Resolve to perform what you ought.
Perform without fail what you resolve.
Ferrum metallicum. Iron.
CLASSIFICATION The use of iron is prehistoric. Genesis mentions that Tubal-Cain, seven generations from Adam, was “an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron.” Placed in group 8 of the periodic table, along with Ruthenium and Osmium, it is the most used and cheapest metal.
OCCURRENCE Iron is a relatively abundant element in the universe. It makes up 5% of the Earth’s crust and is found in the sun and many types of stars in considerable quantity. Second in abundance to aluminium among the metals and fourth in abundance behind oxygen, silicon, and aluminium among the elements, iron is the chief constituent of the Earth’s core and the most abundant element in the Earth as a whole [about 35%]. In the crust the free metal is rare, occurring as terrestrial iron [alloyed with 2-3% nickel] in basaltic rocks in Greenland and carbonaceous sediments in the United States [Missouri] and as a low-nickel meteoric iron [5-7% nickel], kamacite. Almost all sedimentary rocks are iron-bearing; mudrocks, sandstones, and carbonates typically have all an iron content of several percent. 1
DISTRIBUTION “Although iron is present everywhere, only in certain localities is it so abundant as to justify mining. When we survey the largest ore deposits, the North American, English, French, German, Russian, northern Chinese, we see that they form a mighty belt around the earth. By comparison, the Brazilian, African, Indian, and Australian deposits are of lesser significance. Thus the ores are spread throughout the northern temperate zone. They are oriented in the direction of the true axis of the earth and not, as in the case of tin, toward the axis of the ecliptic. Even more remarkable, carbon shares with iron in this arrangement. It is widely connected with iron in the processes of life. The great coal deposits follow the iron belt through all the northern continents. The temperate zone is the rhythmic middle region of the earth, pulsing with the liveliest weather changes, the rhythmical sequences of high and low. … It is the chest or thorax of the earth, just as we may call the poles, the head, and the equator, the metabolic region.”2
HISTORY “There is evidence that meteorites were used as a source of iron before 3000 BC, but extraction of the metal from ores dates from about 2000 BC. … The earliest history of smelting iron is obscure, with the first scanty evidence of man-made iron dating from about 2500 BC in the Middle East. A thousand years later, the abundance of ores led to the displacement of copper and bronze by iron in the Hittite Empire. … By 1400 BC in Anatolia, iron was assuming considerable importance, and by 1200-1000 BC it was being fashioned on quite a large scale into weapons, initially dagger blades. For this reason, 1200 BC has been taken as the beginning of the Iron Age. … Iron technology was derived from the known art of reducing copper and bronze. The principal requirement was a furnace capable of maintaining a reducing temperature. … Iron ore suitable for simple smelting was widely distributed in the form of surface deposits that could be scraped up without elaborate mining procedures. The limitations imposed by the dearth of metals in the Bronze Age were now lifted; new tools and implements became possible, and their numbers could increase until even the poorer classes would have access to metal tools. … In the Early Iron Age, when the metal was still in scarce supply, local armament makers were the chief consumers of the new metal. Agricultural tools, needed for clearing forests and for cultivation, were the next iron tools to develop. … By 1000 BC iron was beginning to be known in Central Europe. Its use spread slowly westward; iron making was fairly widespread at the time of the Roman invasion in 55 BC. In Asia iron was also known in ancient times, in China by about 700 BC. The full development of the Iron Age came with the discovery of hardening by carburization [addition of carbon] and heat treating, which led to superior edged tools of great toughness.”3 Once iron became available for wider use, it was soon limited to purely physical applications and thus restricted in magic and religion. In ancient Greece no iron was brought into the temples. Roman priests could not be shaved or scraped with iron during bodily cleansing.
ROMANS It is in the Roman time, usually seen as equal to the Iron Age, that the human Ego starts to fully connect to the forces of the Earth. Roman law is the first documentary definition of the human personality and its relationship with the external [physical] world. For the first time in history possession / ownership is regulated by law. Personal property receives legal meaning to the extent that Roman citizens can bequeath to anyone they want. For the first time in history the will appears and with that the birth of individual rights is completed. The Mars impulse doesn’t only show itself in the military nature of the Romans and their iron weapons – the weapons of the Greeks were made of bronze – but also in the features of social life and culture. In line with this is the highly developed power of speech and language. Roman orators didn’t appeal anymore to divine inspiration but addressed human intelligence. The power and skill of their speeches won people over, so that decisions of the senate were sometimes completely overruled. Where the Greeks listened to their oracles and heard therein the voices of their gods, the Romans listened to their orators whom expressed their own intelligence and ideas. These impulses reached their peak when the Roman culture bloomed. 4
NAME The origins of the name Ferrum are uncertain; it is thought to be connected with ‘fars’, an old Greek/Latin word for ‘hard.’ Iron derives possibly from the Old English word iren, corrupted into isen, and reflected in such designations for the metal as the German Eisen and the Dutch ijzer. Its stem is probably the Celtic ‘isara’, meaning ‘strong and solid.’ Ferm, Dutch for ‘firm’ and ‘vigorous’, comes from ferrum. Numerous expressions and words reflect the properties of iron and steel; e.g. being iron-fisted means exercising strict, despotic control; the iron curtain once was an impenetrable barrier; an iron man is a man of extraordinary strength and endurance; iron-hearted means unfeeling; iron-willed persons are firmly determined; people made of steel or having nerves of steel display exceptional staying power. Popeye the sailorman is inextricably bound up with iron. Instant energy out of a can of spinach enables him, once again, to rescue Olive and to defeat Brutus.
