Observations made from case studies in regards to homeoprophylaxis by J.C.Burnett in his book on vaccinosis….

Observation ii


Aug. 21st, 1881-On the day there was brought to me a little boy, of five months of age, on the bottle, and I was informed that he had been ailing a week, beginning with violent vomiting, loss of appetite, and greenish slimy diarrhoea. The child looked very ill, pale; upper eye-lids drooping; tongue very thickly coated, moist; temperature high; throat severely ulcerated; deglutition painful; on the anterior aspect of the uvula one saw an open ulcer of about the size of a large split pea. The greatest distress lay in the throat-the mother brother him on this account; it pained his throat, which was visibly and demonstrably severely ulcerated: so I gave him Kali Chloratum 6, trituration, a dose every hour, and ordered him to be kept in a room with a good fire, and the windows open.

Aug.22nd.-I called and found him no worse; more could not be said. He had had a very restless night. He was profoundly weak, hence I gave Kali phos. 6 in alternation with the other medicine.

Kali phos. 6 in alternation with the other medicine.

23rd.-Not quiet so weak, but the green slimy diarrhoea continues. To have Mercurius iod.

24th.-The tongue had begun to clear a little on the left side, but otherwise there was no material change except that he could swallow a little better. Baby was very weak; his mother looked up at me, and the anxious father kept his eyes fixed on my visage, as I sat and studied the little manikin: he looked very pale, very ill and weak; could not be got to notice anything, but perpetually whined in a piteous little way. I do not know when I ever felt the weight of responsibility greater. Previously I had carefully inquired about the drains, and had ordered the milkman to be changed, and was careful to seek for the real origin of the child’s illness, but I could not trace it to anything. The dwelling was healthy, the bottle clean, and there seemed nothing to account for the illness. Suddenly it occurred to me to ask when the child had been vaccinated. The answer was, on the 12th July. I learned also that the child had a very bad arm, and that the present illness commenced on the day on which the last vaccinial scab fell off the arm. This shed a light upon the case, and allowed its true aetiopathology to be understood. The disease evidently was an en-exanthem, an eruption on the lining membrane of the throat and gut, due to the vaccination; and the vomiting, diarrhoea, and sore throat started just as these inside pustules broke and discharged their contents, and the feverishness was synchronous therewith. The child’s organism has essayed to free itself from the vaccinial poison by an eruption on the internal mucous membrane. Had the child been stronger the eruption would probably have been on the skin in the form of an exanthem simply. I prescribed Thuja Occidentalis 30, one-drop powders, one every two hours, and no other medicine.

25th.-Much better, began to mend (in the mother’s opinion- and what more competent?) “very soon after the first powder.” has slept better. To continue the Thuja powders.

28th.-I called to say good-bye, and found the little one still rather weak, but well and cheerful and at play on his mother’s lap.

Here. Thuja 30 brought health to the child and joy to the home.

Of course this case is not conclusive either; for the effects of the vaccination-my vaccinosis-may have been working off, and the fact of the sudden amelioration immediately after the exhibition of the Thuja may have been a mere coincidence. Pretty well all acute cases are open to this objection, and hence I will relate no more cases of acute vaccinosis: they prove nothing, it can merely be a question of probabilities. I am satisfied that these two cases were genuine examples of acute vaccinosis, and that the Thuja cured them, but others will, perhaps, demand further proof before they believe either in vaccinosis or in Thuja as its cure.

So let us pass on to the consideration of some chronic cases of the vaccinial state, or vaccinosis. For the sake of reference let us number the observations. Two I have narrated, and so we come to.

Observation iii


Mr. J—–, a hale-looking, middle-aged London merchant, came under my observation on November 3rd. 1881. Said he, “I am not a homoeopath, but twenty years ago I had eczema, and the allopaths could not touch it, so I went to a homoeopathic doctor, and he cured me.” And he went on to say that he believed in homoeopathy for skin diseases. On the left leg he had a pustular eruption, due, he believed, to a bruise. He had also eczema of the ear, and he volunteered the information that ever since his second vaccination he had been subject to eczema. The eczema of twenty years ago was soon after the re-vaccination.

R Thuja Occidentalis 30. Four three-drop powders to the two dozen. To take one, dry on the tongue, three times a day.

He came in a week nearly well; the pustules had at once begun to wither.

The Thuja was repeated, but in less frequent dose, and the patient subsequently sent word by his brother to say that his skin was well, and he himself too busy to show himself as he had promised.

