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

The action of Silicea is slow. In the proving, it takes a long time to develop the symptoms. It is, therefore, suited to complaints that develop slowly.

Generalities: At certain times of the year and under certain circumstances peculiar symptoms will come out.

They may stay with the prover the balance of his life. Such are the long-acting, deep-acting remedies; they are capable of going so thoroughly into the vital order that hereditary disturbances are routed out. The Silicea patient is chilly; his symptoms are developed in cold, damp weather, though often better in cold, dry weather; symptoms come out after a bath.

Mind: The mental state is peculiar.

The patient lacks stamina. What Silicea is to the stalk of, grain in the field, it is to the human mind. Take the glossy, stiff, outer covering of a stalk of grain and examine it, and you will realize with what firmness it supports the head of grain until it ripens; there is a gradual deposit of Silicea in it to give it stamina. So it is with the mind; when the mind needs Silicea it is in a state of weakness, embarrassment, dread, a state of yielding.

If you should listen to the description of this state by a prominent clergyman, or a lawyer, or a man in the habit of appearing in public with self-confidence, firmness and fullness of thought and speech, he would tell you he had come to a state where he dreads to appear in public, he feels his own selfhood so that he cannot enter into his subject, he dreads it, he fears that he will fail, his mind will not work, he is worn out by prolonged efforts at mental work.

But he will say that when he forces himself into the harness he can go on with ease, his usual self-command returns to him and he does well; he does his work with promptness, fullness, and accuracy. The peculiar Silicea state is found in the dread of failure.

If he has any unusual mental task to perform, he fears he will make a failure of it, yet he does it well. This is the early state; of course there comes a time when he cannot perform the work with accuracy and still he may need Silicea.

Another case is illustrated in a young man who has studied for years and is now nearing the end of his course. He dreads the final examinations but he goes through them all right, then a fatigue comes upon him and for years he is unable to enter his profession. He has this dread of undertaking anything.

Irritable and irascible when aroused; when let alone he is timid, retiring, wants to shirk everything; mild, gentle tearful women. The Silicea child is cross and cries when spoken to. It is the natural complement and chronic of Pulsatilla because of its great similarity; it is a deeper, more profound remedy.

Religious melancholy, sadness, irritability, despondency. Lycopodium is stupid, the dread of undertaking any thing in from a general knowledge of inability. In Silicea it is imaginary.

Silicea is not suitable for the irritability and nervous exhaustion coming on from business brain-fag, but more for such brain-fag as belongs to professional men, students, lawyers, clergymen. A lawyer says,

“I have never been myself since that John Doe case”

He went through a prolonged effort and sleepless nights followed. Silicea restores the brain.

Skin: The remedy produces inflammation about any fibrinous nidus and suppurates it out.

It acts upon constitutions that are sluggish and inflames fibrous deposits about old imbedded missiles. Slow nutrition; if the individual receives a slight injury it suppurates and the cicatrix indurates, is hard and nodular.

Along the track of a knife-cut, is a fibrinous deposit due to inferior and slow nutrition. An old ulcer heals with induration. Where cicatricial tissue forms, it is indurated, shiny, glassy. If Silicea is given in such cases, it will throw out abscesses in these cicatrices and open them out. It will open up old ulcers and heal them with a normal cicatrix.

In ordinary people if a splinter lodges in the tissues, a suppuration will slough it out, but in these feeble constitutions a plastic deposit takes place about it and it remains. This is not the highest state of order. Suppuration takes place about a bullet and pushes it out, that is the best state that can be asked for.

Silicea, therefore, hastens the formation of abscesses and boils. It suppurates out old wens and indurated tumors. It has cured recurrent fibroids and old indurated tumors.

It there is a deposit of tubercle in the lungs, Silicea establishes ail inflammation and throws it out, and if the whole lung be tubercular a general suppurative pneumonia will be the result; hence, the danger of giving such remedies and the danger of repeating them in advanced stage of phthisis. Not only Silicea but many other remedies have the power to suppurate out deposits, the result of poor nutrition.

Warty growths on the skin, moist eruptions, pimples, pustules, abscesses. Suppurating cavities. It establishes healing in old fistulous openings with indurated margins. Catarrhal suppurations; copious muco-purulent discharge from the eyes, nose, ears, chest, vagina, etc.

Suppression: Complaints from the suppression of discharges; suppressed sweat.

These suppressions produce a state in the economy that threatens what little order is left. An offensive foot-sweat ceases after getting the feet wet, and is followed by chills and violent complaints.

Silicea cures long lasting foot-sweat when the symptoms agree, or complaints that have lasted since the suppression of a foot-sweat. Thick, yellow catarrhal discharges.

