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.

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.