Heavy Metals

Nausea and vomiting of acid, black and yellow masses (with blood or bile) with great exhaustion, cold sweat, anxiety, restlessness, trembling of the lower jaw (constriction of the pharynx), icy coldness and thirst, suggest an acute picture like arsenic particularly when diarrhoea is added. But while arsenic is indicated at the beginning of an acute febrile state, it is asserted that cadmium is suitable after the cessation of fever and indeed when the patient wishes to be left completely alone. As far as I know there is no suggestion of this in the symptoms of the provings. Cadmium has been recommended in yellow fever. In gastric carcinoma with constant vomiting cadmium sulphate has been recommended in yellow fever. In gastric carcinoma with constant vomiting cadmium sulphate has proven palliative. A peculiar symptom is the sensation of shuddering with gooseflesh after drinking cold water, for which a desire exists (similar as with capsicum). Sensation of chilliness even when near a fire is a further symptoms in this sense.

A second trend of cadmium sulfuricum on the nasal mucous membrane which is said to have found clinical confirmation is ozaena. In one or two cases personal prescriptions have yielded no convincing impression. The similarity with mercury is distinct here. The inflammation in the nose may go on to ulceration and caries of the bones with an odor like that of ulcer or cancer (compare aurum and kali bichromicum).

In chronic scrofulous inflammations of the nose and conjunctiva, cadmium perhaps deserves greater esteem but mercury is used much more commonly.

Moreover two cases of facial paresis have been reported cured by cadmium sulfuricum. However in these instances one may doubt the “propter hoc.” In this respect it is probable that a zinc-and mercury-like action could be worked out better in the future. In the proving are twitching, trembling and many paraesthesia (sensation of going to sleep in parts, formication and crawling, numb sensation of the nose) are noted.


Until further provings have given precision to the drug picture, one can make trials with cadmium sulfuricum in ozaena, finally also in scrofulous nose and eye inflammations, as a palliative in the constant vomiting of gastric carcinoma and will take the desire for lying entirely still and chilly sensation after drinking and even in the proximity to a fire into consideration as a guiding symptom.


Up to the present the middle potencies (D 4-D 6) have been employed mostly.


Mercury, hydrargyrum, Hg, is a chalkophilic element in the earth. Characterized by a strong affinity for sulphur, it appears predominantly as red cinnabar (HgS) in the earth and is contained from it by roasting.


It is found in traces as a foreign substance in the organism. Here also its relation to sulphur is significant. Mercury once ingested is mobilized by sulphur (hydrogen sulphide and polysulphides) and excreted. This is well known from sulphur baths. More over it is probable that its chemical action on the protein compounds of the organism is effected through the sulphur containng group (cystin or gultathion).

The special toxicity of this inert, that is, not easily oxidized metal, is associated with the fact that it is liquid at ordinary temperature and volatilizes easily. Without special preparation it can, under ordinary conditions, also appear in reciprocal actions with the organism and therefore easily provoke acute poisoning. But thereby the state of division is decisive. Compact masses pass through the intestine without exerting other than a mechanical action; the more finely divided the metal, the more rapid and stronger its action on the organism, other conditions remaining equal.

For the trend and the intensity of actions of mercury the chemical form is important. Apart from the toxicity of the molecular vapor form, free mercury ions of the salts act most directly. The more dissociable the mercury compound is the stronger the acute action at the first site of contact. This can be determined by measuring the lethal action on bacteria by the various salts.

The rapid formation of mercury albuminate precipitates expresses itself as cell and tissue fixation. The immediate, disinfecting action depends on this. Sublimate, HgCl2, mercurius corrosivus kills cholera bacilli even in a dilution of 1:1,000,000 (D 6). But on the other side stimulating actions from smaller doses are known. The old investigations of H. Schulz for the support of the Arndt-Schuls rule report a stimulation of the fermentative capacity of yeast cells in a dilution of the sublimate at 1:800,000. The growth of micrococcus pyogenes will be promoted most markedly in a dilution of 10-6 682

If the dissociation of a mercury compound and the dependent diffusion velocity is important for the rapidity of action, then the duration of the effect will be influenced by the solubility of the compound given or formed. The relation of sodium chloride is particularly significant here. Angerer’s sublimate pastilles contain as addition of sodium chloride so that in the solution a double salt, HgCl4Na2, is formed. By this the transient protein precipitating and bactericidal action of the pure sublimate is reduced, but the solubility is maintained longer.

It is a fact of experience that mercury preparations have a more marked action on the sea coast and in sailors (Lewin). Perhaps this has its basis in the fact that mercury albuminate is soluble in an excess of protein and sodium chloride and circulates as mercury albuminate-sodium chloride. Through the excess of sodium chloride in the tissue fluids solubility is favored and thereby the action of mercury we must ascribe to its great tendency to the formation of complex compounds. In complex poorly soluble form it is taken up, as all heavy metals chiefly by the reticulo- endothelial tissues. Moreover the duration of stay and absorption in the organism is certainly decisive for the action at sites which are remote from the place of absorption and excretion.


This is important for the choice of the mercury preparation. Univalent mercurius compounds basically are not derived from a univalent mercury ion but probably a complex combination of divalent mercury salts with a mercurius atom itself, for example, Hg.HgCl2 = calomel, mercurius dulcis. The slight dissociation of the so-called mercurius compounds is associated with this. They have a less acute local action but a longer stay by virtue of which they can exert other types of action than the easily dissociable pure salts. For this reason a complex compound as mercurius solubis Hahnemanni, chiefly mercurius amido nitrate, NH2Hg2NO3, is in no way superfluous. Because of its admixture of free mercury this preparation stands very close to mercurius vivus

If even the solubility and absorption factors of mercury establishes a guide for mercury in the organism, then this is still more evident in the compound in which mercury is employed; thus HgI2 or Hg (CN)2 approaches the halogens in its easily dissociable halogen ion in respect to a special affinity for the throat. The organic complex compounds of mercury are prepared with the intent of lessening toxicity and they make possible a more prolonged stay then the inorganic compounds and thereby a more chronic but at the same time a different type of action of mercury; thus with novasurol and salyrgan the inflammatory irritant effect of mercury on the kidney and perhaps also on the tissues is weakened in favor of the diuresis. Formerly calomel was also employed in cardiac oedema.

Also especially distinct in mercury is the alteration of affinity of the site of attack, in the chronic action of small doses. As with all heavy metals the action of the central nervous system then comes to expression most strongly. The excretion into the cerebrospinal fluid is thereby determining.


Whether and to what extent mercury is active in the organism in ionic form and how far as soluble complex compounds is still entirely unknown. But even if it came to action in the most active ion form, the dilution in the organism at which for example therapeutic actions are observed from the usual inunction therapy could not possibly be sufficient for disinfection, for the killing of spirochetes. Because this dilution is estimated at most as 1:1,000,000 (D 6), 683 which would be insufficient for disinfection even under the most favorable conditions of a watery solution. But in the simultaneous presence of other protein substances this cannot even be considered. Schade therefore considers that mercury acts as a catalysor or as an activator of a catalysor already present, perhaps of a ferment or with still less presumption, defense mechanism, then we obtain the conception which is now universal for all chemotherapeutic substances, namely, that the cooperation of the organism is indispensable for their antibacterial action. The increase of defense activity lies primarily in the reticulo-endothelial system in which all poisons like mercury are stored.

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,