Usually wakens with anger. The membrane, usually gray or white, begins on the right side and either stays there or travels over to the left, and is noticed especially on the tonsils, especially the right, is profuse, and extends to the nose. High fever. Swollen tongue and tonsils. Nose obstructed; fanlike motion of alae nasi; obliged to breath through mouth with tongue protruded. Sensitive to cold.

[Read before the I.H.A., Bureau of Clinical Medicine, June 9-11, 1932.].

When I first began the practice of medicine I had had the fear of smallpox and diphtheria so effectually drilled into me that I would go blocks out of my way to avoid passing houses where there were cases. In my first 16 years of practice I lost every case of diphtheria that had the misfortune to fall into my hands,except one. Some record! This last case was the worst one of all; a case on which the very best allopathic talent had fallen down; a case of “black” diphtheria”, so they diagnosed it. I can therefore sympathize with those, especially the “erudite”, who are either so indolent, or so ignorant of Hahnemannian homoeopathy that they must resort to the impossible antitoxin on every and all occasions.

To inoculate 2,000 or more children with antitoxin, and then brag about it, as was done by a former member of this Association, in a former issue of The Recorder, sheds no lustre on the erudition of anyone, medically or otherwise. What a calming comfort it must be to any physician to administer a dose of antitoxin to a victim, only to have that victim drop dead before the doctor has had time to step off the front porch! That very thing has happened, and the death certificate prevaricatingly signed heart-failure in order to save the face of the antitoxin. How long would homoeopathy survive if it were as continually producing such devastations?.

Will someone please, explain: If germs basically cause disease, how it comes that we are not able to diagnose disease and its causes long before its end results develop and are apparent? On the other hand, why is it that we do not discover these germs until after the results of the disease have developed? Just why do those germs disappear before the disease gets entirely well? If it were true that the basic cause of disease is germs, could that disease ever be cured until every one of those germs is destroyed? How about the carrier? Why did Bechamp dub Pasteurs Germ Theory the “greatest silliness of the age”? Was it because Bechamp, the teacher, was less learned than Pasteur, the scholar?

If germs are the basic cause of diphtheria, how does it come that the potentized remedy, having no germicidal power whatever according to our allopathic brothers, cures the very worst types of diphtheria? That homoeopathy cures the very worst, the most serious and malignant types of diphtheria has had too many years of clinical and intelligent verification to be denied by the most dense and ignorant of doctors. All of which is proof positive that it is the disease that produces and fashions the germ, and not the germ that produces and fashions the disease. The indications for the remedy must be based on the basic cause of the disease, as well as the basic symptom totality of the symptoms caused directly by the drug on the normal human body, and not on the crude end products of the disease.

It is a hopeful sign that the general public is waking up to the fact of the dangers arising from the use and abuse of these serums when the manufacturers of these concoctions are having to pull off such disgraceful fakes on a confiding public, as that faked dog race to Nome, Alaska; the creation of the fictitious dog Balto, and the trumped up and imaginary number of cases of diphtheria, as well as the number of cases alleged to have been saved; and all this aided and abetted by radio broadcasting corporations. It shows to what extremity corporate greed will go to commercialize human health and life in order to make money. The Creator will not allow this to go on forever, the day of reckoning is fast approaching!.

The single case mentioned above, that I saved, had most beautiful and clear-cut indications for Arsenicum album. The response was so prompt, the cure so complete (I saw the patient a short time ago and he reminded me of it) that it completely changed my mind both as to the overexaggeration of the dangers of diphtheria and the much exaggerated statements that homoeopathy was unequal to the task of fully combating it. That case taught me how to handle the situation to such an extent that in the 31 years that I have practised in Toledo I have not lost a case of throat trouble of any kind, though I have had some choice specimens of diphtheria of my own, as well as some passed on to me.

There is but one, and only one, reason for homoeopathy to fall down in the cure of true diphtheria, either the wrong remedy, or the wrong potency. The superiority and the prompt response and efficiency of homoeopathy with the positively indicated remedy in diphtheria over all other methods will become easily apparent to any physician who desires and is willing to learn. Our failures are due to our own lack of knowledge, and not to homoeopathy, as our pride would like them to be. If I were to be denied all the remedies for diphtheria but one, I should choose.