ORES Iron is found combined with other elements in hundreds of minerals. The most important ores are hematite – frequently seen as black sand along beaches and banks of streams -, magnetite, limonite, and siderite.
PROPERTIES Iron is a grey-white, lustrous, soft, ductile metal of high tensile strength. The pure metal is very reactive chemically, and rapidly corrodes, especially in moist air or at elevated temperatures. Like lead and tin, it is a poor conductor of electricity. Natural iron contains four isotopes and isomers; 21 other isotopes and isomers, all radioactive, are now recognized. In a very finely divided state metallic iron ignites spontaneously. It combines vigorously with chlorine on mild heating and also with a variety of other nonmetals, including all of the halogens, sulphur, phosphorus, boron, carbon, and silicon. Iron is capable of being permanently magnetized up to 766o C; above this temperature the structure is retained but the magnetic properties change to a state in which it is capable of being only weakly magnetized and only as long as the magnetizing field is present. … Iron ordinarily has twice the flexibility of bronze and is much tougher; a bar of iron can be bent back upon itself without fracturing, whereas a bronze bar breaks after only a light bend. 5 Iron is the metal that can best be filled and saturated with magnetism. It acquires for itself something of the magnetism that shows the earth’s relation to the cosmos [magnetic storms, sun-spot activity, eruptions of solar protuberances]. Iron is a vulnerable metal. Contrary to the ‘rust’ of aluminium, which forms a permanently protective layer, the rust of iron adheres very poorly to the surface of iron and usually crumbles off. The ease with which it does this constantly exposes fresh iron to oxidation, so that many iron artefacts quickly disintegrate if not protected.
CONSTRUCTION-DESTRUCTION Iron has served the purposes of creation and has been used to destroy. Two millennia ago the Roman writer and scientist Pliny the Elder commented on this as follows: “Iron mines bring man a most splendid and most harmful tool. It is by means of this tool that we cut into the ground, plant bushes, cultivate flourishing orchards and make grape vines younger every year by cutting off wild vines with grapes. By this same tool we build houses, break stones and use iron for all such purposes. But it is also with the help of iron that we fight and battle and rob. And we do it not only at close quarters, but, giving it wings, we hurl it far into the distance, now from embrasures, now from powerful human hands, now from bows in the form of feathered arrows. This, I think, is the most infamous invention of the human brain. For in order to enable death to catch up with man faster, it has given it wings and armed iron with feathers. For that may the blame rest with man and not with Nature.”
IRONS Commercial iron almost always contains small amounts of carbon, which are picked up from the coke during smelting and which modify its properties greatly. Pig iron is an alloy containing about 3% carbon with varying amounts of sulphur, silicon, manganese, and phosphorus. Wrought iron contains only a few tenths of a percent of carbon; it is tough, malleable, less fusible, and has a ‘fibrous’ structure. Carbon steel, an alloy of iron with carbon, contains small amounts of manganese, sulphur, phosphorus, and silicon. Alloy steels are carbon steels with other additives such as nickel, chromium, vanadium, etc.
COMPOUNDS Iron [II] compounds are designated ferrous and contain the pale green Fe2+ ion or complex ions. Iron [III] compounds are called ferric and contain the Fe3+ ion [which is yellow to orange to brown, depending on the extent of hydrolysis] or complex ions. Ferrous oxide, a greenish to black powder, is primarily used as a pigment for glasses; it occurs in nature as the mineral wuestite. Ferric oxide, a reddish-brown to black powder, is the basis of a series of pigments ranging from yellow to a red known as Venetian red. The finely powdered red, often called jeweller’s rouge, serves as a polishing agent for precious metals and diamonds. Ferrosoferric oxide, prepared by passing steam over red-hot iron, is widely employed in ferrites, substances with high magnetic permeability and high electrical resistivity used in certain computer memories, in magnetic cores for inductors and transformers, in microwave devices, and as coatings for magnetic tape. Various ferric compounds are obtained from ferric sulphate, which is used in water purification and sewage treatment, and as a fixative in textile dyeing and printing. 6 The brownish-red basic ferric acetate is used in the textile industry as a fixative in dyeing and printing, for the weighting of silk and felt, as wood preservative, and in leather dyes. Ferric ferrocyanide, also called Prussian blue or Paris blue, serves as a pigment in printing inks, paints, linoleum, leathercloth, carbon papers, typewriter ribbons, rubbers, plastics, and artists’ colours. The greenish-brown tint of sunglasses, windshields, and railroad car windows is obtained by adding ferrous oxalate to glass; it is also a pigment for plastics, paints and lacquers. For the manufacture of green, heat-absorbing glass ferrous oxide is employed. Ferrous sulphate, occurring in nature as the minerals melanterite and siderotil, has numerous applications, ranging from food and feed supplement, fertilizer, wood preservative, weed-killer, pesticides, to writing ink, dye for leather, and water purification. 7
ADDITIVES Iron salts are used in the food industry, particularly as fortifying supplements to prepared breakfast cereals, poultry stuffing, enriched flours, self-rising flours, cornmeal, bread, and rolls. Flours are ‘enriched’ with iron to combat the general problem of iron deficiency. Iron oxides and iron hydroxides impart colour to salmon and shrimp paste, packet dessert mix, meat, and cake mix. The use of this food colour – E172 – is not permitted in Germany. Varying in colour from red to brown, and black to orange or yellow, iron salts are mainly used in cosmetics as pigments for hair dyes, facial powders, liquid powders, foundation creams, and eye shadow.