This case also proves nothing, because anyone might get a pustular eruption after a bruise, or without a bruise, and be quickly rid of it, with out either suffering from vaccinosis, or getting Thuja, supposedly, to cure it. The fact is it is exceedingly difficult to absolutely prove anything clinically at all. The patient himself attributed his cure to the powders, knowing of old the very stubborn nature of all his cutaneous eruptions.

Observation iv


Miss—, oet. 18, was re-vaccinated in July, 1881, at her parent’s country residence, thirty miles from London, by the local surgeon, with “lymph” direct from the calf. The operation was very successful, and she had a very “fine” arm. But as the “arm” was just at its greatest perfection she got an eruption on her chin, covering its whole extent and involving the lower lip. The thing was very unsightly, and had a singularly ugly repulsive aspect. The gentleman who had done the re-vaccination was of opinion that Miss—had got some of the vaccine virus on to her fingernails and inoculated herself by scratching. The sequel, however, showed that the chin manifestation was from within. The surgeon had ordered applications, two of which were vaseline and zinc ointment, but the eruption on the chin was not to be got rid of. The young lady had to wear a dense veil to hide her face when driving out. She was brought to London for my advice, and I gave Thuja 30. In a fortnight she was out and about, and only some diffused redness of the skin remained, but no scar or thickened skin.

Now, it might be objected to this case that the Thuja had nothing to do with the disappearance of the eruption, because it was just the history of the disease: it ran through its natural course and died. I thought that to myself at the time of prescribing it, but against this was the fact that the arm had healed already, and it had healed already, and it had depassed the natural course of vaccinia by at least a fortnight when I first prescribed the Thuja. But to have a test I gave her brother, who also had a somewhat similar pustular eruption (and who had been re- vaccinated at the same time), but more spare, and instead of being on the chin, it was round the left nostril. I say, to have a test, I gave this brother of Miss-Antimonium tart., which is also, as every one knows, apparently homoeopathic to such a pustular eruption.

This is the brother of Miss—- (Observ. iv.). The two eruptions were similar, though the boy’s was comparatively trivial, and of the same age, and from the same cause, i.e., from the vaccine virus. The patients went into the country, and in two or three week’s time the mother wrote that the young lady was quite well, “the medicine soon put her right” was her expression, but the boy had “a bad cold in his head; nose-bleed; left side of nose swelled and red; two little spots of nose swelled and red; two little spots of matter, the size of a large pin’s head, at the edge of the nostril, and below it, having something the look of—-‘s chin; his arm is also not well, and he has had four little pocks about the vaccination marks.” I sent Thuja 30, and he was reported well in ten days.

If any one can account for the cure of these two cases independently of the Thuja, his ingenuity is greater than mine. That they were causally connected with the re-vaccination admits of no doubt whatever. Nevertheless, it does not do to be quite sure of one’s facts; sources of error are often very occult.

Observation vi


This case (which came under observation on January 9th, 1882) is one of considerable interest on various accounts. Its subject, a lady of very high rank, over fifty years of age, had been in turns, and for many years, under almost all the leading oculists of London for this neuralgia of the eyes, i.e., terrible pain at the back of the eyes, coming on in paroxysms and confining her to her room for many days together; some attacks would last for six weeks. Some of the neuralgic pain, however, remained at all times. Her eyes had been examined by almost every notable oculist in London, and no one could find anything wrong with them structurally, so it was unanimously agreed and declared to be neuralgia of the fifth nerve. Of course no end of tonics, anodynes, and alternatives had been used. The oculists sent her to the physicians and these back again to the oculists. The late Dr. Quin and other leading homoeopaths had been tried, but “no one had ever touched it.”

Latterly, and for years, she had tried nothing; whenever an attack came on, she would remain in her darkened bedroom, with her head tied up, bewailing her fate. To me she exclaimed, “My existence is one lifelong crucifixion!”

I should have stated that the neuralgia was preceded and accompanied by influenza. In the aggregate these attacks of influenza and post-orbital neuralgia confined her to her room nearly half the year. In appearance she was healthy, well- nourished, rather too much embonpoint, and fairly vigorous. A friend of hers had been benefited by homoeopathy in my hands, and she therefore came to me “in utter despair.”

These are the simple facts of the case, though they look very like piling up the agony! Now for the remedy. The resources of allopathy had been exhausted, and, moreover, I have no confidence in them anyway; homoeopathy- and good homoeopathy too, for the men tried knew their work-had also failed. Do-nothing, now much in vogue, had fared no better.

