Heavy Metals

The salts are lethal on protozoa in about the same dilution and the metal content as the colloid of the same metal. But according to investigations it seems that the influence of the colloidal metal is less on the ferments than that of the salts. It is worthy of note that small amounts of silver hydrosol activates the diastatic ferment of the liver and of the blood serum. The acceleration of autolysis, that is, the self digestion of an organ through its own enzymes, has been demonstrated with all hydrosols investigated and silver belongs to the hydrosols which promote the autolysis in minimal amounts. While normally the uric acid arising in autolysis is subjected to further destruction through a uricolytic ferment, this action will be depressed by silver hydrosol.Silver hydrosol action on autolysis can be poisoned by minimal traces of HCN and likewise in its capacity to destroy hydrogen peroxide. 640 This is also a type of catalysis and it is a support for the conception that the action or bacteria is catalytic. And what may be presumed on single micro- organisms is an acceleration of the process of oxidation which has been confirmed by the metabolism of the total organism. According to Ascoli and Izar 641 silver hydrosol, which however must be stabilized with gelatin, increases nitrogen metabolism and indeed chiefly the nuclein metabolism in that a significant increase in uric acid occurs in the urine. The stabilized silver hydrosol thereby contains amounts of silver salts which qualitatively exert analogous actions. Thus it is understandable that at the end of a very long maintained introduction of silver emaciation and cachexia can develop, as also with other chronic metal poisonings.

All these actions on microorganisms and bacterio-toxins, on normal ferments and enzymes of autolysis and on nitrogen metabolism are not peculiar to silver. Special effectiveness of silver in infectious diseases is entirely missed in our drug picture. It is not concerned with a reaction on the organism which is specially limited to silver, but here expresses only a group affinity. And even in these non-specific actions there are quantitative relationships so that one can refer to the catalytic effectiveness of smallest amounts. How slight indeed the concentration may be in biologic actions is evident precisely with silver! Walbum 642 has seen actions of silver nitrate in artificial tar tumors of mice in concentrations which correspond to D 23.


If we would learn the effect field of silver, whether as the metal, or as the nitrate, we must place our trust in the results of provings on the healthy. With silver we have outside of the original provings of Hahnemann 643 on 9 provers and an extensive reproving by the Austrian proves and indeed by I.O. Muller of argentum nitricum with 7 proves (and females as well) 644 and a self investigation of Huber with Argentum met. 645 In the extensive work of Muller one finds the entire history of silver and its use discussed in detail. A further proving of argentum metallicum is found in Hering. 646


The action on the nervous system stands out as the chief trend of silver in the organism and indeed especially on the central; the silver maladies have a slowly progressing deep penetrating character. The tendency to involve the nervous system seems (according to I.O. Muller) to have first been recognized by Paracelsus as his “virtus cephalica.” A series of psychic and mental symptoms appear in the provings in which argentum metallicum affects the intellect alone; in argentum nitricum it is especially the behavior which is involved. In both there is blunting of thought, weakness of memory and loss of it. All mental and head symptoms are aggravated by mental effort. In argentum nitricum it is expressed especially as a general trembling weakness with anxiety and mental restlessness, anxiety as if something terrible was to happen, or that death would occur or some planned undertaking would go amiss. Likewise hastiness is striking, tendency to impulsive acts, for example to thrust the feet through the window. Hahnemann states: anxiety which makes him move rapidly. Time goes much too slowly for the argentum nitricum patient (as with cannabis indica). There is great desire to arrive at the right time; through this diarrhoea can be provoked. With the great weakness there is great bodily unrest and nervous excitation, in isolated instances convulsions at short intervals. The nervous exhaustion is expressed in other cases in a propensity for sleep. In the anxiety there is another accompanying symptom, the tympany which embarrasses the breathing of the patient. An important symptom for argentum in general is vertigo and lack of recollection, “a kind of intoxication,” according to Hahnemann; in one case “semi-sleep with vertigo with a kind of convulsive shaking of the body as in epilepsy” occurred. This type of vertigo has become the homoeopathic indication for the use of silver in epilepsy, for the so called epileptic vertigo or for epilepsy with much vertigo, particularly at night. Hahnemann did not consider the empiric fame of argentum in the usual type of epilepsy as plausible and asserted that the cures could be traced back to the copper content. In actuality copper was much more frequently employed in epilepsy than silver. Moreover amongst the severe manifestations of poisoning with silver nitrate a case is described in which the attacks closely resembled epilepsy: “complete loss of consciousness with absolute loss of sensation, convulsive movements of the upper extremities, face and trismus; eyeballs fixed and directed to wards above; pupils widened and insensitive (against light?). Later deep coma with loss of sensitivity which lasted two hours and for two days recurred paroxysmally.” 647 In a case of epilepsy with the other symptoms referring closely to argentum nitricum there was no doubt in my mind of a healing action. Transient blindness is also observed in the vertigo of argentum. Together with the peripheral nerve manifestations and the vertigo we perceive the indication for the use of locomotor ataxia or beginning tabes dorsalis. In particular uncertain standing and walking, also in the dark and after severe mental effort is cited.