The first thing that strikes one in a Merc. cy. case is the profound prostration right from the start; so weak he cannot stand; cold; cyanotic; collapse threatens. The most characteristic membrane is greenish, though in some cases it may be white, yellow, or gray, and it spreads over a large area, even appearing at the anus. There is a marked tendency to destruction of the soft parts of the palate and fauces. Great foetor; breath offensive. Secretions profuse, especially the sweat. Salivary glands swollen; saliva thick and ropy. Fauces red. Dysphagia. Tongue in ordinary cases brown; in severe cases black. Pulse intermittent rapid, small and without volume. Epistaxis comes on, a dangerous sign. Worse night and heat of bed. Adapted to the true adynamic type.

COMMENT: This remedy must be carefully differentiated from Diphtherinum, Merc. cy. having more tendency to free perspiration, nightly aggravation, and aggravation from the heat of the bed. It is no credit to any one who professes to be a homoeopath to have an allopath use his (the homoeopaths) Merc. cy. on 81 cases of diphtheria with but a single death. It looks as if the allopath knew how to use the modern homoeopaths tools better than the modern homoeopath. Antitoxin has never been known to have produced such a record! As a preventive of diphtheria Merc. cy. ranks high, perhaps equalling, if not exceeding, Diphtherinum, when given in the 30x or cc potencies. Hering quotes from Allg. Hom. Ztg., Vol. 88, p. 92, this:.

If the remedy is given in the stage of invasion, i.e., before exudation is deposited, it will not appear at all; as a prophylactic it is equally effective; paralysis and other diseases have not been observed after use of this drug. Several physicians have never seen any results from it because they gave the 2nd and 3rd trituration or dilution, which is much too strong, or rather, not sufficiently developed.

I have had the opportunity of confirming the above, both curatively and as a preventive.

A splendid, but not fully proven, remedy that should be considered next to this is.


The first thing that strikes one in a Diphtherinum case is the malignant tendency, epistaxis, and prostration right from the start; the patient being too prostrated to complain. Painless cases. The membrane is usually thick gray, or brownish black. Collapse almost from the beginning. Restless. Apathetic. Sopor. Stupor. Besotted look (Bapt.). Foetor; discharges very offensive. Swelling of throat, tonsils and palatine arches, dark red; of parotid and cervical glands. Pulse rapid, weak. Weakness. Vital reaction low. Temperature subnormal.

COMMENT: There is every reason to believe that when this remedy is fully proven and thoroughly understood it will prove to be in the prevention of diphtheria what Variolinum has proven to be in the prevention of smallpox. When the patient seems doomed from the start and all our apparently well chosen remedies fail, let us not give up all hope until we have tried this remedy, preferably in the cc potency.

While we are on the more serious aspect of this disease, let us next review.


The first thing that strikes us in an Ailanthus case is the capillary congestion occurring in spots, red and mottled; the rash coming out imperfectly because the body is so full of poison that the poison impedes the vital force, it is dark mixed with bluish spots, livid, purple, in patches. Membrane, not pronounced, is grayish, deep-seated; small patches; on tonsils. Malignant forms. Throat dusky red; almost purple; swollen externally and internally. Nose obstructed, discharge ichorous; foetor. Odor foetid, cadaverous, like stinking meat from nose and mouth. Discharge acrid; from mouth, making lips sore. Stupor. Indifference, with sighing. Besotted look (Bapt., Diphth.), face purple, eyes congested. Delirium. Vomiting. Becomes drowsy. Torpid. Skin livid, purple. Prostration extreme.

COMMENT: Ail. produces a more profound stupor than Bapt. Prostration at onset is a leading indication. Very useful when the disease turns suddenly and a zymotic state appears, with pain in head and back of neck.

Having several things in common with this remedy is.


