sweats. It is closely related to Apis, which is also a great remedy after scarlet fever to ward off or cure hydrocephalus. Exostoses in old syphilitics.

Lacerating, tearing pains in the pericranium.

The whole external head is painful to touch. The scalp is tense and sore. Foetid, oily sweat on the head. Children have moist eczema, an excoriating, offensive eruption.

Eyes: Mercurius is a wonderful eye remedy, especially for “colds.”

Every cold settles in the eye in gouty and rheumatic patients. Catarrh of the eyes worse from looking into the fire or rather from sitting close to the fire; the radiated heat causes smarting. Eyelids forcibly drawn together as if long deprived of sleep. Fog or mist before the eye. Mercurius cures iritis in syphilitics.

The rule now-a-days is to use a mydriatic in iritis to prevent adhesions. I have treated many cases and I have no desire to dilate the pupil. I believe it is unnecessary. The homoeopathic remedy will stop the iritis speedily so that no adhesions will form, and if they have begun the remedy will remove them. Pains tearing and burning around the eyes, in temples, etc. Tension of the scalp as if it were a tight fitting cap, or tension as from a tape.

Ulceration and inflammation of the cornea. Vascular appearance of the cornea; inflammation, especially confined to the cornea, sometimes pustular, sometimes diffused. There is copious lachrymation with all eye symptoms, and the tears excoriate, causing a red line down the cheeks. Greenish yellow, or a green discharge. Lids spasmodically closed. Great photophobia. In inflammatory conditions of all the tissues of the eye lids, conjunctiva and deeper structures. Colds settle in the eye like Dulcamara

Sometimes you will see a little fine growth on the iris, growing across the pupil and attached by a pedicle. It is really a syphilitic condylomata. Mercurius cures it in a few days. Inflammation of the retina and choroid and of the optic nerve. All sorts of disturbed vision. It is useful in purulent ophthalmia, with swollen lids. Two kinds of constitution need it, the syphilitic and the rheumatic or gouty. He can not open the eyes; they are spasmodically closed, and there is great tumefaction.

Ears: Ear troubles. Horribly stinking greenish discharge. Green, thick, acrid pus from the ears like the discharge from the nose and other parts. Stinking otorrhoea. In otitis media with ruptured drum, Mercurius is a frequently required remedy. In Spring after a long, cold Winter, the cold, damp weather causes many cases of otorrhoea; it is almost endemic in large cities. The ear drum heals like any other place if the patient is put in good condition by the remedy. It not well treated a hole will be left. Ears inflamed, with cramp-like pains.

Merc has stinging pain like Apis. All routinists will give Apis for stinging pains, and yet it often is Mercurius that the patient needs. Purulent, offensive otorrhoea. Enlargement of the parotids and cervical glands with all inflammations of the ears. Parotids sore and enlarged, neck stiff, and head sometimes drawn back., Furuncles in external canal. Fungous excrescences and polypi.

The nose troubles would take a long time to describe.

Old syphilitics, with nasal bones affected, thick, greenish, yellow, acrid, stinking discharge. Nosebleed and bloody discharge from the nose. Coryza acrid, watery, with pressure through the bones of the face, worse from heat or cold, worse at night; sensitive to every draught; must get up and walk the floor. It has coryza with much sneezing with an opposite state, ameliorated lying, not at all during the night while lying in bed, only in the daytime while up and about.

The inhalation of hot air feels good to the nose, but the heat aggravates the body. Incessant sneezing. Bleeding, scurfy, red nostrils. Old catarrhal smell in the nose. Rawness, burning and swelling. Inside of the nostrils smarting and burning. Aching, tearing and pressure in the bones. Bones of the face painful, feel as if pressed outward, and be wants to press, but it is painful.

Mercurius is not deep enough to cure the whole constitution in psoric cases that are constantly taking cold. It cures the cold at once, but implants its own nature and the patient catches cold oftener. It should not be given often, not oftener than twice in a winter. Kali iod, is better for the same burning in the face, running coryza, and aggravation from heat and warmth of the bed, and it will cure the coryza in a night when apparently Mercurius is indicated. it is also an antidote to Mercurius Don’t give many doses of Mercurius in psoric cases; look for a deeper medicine.

Face: It has syphilitic eruptions and neuralgias of the face with or without catarrh. It is a great medicine for mumps; it is a routine remedy for this condition, which shows that it must be frequently indicated. It cures where the symptoms agree.

Scorbutic gums in those who have been salivated. Rigg’s disease; purulent discharge from around the teeth. Toothache; every tooth aches, especially in old gouty and mercurialized patients. Looseness of the teeth. Red, soft gums. Teeth black and dirty. Black teeth and early decay of the teeth in syphilitic children, like Staphysagria Copious salivation.

