Observations on the influence of certain potentized
substances on scar tissue
(Richard Hughes Memorial Lecture read to the Faculty of Homoeopathy on 28 March, 1974)
Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I appreciate greatly being asked to deliver this lecture in memory of Dr.
Richard Hughes, whose invaluable and scholarly work in Homoeopathy is
outstanding. The best memorial to Hughes would be to reprint one of his
books, such as The Principles and Practice of Homceopothy, which contains
much of very real practical value today.
I have chosen this subject as it deals with an aspect of Homoeopathy which
experience over many years has led me to regard as of considerable importance, and a therapeutic field which could be expanded and more extensively utilized in the treatment of chronic disease.
Shortly after the war, a girl of eight was admitted to Barton Ward of the
Royal London Homeeopathic Hospital under my care. This child had been
transferred from another hospital at the parents’ request on account of a
fairly extensive burn of the chest wall which had refused to heal. The burnt
area was covered by granulation tissue and attempts to apply dressings had
been abandoned because the patient was terrified of being approached.
I asked advice from two more experienced colleagues, Dr. J. C. McKillop
and the late Dr. Lees Templeton. They said exactly the same thing-“Graphites 200″. After a few doses of this remedy the child lost her fear and made a rapid recovery. It could be said that this treatment had been given just at the time when natural recovery might have taken place. Whether that was the case or not, there is ample evidence supporting the influence of Graphites in resolution of granulation tissue. Since then I have prescribed Graphites successfully for granulation tissue, including granulating ulcers.
Recently a woman of forty-five consulted me on account of a cut forefinger.At the distal end of the wound there was a wart-like growth about a centimetre high. A dermatologist confirmed that this was a granuloma and said that the only successful treatment was surgical excision. After a week’s treatment with Graphites 200 plussed, one dose daily, the granuloma disintegrated and dropped off. .
Kent said of Graphites: “hard painful cicatrices, old ulcers with proud flesh
and burning, itching, and stinging ulcers with indurated base”. The action of
Graphites is not then confined only to granulating scars. In an early edition
of his Lectures on Materia Medica, Kent recommended Graphites in treatment of threatened abcess or inflammation of the breast during lactation when these occurred at the site of an old scar, and he also advized consideration of Graphites in treatment of cancer developing from an old scar.
Tyler has reproduced a full account of this part of Kent’s lecture, which
can be found in her Homceopathic Drug Pictures. As a matter of interest,
Tyler prescribed all strengths of homoeopathic remedies from mother tincture up. There were three medicines she almost routinely prescribed in the C.M. potency-Graphites; Opium when there was a history of a fright which, when recalled a long time later, caused fear; and Baryta carb. in constitutional treatment when there was a history of quinsy.
Tyler gave two examples of her use of Graphites in the treatment of scar
tissue, as follows: “A girl with a stiff elbow after inflammation had the adhesions broken down, but she presented herself a year later. A month after Graphites C.M.”the elbow was found to be freely moveable.” The other case she described as “the liberation of a little finger contracted and immobile after inflammation.”
Following Tyler’s example, I prescribed Graphites C.M. in treatment of
keloid scars, almost always successfully. In one case, which I have previously reported, a child failed to respond and on the history of a severe attack of diphtheria, I gave Diphtherinum 200, three doses six-hourly in one day. Also as previously reported, Dr. Paschero claimed that Carcinosin 200 given pre- operatively reduced the number of keloid scars after plastic surgery performed at the University of Buenos Aires.
Dr. Dearbourne recommended Calc. fluor, Fluoric acid and Nitric acid, as
well as Graphites, for the treatment of keloids.s
Derived from mustard seed and of the same chemical group as urea, Thiosinaminum was introduced into medical practice as a remedy for scar tissue, administered in material doses by mouth or injection. References to Thiosinaminum are to be found in Clarke’s Dictionary, Boericke’s Materia Medica, and Anschultz’s New, Old and Forgotten Remedies.
