Diphtheria is an acute bacterial
disease that usually affects the tonsils, throat, nose and/or skin.
It is passed from person to person by droplet transmission, usually
by breathing in diphtheria bacteria after an infected person has
coughed, sneezed or even laughed. It can also be spread by handling
used tissues or by drinking from a glass used by an infected person.
In its early stages, diphtheria may be mistaken for a severe sore
throat. Other symptoms include a low-grade fever and enlarged lymph
nodes (swollen glands) located in the neck. Another presentation
of diphtheria can be skin lesions that may be painful, red and swollen.
In more advanced stages, the patient may have difficulty breathing
or swallowing, complain of double vision, have slurred speech, or
even show signs of going into shock (pale, cold skin; rapid heartbeat;
sweating; and an anxious appearance).
Diphtheria - Homeopathy Treatment & Homeopathic Remedies
#Mercurius cyanatus. [Merc-cy]
The mercurial preparations generally have very little, if any, relation
to the diptheritic process, and their efficacy the disease is a
matter of doubt. They may be indicated, however, by bilious, glandular
or other symptoms. Mercurius does not produce the sudden and intense
prostration of diphtheria. Mercurius vivus and Mercurius solubilis
are never indicated in this disease. The iodides of mercury are
sometimes of use, the Mercurius biniodide with its left side indications,
inflammation, febrile excitement, headache, etc., and the Mercurius
protoiodide with the right side indications, yellow tongue, glandular
swelling, etc.; but there is a preparation of mercury which is one
of the best remedies in diphtheria that we have, and that is Mercurius
cyanatus. It seems to get most of its symptoms is from the hydrocyanic
acid of its composition. Thus we have, as indications, great and
sudden prostration and very high pulse. The weakness is extreme,
collapse symptoms showing themselves even at the commencement of
the disease. There is an exudation in the throat; at first it is
white, but it may turn dark and threaten to become gangrenous. The
tongue is brownish and blackish, with foetid breath, nose bleed,
loss of appetite, profuse flow of saliva, etc. It is especially
a remedy in the malignant type of diphtheria and when the disease
invades the nostrils. The great prostration will serve to distinguish
it from Kali bichromicum, which has the thick, tenacious exudation,
also found under Mercurius cyanatus. Clinical experience with this
remedy has proved that preparations below the 6th are less effective
than the higher, and not as safe, since it produces a tendency to
heart failure. The 30th potency seems to have been a favorite one.
Dr. Villiers, of St. Petersburg, treated 200 cases of all sorts
of severity without a single death, using the 6th to 30th potencies.
Dr. Neushafer treated 85 cases with three deaths, using the 5th
to 15th potencies hypodermically. Dr. Sellden, in 1879-82, reported
in a district of Sweden 564 cases of diphtheria, of whom 523 died,
amortality of 92.7 percent. None treated with the cyanide of mercury.
In 1883-86, 160 cases were reported, of whom 29 died. In 132 of
these 160 cases the cyanide of mercury was used and only one case
died. He and his colleagues have treated 1,400 cases with a mortality
of 4.9 percent. A strength equal to the 2x was used.--London Lancet,
April 24, 1888.
The Nosode of Diphtheria and the idea of its use did not urgent
with Boerhing, nor with Roux. Long before Pasture, a German homoeopathist
named Lux conceived the isopathic idea and successfully treated
cases with it. Cartier, whose long experience in the diphtheria
pavillion of the Children's Hospital in Paris advocates Mercurius
cyanatus and Diphtherinum as the successful remedies in this disease,
the latter also being useful in post-diphtheritic paralyses. The
higher potencies are used.
#Kali bichromicum. [Kali.bi]
This remedy, which is perhaps more useful in the croupoid form of
the disease, has marked symptoms. There is apt to be deep ulceration
and a thick, tenacious exudation, often streaked with blood; the
membrane is yellow looking and the cough is croupy and accompanied
with pain in the chest. There is also swelling of the glands. The
indication for Kali bichromicum may be chiefly summarized as follows:
1. The yellow-coated or dry, red tongue. 2. The tough, tenacious
exudation. 3. Pain, extending to neck and shoulders.
These, and the fact that it is most useful in the later stage of
the disease, when the line of demarcation has formed and the slough
has commenced to separate, make the indication for the drug certain.
#Kali muriaticum. [Kali-m]
The indication for this remedy rest on a clinical basis, and it
is one of the legacies of Schuessler to Homoeopathy. That it is
a most excellent remedy and deserving of a high place in the treatment
of diphtheria cannot be doubted by anyone who has ever tried it.
The only indication we have are pain on swallowing, and white deposit
in throat; but numerous well-marked cases of the disease have been
treated with the remedy and symptoms like prostration, thick exudation
over the tonsils, and entire soft palate, foetid breath, etc., have
entirely disappeared. Perphaps like Kali bichromicum, it will be
found to be better adapted to the croupoid form. Kali chloratum
or the chlorate of potash is useful in diphtheria when gangrenous
spots appear; ulcers with foul secretions and offensive discharges.
It is one of the best remedies to prevent extension to the nasal
#Kali permanganicum. [Kali-p]
This is another of the potashes which has achieved some reputation
in diphtheria, where there is ulceration, gangrenous suppuration
and foetid odor. It has been also been used as a local application,
but like all local applications in constitutional disease it has
done little, if any, good. The indication for its use are, throat
swollen both inside and outside. The throat is oedematous and the
membrane is horribly offensive; there is a thin discharge from the
nose and a Lachesis difficulty of swallowing and regurgitation.
In many respects it resembles Apis, but the extreme foetor will
distinguish. Dr. Van Lennep considers it almost a specific.
