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  Connections Between Skin Diseases and Organ Dysfunctions

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By: Dr. med. Alla Selawry

This paper first appeared in Beitr., Heft 9/10,1952. Translated by H. Jurgen. A discussion of copper chloride crystallization as an aid in diagnosis appears in Mercury-10, available from Mercury Press.

One of our projects in blood crystallization research in recent years has been the study of skin diseases. We set ourselves the task of investigating the con­nection of skin diseases with organ dysfunctions through blood crystal­lization pictures. The impulse for this came from a number of medical indications given in the anthroposophical literature. Work with these could begin after I discovered the forms corresponding to inner organs in collaboration with Hans Kruger. These organ-characteristic forms enabled us to see organ-function disorders in the blood crystallization pictures. Most of these are still unpublished.

Indications for the treatment of a large number of skin diseases would result if one could discover the organ-function disorders which cause in­dividual skin diseases or groups of diseases.

Over the last few years, about 200 patients with skin diseases were ex­amined. Most of them had eczema and/or furunculosis. The phenomeno­logical pictures were extended by a case history, which placed the clinical picture in a time frame. A crystal picture complemented this with organi­-characteristic forms, and endocrinal gland forms, etc. An attempt was made to develop a therapy on the basis of this increasingly clear pathogenic pic­ture.

Thus, a series of clinical pictures was put together in an attempt to work out a rationale for skin therapy. Some of our work will be described here to stimulate and invite an exchange of experiences.

A large number of individual symptoms can appear in the protein struc­ture of the skin. Some of them are ascribed to disorders in the ovary func­tion, others to thyroid dysfunctions, etc. But the causes of most skin diseases are unknown. An indication from anthroposophical medicine can help us to get closer to a general understanding of the formation and disorders of protein from a new viewpoint. "The kidney-bladder system, liver system, lung system, and heart system are the creators of the structure of human protein. Protein is the direct result of the cooperation of these four organic systems."1 If these four organic systems are the creators of man's protein structure, their functional disorders will bring about disorders in protein formation which can appear as various kinds of symptoms, and also as skin diseases. If we take this indication as a working hypothesis, we can study the connections between particular skin diseases and the four protein-form­ing organs mentioned.

Such connections were found in a number of individual cases. They were observed in large numbers for the kidneys and the liver, and in fewer cases for the lungs and heart.

Functional disorders in protein anabolism can arise through the four or­ganic systems, but also if the foreign characteristics of ingested protein are not stripped off sufficiently, by pancreatic digestion in particular, so that foreign effects are carried over into man's organism and lead to skin dis­eases, etc. 2 In the following we will mainly be talking about the connection of skin disease to disorders in the liver, kidney and pancreatic functions.

I. Liver function disorders in skin disease

A large number of skin diseases show marked liver function disorders in the blood-crystallization pictures. These diseases could be ameliorated or healed through an appropriate liver therapy which was adapted to the overall condition of the patient. Several case histories are given as representative examples of certain types of illness.

1. Mycotic eczema of the fingers

May 18, 1947. Mrs. Lina B., aged 52, has been suffering for many years from a mycotic eczema between the fingers which is reminiscent of duck webs. It gets visibly worse when she rinses or washes her hands:

She is also depressed, indecisive, and restless. She is under the delusion that all the objects around her are wet, and that there is a lot of water everywhere.

Therapy was begun with Phosphorus D6, 5 drops morning and noon. Hepatodoron was given for the general support of the liver action.4 This preliminary treatment was carried out for four weeks, and it produced a slight improvement in her soul mood.

Alternate injections of Oxalis D6 and Meteoric iron D20 were then given. Oxalis was used to stimulate the fluidic organism of the liver.3 Meteoric iron was given to activate the iron activity in the periphery, to counteract the protein activity.

This resulted in a general improvement. The water delusion and the depression disappeared. The hands also healed to a large extent.

Occasional relapses on washdays, etc., could be avoided with Quartz D30 injections: On January 5, 1949, Mrs. B. reported that her hands had been smooth and free of eczema for six months.

2. Pyoderma and dry eczema

July 24, 1948. Ilse F., aged 45, has been suffering from a recurrent pyoderma for 17 years, especially on the calves. She was scrofulous as a child. And, for the last 15 years, there have also been eczematous eruptions after excite­ment, especially around the eyes and ears, and these heal very slowly.

A crystallization test on August 30, 1948, indicated functional disorders in the liver and pancreas.

Treatment was begun with Stannum D8 trit. for the liver, and Pancreas D3 trit. to stimulate the pancreatic juices into divesting the in­gested food of foreign residual activities, as per Fundamentals of Therapy, chap. 9. Calendula essence compresses were applied at night, and Ungt. Stibii 0.1 % during the day. The pyoderma disappeared completely after six weeks treatment. The stannum therapy was continued for a year, or rather for six weeks, and then a 3-month pause, etc.