Clarke quotes a case reported in the Pacific Coast Journal of Homeopathy
of a woman of sixty-nine who suffered from almost complete obstruction
caused by a stricture two inches above the anus which would not admit the
index finger. After treatment by bougies had failed, the patient was given
Thiosinaminum, 2 grains twice daily, and the report “next year” was as follows:The patient was found much improved. Examination had shown that the cicatricial band had gone, the speculum could be introduced and the mucous membrane was normal in appearance though not as distensible as a normal rectum should be.
Clarke also quotes Dr. Spencer, who claimed encouraging results in tinnitus
aurium. Anschultz quotes Dr. Alfred M. Moore of Brighton, Ohio, who stated
that he had been unable to cure tinnitus aurium in long-standing cases until
he used Thiosinaminum. Moore stated that in some individuals undesirable
symptoms appeared such as vomiting, pains in the head, and general muscular twitching, even in half grain doses. Moore suggested that by trituration of Thiosinaminum to remove the crude effects, it might be a remedy which would benefit a larger percentage of middle ear disease with or without tinnitus than any heretofore used. This suggests that Moore prescribed the crude drug.
Boericke says of Thiosinaminum: “A resolvent, externally and internally,
for dissoll’ing scar tissues, tumours, enlarged glands, lupus, strictures, adhesions, ectropion, opacities of cornea, cataract, ankylosis, fibroids, scolderma, noises in the ear. Suggested by Dr. A. S. Hard for retarding old age. A remedy for tabes dorsalis, improving the lightning pains, and for gastric, bladder and rectal crises. Stricture of rectum-2 grains twice daily.
“Dose: Inject under the skin, or into the lesion a 10% solution in glycerine and water, 15 to 30 drops twice a week. Internally in capsules t grain daily. Obstinate arteriosclerotic ailments in doses of t grain, never more, three times a day. Vertigo and arthritis (Bartlett), 2x attenuation.”
Clarke advised in The Prescriber, for the removal of cicatrices, Thiosinaminum 6-eight-hourly; Phytolacca lx-eight-hourly; and for inflammation of cicatrix Fluoric acid 6 gtt2-eight-hourly; for keloids Silica 3, gr.V-eight-hourly; and for Dupuytrens contraction, recent cases, Gelsemium-eight-hourly, chronic cases Thiosinaminum 3x gr viii-night and morning.
In cases of blockage of the nasolacrymal duct when scar tissue is suspected, including cases where duct surgery has failed, Dr. Douglas Calcott gives Thiosinaminum 3x, t.d.s. for two weeks, repeating the course after a 2-week interval. He tells his patients not to expect results until three months after completing the course. I have found Natrum mur. or Silica most often useful in the treatment of this condition, in 200th potency plussed daily for a week. Both are scar tissue remedies.
As there are no definite individual indications, I have been prescribing this
medicine in many cases when scar tissue was present, alone or in combination with a well-proved remedy, in the 30th and 200th potencies, over a period of ten years, and having made well over two hundred prescriptions in these ways have come to the conclusion that it is a homreopathic medicine well worthy of further study. I gave the 200th potency in two cases of tinnitus aurium with- out effect. It may be that the potency was too high. During the past five years I have treated four cases of carpal tunnel syndrome with Graphites combined with Thiosinaminum. Three of these cases developed the condition after badly
united fractures, and two of them were women over the age of eighty-one of whom I sent for a surgical opinion as the pain was severe. Operation was
advised, but after a course of Thiosinaminum 30 with Graphites 30, thrice
daily for four days and then night and morning for four days, the pain subsided quite dramatically and the operation was cancelled. Another course was required later. During the two years following the second course there was no recurrence. The other patients received medicines besides this combination. None were cured, but the results were definitely satisfactory.
