Marianne E. HARLING

(BHJ. Vol. LXV, 4/1976)

         The idea of drainage goes back to HIPPOCRATES and beyond into medical pre-history.  It is the idea that the body rids itself of toxic material, first of all through the normal discharges of urine, sweat and stools, then, if this is insufficient, through increased discharges from mucous surfaces and glands, and finally, if all else fails, by means of abscesses.  The laudable function of the true allopathic physician was to assist nature in this process; and herbal remedies are classified as cathartics, diuretics and sudorifics, as well as tonics and stimulants, to tonify and stimulate the “organs of elimination”, i.e. Kidney, Liver, Bowels and Skin.  This idea was also responsible for the development of such treatments as cupping, bleeding and clysters.  Abuse of these, as well as of Mercury and other dangerous drugs, led HAHNEMANN to seek for a gentler alternative, which he found in Homœopathy.

         HAHNEMANN was not unaware of the need for elimination, but he taught that disease was due to an imbalance in the Vital Force, and that if this were corrected the body would take care of its own eliminatory problems. (It is interesting to note that this is also the principle underlying Acupuncture).  However  HAHNEMANN also knew that a patient could become quite ill as a result of the “crisis of elimination” following administration of the Similimum.

         RADEMACHER, a follower of PARACELSUS and contemporary and pupil of HAHNEMANN, pointed out that certain remedies acted upon particular tissues, organs or systems, and many homœopaths have successfully used these “pathological” remedies in low potency, whilst others preferred to develop high-potency constitutional prescribing.

         In England, Compton BURNETT combined the two approaches by treating chronic diseases, in particular Cancer and Tuberculosis, with high potency constitutional remedies or with   Nosodes, alternating with courses of organ-specific remedies in low potency or mother tincture, or with tissue salts.  This has remained as a pattern of prescribing amongst many homœopathic doctors in this country, and there can be few, even of the strictest Kentian persuasion, who do not occasionally treat an intercurrent condition, even if it may be an aggravation, with Arsenicum, Nux vomica, or Carbo veg.; and even if the doctor demurs, the patient will probably take it on his own.  In fact I believe that patients often know best which are their own drainage remedies.  Thus we muddle through in Britain.

         Not so in France!  There, as can be imagined, the approach is much more systematic.

         The Grand Old Man of French Homœopathy, Antoine NEBEL of Lausanne, talked a great deal more than he wrote (like SOCRATES).  The consequence of this was that his pupils and their descendants are still divided as to what he really did teach, whilst the most literate of them, Leon VANNIER, unsurped the title of Grand Old Man, and his classes at the Centre Homœopathicque Francaise have left their stamp on a generation of French homœopaths.

         Like Compton BURNETT, NEBEL favoured a mixed Homœopathy, using constitutional remedies and   Nosodes in high potency, and organ remedies (remèdes canalisateurs) and drainage remedies in low potency or mother tincture.  This attempt at marriage between Hahnemannian and Hippocratic medicine soon degenerated into polygamy.  In a modern French manual of Homœopathy we find reference to:

1. The Constitutional Remedy (classically, in NEBEL’S terms, Calc.carb., Calc. phos. or  Calc. fluor., but according to BERNARD Nat. mur. and Sulphur too).  These cover the mental, general and morphological aspects of the case, and are given in high potencies, which in France are not usually as high as in this country.

2.     Isopathic Remedies –   Nosodes, given, again in high potency, for reasons connected with family or previous history, as well as for the symptomatic drug picture.

3.     Satellite Remedies – given in medium potency.  These are the complementary remedies and/or antidotes of the constitutional remedy, and are given to modify the patient’s reaction to the latter.

4.     Organ Remedies – Remèdes Canalisateurs – given to direct the vital healing force to a particular organ or system.

5.     Drainage Remedies, to promote elimination.

The last two, which may well be the same remedy, are given in the lowest potencies, or mother tincture.

         The various remedies are taken on a strict time schedule.

         A further elaboration may be the combination of several remedies in a “cocktail”, an example of which is Hepagalen.

         Such practice were and are anathema to the KENTist school of the single dose and the single remedy (of whom there are representatives in France, although the laws governing pharmacy make it difficult for them, and much easier for the pluralists).  I myself would admit that the unicist approach is much more elegant, possibly more scientific, and certainly easier to teach; but does it provide a means of dealing with the patient who comes in great distress with an aggravation following a  high potency of the well-chosen similimum, or the person whose mental and general symptoms point to one remedy, whilst his profusion of local signs and symptoms suggest one or several others?  Or the one who just does not get better on his single dose?  To return to the comparison with Acupuncture, it is said that the more skilful an acupuncturist, the fewer needles he uses, and perhaps that is also true of the homœopath, though I should think that compounding a prescription on the French pluralist formula must require the skill of a computer.

