Portraits: Sulphur

Sulphur can be selected for a lot of cases based on the fact that it appears in most rubrics for most ailments. Whether it is the best fit or simillimum however is always debatable.

It is a major polychrest and a predominant medicine and element in all biological systems. It is the basis of many proteins and hormones and is the element that makes the kink in hair. It is brimstone and rotten egg gas and forms compounds with most metals on earth.

I am sure that I have underutilised this important medicine in my practice as I have considered it to be the ‘cortisone’ of homeopathic practice, that is, it fixes (or suppresses) everything. This has led me to miss applications where it may have been curative and I am still learning how best to apply sulphur in my patients.

I do use it as an intercurrent remedy in low potency to stimulate the reaction of other medicines. Also to open difficult cases where it is well selected on the basis of “hot, itchy, smelly”, usually skin cases.

It is in fact a major Psoric remedy and since we are taught that Psora is the basis of all disease it is little wonder that Sulphur appears so often in the list of medicines in many, many rubrics. And why it is often difficult to determine if it is the best choice.

Over time I have learned to better identify the constitutional type in animals, especially horses and dogs….not sure it exists in cats as they are fastidiously clean in general.

Sulphur is comfortable being scruffy or dirty and will seek out mud and smelly things to roll in and then think they look and smell wonderful. They are often prone to parasites, fleas and worms and these may or may not worry them. They are usually very likeable animals but can be haughty or arrogant…egocentric.

Sulphur people/owners may appear well groomed and neat but have odd fashion sense with quirky mismatch of colour or clothing.

Interestingly, one of the themes of sulphur is a feeling of being scorned but I have not felt this particularly with my animal cases. They do like to be the centre of attention and will try to attract affection or make you smile and perhaps we do not see many dogs that are scorned by their owners or others these days.

Sulphur is the chronic for Aconite and I have used it successfully where the Aconite (feeling of extreme fear of death) has subsided and other symptoms fit the case well.

I had a horse that was not responding to ‘big gun’ antibiotics for ‘mud fever’ resulting in marked lymhpangiectasia of the right lower hind in particular and severe mental depression with apathy. The overwhelming feeling in this case was one of fear that the horse would die. It was a much loved companion of a teenage girl and the family really thought they were going to lose their horse. Given that the Aconite feeling was so strong and yet now over a week old, I prescribed Sulphur since other signs fitted very well.  This horse responded instantly to a dose of sulphur and went on to full recovery over the next month.

I use Sulphur now to treat side effects of cortisone and to wean them off this drug as it is an excellent clearing medicine and can open the case to a more readily discernible picture.

If I am stuck in a case that it not progressing, I will sometimes give a few doses of Sulphur (6C) to kick it along or stimulate response to the main remedy. I remember my first case of Sulphur very well as I was excited about the dramatic response it created in a demodectic Doberman that no one could fix. As a new homeopath the experience required to discern the second prescription is often lacking and I needed advice about how to proceed. These days I know more about the medicines and would look for the triad possibilities of CalcCarb or Lycopodium and also would know better how to retake the case.


The main thing to remember however is that any positive response to a homeopathic medicine indicates the correct medicine and if it stops working then a new picture must be identified.

Another important factor with Sulphur as mentioned, is that it belongs to a classic triad of medicines.

CalcCarb, Lycopodium, Sulphur and the general ‘rule’ is that each follows the other in this order but not out of order. For example Lyc follows Calc but not Sulphur. Then Calc can follow Sulph. Animals of these types can also cycle around being in each of these states where the picture of one of these medicines predominates and then the next may or may not appear over time. Lycopodium (which I do use a lot) will be covered in the next posting. It is often referred as the ‘vegetable’ sulphur as it has many similarities.

From my own experience with Sulphur I would encourage others to employ it on the above indications but would caution not to overuse it in higher potency in the hot climate we have in Australia unless it is the perfect match for the animal. I have seen a few Sulphur types and have used it in 200C but most often I use 6C or LM potency. Sulphur salts of other minerals like Kali, Natrum and the Lanthanides are also generally prescribed on the keynotes of Sulphur to discern them from other salts in these compounds.

Hot, smelly, red, scruffy, itchy, funny, likeable, lazy, odd, good sense of self but can be gruff.

Not better for bathing and they often don’t like it much either.


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