J.C.Burnett presented cases of consumptiveness and incipient phthisis responded well with Bacillinum Tuberculinum in his book New cures of consumption….

My first edition was written in great haste, for the primary purpose of vindicating for Homoeopathy the right of priority in the treatment of phthisis by tuberculinum or the virus of the disease-process itself. My object has been fully attained, and the allopathic and lay press of England and, indeed, of Europe, now fully admit that whether the treatment of phthisis by its own virus be good or bad it belongs to Homoeopathy. As an allopathic colleague exclaimed the other day,”What a God-send Koch’s discovery has been for you homoeopaths; if it is true, he has proved your homoeopathic principle up to the hilt- but I do not believe it is true.” So now that it is admittedly the property of Homoeopathy, it is for us to prove to the world that it is true, and therefore a property worth owning. To this end my second edition.

In Germany the first edition has received due attention, and has been translated first by Dr. Goullon, of Weimar, and secondly by Dr. Renner, of London, which latter translation may be found in the “Zeitschrift des Berliner Vereines homoeopatischer Aerzte,” B. x., Hv., and Vj., October 20, 1891. Dr. Windelband gives it a very sensible introductory notice, but is evidently staggered by the dilutions I have made use of, and yet at the same time confessing that his use of Tuberculinum Kochii in the 6th to 10th homoeopathic decimal dilutions have given him very unsatisfactory results. Put aside prejudice, dear Dr. Windelband, and try the higher dilutions in not too frequent repetitions.


The saying “Take a hair of the dog that bit you,” shows that the idea that the remedy of a disease may be in the disease itself, is very old in theory. It is also by no means modern in practice, it may be found in traces almost everywhere and at all periods of history. It is nearly sixty years since Lux published his Isopathik der Contagien.

Weber published his work recommending Anthracin as a specific for anthrax at Leipsic in 1836 (Der Milzbrand und dessen sicherestes Heilmittel, von G.A. Weber), so this part of Pasteurism is really Weberism.

Psorinum, Autopsorinum; Vaccininum, Morbillinum, Ozeninum, Syphilinum, Hydrophobinum, Gonorrhinum, Loiminum, Hippozoinum (used by Gross in cancer), and some others are recorded as curative agents any time during the last half a century.

The very first medical idea I received in my life, now 40 years ago, was that the antidote to the effects of the bite of the adder was to be found in the adder itself; it was communicated to me by a wood-man one day when I was out bird’s- nesting. The second idea was shortly after this, and to the effect that warts are inoculable and can be produced by making a wart bleed and injecting of this blood under the skin of a healthy person, and to test the truth of this statement I at nine years of age, pricked a wart on a school-fellow’s hand and made it bleed, and of this blood I placed a minute quantity, with the aid of a penknife, under the skin of my left ring-finger and thus succeeded in producing a very elongated wart; and to this day the skin of the end of that finger has a warty aspect.

My third medical idea received about the same time was that warts might be cured by taking a piece of elder wood, cutting into the bark as many notches as one had warts and then casting the notched piece of elder wood (Sambucus) away and keeping the whole affair a profound secret. And this proceeding I adopted and am now divulging my secret! But the cure was not efficacious; my self-produced wart did not depart, and I forthwith had recourse to a very primitive surgical operation and got rid of it. Was Essig werden soll, muss fruh sauer werden! Who first used the word Tuberculinum I do not know; I believe it was Dr. Swan of New York; I had it from Dr. Skinner of London some sixteen or seventeen years ago; but the mode of obtaining it I felt to be altogether too nasty, though the two hundredth dilution of any thing whatsoever–even of original sin–is at least–clean! I believe Dr. Swan is under the impression that he was the first to use and recommended the use of phthisical sputum–his tuberculinum. But in this he is in error, the thing has been done time and again, and records of the practice exist. This, however, does not lessen Dr. Swan’s credit; though I presume Dr. Swan had his first ideas from Lux through Constantine Hering. Paracelsus is full of both Homoeopathy and isopathy as I long ago pointed out, and the fact that Hahnemann never quoted from Paracelsus is not to his credit, for he must have read him.

