Heavy Metals


The gold therapy of syphilis is by no means a production of modern medicine nor of homoeopathy. Paracelsus employed it in syphilis and leprosy. With the decline of the alchemists and the iatrochemists, gold again diminished in therapy, obviously because the art of preparation of useful forms was lost. Indeed a remedy always become obsolete when the suitable form or suitable domain of use is forgotten. However gold therapy had a brief period of blossoming from 1810-1830, particularly in France. Then this old drug again fell without notice into the grave of obsolete remedies and only in most recent times was again discovered as something entirely new, according to new methods, with many new compounds and names.

In contrast to the fashion of the school at least homoeopathy has acted differently since the continuity of gold therapy has persisted there during the last 100 years. This is not to be understood as mere conservatism on the part of homoeopathic physicians but it lies grounded in the method; when the basic lines for the domain of employment in the sick have once been es- tablished on the healthy man and removed from the up and down of empiric recommendation, then the fate of a drug no longer depends upon the praising or rejecting opinions; then the domain of action can be most precisely fixed and the possibilities and the limits of agents are ensured so far that the failure in a single case is to be ascribed more to erroneous indications or errors in the dose rather than the correctness of earlier observations on the healthy and their (obtained on the basis of symptom similarity) confirmation in patients, can be drawn into doubt.

As Hahnemann introduced gold into his materia medica after a proving on himself and other pupils about 1818, the curve of the medicinal use of gold was also on the increase in the remainder of medicine. In his apothecaries lexicon of 1795 (p. 368) Hahnemann held the medicine powers of gold in the sense of the prevailing opinion of the time, as very slight because of its in- solubility and suggested that apparent actions might be ascribed to the international or accidental admixture of copper. Also the apparent cardiac strengthening power of the old esteemed aurum potabile (etheral extract of gold 16:1 dissolved in aqua regia)he did not ascribe to gold.

In 1811 Chretien 649 again brought gold into fashion especially for the treatment of syphilis although since Paracelsus and Glauber 650 it was recommended now and then for this purpose. At first Chretien employed gold oxide (Au2O), gold chloride (H.AuCl4) and aurum muriaticum natron (NaCl. AuCl3) later he reported that finely dividend gold had the same action only milder. He permitted the patient to rub the gold into his tongue with the finger and from this perlingual application (likewise this has been rediscovered anew from time to time!) saw good results. There formed a correct party that gold results. There formed a correct party that gold was the remedy for syphilis and they held that mercury was ineffective and dangerous. 651 In 1825 Hahnemann 652 still mentioned nothing of the reappearance of gold therapy but cited only the Arabian and ancient authors. As he made his first attempt withfinely dividend gold (after an initial trial with a gold solution) (that is, before 1818), perhaps Chretien’s work was unknown to him.

When one compares purely clinically the indications for gold from the diagnosis of a century before with the homoeopathic, then there is scarcely any difference. Thereby one need not depend upon the animated gold therapeutists as Legrand, Niel, Percy, Gozzi, Destouches, who places gold far above mercury, but in the text books of that time, such as Vogt’s 653 one finds a great number of gold indications which later again have fallen into oblivion.

The old indications in melancholia, hypochondriasis, imbecility and chronic spasms were well known and also through observations of the stimulating actions of gold on the entire nervous system, and explained particularly on the brain (Niel, Percy). But still Vogt states that there are no observations of recent times, “if one will omit Hahnemann’s exaggerations.”

Gold was recommended as slowly working in syphilis where mercury has already been given without result or was poorly tolerated. “It often initially increased the symptoms which it later heals” reports Vogt and he cites examples of this.

Chretien and his followers also used gold with results in scrofula when the patient was not too old. Also in this respect gold is similar to mercury, even if not so active. With many folks carrying of gold rings in the ears is considered a defensive agent and curative remedy against scrofulosis and other maladies.

In uterine cancer, especially scirrhus (Grotzner), resuots have been reported with gold and this indication also has been incorporated in homoeopathy.

Furthermore in glandular tumors and indurations, even if not of a syphilitic or scrofulous nature, but particularly inflammatory induration and nodules in the tongue, then, in the various chronic maladies of the skin gold was reported as yielding results.

