Case review of Dunhams Mezerium prescription

We at the I.H.M. examine hundreds of cases each year from our own practices and from the cases presented in the journals of yesteryear. I picked this case for examinaton and posted it a day ago. CASE HERE

At first glance, it looked like a wonderful case of Mezerium with an amazing cure, yet examination and dissection of the symptoms leave several of us perplexed as to

  • a: the choice of the remedy
  • b: how it worked.

Now we accept paper cases are notorious for working out except for an exercise for students in learning repertorial language, however, this case has us perpelexed.. from the REPERTORY standpoint.


Let us look at the rationale behind the prescription according to Dr Dunham.

 ” …the history of a case is often of the utmost importance in determining the treatment. In the  case before us the coincidence between the violent removal of the tinea capitis by nitrate of silver, and the appearance of the deafness, was too marked to escape notice. It could not fail to occur to the practitioner that the scalp disease… disturbed in its localization upon the scalp, had transferred itself to the tissues of the ear. It further occurred to me that, since in this latter localization there were no sufficient indications for a prescription, I might find such indications in the phenomena of the former localization upon the scalp. I accordingly addressed myself to the task of getting a complete picture of this affliction, which had disappeared thirteen years before. By good fortune the mother of the patient was possessed of a good memory, and of very excellent powers of description, and from her I learnt that “thick, whitish scabs, hard and almost horny, covered the whole scalp. There were fissures in the scales, through which, on pressure, there exuded a thick, yellowish pus, often very offensive. There was great itching, and a disposition to tear off the scabs with the finger-nails — especially troublesome at night.
The remedy, which corresponds most closely, in its pathogenesis with the above group of symptoms is undoubtedly Mezereum…. The resemblance between these groups of symptoms was so striking that Mezereum was at once selected as the remedy for this case of deafness, just as if the scalp affliction had still been in its original form, and had been the immediate object of the prescription.”

As you can see, based on his own observations, Mezerium is not prominent. In fact if we look at the symptom yellow pus and it was absent completely.

Now we are fairly familiar with the usage of the T.P.B. and how to extract information from the works of Boenninghausen in terms of rubrics, but we could NOT get Mezerium to be indicated strongly in the repertory.

I turned to the Materia Medica for help. I noted in Chronic Diseases:

  • [495] Itching on the inner side of the calves, not ceasing from scratching, and not ceasing until he had scratched himself bloody, followed by burning ; after twelve hours, a swelling on the calf, and on the scratched place, a bloody crust with yellowish pus under it, and bruised pain.

I also noted that Allen, Arndt and Tyler had these notes in their MM entries:

I then turned to Hughes to see what he had recorded.


So. We are left with the evidence that Hahnemann recorded a swelling with a crust and yellowish pus under it.  We also see that others have stated ulcers with pus and yellowish scabs etc.

We also note that Boenninghausen recorded several of the characteristics of Mezerium but did not place emphasis on the yellow pus in the repertory.

What can we conclude from this case?

  • there is no way to get to a prescription for Mezerium without knowledge of the remedy.
  • Hahnemann and Boenninghausen did not see the clinical use of Mezerium based on the presented symptoms.
  • Hering noted: Head covered with a thick, leather-like crust, under which thick, white pus collects here and there and hair is glued together
  • Hering noted: Eczema of lids and head; thick, hard scabs, from which pus exudes on pressure
  • We can see if a repertorization is done, Mezerium does not feature high, if at all for the symptoms noted in Dunhams notes.
  • There are other remedies which mirror more closely the disease picture.

So in the final analysis, We can assume the prescription was made on clinical observation and with the known characteristics of that remedy based on that. We again, have to assume that the remedy worked due to the similarity.

I have issues regarding the entirety of the proving as defined above as I cannot find more than stated in Hahnemanns provings.  Its a mystery to me.


2 responses to “Case review of Dunhams Mezerium prescription

  1. Isn’t is true that Hering, Allen, Tyler etc. could have added the yellowish pus from that case of Dunham’s in their pictures of Mezereum, and that is why these later Materia Medica are weak. Because they include clinical experience from uncredited sources. Or from one single case from a respected prescriber. Thus causing distortions of the remedy that are passed on and on.

  2. If I were to take the time and energy, we could narrow down to the original MM that everyone else copied from. I find it interesting that Hughes did not reference it and yet Clarke did. They were working colleagues.
    In any event, I will place the case on the chat Forums, and anyone who wishes to repertorise the case in their Computer repertory and place the result on the forums is welcome to,

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