They say,

“I have had this discharge so many years,” and when you investigate, you find that there has been some, shock, a cold, that suppressed the foot-sweat and it has not appeared since. Silicea will bring back that sweat, cause the catarrhal discharge to cease and in time cure the foot-sweat.

Catarrhal discharges from the nose and other places, indurations, tumors, chronic gastritis, brain- fag, all dating back to the suppression of foot-sweat or otorrheoa, or to the healing up of a fistula.

Head: Chronic sick-headache attended with nausea and even vomiting.

Headache commencing in the back of the head in the morning or towards noon going to the forehead, worse towards night, from noise; better from heat; supra-orbital neuralgias; better from pressure and heat and attended with profuse head-sweat.

Cold, clammy, offensive sweat on the forehead. When a Silicea patient exerts himself he sweats on the face, the lower part of the body is dry or nearly so. It requires great exertion to produce general sweat. A striking feature is the sweat about the upper parts of the body and the head.

Headache once a week (Gets., Lycopodium, Sanguinaria, Sulphur). Headache up through the back of the neck and especially to the right side of the head. Resembles Sanguinaria Weight in the occiput as if it would be drawn back, with a rush of blood to the head, like Carbo veg. and Sepia.

Headache worse from cold air. Psorinum wears a fur cap even in summer. Magn. mur. is better from wrapping up the head but still wants to be in the air. Rhus sweats on the body; the head is dry. Pulsatilla sweats on one side of the head.

Vertigo to fainting; with nausea; vertigo creeping up the spine into the head.

It is especially necessary for the Silicea patient to avoid the cold air, must have the head well wrapped up, especially the part that is painful, and this part perspires copiously.

“Headache worse from mental exertion, excessive study, noise, motion, even jarring from foot-steps, light, stooping, pressing at stool, talking, cold air, touch.”

Skin again: Moist, scaly eruption on the scalp, eczema capitis.

Silicea is suited to the phagedenic ulcers of syphilis, eating and spreading ulcers on the scalp. Inflammatory conditions between the scalp and skull, tumors forming, filled with a grumous fluid; as in infancy, it will remove blood tumors.

Cephalatoma neonatorum, enchondroses. Silicea is especially of use in the treatment of affections of the cartilages, growths about the joints, about the fingers and toes.

The complaints of Silicea are associated with hardened glands, but especially about the neck, the cervical, salivary, and particularly the parotid glands; large, hard parotids. The parotids enlarge from every cold and get hard. (Baryta carb., Calcarea, Sulph,)

Pulsatilla suits the acute inflammation of the parotid, but Silicea is indicated in the more chronic forms due to psora, “scrofulous glands.”

Eyes: Many inflammations and conditions of the eyes.

Ulcers on the cornea; pustules on the lids, falling of the lashes, suppuration of the margins of the lids with burning, stinging and redness. Intense photophobia in all eye complaints.

Scrofulous cases with sore eyes, the most inveterate and chronic cases; suppuration; thin, watery, copious discharge, or bloody, thick and yellow like pus, with ulceration.

Syphilitic iritis.

“Perforating or sloughing ulcer on the cornea.

Spots and cicatrices on the cornea.

Fungus haematodes.

Eyes inflamed from traumatic causes; foreign particles have lodged in the eyes; abscesses; boils around the eyes and lids tarsal tumors, styes.

Affections appearing in the angles of the eyes fistula lachrymalis; stricture of lachrymal duct.”

This is a general survey of the eye affections in Silicea.

Ear: There is no deeper remedy than Silicea in eradicating the tubercular tendency, when the symptoms agree; most tubercular cases are worse from cold, wet weather; better in cold dry weather.

The most inveterate cases of catarrh of the ear; old offensive, thick, yellow otorrheoa; following scarlet fever; all sorts of abnormalities in hearing, even to deafness.

Roaring in the cars associated with many diseases and hardness of hearing; hissing, roaring like steam; like a train of cars, many times from mechanical cause and other times from a condition of the nerves.

It is commonly the beginning of a dry catarrh of the middle ear; the remedy is especially useful when, in catarrh of the middle ear and Eustachian tube, the deafness goes on for some time and the hearing returns with a snap, due to the escape of the accumulation of fluids somewhere and described by the patient as a snap or report.

Sudden reports in the ear like a cannon, distant noises with return of hearing.

“Otorrheoa, offensive, watery, curdy, with soreness of inner nose and crusts on upper lip, after abuse of Mercury, with caries.”

Caries of bone in any part of the body, but especially of the small bones of the car, nose and mastoid process,

“Scabs behind the cars.”

Rupture of the drum of the ear.

Catarrhal conditions of the internal car and Eustachian tube, with

“feeling of sudden stoppage in the ear, better by gaping or swallowing.”

