Typhoid Fever

Dr. Dewey discusses the homeopathy treatment of Typhoid Fever in his bestselling book Practical Homeopathic Therapeutics….

Baptisia. [Bapt]

      Perhaps no remedy presents a clearer picture of a typical case of typhoid fever than Baptisia, yet it is far from being indicated in every case. Its indication are pretty clearly marked, but it often needs careful distinguishing from other remedies; thus it has a drowsy, stupid state, like Arnica, and it has a black or brownish coated tongue, which is also found under Rhus. Like Arnica, too the patient falls asleep while answering question, and the bed feels too hard. It has to be especially distinguished from these two remedies. It suits poisoned blood conditions, and is applicable to any stage of the disease, unquestionably aborting the disease at times, and the typical symptoms are these: a dull, dark besotted countenance, as if intoxicated; this is very characteristic. The patient feels tired and bruised all over; again like Arnica, he is restless, and tosses about the bed to find a soft spot, but his restlessness is rather due to the mental than the physical condition. The eyes are heavy and stupid. Delirium is often present, and here we find a peculiar and very characteristic symptom, which is that the patient thinks he is scattered about and this makes him toss about the bed to collect the pieces; there is apt to be, also profound prostration; the tongue may have a brown streak down the center, the teeth are covered with sordes and the breath is foetid, and all exhalations and discharges from the patient are exceedingly offensive. The temperature is high, and so is the pulse, and there is tenderness in the ileo-caecal region. If the characteristic expression of countenance, the characteristic mental condition and the characteristic offensiveness of all discharges are taken into consideration, no mistakes can be made in the indications for Baptisia. A certainty of death and despair of cure is mentioned by Jahr as a prominent symptoms. It seems to have a tranquillizing action on the brain. Mellon has shown conclusively its value by its action on the blood.

Remember the trio:

1. Unusual foetidity.

2. Besotted expression.

3. Mental depression.

It is well to remember also that the best effects are not in variably had from the tincture but from the 6th upwards.

Rhus toxicodendron. [Rhus-t]

      Rhus in another remedy thoroughly suitable for the typhoid state. It comes in when a putrid decomposition of fluids takes place. It corresponds to any early stage as well. It has restlessness, brown tongue and muscular soreness, all of which are found under Baptisia, but the restlessness of Rhus is to relieve the muscular soreness. The characteristic triangular red tip to the tongue found under this remedy is not found under Baptisia, and if there be a degree to the offensiveness of the discharges it is less under Rhus than under Baptisia.

The mental symptoms of Rhus is this disease are a muttering delirium, and, perhaps, refusal to take the medicine for fear of being poisoned. The imagination is active, and the patients are disturbed its varied phases. There is often headache and nosebleed, which relieves the headache. There is diarrhoea of yellowish-brown stools of offensive odor, and like Hyoscyamus, may be involuntary. The abdomen is tympanitic and sensitive over the ileo-caecal region. There are pains in the back and limbs. It is especially indicated for backache that is severe., The spleen is also sensitive. There is apt to be, when Rhus is indicated, some pulmonary congestion. The characteristic are the restlessness, the red-tipped tongue, the offensive discharges the trembling of the chin and involuntary stools.

Croton tiglium is one of our best remedies for the complication of diarrhoea, with colic preceding stool, with discharge gushing and with much gas. We use the 6x.

Bryonia. [Bry]

      This is one of the great typhoid fever remedies, and is sooner or later, indicated in a majority of cases of the disease. The characteristic symptoms are these : great soreness over the body. Tired feeling. Every exertion fatigues. He has a dread of all motion. A splitting, agonizing frontal headache, worse from motion. The face gets red towards evening. There is a fullness of the head in the morning, which followed by nose bleed. The sleep is troubled, and the patient dreams of business. There may also be a delirium in which patient dreams of business. There may also be a delirium in which the patient imagines he is away from home, and consequently wants to go home. The patient drinks large quantities at long intervals. This thirst of Bryonia, when present is characteristic. The bowels are generally constipated; indeed some writers claim that Bryonia ceases to be of value when diarrhoea sets in; but soft, mushy stools may be present and yet not contra-indicate the remedy. The best place for the remedy is early, before the vitality is greatly lowered either by constipation or diarrhoea. Given here, it will soothe the gastric irritation, shown by the sensitiveness of the epigastric region, moisten the tongue and bringing the whole condition to a favorable turn. Jahr gave it as soon as heaviness of limbs was felt, headache, white coated tongue, loss of appetite, etc. Bryonia may be confounded in the stages of the disease with Belladonna, but the evidences of cerebral erethism are much violent under Belladonna. Rhus and Bryonia are so different that no comparison can be made. One point, however, should be remembered, Rhus has usually diarrhoea and Bryonia usually constipation.

