On Neuralgia, Its Causes and its Remedies

Their ordinary family adviser was a homoeopath, but he had not managed to cure this neuralgia, notwithstanding several consultations with colleagues, and other men of eminence had been consulted, but to no avail.

I found that the pain was worse in cold weather; worse at the seaside; better away from the sea-inland, i.e., not so frequent or severe; and when the pain came on the eyes watered. A pinch of the sixth trituration of Natrum muriaticum, in water three times a day, cured my young patient in about three weeks. This anti-neuralgic action of Nat. mur. had the great advantage of being permanently curative, as the pain did not return, and patient herself continued otherwise well.

It may, nay it must, strike those whose practice is to give quinine and iron, or pain-lulling drugs, injections, or lotions, that this individualizing treatment of neuralgia is very tedious and laborious for the physician, and this I shall not deny, but I believe it to be by far the best and most rational.

Not a few cases of neuralgia that one meets with were originally caused by quinine, and then Sulphur, followed by Natrum muriaticum, will very frequently effect a cure.

QUININE has scored many successes in neuralgia, to which it, in not a few cases, is undoubtedly homoeopathic when very moderate doses are harmless as well as curative. To try to QUELL (quelling is not curing) all neuralgias with big doses of quinine is useless, harmful, and unscientific.

Ferrum-iron-besides being unquestionably a great blood medicine, is also useful in neuralgia, and in those cases of great debility where the urine is alkaline (Rademacher), the acetate in small material doses is facile princeps.

Probably few practitioners of experience will deny that we are living in an age of neurosin, where neuralgia is becoming more and more prevalent, and I am strongly of opinion that tea, coffee, tobacco, alcohol, wear and tear and worry, are essential causal factors. Some have advanced good grounds for believing that migraine, or hemicranial neuralgia, is mainly due to coffee.

Enteralgia, I know, is very frequently due to tea, and I have some grounds for believing that pig-meat (notably roast pork), shell-fish, and potatoes also contingently cause neuralgia.

In neuralgia of the walls of the chest, Ranunculus sceleratus renders good service, and in neuralgia of the heart, made worse by walking, Arsenicum, Juglans cinerea, Arnica, Bellis perennis, and Aurum are to be thought of.

Arsenicum has a wide and well deserved reputation in neuralgia, and is a great favourite with some practitioners. A patient of mine once went to the sea-side, where then practised Dr. Harmar Smith, now of Guildford. I had in vain treated the lady’s fearful ovarian neuralgia, bur Dr. Smith cured it very quickly with Arsenicum. This very day I saw in the Homoeopathic World that the same gentleman still cures neuralgia with this faithful antiperiodic. I will not quote the whole case, although it tallies with my own views, that neuralgias yield best to higher dilutions, but will just say that Dr. Harmar Smith was treating a case of acute gastrodynia that yielded to Arsenicum 12x trit. after the Liquor arsenicalis (F.), the 3rd trituration of Arsenicum, Trisnitrate of Bismuth 1x, and Apomorphia 3x, had all more or less failed. The one weak point in this case is that the after-history of the case is only of a few days’ duration. But neuralgia of all parts with arsenical symptoms has been so often cured dynamically by Arsenicum, that its antineuralgic reputation is firm, and needs no prop.

Let us now exemplify the sphere of Aurum in angina pectoris, or cardiac neuralgia.


One can hardly have to deal with a more formidable affection than angina pectoris, and in its treatment homoeopathy can do great things. It is, however, a mighty mistake to treat the cases all alike, as quite a number of different diseases give rise to the usual anginal symptoms; the cases must be diagnostically and therapeutically differentiated if they are to be really cured.

A short time since, it was my duty to see a lady in Belgravia with angina pectoris unwanted domestic drudgery, loss of loved ones, fright, loss of fortune, had led up to it.

