Homeopathy Papers Materia Medica

Pyrogen – A Great Remedy

Dr. George Burford discusses the effectiveness and indications for Pyrogen and includes cases to illustrate.

The special thanks of the whole homoeopathic fraternity physicians and patients alike are the just need of the Editor of this Journal for which the admirable and discriminating method in which he has directed attention to the remedies severally known as “Pyrogen” and “Septicaemin”. These therapeutic substances are of such sovereign value that it is matter of great regret that they do not as yet stand in the very front rank of homoeopathic use and wont in the choice of prescribers, acting on the principle of “the fine adjustment of remedy to malady”.


A brilliant galaxy of names illuminates the early homoeopathic history of these remedial measures. Yet in comparison with Aconite, Baptisia, Gelsemium and other congeners “their name is seldom heard.” This anomaly is due to the diverse angles of vision of the earlier homoeopathic workers with these remedies, the different materials and sources chosen, the varied denominations adopted and the omission of the healthy human organism as the proper testing ground “more homoeopathico”. Thus the primary worker, Professor Burdon Sanderson, stated that “no therapeutic agent, no synthetical product, is known hitherto which possesses the property of producing fever, the only fluids known which have this endowment either actually contain bacteria or are prone to their evolution.” Later research, however, has disqualified this dictum, for sea water contains organic substance in solution, as undergoing spontaneous decomposition was chosen by homoeopathic research workers who saw in it the promise and the potency of a valuable remedial measure.


As already mentioned Burdon Sanderson was one of the pioneers of the exploitation of organic fluids in a state of resolution. He regarded decomposing organic material as unique in its powers of inducing pyrexia in the physical frame. “Only that and nothing more” and it was left to a well known personality in pure biological science and Homoeopathy Dr. Drysdale to recognize and develop the value of the pyrexia producing fluid on homoeopathic lines as a potent remedial measure.


Then commenced a demonstration of the many sided therapeutic powers of this organic fluid undergoing spontaneous decomposition by a series of independent workers, each with his own homoeopathic inspiration. Drysdale led the way in this original research, naming the crude substance used by him, Pyrogen, or alternatively Pyrexin, and prepared by macerating raw beef in cold water, thereafter exposing this infusion for weeks to the rays of the sun. Administered as a homoeopathic remedy in homoeopathic dilution it worked well “very encouragingly”, says Clarke. Next, further exploitation of this promising remedy was made by that therapeutic giant Burnett, who standardized its preparation, and use in fevers and blood poisoning, in a monograph published in 1888. With Burnett’s successes, the catalogue of English investigators for the time ends. The crude substance from which potencies were prepared in the usual manner was decomposing animal fluid, the retrograde change in its composition occurring outside the body.


The scene now changes to America: and with this enter variations in nomenclature, in preparation and in its therapeutic range, as the new research workers independently envisaged the many-sided problem of Pyrogen. Thence issued a mass of new research, bewildering in its clinical experimentation, in its plural pharmacology, and in the amazing uniformity of its therapeutic successes.
To the homoeopathic body is due the credit of the original idea of taking the pyrogen-substance out of the laboratory of the physiologist and placing it in the pharmacy of the physician. To the American homoeopaths came the vision of utilizing a septic substance out of one or other of the morbid fluids of the human body and possessing a close parallelism between the symptoms induced by this morbid agent and those of human clinical pathology.


Dr. Swan, the captain and chief of the high dilution school, raised the morbid pyrogen-containing material from the content of a human septic abscess to the highest level of transcendental potencies, and inaugurated that series of well nigh miraculous cures, whose only parallel is in the clinical experience of Hahnemann himself in the post-Napoleonic wars. Swan prepared the way for Sherbino Yingling and H.C. Allen whose conjoint contributions constitute a notable example of the “Fairy tales of science”. Nothing since in mass or value has been published equaling the early work of the American pioneers. And this was done with the septic pus preparation. On this polemic Kent speaks with no uncertain sound: “Swans potencies of Pyrogen were made from septic pus. Sherbinos proving was made with Swans potencies, and therefore with septic pus.” The earlier British work was done with decomposing beef as a crude primary.