Especially with ear troubles, there will be associated indurated parotid glands.

Nose: Accumulation of hard crusts in the nose, loss of taste and smell epistaxis, thickening of the mucous membrane; most vicious catarrh with discharge of bone from the nose.

Horrible, foetid ozaena, old syphilitic cases where the nasal bones are destroyed and the nose becomes a flabby bag, is sunken in or ulcerated away, leaving an opening. Silicea may cure and an artificial nose be made afterwards.

Hepar competes with Silicea in syphilitic nasal catarrhs where the parts are phagedenic; Hepar, Mercurius cor. and Arsenicum, are the principal antisyphilitics when there is phagedenic ulceration of the nose. Babies suffer from bloody nasal discharge. This is often Calcarea sul.

Face: The aspect of the Silicea face is silky, anemic, waxy, tired. Pustular and vesicular eruptions spread over the face, the wings of the nose crack, the lips easily fissure; crusts form on the margin between the mucous membrane and the skin; eruptions and crusts, indurations form under the crusts, they peel off and there is no healing.

These indurations are the same kind of inferior tissue that is found under lupus and epithelioma, a low tissue formation, a low state of eczema that favors infiltration. The small blood-vessels that lead to them become thicker and thicker until they become gristly. There is a tendency to make the soft tissues harder and the hard tissues harder.

In childhood the bones become softer and even necrose or there is an inflammation of the periosteum and a consequent necrosis. Caries of the shaft of the long bones, the head of the bones and the cartilaginous portions; abscesses in cartilages, enchondromata.

Bones break down and form fistulous openings. Necrosis of the jaw, the joints, the hip-joint, the tibia, necrosis of the spine, of the vertebrae, so that there is curvature of the spine, lateral especially. The homoeopathic physicians may treat these affections of the bones with the help of accessory contrivances or supports.

The Silicea patient has rough lips, they crack and peel; rhagades. Scaly appearances at the margins of the lips, fissures in the corners of the mouth that indurate. There is often a line of fissure about the margin of the crust. Little crusts like epithelioma form upon the wings of the nose and when picked off leave a raw surface with no tendency to heal.

Crusty formations upon the ears.

The teeth break down, lose their enamel surface; the dentine is made up largely of the Siliceate of lime and the surface of the tooth becomes rough, loses its shiny appearance and caries sets in.

This often takes place at the margin of the gum; ulcers form on the tip of the fangs. The teeth suffer when it is cold or damp; toothache in wet weather, and the teeth are yellow, decay rapidly, and the gums settle away from. them.

All the neuralgias and toothaches are better in a warm room and from hot drinks. Abscesses about the gums and face, better by warmth. Severe pain in the jaw, rending, tearing at night, better from heat; these pains often end in abscesses about the teeth. Sometimes relieved by pressure unless the part is extremely sore from inflammation.

The tongue takes on inflammation of gouty character; inflammation with threatening abscess, it fills the whole mouth; rending, tearing pains, worse at night and better from heat.

Throat: In the throat and neck we have inflammation and swelling of all the glands, external and internal, all at once or singly.

Quinsy with great pain in the tonsils, one or both; threatening suppuration. Inflammation of the parotid, sublingual and much less frequently the submaxillary and cervical glands; painful, tumid and hard, with pain in the neck, shoulders and head, even in acute inflammations. But then we have the opposite state of affairs. In an old chronic case broken down with suffering the symptoms are worse after a bath, he wants warmth, dread the cold, is always shivering.

But when in the neck there is an acute inflarnmation the very opposite is present; he suffers from flushes of heat, an irregular, flushing fever, cold extremities while the upper part of the body is hot, sweat about the head and neck, sensation of heat and suffocation in a warm room. This will be present in quinsy and abscesses of the glands of the neck, if acute. Silicea here shows its relation to Pulsatilla The latter in its chronic manifestations is overburdened with heat, but in an acute trouble is chilly. They are reversed as to their acute and chronic states. Puls, in the beginning is chilly and sweating.

Silicea is full of throat symptoms but is seldom indicated in acute forms because its pace is too low; it comes on after there has been a series of colds, such colds as are ameliorated a number of times by Belladonna or other acute remedies but still continue to settle in the tonsils and in the glands of the neck.

Silicea breaks up the tendency. There is a catarrhal state in the throat that is roused up by every cold into an increased flux, with hoarseness, settling back into the chronic state again; chronic catarrhs of the pharynx.

It competes with Natrum mur. in inveterate sore throat.

Stomach: Silicea disturbs the stomach, causes hiccough, nausea and vomiting disturbs the liver.