Arnica. [Arn]

      Arnica frequently fits in this disease most usefully. As above stated, it has many symptoms common to Baptisia and Rhus, yet its individual symptoms are marked. It is a remedy that is not so likely to be indicated early as Baptisia. There is a stupor, and indifference to everything, patients do not know that they are sick, and care less; they go to sleep while answering questions; the head is hot the body cool, and all over there is a bruised feeling; the patient tosses about the bed to find a soft spot; the stools and urine are in involuntary; there are ecchymoses and bed sores, petechiae appear all over the body; finally a condition of stupor arrives characterized by dropping of lower jaw. The three-legged stool of Arnica in this disease


1. The bruised, sore feeling all over the body.

2. The ecchymoses.

3. The involuntary stools and urine.

No other drug has this trio of characteristic.

Baehr places the remedy between Bryonia and Rhus.

Arsenicum. [Ars]

      This is one of the remedies for typhoid fever when the case begins to looks “bad”; but it is hardly ever indicated in the beginning of the disease, though Dr. J. S. Mitchell advocates it even here, and many authors recommend it from start to finish, but such routine practice is not Homoeopathy or even sense. The terrible prostration so characteristic of the drug is accompanied by an irritability and anxiety. The patient is faint and weak, exhausted, perhaps with cold sweat and delirium; the mouth and teeth are covered with sordes; the mouth is sore; there is a diarrhoea of dark, offensive stools, intense fever and the characteristic Arsenicum thirst. Like Rhus, there is restlessness, but it is rather a “prostrated restlessness” than a “rheumatic restlessness.” All the symptoms of Arsenicum are worse after midnight. An extremely red tongue has always been a guiding and characteristic symptoms of this remedy. When the thirst, the prostration, the red tongue, the picture of complete exhaustion, the diarrhoea and the prostrated restlessness are present in any given case Arsenicum is the only remedy to be thought of.

Cinchona [Chin]

      Has some similarity to Arsenicum in its debility, and it has also a tympanitic condition of the abdomen; and Colchicum should not be overlooked, as it sometimes stand midway between Arsenicum and Cinchona, having the great debility and restlessness of the former remedy and the tympany of the latter. Preponderance of abdominal symptoms should suggest Cinchona. It is also the remedy during convalescence.

Carbo vegetabilis. [Carb-v]

      This is another low down remedy; suitable when there is a giving out of vital forces and the patient seems on the brink of dissolution and lies pulseless and cold; feet and legs, especially below the knees, are cold. The discharges are horribly offensive and colliquative. The characteristics are the great prostration, the desire for air patient wants to be fanned all the time -and the cold extremities, which are frequently covered with cold perspiration; the sunken hippocratic face, cyanosis, ecchymoses and bed sores.

Lachesis. [Lach]

      This is a remedy also indicated in the later stages of typhoid, where the patient is in a stuporous condition; lower jaw dropped, perhaps a low muttering or loquacious delirium; all showing a tendency to cerebral paralysis; diarrhoea is present, and, like the preceding remedy, is offensive. The tongue is dry and catches on the teeth when it protrudes, also it trembles, here being similar to Apis; and in the dropping of the lower jaw and symptoms of paralysis of brain it should be distinguished from Opium, which has in addition a dark red face and stertorous breathing, and from Hyoscyamus, which is especially characterized by muscular twitchings. Nash places Nux moschata alongside of Opium in the nervous and stupid varieties of typhoid fever, giving as well known characteristics excessively dry mouth, no thirst and a stupid, silent, immovable condition. Another indication for Lachesis is haemorrhages; the blood from the bowels is dark; indeed, haemorrhages may occur from any orifice of the body. The general hypersensitiveness of the drug, if present, renders the choice certain.

Muriatic acid. [Mur-ac]

      Great weakness characterizes this remedy, great foetor of the breath, and ulceration of the mucous membrane. Salivary glands tender and swollen, mouth very sore. It corresponds th later stages, where putridity is prominent and the weakness is expressed as being so marked that he slips down to the foot of the bed. The tongue is so dry that it rattles in the moth. The diarrhoea is watery and often escapes while urinating; the heart is feeble, irregular and intermits every third beat. Bed sores are prone to form; petechiae and oedema of ankles.