A post-American era of exploitation, not of research carried on the history of Pyrogen on Septicaemia, as it was indifferently termed. The therapeutic successes were astounding, whether in America with septic pus, or in England with septic beef. As time went on and experience accumulated the tendency was to change the potency from 6c, administered night and morning, to 10m or cm, administered as a single dose. It became obvious that a high temperature was not essential in the symptoms of a cured case but that a high temperature usually called for a single dose of a transcendental potency of the remedy given by the mouth.


Burnett used chiefly the 6th centesimal dilution every two hours in acute cases.

Shuldam employed the same potency in two cases of diphtheritic sore throat.
Sheribino cured a case of puerperal fever, led to its selection by the high pulse rate.
Hunt cured with Pyrogenium 200 an elderly woman suffering for years with an ulcerated leg, riddled with deep burrowing ulcers. Swan gives as a special indication for Pyrogen, pulse abnormally rapid out of all proportion to the temperature.



A young man of good heredity suffered from blood poison and made a poor recovery, and for several years was affected with abscesses in various parts. He was pale and sickly, rheumatic and stiff. At this time there was an abscess of the calf slowly forming. He took Pyrogen and made a rapid and complete recovery. This time the abscess did not open. He has remained in good health now for ten years.


Skinner gave a supply of Septicaeminum 10m (F.C.) to a volunteer going to South Africa with instruction to take a globule ever four hours if attacked with anything like camp fever. The young man wrote home that “Septicaemin is like magic in diarrhoea and dysentery in camp life” and asked for more, as his supply was further drawn on by his friends.


A lady, having undergone three separate abdominal operations for a primary appendicitis found herself at length condemned to a fourth surgical interference for a large septic abdominal growth. Two eminent surgeons had conccurred in this procedure. The patients consent was obtained for homoeopathy to be chosen for a last therapeutic resort. The after course of events was almost miraculous. No operation was necessary, as the collection of pus was gradually absorbed, the temperature gradually declined, the patient entirely recovered and remained well up to date , three years afterwards.

Puerpeural Pyrexia: Fall of Temperature under Pyrogen.


The chart of temperatures is that given above. Pyrogenium 200 was first given on the eight day of the affection and Pyrogenium 10m on the ninth day.

  1. Clarke summarizes the leading symptoms in a marked Pyrogenium case as follows:1. Symptoms benefited by heat and movementII. Marked disproportion between pulse and temperature: pulse continually rises.

    III. Restlessness owing to soreness of parts.

    IV. Better sitting up on bed and in the act of rising.

    V. Relieved by stretching out limbs.

    VI. Hands and arms numb.




During the serious influenza epidemic in 1918-19 ones clinical acumen was greatly tried, but again and again one was thankful for the very efficient aid that homoeopathic medicines provided, and over and over again an apparently serious case quickly turned the corner. Patients used to say, “I only had a very mild case of flu”. They never gave the credit of the rapid cure to the almost tasteless watery medicines they used to imbibe. There were no complications, no heart trouble, no broncho-pneumonia, no septic pneumonias and therefore no fatal incidents in several hundred cases. A triumph for homoeopathy indeed. Very few cases gave one much anxiety. The only relapse I had was a lady dispenser who knew so much that she wished to almost treat herself, and she had several weeks in bed and was far more pulled down afterwards than any of the other cases, even though she had the same strict starvation diet: copious draughts of barley water, lemon juice, orange juice and grapes as the other patients I looked after. So I proved to myself that natural diet, a fruitarian diet alone, was not the greatest factor in promoting a rapid cure. It always wanted the indicator that is the right homoeopathic remedy for each individual case.

There was another case that caused me some anxiety, as it would not respond to the usual remedies. He was a young man invalided out of the army on account of shrapnel wounds in his ankle. The rest of his family, both parents, several brothers and sisters, responded quickly to the treatment given, and temperatures came down within twelve to twenty four hours. They were kept in bed for seven days. After the first day of normal temperature for two to three days, given only a faint diet which was gradually augmented. His mother could not understand why her eldest son did not get well quickly as the rest and put it down to the effects of the war wounds. She was not so far wrong either, as it turned out in the end. After nearly a week of pyrexia I had visited him at all hours of the day and night to get all the symptoms collected together. Nurses were at a premium just at that time and one depended on the relatives, provided there was anybody left to do the nursing, and one carried several door keys in ones pockets to let oneself into the various houses. Well, eventually one got the following disease picture. Very high, steadily rising temperature, going up to 105 at night, the pulse remaining somewhere about 100-110, therefore the pulse and temperature were quite out of proportion. He was extremely restless, never staying long in one position, very confused as regards the number of extremities he owned, there seemed to be so many arms and legs in the bed. He complained of extreme hardness of the bed, his back was so painful and the bed was as hard as a board. He had received Rhus tox for his restlessness, also Arnica for the hardness of the bed and remote effects of war injuries; also Baptisia, which seemed to correspond to the confusion of the mind and the sensation of there being more than one person in the bed.