         Of course if you are fortunate enough to have a patient whose mental, general, regional and local symptoms all point in the direction of one polycrest, there should be no problem.  In this case, as one Frenchman put it, “le simillimum c’est son proper draineur”.

         I shall conclude by describing the liver drainage remedies named by Dr. Roland ZISSU,in his Manual of Homœopathic Medicine. Dr. ZISSU convinced Hahnemannien, is careful to point out that these remedies must be chosen because of their homœopathic similarity to the patient’s symptoms, and that, properly speaking, there are no drainage remedies as such; any remedy, particularly any polycrest, can be used as a drainage remedy if the symptoms and signs are appropriate.


Herbal use, for alternative properties, purifying blood and venereal infections.

effects on Pancreas, Thyroid, Salivary glands, Gastrointestinal system, Muscles, Membranes.

Frontal sick Headache, worse after strain, worse for rest.


burning of mouth and whole alimentary canal.  Nausea

Salivation increased.

Sore liver, cutting pains; burning Diarrhoea and anus

Pain in left hip joint – (gonorrhoea)

Herpes.  Shiny psoriasis

worse evening, night, rest, right side.

better motion.

CHINA – CINCHONA OFFICINALISPeruvian bark (quinine)

Throbbing headache.  Sensitive scalp.

Blue circles around eyes.  Yellowish sclerotics


Furred tongue with burning tip.  Salty taste.

Worse for fruit and milk

flatulent colic

Gallstone colic.  May have jaundice

Frothy yellow stools

worse loss of fluids

sensitive to touch.  better for hard pressure


Loss of fluids

Liver and gall-bladder trouble

Flatulence.  Anorexia.  Bulimia


CHELIDONIUM MAJUSgreater celandine

Right-sided headache and face-ache.  Icy cold occiput


Yellow tongue with tooth marks.  Bitter taste

Dirty yellow conjunctivae

pain under inferior angle right scapula

pain in right lobe liver

obstructive jaundice.  gallstones


Hard round yellow stools.  Itching in anus

Foaming golden urine, like beer

Generalized aches and pains.  Muscular soreness.  Icy fingertips

Dry yellow skin


Serous effusions.  Hydrocele

CARDUUS MARIANUS – St. Mary’s thistle

Dull, heavy, apathetic

Migraine which may be relieved by epistaxis

Bitter taste.  Furred tongue.  Nausea.  Aversion to salt meat

liver.  pain, especially in left lobe

tender swollen gall bladder

jaundice.  dropsy

Yellow stools.  Alternating Constipation and Diarrhoea

Piles, Varicose Veins, Varicose Ulcers

Thick turbid yellow urine

chest pain in R. ribs and front.  Yellow patches over sternum

Asthma.  Liver affections after influenza

Pain in hips

transverse pains (cf CHELIDONIUM, vertical pains)

worse lying on left side, after food, after movement

better seated, bending forward, open air


Cholecystitis, cholelithiasis


Portal congestion

Asthma (in miners) with liver damage

Influenza with liver dysfunction


Frontal headache.  Listless

Tongue feels scalded

Nausea before breakfast

Stitches in Gall-bladder.  Sticking pains in abdomen, down to groin

Catarrh of Gall-bladder, with constipation and yellow complexion

Fistula in ano

Pain in renal angles

Frequency, with pains in loins and bladder.  Burning urine

Red deposit in urine

Backache and lumbago, pain in metacarpals and metatarsals

Flat warts, itchy skin


Worse motion, STANDING

Better rest


SOLIDAGO Golden red

Bitter taste, worse at night and on waking

Coated tongue

Abdominal distension

Pain on both sides umbilicus, worse deep pressure

Tender renal angles

Scanty dark urine



History or family history of Tuberculosis

Renal and hepatic insufficiency

Hay fever

PTELEA- Wafer ash

Bitter taste.  Tongue coated white or yellow.  Increased salivation

Stomach: eructation, pain, nausea, vomiting, burning, emptiness


Liver sore and swollen

Pressure on lungs.  Asthma

WORSE LYING ON LEFT SIDE, early morning, heat

BETTER lying on right side, acids, fresh air


Bitter taste

Loss of appetite


Burning weight in liver and stomach

WORSE after malaria

TARAXACUM – Dandelion

Mapped tongue.  White coat, with red sensitie areas

Bitter taste and eructations, increased salivation

Enlarged hard liver

Stitches in left side

Diarrhoea with Rectal Cancer


Neuralgia of knees, relieved by pressure

Night sweats

WORSE mornings, rest, lying down

BETTER touch

CONIUM – Hemlock



Aching in and around liver, Chronic jaundice

Better and then worse for eating

Acid eructations

Enlarged hard glands

Hard lumps in breast

Paralysis of lower limbs

Yellow skin and finger nails


Full Site