The Carbon

of the urine is subjected to great variations. At the times of small output and light urine with relatively low specific gravity the patient has the most bodily and in particular rheumatic complaints. If then an outpouring of salts follows, particulary of uric acid, with an increased amount of urine, an amelioration of all symptoms occurs. The relation between the excretion and the complaints is characteristic for benzoic acid, when the sharp odor of the urine is present.

In children the uric acid diathesis may reveal itself early in the penetrating “urinous” odor and in these cases acidum benzoic- um can also come under consideration for enuresis nocturna.

In the provings a series of symptoms in the joints and extremiti- es have been observed: tearing and sticking pains and occasionally swelling (so that the ring would be too narrow for the finger), particularly severe pain in the Achilles tendon near the heel, occasionally the feeling of dryness and clicking in the knee joint. The wandering of the pains from above below and from right to left is a further characteristic; but the most important is always the character of the urine.

Moreover for the utility in acute rheumatism speaks a number of mild febrile symptoms in the proving protocols: sweat, internal heat (after preceding external coldness), with marked palpitation (with now fast, now non-accelerated, hard, beating pulse), pulsation in the arteries of the temples (sounds as whizzing in the ears), pain and sensation of weakness in the cardiac region. Obviously benzoic acid is not a remedy for rheumatism in general but only for rare cases, which one can recognize best through the peculiar acrid odor of the urine. Moreover it seems that in the cases suitable for benzoic acid the sweats do not relieve. Use of wine is said to aggravate, likewise movement and cold.


More frequently than in acute rheumatism, benzoic acid is employed in subacute and chronic rheumatism and indeed in arthritis deformans. In addition to the condition of the urine there is also the psychic state, the sleep and the headache. Periods of specially deep, stuporous sleep alternate with sleep disturbed by excitement and a tendency to dwell upon unpleasant things.

Moreover the frequent omission of words in writing is striking. Dullness of the head, and dull headache in all parts of the head, especially in the occiput, occur with lassitude, malaise and loss of appetite, and in conjunction with rheumatic pains and deficient urinary output, after chilling and coming over night with change in the weather, recur periodically, are worse at rest and often accompanied by gastric pain, nausea, regurgitation, and cold hands. It involves a headache on the soil of arthritism. Vertigo with a tendency to fall to one side is also observed, on the other hand ear noises seem to be rarer than in salicylic acid. However benzoic acid is also recommended in Meniere’s syndrome.

Likewise a series of inflammatory states of the tongue, throat, tonsils, or in the stomach are associated with rheumatic manifestations. They are said to appear in place of suddenly diminishing joint pains, with lessening of the urine, which then becomes high colored and of strong smell. The manifestations are: soreness of the tongue, acute inflammation of the tonsils and the throat (burning and scratching pains in the throat have also been observed after the inhalation of 2-5 Percent sodium benzoate solution); loss of appetite, white slimy coated tongue, eructation and gastric pressure with bitter taste, nausea and bitter or salty vomiting from all foods. Watery diarrhoea, especially in children when it is accompanied by the urinary symptoms discussed. The stools are usually foul and white as soap water, at times putrid and bloody.

“Dull pain in the renal region” with the characteristic urine has led to the use of benzoic acid in renal colic, renal gravel; moreover in bladder catarrh in which the great urge to void occurs as a further indication.

The cardiac symptom “pain in the cardiac region, severe palpitation, worse at night, sensation of weakness in the precor- dium, morbid unrest in the chest, heart beat intermits” has also drawn benzoic acid into the domain of rheumatism alternating with cardiac affections.

It is always characteristic of benzoic acid when the pains wander from one place to another, when they vanish from the joints and extremities, then involve internal organs and reversely when the symptoms reappear in the joints with the improvement of the cardiac `complaints, and when the urine periodically alters in regard to its amount, color, specific gravity and odor in relation to the general symptoms of sleep, psyche, headache, and the urine is striking through its odor.

In conjunction with the rheumatic diathesis it should also be mentioned that benzoic acid has been successful in several cases of ganglion on the wrist, internally D 6, and externally 0.2 Acid benz, and 30.0 glycerin cerate. 579

The use of benzoic acid as an :expectorant” is obviously taken over from the formerly frequent use in school medicine. The itching and burning in the throat especially from inhalation promotes the cough and expectoration, therefore the use in bronchitis and asthma, but which has however become more or less relinquished. In homoeopathy this trend of action has not won any great significance, yet there is cited an asthmatic state in reciprocation with rheumatism.

The skin symptoms of benzoic acid are regarded strikingly less in homoeopathy, just as with salicylic acid. They are noted in the provings on the healthy as itching and red patches, but as untoward actions in the form of maculo-papular eruptions and diffuse, itching erythems with red flat nodules at the border.

SUMMARY ——- Chief Trend:

Rheumatic-gouty diathesis.

Change of joint pains: alternation with general complaints, with cardiac or urinary symptoms. Variable state of the urine. Offensive urine “like horse’s urine.” Pyelitis with lithiasis.

(Throat inflammations, cardiac complaints and gastro-intestinal catarrh in association or alternation with rheumatic complaints.)

Guiding Symptoms:

Offensive urine.

Alternation of complaints.

Pain in the Achilles tendon.


Worse from the use of wine; from cold and change of weather; from movement (but headache worse at rest).


The potencies from D 1-D 6 are usual.


Picric acid is a strong acid in watery solution and in its salts. As a protein precipitating agent it is well known from the use of Esbach’s reagent. The absorption of picric acid occurs from the skin, mucous membranes and wound surfaces, which become inflamed on prolonged contact with the remedy; the excretion occurs principally through the urine which is colored an orange yellow, red and by standing in the air to brown black by reduction to the poisonous picramic acid. During the war the picric acid, widely used in the preparation of explosives, was also taken to produce pseudo-icterus since 0.3-1 grams color the mucous membranes, skin and sclera yellow. This has nothing to do with the liver and bile passages.

Upon the coagulation of protein depends the employment of dilute solutions or ointments with picric acid in burns of the first or second degree. However resorptive actions can appear here. Poisoning with large doses produces nephritis, strangury and even anuria. Whether a destruction of the blood occurs with picric acid is doubtful; in any case according to Lewin, methemoglobin cannot be found in the blood, though it is typical for nitrobenzol

(= mirbaneol and dinitrobenzol which is used in the preparation of roburite). After the absorption of picric acid erythema or eczemiform eruptions develop on the skin. The occasional inflammations on the conjunctiva, the mucous membranes of the nose and the digestive canal have nothing typical. After single large doses there appears slowing of the pulse, with prolonged toxic action and intermittent fever.

The important nervous manifestations are mentioned only in general in toxicology; heaviness of the head, headache, vertigo, delirium, prostration, more rarely spasms and many times a sciatica.


The nerve actions of picric acid were first recognized through the intestinal provings on the healthy and were first utilized there. The provings are: 1. Parisel: De l’acide picrique, These, Paris, 1868.

2. Couch: N.Y.J. of Hom., vol. 2, p. 149, 1874.

3. Jones: Allen’s Encyclopedia, vol. VI, p. 519.


One may be doubtful whether this remedy stands nearer the nitrates such as glonoin or the phenol derivatives such as benzoic acid and salicylic acid. But the medicinal trend in acidum picrinicum goes strongly to the central nervous system so that the similarity with salicylate actions on certain nerve centers seems to justify the inclusion in this direction. A glonoin-like headache indeed appears with picric acid nevertheless the vascular action is subordinate to those on the nerve centers of the spinal cord, the medulla, the cerebellum and cerebrum.

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,