Nothing would touch the illness, and the weakness went from bad to worse. There were drenching sweats, an offensive, penetrating odour from his perspiration, so he had to change his shirts several times in the twenty-four hours. His mouth and tongue were foul and yet Mercury did not touch him. One did not give up hope but continued to study the case. In the back of one’s mind, one knew there was something that would act as the key to open the door to this maze, this complicated septic fever. Suddenly it came to one, there was a certain remedy which had this arrhythmia of pulse and temperature, a high temperature with a low pulse or vice versa. This was Pyrogen, and in reading up Pyrogen in the Materia Medica there was the simillimum. The extreme restlessness, the bruised feeling of the parts lain on, the relief by movement of feet, by change of position, offensive, disgusting perspiration, great weakness and lassitude: the imaginary crowding of super numerary limbs in the bed. It was all there. So Pyrogen cm the only potency one had except the mm, both Heath Potencies from America, was given two hourly in a watery solution, and by the morning, a few hours after the late night visit one found the patient had slept more restfully and the temperature was down to 100. That night within twenty-four hours of starting this new medicine the temperature was normal, and it kept normal after that. One continued the remedy for a couple of days and then finished off with one dose of Pyrogen mm dry on the tongue. One does not remember now, whether he had a constitutional remedy at the end of “seven days bed” after the temperature reached the normal level. Anyway, the patient was kept under observation for several years afterwards, and he had no after effects from his serious attack of “wartime flu”, and on the whole he came off quite lightly, compared with many other victims; he was only in bed for a little over two weeks, eight days temperature and seven days recuperative rest.

In this case the normal influenza, if one may be allowed to call any influenza normal, was complicated by previous inoculations of the various typhoid, paratyphoid and cholera bacilli. He had had anti-malarial inoculation, he had been vaccinated, he had antistreptococci injections and inoculation against tetanus, and he could not remember what other inoculations he had had to submit to. I came to the conclusion that he was full of septic matter; and his blood stream was a battlefield of all sorts of serums and bacteria, and hence the drenching sweats, the high temperature, the offensive odour and the extreme prostration. In my own mind I am absolutely convinced that this young man would have been another of the numerous victims of the fatal influenza epidemic if it had not been for our Pyrogen.

A number of years passed by, but the lesson one was taught of the action of Pyrogen was never forgotten. One day one heard of a poor woman lying dangerously ill in her own home after her confinement. She had been in hospital antenatally for several weeks with high temperature due to pyelitis, the story went, and he was sent out under the care of a district nurse with the instruction to call in a local doctor, even though the fever, etc., had not abated. There was such a call on the hospital beds that she had to be sent out. I heard of her accidentally. She had been at home for nearly a week since her discharge from hospital. The visitor told me that the temperature would not come down, but stayed round about 103; the pulse was only about 80 though. She was so weak she could not look after her baby, so a kind neighbour was seeing to it. It seemed so tragic, poor Mrs. D. being so ill as there was a large family of seven or eight children. Across my mind flashed the story of the soldier suffering from septic influenza and his cure by Pyrogen. Here, once again, was the abnormal pulse-temperature ratio. As there was no doctor in attendance, the woman was too poor to pay for one, and the nurse was so worried, a dozen powders of Pyrogen 30 were sent, with the instruction to take one powder at four-hourly intervals, with the result that the evening temperature, the first temperature taken after the powders had been sent, was 99.8, and the next morning the temperature was normal and stayed normal. The patient reported herself a couple of weeks later as being very well except for a crop of vesicles on both her wrists and hands, which cleared up with a dose of Sulphur 30. Here, once again, was a septic fever, caused by or following on some infection of the female generative organs, cured by Pyrogen which eliminated the poison, as often happens after homoeopathic medication, through the skin.