In regard to the use of sputal tuberculinum I think it can be proved that Homoeopathy and isopathy throve in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and clearly it was the Homoeopathy and isopathy of Paracelsus that account for not a little of the hatred of the schools against him. Sputal tuberculinum was used as a remedy in England in the seventeenth century. Lovers of old books are acquainted with a work by a very learned Englishman which was published 250 years ago, and in which he recommends the sputum of the consumptive for the cure of phthisis. In the “Zeitschrift des Berliner Vereines homoeopathischer Aerzte” (August and November, 1890) Dr. Katsch tells us about this work by Dr. Robert Fludd, Professor of Anatomy, entitled “Philosophia Moysiaca, Goudae, 1638,” and quotes from Fol. 149, col. 2, as follows: “Nonne communiter videmus, similem naturam alteratam putrefactione maximeesse exitialem suo simili? Sic vermes ejecti e corpore et sicci in pulverem redacti, interna administratione enecant lumbricos: sputum rejectum a pulmonico post debitam praeparationem curat phthisin: splen hominis praeparatum inimcum est spleni tumenti. Calculus vesicae aut renum per calcinationem curat ac dissolvit calculum. Scorpio contusus aut corpus ejus maceratum oleo curat vulnera scorpionum, et oleum viperae ut etiam trochisci carnis, morsum viperae, etc.”

So : Sputum ejectum a pulmonico curat phthisin was taught by an English professor two hundred and fifty years ago, and, what is even more remarkable, post delitam prae-parationem.

Twenty-five years ago I was one day standing outside the General Hospital in Vienna when an elderly gentleman passed by my companion and myself and entered under the archway: said my companion to me “Do you see that fellow?” Yes. “He has a stone in his bladder; he is a homoeopath and is going up to Professor Heller’s to get a urinary calculus to cure it with!”

In the Chronicle of the London Missionary Society, 1890, p. 87, there is a quotation from the North China Herald to the effect that the Chinese do not much mind mad-dogs as whenever any one is bitten by a mad dog it is customary to bind a few hairs of the dog that bit him in the lesion caused by the bite, so that they verily do “take a hair” of the dog that bit them! It is stated that in Dighia in Barambai it is customary to give to the bitten person a piece of the raw bleeding liver of the dog that bit him to eat and that this prevents hydrophobia. (Jaeger: “Ein Verkannter Wohlthaeter,” Stuttgart, 1891, p. 43.)

Last year Dr. Jaeger issued a pamphlet to the public in Germany recommending to the phthisical the therapeutic use of their own sputum in high potency homoeopathically prepared; this he terms the autoison or autotuberculinum.


Since the publication of the first edition letters have reached me from physicians, pharmaceutists, and others from almost all parts of the world asking me to supply them with some of the identical Bacillinum of which I have made use. I would, therefore, like to say that it may be obtained in England of Dr. Heath, 114 Ebury Street, London, S. W., and in America at any of the pharmacies of Messrs. Boericke & Tafel. In my earliest efforts I made use of tuberculinum from various sources, sometimes obtained from one place and sometimes from another, but I imagine that the various supplies were for the most part primarily from Dr. Swan of New York. They acted fairly well at times, and sometimes brilliantly, but with nothing like the precision and regularity of Bacillinum, and nothing like so incisively. The best way to get some really good Bacillinum (if any one wishes to prepare it) is to take a portion of the lung of an individual who had died of genuine bacillary tuberculosis pulmonum, choosing a good-sized portion from the parietes of a cavity and its circumjacent tissue as herein will be found everything pertaining to the tuberculous process-bacilli, debris, ptomaines and tubercles in all stages (such was practically the origin of the matrix of my Bacillinum) and prepared by trituration in spirit. In this way nothing is lost. There is, moreover, nothing disgusting in this, which can hardly be said of sputal tuberculinum–one instinctively shrinks from it. Finally this mode of obtaining our Bacillinum will result in our having a fairly constant preparation, and one which will meet all practical requirements in the present imperfect state of our knowledge. No doubt in the future we shall have elaborate and scientifically accurate investigations into the characters and qualities of the various bodies that our Bacillinum no doubt contains; but we who live now must use the means at our disposal, we cannot let our patients die because we have not now the hypothetically perfect pathologico-pharmaceutical preparations which it is permissible to believe our more favored aftercomers will possess; we must work with such tools as we have, and our Bacillinum is beyond any question the grandest anti-consumptive remedy the world now knows, and is likely to be for long years to come. At the best we can only serve our own generation directly. If we faithfully record our experiences our successors in practical medicine will be able, by following us, to do as well as we; it will be for them to do better, as I have no doubt they will.