#Apis mellifica. [Apis]
Oedema stands first among the indications for this remedy. Stinging
pains, and sore, blistered tongue are also characteristic. The throat
has a glossy-red appearance as if varnished. Membrane forms on either
tonsil and is grayish, dirty-looking and tough. Swallowing is most
difficult owing to the oedema. The throat is swollen externally
and there is much prostration,dry, hot skin and restlessness. Suppression
of the urine is a complication that will call for Apis. Lac caninum
has achieved some reputation in diphtheria; it has swollen both
internally and outside as under Apis; and it has a restlessness
something like Arsenic and Rhus, not a nervous fidgetness as under
Apis. Scanty urine in diphtheria is a symptoms found under Apis
as well as under Cantharis and Lac caninum.
Dr. J.E.Gilman thinks no remedy is so frequently indicated in diphtheria
as Lachesis and it is wellknown that animal poisons in general are
suitable to low forms of disease, so Lachesis is a wonderfully good
remedy in diphtheria. Great sensitiveness of the throat will always
bring it into mind. Further indications are the appearance of the
disease first on the left side of the throat, spreading to the right.
Extremely painful and difficult swallowing, violent prostration
and great foetor, the patient sleeping into an aggravation of all
symptoms. The dyspnoea is so marked that the patient must sit up
to breathe. Gangrenous tendency and specific condition. There is
a purplish throat and much swelling and infiltration externally,
here resembling Apis. Very similar symptoms are obtained under two
other of the snake poisons, namely, Crotalus and Naja. A characteristic
symptom of Lachesis is that the throat feels worse from empty swallowing.
Carbolic acid. Low fever, no pain, great accumulation of exudate,
foetid odor, prostration, violent fever, headache, thready pulse,
nausea and weakness. The septicaemia of the disease is met by this
remedy. The secret of antitoxin success in diphtheria may be due
to this remedy. Most antitoxin is 3X potencies of these preparations.
Baptisia is a powerful agent to counteract septic poisoning, foetid,
feverish breath, dark red fauces, swelling of glands, aching of
back,body and limbs as if pounded, face dark, flushed like the intoxication
of a poison, tongue dry and red, typhoid conditions. Rhus. Putrid
as in Baptisia, swelling glands, tongue dry or cracked.
Lycopodium bears the same relation to the right side of the throat
that Lachesis does to the left. There is stoppage of the nose, with
inability to breathe through it; the disease begins on the right
side, or is worse on that side. Like Lachesis, the patient is worse
after the sleep and after swallowing drinks, especially cold ones.
Especially is to be remembered the Lycopodium aggravation from 4
to 8 P.M. Fan like motions of the wings of the nose is also an indication.
The symptoms of Lycopodium are quite clear, but the remedy is less
often indicated than some of the others.
Bromine produces a pseudo-membrane, but it has little effect in
gangrenous conditions. It is especially a remedy in the laryngeal
form, and much rattling of mucus in the larynx is a characteristic
indication. There is a suffocating,hoarse whistling cough,having
a croupy sound. Bromine is decidely a remedy for the croupoid form
of diphtheria. Hepar and Kali bichromicum are useful remedies in
#Muriatic acid. [Mur-ac]
Perhaps the most characteristic symptom calling for this remedy
is the extreme weakness; nose bleed of dark and putrid blood is
also a prominent symptom. There is a foetid breath and oedematous
uvula, a yellowish-gray deposit on fauces, tonsils, uvula and posterior
pharyngeal wall; excoriating thin discharge from nose; pulse intermittent
and patient weak; tongue dry, lips dry and cracked. It is a remedy
decidedly applicable to low, poisoned states of the blood, such
as are found in diphtheritic conditions . Albuminuria is present.
#Nitric acid. [Nit-ac]
Excoriating discharges are characteristic of this remedy. In diphtheria,
however, there is a peculiar symptom; there is much distress and
uneasiness at the stomach and vomiting of all food; withal,there
is prostration and a membrane in the nose and throat. Especially
is Nitric acid a remedy in nasal diphtheria, with a white deposit
in the nose and ulcerative conditions which are sensitive, thus
differing from the potashes; there is foetid odor and sticking pains
in throat; the pulse is intermittent; swallowing is difficult and
Pain in the back and limbs, a general aching all over with great
prostration are general characteristics of this remedy, and if we
get, in addition to these, highly-inflamed throat, which is much
swollen, so sore and sensitive that deglutition is almost impossible,
pain shooting to ears, thick-coated tongue, foetid breath, swollen
glands, high, rapid and weak pulse and a grayish membrane, we have
a picture of diphtheria that Phytolacca will cure. Great burning
in the throat is also an indication, and chilliness as the disease
commences. Drs. Burt and Bayes recommend the tincture and also the
use of a gargle. Other observers also consider the remedy as specific,
and it probably is with the foregoing indications.
Last, but not least, we have Arsenicum, and it may save when no
remedy will. It is mainly a remedy indicated by its general symptoms
alone, such as low fever, prostration, restlessness, thirst, foetid
breath, etc., hence it is not a true diphtheria remedy. It is most
useful in the later stage of the disease when indicated by these
very symptoms, and when, when, perhaps, in spite of other remedies,
the patient has been constantly going down hill, until the very
adynamic condition, met so well by Arsenicum, has been reached.
The throat will be much swollen inside and out, the membrane will
be dark, and there will be much foetor, and there will be present
considerable oedema. It may correspond to the prodromal stage also,
with the tired-out feeling, thirst and feverish flush. Arsenic iodide
may prove curative for the septic conditions and hoarseness which
sometimes remain after diphtheria.