A little while ago one came across this abnormal pulse temperature ratio in a case of post-operative pyrexia. Pyrogen was exhibited and pulse and temperature came down together and the patient reported the curious fact that shortly after taking a powder she could taste pus in her throat and mouth. She was a vegetarian and had never tasted meat in her life, so she said, and was probably hypersensitive. I gave her unmedicated powders to try and prove the veracity of her statements, and she only complained of the putrid taste after a Pyrogen powder. As it was given in the 30th potency it was certainly not a physiological reaction, more in the form of a proving.

Pyrogen, which is a product of sepsis, cures septic fevers of all kinds and conditions when the symptoms agree. It was proved on healthy individuals, and produced a distinctive type of pyrexia with definite clear cut indications. Thus it proves again the great truth of the Homoeopathic Law: Likes cures like. In my hands it cured septic influenza, puerperal pyelitis and post-operative pyrexia, and it will continue to cure other septic diseases showing the typical symptoms.

Many cases of blood poisoning and ptomaine poisoning, peritonitis and pyaemia could be saved by Pyrogen, if the medical practitioners would only study our Materia Medica and apply it in cases which show the characteristics I mentioned. Pyrogen is closely related to various other remedies; it is very similar to Rhus tox., to Baptisia, to Arnica. One has to get together all the distinctive symptoms of each case and then apply the simillimum, the remedy which is most similar.

The general medical profession is getting on inkling of the truth, as it is using the serum and vaccines made from individual bacteria or a combination of bacteria found in different septic cases and injecting them hypodermically, and in certain cases they do get a positive reaction, a good curative result. But their doses are too big, and the results are too uncertain, and until they learn to give minute doses and apply them according to a definite law of cure, their results will never be as good as our remedies applied strictly following the Hahnemannian laws:

(1) The single remedy

(2) The minute dose

(3) Given on the totality of the symptoms found in the individual patient, and corresponding to the symptoms produced by healthy provers


By Ellis Barker

Diseases and disorders are often due to a septic factor or to some septic factors. The orthodox doctor or specialist if he had to deal with an obscure case conscientiously searches for what is called the “septic focus”. In their endeavour to deal with septic foci, orthodox doctors examine more or less carefully the teeth, tonsils, the cavities adjoining the nose, the so called antrums, the nose itself, and other parts of the body. If there is some obscurity, the orthodox doctor, suspecting septic infection from some centre or other, is apt to order recklessly the extraction of numerous teeth or of all the teeth, even if they are more less sound, or the extirpation of slightly enlarged tonsils which are often declared to be very septic, although they may be more or less normal, etc.

Unfortunately, such destruction does not always produce favourable results. In numerous cases, patients report that, by doctors orders, all their teeth were pulled out, their tonsils were cut out, and their antrums were opened up and drained, but that these violent procedures, which gave a great shock to the system and caused considerable expenditure, produced not an improvement but a severe aggravation of the original complaint. Natural teeth are infinitely superior to artificial teeth. The tonsils are organs of elimination, as has previously been shown in this Magazine, and they should never be taken out unless that step is absolutely necessary. As a rule, constitutional treatment will normalize slightly septic tonsils and the condition of the teeth can be vastly improved by appropriate nutrition, massage of the gums, dentistry, regulation of the bowels and other common sense means.

Orthodox medicine is undoubtedly correct in its assumption that some obscure septic factor has much to do with obscure diseases or disorders. Unfortunately, septic centres may occur in any part of the body, not only in the mouth, nose and throat, which can relatively easily be examined. There may be septic factors in any organ or tissue of the body, and a complete examination of the body for such septic foci is, of course, impossible.

Homoeopathy has produced a wonderful remedy for dealing with obscure septic conditions. That remedy is called “Pyrogen”, and Dr. Burford, the veteran of Homoeopathy, and Dr. Dorothy Shepherd have given my readers a very valuable account of it.

