In the olden days of black powder, gunpowder was recognized by our soldiers as a remedy for certain forms of suppuration and by them it was taken crude in teaspoonful doses mixed in hot water.
It was also used by shepherds, sprinkled on bread and cheese, to cure and prevent wound poisoning acquired in shearing and handling sheep.
The American-Indians found it useful in snake-bites, boils, carbuncles and other skin affections.
But crude gunpowder is neither a convenient nor a pleasant remedy to take.
The most frequently used preparation of gunpowder is in the homoeopathic third decimal (3x) trituration, either prescribed in the form of powders or of compressed tablets.
In this form, gunpowder is one of the most powerful and efficacious remedy in our Homoeopathic Materia Medica.
The 3x trituration is what is called a “low attenuation,” that is to say, it is not highly infinitesimal but it is sufficiently so to have lost all taste or smell of gunpowder, and to be in no sort of way explosive.
The great sphere of action of gunpowder is in cases of septic suppuration – or, in other words – of wounds that have become poisoned with the germs of putrefaction.
Dr. Clarke states that in such cases, One tablet every two hours when there is fever and Two tablets three or four times a day when the temperature is normal.
Gunpowder may also be used as a prophylactic.
That is to say, it will not only cure septic suppuration when present, but it will afford such protection to the organism against harmful germs, that wounds will be less likely to become septic in one who is under its influence.
As a prophylactic one tablet to be taken once a day.
Judging from analogy, it is expected that this would also afford protection against other forms of blood-poisoning as well as against poisoned wounds.
It has also proved effective against the infection of spotted fever or cerebro-spinal meningitis.
In cases of boils, carbuncles, skin affections including eczema, abscesses, whether septic or not, blood-poisoning from bites of insects, ptomaine poisoning, from food that has been improperly preserved, it is advised that One tablet every hour or two hours according to the urgency of the symptoms.The same dosage would apply in the case of illness from any of the protective inoculations or vaccinations that are now in such vogue.
Constitution of Gunpowder
The Gunpowder which we are concerned is the Black Gunpowder, whose three cardinal constituents are Sulphur, Carbon and Nitre or Salt-petre.
Modern smokeless gunpowder is of a different composition.
As sulphur, carbon and salt-petre are three potent medicines well known to pharmacy and physics, it is not surprising that a combination of the three should also be a medicine of great potency.
Therapeutic powers of Gunpowder
There is a certain piquancy in the fact that gunpowder is a remedy for the accidents of warfare; but some instinct put into the minds of our soldiers long ago that gunpowder could cure as well as kill.
The Indians of North America and Canada have found in it a remedy for snake-bites.
The shepherds of East Anglia, as already mentioned, use it extensively in treating their flocks and themselves for wounds and blood-poisoning of many kinds, and for protecting themselves against wound infection.
Now the great point about Gunpowder is that it has a broad and clear indication that hardly anyone can miss - blood-poisoning.
An ordinary cut or wound in a healthy person heals quickly but if a morbid virus is introduced, or if the person’s blood is impure or of low vitality, then the part swells, suppuration ensues and the limb may be threatened. Or if a limb is bitten by a poisonous snake, the same thing happens, only more rapidly and the constitutional symptoms are more rapid in development.Or poisonous matter of some kind may be introduced into the system by other ways – breathing foul air, drinking polluted water, eating tainted food etc.
The poison quickly finds its way into the blood.Boils, carbuncles, eruptions, abscesses or other manifestations appear, showing unmistakably that the blood has been poisoned. To all these conditions Gunpowder acts as an antidote.
How does it act? It may be asked, In what way does it act? Does it exercise an antiseptic action and kill the germs?
In a certain degree, there is some such action. Carbon and sulphur, with sulphur derivatives such as sulphurous acid, are very potent antiseptics and germ destroyers.
But the amount of these taken in the preparations is quite insufficient to exert a direct germ-killing action.
But Gunpowder, in the homoeopathic attenuations, so acts on the blood as to render it antiseptic, or more strictly speaking, to assist or increase its normal antiseptic action.
This is because the healthy living blood is a potent germ destroyer and the reason why all persons do not succumb to infection during epidemics, is that the blood of those who escape is equal to killing the germs which attack them.
So this is the normal antiseptic action which gunpowder enhances.
It can now be asked: How can an infinitesimal amount of Gunpowder, or of anything else for that matter, effect this?
Substances when undergoing the process of graduated attenuation of the homoeopathic method, while losing their coarse physical properties, acquire others which are somewhat closely analogous to the properties of radium.
In this way, a substance which has been in contact with radium, through the action of radium rays, becomes itself radiant.
So the homoeopathically attenuated substances are raised to a higher pitch of vibration and become capable of conveying their vibrations to the persons who take them, just as radium can convey its vibrations to bodies in contact with it.
The fact remains that Gunpowder, taken in minute quantities, enables the blood to get rid of disease germs which the constituents of Gunpowder in substantial amounts would kill if added to the same in a test-tube.
- Sulphur is a well known remedy for boils, eruption, itch, eczema and suppressed impurities and eruptions. Carbon (Carbo vegetabilis) covers very similar ground. Saltpetre (Kalinitricum) has a powerful action on the skin, opening the pores.
A teaspoonful of this in hot water was a favourite remedy for gonorrhoea among soldiers in those days.
“An ounce of wisdom is often worth many tons of experience.”
Just as in warfare, the chance of success very often lies in an intelligent anticipation of the enemy’s intentions and capabilities.When cholera invaded Europe a little over a century ago, the medical world was divided into two camps:- the followers of Hahnemann on one side, and all the rest on the other. Before the epidemic arrived, reports of cases of the disease were brought and published. From the symptoms described, Hahnemann was able to name the remedies that were likely to be called for. Consequently, his party, who exercised intelligent anticipation of what was to come, were all ready for action when the invasion occurred. The other party, who may be called the party of the “Wait-and-Sees,” never were ready, and lost over 70% of their patients, while the homoeopaths saved over 70% of theirs.