Muriatic acid has many symptoms similar to Rhus; but decomposition is much more evident than under Rhus, and the acid rather follows than precedes Rhus.

Nitric acid and Millefolium occupy the first place in haemorrhages from the bowels.

Hamamelis is also a valuable remedy in the haemorrhage.

Terebinth and China also.

Trinks praises Muriatic acid in erethistic conditions too severe for Bryonia, too sthenic for Rhus, and not cerebral enough for belladonna.

Kali phosphoricum. [Kali-p]

      Clinically, at least, this remedy deserves a place among the great typhoid fever remedies. Provings of this drug thus far have been, to say the least, uncertain, having been made mostly with fluxion potencies of uncertain strength. A vast array of cases cured by this remedy. aside from the Schuesslerian idea, would indicate the following as being good Kali phosphoricum symptoms: a dry, brown tongue, foul and putrid diarrhoea, great debility, low pulse, offensive breath, sordes on teeth, with great mental depression; delirium. Tine blood seems extremely vitiated and full of the typhoid poison. All discharges are extremely offensive.

Gelsemium. [Gels]

      This is a remedy often indicated in the first stage, and especially in comparatively mild cases. The patient feels sore and bruised all over, as if pounded, there being also a dread of motion, headache, drowsiness, red face; the nervous symptoms are predominant. Patient is characteristically dull and apathetic, and looks and feels as if he were going to have a fit of sickness; but he does not care much, he never worries over his condition. Drooping eyelids in characteristic, it shows general languor and malaise. Trembling is scarcely less prominent. There is chilliness, full and flowing pulse, not resisting as in Aconite. Gelsemium usually precedes Baptisia, its symptoms being similar but milder. Nash says Baptisia leads when soreness is most prominent, and Gelsemium when prostration is most marked. The mind is clouded with Baptisia, not so much so with Gelsemium. Dr. G. J. Jones preferred Gelsemium to Baptisia, and he used the second dilution.

Phosphoric acid. [Ph-ac]

      Under this remedy we have characteristically sensorial depression, indifference and perfect apathy, but out of this condition he is easily aroused and is perfectly rational. There is apt to be nose bleed, and abdominal symptoms are plentiful. The abdomen is distended and bloated; there is much rumbling and gurgling and painless diarrhoea, stools often containing undigested matter. There may also be present intestinal haemorrhage. Like Arsenic, Baptisia and Colchicum, the tongue is dry and the teeth covered with sordes. With this remedy there is a characteristic aversion to conversation and patient is apt to lie with a stupid, fixed, glassy stare. Stramonium has the opposite of this-desire to talk and wild look.

Phosphorous has more sensorial excitement and more dryness of the tongue than Phosphoric acid. It is to Phosphoric acid that Arsenic is to Rhus. It is also the main remedy when pneumonia complicates.

Hyoscyamus. [Hyos]

      This remedy is quite likely to be required sooner or later in typhoid fever, for some symptoms at least; that is, there are times when it will accord with totality. In the early stage of the disease the delirium and the later the symptoms of cerebral paralysis may call for Hyoscyamus. It the delirium be furious or low and muttering, with picking at the bed clothes, and especially if subsultus tendinum be present, then Hyoscyamus is the remedy. Still later there may be dropping of the lower jaw, the patient being exceedingly weak and tremulous, with muscular twitchings as a prominent symptoms. With Hyoscyamus, too, we have involuntary stools. In the delirium there is much similarity between evidences of blood poisoning than Belladonna. This fact should be borne in mind in the treatment of typhoid fever, and drugs selected according to the totality of the symptoms; but the pathological condition should be taken into consideration in making up that totality.

Typhoid vaccine, whose use has been made officially obligatory in certain quarters and which produces extreme malaise and fatigue, has been employed with success by Waters in the Massachusetts Homoeopathic Hospital in the higher potencies, as the lower provoke aggravations in incipient cases. It has been declared convincing in its utility, both as preventive and a remedy for the actual disease. There seems to be no characteristic indicating feature, than that it is “good in Typhoid conditions.”.

W.A. Dewey
Dewey, Willis A. (Willis Alonzo), 1858-1938.
Professor of Materia Medica in the University of Michigan Homeopathic Medical College. Member of American Institute of Homeopathy. In addition to his editoral work he authored or collaborated on: Boericke and Dewey's Twelve Tissue Remedies, Essentials of Homeopathic Materia Medica, Essentials of Homeopathic Therapeutics and Practical Homeopathic Therapeutics.