I reasoned thus: This lady tells me she has been vaccinated five or six times, and being thus very much vaccinated, she may be just suffering from chronic vaccinosis, one chief symptom of which is a cephalalgia like hers, so I forthwith prescribed Thuja 30. It cured, and the cure has lasted till now. The neuralgia disappeared slowly; in about six weeks (February 14, 1882) I wrote in my case book, “The eyes are well!”

As I have not heard from the patient for some time, I am just writing a note to her to know whether the neuralgia has thus far (December 30, 1882) returned. The reply I will add.

Of course, it does not follow that because Thuja cured this case of neuralgia of some twenty years’ standing that therefore the lady was suffering from vaccinosis; that Thuja DID cure it is incontrovertible, and my vaccinosis hypothesis led me to prescribe it. More cannot be maintained. At least the case must stand as a clinical triumph for Thuja 30-this much is absolute.

In reply to my inquiry, I received the following: “Jan. 1, 1883…. “I have been in very much stronger health ever since I crossed your threshold, and excepting one or two attempts at a return from the enemy, I have been quite free from suffering…”

The lady continues well of her post-orbital neuralgia at the time of going to press. After the disappearance of the neuralgia she had several other remedies from me for dyspeptic symptoms.

I shall probably never have a more severe case of what I conceive to be vaccinosis than the one just narrated, or one that had lasted longer. Twenty years may be considered enough to declare it en permanence, and its gradual cessation within six weeks from the time of commencing with the Thuja, stamps it as an undoubted cure.

However, the following is not uninteresting.

Observation vii


Miss G——-, oet. 19, came under my care on March 12, 1881, complaining of bad attacks of headache for the past nine years. She said it was as if the back of her head were in a vice, and then it would be frontal, and throbbing as if her head would burst. She was very pale, and her forehead looked shiny and in places brown.

These “head attacks” occurred once or twice a week.

Tendency to constipation; menses regular; an old stye visible on left eyelid; poor appetite; dislikes fleshmeat; liver enlarged a little; had a series of boils in the fall of 1880.

Feet cold; used to have chilblains. For years cannot ride in an omnibus, or in a cab, because of getting pale and sick; skin becomes rough in the wind; lips crack; gets fainty at times.

To have Graphites 30

April 13th.-Appetite and spirits better, but otherwise no change; questioned as to the duration of the head attacks, she tells me the last but one continued for three weeks-the last, three days. Over the right eye there is a red, tender patch; has two or three white-headed pustules on her face.

Was vaccinated at three months, re-vaccinated at seven years, and again at fourteen. Had small- pox about ten years ago.

Thus here was a case that had small-pox ten years ago, or thereabouts, for she could not quite fix the date, and had been vaccinated three times besides, once subsequent to the small-pox!

Rx Tc. Thuja Occidentalis, 3 iv. 3x To take five drops in water twice a day.

May 13th.-Much better: has only had one very slight headache lasting an hour or two; the frontal tender patch is no longer tender; no further faintness at all. Lips crack. The pustules in the face gone and skin quite clear.

To have Thuja 12, one drop at bedtime.

June 17th.-Was taken ill yesterday fortnight with soreness of stomach; fever; nausea and perspiration. Subsequently spots broke out like pimples.-eight on the face, one each on the thumb and wrist, one on the foot, and two on the back,-they filled with matter, were out five days, became yellow, and then died away. Her mother says the symptoms were just the same as when patient had the small- pox. Her headaches were well just before this bout came on.

July 1st.-Continues well.

27th.-The headaches have not returned.

Feb. 24th, 1882.-The cure holds good, for she had no headache and is otherwise well. She had subsequently some other remedies for the little tumour on her eyelid and for a small exostosis on her eyelid and for a small exostosis on lower jaw, but she had received nothing but Thuja when the cephalalgia disappeared, and it was two or three weeks before the next medicine followed.

Some months after this date this young lady was brought by her mother merely to show me how well she was, and to take final leave of me; two years later I learned from her mother that she continued well, so the cure is permanent.

An interesting feature in this case is the curious attack which came on at the beginning of June. My reading of it is that it was really a proving of Thuja, or a general organismic reaction called forth by it; and this sent me often up to the thirtieth dilution in my subsequent use of Thuja, though I have occasionally found the third decimal dilution answer better than the thirtieth.

But this is not point of my thesis, for this case was evidently cured by the low dilution, and when the low dilutions cure, and cure promptly, even though not very agreeably, but well, it cannot be necessary to go up any higher, especially as one’s faith is sufficiently on the stretch without it.

