Heavy Metals


The disturbances in the central and peripheral nervous system are so diverse according to site and degree that all types of irritative and paralytic states appear when there is opportunity. Whether the endarteritic processes, at times ischemic, or the small hemorrhages lie at the basis of a direct injury of the nerve tissue by lead-after preliminary transformation into an organic lipoid soluble compound-cannot be decided at present. Lead action has special sites of appearance. Among the cranial nerves the optic nerve is one. It may occur as a transient blindness after previous disturbances of consciousness or as the gradual development of an optic neuritis ending in atrophy of the optic nerve. Here also the similarity with tabes is observed. A neuroretinitis in conjunction with the other suitable symptoms of the basic malady can lead to a useful employment of lead.

From the spinal cord nerves the extensor paralysis of the hands are known best. Their origin of departure probably depends on an injury to the grey substance of the anterior horn of the spinal cord. But the perfected paralysis is not the comparative picture for the therapeutic indications of lead with the prospect of success, but rather the transient sensory, trophic and motor irritative manifestations; thus severe neuralgias with local hyperesthesias and anesthesias. The skin in spots is very sensitive to contact and cold air. Numbness, twitching, lightning-like pains indicate the neuritis. Cramps in groups of muscles, for example, in the calves appear; they are worse at night and on movement, but are temporarily relieved by pressure. The tearing and boring pains of so-called lead arthralgia come paroxysmally like lead colic, and may alternate with it. The pains may be so severe that they force the patient into cramped positions. Trembling and muscle weakness introduce the motor paralysis which soon leads to atrophy. Lead is to be considered as a remedy in the occupational cramps, moreover in the chronic neuritis of mixed nerves, for example in chronic sciatica.

The numerous spinal cord injuries of lead poisoning have a great similarity at one time with tabes, at another with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, again with bulbar paralysis. But one cannot expect the stimulative reaction from lead to have much room for play and prospect of results in these diseases. According to personal experience it seems that at most the course of progressive muscle atrophy can be favorably influenced by lead.

Lead gout whose origin is still very dark, has great similarity with arthritis urica, but therapeutic deductions can hardly be drawn from this at present.

Only the most common of the lead injuries are mentioned above. Lead poisoning can imitate many severe pictures of disease so remarkably that at first it seems peculiar why the therapeutic domain of lead is proportionately small from the standpoint of the simile rule. But this is understandable when one recalls how many degenerative, severe or irreparable disease processes appear in the picture of lead poisoning.


Slowly acting remedy.

General Disturbances:

Malaise, emaciation, wan, yellow, dry, withered skin-cachexia.

Depression and impairment of comprehension and memory.

Chief Trends of Action:

1. Blood vessels:

Angiospasms, endarteritis up to sclerosis. Chronic nephritis and nephrosclerosis.

Cerebral sclerosis and hemiplegia.

Dyspraxia intestinalis arteriosclerotica.

2. Participation of smooth muscles of organs.

Persistent spastic constipation with colic, better by pressure.

Dysmenorrhoea with colic-like picture.

3. Nervous system: States of irritation up to paralysis and atrophy.

Central nerves: particularly neuritis optica, neuroretinitis.

Spinal nerves: especially extensor paralysis of the hands.

Anaesthesias and hyperaesthesias.

Sensitivity of skin zones to contact and cold air.

Neuralgia, muscle spasm, worse at night and from movement; better from pressure.

Chronic neuritides. (Similarity with degenerative system diseases of the spinal cord often great but not useful.) Progressive muscle atrophy.


Worse from contact, from movement, at night.

Better from counterpressure.


Outside of plumbum metallicum, plumbum aceticum and plumbum iodatum are in use.

Plumbum aceticum will be preferred in painful cramps in paralyzed extremities.

Plumbum iodatum in arteriosclerosis, spinal cord diseases (lanci- nating pains) and inflammatory breast tumors.

DOSE —- Plumbum met. is used in D 6 and D 30, the salts in the lower and middle potencies.


In its chemical properties tin is in no way so uniform a metal as it might seem according to its usual physical state. There is also a non-metallic amorphous form of tin, a grey powder. By a prolonged stay in the cold, under 18 this non-metallic form develops out of the metallic crystalline. In the cold, tin objects gradually succumb to the so-called “zinnpest,” which depends upon this transformation and again changes regresses by heating.