Homoeopathy is based on the principles “Likes cures like”. Homoeopathy fights septicity by septicity. Pyrogen is a scientific preparation of putrid meat or pus which is administered in infinitely small quantity and with wonderful results. The orthodox surgeon performs an operation and he observes the greatest care, but not withstanding the utmost surgical cleanliness, the wound may become infected and then violent measures are taken, and these measures may come too late to save the life of the patient. The homoeopathic surgeon will administer before an operation a few doses of Pyrogen in a high potency, which means in an infinitely small quantity, and he will feel confident that, either no septic developments will follow, or that septic developments will be exceedingly mild, and a few further doses of Pyrogen or of any other indicated remedy, may complete the good work done by the septicity medicine.

I myself have had very great experience in the use of Pyrogen, and I have come to the conclusion that it is extremely useful to employ Pyrogen in innumerable cases and especially in cases where there is insufficient reaction or insufficient improvement. If, for instance, patients suffering from tuberculosis, cancer, disseminated sclerosis or any other grave disease, improve in a sluggish manner, or do not improve at all, it would seem wise to give a few doses of Pyrogen. I usually give a dose once a week on the assumption that in a case of tuberculosis, there is considerable septicity in the lungs or elsewhere, and that the recovery of a cancer patient is delayed by some septicity in or about the growth, etc.

A dose of Pyrogen may have diagnostic value of the greatest importance. It may clear up an obscure case infinitely more quickly and more thoroughly than the finest and most up to date laboratory tests of orthodox medicine. Mrs. M.W. was stung by a horsefly eight years ago. It had attacked the ankle of the left foot. The left leg swelled enormously, causing violent pain and the collapse of the patient. An orthodox doctor attended, there was danger of death, nurses were employed night and day. The patient recovered in due course, but ever since, there remained some weaknesses about the body of somewhat indefinite kind, weaknesses which very often follow some acute attack. Apart from these obscure complaints, there was a definite and considerable swelling of the glands in the right groin, a condition for which orthodoxy has no treatment except excision.

The lady was under my treatment, and as she had told me about the insect bite eight years ago, I gave her four doses of Pyrogen in the thousandth potency, and told her to take a dose once a week last thing at night. She took the first dose of Pyrogen in the form of three sugar pills moistened with the diluted remedy, and went to bed. In the middle of the night, she woke up with a violent pain in the left leg and discovered that she had a swelling about eight inches long by four inches wide in the very place where, eight years ago, the swelling of the leg had been worst. She was amazed at the sudden and very painful condition, and then remembered that she had taken a dose of Pyrogen and naturally attributed the swelling to the medicine. I had told her that if there was some poison left in the system from the insect bite, there might be a flare-up and an aggravation which would be a favourable sign and that it would be followed by steady improvement. In twenty four hours, the swelling had gone down. She took three more doses of Pyrogen with a week’s interval between the doses, and there was no further discomfort. Since then, she has felt infinitely better in general health and the swollen glands in the right groin have completely disappeared.

In numerous cases of every kind where there is the slightest suspicion of septicity, one should employ Pyrogen. I have seen most magnificent and gratifying results in hundreds of cases. It is far cheaper to use a few doses of Pyrogen than have a set of useful teeth pulled out and artificial ones put in their place. In obscure ear conditions, owing to a septic factor, one may, of course, clear out the ear surgically, but if a few doses of Pyrogen fulfil the same purpose, it is better for the patient to employ Pyrogen in the first instance. I would almost advise: “If in doubt, use Pyrogen”. Unfortunately, Pyrogen is very little used by Homoeopathic doctors. I feel sure of this because I have made enquiries among the homoeopathic chemists about their sales of Pyrogen. I have found Pyrogen of very little use in low potencies such as the 6x, etc. My favourite potencies are from the 200th potency upwards. I hope that every professional reader of this journal will immediately order a supply of Pyrogen and test it and he may find that he will be amply rewarded by his successes and by the gratitude of his patients.

About the author

George Henry Burford

George Henry Burford 1856-1937. Senior Surgeon and Physician for the Diseases of Women at the London Homeopathic Hospital. He also served as President of the British Homeopathic Society, President and Vice President of The International Homeopathic Congress.

1 Comment

  • excellent presentation.
    100% sure of any obstinate cases for quick recovery.

    recently i have handled one case – a 15 year old boy, while playing cricket in his house back yard , where plenty of parthenium and other bushy plants there, was bitten by unknown insect, suddenly he got reddish boils, burning sensation and puffed up. i gave pyro 1 m – 3 doses cured his problem in less than 24 hrs.

    Dr venkatesh cs

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