Otto Leeser described the Meaning of various terms he used in his homeopathic Materia Medica. Experimental therapy, Walbun’s Stimulation therapy, Humanization of materia medica etc….


Experiences on the actions of medicinal substances in disease lie scattered over centuries among all races. A collection of these empiricisms, even if it could be made, would still be unscientific. The last centuries of occidental culture have opened and prosecuted the question of the how of an event so penetratingly that our thinking is forcibly directed to the determination of the conditions under which the event occurs. Therefore the content of scientific thinking has become the experiment, that is, the observation of natural events under selected conditions. Materia medica should be or become scientific, that is, have or obtain an experimental basis.


The requirements of practical therapeutics, however, do not stand in any accord with the type and tempo of research progress. It is completely immaterial to the physician who technically intervenes into natural events, whether the use of the drug arises out of folk experience or is experimentally grounded. Indeed, the difficulty of experimentation in biologic fields, that is, the difficulty of avoiding false conclusions, always raises doubt in the mind of a physician on the accuracy of the experimental approach and makes him suspicious of laboratory science. But in reality it is only the pretension of biologic experimental science, arising out of excessive promises, which makes the great distance between practical demand and theoretic supply seem so insurmountable. In the leap into practice, most physicians leave the experimental science of materia medica of the University behind them.

Now the question is raised; Does this lie in the nature of the fact, is it true that experimental pharmacology and practical therapeutics approach each other with such difficulty or does it lie in the imperfection of the experimental method? And if it involves the last is this imperfection only temporally conditioned and is an improvement to be expected in the future with further development along present lines or is a re- arrangement of experimental work advisable? We should not forsake the basic orientation of contemporary science, the experimental method. We should not attempt to construe purely out of consideration of the nature of the medicinal substance, from its structure and its natural relationships. But we need to ask; is the plan of experimentation followed up to the present, the simplest, so to speak the economic way to the goal of practical therapeutics? We must affirm this question and indeed with good reasons. The relative clarity of drug investigation on the animal has so fascinated the laboratory investigator that he does not consider whether or not he treads on apparently uncertain grounds, as long as animal investigation seems to promise so many actual results. For a long time animal research was oriented purely toxicologically, that is, one investigated the disturbances on the threshold of ultimate damage to life. In so far as this study was preparatory for the clinic by a transference of results from animal to man one could not expect much more than a reversal, usually in the sense of a paralysis of single functions, moreover a palliative therapy (example: narcotics). Further, with the simple conditions of animal experimentation one could find additional explanations of previously known drug effects and here and there explain the limits of the field of application (example: cardiac drugs). The highly important results of experimental pharmacology on hormones, vitamins, etc. which have furnished a substitutive therapy, are omitted from the frame of this discussion. But the secret or outspoken claim of this animal experimental method has progressed far beyond these performances, to imply that out of the collected building stones the structure of an objective materia medica will be created in the future which needs only an objective application for the control of morbid processes in man. This claim was excessive: (1) because only a small part of human functions can be paralleled by those which can be represented in animal experimentation; namely, only those objectively recognizable alterations of living expressions mutual to animal and man. (2) The experimentally produced disturbances of normal animal functions do to permit a conclusion on the modification of an already disturbed (morbid) human function. (3) The supposition of constancy of the human organism, particularly the diseased organism, is a mental simplification which is entirely incompatible with actuality.


The therapeutic experiment on animals represents progress in animal experimental methods. By the incorporation of the therapeutic aspect into the study, the sources of failure in the transference to clinical trials are limited. In an animal made ill artificially (usually by bacterial infection), the healing effect of medicinal substances is studied and even attempts made to measure it. The original theoretic conception of therapia sterilisans magna of Ehrlich could not be maintained long, that is, the conception that bacteria in the body are directly killed by drugs whose type and amounts should not particularly affect the host. In the last decade careful study based on this working hypothesis has shown increasingly distinctly that such a viewpoint of only damaging drug effects is not tenable in a therapeutic plan under actual conditions. Generally it has been shown that damage to the infectious organism by the chemotherapeutic agent does not occur without the active participation of the host. The increase of the defense powers is shown to be just as important, if not more important, for the favorable effect of the chemotherapeutic agent as the disinfectant action.


Walbum’s metal salt therapy represents the most significant progress in this experimental therapy. Walbum’s laborious study has materialized thoughts with very noteworthy results, that is, to stimulate the defense of the organism of the host against artificial infections and indeed against artificially produced growths (tar carcinoma). Thereby Walbum obtained rules of dosage which are completely in harmony with those of homoeopathy, not only in respect to the minimal concentrations (up to the 23rd potency!) but also in the recognition of an optimal dose. This optimum is not only below the dose which is damaging to the bacteria and the host, but it must also remain below the Zone in which it stimulates bacterial growth. Here also the stimulative action on the two biologic units which stand in combat with each other represents the central point. It is obviously shown that the sensitivity of the host must be taken into account in the single phases. As an indicator in animals naturally only an objective sign, the temperature, can be used. Also the increased sensitivity of the diseased organism which stands in combat, in contradistinction to the normal organism, was demonstrated and observed. Just as homoeopathy so Walbum perceives in such stimulation therapy an alteration with a long after-effect.

The second problem which Walbum approached in his investigations was a qualitative one, specificity. His studies show particularly that in various infections as well as in tar carcinoma, by no means all the metal salts studied had a favorable effect, but at times only one or two; furthermore, various metals acted in different diseases. If one considers that the metals are catalysers for defense ferments or antibodies, this implies a variable suitability of single metals for diverse defense processes. This qualification, adaptability, balance, was ascertained by Walbum in a groping experimental way in that he tested, so to speak, all the possibilities. In such a procedure the difficulty is found in an almost unending task. For even if agents are found suitable for single artificial diseases of various animals, still this adaptability is shown only for these species of animals. Then begins the difficulty of transference of the results to the sick human. Furthermore, it is not easy to reproduce metal salt healing in animals themselves. For example, Walbum found that the nutriment of the animal was essential for the success or failure of the animal investigation. If fresh milk was added to the food of the mice infected with ratio bacilli, for example, the caesium treatment failed. If a great dependence upon other experimental conditions is shown in experimentally tested cases in animals, then it should not be astonishing that the metal salt stimulation therapy cannot be applied to sick mankind without further consideration, even if one observes all precautions in regard to optimal dosage. Actually the clinical application of this metal salt therapy up to the present has witnessed single encouraging results and frequent observations of failure. This is probably connected not only with the technical difficulties of optimal dosage but probably even more with the diverse other factors in the defense function in man, indeed, those which should be stimulated. Moreover, the significance of Walbum’s results above all leaves entirely untouched the possibility of transference to human-clinical relations. Their value lies more in that these therapeutic model investigations demonstrate the possibility and the principles of a stimulation therapy in animals through an ingenious arrangement. In regard to the dosage conclusions have results which are in full agreement with the medicinal stimulation therapy of homoeopathy.

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,