The patient had to come back to be treated for heart and circulatory dis­orders, but she could report that she was completely free of pyoderma and eczema from January 1949 to March 1952.

3. Chronic, cracking eczema

On March 22, 1948, 67-year old Mrs. Vanny M. comes for treatment for an acute attack of chronic eczema, and rheumatic trouble and varicose veins. Her arms are particularly affected.

A crystallization picture of March 1948, showed water-permeated crys­tal structures, which indicated existing metabolic disorders. The charac­teristic forms of a disordered liver function were also present.

Quartz D30 injections produced a considerable improvement after the fourth injection, and further injections healed the eczema completely. Stibium ointment 0.1 % was applied externally.

Further treatment with Dermatodoron for a number of months kept the eczema away, except for occasional slight cracks on the hands. These could be eliminated with Quartz D30. The acute attacks of eczema, which had otherwise proceeded from the hands and spread over the entire body every few months, were no longer observed.

The patient returned because of heart trouble but she had had no more eczema up to December, 1949.

We refer you to Fundamentals of Therapy, chap. 15, for the quartz indica­tion. "If one has inflammatory conditions in the skin, the astral body and ego-organization are unfolding an abnormal activity there. They no longer exert the influences which they ought to bring to bear on organs situated more internally. They decrease the sensitivity of inner organs. Because of their reduced sensitiveness, the latter no longer carry out their proper functions. For instance, abnormal conditions may arise in the liver function.

And, the digestion may be affected adversely. If we introduce silica into the body, the activities of the astral body and ego-organizations are set free again, and a healing process begins."

The following indications explain the use of stibium.

Fundamentals, chap. 20: "Antimony follows the formative forces in the human organism ... Antimony can ... carry the body's formative forces over into the blood if a path is prepared for this by combination with sulfur . .. The antimonizing forces oppose the albumenizing forces which are work­ing in from outside and are continuously hindering coagulation ... One should keep in mind that the effect of antimony is quite different, depend­ing on whether one uses it internally or externally. Applied externally, it weakens the centrifugal forces of the astral body, which become manifest in eczema, for example. Used internally, it counteracts the excessive centripetal forces which become manifest in typhoid fever, for example." –Ibid., chap.16: "Since antimony readily combines with sulfur, it can easily par­ticipate in protein's connection with etheric effects. It is therefore easy to bring into the activity in the human body and it will assist the latter's etheric action if the body, through some pathological condition, is unable to trans­form a protein substance brought in from outside, and make it a part of its own activity." –Degenaar: "If one completely covers eczema with antimony salve or bismuth salve, the effect only lasts as long as the antimony or bis­muth is there. Therefore, one has to leave it on until the reaction is so strong that the organism can take care of further developments itself. Air should be completely excluded. Antimony has a radiating effect."

Stibium should be used therapeutically if one wants to support the inner structure of proteins. Stibium therapy has a wide range of application in skin disease, internally, externally, and in injections.

Stibium treatment is effectively reinforced through combinations with sulfur, since this retards protein catabolism in the body (e.g., antimonite salve, antimonite trit.).


Furunculosis and liver function disorders

4. Furunculosis and dry eczema

July 15, 1947. Rosa Sch., aged 46, has been suffering from a very itchy, dry eczema of the back, upper legs, and genitals for the last 2 years. It becomes especially severe in the fall. Sometimes she has fever when large boils break out in the neck, and they harden and take extremely long to heal.

She has had chronic cholecystitis for years with occasional biliary colics.

Treatment of the liver with Hepatodoron, Stannum D8 trit. and Stannum D8 injections was begun. This cured the eczema in three weeks. These anti-eczema medications continued to be given for some time. The patient remained free of eczema from February to August.

When a boil appeared again in August, it was obviously superficial and it healed relatively quickly.

A blood-crystal picture of November 2, 1949, still showed liver forms, indicating persisting liver function disorders. The liver treatment was con­tinued. The patient continued to remain free of eczema and boils by Decem­ber, 1951.

5. Furunculosis on the back and legs

Gertrud R., aged 13, comes for treatment in May, 1947. She has been suffer­ing from furunculosis on the back and both legs for the last two years. Pre­viously she had a cold in the lung apex.

The crystal picture showed a functional disorder in the pancreas and liver. Local treatment with Mercurialis ointment was given. Hepatodoron was given for the liver. After three weeks, Pancreas D3 trit. was added. The boils thinned out and became pin-head sized and dis­appeared completely after about six weeks treatment. The therapy was con­tinued. Only a few pimples were observed around menses during the next four years.

