On Neuralgia, Its Causes and its Remedies

Phosphorus made very short work of the neuralgia, and thus brought about a violent conversion of the patient to homoeopathy. She became a homoeopath because the pathy of the homoeopaths was the means of curing her neuralgia. And in my judgment a very sound reason too. That is just my reason for being a homoeopath. I like homoeopathy because it affords a splendid means to an end, and that end a-cure.

Phosphorus has a great and well earned reputation for neuralgia in the homoeopathic school. So great, indeed, that our allopathic friends have not disdained to go in for “Free Phosphorus in Medicine,” and with such “freedom” that they have done much harm. Like all really powerful remedies, Phosphorus can harm as well as heal, whence, indeed, the scientific groundwork of our homoeopathy.

Phosphorus, in allopathic doses, is a very dangerous, and that a very sneakingly dangerous drug, and no one should use Phosphorus internally unless they possess the requisite knowledge as to how much will harm and how little will cure. As a tonic for the nerves it is simply murderous. For the neuralgias of the right side under the ribs (hypochondrium) the hepatics must be studied, and the principal ones here are Hydrastis canadensis, Chelidonium majus, Myrica cerifera, Diplotaxis tenuifolia, Cholestearin, Bryonia alba, and Kali bichromicum.

The neuralgias of the left hypochondrium are more or less connected with the spleen, and the remedies here needed will be found in the little work on Diseases of the Spleen and their Remedies Clinically Illustrated, by the writer. Of course, the neuralgias all down the sides in their walls will require such remedies as Bryonia alba, Ranunculus, Colocynth, Rhus tox., Cimicifuga racemosa, and the like. Some very obstinate ones I have cured with Variolinum C.

The enteralgias are met with Plumbum, Dioscorea villosa, Colocynth, and their allies.

Of neuralgias of the stomach I will say a few words now separately.


I have often cured this with Acidum hydrocyanicum in one- drop doses of the first homoeopathic centesimal dilution. Only physicians may use it, as it requires careful dosing. Of the same nature, and quite safe to use, is the Prunus virginiana in five- drop doses of the mother tincture. I learned its use myself of an old lady, nearly ninety years of age, many years ago.

Zincum – either the cyanide or the acetate – is a very notable remedy in gastralgia. Many cases of dyspepsia are of a neuralgic character, and the most common and most commonly distressing in this cold wet climate is curable by Silver-either the nitrate or the oxide. A noted physician of the last generation made quite a reputation by his great cures of neuralgia and dyspepsia of the stomach; and his remedy was the oxide of silver. The good man was an active hater of homoeopath, little weening that his own reputation and success depended entirely upon the homoeopathicity of his remedy to the complaint he cured with its aid. Mankind is apt to hate and despise its best and truest friends. The various neuralgias arising from urethral pyorrhoea-from the gonococci-are usually amenable to Argentum. This remedy has a well-earned reputation in tabes dorsalis, and is homoeopathic to its pains in some varieties, and Sabina, Thuja, and Cupressus come close upon it in sycosic neuralgias generally.


This is a neuralgia at the very bottom of the spine, where our caudal appendage would be placed were we caudate. Not unfrequently it is of traumatic origin, and I have cured a case of this kind with Bellis perennis, an another with antisycotics. I think it is most common in women.


This common complaint has yielded in my hands most frequently to antisycotics, and that quickly, often too when spas and very violent measures had entirely failed. And Aconite and Rhus have at times helped, perhaps, when the pain was due to chronic neurilematitis. And when we think of the awful alternative of nerve stretching, we may well be grateful for the wide curative range of the homoeopathic law of cure. Indeed, the symptom pain might very well be chosen a a test of medical system were it not for the incapacity of the bulk of mankind, professional and lay, to see clearly nd to distinguish the essential and fundamental difference between curing a pain from the ground and gagging the pain-telling nerve.