All these symptoms are connected and are hard to separate. Decided aversion to warm food, desires cold things, wants his tea moderately cold, he is willing to have his food cold, dislikes warm food. Sometimes there is a decided aversion to meat, but if he does take it, he prefers cold, sliced meat. He likes ice cream, ice water, and feels comfortable when it is in the stomach; it is sometimes impossible for him to drink hot fluids, they cause sweat about the face and head and cause hot flushes. (Barayta carbonica)

Silicea is disturbed by the extremes of heat and cold, easily affected, in changes even of a few degrees; he has complaints from being overheated; he gets overheated easily, sweats easily from a slight change in the temperature and comes down with a cold.

Case: A physician waiting on an obstetrical case, had a little difficulty in the last stage and he became overheated; putting on his overcoat and hat he went out on the porch to cool off and was taken down with asthma, violent cough, copious expectoration with gagging and vomiting which lasted him for months.

The acute remedies he had taken only palliated, but a dose of Silicea cured him almost as quickly as he was taken down; he could not tolerate a warm room; the acute complaints of Silicea are often worse in a warm room and from heat.

Silicea has an aggravation from milk. Many times the infant is unable to take any kind of milk and, hence, the physician is driven to prescribe all the foods in the market if he does not know the right remedy. Natrum carb. and Silicea are both useful when the mother’s milk causes diarrhoea and vomiting.

The routinist is likely to give such medicines as Aethusa, entirely forgetting Silicea. The latter, as well as Natrum carb., has sour vomiting and sour curds in the stool.

“Aversion the mother’s milk and vomiting.”

“Diarrhea from milk.”

Put these two together.

Although the patient has an aversion to hot things and desires to eat cold things, yet in chest complaints cold water, ice cream and cold, things in general, increase the cough to gagging, and then the retching is dreadful; violent, retching, gagging cough. Retching from an endeavor to expectorate is usually controlled by Carbo veg., but Silicea his it.

“Water brash, with chilliness, with brown tongue; nausea and vomiting of what is drunk, worse in the morning; water tastes bad; vomits after drinking.”

The Silicea stomach is weak, in a do-nothing state; old dyspeptics that have been vomiting a long time, especially those who have an, aversion to hot food, who cannot take milk, are averse to meat, where, the mental and bodily symptoms agree.

Silicea was one of the greatest remedies for the chronic diarrhoea in the soldiers of our Civil War. It cured a fair percentage of those sick from sleeping on damp ground, eating all sorts of food until the stomach and bowels were prostrated, from long marches, from going into the South from the cold North, from becoming overheated. It is like Sulphur in these symptoms.

Silicea has some pain in the stomach and bowels, but there is more soreness to pressure; colic and flatulence and tenderness to pressure; a chronic soreness in the stomach and if it goes on too long, a tubercular state comes on.

Abdomen: Abdominal pain relieved by heat; distension of the bowels with flatulence and rumbling.

Enlarged abdomen in children and adults (Barayta carbonica); tightness across the abdomen. Disturbed by the pressure of the clothes and worse after eating; the decided feature is the amelioration from heat.

Constipation from inability of the rectum to expel the faeces. It is seldom that the stool lies in the rectum without urging like Alumina; there is much urging to stool but inability to expel. The stool may be in small balls or large and soft or large and hard, but there is much straining and sweating about the head and great suffering while straining; the rectum becomes impacted, he strains until he is weak and exhausted, the stool slips back; and he gives up in despair.

The only way he can relieve himself is by some mechanical method. Great straining at stool belongs to many remedies, but especially to Alumina, Alumen, China, Natr. mur., Nux vomica, Nux mosch., and Silicea.

Silicea has removed tape-worm, when the symptoms agree(Calcarea, Sulf.)

It has also cured fistulous openings. Patients who have a tendency to phthisis are subject to abscesses about the region of the rectum, that break inside or out and form complete or incomplete openings.

These seem to take the place of what would otherwise come, and if healed by operation or other external means, the tendency is to end in chest trouble, either in form of a fixed catarrh or tubercular infiltrations.

Silicea is one of the remedies that turns the constitution into order and in one to five years the opening ceases to be necessary and it will heal. Surgeons heal it up at once, and for a time the patient is comfortable, but in a few years he breaks down.

Causticum, Berberis, Calcarea c., Calcarea phos., Graphites, Sulphur, etc., are suitable; in such cases. Silicea here follows Thuja well.

Urinary: Suppurative conditions in the urinary tract, catarrh of the mucous membranes; old inveterate catarrh of the bladder with pus and blood in the urine; copious, stringy, deposits in the urine.

Prostatitis, suppuration, thick, fetid pus from the urethra. Gonorrhea, pus, or pus like discharge from the urethra, slight, shreddy discharge, bloody, purulent discharge. It is sometimes thick, or is curdy; this is from any mucous membrane.

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.