THE USE OF SYPHILINUM IN ACUTE CONDITIONS. This brief paper is intended as a warning against routinism and sloppy prescribing of which the author is perhaps more guilty than most. Only by strict adherence to law can perfection in the difficult art of cure be attained; and while it may not be given to all to reach this goal, at least all may continue to seek it.

In an averagely busy practice one not infrequently finds ones self prone in the pitfall of routine prescribing, having stubbed ones toe on the root of empiricism. The writer, himself, often has had to clamber back to the road of precision from which his careless step and unwatchful eye had so rudely precipitated him. there is reason for routinism – even for a homoeopath – but never an excuse.

In the experience of the writer, run-of-the-mill acute conditions seem to require a coterie of remedies more or less fixed. One has frequently wondered whether the climatic and environmental conditions of a given community, as well as the constitutional backgrounds of a more or less unchanging clientele, may not be factors initiating an unsuspected drift toward routinism in prescribing. When one sees an acute coryza again and again requiring Allium cepa or Nux vomica, it is natural, though admittedly not homoeopathic, to begin to think of all coryzas as calling for these remedies. Thus we tend to become empiricists without realizing what is happening.

It is only when the apparently well-indicated remedy fails that one begins to take stock of ones prescription, discovering to ones chagrin that ones choice has been made “by guess and by God” rather than by the principle of similia similibus curentur. It has happened so frequently that the writers second, more accurately chosen, remedy has been Syphilinum that he has been under some constraint to review some of the symptoms which indicate this drug and give a few examples of its successful application in acute conditions.

Syphilinum is a nosode made from pus obtained from a syphilitic ulceration. It works to better advantage in the higher potencies.

The most outstanding feature of Syphilinum is the nightly aggravation. The patients are frequently worse from the onset of darkness until the appearance of daylight, often with an aggravation of the aggravation in the middle of the night. Allied to Syphilinums nightly aggravation is sleeplessness, this being a strong feature of the drugs symptomatology.

Syphilinum develops many kinds of pain in many parts of the body, their distinguishing features being the aggravation at night and the gradual worsening and lessening.

The mentals of this remedy will bear repetition because of their similarity to those of other drugs which might appear indicated in specific cases. Loss of memory is marked. There is irritability and excitement with violence when opposed. The irritability is physical as well as mental, the patient walking about much. Weeping without cause and despondency are not infrequently encountered with indifference and apathy.

The modalities of Syphilinum are important. The symptoms are worse from touch, though pressure relieves the throat and the pains of toothache. No position suits and motion in general aggravates. Walking, however, ameliorates the pains in the thighs and hips. There is marked aggravation at night as already stated. Warmth and cold both aggravate and ameliorate. symptoms are all made worse by damp weather; warm, damp weather; thunderstorms; at the seaside and in winter. Complaints are better in the mountains.

While not a complete pathogenesis of Syphilinum, the above will serve to indicate in a brief way in what manner this remedy produces its effects.

The following case show how easy it is to fall into careless and sloppy habits of prescribing. In all of them Syphilinum is the remedy which rearranged the disordered vital force so that the diseased state could be overcome.

In 1944, Mrs. L. had an attack of ivy poisoning. the symptoms were these: On June 1st a small area like a mosquito bite appeared on the right leg. Four days later the eruption had spread upward to thighs and buttocks and downward to ankles. MAny large blebs and small vesicles, containing a clear yellow fluid, and small pustules on an inflamed base were present. Much itching, worse after scratching, beginning to move. The legs ache when standing. In general she was worse after midnight. The prescription was Rhus tox. 200.

Two days later there has been no improvement, Mrs. L. being much discouraged. All symptoms were worse in the evening and during the night. Taking into consideration the despondency, the all night aggravation, and the character of the eruption, Syphilinum 1M, one dose, was given. Result: improvement within twenty-four hours going on to cure.

This patient developed ivy poisoning in September 1944 and in July 1945, both attacks similar in symptomatology to the one just described and both responding satisfactorily to Syphilinum 1M, one dose.