OXYGEN “In its connection with oxygen iron shows its nature better than in its ores or in its chemical behaviour. It is sometimes bivalent and sometimes trivalent, forming the oxygen-poor ferrous oxide compounds in which it is bivalent, as well as the oxygen-rich ferric oxide in which it is trivalent. There are many metals with two valences, but they usually show a strong preference for one or the other. Iron maintains a marvellous equilibrium between the two, an equilibrium highly significant of the processes of nature. It shifts easily from one to the other, and the most diverse events bring about this movement back and forth. It forms ferrous just as easily as ferric compounds, giving off and taking on oxygen with equal facility. It is, as it were, the breather among the metals.”8
PHYSIOLOGY It is in human life that the iron process is really fundamental. Pelikan expresses it thus: “It is built right into the central ego organ, the blood, and thereby becomes an instrument not only of the waking soul life but of the willing ego. This process enables the ego to assert itself forcefully in the physical world.” The average quantity of iron in the human body is about 4.5 g [about 0.004%], of which approximately 65% is in the form of haemoglobin, which transports molecular oxygen from the lungs throughout the body. One percent is part of the various enzymes that control intracellular oxidation. Most of the rest is stored in the body – mainly in liver, spleen, muscles, and bone marrow – for future conversion to haemoglobin. Thyroid hormones require iron for production. In addition, iron is involved in the production of connective tissue and several brain neurotransmitters, and in the maintenance of a healthy immune system. About 1 mg of iron daily is excreted via urine, faeces, and sweat. Menstruation increases this by 0.7- 2.0 mg daily, depending on the blood loss. Pregnancy creates a tremendous strain on iron stores. A developing foetus needs plenty of iron, and the blood volume of the mother is substantially increased during pregnancy, which further increases the need for iron. During breast-feeding losses amount to some 0.4 mg daily. From the 10 to 20 mg in the diet only 1 to 1.5 mg is absorbed. Absorption is highest in childhood and reduces in later years.
FOOD The best food sources include dried brewer’s yeast, raw clams and oysters, wheat bran, organ meats [liver, kidney], egg yolk, sardines, whole grains. Foods such as molasses, dried beans, dried fruits and dark leafy green vegetables are also rich in iron but the iron is less easily absorbed. In food, iron is present in organic haem form [animal flesh; iron bound to haemoglobin] and inorganic non-haem form [vegetable iron; iron not bound to haemoglobin]. Haem iron is in meats and is absorbed unaided. Inorganic iron, such as ferrous sulphate, destroys vitamin E. Non-absorbed iron may induce constipation, although diarrhoea can also occur. For proper absorption, iron needs adequate stomach acid, a deficiency of which is common in the elderly, while protein, copper, calcium and vitamins C, B6, B12 and E are also needed for optimal iron absorption. On the other hand, absorption is decreased by tea, antacids, tofu and other soy proteins and the tetracycline antibiotics. The iron content of foods, esp. acidic foods, can be strongly increased by preparation in iron cookware because acids leach out iron. Excess consumption of coffee and tea can cause a depletion of iron.
DEFICIENCY In children, iron deficiency can depress growth and impair mental performance. Loss of appetite, and pica [the eating of dirt, clay or other strange ‘foods’] can be features of iron deficiency. Symptoms related to anaemia resulting from reduced haemoglobin levels include fatigue; irritability; cracking of lips, corners of mouth, and tongue; pallor; breathlessness; giddiness; headaches; insomnia; hair loss; and palpitations. Low blood plasma levels of iron can cause generalized itching, especially in elderly people. Fingernails may become thin, brittle and white. Ten percent of British women have anaemia, e.g. a level of less than 12 g blood haemoglobin per 100 cc blood. One percent have haemoglobin less than 8 g per 100 cc at which level heart output of blood may be affected. 9 Studies have found that about a quarter of British children under five are seriously deficient in iron. A similar situation exists in the United States, where large segments of the population are chronically deficient. About 9 percent, or 700,000 toddlers, are iron deficient, according to a 1997 report in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The numbers have changed little from a decade ago. Iron deficiency also remains a problem for adolescent girls and women of childbearing age. About 10 percent of them, or roughly 8 million, have too little iron. The study found only 1% of teenage boys and young had too little iron. Menstruating women are the largest category; surveys show iron deficits in 10-30% of those studied. Pregnant women with iron deficiency are more prone to infection after delivery, spontaneous abortion and premature delivery.
