The Sulphur

With the Zuntz-Geppert method the measured value of the oxygen intake and carbon dioxide excretion gives naturally only a resultant of the total energy transformation. The most distinct result of the study was an increase of respiratory ventilation, at rest as well as with definite work during the sulphur ingestion period. The increase of ventilation was distinct only after about two weeks and was greater in the third and fourth weeks (that is under about 1-3 mg.) and in the fifth week even under greater doses of sulphur (about 5 mg.) it was less. In two people respiration was irregular, in the third the respiratory frequency increased to about double. At the same time as the ventilation increased, there was a slight tendency to increase of the basal metabolism, but this was distinct only with each increase in the dose of sulphur; if the daily dose remained the same then the basal metabolism fell, and moreover, it was lowered during the period of after-effect. Further, the capacity for restitution (that is, the duration of increase after an exactly, measured piece of bodily work, for which a numerical result was obtained), was determined at the height of the sulphur action. The capacity for restitution was depressed in all trials. Furthermore, from the estimation of the so called ventilation quotient (that is, the ratio of the ventilation volume in cc. to the transformed calories) in rest and work under sulphur action, an excitation and at the same time an increase in irritability of the respiratory center was disclosed. Since the absolute height of ventilation in work under sulphur influence was increased in comparison to normal and thereby was bound to an increased supply of oxygen, and though, nevertheless, the restitution was delayed, so must a depression of oxidation be assumed. The authors did not decide whether the excitation of the respiratory center and the increase of ventilation conditioned through this by sulphur depended on a direct action of H2S on the respiratory center, or whether the metabolic products entered the blood in consequence to oxygen depression and acted toxically on the respiratory center, or whether the metabolic products increased the H-ion concentration of the blood and thereby also the environment of the respiratory center. They held it as probable that it was composed of an increase in metabolic end product action and the direction action of H2S.

As it tends to happen in exact experimental investigations, there are also findings which prove the opposite. In the Berne Pharmacologic Institute, Siegfried has arranged similar metabolic studies on himself under the influence of sulphur. However, the size of the ventilation was not measured. Since he worked with another apparatus, a comparison of the results is also impossible. Siegfried summarizes his results of investigation as follows: The amount of excreted CO2 and of the oxygen taken in was not influenced in a distinct way with doses of 1-3 mg. of sulphur per day. With greater doses (4-6 mg. daily a distinct decrease occurred. The respiratory quotient sank. with doses of 1 mg. After the discontinuance of sulphur it rapidly rose again. The influence on general sensation and on the respiration was not observed. These later investigations, which apparently should contradict those of Simonson and Richter, cannot be compared with them without further discussion, and in any case do not signify a contradiction. First the introduction of sulphur lasted only fourteen days in Siegfried’s studies. That in this time no influence of the general sensation and the respiration was observed agrees in general with the report of Simonson and Richter: likewise, that in the first ten days no distinct influence on CO2 excretion and oxygen intake in accordance with the basal metabolism was observed. In Siegfried’s study, even after ten days with an increase of the dose to 4-6 mg. a decrease of CO2 excretion and oxygen intake appeared, and the basal metabolism fell. But this does not entirely contradict the reports of the previous workers who demonstrated with higher doses (indeed by them 5 mg. was the highest dose given) that here was a fall in the basal metabolism. Furthermore, Siegfried states that from the start the respiratory quotient, also the ratio CO2:O2 fell under the use of sulphur and remained low. On the contrary, the earlier workers had found in general no essential influence on the respiratory quotient. The deviations of Siegfried are without further discussion understandable from the concentration of larger doses of sulphur (he began also with 1 mg. that is about three times the dose of the earlier workers) to a shorter period of study (two weeks).

It hardly signified a contradiction, much more, a partial confirmation, when Gordonoff and Misushina obtained a lessening of the basal metabolism in rabbits with sulphur spring water. If the rabbits had taken only 100 g. of Schinznacher Spring in a day, then this would be 8 mg. or a dose many times as large as the one employed in man. The question, whether the definitely determined phase of sulphur influence which consists in a decrease in the basal metabolism and a depression of oxidation can be preceded by a short phase of metabolic increase under other conditions, is not decided through these experiments.

