Heavy Metals

Even at ordinary temperature osmium oxide is volatile and develops severe penetrating odoriferous, dangerously irritating vapors. According to Lewin the conjunctive and air passages are especially severely inflamed up to an asthmatic state and dyspnoea: but also bloody diarrhoea and a squamous skin eruption appears. After several months’ occupation with osmium there were headaches, sleeplessness, nausea, albuminuria, dyspnoea, attacks of chilliness and finally inflammation of the lungs. In the now discarded injection of osmic acid salts into tumors or nerves in neuralgia, an inflammation of the skin occurs which may progress to gangrene.

These studies arise on the basis of special tissue affinities which have developed from microchemical staining methods (fat with osmic acid-containing Flemming’s solution and nerve demonstration) and are known to the physician.

In homoeopathic literature there is a translation of a long experimental work with osmic acid on animals and men be Branell 600 from the Latin by Bojanus who added two short proving on himself and also mentions a proving by Stockes. 601

From these studies the homoeopathic osmium picture is abstracted. In actuality they refer not to the metal but to the volatile oxide, because the osmium triturations in the studies of Stockes certainly represent the oxide.

The severe inflammation on the conjunctiva, nose, larynx, air passages and bronchial mucous membranes, moreover the itching eczema and the odorous axillary sweat (resembling vinegar?) (the urine is said to smell like violets and the eructations like radishes!) are the local irritative manifestations which are less useful for homoeopathic indications.

The colour and light manifestations around objects and the cloudiness of the vision occasioned Norton to seek in osmium a remedy for glaucoma. Otherwise the frequent headache, especially bandlike, and falling out of hair are stressed. A characteristic useful picture of osmium is not available.


Our knowledge of iridium actions rests on so small a basis that practically we take no notice of it.

A single prover, Tafel, 602 gave a few symptoms, of which a numb sensation in the ears and also in other parts of the body and cramp-like contraction of the calves and in the middle of the sole of the foot, recalls a kinship with platinum. Otherwise Labouches 603 has made a number of clinical reports (anemia and states of weakness in rapidly growing children and old people) but it needs no further discussion at present.


In homoeopathy one hears in general that palladium is extremely similar to platinum in action. In general the association between the ovarian and mental symptoms perceived as the characteristic and the practically useful.

It is however possible that the older observations are to be ascribed to impurity of the preparation; because in nature palladium is usually found in association with platinum. However it is also probable that the close chemical relationship lies at the basis of the pharmacodynamic similarity.

From palladium by suitable preparation and use one may expect great actions; at least if one thinks of its strong catalytic properties. It is an acceptor for loosely bound hydrogen and through this can act oxidizing, but on the other side it may liberate a very active hydrogen and thereby act reducing. By virtue of this chemical property colloidal palladium is unknown and unused in school therapy.

The first drug proving with palladium was arranged by Hering 604 in 1850 on 12 provers. These are, apart from the provings with high potencies by McFarland (High Potency Provings) which are not available to me, the only ones which have become known. But in them there is nothing of a connection of palladium to the right ovary as good as nothing of the mental symptoms so that the clinical reports of Skinner and Lippe seem to be more valuable. Pain in the right ovarian region better from pressure, and a platinum – like but still somewhat different mental state, holds as the leading palladium symptom. This mental state is described as a great sensitiveness to praise, for applause and flattery and easily wounded pride; believe themselves easily rebuffed; in company easily irritated and excited, afterwards the ovarian pains are aggravated, the disposition depressed and tearful. The irritability is evident from the caustic expressions.

Of the many headaches are stressed: headache from one ear going through to the other over the vertex. Also a sensation as though the brain was shakened and a pressure sensation on the vertex is reported. More-over great lassitude, aversion for bodily labor, improvement of complaints after sleep is reported.

On the female sexual organs the sensation of sinking and downward pressure has given occasion for the use in uterine prolapse (as with platinum); pains in the right ovary with downward pressure, heavy sensation in the pelvis, frequent urination with swelling in the right ovary. The feeling of downward pressure is said to be relived by rubbing.