The first thing that strikes one in a Bapt. case is the extremely besotted look on a face that is dark red, bloated and purple. Unable to sleep because head, body or limbs feel scattered about so that he must toss about to get the pieces together. Can swallow only liquids, least solid food causes gagging. Prostration more profound than the attack would justify. Assumes a typhoid state (Rhus). Mouth, excessively putrid, as from gangrene. Discharges and secretions all putrid, cadaverous, penetrating. Tongue yellowish brown center, red, shining edges. Restless delirium, or stupor. Body feels bruised (Arn.), sore.

COMMENT: Sometimes the throat is painless, like Apis, but Bapt. has less oedema. Bapt. brings on septic states more rapidly than most other remedies.

Again, having several things in common with this remedy is.


The first thing that strikes one in a Rhus case is the restlessness.

He cannot find a comfortable position anywhere, not even in bed, due to stiffness, pain and soreness all over the body; which is worse at rest and on first beginning to move, but which is relieved for a time after the motion. This restlessness is both mental and physical. The membrane, not pronounced, is dark, on the right side, especially on the right tonsil. The tongue has a triangular red tip. Rhus is apt to assume a typhoid form (Bapt.) with mild delirium. Dreams of hard work. The glands swell, especially the parotids (Brom.) which are inflamed; also the sub- maxillaries, with a dark erysipelatous hue. Bloody saliva runs from the mouth. Thirsty; desires cold milk. Worse cool air, and rest; better heat. Tearing pains often run down thighs.

As we leave Rhus, let us look at the three (important) links, Lyc., Lac can. and.


The first thing that strikes one in a Lach. case is the extreme sensitiveness and intolerance to and of touch and pressure, especially about the swollen throat and neck. Cannot tolerate a collar or neck-band, no matter how loose. He refuses a warm drink because it suffocates him. He dislikes sleeping because he always feels worse on entering it, but especially after it, on waking. The trouble begins on the left side and either stays there or travels over to the right, membrane is predominantly white, especially noticed on the left tonsil, and travels from left to right; in some cases it may be bluish, gray, yellow, profuse.

The tongue is smooth, shining, at anterior half, cracked at tip, and often catches back of teeth on attempting to protrude it. The throat is dark red, purple, constricted; worse hot drinks (Lyc. better; Lac can. better warm or cold drinks), worse empty swallowing, liquids regurgitate; pains extend to left ear. The nose is obstructed at the posterior nares; lips and nose sore; discharge from nose thin, sanious. Breath foetid. Glands swollen, purple. Blood dark, does not coagulate. Prostration extreme. Gangrene. Impending paralysis of heart. Pyaemia from absorption with hectic fever.

COMMENT: After diphtheria: Asthenopia. Or urine very dark or blackish, coffee ground sediment.

As Lach. affects the left side, and Lyc. the right we have a remedy of equal value that is not so particular in.


The first thing that strikes one in a Lac. can. case is the glistening, shiny red throat, reminding one of Kali bich. Unlike Lach. and Lyc., Lac can. is erratic, alternating sides, thus in a way favoring both. The membrane is predominantly white, pearly; alternates sides; migratory; in a less degree, varnished and shining, like china, gray, dirty looking, yellow, in small patches, thin, loose, occasionally curdy; on uvula and especially tonsils. Swallowing difficult, especially empty; fluids regurgitate through nose on drinking. Throat better cold or warm drinks, distinguishing it from Lach. and Lyc.; pains shoot to left ear, like Lach., discharges foetid. Prostration. Aversion to being alone, again distinguishing it from Lach., which desires to be alone. Restless. Dreams of snakes. Cannot bear one part to touch another, especially fingers, Lac. fel., foot. Paralysis after diphtheria. Worse night, after sleep, cold wind or cold, sharp air.

COMMENT: This remedy has won its greatest fame as both a cure and a preventive of diphtheria. Lac can. is said to act best given in a single dose, and if it must be repeated, it is best done at exact intervals.

Now we come to the right link of that trio.


The first thing that strikes one in a Lyc. case is a very nervous, emotional, sensitive patient complaining about the right side of his throat. The trouble begins on the right side and either stays there or travels over to the left. He is especially worse from 4 to 8 p.m.; also from cold and from pressure of the clothing; better from warm drinks. He either fills up from a small amount of food, or his appetite improves as he continues to eat; if the former, it causes fullness and distension of the abdomen and much noisy flatulence.

