On Neuralgia, Its Causes and its Remedies

Eulenburg then discusses caffein in a similar strain, mentions guarana, declaring it to be needless, because the guaranin is perfectly identical with caffein. He praises the efficacy of the aqueous extract of ergot, because it produces contractions of the bloodvessels, which it certainly does, but it also produces mortification and other direly diseased states. Nine to fourteen grains of ergotin a day is our author’s dose, which, in my judgment, is dangerous. He merely mentions strychnia, arsenic, nitrate of silver, sulphate of nickel, bromide of potassium, chloride of ammonium, oil of turpentine, and lupulin.

Finally, he speaks approvingly of the nitrite of amyl, and affirms that “the indication for its use depends on the fact that it possesses the powder of dilating the blood vessels,” which sounds rather oddly when one has just read on the previous page that the good effects of ergotin depend upon its powder to produce contractions of the blood-vessels. And we are asked to believe that this is scientific treatment of disease. That ergotin does contract the blood-vessels, and that the nitrite of amyl does dilate them, may indeed be granted.

That the use of these two therapeutic agents for the superficial symptomatic allopathic (palliative) treatment of pain is relatively to be considered I will not deny, but a really curative therapeusis it is not. If we add electricity, we have about exhausted the ordinary treatment of neuralgia and hence we cannot marvel that Eulenburg should, indeed, himself declare that he had never seen anything more than a palliation of the trouble.

Summed up, the entire treatment by the ordinary means is just palliative symptomatic treatment, and nothing else; and no directly and positively curative treatment is believed in at all, and is therefore not even attempted. We in homoeopathy can do very much better than that. We can often quite cure neuralgia, as I will show.

I ask again, What does the allopathic treatment amount to? I have already said that this pain-expressing voice of the organism, which we call neuralgia, is a telegram from the within with painful news. The allopathic treatment of neuralgia, as we have just shown by quotations from he highest allopathic authorities, amounts merely to this:- They either stun, stifle, maim, mutilate, or cut the telegraphic wires (the nerves), so that the painful news may not arrive, i.e., in true Oriental fashion, they kill the messenger because of the disagreeable message he brings. And what then?

The morbid process that was going on within goes on still, which the numerous sequential complaints often clearly demonstrate. It is irrational, shallow, harmful, damnable to deaden, lull, kill, or otherwise to silence a neuralgia by nerve sedatives, local pain-killers, lotions, hypodermic injections, or whatsoever else, and that indifferently, whether the medicos who do so swear by one pathy or another. The boast of orthodox medicine of the great benefits of their powerful sedatives is the philosophy of the silly bird, that hides its little head when its body is in danger. The only proper right and rational treatment of neuralgia is to go to work aetiologically and cure causally.

But is this possible? Yes, hypothetically it is, as my just cited case of neuralgia of the heart clearly proves; and when I say hypothetically,

I mean not problematically but actually, only the aetiology is based upon a sound working biopathological hypothesis, and not a palpable fact as gross and evident as a haystack.

The causes of neuralgia are very various and sometimes complex, and hence the remedies which we have to use will be correspondingly various, and for the complex cases several remedies will be needed. Of course, it is much more difficult really to cure a neuralgia in the way I am trying to make plain, than it is to whip out your little hypodermic syringe and inject morphia, or to take some pain-killing pills or drops of opium, laudanum, or chlorodyne.

A remedy very frequently required in the (hypothetically) causal treatment of neuralgia is Natrum muriaticum. There is published a small monograph written by me on this powerful remedy, entitled Natrum Muriaticum as Test of the Doctrine of Drug Dynamization, and from it I transcribe the following case of


Mrs -, at. 24, came under treatment in 1876, in the early months of pregnancy, with very severe neuralgia of the face. The case proved itself very obstinate, and many drugs were fruitlessly tried, but eventually it yielded to China given in the form of pilules saturated with the matrix tincture, which drug was chosen because of perspiration breaking out when the pain became very bad. The neuralgia constantly reappeared, and finally China ceased to have any effect. Then Populus tremuloides was given simply because of its being a congener of China, and did good-in fact, quite cured for the time.

This pregnancy passed, and my patient consulted me again, being again enceinte early in 1877, for the same kind of neuralgia, and this time its obstinacy nearly reduced her and her physician to despair.

The Case was treated in the old Hahnemannian fashion according to the totality of the symptoms, which were very few and apathognomonic, the neuralgia being always bad and always worse, and apparently not ameliorated by anything.

After many weeks of fruitless endeavours to cure this neuralgia with medicines chosen from the repertory, I turned to Guernsey’s Obstetrics (2nd edition), and found I had already tired all those given in his list at pp. 372, 373, 374, except two; these two I then fairly tried, and again failed. So my patient had received Aconite, Belladonna, Bryonia, Calcarea c., Cocculus, Cimicifuga, Coffea, Gelsemium, Gloninum, Ignat. mag. c., Nux v., Pulsatilla, Sepia, Spigelia, Sulphur, Veratrum a., China, Populus, and some others. Besides which she had applied, often in almost frantic despair, nearly every known anodyne, so that the soft parts of the face seemed almost macerated.

Here I suggested change of air (what should we poor practical physicians do without this ultimum refugium), but circumstances prevented her from leaving the place for more than a day or two; so she took little outings to sea-side places and inland, when it was observed that the neuralgia was worse at the sea-side and better inland.

A happy thought struck me, that this mighty be due to the salt in the air at the sea-side, and being, moreover, absolutely at the end of my tether, I acted on it, and gave Nat. mur. 30, one pilule very frequently.

The neuralgia at once began to get better, and in a day or two was quite well. It subsequently returned at intervals much less severely, but promptly yielded to the same remedy in the same dose. The 30th dilution was chosen simply because some pilules of this strength were in patient’s chest.

The patient was quite satisfied that the Nat. mur. 30 effected the cure, and so was I, and so will many others be; but, in a general way, the case will not carry conviction to unprepared minds, and still less so to prejudiced ones.

Hitherto I had had no great respect for Natrum muriaticum as a remedy; in fact, none whatever, having but rarely, if ever, prescribed it. Indeed, how can a sensible man believe that the common condiment salt, which we ingest almost at every meal, can possibly be of any curative value, especially as some are known to eat salt in considerable quantities every day, and that without any apparent deleterious effect.

Dr. Hughes, in his Pharmaco-dynamics, 2nd, ed., p. 411, says, “I really know nothing myself of the virtues of salt.” We find him now, however, a riper homoeopathic scholar, for in the 3rd edition of the same admirable work, p. 561, he gives an interesting case of defective nutrition, showing itself especially in emaciation, with dry and ill-coloured skin, accompanied with depression of spirits and suspected abdominal disease. Here a few occasional doses of Nat. mur. 30 changed the whole condition, and initiated a complete recovery.

This testimony is very valuable and especially gratifying to me, and, moreover, carries conviction to my mind. It is evident that Dr. Hughes unwillingly yielded to a belief in the doctrine of drug dynamization, and would have continued to “know nothing of the virtues of salt.

To believe in salt as a remedy is almost synonymous with believing in the doctrine of drug dynamization and a belief in this doctrine is extremely repulsive to one’s common sense. Perhaps the proper spirit would be gratitude to a beneficent Creator.

Worse at the sea-side has since proved itself a valuable indication for Natrum muriaticum with me.

In my little work called Fifty Reasons for being a Homoeopath, p. 53-4, may be found the following case of


and which is based on that just given.

Not many years ago, the daughter of a London alderman was suffering from fearful neuralgia of the face; at intervals she had it for years, and no trouble or expense had been spared in endeavouring to cure it.

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.