The frequent change of sensations among which is the sensation of numbness in the arms (similar as platinum), the aggravation by mental occupation, company, etc., makes the neurotic character of many symptoms plausible. To my knowledge there is no confirmation clinically for the above mentioned organic indications on the female sexual organs.


Platinum is never employed in its pure form in school medicine. It is considered as non-toxic and inactive. Platinum was formerly recommended against syphilis. It produces externally, irritation of the skin with the formation of fine vesicles which may become so sensitive that opening a flask of a platinum preparation (for example platinum oxide nitrate) produced an erysipelas like redness of the face with itching and heat in the skin. Platinum chloride (0.25:180.0) internally produces salivation, nausea, mild icterus, headache, increase in the urinary output, 605 in greater amounts also burning in the mouth, colicky pain, bloody stool;in rabbits and dogs paralysis of the extremities.

Such general toxic symptoms of platinum salts say little about the peculiarity of platinum action. In this respect we may presume from physico-chemical facts that platinum can become very active after proper preparation. In fine division the metal is extensively used for oxidation and reduction catalysis. Colloidal platinum acts as a ferment. 606 It effects a splitting of ethyl butyrate and also its synthesis from ethyl alcohol and butyrate acid and acts accelerates on the reaction like lipase. 607 It also accelerates the oxidation of alcohol to vinegar (like acetum bacteria) (Bredig). Platinum accelerates the decomposition of H2 O2 as catalase. The velocity of the catalytic effect of platinum is proportional to the surface of the metal. Dilutions which correspond to the D 8 prove distinctly active catalytically. The reaction accelerating catalytic action of platinum is depressed by extraordinary small quantities of HCN according to Loewenhart and Kastle 608 because HCN forms an insoluble coating on the metal particles. Through this the intermediate reactions necessary for catalysis are made impossible.


Provings on the healthy are found:

1. Gross and Stapf: Arch. f.d. hom. Heilkunst, Nd. 1, p.122,1822.

2. A brief imperfect proving of larger doses of platinum chloride and platinum sodium chloride. Hofer (Gaz. med. de Paris, Nr. 48, ref. in Allg. hom. ztg. Bd. 19, p. 374, 1840).


It may be due to the insufficient proving with various amounts or more probably in the type of the metal that functional actions on the side of the nervous system predominate and the sexual organs are stressed. The most characteristic is the strongly increased excitability of the nervous system with tendency to paroxysms. One will involuntarily recall the reaction accelerating action of colloidal platinum. In the tense state it comes to sudden reverses which give rise to an impression of hysteria. On the peripheral nerves neuralgias, paraesthesias and anesthesias come into evidence. Then a paralytic-like weariness follows. The abnormal increase of tenseness extends further to the female. Here according to all evidence a close reciprocal relation between the nervous-psychic state of tenseness and the female sexual organs is outstanding in platinum. Daily observations show the high grade dependence of the nervous equilibrium (disposition, neuralgias!) on the function of the female organs. The interrelationship through the endocrine organs is probable and in this form the old hypothesis of hysteria as a malady of the sexual organs could easily become restored.


The mental state of the platinum picture remarkably recalls that of hysteria; we find the suddenly varying disposition, from elation to depression, from laughing to crying; fear of demons, of losing the mind or of dying, worse in the evening, great influence of anger and fright. It seems noteworthy for the haughty nature of platinum that all persons and objects seem very small. It is to be considered that this smallness, this micropsia is functional and neurotic and not due to disturbance of accommodation or convergence. And indeed the association of superiority, of pride, a peculiarity so often found in the “hysterical” transformation will be found a flight from the feeling of inferiority. Platinum likewise is employed in the outspoken grandiose ideas of the manic state. Moreover common to the picture of platinum and hysteria is: the physical symptoms diminish when the mental symptoms appear and reverse.

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,