OVERLOAD A disease known as haemochromatosis [or haemosiderosis] results in an overload of iron. There are two types of haemochromatosis: hereditary and acquired. The acquired type may arise from too many blood transfusions or from disease conditions which are iron loading in nature. Iron overload patients do not process iron properly; instead, excess iron is stored in the liver, heart, pancreas, skin and other organs. In haemochromatosis body iron stores may reach 30 g, where ‘normal’ body iron stores are in the range of 300 to 1000 mg for adult women and 300 to 1500 mg for men. The symptoms of the disease can be alleviated by donating blood periodically. The effects are usually seen in men over 50 years of age as the disease can often go undetected until mid-life when iron levels reach five to 50 times normal amounts. The Merck Manual mentions as typical manifestations cirrhosis of the liver, bronze skin pigmentation, diabetes mellitus [overt in 50 to 60% of patients], and cardiomyopathy manifested by cardiomegaly, heart failure, and arrhythmias or conduction disturbances. Pituitary failure is common and may be the cause of the frequently observed testicular atrophy, loss of libido, and cessation of menstruation. Less often occurring are abdominal pain, arthritis, and calcification of the articular cartilage. The brain may also be involved, resulting in vertigo and loss of memory. Evidence is now pointing to Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s and Tardive Dyskinesia being connected with iron overload. If iron overload can be connected with the heart attack, then it can also be connected with strokes caused by cholesterol problems in the blood vessels of the brain. The heart is strongly involved with haemochromatosis; the heart muscle takes up excessive iron that makes it degenerate into cardiomyopathy. Arthritic manifestations are likely to start in the hand joints, progressing next to hips and knees, and then to sternum and feet. Acute, explosive and chronic diarrhoeas are associated with the fibromyalgia syndrome in some cases, and seem to further confirm the iron overload connection with this multiplicity of conditions. Iron overload enhances infections. It has been proven that tuberculosis and malaria, after being ‘cured’ or arrested will relapse into active infection in at least some of those patients who are supplemented with iron, e.g. from iron fortified foods. 10
POISONING Iron poisoning is characterized by four clinical signs. The first stage [with a duration of up to 6 hours after ingestion] is characterized by acute onset of gastrointestinal symptoms [i.e., vomiting and diarrhoea] that may progress to shock, coma, seizures, and death. During stage two [from 6 to 24 hours after ingestion] patients may be asymptomatic; however, evaluation and treatment for iron poisoning should not be delayed. During stage three [from 12 to 48 hours after ingestion] there may be hepatic and renal failure and cardiovascular collapse. Stage four [from 3 to 4 weeks after ingestion] may include gastrointestinal obstruction and hepatic cirrhosis. A common cause of iron poisoning occurs in small children under 6 from swallowing iron tablets [supplements]; from 1986 through 1992, more than 100,000 cases were reported to Poison Control Centres in the USA.