Headaches are practically never absent in silver provings; they are severe, boring, pulsating and an especially frequent site is the left eminentia frontalis, for example, in Muller’s proving. This preference for the left side in argentum nitricum has also been demonstrated in other respects: the left side should be strikingly weak. At the height of an attack of hemicrania there may be vomiting of bile and in general the entire organism is involved so that the patient feels miserable and weak. At times the attacks of pains have an out-spoken 24 hour periodicity, 11- 12 in the morning being cited as the aggravation time for argent- um nitricum show a nocturnal or early morning aggravation. A feeling of enlargement of the head is reported many times in the provings so that the entire head feels puffy and distended. This feeling as though a part of the body was distended, is generally considered as more characteristic for argentum nitricum; it recurs in the tympanitic abdomen and the sensation of enlargement with pain in the ovarian region. The headache is relieved

by pressure and firm bandaging, particularly when the sensation of enlargement is present. Cold is also said to relieve. Overuse of the eyes, particularly from close work is also said to aggravate.

A series of complaints appear in the peripheral nerves. Dental pains are aggravated by contact with cold water. Drawing pains in the left infraorbital region, in the lower jaw and the teeth are mentioned many times so that argentum nitricum comes into considerations for facial neuralgia. Neuralgic pains are observed especially frequently in the sternum and the ribs, in the region of the sternal junction of the fifth left rib and along the entire border of the left lower ribs. These pains are aggravated by contact. Severe, cutting, drawing, lancinating pains go through to the back, along to the sacrum and shoot like lightning through the arms and legs. Crawling as if insects were on the skin; sticking and biting in the skin, feeling of part going to sleep, complete the picture from the sensory side; the tendency to trembling and convulsions, the heaviness, fatigue and stiffness especially in the calves from the motor side. It has already been stated that the peripheral symptoms have led to use in diseases of the spinal cord, in particular tabes, but they may offer still other signs for silver.

Newer reports, Particularly from the American side, that argentum metallicum has special association to the joints, bones and cartilages appear to go back to Heber’s self-investigation. But when one reads through the symptoms of the proving, then there is no occasion for such a conception as it is brought to expression ion Huber’s summary of his work. Even if in his report, pains as if dislocated and bruised, recur very frequently and often about the region of the joints, still these symptoms speak for the peripheral neuralgias and a participation of the bones, cartilages and joints is in no way made probable. By American and French authors (Boericke, Jousset) a contraction of the finger and partial paralysis of the forearm is cited for argentum metallicum and taken as indications for writer’s cramp. Of the peripheral sensations tickling and itching as from the crawling of insects on the most diverse parts of the skin is most frequent, also in the anus, and at times itch-like stippling. This nervous itching has occasion Sellention to employ argentum in pruritus.

Otto Leeser
Otto Leeser 1888 – 1964 MD, PHd was a German Jewish homeopath who had to leave Germany due to Nazi persecution during World War II, and he escaped to England via Holland.
Leeser, a Consultant Physician at the Stuttgart Homeopathic Hospital and a member of the German Central Society of Homeopathic Physicians, fled Germany in 1933 after being expelled by the German Medical Association. In England Otto Leeser joined the staff of the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital. He returned to Germany in the 1950s to run the Robert Bosch Homeopathic Hospital in Stuttgart, but died shortly after.
Otto Leeser wrote Textbook of Homeopathic Materia Medica, Leesers Lehrbuch der Homöopathie, Actionsand Medicinal use of Snake Venoms, Solanaceae, The Contribution of Homeopathy to the Development of Medicine, Homeopathy and chemotherapy, and many articles submitted to The British Homeopathic Journal,