Armpit Glands

I WILL now relate several cases of abscess in the armpit : the first, consequent on an injury to the finger; the others arising from constitutional causes. In each cases a cure was effected by constitutional remedies, and without operative interference….


I WILL now relate several cases of abscess in the armpit : the first, consequent on an injury to the finger; the others arising from constitutional causes. The three latter were connected with an eczematous condition of the skin of the armpit, the skin apparently often forming the starting point of the gland irritation. In each cases a cure was effected by constitutional remedies, and without operative interference.


Alfred T., 20, consulted me at the Homoeopathic Hospital on Dec. 13, 1882, complaining of a swelling in the armpit, which he had had for a week. Two days before, he ran a nail into his hand; and about the same time he had a cold. There is a painful, tender lump in the armpit, about the size of a pigeon’s egg. Appetite bad. Great restlessness. Hepar s. 6, one drop every two hours. Aconite 3, one pilule at bed time if restless.

Dec. 20.-All pain and tenderness gone. Swelling diminished. hand also better. Repeat.

All danger of suppuration was now past, and the patient did not think it necessary to return.


Miss T., 22, consulted me Oct. 24, 1892. She had been away in Scotland, which was her home, and had returned on Sept. 1ST. p73 She then had a swelling under the left arm. This was lanced by a medical man about the end of the month, and discharged a good deal. Now the lump had returned and was painful and tender. She felt tired; had a sinking feeling from 10-11 A.M.; suffered from constipation with haemorrhage at times; had cold feet, inclined to be damp; was drowsy and heavy in the day-time. Worse in damp weather; better in cold frosty weather. She received Hepar 6 four times a day, and the abscess soon opened spontaneously and rapidly healed. Afterwards boils appeared on the left arm.

Under Sulph. 30, and afterwards Acid nitricum 30, she got quite well, and I did not see her again till the following February.

Feb. 3.-Has had a cold for a week with influenza pains about her During the same time had suffered from pains under her right arm, where I found two abscesses,-one the size of a bean, the other no larger than a pea. She had taken Sulph. on her own account. I now gave her Hepar 6.

March 22.-Right arm got quite well; but five days ago had a little pimple in left armpit, which broke. There is now a swollen gland, but the pain is not in the gland, but in the site of the little pimple.

There is not much itching in connexion with this; there was when the left axillary glands were inflamed before. I gave her Rhus 30, and she has had no trouble with her arm since.


Miss P., 30 nurse, was nursing a case for me when she consulted me about herself, though previously she had been under allopathic treatment. This was on November 29, 1892. For two years she had had a succession of abscesses under the armpits- first under one, then under the other. They began whilst she was nursing a syphilitic case in hospital; but had been worse since she had had an attack of scarlet fever in the summer before I saw her.

A sister of hers in hospital work also suffered from abscesses in the axilla. She suffered from headaches. Her hair falls out. She is worse at night. I gave her Silica 30.

As she was away nursing cases for long periods the attendance was very irregular. I did not see her till nearly four months afterwards.

March.-8, 1893.-Has had five more abscesses, but got over them quickly. Hair does not fall out so much as it did. This was the first opportunity I had of examining the axillae. Both were marked with scars; the skin was red and eczematous; the glands and lymphatic ducts were distinct enough to be felt.

The pain was worse on exertion and at night. p73 Rx Luesin 200, four globules every ten days.

March 22.-Is more comfortable than she has been for months, in spite of rough work necessitated by nursing isolation cases. The glands have nearly all disappeared; there is now no pain, but very great irritation in left armpit. Repeat.

This irritation has frequently been the precursor of an abscess, and proved to be so in the present case.

April 3.-An abscess the size of a small damson appeared in the axilla, and was so painful she had to poultice it for five nights to get rest.

The pain has now gone; the lump remains, “but has ceased to press on something deep down in the armpit, as they all seem to do.” The irritation under the arm is still troublesome. A small painful gland appeared in right groin. It was only painful two days, and was felt on walking. It has now gone.

Rx Elaps. 200, four powders. Each to be dissolved in a third of a tumbler of water; a teaspoonful four times a day.

April 24. – The patient wrote to me that for a day or two after beginning the medicine she felt sick. The sickness came on after the second dose. Such a thing never occurred to her before. The irritation under the arm was quickly relieved, and she felt really quite well.

May 13. – Patient called to see me. The armpits were irritable at times, and there had been one attempt at enlargement of axillary glands, and also of the gland in the groin.

Rx. Juglans Regia 12, a tablet three times a day.