AGGRESSION “The most common nutritional deficiency in industrialized societies, 10% of American males and 3% of American females are overtly iron-deficient. A deficiency of iron is known to interfere with proper brain function. Dopamine is a major neurotransmitter in the brain, iron is highly concentrated in the dopamine pathways, and animal studies have shown that iron deficiency may cause learning deficits and consequent behavioural impairment by diminishing dopamine neurotransmission. Iron is also needed as a co-factor for the enzymes which metabolize not only dopamine, but also serotonin and norepinephrine, which also have a potent influence on behaviour. Evidence is now emerging that iron deficiency may be an important contributor to the aggressive behavioural syndrome. Among adolescent males, iron deficiency has been shown to be directly associated with aggressive behaviour [Conduct Disorder]. Moreover, in a population of incarcerated adolescents, the prevalence of iron deficiency was nearly twice that found in their non-incarcerated peers. 11
MYTHOLOGY Iron was sacred to Ares, the Greek god of war, as well as to Mars, his Roman counterpart. An unpopular god, Ares appears as an instigator of violence, a tempestuous lover, or an unscrupulous friend. Often accompanied by his sons Phobos [Terror] and Deimos [Fear] to the battlefield, he stood for the mindless frenzy of battle, relishing all the tumult, and confusion of war. In the Iliad Homer lets Zeus say to Ares: “To me you are the most hateful of all the gods who live on Olympus, for always strife is dear to your heart, and wars, and battles.” Ares is not always successful on the battlefield, where he is wounded by a mortal. In addition, he is clumsy, for the twin giants Otus and Ephialtes are able to capture him in a bronze jar, where he remains shut for thirteen months. He is not married, but he had many affairs, most famously with Aphrodite, wife of the crippled smith-god Hephaestos. Aphrodite bore Ares four children, Eros, the god of love, the warrior twins Phobos and Deimos, and a daughter, Harmonia. Harmonia’s name suggests potential harmony between the two great passions, Love and War. Ares had many other famous children, who often inherited their father’s belligerent and disruptive nature. Contrary to Ares, Mars was a very important god for the Romans, and second only to Jupiter. His festivals took place in March, the month named after him, and October. The wolf and the woodpecker were sacred to him. He governs both life and death. “Its chief house, that is to say sign of the Zodiac which best suits it, is Aries which rules in Spring when nature is reborn, while its second is Scorpio which rules in Autumn when nature dies. Mars symbolizes the fiery force of desire, forcefulness, violence and the male sexual organs. The planet glows with a red and fiery light, like some face suffused with passion and murderous rage. All ancient languages gave it a name meaning ‘fiery’ and mythology completed the process by calling it after the god of war. It would appear that its symbolism is all too easily acquired and yet, when a rigid statistician had the bright idea of finding the position Mars occupied in the horoscopes of 3142 European commanders, he found that the chances that they were born either when the planet was in its ascendant or descendant were a million to one. Similar statistics emerged in a study of a group of 2315 medical graduates and of 1485 leading athletes. Astrologers, however, had not expected such results to show that the armed forces, medicine and sport are under the sign of Mars. The particular indicator of the tendencies associated with this planet is the hostility exhibited in paroxysms of infantile rage occurring during teething and in the earliest attempts at muscular coordination and walking. These are the opening shots in the battle for life, fought tooth and claw in a dangerous world of falls and collisions, cuts and scratches and bumps, whinings and disobedience. It continues through all the competition, rivalry and enmities aroused by the need to earn a living, clutch at status and defend interests won, giving one’s all to satisfy longings and urges at whatever risk.”12
SYMBOLISM “Iron commonly symbolizes durability, hardness, obstinacy, harshness and inflexibility, qualities not wholly shared by the metal itself. Both in Old Testament and Ancient Chinese tradition iron is set in opposition to copper or bronze, as the base opposed to the noble metal. The Iron Age is the ‘hard’ age when the cycle finally ‘set’ into its mould, the Bronze Age was its penultimate stage. … The idea of iron being a base metal is not held consistently and many races have, on the contrary, given it a positive sacred quality, perhaps because meteoritic iron was regarded as having fallen from Heaven, or perhaps because it seemed to corroborate the traditional view of metal as ambivalent, as is that of metal-working in general. Iron may be a preservative against evil influences, but it is also their instrument. It is the agent of the active principle which changes inert substances [chisel, knife, plough] but it is also the diabolical instrument of war and of death. The changes effected to matter by cutting tools do not in themselves possess a positive aspect since iron tools were forbidden in the building of Solomon’s Temple [1 Kings 6:6-7]. In India, iron-working is clearly Asuric, that is to say the department of gods of the second rank. The Ancient Egyptians identified iron with the bones of Set, essentially a god of darkness. … In Mali, the Dogon cosmology also sets the symbolism of iron in opposition to that of copper. Iron is lord of darkness and night, while copper is essentially the symbol of brightness and day. … In his Works and Days, Hesiod paints a terrifying picture of the cruelty, perfidy and blood-thirstiness of the fifth race of men, the Iron Age. In his apocalyptic vision they symbolize the rule of materialism and of regression towards brute force and the unconscious. … Iron symbolizes harsh, ‘dark’, polluted and hellish strength.”13 Iron later became a symbol of slavery, by association with fetters, although it can also appear with protective or fertility symbolism, and wrought iron became used widely in church decoration.
FOLKLORE “The general dislike of innovation, which always makes itself strongly felt in the sphere of religion, is sufficient by itself to account for the superstitious aversion to iron entertained by kings and priests and attributed by them to the gods; possibly this aversion may have been intensified in place by some such accidental cause as the series of bad seasons which cast discredit on iron ploughshares in Poland. But the disfavour in which iron is held by the gods and their ministers has another side. Their antipathy to the metal furnishes men with a weapon which may be turned against the spirits when occasion serves. As their dislike of iron is supposed to be so great that they will not approach persons and things protected by the obnoxious metal, iron may obviously be employed as a charm for banning ghosts and other dangerous spirits. And often it is so used. Thus in the Highlands of Scotland the great safeguard against the elfin race is iron, or, better yet, steel. The metal in any form, whether as a sword, a knife, a gun-barrel, or what not, is all-powerful for this purpose. Whenever you enter a fairy dwelling you should always remember to stick a piece of steel, such as a knife, a needle, or a fish-hook, in the door; for then the elves will not be able to shut the door till you come out again. So too when you have shot a deer and are bringing it home at night, be sure to thrust a knife into the carcass, for that keeps the fairies from laying their weight on it. A knife or a nail in your pocket in quite enough to prevent the fairies from lifting you up at night. Nails in the front of a bed ward off elves from women ‘in the straw’ and from their babes; but to make quite sure it is better to put the smoothing-iron under the bed, and the reaping-hook in the window.”14
PROVINGS ••  Hahnemann – 4 provers; method: unknown. Hahnemann’s proving was arranged for the most part with ferrum aceticum, only a few symptoms arising from ferrum metallicum.