One of the most successful uses of Thiosinaminum in my experience is in
dealing with post-operative adhesions, either alone or along with an individually indicated remedy. As an example of the latter method, a woman of forty-five suffered from what was diagnosed as post-operative adhesions following hyster- ectomy six years previously. The symptoms seemed to call clearly for Colocynth, However, I gave Thiosinaminum 200 plussed for five days and followed up a week later with Colocynth 3, thrice daily for a week, then night and morning for a week. This was followed by complete relief of pain for two years, when there was a very slight recurrence which responded to a similar course of treatment, and there has been no recurrence for over two years. I should add that cases treated by Thiosinaminum. alone followed a similar course, the medicine having to be repeated sometimes, at long intervals.
Boericke recommends Calc. fiuorica as follows: “Used after operations the
tendency to adhesions is reduced”. There is a large number of potentized
medicines capable of influencing scar tissue. One list is to be found in Kent’s
Repertory in the section on “Skin” in the rubric “Cicatrices”, and another
larger one in “Generalities-Contractions, strictures, stenosis after inflamma-
tion”, containing no less than forty-six remedies, many of which are to be
found in the rubric “Haemorrhoids”, which is interesting in view of the recently introduced operation for haemorrhoids of dilating the rectum to deal with scar tissue. Also there are a number of other rubrics such as induration of glands of external throat, nodules of mammae, etc.
In the discussion on keloid scars I mentioned the effect of Diphtherinum,
and also in previous papers I described a case of duodenal ulcer which had
responded to Graphites several times, then no further progress was made, even after higher potencies. X-ray demonstrated narrowing of the pylorus and the radiographer noted that in his opinion this case was going on to pyloric obstruction. Diphtherinum, given on the history of a severe attack of diphtheria, three doses of the 200 six-hourly, was followed by a clinical improvement and a normal X-ray picture; some years later I was able to confirm that this man had no recurrence. The late Dr. A. Watts prescribed Diphtherinum extensively to patients he was treating constitutionally. This was at a time when diphtheria was common, but there is the possibility that Diphtherinum has a general effect on scar tissues besides its influence on the nervous system, and I wonder whether other nosodes prescribed on the history of a severe attack of an infection may influence scar tissue long after all traces of infection have gone. It is perhaps worthy of note that Hahnemann’s two main medicines for sycosis, Thuja and Nitric Acid, are prominent scar tissue remedies. Sulphnur and Mercury are also capable of dealing with cicatrices.
Dr. Tyler said: “The three drugs one has seen dealing successfully with scar tissue being Graphites, Silica and Drosera, and where tubercular scars are concerned, the greatest of these is Drosera;” She continues: “One has had a number of cases of (tuberculous) cervical glands doing well under Drosera, some of them after long treatment here or elsewhere and with a great deal of ugly scarring. What one invariably notices is that cases that react to this drug react rapidly with astonishing improvement in general health …. In Drosera cases one notices not only dimunition in the size of the gland, but that old scars fade away, that discolouration goes, and when a gland breaks down under Drosera it behaves in a very restrained way with a small opening, little discharge, and it leaves practically nothing to mark what has taken place.”
I had the privilege of working as Dr. Tyler’s clinical assistant for four years
and I can confirm her remarkable results in cases of tuberculous cervical
adenitis, in tuberculosis of the mesenteric glands and tuberculosis of bone
with discharging sinuses. I remember one case in particular-a child with
tuberculosis of the cervical vertebrae cured with Drosera, as established by
X-rays and other investigations before and after treatment. Such cases are
now seen much less frequently, at least here, and pulmonary tuberculosis has been progressively replaced by carcinoma. We do, however, see patients who have suffered from tuberculosis and sometimes a tuberculous scar is in evidence.
Because of the remarkable influence of Drosera on tuberculosis, it is worth
while to consider Drosera not only as a potential constitutional remedy when
there b.as been a history of a severe attack of whooping cough, but equally when there is a history of a severe episode of tuberculosis in the past, keeping in mind the likelihood of unseen scars.
