The Sulphur

Whether the modality, aggravation in the open air and from movement as well as improvement in the warmth of the bed, has definite significance remains undecided.

H. Schulz conjectures a connection of sulfuric acid to the liver from the now strikingly bile-colored, now bile -poor, clay- colored stool and the frequently observed appearance of an icteric tint to the skin. This would give a point of transition to sodium sulfuricum with its hepatic affinity. On what the report of Schulz is based and on what observations, I do not know. The occasionally observed yellow discoloration of the skin in those who work with sulfuric acid, in any case, has nothing to do with icterus, but belongs to the crude local actions. Of these crude symptoms of acid intoxication nothing is said here because they cannot assist us in medicinal action.


General Mineral Acid Effects:

Weakness to cachexia

Tendency to bleeding

(Tendency to septic processes) Aphthae


Feeling of trembling without visible trembling Hasty, irritable (pains slowly increase, suddenly diminish?)

Chief Fields of Use:

Gastric disorders of drunkards Climacteric complaints; waves of heat with profuse sweating


Usually given in the low and middle potencies.


The sulfate anion is brought closer into understanding of its actions when one considers it in the well-studied sodium compound.


Natrium sulfuricum, Sal mirabile Glauberi, because Glauber discovered it in the year 1658, belongs to the saline purgatives or salts. They are characterized by their difficult absorbability from the intestinal canal in spite of good solubility in water. Absorbability goes hand in hand with capacity for diffusion and the diffusion velocity again depends upon the grade of dissociation. The salts with multi-valent anions (as sulfates, citrates, tartrates) dissociate less than those with univalent anions (as chlorides, bromides, iodides, and nitrates. With this is explained the slight absorption of sulfates.

If in purgative salts it is merely concerned with an osmotic attraction of water out of the blood into the intestine (as Liebing assumed), then osmotically equivalent amounts of various salts should unfold the same purgative action. But this has been contradicted by Aubert. The peculiarity of the saline purgative physico-chemically comes into expression in that their anions, as sulfates, stand at the end of the so-called lyotropic series according to Hofmeister. With increased capacity of precipitating proteins, the anions, can be arranged as follows; SCN < NO3 < Br < Cl < acetate < citrate, tartarte and sulfate. This series corresponds to a decrease in the swelling activity on gelatin. (The lyotropic series for cations has been previously mentioned in the discussion of the alkalies.) As a basis for the variable influence on swelling and precipitation through anions, Hofmeister has considered the different capacity for attraction of water of the anions. Accordingly water would be withdrawn from the protein bodies in an increasing extent according to the lyotropic anion series. Whether an alteration of the intestinal mucousa accompanies increasing capacity for protein precipitation and is responsible for the defective absorption is still not decided. Possibly it is also of significance that the anions of the poorly absorbable salts, also the sulfates, form insoluble or poorly soluble salts with calcium to which Wallace and Cushny have drawn attention. The combination of de-ionization of calcium ions through sulfates can be invoked for many actions, as has been done by J. Loeb. Similar ideas have also been offered for the phosphate anion (and the other calcium-precipitating anion).

In the middle point of discussions on the action of sodium sulfate stands the purgative action. Symptomatic for it, as with all salines, is much rumbling in the abdomen, flatulence, and the thin or watery evacuations accompanied by much flatulence. If the salt is taken at the same time as much fluid, then the evacuation of a stool soon follows, but if taken with no or very little water, then the result occurs much later.

For the purgative action of the poorly absorbable salts, the liquefaction and increase of intestinal content is the essential factor; the action on peristalsis is subordinate significance, and in any case is released secondarily through the increased mass. The emptying from the stomach is even delayed. The increase in fluid occurs in the stomach where the resorption is even slighter than in the intestine. Many experiments have been arranger to determine whether the increase of fluid in the intestine depends upon transudation out of the blood into the intestine according to simple osmotic rules or whether an increased secretion of the glands occurs and this increased secretion is to be traced to the poorly soluble salts. It is now assumed as certain that an increased secretion occurs.

Apart from the composition of the intestinal fluid, a finding of Loewy speaks for this, namely, that in the action of saline purges the energy transformation increases, indeed in a manner which cannot be traced to the slight influence on peristalsis. It is important that the purgative action does not occur if the water supply of the organism is too slight (in consequence to previous thirst or intravenous injections of hypertonic salt solution).

For the purgative effect, indeed, a small dose is necessary, but, beyond this the amount of salt introduced has no decisive significance for the purgative action, nor does the concentration; because, if a hypotonic Na2SO4 solution is introduced so also for the preservation of isotonia, outside of water, salts such as sodium chloride are passed out of the blood into the intestinal lumen. The poor absorption, the characteristic basis for purgative effect still exists in a hypotonic as well as hypertonic solution of such a salt.

Nevertheless, a slight resorption of the salt still occurs from the intestine. This is dependent upon the duration of sojourn in the intestine. In the usual purgative action the passage through the intestine occurs too rapidly to permit any considerable resorptive actions to occur. But much more is absorbed when only small amounts are administered with little water, so that no purgative action can appear. From the resorbed or intravenously administered salt one can no longer expect a priori a purgative effect at least not according to the enteral mechanism. On the contrary, it is to be considered that then the solution water would be drawn out of the intestine into the blood and that a water deprivation of the intestine would occur. Actually the formerly frequently reported purgative action after parenteral introduction is contradicted through many observations, particularly since one has even reported constipation. This also shows again how important the site of the influence is for the effect, and the inner or outer use of the same agent can condition contrary deviations from the normal.

The influence of sodium sulfate (or magnesium sulfate) on peristalsis in any case is secondary. According to Baur, after a brief increase of contraction with mild increase of tonus there follows a long depression period which in strong solution approaches standstill. Also Frank saw by direct observation in the opened abdomen of the dog, after oral doses of sodium sulfate solutions, no increase in peristalsis. On the contrary, after intravenous injections, very brief antiperistaltic movements occurred. Also in respect to peristalsis seems the inner or outer application to act antagonistically on the intestine.

According to MacCallum, defecation is obtained only through repeated injections of small amounts of sodium sulfate and also only through repeated use of brief peristaltic influence. The chief role in accelerating peristalsis through saline purgatives in any case is ascribed to the excitation through increased intestinal content and indeed it follows single backward waves. Possibly the precipitation or de-ionization of calcium is the basis for the increase of excitability of the intestine, as Loeb and MacCallum have assumed.

The discharge of bile into the duodenum is increased by sodium sulfate solutions. This depends probably for the most part on a relaxation of the sphincter of Oddi, but in a slighter degree also on an increase of bile production; however, this is weaker than that provoked through natr. carb.


Natrium sulfuricum, since v. Grauvogl’s time, holds in homoeopathy as a preferred remedy for the hydrogenoid constitution. From the start a great sensitivity to water in any form, and an excessive accumulation of water, particularly a hydremia, would be brought into connection with this state. A lability of water economy can be understood to some extent for sodium salts and particularly for sodium sulfuricum. As remedies for the hydrogenoid constitution in the first line of the inorganic stand the sodium compounds, natr. carb., natr. nitr., and natr. sulf.

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,