The Discovery of the Therapeutic Uses of Gunpowder

John  Clarke, the eminent British homeopath of the early 20th century championed Gunpowder as a powerful medicine for blood poisoning.   In a monograph on that topic, he wrote about how he learned of its curative properties from an article in a homeopathic journal:

"For the last forty years, " wrote Mr. Upcher, "I have known and observed from personal experiment the effects of Black Gunpowder as a remedy for various kinds of blood - poisoning. The symptoms of poisoning which call for Black Gunpowder are almost invariably abscesses or boils or carbuncles, and frequently, though not always, exaggerated swelling of the poisoned limb, accompanied with discoloration of the skin, so that the arm from the tips of the fingers to the axillary glands is almost of a purple or black tint. In such cases I have found Black Gunpowder, whether in large or small doses, acts like magic. "1


 One hot and slow afternoon at the clinic in Mafi Seva, a taxi drove up with an old woman accompanied by three of her adult children.   While she lay sprawled out in the back seat, the children got out and approached us to ask if it might be possible to treat their mother.

They explained that while walking in the fields about three years earlier, she had experienced a sharp pricking pain on the tip of the large toe of her left foot. It had immediately become quite inflamed, and she went to the hospital for treatment. The inflammation subsequently had subsided until about four months ago when with no apparent cause it re-emerged. This time though the inflammation spread and treatment at the hospital had proved ineffective.