Usually wakens with anger. The membrane, usually gray or white, begins on the right side and either stays there or travels over to the left, and is noticed especially on the tonsils, especially the right, is profuse, and extends to the nose. High fever. Swollen tongue and tonsils. Nose obstructed; fanlike motion of alae nasi; obliged to breath through mouth with tongue protruded. Sensitive to cold. Desires air, the cold air relieves. The weakness and fatigue are more noticeable at rest than during motion. Exertion aggravates.

COMMENT: Children waken cross and angry; often lies unconscious and in deep sleep, lower jaw drops, urine scanty or even suppressed, and what does pass stains bedding or clothing red, and a little red sand; they cry out during sleep. Just why the claim that this remedy should be preceded by another antipsoric remedy, preferably Nux, I have never been able to learn.

Another important right-sided remedy is.


This first thing that strikes one in an Apis case is the extreme aversion to heat. Cold relieves even the mind. Then the sudden stinging pains, especially on every attempt to swallow. Oedema of the throat and uvula. Absence of thirst. Heat of bed intolerable. Throat bright rosy red. Membrane prevailingly white; on tonsils, right and uvula; or it may be dirty, grayish, tough, or white like scabs. Tonsils and fauces as if covered with glossy varnish. Tongue dry, red, swollen, not heavily coated, blisters on borders. Apathy. Indifference. Even unconscious. Stupor during progress of disease. Restless. Nose often cold at tip in beginning. Face hot, bright red, even livid. Aversion to warm drinks and food (Lac can. better). Abdominal walls apt to be sore and bruised. Urine free, pale. High fever. Dyspnoea. Skin dry, hot; red rash may appear. Sleepy. Weak. Prostrated. Generally worse least pressure, and at 5 p.m.

COMMENT: Paralysis may follow. Said to be almost specific for true diphtheria. Throat may become painless, like that of Bapt., in advanced cases, but Bapt. has less oedema. Apis makes its progress slowly; is slow acting, therefore should not be changed too soon. Whenever its symptoms come on with too great violence they may be usually antidoted by Carbolic acid. The increased flow of urine shows its favorable effect, like.


The first thing that strikes one in an Apis case is the existant boring into the nose, especially into the sides of the nose, and the picking at the nose and lips until they become raw and bleed, in spite of the pain produced thereby. Works at the nose constantly; it becomes ulcerated. Discharges extremely offensive and excoriate the parts over which they flow. Salivation; saliva acrid. Lips chap, thick and burn. Angles of mouth sore, cracked and bleeding. Mouth sore, raw, unable to open it. Tongue red, cracked and bleeding. Swollen submaxillaries. Mind and body irritable. Depression of vital forces. Rawness with itching. Urine scanty, or suppressed. Foetor. Malignancy. During scarlatina.

COMMENT: Children are irritable and restless. Its favorable action is shown by an increase in the flow of urine (Apis).

We also have another remedy whose secretions are extremely acrid in.


The first thing that strikes one in a Nit. ac. case is the offensiveness of the patient. The excretions are foul. The urine, in odor, resembles that of a horse more than does the urine of any other remedy. That stable-like odor once enabled me to make a most brilliant cure of secondary syphilis in a little girl. The throat pains are sharp, splinter-like on swallowing; worse touch and motion. Discharges and excretions:

Foul; excoriate; affect stomach; from nose with obstruction, making lips sore; excoriating from centers of mouth and nose, making lips sore; of dirty green yellowish pus. Membrane predominantly white; white patches on tonsils; occasionally gray or yellow; deep seated; especially on uvula; extending to nose, or toward posterior wall of pharynx. Tough stringy mucus from mouth; breath and saliva offensive. Tongue yellow as a rule, though sometimes white in the morning. As of a foreign body in the throat. Nausea. Vomiting. Constantly obliged to lie down from weakness. The ulcers have a splinter-like pain when touched. High fever. Great prostration. Sensitive to touch. Worse water, washing and noise. The foul discharges call to mind.