Being more than satisfied with Bacillinum I have not needed to have recourse to Koch’s Tuberculinum, but in order to be sure that my high opinion of his preparation was warranted I have used Tuberculinum Kochii 6 in the form of tincture prepared from Koch’s matrix fluid obtained from his Berlin agent, but here I will only say that I have satisfied myself that his fluid is a good anti-tubercular remedy administered internally as a homoeopathic dilution. It seemed to me, however, nothing like so good as Bacillinum in its therapeutic effects, and also not equal to the Tuberculinum Swanii; but as I have had a good deal of experience with Swan’s remedy and much more with Bacillinum, and very little with Koch’s, I would not prejudice the question, as in the meantime I must consider myself relatively unqualified to give an opinion on Koch’s remedy further than to say that it certainly has power over tubercular processes.

All the cases that within my own and hearsay knowledge have been treated with Koch’s remedy by hypodermic injection have died. One case only that had been to Germany and been under a regular course of Kochian injections, has come under my personal care, and in this case the effects of the treatment were very curious. The young man’s pulmonary phthisis was, seemingly, cured on the right side, i.e. the right lung appeared in all respects normal, but the left lung was almost solid. And I think the history of the case in question affords an explanation of the peculiar behaviour of the remedy. The point is important in its practical bearing and I will therefore explain. The young man was phthisically-disposed, was suffering, in fact, from what I have ventured to call consumptiveness. It was therefore determined to give him an outdoor occupation in a warm climate, and he was accordingly sent to Florida, where he entered upon the new life, but unfortunately, he got the ague of that country and after being greatly depressed thereby he was sent back home to England in declared consumption, and hereupon his fond father took him to Germany for the Koch cure, and this failing he brought him to me on his homeward journey, when I found the condition I have just described. His spleen was very much enlarged so that what with a solid left lung and this engorged spleen he was, as before stated, peculiarly left-sidedly diseased. I imagine, therefore, that Koch’s treatment might have succeeded if the spleen and chronic malarialism had been first cured; this I set about doing and for a few weeks patient picked up wonderfully and then I gave Bacillinum but to no purpose; the phthisis had broken out in full blaze and the young man died. Here I again observed that Bacillinum has no influence over acute phthisis in full blaze. Had the young man been treated by Bacillinum when he went to Florida I think he would have been cured by it and my next two cases will give my reason for this opinion.


A young man of about twenty years of age, brother of the foregoing, was ailing in just the same way as his deceased brother did before starting for Florida. He was tall, big-made and from his bulk ought to have been very strong, but this he was not but on the contrary very weak indeed, and he had a number of indurated glands in the neck and that was how his brother began.

Three months of the Bacillinum has seemingly quite cured him and his cervical glands can no longer be felt and patient feels quite well and is now employed as an electrical engineer here in London.


A younger brother of the two foregoing, about 12 years of age, was in a similar state and in addition to indurated glands his skin had a very dusky brown aspect, he tanned unduly in the sun.

He also has quite recovered under the Bacillinum and his father not long since reported of him from the country as quite well and hearty. From these two cases I think I am warranted in saying that the eldest deceased brother might have been saved had he had the treatment by Bacillinum at the time of his being sent to Florida.

To cure consumption, therefore, by Bacillinum we must begin early with the treatment, and we must ever keep before our minds that each case must be individualized to the extent of not expecting the bacillinic specific to cure non-tubercular manifestations: for instance Bacillinum will not cure chronic malarialism as it will also not cure vaccinosis or the hydrogenoid constitution of Grauvogl, and so forth. And as very many cases of consumptiveness and of consumption are not merely that, the extra-tubercular part of each case must be cured: each case on its own merits: and hence we see that neither Koch’s nor any other fluid; neither Bacillinum nor any other remedy will, in itself, suffice, in the majority of cases, for the simple reason that each will act only in its own sphere, i.e. that to which it is homoeopathic it will cure and naught else.

Of course, to a man who really understands Homoeopathy this is self-evident; all the same we are apt to lose sight of it more particularly in the presence of a series of successes, so that unless we are mindful of this, our very successes will in the end land us on the rocks. In fine: remedies cure homoeopathically and not otherwise, and hence a specific is only so far a specific as it is homoeopathic to any given case in its totality–for where there are other pathologic elements in the case the specific does not cure these other pathological elements; it is not homoeopathic thereto, and it will, therefore, not cure them, it will only cure that part of the case to which it is homoeopathic; the other part, or parts, of the case must be treated by their similars.

