The Carbon

Single differentiating symptoms still require confirmation, for example, the report of a special sensitivity to open air, which indeed would be opposite to that of carbo vegetabilis. A feeling of looseness of the brain especially in the suffocating cough, is also cited for carbo animalis. Opposite to the burning in the stomach and chest of carbo vegetabilis, a sensation of coldness in the stomach and chest is said to prevail in carbo animalis. The digestive weakness with complaints from almost every food is stressed more strongly in carbo animalis than in carbo vegetabilis, as well as the feeling of emptiness and sinking in the stomach (particularly in lactating women) which is not relie- ved by eating.

The tendency of decomposition of the blood, the transition from inflammation to the septic form is not less in carbo animalis than in carbo vegetabilis. Here also the discharges are offensive Moreover it is particularly in the purulent gangrenous lung processes that carbo animalis, like carbo vegetabilis, is recommended: when there is green, purulent, offensive expectorat- ion and especially with carbo animalis, cavities associated with sensation of coldness in the chest. In other respects the burning pain is often repeated in carbo animalis. As a detail for carbo animalis, there is also the clinical report; sticking pains, which can be traced to a pleuritis.


Carbo animalis is also employed in the 6th and 30th potency.


According to its chemical composition and medicinal actions, kreosote stands between wood charcoal and carbolic acid, the simple phenol. It is a mixture of various phenols, a product of the distillation of beech-wood tar and indeed the fraction which distills over between 200-220. It is predominantly composed of polyphenols, that is, benzol derivatives with several OH groups. Its chief constituent, guaiacol, is the methyl ester of dioxybenzol (also a diphenol). Other constituents are cresol and creosol, also methylated phenols.


Like all phenols this mixture has a markedly irritating up to destructive cell action through protein coagulation. It’s antiseptic property approximates that of phenol, the corrosive action is less. Since the introduction of kreosote into the therapy of tuberculosis by Reichenbach 524 in 1830, it has long been erroneously considered as an internal antiseptic. In this respect it is indeed impossible, without manifestations of serve poisoning to obtain the concentration of kreosote or guaiacol in the organism which is necessary to depress the growth of tubercle bacilli or indeed to kill them. At the same time guaiacol is rapidly split in the body, made harmless through conjugation with sulphuric acid, and excreted as ethyl sulphuric acid. In animal experiments all of the many kreosote and guaiacol preparations with which the market is flooded, have shown themselves inactive in experimental tuberculosis. If still a favorable action in tuberculosis is observed from kresote or guaiacol, such as the improvement of appetite and the state of nutrition, lessening of cough and expectoration, at times also the reduction of fever and the night sweats, then this can be explained only as an indirect action on the economy of the organism. Since kreosote is also excreted in small amounts through the respiratory passages, for it is easy to note in the odor of the exhaled air, one may pres- ume a mucous membrane stimulus as an intermediate factor. Through this the accompanying bronchitis and the mixed infection could be favorably influenced. At times kreosote and guaiacol have been employed in putrid bronchitis. On the other hand the late stage

of tuberculosis with greater destruction and tendency to hemorrhage is held as a contra-indication, a distinct proof that the dose selected is too strong for these cases. On the other hand it is exactly in homoeopathy when the destructive processes in the respiratory passages are present, the late stages of phthisis wi- th fever, night sweats and cachexia, which are considered suitable for kreosote. On the whole the clinical indications and the contraindications and the so-called untoward actions in kreosote, as always are very instructive. On the one side it can, as many related benzol compounds (for example salicylic acid), reduce the fever even by application to the skin; but the chill can be followed by very high fever. On the one side there is the stimulation of gastric function which can be compared to the bitters, on the other one sees the impairment of gastric function from prolonged use and therefore sought aid in guaiacol compounds which are not split in the stomach, but only gradually destroyed in the intestine, entirely over-looking the acute irritative manifestation in the gastro-intestinal canal as burning, pains in the epigastrium nausea and vomiting and diarrhoea. All this divergence of action is solved when one takes consideration of the quantity, the repetition of the dose and the sensitivity of the patient.

