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Great Masters: Dr James Compton Burnett
Dr S P Koppikar

This article, from the pen of Dr. S.P. Koppikar, till recently the Editor of Homoeopathic Heritage, will be read with interest, as it not only focuses light on how the great Burnett successfully treated cases of liver disorder, but how Dr. Koppikar himself profited from Burnetts experiences. - EDITOR.

Burnett based his work on two great healers, paracelsus - the discoverer of "ORGANOPATHY" and his Resuscitator - Rademacher. It was the latter whose work was quoted and followed by Burnett.

I should like readers to buy those small books of Burnett, to understand the rationale of their work. It is said that Chelidonium acts on the Inner Liver i.e. on the very cells not so much on the ducts. In enlarged liver, in Chelidonium, the right lobe gets enlarged perpendicularly down-wards, with pain radiating to the scapula and with many symptoms similar to Lycopodium; Carduus marianus has enlargement of the left lobe - horizontically.

I shall mention a few cases from his booklet on Liver diseases first, and then mention the most important LESSONS that I learnt.

Case 1
Enlargement of Liver and Spleen cured by Carduus.
A young lady of sixteen summers, was brought to me by her mother on the seventh September, 1987, for severe attacks of vomiting that had lasted for three months. She was often roused rudely from her sleep in the morning with an attack of vomiting. Her constitution had been damaged by diptheria, and eighteen months previously she had had varicella. I treated the case symptomatically with great relief of the vomiting, but the pains in the abdomen become rather worse than better.

After I had given her my old favourite, Nat mur 6, she was still further improved, but found that I had relieved the symptoms, but not cured the real primary seat of the same. I made a careful physical examination of the bare epigastrium and of the two hypochondria. The note in my case book taken at the time will enlighten us... "Liver and the spleen both very much enlarged, so that they seem almost to fill the abdomen".

A physical examination revealed the reason of my failure. I had treated the case with remedies that were Homoeopathic to the superficial symptoms; but NOT homoeopathic to the cause of those symptoms; the degree of homoeopathicity was not adequate though it went a long way towards it.

Here I fell back upon my Rademacherian experience with Carduus and gave five drops of the matrix tincture in a tablespoonful of water, night and morning, and this cured the enlargement both of spleen and of liver, and as this enlargement was the cause of the pains and vomiting, of course pains and vomiting likewise disappeared.

The only further abnormality which I could discover in the young lady, after taking the Cardus Marianus for about five weeks, was an indurated condition of a few of the cervical glands of her left side: the side on which she had been vaccinated. Thuja occidentalis 30, in infrequent doses cured these and patient has had no vomiting or any of its concomitants since. She continues well to date.

Riels proving of Carduus shows it to produce pathogenetically; "nausea, uneasiness, pain, vomiting, with inflation of the abdomen.
The generally improved appearance of the young lady after she had been a month under the Carduus was very striking and repeatedly remarked upon, by friends who were not aquainted with the circumstances of her ill-health and its treatment at all.
The kind of liver enlargement which Carduus cures is in the transverse measurement.

Case 2
A city merchant, thirty years of age, unmarried, came to me in May 1988, for windy dyspepsia, the probable ground-work of which proved to be an enlargement both of liver and spleen, and he had amongst other things very numerous sebaceous cysts strewn about his body, looking for all the world like the malva seeds (cases), children call cheeses.

At first I gave Ceanothus americanus, believing it to be primarily a spleen affections, and then Pulsatilla, but they did no great good; when Carduus, given for a little over a month, brought the liver back to the normal and all the wee wens were gone.<
The enlargement of the liver and the wens disappeared simultaneously, but the genuinely causal nature of both was neither hepatic nor cutaneous: that was scrofula. But as scrofula can only be treated in its manifestations, he who treats such manifestations successfully cures it. The general improvement under Carduus was most striking and lasting: patient not quite well and has since happily married.
The next two cases show the relationship of liver - and its remedies to colour of skin, general health and to venous circulation.

Case 3
A city merchant, fifty-five years of age, came to consult me for a cough, with a bronchial catarrh. The tawniness of his skin was very marked, and this he attributed to a twenty years residence in Africa. The cough was habitual, and worse in the evening. There were a good; many crescentric cutaneous efflorescences on his chest.
Two months of Hydrastis canadensis.

He took altogether just an ounce, in small material doses. Cured the cough; reduced the catarrh of the bronchial lining to a minimum; and very materially lessened the townies of his skin; many of his friends remarking upon the very striking improvement in his seemingly dirty complexion.

