From this one sees that an antagonism in effect can appear, when to judge according to the individual effects of two agents, a synergism, an addition of actions, would be expected; and this, even in a simple reaction mixture. But with increasing complication the possibility of reversal or removal of equal single effects becomes correspondingly complex. In a reactive substrate so many-sided as a cell, an organ, and an organism- where all processes strive to a state of equilibrium, of self- maintenance – the possibility of balancing of and by itself with equally directed powers is completely beyond the limits with drugs. The narcotic cell action of magnesium ions can be removed with calcium ions. But it would be false on this account to ascribe a universally cell-stimulating action to calcium ions. It is exactly the task to study the conditions under which individually similar or opposing effects can occur through the ions.

For the influence of cations on the state of body colloids one must always proceed from their physiologic equilibrium in the body fluids. The optimal concentrations of the vital ions in the fluids perfusing the cells of plants and animals correspond in a remarkable way to that of sea water. One can take this correspondence exactly as a basic fact of the telluric confederacy of the biosphere. Further details, as the corresponding distribution of sodium and potassium between the fluid and colloidal parts of the earth and body, are also available. The individuality which is demonstrated through the enrichment of definite ions in the various organs and organ systems allows many deductive conclusions on the role of single types of ions.


The reverse experimental way to demonstration of the action of single ions goes laboriously from one station to another. The point of departure is the influence of ions on the colloid state in general which goes back to the charges and valences of the ions. The influence of swelling of the colloids goes parallel with their water combining (hydration), and this again is dependent on the nuclear charge and the atom radius (Fajans). For the cations in alkaline reaction as they are found in the body fluids, the following series of effect on swelling or flocculation of hydrophile colloids can be arranged: Li< Na< K< Rb< Cs< Mg< Ca, whereby from left to right the swelling to shrinking or flocculating action of single cations is designated. This so-called Hofmeistr series or lyotrope series also proceeds in harmony with the ordinal number.

Proceeding from this basic series of general colloid effects of the cations by many experimental alterations one has demonstrated the influence on definite organ cells. From the position of the cations which are given in the form of the so-called transition series, the preferable action of this or that cation on the definite organ or function can be read off under certain conditions. (The same holds for the anions, only for reasons already mentioned, the influence of the body colloids through the cations is of greater significance.) What is worthwhile for a knowledge of effects of single cations from these reports, will later be discussed in detail in regard to the single compounds.

Outside of the nuclear charge of the cation, the valence is of general significance for its colloid action, the divalent act damaging in much less concentration than the univalent, and the trivalent more than the divalent, so that they hardly come into consideration in physiologic relationships. In physiologic equilibrium these ratios of ion concentration of Na, K, Mg, and Ca come distinctly into expression. In the serum Na: K: Mg: Ca approximately as 100: 1.7: 1.0: 0.5. Moreover, for the interpretation of experimental findings these quantitative ratios are to be regarded seriously. If for example, the disturbing action in a one-sided increase on time of potassium ions, at another time of calcium ions is to be compared, then correct conclusions are to be drawn only in case the concentration increases occur each time in the physiologic ratio of K: Ca. If, in order to ascertain calcium actions, one would increase the calcium ions just as much as in the corresponding potassium study, then the results would not be comparable. Because with a nonproportionate overdose of calcium a reversal of effect may appear. The consideration of these quantitative relationships is important whereby a premature one-sided conclusion on cation influences (for example, vagus or sympathetic stimulation) is avoided.

The damaging action of a definite ion excess on the living cells and tissues occurs apparently in that the normal permeability ratio of the plasma envelope is altered. The ions themselves are able to influence the conditions of their permeability. The normal task of ions- which is to guarantee the structure, and thereby the function of the cells, through tension differences (potential differences) on the surface- is to a great extent dependent upon the fact that the ions are distributed correctly at their sites. The inside or outside, the direction of the stream between the colloid and watery phase, is just as important for ion action as the quantitative ratios. Site of action and quantity can influence in opposing directions. Frequently the reversal of a false direction of the stream is decisive for the regulation, and for this it needs no greater amounts than are employed in the isolated organ. Here a central regulation through the vegetative nerves can be easily demonstrated.


Likewise the already mentioned chlorine, Cl, is vital as an anion. United with Na as a neutral salt, it participates in the regulation of water movement. Moreover, chlorine is an ever- available, easily movable reserve which can exchange itself for the anions occurring in metabolism and therefore markedly varies. Through this, chlorine is a regulatory factor in acid-base equilibrium on the side of the anions. It can also separate from sodium, for example as HCl in the gastric juice, introducing a decided change in the pH, which forms an optimum for a partial process in digestion. As chlorine intervenes in a regulatory manner in the dissimilative part of metabolism, so it can condition disturbances there. In this sense the chlorine fraction can become valuable in medicinal materials.


Finally silicium, Si, in its dioxide, the anhydride of silicic acid, SiO2, is a substance regularly appearing in the organism. SiO2, has its position and work especially in the connective tissue. As negatively charged colloids which can incorporate water are hydrophile, it is the opposite to the characteristic function carriers of the organism, in any case for negatively charged hydrophile organic colloids. This role in the organism forms the basis for the medicinal activity of SiO2 when it is made available in a suitable form. Then too, in its actions, it stands very close to the mineral carbon compounds from the same group of the periodic system.

These fourteen elements are the essential participants in the structure of the human organism. Indeed fluorine, F, also plays a role in its firm calcium compound in the bones and teeth; perhaps similarly traces of bromine, Br, a neighbor of iodine, but still with its own physiologic task: perhaps there will also be discovered a physiologic significance for aluminum, Al, in the animal organism as in the plant world; but the fourteen elements discussed remain the basic materials, the essential structural elements of the vertebrate organism.

With these elements we find ourselves at the limit of the cosmic and telluric weight frequency rule. One distinct exception is made by iodine as the sole representative of the fifth period. Its important task in the biosphere is counted in terms of minimal quantities, which are measured in millionths of gram.

That a general similarity in the composition between the earth crust and organism exists is, indeed, not remarkable. Materially considered, the organism is to a certain extent an outgrowth of the earth crust. But the selection among the elements and particularly their relative amounts shows a distinct and characteristic difference, an increasing differentiation from the inorganic milieu though the series of organisms.


We have recognized the physiologic materials as drugs of a special rank of constitutional agents and cited the reasons for this. We now present the question; in how far do the structural elements determine the character of the drugs formed by them as constitutional agents? If we answer this: through their position in the periodic system of elements, then we presume a knowledge of the drug pictures of these physiologic materials. But it enlightens the survey if we draw the rough outline now.

On the electronegative side of the system in the Groups, V, VI VII and the accessory Group VIII we have found the structural elements which originally and decisively participate in chemical metabolism. To these metabolic elements as medicinal substances the constitutions also correspond whereby the altered rhythm of the metabolic and energy exchange gives the impression. When the splitting processes are increased, it is concerned with an oxygenoid, warm, febrile tending erethistic constitution of accelerated rhythm. These persons are hyperesthetic, easily irritable and thin. From the endocrine side they correspond to an increased function of the glands associated with the sympathetic system under the leadership of the thyroid. They are basedowoid types. Iodine, chlorine (as a drug constituent), iron, nitrites and phosphorus show these trends distinctly. The position of sulphur on the other hand is dual, corresponding to its partly reducing, partly oxidizing functions in metabolism. In the sulphur constitution the stronger weight lies toward the side of oxidation depression, the incomplete oxidation.

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,