Also the ancient indication, mentioned even by Pliny, of gold for “dropsy” was again introduced a century ago with success, especially in hepatic cirrhosis in drinkers. Finally general “chronic” persistent inflammations, even phthisis, were reported, and this corresponds to the newest reports.

In this enumeration one misses the very ancient indication of cardiac weakness and, if one adds the homoeopathic use, the connection to the arteries, in particular to sclerotic processes. That this most important affinity for the understanding of gold action did not remain lost from the frequent use, even if it was not clinically utilized, proceeds from the numerous descriptions of that time.

The excitation of the arterial system which increases fever after excessive use, Chretien held as a pre-condition for the healing. At first gold increases the secretions especially of the urine and sweat; on the other side Gozzi has observed suppression of the urine and sweat from the misuse of gold. Chretien reports general erethism, inflammation of this or that organ, indeed according to the disposition, from too long continued use.


The homoeopathic provings of aurum and aurum preparations are found:

1. Hahnemann: Reine Arzneimittellehre, Aufl. Bd. 4, Chronische Krankheiten, Bd. 2 (Aurum met. and aur. mur.).

2. Molin: Bull. de la soc. med. hom. de Paris Bd. 1, Seit, 19, 1845 (Aurum mur. and aur. sulf.).

3. Buchner: Neue Ztschr. f. hom. Klinik, Bd. 4, S. 208 and Bd. 8, Nr. 24 (aur. mur.).

4. Eberle: ibid. (Aurum mur.).

5. Lembke: Neue Ztschr. f. hom. Klink, Bd. 11, S. 17 (Aurum met., aur. mur., aur. mur. natr.).

6. Hering: Metcalf’s Hom. Provings, p. 215 (aur. met.).

7. Burnett: Gold as a remedy in disease, 1879 (aur. met.).

8. Robinson: Brit. Journ. of Hom., vol. 25, p. 321 (aur. met.).

9. Shelton: N.A.J. of Hom., vol. 34, p. 485 (aur. met.).

10. Assmann: Deut. Ztschr. f. Hom., 1929, S. 245 (aur. colloid).


For the comprehension of the drug picture of aurum one proceeds best from the action on the arterial vascular system. This is distinctly evident from all provings, also from the newest by Assmann which were performed with the 30, 15, and 6th decimal potencies. A sensation of heat with rush of blood, waves to the head, pressure sensation, heaviness, dullness and sensation of vertigo in the head, rushing and weaving in the head (as if one sat in rushing water), noises, rushing and swishing in the ears with diminution of heating, thereby variable cold and hot sensation: sensation of cold over the entire body, later increased sensation of heat, striking waves in the blood, just as if it boiled in the arteries, facial heat with cold hands and feet; chill at evening and in bed; the leg up to the knee is cold as ice; sensation of numbness in the arms and legs, soon after awakening, more apparent on lying still. The improvement of symp- toms by walking in the open air, the general aggravation by cold as well as through mental effort is easily understood on the basis of these vasomotor symptoms. To these are added the cardiac and pulse symptoms: severe palpitation and extraordinary dread, desire for sleep and fatigue in all extremities; at times a single very marked heart beat, oppression of the heart which compels deep breathing which relieves (aur. mur., D 4, Buchner), sensation as though the heart ceased beating 2-3 seconds and then suddenly began with a strong beat; oppression on the chest with feeling of anxiety; irregular heart beat with anxiety and dyspnoea; severely irregular heart; in one prover with aur. colloid. D 6, immediately after ingestion, slowing of the pulse which readily became irregular, at times the beat ceased and thereby the blood pressure fell from 112 to 95, a demonstration which must be tested further.

This great unrest and irregularity in the arterial system the older observers had described as arterial erethism and which on the re-introduction of gold therapy led to febrile states with transient chills. It is clear that in homoeopathy gold and its salts are important agents for such reactions in the heart and vascular system which have their origin in vasomotor disturbances as well as organic factors. Particularly arterial hypertension, the sclerosis of the coronary and cerebral vessels are important indications. But also there is a marked influence on the secretion of urine-at first increased, but later even suppressed, which forms an indication for nephrosclerosis. In this respect aurum is, in general, more suitable for the larger arteries and those of the upper part of the body while plumbum involves the arterioles especially of the kidneys (nephrosclerosis).

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,