Arsenicum album (white arsenic) illustrates better than most homeopathic remedies that what a substance can cause in the way of symptoms it can also heal, according to the homeopathic principle of similarity, or “like cures like.” This innocent-looking, white, tasteless and odorless powder has a galaxy of healings to its credit, but it also has a most sinister background of lethality.
For centuries, arsenic held a preeminent role as the preferred choice of the homicidal poisoner.1 Symptoms of acute arsenic poisoning are similar to those of cholera, which can cause severe diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Because cholera was common in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, poisonings often went undetected, as the victim was often assumed to have died of natural causes. Chronic arsenic poisoning can cause heart disease and cancer, among other things, so sometimes poisoners chose the slow route of death via chronic arsenic administration.
THE AGE OF ARSENIC
The ruling classes of Italy were reputed to have made particularly liberal use of this convenient method of dispatching enemies, but the French were also rather fond of arsenic. Death by arsenic poisoning was so common in the era of Louis XIV, the glamorous French Sun King, that the period was known as the “Age of Arsenic.”
Of course, it was not only the nobility that made use of arsenic’s lethal powers. One famous vendor of arsenic in the 17th century was La Tofania, who sold her concoction called “Aqua Tofana” to disgruntled wives all over Europe, helping them to dispose of adulterous, violent or negligent husbands. Apparently, she made a good business of it for fifty years while killing about six hundred men.2 By the 19th century, arsenic had acquired the nickname “inheritance powder,”3 for obvious reasons.
Small doses of arsenic were known to have medicinal properties and were used in traditional Chinese medicine formulas two thousand four hundred years ago. In fact, modern science confirms the fact that arsenic has nutritional value as a trace mineral and that too little arsenic may also be detrimental.4 Animal studies suggest that arsenic is essential for fertility and reproduction and may also be important for cardiac health. Specifically, it may help to maintain normal mitochondrial cell membrane function in heart muscle cells.5
In 1851, the medical world learned of the practice of arsenic consumption among mountain-dwelling peasants, hunters and wood cutters in Styria (now a region of Austria). These people apparently used regular small to large doses of arsenic to help them breathe better in the high mountain altitudes and to experience greater vitality. Women reportedly used it to improve their complexion and attractiveness.
In short order, this early-1850s discovery started an arsenic-tonic craze that persisted for the next several decades. Of the various solutions of arsenic compounds that came into widespread use, the most important was “Fowler’s solution,” originally introduced in 1786 by the English physician Thomas Fowler. NOTHING
It became wildly popular in the 19th century and was especially valued for its tonic and stimulant properties.6
ARSENICUM ALBUM IN 2020
With this illustrious background established, let us examine the homeopathic use of arsenic, keeping in mind the perspective of the poisoned as well as the poisoner, and ultimately applying that perspective to the year 2020.
As already mentioned, acute arsenic poi soning most often begins with nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and severe diarrhea; additional symptoms include restlessness, fever, chills, sneezing and watery nasal discharge, cough and difficulty breathing. Acute poisoning may also include, interestingly, a fear of being poisoned, deceived or robbed, as well as a fear of death and dying. Chronic arsenic toxicity results in multisystem disease, with heart failure, kidney failure and cancers affecting numerous organs, often accompanied by characteristic black lesions on the skin.
Arsenic exerts its toxicity by inactivating up to two hundred enzymes, especially those involved in cellular energy pathways and DNA synthesis and repair. This explains its profound effects.7
It is well known that those in need of homeopathic arsenic often have a fear of germs and contagion, can be obsessive about cleanliness and may feel they have offended others—but they may also like to cause suffering both to people and to animals. They can be elegant as well as miserly individuals who may be overly concerned with wealth and possessions.
ARSENICUM AS HOMEOPROPHYLAXIS
Homeopathically, if someone already suffers from the above-described symptoms, arsenic in potency may be extremely helpful. In addition, if an infection known to cause such symptoms is in the vicinity, homeopathic arsenic may help to prevent the development of such symptoms.
This may be why India—a country benefiting from broad government support for homeopathy—began widely distributing Arsenicum album in a 30C potency for the mitigation of Covid-19, beginning in January of this year. After all, Covid-19 is associated with cold- and flu-like symptoms.
Amazingly, as of November 16, India had only recorded about one hundred thirty thousand deaths from Covid-19 in a population of 1.385 billion people, many of them crowded into enormous cities.8 This translates to a death rate of ninety-four per million. Compare this to the roughly two hundred fifty-two thousand recorded deaths in the U.S. population of 380 million—a death rate of seven hundred fifty-nine per million—or to Belgium’s death rate of one thousand two hundred forty-two per million. Of course, we can’t be sure that all these people in fact died from the illness or just with the illness.