In the periodic system tin immediately precedes antimony. It stands on a similar step in regard to its metallic character which is very preponderant but also gives space for a non- metallic modification.

Therefore it is to be considered that the horizontal kinship to antimony which is expressed structurally, that is, in nuclear relationship, also is not without significance for the similarity of properties. Because in the following outspoken metal step, to lead, we likewise have a distinct approximation to bismuth in physicochemical relation. This decrease of essential difference in horizontally related elements is again noted in the additional series of the 4,5,6th periods (and is demonstrated in a still higher degree in the compression of 15 rare earthy metals in the 6th period).

In stannum-antimony and plumbum-bismuth we can determine the approximation conditioned by a shifting of 10 elements in the horizontal series (or periods) but also demonstrate it between the elements of an additional series (IVa) and a chief group (V). At the same time the mutuality of the additional group IVa (the carbon and silicicum series) as also the relation of additional to chief groups, is very loose; amongst other things this refers merely to the occurrence of equal valences. The chemical group relationship also is only suggestive and for this the physical nuclear relationship comes more strongly into appearance.

For the comprehension of the pharmacologic actions of tin this approximation to antimony is worthy of note. I recall here that now here else in the heavy metals is there the outspoken affinity to the bronchi and lungs as with stannum which makes it comparable to antimony.

TOXICOLOGY ———- Toxicological interest up to the present has been largely limited to the question whether tin, as tin vessels, food containers with tin plate, that is iron with tin coating, or tin foil, passes into the food and is injurious to health. Even if decomposition of foods has often been cited as the cause of the injuries reported, still the possibility of a poisoning by tin salts is not excluded, particularly when strong acid foods form soluble tin salts. In animals such salts cause vomiting, diarrhoea, weakness of the movements muscle trembling, twitching and death through asphyxiation. 690 The intravenous injection of chloride of tin, SnCl2 and SnCl4, in animals causes the usual spasms, dyspnoea, paralysis, from which not much can be concluded. In the longer feeding of animals with tin preparations there are gastric disturbances, emaciation and disturbances of motility as well as ataxia. 691

After poisoning with tin chloride, stannous chloride, SnCl2, met- allic taste, constrictive sensation in the throat, vomiting, pains in the epigastrium, diarrhoea and prolonged colic occur in man. After the consumption of salt with bread from a moist tin container (compound of chlorine and tin) there develops: chillin- ess with heat, frontal headache, and pains in the distended, pressure sensitive gastric region, coating of the tongue, salivation associated with a foetid odor, grey discoloration of the gums and ulcers along the border of the tongue. 692

The gastro-enteric manifestations are to be conceived alsocal actions from a corrosive substance such as tin chloride is. Frontal headache and febrile disturbances are better considered as resorptive actions. According to Lewin 693 in its administration for epilepsy, as soon as the dose reaches more than 0.01 g. after each ingestion of tin chloride causes mild febrile attacks. In many epileptics the attacks at first increase somewhat, then subsequently diminish. Such untoward actions were considered necessary for a favorable effect.


Tin filings were once recommended by Monro, Fother-gill and Richter. Tin oxide, SnO, was often recommended in ancient times for many types of spasms, hysterical states, nerve pains, and also cachexias with ulcerations. Antihecticum Poterii or bezoardicum joviale (Jupiter=stannum) is an old preparation from antimony, perhaps iron and tin which was extolled as diaphoretic, antispasmodic, depressant to profuse secretions and in tuberculo- sis for the removal of the profuse colliquative sweats. That tin was present in this remedy for tuberculosis in addition to antimony, is not without interest for us. In Hahnemann’s time tin was used only as a remedy for tapeworms. Hahnemann 694 turned against the conception that tin filings acted purely mechanically on the worms. On the whole he did not consider tin a good remedy for worms since the tapeworm was not killed but perhaps only stupefied. But older physicians also used a water which was boiled in tin vessels for a long time and an action against tape-worms and intestinal parasites was ascribed to it. At present one no longer finds any therapeutic use of tin in the school, or not even the chloride as an external corrosive.

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,