Case 4
At the beginning of 1989, a young lady was brought to me by her mother, for a large varicose vein running from her right shoulder, over the right clavicle, and across the upper half of the right side of the chest. It varied in size somewhat, and at its largest was about the size of an ordinary quill.

I reasoned thus: veins that dilate in that manner, steadily, slowly, increasingly, must do so from an obstruction in their progression heartwards, just as the little rivulets higher up the stream must fill up when the stream is dammed up lower down:
From a rather careful physical survey of the parts involved, I found the liver very large - indeed huge, which was probably accounted for by the fact that patient had thrice ague, or else three attacks of the same. Her skin was dirty, dingy-looking and the portion covering the lower end of the breast bone studded with wee warts, and the degree of anaemia was considerable. Moreover, she had a disagreeable cough, and her sleep was not good.

Announce of Chelidonium Q., spread over eleven weeks, restored the liver to its normal size and the varicosis had almost entirely disappeared, so that patient had again taken to wearing evening dresses (showing her shoulders). Her skin at the same time became clearer, and her blood evidently of better quality.

  1. Almost all these "Organ remedies" were used in drop doses of mother tincture or 3x, 3 to 4 doses daily for weeks. Their effects were carefully observed and noted.
  2. They were used singly or even in alternation with another drug when needed.
  3. Homoeopathic high potencies specially of remedies like Bacillinum 100, 200. Thuja and Nat-sulph and some others (on Von Grauvogls indications), and antimiasmatics, were INTERPOSED, single doses a month or two, and the organ treatment continued in between.
  4. A great stress was laid on the Etiological factors and proper remedy was given, like Ignatia for grief, Arnica for injury, Morbillinum for measles effect, etc.
  5. Burnetts greatest example of the combination of science and art of Homoeopathy is his case of Cundurango. It is worth studying again: "Some years back, as you may recollect Cundurango came up in your school as a cure for cancer, much as Chain turpentine did subsequently and like it, had its little day, and then passed out of sight.
Cundurango, will certainly only cure one variety of cancer, not all. How are we to know which? The clinical records of Cundurango showed that it really has genuine curative power over some cases of cancer, particularly of the stomach, Hahnemann taught that the true way to define the curative sphere of a drug is to give it to healthy people, to see what it would do to them.

I procured some of the Cundurango bark, made an infusion, and drank quantities of it. You will find my report on the subject in Allens Encyclopaedia of pure Materia Medica. Well, I found that it causes (interalia) cracks in the angles of the mouth.

Subsequently I had to treat a case of cancer of the left breast in a middle-aged woman, but patient had also a deep crack in the angle of her mouth on the left side, with the thick indurated edges, probably of an epitheliomatous nature. I think you would have agreed with the diagnosis had you seen the case. I, therefore, reasoned thus; we know empirically that Cundurango can cure some cases of cancer. I know from the direct experiment on myself that it causes the angles of the mouth to crack; the homoeopaths maintain that cures like, ergo, Cundurango ought to be the curative agent in this case.

The patient took a homoeopathic preparation of the remedy steadily for about three years, with gradual, slow amelioration, and she is still in excellent health. I think it must be manifest that, had it not been for homoeopathy. This cure could not have been brought, and patient must have long since died of the dire disease". (From 50 Reasons for Being a Homoeopath).

Please let us not forget that Burnett was the originator of Bacillinum - and Thuja for "Vaccinosis", which opened a great door for other Homoeopaths later to cure even so called incurable cases.

  1. I used Chelidonium, China Carduus mar Hydrastis, Mercury, Nat sulph and the Nosodes like Tuberculin Medorrhinum. Syphilinum thus was almost always needed, giving the Organ remedies in Q to 3x and the others as intercurrents monthly or quarterly.
  2. Gout cases and uric acid problem with Sgpt. glandium quercus Q or 3x and urens, 3, 6. I have found Arnica 200 or even 1000 to the "Catalyst" to hasten the cure, specially if starting with it.
  3. Thuja, this great "Vaccinosis" remedy has perhaps cured more cases of allergic bronchitis and asthma, esp, of children, than any other remedy. Burnett was the "Discoverer" of Bacillinum. Even today we can hardly think of curing ring worm without his Bacillinum.
  4. I need not say that my very extensive use of Nosodes in my practise was entirely due to Burnett and later Dr. Margaret Tyler. They are my "beacon lights" in this.




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