••  Austrian proving [Loeffler] – 5 [male] provers, 1850; method: Ferrum aceticum tincture in increasing doses for three times a day over periods ranging from 14 days to one month.*
••  Laa – 2 provers [1 male, 1 female], 1856; method: 1 grain of 1x trit., effects observed for one day.
••  Sankaran – 12 provers; method: “I have conducted a proving of Ferrum metallicum with the help of some students, resident doctors and colleagues. Twelve of us took a single dose in the 30th potency and noted our symptoms. One male and two female provers had dreams with a common theme, that the parent of the prover is introducing him to someone and is compelling him to marry this person, despite very strong objections from the prover. When I mentioned this to one of my colleagues, he said that in two of the three Ferrum cases he had cured, he had found the same problem – the patients were being compelled to marry someone they didn’t want to marry and they had been opposed to this. Then I understood the meaning of the prover’s dreams. They had the following elements: Being compelled to do something against one’s wishes. Fighting against it. Guilt of not obeying the parents.”15
* “Loeffler made a physiological proving with Ferrum aceticum. Being a disciple of Rademacher he proved it on five healthy persons, preceding the proving by a venesection of four ounces, in order to compare the healthy blood with that after the proving. The chief results were: . Diminution of the frequency of the pulse from 5 to 20 beats in the minute. . Tension of the pulse. . During the first week of the proving an increase of strength and a general feeling of well-being; during the second period general lassitude, sensation of weakness; heaviness and hebetude in extremities; no desire for mental or bodily exercise; great sleepiness. . Increase of appetite, a kind of bulimia, only in larger doses; colicky pains, nausea, eructations. . Small doses retard defecation, which can be prevented by frequent draughts of water; in larger doses, 15 to 20 drops, the consistency of the stools decreased and even became diarrhoeic. . Tenesmus urinae, itching in the urethra, esp. in the fossa navicularis, very frequent micturition at the later period, sometimes alternating with the abdominal symptoms. . In two provers, laryngeal symptoms; painfulness of the larynx in the region behind the upper third of the sternum, with some cough and expectoration of a tough mucus, impregnated with blood. An examination of the blood revealed an increase of the watery parts, and a decrease of the solids; the blood and the blood-corpuscles were of a darker hue. The fibrin was in most cases diminished, only in one case slightly increased. The number of blood-corpuscles was increased in four cases; diminished in one. Loeffler found in most cases the quantity of Ferrum in the blood diminished, but the analyses were hardly made exact enough, for an increase of blood-corpuscles ought to be combined with an increase of iron in the blood. Taken altogether iron may produce a hydraemia [wateriness of the blood].”16
 Encyclopedia Britannica.  Pelikan, The Secrets of Metals.  Encyclopedia Britannica.  Hauschka, Substanzlehre. [5-6] Encyclopedia Britannica.  Merck Index.  Pelikan, ibid.  Mervyn, Vitamins and Minerals.  Johnston, Hemochromatosis: A Deadly and Undiagnosed Condition; Amer. Hemochromatosis Society.  Werbach, Nutritional Influences on Aggressive Behavior; website. [12-13] Chevalier and Gheerbrant, Dictionary of Symbols.  Frazer, The Golden Bough.  Sankaran, The Soul of Remedies.  Mossa, An Essay on Iron; The Hahnemannian Monthly, August 1886.
VASOMOTOR NERVES [CIRCULATION; blood vessels]. Blood. Spleen. Digestion. Left deltoid. Mucous membranes. Nerves. * Left side.
Worse: NIGHT; midnight. Emotions. Violent exertion. Eating. Drinking. Vital losses. Perspiration. Quinine. Eggs. Heat and cold. Raising arms. Rest, esp. sitting still. Overheating. During menses.
Better: Gentle motion. Slight bleeding. Leaning head on something. Summer. Pressure. After rising. After stool. Solitude.
Intolerance to CONTRADICTION.
Excitement from slightest contradiction.
Always claims to be right.