A part from the anginal attacks, there was a chronic constant pain across the praecordia, running away under the left breast. For years blisters had been applied at intervals with temporary relief, till they could no longer be borne. Patient was very depressed, sulky, and morose. The menses suppressed. Aurum metallicum, 3 trituration, six grains every four hours, cured the constant pain in a week, and the anginal attacks have thus far not recurred, and patient smiles now, and is bright. The menses have, however, not appeared, and for this she remains under treatment.

Since this was written a year has elapsed, and the lady is quite well of her angina.

What led me to use Aurum was its known affinity for the heart, and the profound melancholy of the patient.

As I said, the cure has been maintained, but the lady keeps some of the Aurum powders in th house for fear, and thus unconsciously testifies to its therapeutic efficacy The lady had for years used the nitrite of amyl with temporary and prompt easement, but the attacks returned just the same, though rather less violently she thought. although the nitrite of amyl will not often cure genuine angina, it does temporarily stop the agony, and may therefore not be despised. Unfortunately, it is too superficial in its action.

I will now pass on to and draw somewhat from my little book entitled Vaccinosis and its Cure by Thuja, with Remarks on Homoeo-prophylaxis.


This case (which came under observation on January 9, 1882) is one of considerable interest on various accounts. Its subject, a lady of very high rank, over fifty years of age, had been, in turns and for many years, under almost all the leading oculists of London for this neuralgia of the eyes, i.e., terrible pain at the back of the eyes, coming on in paroxysms and confining her to her room for many days together; some attacks would last for six weeks.

Some of the neuralgic pain, however, remained at all times. Her eyes had been examined by almost every notable oculist in London, and no one could find anything wrong with them structurally, so it was unanimously agreed and declared to be neuralgia of the fifth nerve. Of course, no end of tonics, anodynes, and alteratives had been used. The oculists sent her to the physicians, and these back again to the oculists. The late Dr. Quin and other leading homoeopaths had been tried, but “no one had ever touched it.”

Latterly, and for years, she had tried nothing; whenever an attack came on, she would remain in her darkened bedroom, with her head tied up, bewailing her fate. To me she exclaimed, “My existence is one life-long crucifixion!”

I should have stated that the neuralgia was preceded and accompanied by influenza. In the aggregate, these attacks of influenza and post-orbital neuralgia confined her to her room nearly half the year. In appearance she was healthy, well nourished, rather too much embonpoint, and fairly vigorous. a friend of hers had been benefited by homoeopathy in my hands, and she therefore came to me “in utter despair.”

These are the simple facts of the case, though they look very like piling up the agony! Now for the remedy. The resources of allopathy had been exhausted, and, moreover, I have no confidence in them anyway; homoeopathy-and good homoeopathy too, for the men tried knew their work-had also failed. Do-nothing, now much in vogue, had fared no better.

I reasoned thus : This lady tells me she has been vaccinated five or six times, and being thus very much vaccinated, she may be just suffering from chronic vaccinosis, one chief symptom of which is a cephalalgia like hers, so I forthwith prescribed Thuja (30). It cured, and the cure has lasted till now. The neuralgia disappeared slowly; in about six weeks (February 14, 1882) I wrote in my case-book, “The eyes are well!”

As I have not heard from the patient for some time, I am just writing a note to her to know whether the neuralgia has thus far (December 30, 1882) returned. The reply I will add.

Of course, it does not follow that because Thuja cured this case of neuralgia of some twenty years’ standing that therefore the lady was suffering from vaccinosis; that Thuja DID cure it is incontrovertible, and my vaccinosis hypothesis led me to prescribe it. More cannot be maintained. At least, the case must stand as a clinical triumph for Thuja (30)-this much is absolute.

In reply to my inquiry, I received the following:- ” Jan. 1, 1883…… “I have been in very much stronger health ever since I crossed your threshold, and excepting one or two attempts at a return from the enemy, I have been quite free from suffering.”.

This lady continues well of her post-orbital neuralgia at the time of going to press. After the disappearance of the neuralgia she had several other remedies from me for dyspepsia symptoms.

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.