The first thing that strikes one in an Ars. case is the anguish and fear. The fear of being alone. The restlessness, even during the stupor and profound prostration; causing one to wish to change places or beds. The anxiety intermingled with fear. The burning thirst calling for little and often; feeling better after drinking hot things (Lyc.). Burning. The aggravation at, or soon after, midnight. Membrane is especially wrinkled and dry; often dark and gangrenous. Discharges all putrid; foetor great, cadaveric; from nose, excoriating. Throat swollen externally and internally; oedematous. Stomach irritable; apt to vomit immediately after drinking. Urine scanty. Pains burn. Pulse rapid, weak. Weakness great; exhaustion rapid, from least exertion; seems out of proportion to rest of illness; even collapse. Albuminuria. Dropsy. Better from heat and warm wraps. Severe cases.

COMMENT: Adapted more to later stages. Marked enlargement of the lymphatics is more apt to require Arsenicum iodatum. In irritability of the stomach we have a rival remedy in.


The first thing that strikes one in a Phos. case is the desire to have a stream of cold water going down the throat continually, which relieves, but which may be vomited as soon as it gets warm on the stomach; or wants ice in the mouth. Bodily and mental exhaustion. Bloodstreaked discharges. Throat purple, foetor horrible. Desires: Cold food, especially meat; must eat often or he faints. Restless. Weak, gone sense in abdomen. Burning pains. Sleepy daytime, and after meals. Is worse evening until midnight, touch, pressure, and lying on left side; better after eating. Hoarseness after diphtheria.

We have another remedy desiring cold drinks in.


The first thing that strikes one in a Phyt. case is the vertigo and nausea on attempting to sit up. The aching of the head, back and limbs, stiff muscles, and pain in knees. Membrane predominantly gray or white, like dirty washleather, on tonsils and uvula, usually right side; sometimes dark, or ash color, or small white or yellow spots coalescing, or dirty white, or pearly.

Tongue heavily furred and thick, mostly with fiery red tip, with great pain at root on protruding it. Throat dry, sore, dark red, almost purple, worse hot drinks (Lach.; Lyc. better), wants cold things; burns, often as from a red hot ball; dysphagia; fauces congested, dark red; pharynx dry, raw, scraping; tonsils bluish, swollen; purple color of throat; pains shoot to ears on attempting to swallow. Mouth and tongue ulcerated. Soreness across kidneys; urine scanty, dark red; albuminous. Worse at night. At beginning chills creep up back; weak, faint on sitting up in bed. From exposure to cold and damp atmosphere, or from sleeping in damp, ill ventilated rooms.

Another remedy having pain on protruding tongue, is.


The first thing that strikes one in a Kali bich. case is the peculiar toughness and adhesiveness of the secretions, usually profuse and yellow. Membrane predominantly greenish (Merc. cy.) especially on tonsils and uvula, next in importance: Blood- streaked; deep seated; elastic; gray; isolated patches; pearly; white; yellow; fibrinous; on palate, tonsils and pharynx; extends to nose, trachea, and especially larynx. Tongue is red, dry, smooth, cracked, and, like Phyt., pains at root on protruding it. Uvula swollen, little redness, oedematous; tonsils inflamed and very red, and swollen; neck swollen. Discharges foetid. Clinkers form in nose leaving sore places when detached. Pulse soft. Tendency to perspire. Weary. Weak; prostration profound.Sensitive to cold. Ulcers, if occurring, are round, deep and very red. In line with this remedy is.


The first thing that strikes one in a Kali chlor. case is the contrast of the extreme whiteness to the yellowness of the exudation and secretions of Kali bich. Membrane is predominantly white. Saliva tough and stringy. Mouth ulcerated, bases gray; gangrenous; extreme foetor. Is always better by a warm bath, which is apt to be followed by perspiration and quiet sleep.

Alfred Pulford
Alfred Pulford, M.D., M.H.S., F.A.C.T.S. 1863-1948 – American Homeopath and author who carried out provings of new remedies. Author of Key to the Homeopathic Materia Medica, Repertoroy of the Symptoms of Rheumatism, Sciatica etc., Homeopathic Materia Medica of Graphic Drug Pictures.