Heavy Metals


A splinter-like sensation is characteristic for argentum nitricum on the mucous membranes, particularly the throat and the urethra is stressed. This stimulds goes farther, in the mouth and throat to general dryness with a feeling of soreness and roughness, particularly in the larynx, with much hawking in consequence to tenacious, thick mucus, up to hoarseness which is increased by use of the voice. Argentum metallicum is gladly used by singers and speakers when they have an aphonia after prolonged use of the voice. Also a dry cough which arises from laughing or tickling in the larynx or from a raw spot in the suprasternal notch, with considerable sputum is repeatedly mentioned. In argentum metallicum it is said to have the appearance of boiled starch. It approximates a severe intoxication when symptoms appear from the deeper respiratory organs: dyspnoea with a sensation of suffocation and desire for fresh air, worse in the horizontal position and better on moving about. We know that the respiratory symptoms in poisoning in animals take on a spasmodic picture up to paralysis of the diaphragm and respiratory standstill through paralysis of the diaphragm and respiratory standstill through paralysis of the respiratory center. The dyspnoea dependent upon meteorism in argentum is also to be recalled. Moreover a sensation of weakness is noted particularly in the left chest. If we put the symptoms from the respiratory organs together then the impression is increased that it is a nervous disturbance for which argentum is primarily adapted and that no sufficient support is present for the reports of laryngeal or pulmonary tuberculosis. The form of asthma and whooping cough coming under consideration also and indeed more often succumbs to the influence of the related copper. Great desire for fresh air and improvement on moving around are cited as indications.

The slight influence of silver on the heart, nocturnal palpitation without particular alteration of the cardiac action does not awaken much confidence in the old indication of angina pectoris. Palpitation and unrest in the cardiac region are obviously of a functional type; they are said to be aggravated by lying on the right side and improved by lying on the left side (counter pressure).

Marked inflammatory manifestations in the mouth, as burning, sore tongue, white coated tongue with swelling of the papilla, ulcers at the border of the tongue and margins of the cheeks, swelling, looseness and easy bleeding of the gums, inflammatory swelling of the soft palate and increased flow of saliva belong to the rarer manifestations. Together with the still to be mentioned emaciation they have been cited as indications in mercurial cach- exia. Of the further tendency to ulcerations in the throat, those of luetic origin should be particularly mentioned but this indication is extremely rarely employed.

The gastric complaints of argentum nitricum consist in severe gastralgias; a small spot between the navel and the xiphoid is very sensitive to pressure or in the stomach immediately under the short ribs there is a sticking pain like ulcer; attacks of gastric pain appear particularly towards midnight with nausea and tendency to vomiting which often increases up to gastric spasm, radiates in all directions, but particularly towards the chest impeding respiration and it is said to be relieved by pressure. Anorexia as well as ravenous hunger may occur. Likewise school therapy has employed argentum nitricum in gastralgia and in gastric ulcer but in massive doses and under the conception of an astringent action. It is not improbable that the results even in this therapy may depend upon the minimal fractions of silver succeeding in being absorbed, when the case is otherwise suitable for argentum nitricum with the close connection recognized today between vegetative gastric disturbances and the formation of ulcer it is understandable that argentum nitricum would prove it- self homoeopathically in functional gastric spasm as in gastric disturbances and the formation of ulcer it is understandable that argentum nitricum would prove itself homoeopathically in functional gastric spasm as in gastric ulcer. As the abdomen tends to meteorism, so the stomach is distended, with the sensation as though it would burst. In the gastric complaints there are frequent, tasteless eructations of air.

The evacuation of stools is accompanied by considerable flatus. The stools are diarrhoeic, at least, this is the most frequent action in the provings, and constipation is observed only in iso- lated instances as a late effect. The diarrhoeic stools are greenish and offensive, often (nocturnal) colicky pains precede. The diarrhoea is aggravated by sugar, for which a great desire exists, in spite of the fact that it is not borne well. Moreover the aggravation of the diarrhoea by drinking seems to have been clinically proven: diarrhoea as soon as the patient drinks; fluids seem to simply run through the stomach and intestine. For the nervous character of the diarrhoea speaks its aggravation through any mental commotion. That the disease lying at the basis of the diarrhoea in argentum nitricum is dysentery, typhoid, cholera, in which the remedy was formerly used by old physicians is in any case the exception. Better is the homoeopathic indication of chronic diarrhoea in children in whom there is a desire for sugar and a great emaciation and tympany is present.

The splinter-like pain in the urethra has already been mentioned in regard to the urinary organs. According to the provings there is also marked evidence of irritation in the urinary passages, with a sensation of swelling and ulceration, burning and cutting; also after dribbling of urine. One should recall through such symptoms the external use of argentum nitricum in gonorrhoea. For homoeopathic use these symptoms are not often employed although the first stage of gonorrhoea is cited as an indication. Not in the older provings but recently cited is an acute pain in the kidney region and along the ureter. By Americans this has given occasion for the treatment of renal colic due to stone. The oldest report that silver produces dropsy has led at one time to the question of nephrities, at another to hepatic cirrhosis. In many provings there is increased diuresis, frequent and copious evacuation of pale strongly smelling urine. Argentum metallicum is said to be useful in diabetes insipidus.

Initial increased and subsequent decrease of the male sexual impulse has obtained no clinical significance. In women the sensation of enlargement in the left ovarian region has been mentioned for argentum metallicum. Otherwise there are still single manifestations of increased rush of blood toward the genitalia; now transient appearance of bleeding between the menses, feeling as though the menses would appear marked sexual excitation. But these symptoms are rarely employed and best then in connection with states of nervous excitement, anxiety and restlessness in women at the menopause. Apparently taken over from the local actions of argentum nitricum is the indication in erosion of the cervix 648 with copious, yellow, excoriating leucorrhoea and frequent bleeding from the ulcerated sites. A symptom referring to this is also: bleeding from the vagina after intercourse.

Besides the outstanding influence of silver on the nervous system we have with argentum nitricum a series of irritative manifestations ions on the mucous membranes and indeed exactly on those on which the external application is common in school therapy (mouth and throat, stomach, urethra, cervix uteri). To these the mucous membrane of the eye must be added. There is a severe redness and swelling of the conjunctiva with profuse, yellow, purulent, bland secretion, the eye lashes are especially involved and the caruncula lacrimalis is swollen. The purulent granular conjunctivitis should be especially suitable for the homoeopathic use of argentum nitricum. It is also recommended in blenorrhoea.

In the affinity for the mucous membrane the nitrate fraction of silver nitrate is obvious. The increased nitrogen transformation gives a basis for the comprehension of the cachexia appearing after too prolonged use of silver nitrate. Thus there is a type which is particulary suitable for argentum nitricum: wasted people with pale, grey downcast facies or children who seem strikingly old. The progressive emaciation is an important indication n most argentum maladies which slowly progress.


Chief Trends:

1. Nervous system (holds for argentum metallicum as well as argentum nitricum).

Weakness of memory, restlessness, hastiness, anxiety (argentum metallicum involves the intellect, argentum nitricum more the disposition).

Headache in the left eminentia frontalis, sensation of enlargement; better from dorsalis.

Vertigo, epilepsy, tabes dorsalis.

Lancinating neuralgias, paraesthesias.

2. Mucous membranes (holds more for argentum nitricum).

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,