Gums painful to touch. Pulsation in the gums and roots. Gums have a blue red margin, or purple color, and are spongy and, bleed easily. Gums settle away, and the teeth feel long, and are elongated. Teeth sore and painful so that he cannot masticate. Abscesses of the gums and roots of the teeth.

The taste, tongue and mouth furnish important and distinctive symptoms. As the tongue is projected it is seen to be flabby, has a mealy surface, and is often pale. The imprint of the teeth is observed all round the edge of the tongue. The tongue is swollen as if spongy, and presses in around the teeth and thus gets the imprint of the teeth. Inflammation, ulceration and swelling of the tongue are strong features.

Old gouty constitutions have swollen tongue; the tongue will swell in the night and he will waken up with a mouthful. The taste is perverted, nothing tastes right. The tongue is coated yellow or white as chalk in a layer. Offensive mouth; putrid odors from the mouth especially the mercurial odor of the salivated patient. The tongue becomes clumsy; difficulty in talking; his speech is hardly intelligible. Awkwardness of the tongue as in persons intoxicated. Ulcers flat; eating ulcers; holes are eaten through the cheek. Eating away of the soft palate and the bone of the bard palate is often eaten away.

Purulent formation in the antrum of Highmore and fistulae from the mouth to the antrum. Fluoric acid and Silicea are more frequently indicated in these fistulae, especially if the bone is involved. Copious flow of foetid saliva. Sore mouth of children and nursing mothers; little aphthous patches with the mercurial odor and flabby, spongy appearance of the mucous membrane and tongue. General diffused inflammation of the mouth. The whole mucous membrane is sensitive and painful, burning, stinging and smarting; dryness with or without aphthous patches. Thrush of children. Scorbutic gums.

Throat: Sore throat. It is a remedy for inflammation of the throat, with spongy appearance, general diffused tumefaction swelling of the parotids, fullness and stiffness of the neck. Lardaceous base in ulcers; flat ulcers, spreading ulcers. Great dryness in the throat. The swelling impairs the motion of all the ‘ muscles that take part in swallowing.

Swallowing is attended with difficulty, pain and paralytic weakness, and the effort to swallow forces the bolus up into the nose, and liquids come out through the nostrils. The mercurial odor is a strong feature, but Mercurius often cures when that odor is not perceptible; it has such an affinity for the throat. it has chronic throat troubles and syphilitic ulcers and patches.

The inflammation extends upwards and downwards, red and pale patches, the red looking as if they would suppurate or ulcerate. The red spots become quite purple, but the more purple they are the more they are like Lachesis Tonsils dark red with stinging pains. Quinsy, after pus has formed. It is useful in diphtheria, and most cases are diffused, extensive patches or patches here and there, with spongy appearance, but no ulceration. Tumefaction; and the exudations are upon a tumefied base. Stiff neck. Erysipelatous inflammation of the throat. Dark, sloughing, eating, corroding ulcers in the throat.

Stomach: He has aversion to meat, wine, brandy, coffee, greasy food, butter.

Milk disagrees, and comes up sour. Sweets disagree. He is turned against his beer. The stomach is chronically disordered; eructations, regurgitations, heartburn, etc. Sour stomach; it is foul. He has nausea with vomiting and regurgitation of food. In such a stomach food is like a load. Bad taste; bitter mouth; be tastes the food; it comes up sour.

With all this the saliva constantly runs from the mouth. It does not improve as digestion goes on. The half-digested substances are vomited. It is like the state in persons who have destroyed their stomach from crossing liquors, beer, wine and whisky.

Liver: The liver furnishes much trouble.

Our forefathers for years took blue mass every Spring to regulate the liver. They physicked themselves with it and tapped their liver every Spring with it, and as a result they had worse livers than they would have had if the doctors had stayed at home. Constipation, bilious habits and disordered stomach.

The fullness in the region of the stomach, coming in spells, worse in cold, damp weather and warm, damp weather, worse in the Spring, jaundiced condition, disordered stomach, the aggravation at night and from the warmth of the bed, nightly feverishness and foul mouth, will give you the Mercurius state.

Stitches in the liver. Liver symptoms worse lying on the right side. Many complaints of Mercurius are aggravated by lying on the right side. The lung symptoms and cough, liver, stomach and bowel symptoms are all worse while lying on the right side.

James Tyler Kent
James Tyler Kent (1849–1916) was an American physician. Prior to his involvement with homeopathy, Kent had practiced conventional medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. He discovered and "converted" to homeopathy as a result of his wife's recovery from a serious ailment using homeopathic methods.
In 1881, Kent accepted a position as professor of anatomy at the Homeopathic College of Missouri, an institution with which he remained affiliated until 1888. In 1890, Kent moved to Pennsylvania to take a position as Dean of Professors at the Post-Graduate Homeopathic Medical School of Philadelphia. In 1897 Kent published his magnum opus, Repertory of the Homœopathic Materia Medica. Kent moved to Chicago in 1903, where he taught at Hahnemann Medical College.

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