Tyler’s chapter on Drosera in Homceopathic Drug Pictures is very worth while reading. Drosera has a reputation as a remedy in cases of paranoia and it is noteworthy that the two medicines in black type in the rubric in Kent’s Repertory, “Delusions of Persecution”, are both scar tissues remedies–China and Drosera.
In December 1948, Dr. Royal Hayes published a paper in the Homceopathic
Recorder giving a series of cases of after effects of head injury cured by
Helleborus niger. Since then I have prescribed Helleborus in cases not responding to apparently indicated remedies, or when there were no definite symptoms calling for another. As I pointed out in a short paper on Helleborusv it is now realised that there is no sharp distinction between head injury with or without concussion, so far as after-effects are concerned. This means that when referring to Kent’s Repertory in the section on “Head”, the rubrics “concussion”, “pain after concussion” and “pain injuries mechanical after”, can be added to the list given in “Injuries to the head, after”-Arnica, Cicuta, Hypericum, Natrum mur., and Natrum sulph.
There can be little doubt, considering the pathological conditions influenced
by Helleborus, that this medicine has an influence on scar tissues. On the other hand, the pathological sequelae of head injury are complex and varied, and scarring when present may be only part of a much wider disturbance. It would obviously be a great advantage if we knew more about the relationship between potentized substances and various parts of the brain such as, for example, the temporal lobe. In many cases involving sequelae to head injury, there are partial indications for Helleborus and for another remedy-practically always in the list given above, especiall:y Natrum. mur.-and I have found that such combinations work extremely well. I usually give Helleborus with or without, say, Natrum mur. 1M plussed one to three (i.e. potencies 1000, 1001, 1002, 1003).
Also, in history taking with constitutional prescribing in mind, it is well worth-
while to enquire about head injury as ‘well as other outstanding events in the
past, such as severe acute infection. Often one has to pursue the question of head injuries which tend to be forgotten, and more than usual birth trauma
can sometimes be surmised from the history=-for instance, when forceps have been used, or when labour was long or precipitate-also operations such as mastoidectomy, or even sinus operations can be regarded as head injuries. Early in 1973 a man of thirty-six complained of attacks of migraine commencing after a sinus operation seven years previously. The headaches were covered by Natrum mur, and Helleborus-his constitutional remedy was
Carcinosin. I gave Natrum mur. -s-Helleborue 1M plussed one to three on
consecutive days, followed a week later by Carcinosin 30, and he had no further attacks during the past year.
Girl of thirteen seen first 30 November 1973. In April 1972 she had been in
hospital and had a manipulation of her left knee joint, followed ten days later
by removal of the cartilage. She had been very sick after both anaesthetics,
and following the removal of the cartilage she was in extreme pain, which did not satisfactorily respond to analgesics. She came home very depressed and since then her appetite had been very poor, resulting in considerable loss of weight. She looked like a slim ten-year old. Mentally she was in an apathetic state. She had talked of suicide. Previously she had been an affectionate, responsive child, but had lately lost all interest in the family.
Past history: Concussion twice at the age of three or four. Measles badly at
seven and tonsillectomy at nine, after which she was sick from
Family history: Mother’s mother and grandmother died of cancer. Father’s sister and aunt suffered from diabetes. There were other strong indications for Carcinosin, and also for the combined remedy H elleborus and N atrum mur. She had the following prescriptions: 3 December 1973-Natrum mur. combined with Helleborus 1M plussed, followed ten days later by Carcinoma adeno stom, 30. There was only a slight improvement. The next prescription,
a month later, was Folliculinum 30 because of strong resentment on the part of the patient towards the parents as they prevented her changing to a school she very greatly preferred; there was no further improvement and talk of suicide became more prominent. I gave Aurum met. 30, 200, 1M, on consecutive days, and she ceased to mention suicide but her condition in general was still not satisfactory.