When in his fifth decade, Mr. S. acquired chicken-pox. In addition to the characteristic eruption he complained of sharp pain about the navel, relieved temporarily from change of position; and he gets tired lying in one position; dull frontal headache as from eyestrain. In the evening, he is lame. He is sleepless. In general feels worse at night, especially after midnight. Rhus tox. seemed called for and was prescribed in the 200th centesimal potency. Result: no relief.

A review of the symptoms added the observation that the patient was weeping, when relating his symptoms, for which he apologized, not knowing why he cried. Based on the all night aggravation, the restlessness and sleeplessness, and the crying without cause, Syphilinum 1M, one dose was given. Result: almost immediate improvement with subsequent cure.

The father of five children was the fourth member of the family to develop Scarlet Fever. Belladonna seemed indicated by the initial symptoms of hot, burning skin; dilated pupils; right- sided sore throat; fine scarlet eruption. Improvement followed its administration but did not continue.

On the fifth day of his illness these complaints were elicited: Feels worse in general at night, especially from 11 P.M to 5 A.M. Sleeplessness, or catnap sleep with delirium in which he busies himself with his occupation. Chilly on uncovering. Diarrhoea of watery, offensive, mustard-colored stools worse after drinking. Thirty for sips of water which is immediately vomited. Very restless and cant stay in one spot. The eruption now showed tiny pustules.

Mercurius solubilis 1M, Arsenicum album. 200. and Bryonia 200. were unsuccessfully prescribed. Syphilinum 1M, one dose was now given on the basis of the night time aggravation, the sleeplessness, the restlessness and the pustular eruption. Improvement began at once. A subsequent dose of the 1M and a dose of the 5M were required to complete the cure.

A 28-year-old nurse developed symptoms, as follows: severe, bursting headache running from forehead to vertex, worse when walking and coughing. Loose cough with soreness along lower ribs and expectoration of yellow phlegm. Chilliness and heaviness in legs with sensation as if they were very large. Rx. Bryonia 200., three doses. Result: slight relief of headache.

A few additional symptoms were present: aching from base of skull to base of spine with sensation as if the spine was over- extended and would break at the lumbar region. The expectoration is salty. Rx. Tuberculinum 200, 2 doses which did nothing, nor did Arnica 200., which was next prescribed.

A review of the symptoms brought the fact that the headache was worse from 3 P.M. until morning; that the back was worse from 6 P.M. until daylight; that the patient herself felt worse from dusk to daylight; that she was unable to lie still though motion did not relieve. Syphilinum 1M, one dose was now given. Result: the next day the patient stated she was better in all respects. Syphilinum was repeated twice more before permanent improvement set in.

This brief paper is intended as a warning against routinism and sloppy prescribing of which the author is perhaps more guilty than most. Only by strict adherence to law can perfection in the difficult art of cure be attained; and while it may not be given to all to reach this goal, at least all may continue to seek it.


Allan D. Sutherland
Dr. Sutherland graduated from the Hahnemann Medical College in Philadelphia and was editor of the Homeopathic Recorder and the Journal of the American Institute of Homeopathy.
Allan D. Sutherland was born in Northfield, Vermont in 1897, delivered by the local homeopathic physician. The son of a Canadian Episcopalian minister, his father had arrived there to lead the local parish five years earlier and met his mother, who was the daughter of the president of the University of Norwich. Four years after Allan’s birth, ministerial work lead the family first to North Carolina and then to Connecticut a few years afterward.
Starting in 1920, Sutherland began his premedical studies and a year later, he began his medical education at Hahnemann Medical School in Philadelphia.
Sutherland graduated in 1925 and went on to intern at both Children’s Homeopathic Hospital and St. Luke’s Homeopathic Hospital. He then was appointed the chief resident at Children’s. With the conclusion of his residency and 2 years of clinical experience under his belt, Sutherland opened his own practice in Philadelphia while retaining a position at Children’s in the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department.
In 1928, Sutherland decided to set up practice in Brattleboro.