Heavy Metals

Now the use of the same defense system insufficiently explains the etiotrophy which must be assumed to have a certain degree of specificity between mercury and spirochetes. A non-specific action or an increased defense mechanism to the spirochetes must still be awakened by the mercury. It is certainly no accident that (similarly as with arsenic) as a catalysor mercury is able to excite the defense mechanisms exactly against those bacteria, which are especially susceptible to mercury ions in the test tube. One can explain this grade of specificity so that mercury, like an opsonin, prepares the spirochete catalytically for the attack, without destroying them by its own power. In any case mercury is a suitable intermediator between the defense mechanism of the reticulo-endothelial system (perhaps as lysins) and the spirochetes. Such catalytic intermediary reactions finally are also physico-chemical reactions, only on another plane. They also presume a physico-chemical affinity between the bacterium and the chemical poison. The property of a chemical substance to serve as such a intermediating catalysor cannot however br determined in the test tube, that is, under such infinitely simplified conditions for it also requires the conditions, the medium of the organism. To the further and more exact indications for the suitability of such materials also belongs the fact that they act on the same defense system and with the greatest possible similarity of defense phenomena-as signs of the defense mechanism-as the damaging bacteria. Presumptions from this angle lead to the simile rule. And indeed in lues and mercury with great distinctiveness. The similarity of mercury symptoms with those of lues, primarily on the skin, mucous membranes and the glands dependent upon them is notorious. But the same “way” also holds for scrofula and therefore mercury frequently comes into question here as a healing remedy.

Outside of the enrichment in definite tissues, particularly in the reticulo-endothelial system, the chief site of defense against the toxins of micro-organisms, the sites of excretion are essential for the course of mercury actions. All the sites mentioned can come into considerations for excretion. But which one will be preferred and which produce toxic manifestations after mercury enrichment, amongst other things depends on the preparation; thus calomel especially affects the biliary passages and the intestine, biniodide and cyanide of mercury, particularly the throat, the stormy sublimate very rapidly inflames the oral mucosa, the kidneys and the large intestine. In the more protractedly acting metallic mercury, as in inunction cures and in mixtures of metallic mercury with complex compounds, for example mercurius solublis, excretion in the saliva and sweat obtains significance. In mercurius praecipitatus ruber, HgO, the ocular mucous membrane are preferred and cinnabar, HgS, usually considered non-toxic because of its insolubility, in sufficient subdivision shows a special affinity for the eyes and their vicinity.

Another pace is set with mercury vapors, the molecular from of mercury, if it is frequently inhaled. It provokes chronic poisoning preferably in the nervous system. This depends probably on the entrance of firm organic mercury compounds which are eliminated with relative difficulty. For it is also known that many organic mercury compounds cause early disturbances in the nervous system, for example, the methyl and ethyl compounds.

In spite of the great improbability of a direct mass action of mercury on the spirochete still the usual mercury treatment of syphilis must be extended over months and years to obtain an extensive saturation of the body with mercury up to the threshold of intoxication. In actuality it is probable that the difference from a homoeopathic mercurial treatment with the lower potencies, as is common, is not very great. Because in an inunction treatment we do not know how much of the mercury rubbed into the skin and the fraction inhaled (daily about 1 gram Hg) actually gains absorption. Moreover it may be assumed that much of the absorbed mercury is stored in an inactive form. Finally the excretory situation of mercury through the urine, bile, faeces, saliva, sweat, under certain conditions also in the milk and seminal fluid, is so variable and unpredictable that the extremely irregular curve of excretion in the urine permits no conclusions on the amount of active mercury. These relations are just as uncertain with the injection of mercury, in which one also never knows when and how much of the inactive depot becomes active and because of this uncertainty Lewin has urgently warned against the creation of such depots. If the stimulation of the defense mechanism, perhaps antibody formation, and sensitizing the microorganism was the essential, then the choice of the most easily and perfectly absorbable preparation in the state remaining most active and sufficiently frequent repetition would be most advantageous.

The field of mercury effects which come under consideration chiefly as the image of the medicinal indications are not the hyperacute local corrosive action of ionized mercury salts, nor on the other side the chronic poisonings with preference for central nervous system involvement and ultimate cachexia as they are quite common to the poorly soluble manifestations perhaps as they are known in untoward actions in medical use and as the first manifestation of intoxication from absorbed mercury compounds; the inflammatory manifestations primarily on the mucous membranes, the skin and lymph glands, then in the periosteum, synovia and the serous membranes and finally on the kidney, particularly in the tubules with the picture of nephrosis. Only at a certain distance from here the chronic heavy metal action on the nervous system of mercury comes into the domian of indications.


