Constitutional Diseases

Constitutional Diseases like eczema, dermatitis, shingles( herpes), psoriasis, urticaria, icththyosis and warts have been discussed in respect to their pathology, cause, homeopathic treatment with diet and general management by wilhelm karo….



ECZEMA is a superficial, inflammatory, non-contagious skin disease. It is the most frequent and important of all skin affections. It is most common amongst children, 30 per cent. of all cases concern children. Generally speaking, eczema is more frequent in men than it is among women.

Eczema usually develops gradually in a typical way. The different forms of development are sometimes found in one and the same patient, combined as vesicles, pustules, crusts, etc.

The typical course of an eczema is as follows. It begins with the symptoms of an acute inflammatory redness of the skin, accompanied often by the intolerable itching and burning, especially in the folds of the skin. Some cases are accompanied by high temperature, especially when the eczema is located in the face. OEdema is very often present. These cases resemble erysipelas and the different diagnosis might be difficult in some cases. The right treatment usually cures the disease right away. But where treatment is unsuccessful the chronic form develops; characterized by thickening of the skin, infiltration and the formation of scabs or of a moist surface. This period may last long.

The second period of eczema is characterized by small red papules either in small patches or diffused over the cheeks or hands, or any other part of the body, accompanied by intense itching and burning. Nothing can restrain the patient from scratching the affected parts, which become a mass of blood, pus and scabs.

The third period of eczema is characterized by the formation of vesicles, containing a yellowish liquid. The vesicles burst either spontaneously or by scratching, forming a raw moist surface, from which a colourless discharge oozes, which, when it dries, forms yellowish crusts. These crusts are only slightly attached to the skin. Moistness is the characteristic symptom of this period.

When the liquid discharge becomes infected, as if often does, the so-called pustular eczema develops, characterized by large, thick, yellowish scabs and crusts, very easily loosening and forming again, thus making the disease chronic. In chronic cases the most different changes occur, such as warty developments, cracks and ulcers of the skin. Any part of the body is liable to become affected. The face is most frequently affected in children, the hands, abdomen and extremities in adults. So is the region of the genital organs, especially the scrotum.

What is the cause of eczema?

We must differentiate between local and constitutional causes. Regarding the constitutional causes I refer to my statements in the first chapter. I repeat that accumulation of toxic slags is the cause of nearly all skin troubles. A healthy body, which means freedom from poisonous slags, has a healthy skin and never gets an eczema or any other skin trouble.

On the other hand patients born with a psoric or scrofulous inheritance have usually a very weak and delicate skin. The slightest internal or external irritation in such cases may result in the development of a chronic skin disease like eczema or dermatitis.

As to external causes, the application of irritating or corroding medicaments, exposure to intensive sunrays or hot fires, burning or freezing friction by too tight clothes, etc., may cause an attack.

Treatment. I will not deal with the treatment of cases due to external causes, because these cases are better termed dermatitis. That means, eczema is a condition due to disturbance of the chemical or metabolic balance of the body.

The rational treatment of eczema must be dietetic and homoeopathic, whilst the local treatment should be restricted to some alleviating measures.

I. The dietetic treatment must be adapted to the constitution of the patient. That means, the diet for a weakened, emaciated patient must be quite different from that given to a robust and vigorous patient. Meat is forbidden for all patients. Generally speaking, a lacto-vegetarian diet with an abundance of fresh fruits and salads, is the ideal diet for anaemic, psoric patients. Uncooked food according to Bircher Benner is the diet for plethoric and vigorous patients.

When treating chronic cases I usually start the dietetic treatment with fruit-fasting days must be interposed between days of real vegetarian diet. The following scheme will be instructive:

Sunday: Fruit-fasting day.

(a) Breakfast: 1 glass of fruit juice, 4 ozs. various fresh fruits and nuts.

(b) Lunch: 1-2 glasses of fruit juice, 6 ozs. fresh fruits and nuts.

(c) Supper: 1 glass of fruit juice, 3 ozs. fresh fruits.

If the patient suffers from thirst, more fruit juice is allowed.

The patient must keep in bed or at least on the couch.

Monday and Tuesday: Any quantity of cooked or raw vegetable, lettuce salads, potatoes, milk, wholemeal bread, butter.

Wednesday: Fruit-fasting day like on Sunday.

Thursday.-Full vegetarian diet and 1 egg.