Many cases of toothache are neuralgic, and require one or more of the already-named remedies, and such others as Silicea, Nitric acid, Mercurius, Kreosotum, Hecla lava. Perhaps three- fourths of the cases of toothache are not due either to caries, necrosis, or abscess, primarily, but to the general state of the constitution; more particularly is toothache, in my opinion, very frequently due to the stomach, and I have sometimes wondered whether decaying teeth are at times anything more than constitutional issues, for I have several times noticed that profoundly dysoratic complaints have taken on increased morbid action soon after the dentist had extracted a bad tooth. Particularly in cases of tumours have I noticed this, and for some time I have been in the habit of forbidding any extraction of bad teeth until the graver malady had been quite cured, when, oddly enough, the teeth commonly cease from troubling. I am well aware that the local inflammatory processes of dental, anal, aural, and vaginal pains-neuralgias, as I understand the term-do indeed give rise to the pain, but I hold that the only real cure of the neuralgia-the pain arising from the local morbid process-is the extinguishment of the morbid condition itself that lies at the bottom of the inflammatory, carious, necrotic, or neoplastic process.

In neuralgia how true it is that ” things are not what they seem.”


This word expresses an old idea in a new and definite way. The word synalgie was first used, I believe, by a French author, but of this I am not quite sure; the idea it expresses is old enough. Personally I do not remember to have seen any other word expressing it so well, and this not till I read “Les Synalgies et., les Synesthesies,” by Henry de Fromentel (de Gray). * (Paris, G. Masson, 1888.) The word synalgia very fairly expresses much of what I have been trying to express in the foregoing pages. It is from oV’v, with, together, and a’yyos, pain; and de Fromentel understands by his synalgies “douleurs associees.” I say very fairly, because it is not exactly the word one needs. In fact, we sometimes in neuralgias have to do with a synalgia properly so called; at others the neuralgia is what Gubler termed douleurs re’percute’es, or e’chotiques. These terms are not quite synonymous, but nearly enough so for the purposes of this little treatise, which I, above all, wish to be practical. Let me exemplify by quoting a synalgia in point.


A good while since, an old patient of the late Dr. Hilbers, 62 years of age, came under my care for painful spasms of the heart (neuralgia cordis), running principally down or up the left arm, often after walking quickly. He was wont to pass a great quantity of water, having to rise many times in the night for that purpose. His tongue was cracked, which is a capital clinical indication for the horsetail, and positive indications from the heart itself being absent, I gave Equisetum hyemale 1, ten drops in water three times a day. This seemingly rather unlikely remedy did him so much good that he continued to take it on his own account for three months, and then I put him under Bellis perennis. So pleased was my patient with the result of his treatment that he sent me a well known book, for which he is responsible, as a token of gratitude, though himself I have not since seen. The gentleman had long been taking antispasmodics to no avail.

Here there was a pain-a neuralgia in the heat-and a pain down or up the left arm-a synalgia. It might be very difficult to say where the actual primary seat of the angina was. There was pain up or down the left arm, and in the praecordia; so the two would constitute a synalgia, or a pain starting from one point and running in two ways, or else from one and running to a second. Of course the arm pain in heart affections is a well- known phenomenon.

The importance of the synalgic conception is considerable in neuralgia, as it bears on the proper treatment of the case; and the more this line of thought is pursued in practical therapeutics the better and our treatment become. The word sympathy expresses etymologically what we often mean, but it is of such frequent use in social and emotional life that it is of hardly any further service in the strict speech of science.

An almost pure case of synalgia (and one of very great interest) will be found in my Diseases of the Spleen (p. 112 et seq.). This case is, indeed, eminently instructive, and fits in here well. I cannot incorporate it, however, as the copy right of the work is no longer mine.

In pubescence, the intimate sympathy between the pubes and the breasts is well known, and in young men mammary synalgias and synaesthesias are not so very uncommon, though they are not severe, like the mastodynias of ladies.

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.