It is nearly four years since, the exact date being February 25, 1887, that a married lady, then 38 years of age, mother of seven children, came to me for a bad cough, that troubled her all the more as she was then enciente. This cough was worse on going to bed and on getting up. She had been four times vaccinated, and three out of the four were unsuccessful. She had suffered from leucorrhoea a good deal, and from coughs. As she had three sisters die successively of consumption (at 28, 32, and 40 years of age respectively), her husband was much concerned about her future. Considering her family history, and the fact that the apex of the right lung was consolidated, though I did my best to cheer him up, I had sad misgivings myself.

She had from me in succession, and with very striking benefit, the following remedies in the order named, Thuja 30, Pulsatilla 3x, Bellis perennis 3x, Sepia 12, Hepar sul. 6, Thuja 30 (a second time), and Nux vomica 3x. We found patient after these remedies, at the end of the month of October, 1888, in a pretty bad way; there was the same dullness on percussion at the apex of the right lung, the same little hacking cough continuing all day, and exacerbating at bedtime and on rising, and patient was very thin. I then determined to try the phthisic virus. After being under it for a month she did not trouble to report herself till March 15, 1889, and then she only came because she had a cold, and therewith some cough again. She had been so well all the winter that she considered herself quite cured. Here I repeated the October prescription of the virus, and I discharged the patient cured in one month and two days therefrom, viz., on April 17, 1889. She has never looked back, and is now a stout woman.


At the beginning of July, 1887, a young woman of about 30 was brought to me, far gone in consumption. She was very, very emaciated, the menses had ceased. Her two sisters had died in the same way, and all hope for her recovery had long since been abandoned; but hearing, or rather having observed, a young lady in the same neighbourhood get well of consumption under my care, her mother accompanied her to me. Having used Thuja (the poor thing had been vaccinated four times, the last three unsuccessfully), Calcarea, Hypophos., and Cardius Mariae, with decidedly good results, I felt encouraged, and thought it almost possible yet to save her if we could only get rid of the fever. With the virus I succeeded in doing this after a few months; patient lost her cough to a very large extent, the expectoration came down to a mere nothing, and she put on a few pounds in flesh, and lived for nearly two years free from consumption, or rather, free from the ordinary symptoms of that disease, such as fever and cough. Her mother said to me one day,–” You seem to have cured the consumption, and yet my daughter gets weaker and weaker every day, and the dropsy goes on getting worse and worse.” And so it was; and of the dropsy she died, nearly two years after the consumptive process seemed cured.

This case in unique in my experience. The phthisic virus cured the phthisis so far as I could tell. I used a good many remedies then to meet the varying symptoms with, at times, very good effects, but the effects did not last. To give some idea how persistently I treated her, I will name the remedies she had from me,–Fragaria vesca 0, Chelidonium majus 0, Ceanothus Americanus 1, Scilla maritima 0, Iodium 3x, Aconite, Baptisia 3x, Pyrogenium 5, Calcarea phos., Rubia tinctoria, Ferrum acet., Cholestearin, Arsenicum, Phosphorus, Iodoform 3x, Pancreatin, and Spirit. glandium quercus. Still in the end I failed, and she died of hepatic dropsy, due to hopelessly far advanced granular atrophy. When I say the phthisis was cured, I, of course, do not mean that to be taken literally; on the contrary, I mean that though the fever, etc., were quite extinguished, and patient’s condition was for some months relatively comfortable, still, the frequently recurring haemorrhages showed that occult processes were still going on within the closed circle of the economy.

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.