Plain Talks on Materia Medica with Comparisons by W.I. Pierce


Last modified on October 11th, 2018

KALI IODATUM [Kali-i] symptoms of the homeopathy remedy from Plain Talks on Materia Medica with Comparisons by W.I. Pierce. What KALI IODATUM [Kali-i] can be used for? Indications and personality of KALI IODATUM [Kali-i]



      While Kali iod. was introduced into our Materia Medica by Hartlaub and Trinks of Germany, most of our symptoms as found in Allen’s Encyclop, are clinical, or made on the sick with large does of the crude drug. Allen, in a foot-note, tells us that such symptoms “have been selected with care, and only when clearly the effect of the drug.”

If we had a more thorough proving, it would, in all probability, have cleared up many an uncertainty concerning its use, as well as have allowed us to prescribe it more frequently than we do on its homoeopathic indications.

Allen, here, and Hughes, of England, differ as to this remedy in some important particulars; some of their reasons we will add.

Allen, in the Handbook, says: “The action of Kali iod. differs from that of Iodium as shown by the depressing action of Potassium and by the less tendency to febrile excitement. In the respiratory tract we find catarrhal inflammation, with freer secretions and less fever. The increased salivation and increased amount of urine followed by nephritis are similar to Iodium”

Hughes, in his Pharmacodynamics, says: “I am quite unable to see any difference in kind between the physiological effects of Iodine and Potassium iodide; although the presence of the alkali modifies these as regards force and frequency of appearance, and makes a considerable difference in practical use.”

Hughes also tells us why he believes that “when iodide of potassium reaches the tissues it is decomposed, and free Iodine liberated. The presence of protoplasm and of carbonic acid is all that is necessary to effect this change.” Also “that only a small proportion of the Iodine undergoes this decomposition, the greater part escaping unchanged by the urine, and, therefore, unless it has destructive work to do, being literally wasted. Thus the ultimate effect of giving iodide of potassium is to supply free Iodine to act on the living matter of the body; and we may speak” of its effect “as belonging to the action of Iodine.” He also considers that in the use of iodide of potash in syphilis “it is as Iodine that it cures” and that the simple tincture or potency of Iodine does all that can be done by iodide of potash.

Allen tells us that “the use of the drug (iodide of potash) in massive doses for symptoms of secondary syphilis, such as caries of the bones, syphilitic inflammations of the eyes, etc., should not be included under the proper homoeopathic applications of the drug (though Iodine is certainly homoeopathic to some stages of syphilis).”

Hughes, whose lecture on Iodine it will repay you to read in full, gives the following explanation for the use of “largely increased dosage in the tertiary gummatous deposits on bones and in viscera.”

He says that Dr. Madden, in the British Journal of Homoeopathy, “points out that these affections are of the nature of organized new growths, which are, therefore, quasi-parasitical to the body, and require parasiticides to destroy them. The strong antiseptic power of Iodine suggests, he thinks, that it may have such an action; or, as it seems to me” (Hughes) “more probable, it deals with these foreign deposits as it deals with the lead or mercury it is so successful in eliminating from the system. Either way, it must be given for such purpose in full doses, and the indications for its use must not be looked for in its pathogenesis.”

(The following is quoted more or less from Ringer, who says, that iodide of potash dissolves mercury or lead that has been deposited from the blood in an insoluble form in the animal structures. If but little, physiologically speaking, of either metal has been taken, the iodide of potash, by quickly separating the metals from the system, would remove them by means of the urine and thus free the system from their pernicious effects.

On the other hand, if large amounts of either metal had been taken, the iodide of potash, by re-dissolving them, could, by bringing them again into circulation, re-subject the system to their influence and so do great harm.)

Kali iod. produces salivation and it is useful in the salivation of pregnancy (155) when unaccompanied by nausea; it produces free expectoration, which we will speak of later, rapid emaciation, with much prostration and glandular atrophy.

It is a useful and I feel, greatly neglected remedy, as far as its homoeopathic indications are concerned, and while frequently indicated, it is almost as frequently overlooked.


      It is very valuable for headache, with lancinating and pulsating pain, due to acute (95) or chronic rhinitis (96). The discharge from the nose is suppressed and there is severe pain at the root of the nose (104), in the frontal (39) or ethmoidal sinuses.

It is often called for in acute coryzas (37), with absence of fever, with sneezing, tingling and irritation in the nose, acrid discharge (37) that runs in a stream and profuse lachrymation. It is to be thought of in hay-fever (88) with these symptoms and probably rawness and soreness in the larynx, but especially with distress in the frontal sinuses.

It has been used in dysentery, with painful tenesmus (61), stools of jelly-like mucus; for atrophy of the testicles (188); and for corrosive leucorrhoea (126) that is watery and looks like washings of meat.

The Kali iod. patient is apt to be troubled with short breath or dyspnoea on walking up stairs (24). There is also dyspnoea at night on waking and it is of frequent use in asthma (19). It has a short, more or less dry cough, with, what is considered as a characteristic of the remedy, expectoration looking like soapsuds (69).

Kali iod. is of value in hydrothorax (29) and in emphysema (66); in chronic pneumonia, with sharp sticking (30) or cutting pains the frothy expectoration and the catarrhal symptoms of the nose and throat. It is valuable in pleuritic effusions (150), with great dyspnoea and constant hacking cough, and in phthisis, with salivation (163) and exhausting night-sweats (185). Allen says, “it is difficult to separate the cases requiring Iodine and those requiring Kali iod.”

The rheumatism calling for Kali iod.; is usually articular and more or less chronic, the knee especially apt to be affected (125). The rheumatic pains are always worse at night, or especially worse towards morning, there is rarely much fever but there is great weakness and emaciation.

It is to be thought of in sciatica that is worse at night (164) and the patient is unable to remain in bed (164), and many of the pains of this remedy seem to arise during rest (10). It has been used to prevent attacks of sciatica, articular rheumatism or acute gout.

I use Kali iod. 3d.

About the author

Willard Ide Pierce

Willard Ide Pierce, author of Plain Talks on Materia Medica (1911) and Repertory of Cough, Better and Worse (1907). Dr. Willard Ide Pierce was a Director and Professor of Clinical Medicine at Kent's post-graduate school in Philadelphia.

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