Clinical Cases

Abdominal Tumour Cured by Two Remedies — Bellis Perennis and Ceanothus Americanus

abdominal tumor

Dr. J. Compton Burnett presents a case of abdominal tumor treated with Bellis Perennis and Ceanothus Americanus based on traumatism and specificity of location –ie. organopathy.

I have now a case to relate of a large tumour, presumably of traumatic origin, in the cure of which two factors were helpful, viz.: traumatism and specificity of seat, or organopathy.  Had I thought that my patient would  recover I should have given one remedy at a time at any rate, but I did not  think he would, but let me tell my  story . On November 17th, 1887, I was requested to see a gentleman resident in London who was said to have a very large tumour in the abdomen, and no efforts to cure it had been spared, but  they were quite unavailing. As six medical men — including the consulting surgeon and the consulting physician at Guy’s Hospital — had seen him and done their best to no purpose, I did not much care to go as a seventh medical man, merely to say ditto to the dictum of the other six. There seemed no chance of a cure, and an operation had been declared to be impossible,  evidently because of the position and size of the tumour, and its probable  adhesions to adjacent parts and organs.

The tumour presumably had its origin in a fall, then eight years ago, on the  left side, which fractured the ribs; that  is to say, the side had never been comfortable since and for many months this large mass had been growing larger and larger, at first incommoding loco motion and finally rendering it impossible. The patient was not only bedridden, but was not even able to turn over in bed, partly from weakness and partly because of the bulking mass.  The patient being a long way past sixty years of age did not make the  prospect any brighter. However, two days later, I did go to see the patient, and found a slender built man crouched up on his back and a little to the right. As he could not turn over himself, his wife and I had  to aid him for the purposes of a proper  physical examination, which disclosed a  huge mass in his left side almost from the nipple to the pelvic rim.

There were brown patches on the skin of the abdomen, and inside of the left Poupart’s ligament were a number of lumps to be felt like little potatoes, presumably indurated and hypertrophied lymphatic  glands. Add to this a quite cachectic look and rather severe adynamia, and the picture of hopeless malignant disease is complete.

I made close enquiry as to the opinions of my six doctorial predecessors in regard to the seat of origin of the tumour, and found that their two family advisers (the same firm) had always held it be connected with the left kidney. And when they failed to do it any good they called in a physician of repute who thought it could be cured, but when his efforts had also failed a good surgeon was called and he thought it quite incurable.

The most careful examination did not enable me to say whether it was connected with spleen or kidney or with both: the tumour practically occupied the left half of the abdomen, and not considering its history, was apparently connected with the spleen.  Was there any chance of cure?  There had been quite enough diagnosing from the standpoint of mere diagnostics, but I found the medicinal  treatment had been confined to general tonic and quasi-absorbent measures, probably quinine, iron, mercury, and  certainly iodine.  I think any practical physician or surgeon will concede that a more hopeless case to cure by medicines is hardly to be found.

To begin with, how are we to choose medicines for such a case allopathically, homoeopathically, or anyhow? My own plan in difficult cases that seem so hopeless is to lay firmly hold of some point that may serve as a reasonable therapeutic starting point whence to carry out a cure. As a start there is here the traumatic element in the case, that is  positive, and my own favorite and  well-tried anti-traumatic is Bellis perennis; then the proving of this drug,  communicated by myself, shows a  decided affinity for the left hypochondrium, and finally Bellis has already  in my hands cured a few tumours.  This plan in the face of desperate  odds, to lay hold of any help-promising remedy, is at least a stay for further  reflection. Bellis perennis as an anti-traumatic and also Ceanothus Americanus as a splenic presented themselves to my mind, but which?

Candidly  confessed I thought the good man  doomed, but determined to try and save  him, and not knowing which of my two remedies was the more likely to do  something quickly^ (for the case was  urgent — patient’s friends had already  taken a last look at him as they  thought,) I gave the two in alternation, and much did I subsequently regret this double shot, for the use of two  medicines at one time teaches next to nothing : However Bellis and Ceanothus were given in five drop doses  every four hours in alternation; this  was on Nov. 12th, 1887, I find, and  not the 17th which was the date of  my second visit. The result of this medication was  that after a while the patient could turn over in bed, then he could get in and out of bed by himself, and in 17 days from beginning the medicine, viz : on  Nov. 29th, he  came to my West End rooms in a cab with his wife. The effects of the medicines were a great diminution in the swelling  (patient had lost much flesh and was still losing flesh) the passage of vast  quantities of urine, (“It literally pours  from me.”)

The skin of the palms of  his hands is black but the lines  strikingly white in contrast And the  tumour itself was not only much  smaller, but more defined. But  patient’s weakness was terrible; evidently his coming to me was partly bravour and more an effort of will than real physical power.  I therefore stopped the two remedies and gave Nux v.  and Calc. hypophos as an indicated all-round pick-me-up.

Curability of Tumours.  Dec. 6th. — He is much stronger,  can walk up stairs, but his tumour is not quite so well. The skin of his hands, &c., is peeling off.  Ur. sp. gr.  15, containing mucus and phosphates  in great quantities.  Repeat first prescription. He is still getting thinner but he is stronger, tongue very much  coated; has to strain much at stool;  eats well; he has walked here from the end of the street. Has a cold in the chest and cough, and this shake  him and hurts his side very much   Rx  Bryonia alb, ix and Phos. in alt.

27 1 A. The cough is worse on going to bed and seems to be a spleen-cough.        R. Sctlla marit, five drops in water three times a day.  He did not need any subsequent  treatment and he came to say goodbye  on Jan. 24th, 1888. He had lost the tumour and the enlargement and induration of the lymphatic in the left side,  and he was rapidly gaining flesh and strength. All things considered, it was clearly  a tumour of the spleen, and I am  disposed to think the lymphatics were  irritated to enlargement either by the iodic and other irritant topics that had been applied, or else by the pressure of the tumour.

Still, the entire case remains a little puzzling, and others being in possession of its main features can judge as well as myself. At least it teaches — nil desperandum !   The cure was complete and permanent, which I know, as the patient turns  up in my rooms every few months for his own and my satisfaction. Such a  case is an oasis in the desert of a  physician’s hard life. Should anyone say: But where is  your homoeopathy in this case? My reply is: Proved again up to the hilt !  For, just as v. Gravogl’s case of enchondroma was conceived by him on a pathological theory, and was yet cured homoeopathically, so was this case of traumatic swelling of the abdomen cured purely homoeopathically,  although not on the totality of the  symptoms subjective and objective.

Now in regard to Bellis, if anyone  doubt this, let him or her read the  homoeopathic provings of this same daisy, and it will be seen that it produces swelling precisely of this congestive exudative kind — pathologically  very like it, in fact; and if any further doubt’ still obtains, let them make a tea of the daisy — roots, leaves, flowers and all — and drink a wine-glassful three  times a day, and then they will not  merely believe, but know. There is nothing like the direct experiment on one’s own corpus vile.  I have done it myself, and so need no professor of pharmacology to tell me.

Excerpted from: Tumours of the Breast and Their Treatment and Cure by Medicines  – James Comptom Burnett MD

About the author

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.


  • I am convinced to read the successful treatment the great homeopaths had provided as early as during 19th century although I am upset to know that some of them did not live long. May be it was too much pressure of continuous work load.

  • PLEASE in future can you put the names of the remedies you prescribed at the END of the article as I (and I am sure many other people) enjoy trying to work out the correct remedy. For me this completely spoilt your article.

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