• “Ferrum metallicum children are authoritarian, strong-willed, red-faced at times, then suddenly pale and exhausted. They tend towards obesity and are predisposed to nosebleeds. Their appetite is changeable, and they refuse to eat big bites or chunks of food; it must always be mashed or pureed [Lyc., Merc., Staph.].” [Grandgeorge]
• “In India, one of the things that parents force their children against their wishes into is marriage. The parents say: ‘You know nothing; you do everything wrong. Let us decide what is right for you.’ And the child says: ‘I know what is right for me – who are you to tell me.’ So he becomes strong-willed, determined, intolerant of any contradiction, fights his own battle. At the same time he feels guilty within himself. Phatak’s Materia Medica gives the symptom: ‘Always in the right.’ He becomes rigid and stiff in his attitude. He sees his parents as intruding into his territory and puts up a strong defence to prevent this. This defence itself becomes a performance. Iron is used in gates, fences, helmets, battle tanks, shields of armour. All these objects are used to protect, to prevent things from the outside from intruding into one’s territory. Ferrum patients have to protect and defend both themselves and their families. And so they perform by defending. It is a though they are always at war, fighting to defend themselves and their families.” [Sankaran]
• “Ferrum metallicum, the iron remedy, possesses an iron will. The will of Ferrum could be described by the term ‘Positiveness.’ Ferrum has a positive outlook towards her work, duty and accomplishments. More often than not, Ferrum has been indicated for females than for males. Some of my female patients who required Ferrum did have resemblance with the profile of Indira Gandhi or Margaret Thatcher. Although these patients may not necessarily come from high socio-economic background or royal families, they may still exhibit a high sense of dignity and strong will. One of the patients, who was a 16 year old schoolgirl coming from a lower middle class family, had shown tremendous positiveness of her will in terms of her active role as a bread winner and as a strong support for the family. The strong will in Ferrum is recognised by unshakiness while facing any difficult situation. Positiveness as Hahnemann perceives in the proving of Ferrum is seen in the patients as persistent efforts towards achieving fixed goal, with positive attitude and a remarkable optimism. Ferrum does not retreat from her path towards success and achievements nor from her duties. ‘Nothing is impossible’ and ‘the sky is the limit’ are the watchwords such patients believe in.” [Shah]
• “Ferrum is firm in her convictions. She is as unyielding as iron. Her firmness could be exhibited as obstinacy. She believes in some ideas which she has set for herself, and does exactly what she has decided to do, no matter what people say. Though she is hypersensitive to criticism and comments of others, she never surrenders her will to others. Her strong determination is far from being submissive. Ferrum does not give up easily. Ferrum knows very well how to protect herself against the opposition. As iron has a high melting point, so has Ferrum. … Ferrum is such a remedy where cured patients have shown remarkable sense of self-confidence. This is a clinical observation, of course, and should not essentially be present in every patient requiring Ferrum. It has a remarkable self-identity. … Profound self-identity in Ferrum makes her a leader and not a follower. She does not follow the mass because she is not afraid of being different. … Ferrum is powerful and dynamic. She may be a dictator but in a very sober manner. She may be domineering in the house or in the area of work depending on how she decides about its necessity.” [Shah]
M War and battles.
• “The central theme in Ferrum patients is that they are at war or in a battle of some kind. They have dreams of battles, fights, and the dead. They have a strong belief or firm ideal that leads them into conflict. The way they express this theme will depend on the individual. There is a polarity in Ferrum, as there is in all remedies, and the polarity is along the axis of war. They either have too much or not enough Mars. … I have seen cases presented by other practitioners that have a strong warrior-like demeanour, with characteristic rigidity and iron will. Yet most of my Ferrum and Ferrum salt cases seem to have the blood drained out of them, a form of ’emotional anaemia.’ There seems to be a lack of strength in people who always feel like they are in a conflict. Some of these cases are easy to mistake for Pulsatilla; they can weep a lot. They also can be rigid internally, but they can’t hold the line. Patients like this don’t seem to enjoy the warfare. On the one hand, they are very much afraid of losing the war. Ferrum is listed under fear of evil, fear of death, fear of misfortune, and fear of people. On the other hand, they feel very remorseful about the violence they have inflicted. This is due to a high moral standard and strong conscience. These internal conflicts and polarities can result in a hysteria, with rapidly alternating moods.”1
M Anxiety for family members.
• “Mind in highest degree oppressed; despondent; great solicitude about those belonging to him, with constant thoughts of death.” [Hering]
• “This is a very important facet of Ferrum which is confirmed in practice. A patient once said: ‘Doctor, I feel extremely sad and hopeless, I feel I better die, there is no fun in living, but what I am worried the most is about my children. What would happen to them if I would die …'” [Shah]
c compare: • “Ares was a father who felt strongly and took action on behalf of his children. When one of Poseidon’s sons raped Alcippe, one of his daughters, Ares struck him dead on the spot. … A prudent person would not attack anyone related to Ares, for to do so invited immediate retribution. He looked after his own, his daughters as well as his sons. In fact, Ares was the only god to do so. As Mars, he later protected the citizens of Rome in the same fierce way. … Ares joins the battle when someone he cares about is attacked, esp. if he or she is getting the worst of it.”2
M Very reactive.