Provings of mercury preparations are found:

Of mercurius solublis:

1. Hahnemann: Reine Arzneimittellehre, 3 Aufl., Bd. 1, S. 348, 1830 (of mercurius solublis whose actions Hahnemann sets equal to those of pure triturated mercury. There is included a short proving of mercurius dulcis, mercurius corrosivus, furthermore reports taken from the literature on various mercury preparations).

2. Knorre: Allg. Hom. Zeit., 1835, Bd. VI, S.35 with mercurius solublis 1st trituration (eczema and glandular swelling) one prover.

3. Robinson: Brit. Journ. of Hom., vol. 24, 517 (short proving of 5th potency).

4. Andrieu: Journ. de la. Soc. Gall., VIII, 143 (short proving of mercurius solublis D 3).

5. C.Wesselhoeft: Trans. Amer. Inst. of Hom., 1886 and 1888 (with mercurius solublis in various potencies in 20 student provers which gave useless results).

Of mercurius corrosivus

1. Buchner: Allg. hom. Zeit., 1897, Bd. 135, S. 92 (7 provers).

2. Masselot: Archiv. gen de Medorrhinum, ser. IV, vol. XI, 58.

Of mercurius iodatus

Amer. Provers Union Monogr., 1866.

New Provings (After Allen’s Encyclopaedia, vol. 6, p. 269).

Of mercurius biiodatus

1. Andrieu: Jour. de la. Soc. Gall., Bd. VIII, S.140.

2. Robinson: Brit. Jour. of Hom., vol. 24, p.517.

3. Hering: Mat. med., vol. 1, 1873.

Of mercurius praecipitatus ruber Eiselt: Frank’s Mag.,Bd., 1.S.772.

Of cinnabaris

1. Andrieu: Jour. de la Soc. Gall., 1856, vol. VIII, S. 143.

2. Neidhard: New Amer. Jour. of Hom., vol II, Append. Nov. 1852 (after Cyclopaed. of Drug. Path.1890, vol. 2).

For the rest unintentional intoxications with mercury compounds are so numerous that they afford a good basis for the drug picture. The intentional provings serve only for securing of finer details.

One can characterize a universal mercury picture as that which appears as the subacute poisoning with all, but particularly the inorganic mercury compounds. It corresponds in general to the medicinal domain of mercurius solublis or mercurius vivus. From this nucleus the details and characteristics of the single preparations can be best derived.


The somewhat inconstant mercury preparation mercurius solublis (obtained from mercurous nitrate by ammonia) is preferred in homoeopathy because Hahnemann’s provings were originally made with this compound. At first all mucous membranes can beset into inflammations of various stages by mercury; predominately and most frequently the mouth and throat and then the large intestinal mucous membrane are affected. This obviously depends on the enrichment in the excretion of the saliva and in the faeces. The secretions appear increased and altered under mercury.


Stomatitis mercurialis can appear in all grades: Lewin differentiates a stomatitis simplex, ulcerosa and gangrenosa. The symptoms in detail are: the offensive salivation, foetor ex ore, gingivit- is with involvement down to the periosteum of the alveoli, the teeth become loose with nocturnal aggravation of the toothache, worse from cold and warmth; glandular swelling in the region of the mouth and throat especially the salivary glands; swollen tongue showing imprints of the teeth, thickly coated white tongue; marked thirst in spite of moist mouth, ulcerative processes from aphtha to deep purulent or dark blue-grey coated ulcers and abscesses. All manifestations of angina are frequent in mercury poisoning and are described exactly in the provings. After belladonna mercury is most frequently prescribed in sore throat. The similarity of mercury poisoning to pharyngeal diphtheria can be very close. 684 Similar inflammatory symptoms appear in the nose, eyes and ears. A tendency to suppuration always exists. In the coryza there is yellow green, thick or copious and acrid secretion, with much sneezing (worse from sunshine) and also here the periosteum may become involved with green offensive ulcers; caries as occurs in lues, naturally did not appear in the provings but arise from poisonings. The nose is also externally inflamed and swollen. Sensations in the region of the root of the nose refer to inflammation of the frontal sinus.

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,