Friday.-Fruit-fasting day.

Saturday: Full lacto-vegetarian diet and 1 egg.

During the whole week the patient is allowed to drink milk according to his own desire.

Regarding Dr. Guelpa’s fast cure. I modify the scheme as follows: I start with one fast day. That means the patient takes on an empty stomach early in the morning 2 table spoonfuls of Glauber Salt in a tumblerful of lukewarm water mixed with fruit juice. No solid food whatsoever is allowed during the whole day. The patient may drink as much mineral water as he likes.

On the second day lettuce salads, vegetable soups and fresh fruits are given in unrestricted quantity.

On the third day full lacto-vegetarian diet, especially uncooked food are given.

On the fourth and fifth days, fast cure with Glauber Salt.

On the sixth, seventh and eighth days full vegetarian diet with small quantities of wholemeal bread and butter.

On the ninth and tenth days again, fast cure with Glauber Salt.

Then a whole week’s real vegetarian diet.

The results of such a cure are most striking. But of course such a cure must be carefully supervised. The Guelpa cure detoxicates the whole organism, cleanse the bowels and stimulates all vital functions.

The dietetic treatment must be most carefully individualized according to the patient’s constitution.

As to the homoeopathic treatment, I use Antimonium crudum, Arnica, Belladonna, Calcarea carbonica, Graphites, Mercurius vivus, Mercurius praecipitatus ruber, Petroleum, Psorinum, Sulphur and Tartaricum emeticus, according to the indications.


Dermatitis means an acute inflammation of the skin, due to any external irritation, whilst eczema is an inflammatory process due to internal i.e., constitutional causes.

We differentiate between the following varieties of dermatitis: (a) The traumatic dermatitis. It is due to injuries such as bruises, contusions, blows. The treatment of such cases consists of cleansing the affected skin and protecting it with sterile gauze soaked with Calendula or Arnica.

(b) The caloric dermatitis. It is a condition, due either to cold or to heat. Heat provokes three different forms of pathological conditions: 1. Burning, redness and swelling of the skin.

2. Vesicles and blisters.

3. Destruction of the skin, resulting in ulcers and scabs.

These local affections can be associated with serious general symptoms: diarrhoea, nervous disorders, delirium, kidney affections, sometimes ending fatally.

If we remember that the skin has to play an important part in keeping the body healthy, we will understand that the destruction of a large part of the skin either by heat or by cold must be a very serious injury.

The changes of the skin due to cold are as follows: 1. White patches, loss of sensation, slight itching.

2. Vesicles and blisters, sometimes containing blood.

3. Destruction of the skin, resulting in ulcers.

Treatment. Apis, Arnica and Cantharis are our homoeopathic drugs for both conditions.

The local treatment of burns of the first degree are compresses soaked with warm diluted spirit or with diluted Arnica tincture. The serious cases of ulcerations must be carefully treated with ointments of Arnica, Calendula,

Hamamelis, or with sterile compresses soaked with tinctures of these drugs. Chilblains must be treated with snow or cold compresses. Ulcers due to cold must be treated in the same way as ulcer due to burns.

Drugs like Agaricus muscarius, Carbo vegetabilis, Crot. horridus, Cantharis, Hepar sulphuris, Sulphur, Lachesis, Lycopodium, Petroleum, Secale cornutum must be considered in serious cases on their indications.

(c) Toxic dermatitis. That means an inflammation of the skin due to poisonous plants or minerals. Several different pathological conditions can occur, such as erythemata, papules, vesicles, pustules, accompanied by burning, itching and oedema. If the face is affected, the condition often resembles a real erysipelas. Many plants cause such a dermatitis, especially in people suffering from an allergic disposition. I mention poison ivy and Rhus toxicodendron.

Another form of toxic dermatitis is met amongst certain professions. Many surgeons suffer from dermatitis of their hands due to mercury or carbolic acid. Washer-women, dyers or miners suffer from similar affections. The treatment must aim at excluding anything that causes the toxic condition.

Wilhelm Karo
Wilhelm Karo MD, homeopath circa mid-20th century, author of the following books - Homeopathy in Women's Diseases; Diseases of the Male Genital Organs; Urinary and prostatic troubles - enlargement of the prostate; Rheumatism; Selected Help in Diseases of the Respiratory System, Chest, etc; Selected Help in Children's Diseases; Diseases of the skin.