May 18. – Two or three days ago a rash appeared on the back, very irritable. IT extended all up the middle of the back, from the sacrum to the mid-dorsal region, spreading out below and tapering above. There are minute vesicles. Aggravation by washing. The armpits are much better; very little irritation there.

Rx Rhus. t. 12 every two hours.

May 24. – Back very much better. Armpits quite right. She is giddy when she takes a bath.

Repeat Rhus. Rx Coccul. ind. 3, one pilule when required for the giddiness.

Aug. 28. – Cocculus relieved her of the giddiness. The armpits are quite well, except for a small circular eczematous patch, irritable in hot weather. Has a little glandular lump in left breast about the size of a large pea. She has been nursing a heavy case lately, and has had bad milk to drink. Has had violent headaches from vertex down over forehead and occiput.

Rx. Elaps. 200 one dose. Gloninum 30, one pilule every hour if required.

Nov. 27.- Writes to ask if she need “go on with any more medicine, as I am now so very well and strong. I can never say how grateful I am to you for having cured me.”

I saw her again on March 22, 1894, when the arms were quite well, and the lump (which had terrified her greatly ) had disappeared from the breast.


Mrs. N., 35, consulted me in January 1893. At the age of 20, in Germany, had an abscess under one arm, which lasted six weeks. After the birth of eldest boy (aged 12) had blood-poisoning, and an abscess formed behind the left ear.

In the autumn of 1892, had an abscess under the arm, which was opened, and continued for two months discharging and causing the patient a great amount of pain. The whole of the arm was red inflamed. At the same time she suffered from inflammation of the bladder, which had left an irritability behind. For this and general debility I treated the patient at first.

March 11. – On this date I gave her Sarsaparilla 1m. four times a day. After this there was a sharp aggravation of the symptoms, followed by great improvement. Among the symptoms experienced was a sharp pain in an abscess scar in the left armpit. No more medicine was given.

March 17. – Has had no more sensations under the left arm, but under the right has had pain for a few days. Now there is a little red spot visible in the skin. This is how the abscesses have begun before, and the patient is in great fear of a renewal of her old troubles. i told her I did not think the abscesses would come to anything, and if they did, I should not think of operating on them. On examining the armpit I found a little red patch of skin, and in the centre of it a gland which was tender.

Rx. Hepar 30 every two hours.

Mar. 20. _ on the night of the 18th there was throbbing in the armpit; on 19th there was soreness and inability to raise the arm. Today there is less soreness. There is a good deal of irritation.

(The first attack of abscess began with itching in the armpit. In the right armpit there were five glands, which, however, did not suppurate. In the left there were seven, which merged into one large abscess.) Repeat.

Rx Calendula lotion.

March 23. – Calendula allayed the itching, but the glands are about the same.

Rx Rhus. 30, gtt. i. every two hours.

March 25._ Arm better. Less pain or irritation. Has a very bad p73 streaming cold in the head, and diarrhoea.

Rx Cepa. 30 every hour. Veratrum alb. 30, if required.

March 29.- There was great improvement in the arm, as well as in the other symptoms, but to-day the left axilla has begun to show signs of activity.

Rx Luesin 200, one dose.

April 7.-Very much better; both arms better, but there is still a little irritation under them.

The does was repeated on April 13, and afterwards Hepar 30 was given four times a day.

June 24.-The arms are more painful fourteen days before the monthly period. Still eczematous skin and little nodes.

Rx Juglans Regia 12, one drop with Sacch. lact. three times a day.

July 3. -Still a red spot in left axilla; all the time lumps have kept coming, but smaller and lasting a shorter time.

Rx Luesin 200, one does, then Calcarea c. 30 at bedtime.

July 12. – Has over-exerted herself and is not so well. There is a hard mass of inflamed tissue in left axilla, but less tender than it was. R. Rhus t. 30 every two hours.

July 15.- Much less tenderness. Repeat.

July 22.- A very red round patch, somewhat raised and rather moist.

Rx Mercurius sol. 30 four times a day.

July 28.- Much itching on exposure to air.

Rx Elaps. 200, one dose.

Aug. 5.- Rx Tellur 5 three times a day.

Sept. 6.- Arms well.

I will now relate two cases of acute inflammation of glands of the neck.


Herbert C., 3, fair, thin, was brought to me on Sept. 30, 1882, with acute inflammation of the glands on the right side of the neck, which had been noticed only three days. He had had whooping – cough, for which he was taken to Yarmouth. There had been no sore throat. The tongue was white, and the appetite bad. He complained of pain in the lumps, but he could swallow without difficulty and was not deaf. Belladonna 3 and Baryta carb. 6 made some improvement, but not very marked.