Nothing is stated against the correctness of the many homoeopathic prover, of H.Schulz and his co-workers; nor against the subjective symptoms, confirmed by Riesser, Simonson and Richter, wherein Gordonoff (loc.cit). observed no sulphur symptoms with single provers. Indeed it is not be doubted that, even with the correct arrangement of the provings, there are people not sensitive to sulphur. What interests us, however, are the persons who are sensitive to sulphur and the symptoms with which they react to sulphur, because we would not employ sulphur in everyone but only in persons who are especially sensitive to it. And these persons should indicate through their symptoms in the instance of disease that they are sensitive to the sulphur trend. This also differentiates the homoeopathic drug study from the experiments of the Pharmacologic school, the one being directed from the start at the individual, the other at the general; the homoeopathic provings can satisfy themselves with the qualitative correctness of the details observed while the exactitude of school pharmacology must seek in the numerical conception of general reactions common to man, and must work largely with animals.


Burgi and Gordonoff here demonstrated a further important trend of sulphur influence on the intermediary metabolic process; they found histologically and chemically in rabbits and rats, after prolonged administration of sulphur spring water, an enrichment of glycogen in the liver. Moreover, the blood sugar level fell under the influence of sulphur and increased again after the discontinuance of sulphur. By intramuscular injection of small doses of colloidal sulphur, the same appeared. Of interest is the dose by which the hypoglycemic effect was still demonstrated (Wuthrich): by mouth 1 mg. intravenously 1/100,000 mg. subcutaneously, 1/1000 mg. per kilogram body weight. Larger doses did not increase this hypoglycemic action but lessened it or even reversed it. These hypoglycemic doses of sulphur were not surpassed in smallness by the purified insulin preparation according to Abel and Geiling. Since this preparation is concerned with a crystalline protein body which contains sulphur in a form easily split off, so the conception is naturally very close that the action of insulin goes parallel to its content of easily split-off sulphur. The sulphur would then have the same relation to insulin that iodine has to thyroxin. However, this conception is not as yet certain.

The hypoglycemic action of sulphur has been confirmed by various workers and also for healthy a diabetic patients, but is still denied by others. A sulphur therapy in diabetes has not however, become adopted. The reason for this lies in that the hypoglycemic action (of sulphur) with the serum of the animal which is found at the height, of hypoglycemia will also be transferred to another animal. Thereby the blood sugar lowering value of this serum seems to be stronger than that of the corresponding amount of sulphur. It seems also that definite organic compounds are here better linked to inorganic substances and better adapted for bio-chemic processes so that a more persistent action is obtained.


From another side, Meyer-Bisch and Kuhn have attempted to explain the action of sulphur on the oxidative metabolism. They investigated the ratio of carbon to nitrogen, the quotient, C:N, in the urine, before and after injection of sulphur.

The quotient C:N in the urine has been discussed particularly by Bickel and his students and utilized in metabolic investigations. In regard to the C in the urine, it is concerned with the dysoxidizable C. If the alteration of the quotient, C:N, is not conditioned through a one-sided N-increase or decrease, so must it be founded chiefly on the oxidation and transformation of non-nitrogen-containing carbon compounds (carbohydrates and fats). The C increases when defectively oxidized products of carbohydrate and fat metabolism appear in the urine. Whether the amounts of C with the nitrogen-containing end products deviate from the normal is also dependent upon the intensity of oxidation in protein molecules. Incomplete oxidation will also here increase the fraction of dysoxidizable C in relation to the nitrogen. Therefore an increase of the quotient C:N in the urine has to be considered as a rule, as the result of depression of oxidation, so far as a one-sided nitrogen poor diet or marked nitrogen retention in growth does not shift the relation in favor of C. A pathologic metabolic status in which (in consequence of a reduction of oxidation) there comes an absolute or relative increase to the nitrogen in the urine excretion is characterized by Bickel as dysoxidizable carbonuria.

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,