Very SENSITIVE to NOISE; even “little noises drive him to despair.” [Hering]
M Desire for solitude; avoids the sight of people, of intimate friends; conversation <. • “Constant desire for solitude; horror of conversation, noise, visits, and even the society of her cherished friends.” • “Excited by the slightest opposition; everything irritated or depressed her; even her children’s caresses increased her bad temper; she was often rude to those about her, because she hated to see or talk to them, and wanted them to leave her in solitude, which alone was pleasing to her.” [Allen] [Both symptoms come from a lady with chronic iron-poisoning due to different preparations of iron prescribed for general debility.] Feels relieved by solitude [“that alone is pleasing to her”]. G IRREGULARITY and CHANGEABILITY equally on mental and physical levels: Moods as changeable, irregular and wandering as distribution of blood. G Central theme is MOTION. On the one hand aversion to activity: inclination to sit; desires to remain in bed; irresolution; indolence. On the other hand, the patient is FORCED to MOVE by pain, ailments or restlessness: occupation; diversion >; mental exertion >; confusion > motion; sadness > exertion; restlessness; driving out of bed; restlessness while sitting; nightly pains that compel motion of part; difficult respiration > motion; palpitation of heart > walking slowly.
c Continued motion >; desire for motion; slow motion >; motion of affected part >; beginning of motion <. c Complaints come on during REST. G Vigour followed by listlessness. [Popeye demonstrates the energy boost provided by iron. Four of the Austrian provers experienced great vigour for four to six days after starting the proving; the energy of one prover even remained high for fourteen days!] • “… his health till the 26th [of June 1850] was not only not disturbed, but he felt mentally and corporeally more energetic, and even long walks did not fatigue him. Appetite was increased to extraordinary degree; he often ate twice as much for supper as usual without satisfying it.” • “During the first days of the proving he had increased feeling of health and of mental and bodily energy; but on the 4th day a feeling of weakness and weight in the limbs ensued.” • “The first fortnight mental and bodily energy was increased; but during latter half of proving there occurred feeling of weakness, laziness, disinclination for bodily and mental activity, fatigue on least exertion, esp. walking.” • “Great feeling of strength, with ravenous appetite, increased in course of day to desire to destroy things.” [Hughes] c The feeling of strength is externalized: • “All around him appeared larger and more majestic, he felt inclined to attach great importance to small things, and disposition was grave and serious.” G Affinity with periods of CHANGE [short or long periods]: puberty [too rapid growth], menses, menopause. c compare: • “[This resembles] the dream state in which the soul becomes aware of itself and converses with itself, as it were, in terms of imaginal emotion-reasoning. This step in the history of consciousness probably occurred for the first time in the Neolithic period. It reached a blossoming in the Bronze Age, and ended in the heroic, war-torn Iron Age. Most extant European mythological tales, with their heroic deeds, date from that latter period. … The Neolithic period saw a change from nomad to sedentary life, from hunting to planting, hence also planning, cultures. The direction though not the control of natural life begins now. The inward experience of self and its boundaries is reflected in the enclosed bounded settlements of the time. These focus upon a centre – a stone monument, a phallic pillar, or an open space which eventually becomes a sanctuary. According to V. Scheltema, the corresponding phases in the development of the child are approximately from three to seven [Neolithic], and seven to twelve [Bronze Age]. Puberty corresponds to the heroic Iron Age and the beginning of androlatry.”3 [my italics] G Similar to Puls., but CHILLY, domineering, and aversion to company. G EGGS [aversion + <]; TOMATOES [desire]. FAT [<]. SOUR [desire or aversion]. G Red parts become WHITE: lips, face, tongue. Alternately PALE and RED. FLUSHING OF FACE on least pain, motion, exertion, vomiting or excitement. P Hammering headache [periodical]. < Stooping and descending; must lie down. And AVERSION to eating and DRINKING. P Exophthalmos; Basedow’s disease after suppressed menses. P Vomiting after midnight, without preceding nausea. Or sudden vomiting without nausea, during eating. • “Leaves table suddenly and with one effort vomits everything eaten, can sit down and eat again.” [Mathur] P Diarrhoea during [or immediately after] meals. • “Desire to go to stool as soon as anything touches the stomach.” [Kent] P Nightly diarrhoea [undigested food], round midnight, painless and sudden. < If nervous or tired. Alternating with constipation.  Sommermann, A Medley of Ferrum Salt Cases; IFH 1995.  Bolen, Gods in Everyman.  Whitmont, Return of the Goddess. Rubrics Mind Anger, when consoled , from contradiction . Aversion, to friends . Aversion to company, avoids the sight of people . Confusion, > motion . Disposition to contradict . Aversion to conversation . Delusions, people, someone is behind him, when walking in the dark ; of being at war ; he has done wrong . Dictatorial . Excitement, from slightest contradiction . Fear, of open spaces , of going by rail . Horrible things, sad stories affect her profoundly . Irritability, from noise, even from crackling of newspapers . Mental exertion > . Positiveness . Rudeness . