Heavy Metals

The inflamed eyes, blepharitis, and conjunctivitis with copious acrid secretion are very sensitive to light and flames (conjunctivitis of stokers!). For blenorrhoea mercurius praecipitatus ruber is preferred. Also keratitis, not only the parenchymatosa luetica, but also scrofulous and ulcerative forms tending to hypopyon, episcleritis and ulcerative forms tending to hypopyon, episcleritis are important indications for mercury. The nocturnal aggravation, in the warmth from the provings as cloudy vision and dark spots before the eyes are naturally unsuitable. The inflammation of the ears involves the external auditory passages and the middle ear. The earache is worse at night in bed, the secretions are again offensive, thick and yellow. Tubal catarrh with deafness may also require mercury.


A further elective trend is the large intestine. Leading here for the employment of mercury are: the dysenteric, bloody, mucous, or green acrid stools with marked tenesmus and the “never get done” sensation (no relief from stool) with nocturnal aggravation, chilliness, anxiety and nausea, and cutting pains; the acrid stools make the anus very sensitive and sore; noteworthy results can be obtained in oxyuris with mercurius solublis D 3. The white-grey stool which was also observed in the proving belongs to the disturbances of biliary secretion; together with icterus and enlarged sensitive liver they frequently indicate mercurius dulcis in inflammations of the bile passages and in duodenal catarrh.

The patient should not be able to lie upon the right side.

There are also a number of symptoms from other parts of the gastro-intestinal canal but they are not characteristic for mercury. The alterations of taste (salty, sweet, foul, metallic, slimy, dirty, tasteless) are associated with the processes in the mouth. Gastric manifestations may be associated with aphtha, foetorex ore, thirst with a moist mouth when mercury is indicated. Non-characteristic and therefore less used are the symptoms from the deeper respiratory passages. An exhausting, dry, nocturnal cough with stitches in the chest on sneezing or coughing may be mentioned.


On the other hand the inflammations of the urogenital system offer frequent indications. The nephrotic albuminuria (especially for mercurius corrosivus) has already been mentioned. The initially increased amount of urine with later diminution is a renal effect. Frequent urge to urinate, voiding of turbid urine with burning, cutting and sticking refers to the eystopyelitis, the greenish secretion from the urethra with inflammatory swelling of the urethral orifice and the glands to gonorrhoea, an important and proven indication. Correspondingly on the female organs the greenish and muco-purulent leucorrhoea with itching, burning, inflammation of the vagina and vulva find a healing remedy in mercury in cases of gonorrhoeal as well as other genesis. Als in adnexal diseases, not only of gonorrhoeal origin, are frequently suitable for mercury, particularly mercurius iodatus. The inflammatory manifestations on the external genitalia with vesicles and ulcers, bartholinitis, balanitis should also be mentioned here. To this may be added the repeatedly observed inflammation of the inguinal glands in the provings though they are less well known from the poisonings and observations of untoward actions. Hard and soft chancre, just as non-specific inflammations and buboes are homoeopathic indications for mercury. The participation of the lymph glands is always an important indication for mercury, also scrofula when, for example, the glands swell after each exposure to cold.


Less observed in crude poisonings than in the untoward actions are the skin manifestations which according to Lewin can take on all forms from erythema and urticaria to Lewin can take on all forms from erythema and urticaria to eczema and severe dermatitis. That papular exanthems also appear is to be noted especially in respect to secondary lues. The skin manifestations of mercury are often associated with fever. The eczemas are most important as indications: “eczema mercuriale,” marked itching pu- stular eruption, small vesicles with turbid milky secretion, especially on the head with falling out of hair, and on the face, stinking yellow crusts, marked purulent secretion; painful deep, bloody fissures and cracks on the fingers, desquamation of skin around the finger nails. In general the skin and also the eruptions of mercury are moist or weeping, the eruption goes from vesicles to pustules, to small suppurative nodules; it is the picture of severe itching “fatty itch,” as it was formerly called. But dry itching eczema which burns after scratching also appears in the mercury picture; this itching is worse from the warmth of the bed.

Even early it was noted that mercury acted intensively on men with “succulent” skin (Lewin). Therein lymphatism comes to expression with its broad lymph spaces and sluggish lymph stream. Likewise mercury is said to be better adapted to light haired individuals. If one adds the glandular swellings with the tendency to suppuration, furthermore all manifestations as eczema which appears easily after chilling and cold baths, and, as Lewin also cites, that there is a sensitivity to cold and dampness, then the picture of scrofula is completed from this side. Also in the inflammation of the sebaceous glands, the inflammatory acne I have often found mercurius solublis of value. When mercury is employed in ulcers it is in those with offensive acrid suppuration and undermined borders, indications which other agents also have as marked or stronger.

In regard to the question of mercury excretion through the milk the report of the materia medica notes: poor milk the report of the materia medica notes: poor milk which the nursling refuses. A useful sign for mercury is pain and swelling in the breasts as signs of inflammation before suppuration. This first stage of inflammation of glandular tissue is, in general, the most suitable for the use of mercury.


Mercury is also excreted through the sweat and increases and alters it as all secretions and excretions. The sweat of mercury is offensive, oily, clammy, increased at night and brings no relief in the disturbances of well being nor in the local inflammatory pains. These good indications from the sweat are utilizable most frequently in acute and subacute rheumatic fever. The joint affection in the picture of mercury is naturally a subordinate trend of action but in acute rheumatism which is also metastatic and mostly from a sore throat, it is one of the elective sites of mercurial action.

But a transition to the mucous membrane inflammation locally is also not rare in mercury. This we saw above in the mouth and nose inflammation. Periodontitis is one of the surest indications for mercurius solublis (D 6) when heat as well as cold aggravate and the pain is worse at night. The nocturnal aggravation is characteristic in all of the pains arising in the bones and therein lies another similarity to the luetic bone pains. Also in the headaches of mercury, which consist chiefly in tension, pressing together and sensation of a band, one may consider a participation of the periosteum or the Galea aponeurotica as a cause primarily on account of the nocturnal aggravation.


The actions on the nervous system are rarely observed in acute or subacute poisoning with mercury, but are peculiar to the chronic intoxication. Therapeutic indications are occasionally given by the so called mercurial erethisms. The chronic actions express themselves as follows: insomnia, psychic irritability, restlessness, anxiety, ill humor, anger, depression, disconsolateness; exaltation finally replaced by depression, weakening of memory, judgment and will power diminished, responses are slow, disturbances of movement vary from tremor, stuttering, trembling of the tongue, vertigo to forced movements with propulsion and finally to clonic convulsions, which are chorieform or epileptic. The similarity with mercury in this difficult malady. End actions of mercury poisoning, such as complete psychosis and blindness or hallucinations, with a picture that is similar to delirium tremens are just as little therapeutic indications as the cachexia mercurialis and the alterations of the blood and bone marrow. However exhaustion, emaciation, pale face are frequently accompanying manifestations. The report of Stock that a series of nervous complaints originated from amalgam fillings of the teeth cannot be accepted by the demonstration that urine. The improvement of well being after the removal of such fillings however is frequently observed. Finally neuralgias and circumscribed paraesthesias and anesthesias are known from poisonings and in respect to therapy the nocturnal aggravation with other indications may guide the choice to mercury.


Chief Trends:

Skin, mucous membranes.

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,