6. Neck boils

July 6, 1948. Irmgard K., aged 40, had icterus four years ago. Since then, she has been suffering from recurrent furunculosis, and liver-gallbladder trouble. She has had a very red, walnut-sized boil on the neck below the ear for three days, and temperatures of 100 to 102°F.

The crystal picture of July 9, 1948, showed coarse-rayed, water-per­meated structures which can be observed in gallbladder function disorders. Characteristic liver forms also appear regularly. The double clusters of pancreatic disorder forms could also be seen.

Treatment for the liver with hepatodoron, and of the boils with Erysidoron 2 internally, and Calendula essence and Mercurialis oint­ment externally, healed everything in a few days. Treatment of the liver was continued for several months. During the time that I was in com­munication with the patient (until May 1949), no further boils appeared, and the liver and gallbladder trouble had also stopped.

The following indications from Fundamentals, chaps 7 and 13, will help to explain the use of sulfur therapy in the form of Erysidoron 2. "Sulfur goes out along metabolic paths to the periphery of the organism. It proves to be a substance which has an important part in the reception of protein substances into the region of the human etheric body ... When used as a medicament, sulfur makes the physical activities of the organism more in­clined to receive etheric influences than they are in a pathological condition . . . . Sulfur has the characteristic of helping to stop the disintegration of protein. It holds the organizing forces in the proteinaceous substance together."


II. Skin diseases with kidney function disorders

A number of skin diseases showed kidney function disorders in the blood-crystallization pictures. An appropriate therapy which was adapted to the clinical picture had a beneficial effect, and some of the illnesses could be cured. The following cases give some typical examples:

7. Chronic furunculosis and eczema

On November 19, 1951, Dr. K. from S. reported that "Mrs. B, aged 25, from S., has had furunculosis her whole life long, and sometimes also eczema. Be­cause of the continuous eruptions of furunculosis, she has been unable to get a job anywhere. She had had x-rays, penicillin, chemotherapy and every­thing else which is available in school medicine, but without success. The patient's hands look strikingly old and wrinkled. I feel sure that she has severe organ function disorders." On November 22, 1951, the set of crystal­lization pictures No. 2998 "showed clear kidney forms on all four control plates as a sign of functional disorder in the kidneys. Stomach, intestinal and pancreas forms were also visible. This is a general metabolic disorder which is centered in the kidneys."

The epicrisis of April 25, 1952, states that "After one injection each of Equisetum D6 and Carbo betulae D30 per week for three weeks, there were only a few small boils left, which were fairly harmless, compared with the previous ones. When dabbed with Calendula essence, most of these receded quickly. But the most striking thing about the patient is that her wrinkled, senile hands now look considerably younger. Therefore, you were quite right when you said that the kidney disorder was the most important factor."

Equisetum therapy stimulates both the excretory and the shaping functions for the kidneys, as indicated in Steiner's medical courses.5

The effect of Carbo bet. on the kidney system can be seen from lecture 11 of the 1920 medical course. "If we consider the part of us which is in­volved in the catabolism of carbon substances, we arrive at the kidneys and excretory organs and other related organs above the kidneys. So that we ap­proach the renal process in the human being when we consider the process which is associated with carbon in extra-human nature ... If you succeed in promoting and attenuating the entire renal process by administering higher potencies of carbo vegetabilis in cases where you have symptoms which can otherwise be produced artificially through large doses of Carbo veg., you counteract the pathological process which is similar to the effects of Carbo veg. Thus, it would be important to discover how the entire renal process reacts to potentized carbo veg. The renal process can work in such a way that it gives a counter-image to the digestive process."

8. Multiple warts with a dysfunction in the liver and kidneys

On November 4, 1951, Dr. W. in D. reports that "Mr. J. B., aged 20, student, has been suffering from large warts on both hands, arms, elbows, neck and lips for three years. A dermatologist advises X-rays, but I would like to prevent this. I think that a crystallization picture might show a connection with some organ."

The No. 3203 crystal pictures of April 16, 1951 show the characteristic, hollow, asymmetric, liver forms. These indicate the existence of liver func­tion disorders. One can also see forms which indicate kidney function disor­ders.

The epicrisis of the physician in charge on August 8, 1951, states: "Regarding the crystallization test of April 16 on JB 3203, I can report that after several months of Hepatodoron pills and alternate Equisetum D3 and D6, there is only one wart left on the middle of the left hand. That is quite an improvement from several hundred warts on the arms, neck, and face, some of which were very large."

9. Generalized weeping eczema

October 15, 1964. Theresia K., aged 54, has had a severe case of itchy eczema over the whole body for several months. The skin is rough, cracked, swol­len, and very red, with patches of weeping eczema.