Early in February I went carefully over the history again and gave her Opium OM on the possibility that she had been at one time or another extremely frightened while in hospital and because of failure of apparently indicated remedies. Opium also covered the state of apathy and indifference to pleasure. This was followed by a great improvement and this young lady has just returned from a skiing holiday in Switzerland, well and happy with a normal appetite and increased weight.
I give this abbreviated case history to illustrate the manner in which Helle-
borus and Natrum mur. can be given and followed by constitutional treatment, Whether that procedure was significant in the treatment of this patient or not, I certainly have never had such quick results in any other case of anorexia nervosa.
There is a vast amount of literature concerning the after-effects of head
injury, and there is no doubt that there is a relationship in some cases to mental illness. For instance, the tendency for professional boxers to develop a common pathological pattern is well known, resulting in characteristic mental changes. There is some evidence also to the effect that schizophrenia can be related to injuries occurring sometimes several years before the onset. One such example was briefly outlined in my paper on Helleborus. This man was cured by Helleborus in ascending potencies on a history of concussion twenty years previously, after failure of Silica and Graphites in high potency. Both of these are known for their influence on scar tissues and it is interesting to note that though apparently well indicated, they completely failed. From this and other experiences I have come to look on Helleborus as a remedy for brain scars in the way one might first think of Graphites for granulation tissue-although, of course, each prescription must be carefully considered individually.
Hahnemann predicted of Helleborus niger that it should be useful in the
treatment of mental derangement. One of my patients had the characteristic type of memory disturbance, forgetting what he had just done and what he had just intended to do. In Materia Medica Pura we read: “Weakness of memory; it was only by an effort that he could after some time remember what he wanted to say and what he had been questioned about”, and “Weakness of memory; he could not remember what he had read one instant”. I have seen this patient recently and he has just retired after some years of responsible work negotiating international financial agreements. Helleborus, or one of its combinations, does not, however, deal effectively with this sort of memory disturbance in the elderly-at any rate in the 1M potencies.
In June 1973, I saw a woman of fifty complaining of severe depression; life
was not worthliving, as she put it. She had married for the second time. For
some years all went well, then she became increasingly miserable. Her husband, she said, had tended unduly to criticise her youngsters, two in their late teens and one twenty-one years of age, and according to the patient he was obviously jealous of them. He had, she said, taken her from a happy home into an unhappy one. Her memory had deteriorated; she tended to forget what she had just done and what she had very recently planned to do. There was a history of a head injury during the blitz, and later three instances of concussion from riding accidents, and for some years after the last accident she had suffered from migraine from which she had become free.
Repertorizing strongly suggested Aurum met., but this remedy did not cover
a memory defect of the sort I have described, and the type of headaches from which she had suffered were not covered by Aurum but were covered by Helleborus and Natrum mur. I gave a dose of Folliculinum 30 to try to deal with the sense of constant frustration, followed by Helleborus and Natrum mur. combined, 1M plussed one to three. Within a month there was a marked improvement and there was no need to see her after the second consultation, although there had been no alteration in the domestic background.
Finally, may I express the hope that this brief summary of the apparent effects of certain potentized substances in dealing with scar tissue may encourage fuller exploration of this aspect of homceopathic practice.
- Kent, J. T. (1911) Lectures on Homoeopathic Materia Medica. Philadelphia: Boericke & Tafel.
- Tyler, M. (1942) Homceopathic Drug Pictures. London: Homreopathic Publishing Co.
- S Dearborn, H. M. (1906) Diseases of the Skin. New York: Boericke & Runyon.,
- Calcott, D. Personal communication.
- Foubister, D. M. (1970) Notes on Helleborus niger. The British Homceopathic Journal, 59.
- Hahnemann, S. (1880) Materia Medica Pura. London: E. Gould & Son.
Author: M. FOUBISTER, B.SC., M.B., CH.B., D.C.H., F.F.HOM.
Source: The British Homoeopathic Journal, January 1975