Oct. 14.- Lachesis 6, one pilule three times a day. p73

Oct. 21.- Gland very much better, much smaller, no tenderness at all. The medicine was repeated, and general health became markedly improved and the swelling disappeared.


Wm. M., 20, pale, sallow, anaemic, consulted me at the hospital on Nov. 8th, 1882. Four weeks before, he had a cold, and felt cold all over. After that he had pains round the loins, and noticed the swelling in the neck. No sore throat. General health good. Now has a large glandular swelling under the left jaw. It is painful at times, but not constantly.

Calcarea iod. 3x three times a day.

Nov. 15.- Glandular mass smaller; glands separating. Repeat. Nov. 29. – About the same.

Baryta c. 6, one pilule four times a day for a week; to be followed by Arum triphyllum 1, one pilule four times a day for the following week.

Dec. 12.- Noticed much improvement during the first week; none during the second. Repeat Baryta c. alone.

Jan. 3, 1883. – Lump almost gone.

I will conclude this part by relating a case which I published originally in the Homoeopathic World of Dec. 1, 1892. In this case the patient had already undergone an operation, and was on the eve of submitting to a second, when a few doses of a homoeopathic remedy saved him all the suffering, and the surgeons their work.


On the 4th of July 1892, I was consulted by Mr.-, aged 31, holding a responsible position in a London house of business; naturally of excellent physique, but at the time looking anything but well or happy. He gave the following history :- Eighteen months before, he had had influenza badly.

His eyes were affected, especially the right, and for a day or two he was blind. He became well enough to return to work, but his eyes had never got right, and the had never been anything like so well as he used to be formerly. Before the influenza he had never known what illness was.

In January of the same year, after a week of unusual physical exertion, though without any definite strain that he is aware of, he noticed in the left groin a little painless lump, which gradually increased. This he showed to his usual medical attendant, who painted it with iodine, gradually increasing the strength of the paint until the patient rebelled on account of p73 the pain it gave him.

This treatment continued for a month. As things were getting worse, he was persuaded to consult an eminent surgeon connected with one of the Metropolitan Medical Schools, who advised operation. Arrangements were made, and under ether the swelling was opened, the incision being made parallel with Poupart’s ligament- for some inscrutable reason- and pus evacuated. This was in February. There followed a long, painful, and tedious convalescence. A gaping wound was left, and complete healing never took place up to the time I saw him.

Just prior to his coming to me he had been in the hands of an allopathic medical man, who, after diligently probing the wound in various directions for three weeks, finally informed the patient that there was no chance of its healing until it had been laid open again under an anaesthetic. The patient’s previous experience of an operation did not encourage him to face another; and before consenting, he resolved to try another system of treatment altogether, especially as he had been urged by friends to do so.

When he came to me, I found the following local condition. There were two linear scars in the left groin, parallel to Poupart’s ligament, with several fistulous openings discharging slightly.

I told him that in my opinion it would be a piece of cruelty to operate; that no good could be done by it, but that it would have the result of making an invalid of him and laying him aside for some time.

The fistulous openings in themselves presented tolerably clear indications for one medicine, Silica. The constitutional symptoms were meagre, but a tendency to moist feet, and a preference for hot weather, and sensitiveness to chills, supported this selection.

I told him to take reasonable care of himself, especially to avoid colds and anything like over-exertion, and to be careful about his diet.

He was to use no lotion or antiseptic (or any application except what was required for cleanliness) to the wound, and as a medicine I ordered him one tablet of Silica 30 three times a day. He was to return and report himself to me in a month.

This he did. In fourteen days from the time he came to me all discharge had ceased. The wound had healed perfectly, and he was himself in better health than he had been any time since the attack of influenza the year before. In addition to this, his mind was relieved of the haunting nightmare of a second p73 operation.

There still remained the eye trouble, which had lasted ever since the influenza attack. After ten minutes reading he was obliged to desist from intense pain at the back of both eyes, with pain at the back of the head. For this I gave him Conium 30 and a lotion of Ruta. I have seen him recently, but not professionally, and he tells me that the eyes soon became quite well, and he has remained perfectly well in other respects ever since.

John Henry Clarke
John Henry Clarke MD (1853 – November 24, 1931 was a prominent English classical homeopath. Dr. Clarke was a busy practitioner. As a physician he not only had his own clinic in Piccadilly, London, but he also was a consultant at the London Homeopathic Hospital and researched into new remedies — nosodes. For many years, he was the editor of The Homeopathic World. He wrote many books, his best known were Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica and Repertory of Materia Medica