Observation viii


Master C—, oet. 11 1/2, came under my care on August 18th, 1881, complaining of a cough, worse at 7-30 P.M.; he also coughed by day and through the night, but it did not wake him. He perspired fearfully, worst on the head, and worse during the night. Over upper half of left lung one heard moist crackling rales. The cervical lymphatic glands at the top of the apex of left lung were indurated and distinctly “feelable.” He weighed 5st. 4lbs. The vaccination scars were on the left arm, and the glands over the apex of right lung were not indurated. Induration of the lymphatics on the left side of the neck (the vaccination being performed on that side), is the rule after vaccination, as any one may observe for himself if he will take the trouble to examine a healthy child just before vaccination and any time thereafter. I say: any time thereafter, for the thing generally persists for a very long time unless cured by medical art.

Rx Thuja 30, m. ii Secale lac. q. s. Fiat. pulv. Tales. xxiv. One, three times a day.

Aug.27th.-Is well of cough, but the sweats continue. To take no medicine.

Sept.-The most careful examination of chest reveals no rale; there is no cough; the sweats have quite ceased; the said cervical lymphatics can not be found. The boy now weighs 5st. 8lbs., so that he has gained 4lbs, in weight since he got the Thuja.

Discharged cured.

The boy had been at school, and was sent home to his parents by the school physician on account of his obstinate cough, and because his general symptoms excited alarm. To me it appeared to be the first stage of phthisis. That the boy should increase in weight at home just after returning from school is, of course, not necessarily due to the medicine; home life, too, would improve his nutrition generally, and would perhaps also account for the disappearance of the apex-catarrh, cough, and perspirations. But what is to account for the disappearance of the induration of the cervical glands? Of course this case offers but little evidence of the existence of vaccinosis or of its cure by Thuja; so I will ask the reader to wade through yet a few more observations which I transcribe from my case books. For if there be such a disease as Vaccinosis, in other words, if vaccination have any ill-effects beyond those commonly epitomized under the name vaccinia, it is clearly important that it should be recognised, and its existence being demonstrated, it is desirable that we know how to cure it.

Observation ix


Mr.——, a London merchant, came under my care on July 27th, 1882, to be treated for some roundish hairless patches on either side of his chin, which began four months ago. The larger patch on the right side about the size of a florin. Had also an old hordeolum on his right lower eyelid.

Has been twice vaccinated; the second time twelve years ago; did not “take.”

Rx Thuja Occidentalis 30 (4 in 24.) To take one dry on the tongue at bedtime.

Sept. 7th.-The bald patches are smaller, the one on the left side nearly gone. Has, apparently, a very bad coryza-?-organismic reaction? Rep.

Oct. 17th.-The bald patches are gone; the old hordeolum also gone. the closely-shaven beard is now uniform, the previously- existing white bald patches being completely covered with hair.

I give this as an interesting cure by Thuja, but I am not very sure that the disease was really due to vaccinosis because of other points his clinical history. Still it might have been so, as the hair is very powerfully influenced by the vaccine poisoning. Thus Kunkel observed both a very weak growth of hair, and an excessive growing, especially in wrong places, as effects, he believed, of vaccination. Therefore let it stand as a doubtful case of vaccinosis for what it may be worth,-but there can hardly be any reasonable doubt as to the cure of the case by Thuja.

Here it might not be amiss to observe casually that the presence of sties on the eyelids is often, in my opinion a symptom of vaccinosis. This case is not without practical importance, inasmuch as hodiernal medicine hands over a stye to the chirugeon’s art; and all the time, poor old dame, weans herself so very much superior to scientific therapeutics usually called homoeopathy. The conceit of the orthodoxly ignorant is truly sickening.

Observation X

HABITUAL INFLUENZAS. GENERAL ILL-HEALTH AND HEADACHE Mr.——, a city gentleman, came under my observation on December 28th, 1882, complaining that he was suffering from a series of neglected colds. He is costive; gets boils and pimples; has a number of warts, both flat and pedunculated; never had gonorrhoea; has severe frontal headache these three months; much pain across chest; and feels so out of health that he can no longer attend to his work, which is only light office work. He especially asks for a preventive for his frequent influenza colds. Flesh is flabby and skin spotted with pimples. The habitual influenza, the chronic frontal headache, the pimply skin, the feeling of general malaise point according to my experience, to vaccinosis. But had patient been vaccinated? Yes. Four times, and did not “take” the last three times. I do not expect many to agree with my theory that, when an individual is unsuccessfully vaccinated, he may have been seriously affected in his health by the reactionless vaccination, perhaps more so than as if it had “taken.” But it is a settled point with me, and in these cases I find Thuja as promptly efficacious as in the ordinary forms of vaccinosis.

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.