3. Liver affections

A gentleman of thirty years of age came under my observation for liver disease, skin disease, insomnia, depression of spirits and chronic diarrhoea tho’ only thirty years of age; he has lost all his teeth from shrinking of the gums; they just fell out. His skin disease consisted in what I have elsewhere called the Sternal Patch, the liver affection in an enlargement of the left lobe and for this I ordered Carduus marioe, six drops in water, three times a day. In a short time he reported himself as sleeping well and his spirits notably improved. Arsenicum and Thuja followed but no further improvement worth while mentioning, when, on June 13th, I prescribed Chelone glabra in the same manner in which I had formerly ordered Carduus.

July 13th.-“That medicine (Chelone) acted like a charm. Patient remained well for a year or so and then returned with the old symptoms again-I have now come to the point of my case. Carduus was ordered as before. Chelone followed, but neither acted as formerly, that which a year before acted like a charm now act not at all. The fact is in this case there exists a constitutional crasis quite away from the hepatic state, it is an organismic ailing and not merely one of the organ, and here I found it necessary to go in quest of the homoeopathic simillimum, the simple homoeopathic part elective drug affinity not sufficing. Clearly organ-remedies restore only tone and equable circulation in most instances but do not alter the organismic quality of the organ, nor do they cure any diathesic quality of the stroma of the organ.

In fine: Where the organ-ill comes from the organism and keeps on coming, the organ remedy is capable only of clearing the organ of its organismic soot, so to speak, for the time being; it is only while where the organ ailment is in and of the organ that the organ remedy is adequate. Also where the ailment is in and of the organ it is useless to attempt its cure with high dilutions affecting the whole organism: a localized organ disease calls for a localized organ remedy, just as a general diathesic organismic disease needs the homoeopathic simillimum in some potency sufficiently removed from its materiality. The degree of homoeopathicity conditions the degree of potency, the greater the degree of homoeopathicity the greater (higher) the potency and conversely. Hence it is that I use mother tinctures in the organopathic states and ailments. Thus even in the use of simple organ-remedies of but small pathogenetic powers, yet considerable local affinity, a few drops of the mother tincture may act very perturbingly. For instance the tincture of the common marigold may be used in 5 or 10 drop doses with very slight effect but let the homoeopathicity be a little greater than merely local affinity and we get nausea, vomiting and abdominal distress.


We find under Calendula “chilly hand” “He is easily frightened” I have often used Calendula internally and gained the conviction that it has a certain beneficial influence upon scrofulous ulcers notably helping to make a nice scar. In liver affections I had not used it till Dr. Robert T. Cooper mentioned it to me in this regard, but he knew of no special indication for its use in preference to any other, and this is ever the great difficulty with organ-remedies, especially where the epidemic genius of the disease is unknown, and, as it so often is, unknowable; my greatest help is to find out the exact part of the organ or part, a given remedy affects and this is often quite sufficient.

The two symptoms, “chilly hands” and “easily frightened,” taken together and in conjunction with liver troubles, would seem to call for Calendula.

Case.-Mr. X., a singer of world wide fame, had been under me for some months with much advantage; under hepatics and renal remedies he greatly improved, but did not get rid of his “cold hands” and “I am so dreadfully nervous, I am frightened at everything, sometimes I dare not enter a cab or carriage, and feel it to be absolutely impossible to face the audience and my indigestion is pretty bad and I have a great deal of heartburn.”

At the left side of the liver, deep in, seemed the faulty part. Rx. Calendula off, p., five drops in water, night and morning, was ordered and after a month of this I heard “Oh, I am getting on splendidly; the heartburn is gone, my digestion is better, my hands have quite lost that nasty cold feeling and my nerve is so much better, I am quite a different man.”

I had formerly won this gentleman’s confidence by materially improving his grand voice.

What with?

Thuja occidentalis 30.

Why given?

For Vaccinosis.

The number of people I have benefited by Thuja 30 is really almost beyond belief; one dose of six globules every week is my rule.


In a case of severe dyspnoea from hepatic dropsy Chelone glabra rendered me good service; the case was very complicated in as much as in addition to bradycardia, cirrhosis of the liver and Bright’s disease of the kidneys there was seemingly a tumour lying between the liver and the navel: tense, tender and certainly of quite a different nature to the general ascitic swelling. By reason of its topographic position and in view of the line of action of Chelone as I have before pointed out, I gave five drops of Chelone p in a tablespoonful of water every four hours and in less than a fortnight the lump between liver and navel had quite disappeared, and simultaneously there with also the cardiac dyspnoea. I say cardiac dyspnoea as it lay in its origin between the liver and the heart, I could not trace any direct influence of Chelone on either the heart or kidneys though both were much influenced by the removal of the obstructive mass between liver and navel.


It is difficult to conceive of anything outside of one’s own self and one’s own experience and hence it comes to pass that I have never been quite able to realize that Quassia has any action on the liver worth while. Und Doch.

Very early in 1895 a gentlemen sent me a young man from Hampstead who had been in vain operated on in University College Hospital and thence discharged as incurable. Incurable at twenty years of age.

This young man informed me that he left University College Hospital quite lately and showed me a long scar in the right axillary line where an incision would have enabled an exploration of the right kidney region, gall bladder and back of liver, which no doubt was the object of the operation. He himself stated that it was for stone in the right kidneys but on reaching the kidney no stone could be found and so the wound was stitched up, and as soon as it had healed-up patient was discharged as incurable.

Patient complained of attacks of severe pain at the back of the liver just where the fresh scar is seen coming on with vomiting at any time, any day and in any weather; these attacks average about one a week and the pain once on will last from one to three days. Has been subject to these attacks for five years and has had to give up all work for long and is now much reduced in health and strength. The vomiting comes on whenever he attempts to eat. As the attack comes on he swells and seems very tight in the girth. In the perpendicular the hepatic dulness goes right up to the nipple. I put patient at first on Hydrastis Canadensis, then on Urtica urens, then on Chelidonium majus with the sole difference that under the Chelidonium the dull percussion note of the liver in the mammary line was trifle less.

On April 9th I ordered Quassia tincture p five drops in water every four hours.

23rd. There is very great improvement and the young man has quite a different look, his low whining complaining tone having given way to much greater mental and physical alertness, only one attack of pain. Rep.

May 7th. There have been two attacks of pain, but very much less severe and he feels much stronger. To take the Quassia in five drop doses three times a day. May 21st. Attacks are much less in severity and less frequent.

Patient has put on flesh, the previous dirty colour of the skin of his face has gone and given place to a clean, healthy looking face. Rep.

Remains under treatment so I am not able to say whether the Quassia is the real remedy in the case; but, assuming that it does no more than it has already accomplished, at nay rate its record in the case is better than that of my allopathic friends at University College Hospital. So far as I see at present it is a case of neither liver nor kidney merely; but of the right supra-renal capsule, but into this dark continent we will now not penetrate.

James Compton Burnett
James Compton Burnett was born on July 10, 1840 and died April 2, 1901. Dr. Burnett attended medical school in Vienna, Austria in 1865. Alfred Hawkes converted him to homeopathy in 1872 (in Glasgow). In 1876 he took his MD degree.
Burnett was one of the first to speak about vaccination triggering illness. This was discussed in his book, Vaccinosis, published in 1884. He introduced the remedy Bacillinum. He authored twenty books, including the much loved "Fifty Reason for Being a Homeopath." He was the editor of The Homoeopathic World.