Three other countries with very low Covid-19 death rates are the Asian nations of Pakistan (thirty-two deaths per million), Bangladesh (thirty-seven deaths per million) and Nepal (forty-two deaths per million). All three countries have, like India, embraced homeopathy.9 It goes without saying that many patients also may have been treated with homeopathy in those countries if they became sick.
GOVERNMENTS, HEALTH AUTHORITIES AND THE MEDIA
But there is more. The government and media responses to the pandemic are also imbued with the flavor of Arsenicum album.
The intense focus on cleanliness and disinfection can be seen as an Arsenicum symptom. Arsenicum patients can be obsessive about cleanliness and order and are terrified of germs. The media’s constant focus on new “cases” is also creating fear and panic in the population at large about becoming infected and dying. People are increasingly suspicious of one another as they avoid eye contact and cover their faces with masks in stores and on public transit. Social media are rife with hatred against those questioning the use of masks, accusing them of being killers in disguise. Finally, the proposed “cure” for the virus—a novel vaccine that is meant to alter us genetically—also reeks of Arsenicum.
Then there is the question of whether the virus may have been deliberately manipulated and released, in essence designed as a poison. Not only that, but designed as a poison with both acute and chronic consequences and which, additionally, may enrich those pulling the strings. As mentioned, for the homicidal poisoner, arsenic offers both the choice of rapid poisoning, which mimics gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases, or the slow and steady method of chronic poisoning, which leads to death via organ failure and cancer.
I believe both of these can be applied to the current Covid-19 situation, with acute consequences being the actual disease but also fear of the disease. Chronic consequences probably include an increase in cardiovascular disease, cancers and dementia from all the masking and inhibition of free breathing as well as the fear-mongering and the constant contact with harmful disinfectants.
Miserliness and greediness can also be characteristics of the Arsenicum state. Isn’t it interesting that the pandemic has made a handful of billionaires even richer while plunging most of humanity into deeper degrees of poverty? Arsenicum is well known for its dual association with a fear of robbers and with robbers themselves. Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, George Soros and Jeff Bezos all spend millions of dollars a year on their security teams.
POLARITY IN HOMEOPATHY
The fascinating thing about homeopathy is that all remedies display a polarity of elements—positive and negative, light and dark, or, one could say, victim and aggressor. They are flip sides of the same coin. Like cures like.
Thus, we should keep Arsenicum album in mind, not only to help mitigate symptoms of potential Covid-19—although there are many other remedies that may be indicated, so Arsenicum is not a cure-all by any means—but also to mitigate the consequences of government and media actions on people around the world. It may also be a good remedy for those who are terrified to go out for fear of “catching the virus.”
That being said, don’t take Arsenicum album regularly without professional support. A few weeks ago, one of my clients contacted me regarding concerns about her young son, who had become obsessed with washing his hands and keeping his room ultra-tidy. I was pondering the use of Arsenicum when she exclaimed: “Oh, we’ve been taking this for a while!” It turned out that she had been administering Arsenicum album in 30C potency to the whole family biweekly for two or three months after reading about it as potentially useful for Covid-19. Her son was sensitive to the remedy and developed a “proving” of it, meaning that he developed the symptoms the remedy is meant to help. When I explained the problem, she stopped giving him the remedy. Her son is now back to behaving like a normal boy, with a messier room and dirtier hands!
In the end, poisoners may be held accountable. Tofania, the woman who sold the arsenicous “Aqua Tofana” in the 17th century, was finally caught and executed at the age of seventy. After her death, apparently far fewer husbands died in Europe.
Today, the scales of justice will still balance in the end, and those pulling the strings of the Covid-19 situation may very well face the consequences of their actions one day. With more people taking Arsenicum around the world than ever before, this might very well be sooner rather than later, as the energetic influence of the remedy may help to heal this particular imbalance on all levels in ways that nobody could have expected. This is the mystery and magic of homeopathy.
- Gibson D. Studies of Homeopathic Remedies. Beaconsfield Publishers; 1987.
- Retrieved Nov. 16, 2020 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aqua_Tofana.
- Whorton JG. The Arsenic Century. Oxford University Press; 2011.
- Uthus EO, Davis C. Dietary arsenic affects dimethylhydrazine-induced aberrant crypt formation and hepatic global DNA methylation and DNA methyltransferase activity in rats. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2005;103(2):133-145.
- Nielsen FH. How should dietary guidance be given for mineral elements with beneficial actions or suspected of being essential? J Nutr. 1996;126(9 Suppl): 2377S-2385S.
- Parascandola J. The arsenic eaters of Styria. Retrieved November 16, 2020 from http://ultimatehistoryproject.com/arsenic-eaters.html.
- Ratnaike RN. Acute and chronic arsenic toxicity. Postgrad Med J. 2003;79(933):391-396.
- Retrieved Nov. 15, 2020 from https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/india/.
- Retrieved Nov. 15, 2020 from https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Winter 2020🖨️ Print post