At present, she has digestive trouble and gastritis, with occasional vomiting.

The crystallization picture indicates kidney function disorders and gastro-intestinal dysfunctions.

Cuprum sulf. D4 trit., equisetum baths and equisetum tea were prescribed to stimulate the renal action. Oleum stibii D3 was applied ex­ternally. The eruption receded noticeably.

The eczema was completely healed in three months, and the stomach and intestinal action were back to normal. No relapses were observed over the next year.

10. Weeping eczema on the arms and a general purulent tendency

December 19, 1947. Frieda St., aged 16, had never been sick. But for the last year, she has noticed that every little injury suppurates for a long time and is difficult to heal. She has had weeping eczema on the arms and hands, and especially on the palms for about six months, which has resisted medical treatment. The girl is large and stocky, and definitely a metabolic type.

The crystal picture indicates kidney function disorders.

Argentum D6 praep. was given as therapy. Argentum oint. 0.1% was applied externally. The eczema receded after a month. A few new erup­tions appeared later, but they disappeared through the use of Argentum D6 trit. and equisetum tea.

Everything was healed by January 28, 1948, and she remained complete­ly healthy for the next six months. All wounds healed rapidly, and no more suppurations appeared.

The indication for silver therapy came from the 8th lecture of Spiritual Science and Medicine.6 "We might also be dealing with the actual radiation process which is present in the human organism in many ways. It is present in everything which is radiating in an outward direction through the skins. This process is also present in everything in man which is active in a urine-creating and evacuating way. Just as the outside turns inwards in gastrula­tion, so in this radiation we have to do with something which can work in an outer direction through the skin or in an inner direction just as well. Here we have to do with something which is a polar opposite, and is similar at the same time. And one has to counteract this by calling forth the opposite radiation, which works in silver, for example. One should realize that silver should be used as a salve to meet the radiation which becomes manifest through the skin, and that it should be injected when it is a question of the other activity which follows the direction which voiding activities go in."

 Prospects and request for an exchange of experiences

This study was intended to be a beginning for a mutual exchange of ex­periences in the field of skin disease, which has already been going on privately with a few colleagues for some time: A number of case histories which could lead one further therapeutically have already been collected. The present study only discusses some of these.

The questions which have been raised about the connection between organ function disorders and skin disease have already led to fruitful results. A number of patients with chronic skin disease could be helped or healed through the appropriate organ therapy after the existing organ func­tion disorders were diagnosed. It will require much work by many col­leagues to arrive at greater precision in correlating organ function disorders with particular skin diseases, and also to work out suitable therapies.

We will list a number of points here in hopes of stimulating further study.

1. If a skin disease begins at a particular time, such as in infancy, puber­ty, or at the climacteric, it sometimes indicates a dysfunction in particular organs. The same may apply if the skin disease begins after inoculations, recuperations from other diseases and emotional problems, or after eating certain foods, or taking certain medications.

2. There may be a connection between the preferred time of year for the beginning or intensification of skin disease and the anabolic or catabolic ac­tion of the corresponding organs.

3. The fact that the illness is acute or chronic, or rhythmically recurrent, may indicate a connection with cosmic events.

4. The fact that the eczema is dry, flaky, hardened, or wet and purulent can give an indication of the kind of metabolic disorder that is present, like those of the liver or kidneys.

5. One should pay attention to the specific spots where the skin is af­fected. For example, one could investigate whether liver eczemas prefer dif­ferent places from kidney eczemas. Observations made in individual cases make us suspect that certain regions of the skin surface have a connection with particular inner organ regions (over and above Head's zones) and that diseases which appear in these regions indicate particular organ disorders.

The field of skin disease gives one a good opportunity to criticize one's own diagnoses and therapies because every change and every improvement appears right before one's eyes. This should be reason enough to use this field as a training for intimate observation and creative therapy. My profes­sional colleagues in this field must have had many experiences which could be used to elaborate and clarify the points mentioned. Further collaboration on these diseases should eventually lead to the development of a rational therapy of skin disorders.


1. Rudolf Steiner, Spiritual Science and Medicine, 20 lectures, 1920.

2. Rudolf Steiner/Ita Wegman, Fundamentals of Therapy, 1924, Rudolf Steiner Press.

3. Ibid.

4. Wilhelm Pelikan, Uber das Hepatodoron.

5. Rudolf Steiner, Fundamentals of Anthroposophical Medicine, 1922, Mercury Press.

6. Rudolf Steiner, Therapeutics Based on Anthroposophical Spiritual Science, 9 lectures, 1921, Mercury Press, in preparation.

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