J.C Burnett did several experiments to know the therapeutic use of the viruses of certain diseases against the diseases themselves. In this paper he did same experiments with the virus of consumptive process , the bacillic virus, and found that it cures promptly the incipient stages of tubercular consumption in all parts– brain, lungs, skin, joints, etc….

It would be over fifteen years since I first occupied myself with the question of the therapeutical use of the viruses of certain diseases against the diseases themselves. And there are but few viruses that are known to science that I have not used as therapeutic agents, notably in hopelessly bad cases of consumption, cancer and the like. I will not enter into the results here more than to say that they are very different, and differing and at times contradictory; some of the cures with them have been very remarkable, and will some day see the light. In this paper I will confine myself to the virus of Consumption.

I had used this here and there tentatively and timidly, but could not make up my mind to test it fairly; I say fairly, because a string of desperate cases do not constitute a fair test of any remedy or principle; that is how people commonly try homoeopathy. I think it must be six years since, that I read the record of a case of consumption cured by the bacillic virus in high dilution; if my memory serves me rightly, it was by Professor Clapp. I think I called attention to it in reviewing a work while I was still editing the “Homoeopathic World.” It made a lasting impression on my mind. The late Dr. Ameke’s (of Berlin) startling paper on the use of certain proximate principles (a sketchy translation whereof I published later on in the “Monthly Homoeopathic Review”) greatly interested me. I tried a few, and at times was much struck with my results, several of which were beyond anything I had ever witnessed before. I may instance the truly wonderful curative effects of Cholestearin in cancer of the liver, and which I have noted for publication.

But consumption is the everpresent enemy, and I presently formulated to my mind the proposition that there must be some means of finding out whether the virus of consumption could cure consumption or not. I determined to try some of it upon myself,-I not being in consumption. I took it in varying doses at various times, the 30, C., C.C., in the form of pilules.


One effect was constant, viz., a severe headache, worse the day after taking the poison, and lasting on till the third day. This headache I felt every time I took it; I fancied the headache from the thirtieth was much worse than from the hundredth. The kind of headache I could only describe as far in, and compelling quiet fixedness. The headaches recurred from time to time for many weeks.

The next constant effect upon me was expectoration of non- viscid, very easily detached, thick phlegm from the air- passages, followed after a day or two by a very clear ring of the voice. The third effect was not quite constant, viz., windy dyspepsia and pinching pains under the ribs of the right side in the mammary line. And, finally, disturbed sleep-distressful. There was a little cough on three occasions, but only very slight, and only just enough to raise the phlegm, which came so easily that one might almost say it came of itself. This done, I began to use the virus with, not more confidence exactly, but with more familiarity. One of my very early cases of bad phthisis, which the virus quite cured, was the daughter of an aged army surgeon then resident in South Wales. The old gentleman has since gone home, but Miss H. is now a fine, stout woman, whom I really failed to recognize when she came to thank me for her cure. She must have gained thirty pounds in weight. But as I cannot lay my hands on the notes of the case I will count it for nothing.

In my little treatise, entitled “Fistula and its Radical Cure by Medicines,” may be found a case of urinary fistula in which the bacillic virus saved the patient’s life, and cured his disease with the help of other remedies, but I will not count that case either as anything, because the virus was not always given by itself. In the cases which I shall now cite the virus was almost invariably given absolutely by itself. When I say that the virus was given by itself, I do not necessarily mean that the case was treated with that as the only remedy used before or after, but that at the time it was so given it was so given alone, and its action carefully noted.

The idea that the remedy of a disease may lie in itself reaches back to the youth of the world. Moses’s lifting up the serpent in the wilderness is a symbolic similitude; “take a hair of the dog that bit you” almost formulates a doctrine. The homoeopathic conception can hardly be separated from the idea of curing the disease by a bit of itself, for the simple reason, that if you alter somewhat two things that are identically the same you reduce identity to similarity.

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.