Even from the local application of kreosote in carious teeth, th- ere readily arises inflammation of the surrounding tissue, indeed a severe stomatitis. It is exactly in dental pains from caries with inflammation of the neighboring tissue that the homoeopathic use of kreosote has often proven itself. The increase of menstrual bleeding which makes necessary the discontinuance of the drug during the menstrual period, finds the opposite as a homoeopathic indications, as a tendency to hemorrhage. States of excitation and headache are on the one side “untoward” actions, on the other side supporting therapeutic indications.

The role of tar products in the development of cancer has already been discussed. On the other side the external use of kreosote in malignant ulcers has been extolled from time to time ever since 1834. 525 The cancer treatment of E. Salzborn has guaiacol valerianate as the chief constituent and is given twice a week in milligram to centigram doses. 526 In homoeopathy kreosote has always been an important remedy in carcinoma.

The excretion of sugar in the urine is not found in the symptoms of intoxication or untoward actions. However in homoeopathy kreosote is held as one of the best remedies in diabetes. We should recall that adrenalin just as guaiacol, is a pyrocatechin derivative and, as is well known, has a prominent role in sugar metabolism; moreover its artificial introduction produces hyperglycemia and glycosuria.


Provings are found:

1. Reichenbach: Das Kreosote in chem., phys. und med. Bezeihung,

2 Aufl. Leipzig, 1835.

2. Syrbius: Allg. Hom. Ztg., Bd. 12, p. 33, 1837.

3. Wahle: Arch. f. Hom., Bd. 16, H. 2, S. 152, 1837.

4. Wichorn: Ztschr. d. Verbascum d. Hom. A. Osterreichs, Bd, 2, S. 24, 1857.


Kreosote differs from wood charcoal chiefly in the more marked inflammatory manifestations on the mucous membranes and skin while the venous status is minimized in the picture. The tendency to putrid inflammations and ulcers, to malignant degeneratious, to bleeding, the transition to cachexia stands in the center. The discharges are foul and acrid, indeed corrosive. Therein the stronger inflammatory stimulus (exactly as with carbolic acid) comes into expression. The reduction of power of resistance in the tissues expresses itself much more in the symptoms similar to disturbances in the skin and mucous membranes are induced which are similar in their results on tissue nutritions as the metabolism of diabetes, and valuable indications may be had in this field.


The irritative manifestations on the skin and mucous membranes can run through all stages; on the skin from itching and burning to vesicles and pustules; the skin becomes unhealthy, its nutrition is bad, it tends to ulcerate and becomes gangrenous. The itching is especially severe at evening and may provide occasion for the use of kreosote in prurities senilis; even more frequently the remedy is successful in pruritis vulvae, particularly on a diabetic basis. Here the irrtation appears from the acrid discharge. Carbuncles and gangrene in diabetics (besides arsenic) likewise suggest kreosote. The tendency to bleeding in injured, nonresistant tissue is expressed in the bleeding from small wounds.

In the digestive canal the inflammatory tissue injuries begin in the mouth. The teeth rapidly become carious. When the inflammation proceeds from there and produces severe toothache, kreosote in the D 3 and D 6 often proves useful. The gums are sore, spongy, and bleed readily; salivation is increased. A bitter taste prevails. Nausea, retching, and vomiting of undigested food several hours after eating or the regurgitation of sweetish water in the morning suggest kreosote much more than the other irritants of mucous membranes. Here also belongs reflex vomiting from other organ maladies or in pregnancy, but still, more frequently the severe inflammations of the gastric mucous membrane form important indications. Ulcerative processes with bloody vomitus, particularly of a malignant nature, can be at least improved by kreosote. The gastric pains are severe, burning, constrictive but a nagging fasting pain in the morning with vomiting is also observed and this diminishes after eating. Food remains in the stomach long after eating and causes pressure. This refers to gastroectasia consequent to narrowing in the duodenum where kreosote as well as carbo vegetablis brings improvement. The abdomen is distended, acrid, very offensive also bloody diarrhoea as well as persistent constipation is reported; moreover large painful hemorrhoids. Much pain in the rectum and tendency to bleeding permits one to think of carcinoma, though the rectum less than the stomach and much less than the uterus is the preferred site of kreosote. Severe gastro-enteritis with atrophic, marasmatic children with dental disturbances, and rapid decay of the teeth are given as clinical indications.

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,