I dwell upon this, and reiterate, because of its essential importance to correct views and successful practice. Thus I would refer to a case, mentioned at the beginning, of syphilis and tuberculosis, manifested in a urinary fistula; in this case Mercurius and Bacillinum in alternation cured the case while neither alone would do so. This kind of alternation is, I think, really scientific and sound practice. And in the case of the young man who went to Florida I think his chronic malarialism baulked the action of the Tuberculinum Kochii; and his father told me that the German physician who made the injections was greatly puzzled by the curious action of the remedy injected and said he had never seen the like before and could not understand it. He took no account of the old ague; he merely treated tuberculosis with tuberculine; but tuberculine is not homoeopathic to ague. So we must always analyse our cases aetiologically and pathologically as well as individualize them synthetically.

The neglect of aetiologic diagnostics is indeed a “fatal error.” Heresay? Tant pis.


Young Lord X. just verging on his teens came under my professional care in the winter of the year 1890 for a group of symptoms that I have already ventured to lump together under the designation of consumptiveness; he was pale, spare, neck long and thin, and in the neck his glands visible from their very considerable enlargement and induration, and his temper most miserable. He had Thuja occid. 30, Phytolacca dec. 3 and Psorinum 30 all with some benefit, but the really radical improvement set in after the use of Bacillinum C., under which I kept him for about three months. Lord X. was discharged cured in nine months in quite a different physical state. No glands in his body can be either seen or felt and his neck must be fully half an inch thicker. The experienced know well what I mean when I speak of the long thin neck of the consumptive and consumptively-disposed, and if they will treat these thin-necked ones as I here relate they will slowly get a very weighty change. In case it should be lost sight of I would again expressly state that one dose of, say, six globules of Bacillinum (30, C. CC., or M.) every eight or ten days is enough, because we want not the remedy itself but its action, and the action when set up lasts well for a week. And it seems to me that when the Bacillinum is too frequently repeated the action of one dose trips up, so to speak, the action of the previously-given dose, and that therefore we get more permanent drug-action from fewer doses than from the same remedy frequently repeated.

I would also like to repeat what I have before adverted to, viz.: Bacillinum will not cure vaccinosis, for instance, it works in its own sphere only. Also that the progress is much hastened when tissue salts are given after the consumptive state has been cured–thus after the Bacillinum had cured Lord X.’s consumptiveness and he was well but weedy, Calcarea phos. 3x followed with very good effect. In case any one should think that the Calcarea phos. by itself would have effected the cure let such a one take a dozen cases of this consumptiveness and treat half of them with, and half without the Bacillinum and he will agree with me that it is the Bacillinum which cures the disease. The test cases chosen should be well pronounced because in the very slight cases Calcarea phos. will alone often suffice at least for a time.


On the 29th October, 1890, a country gentleman brought his twenty-four year old daughter to me. Himself one of those experienced semi-professional lay homoeopaths, he had treated his daughter with almost all our usual remedies but their effects did not last. Said he: “The worst feature is that she gets fits of rapid respiration, 45 to the minute, and she has lost flesh so.” Objectively the circumscribed redness of her cheeks at once struck me, and the breasts were very soft and flabby, in fact shrivelled and this is a weighty symptom in an English girl of twenty-four years of age. Patient complained of feeling very tired in the evenings; pains through the right half side of the neck feelable and even visible; the right mamma stringy and tender.

The bacillic virus in the one-hundredth potency produced some improvement, but not very striking. The rush of blood during an attack of hurried breathing reminded me of the action of Urtica and hence the prescription of Urtica urens 0 five drops in a tablespoonful of water night and morning. This seemingly cured the patient and she was verbally reported well on January 5, 1891. But the symptoms soon returned; the pains through the right lung became severe and the respiration very rapid. This acceleration of the respiration being very pronouncedly worse in the evening I ordered Psorinum 30.

March 6, 1891.-The breathing was normal after the Psorinum, but it has again returned seemingly from a slight cold. She is less tired in the evening, very depressed, lachrymose; the glands in the neck only very slightly improved. Bacillinum C.C.

April 29.-The remedy has acted promptly and decisively; the swelling of the glands has gone; the respiration is normal as is also the appearance of patient’s cheeks. To continue with the Bacillinum C.C. in the same manner, viz., six globules dry on the tongue at bedtime every eighth day, Placeboes being administered on the intervening days.

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.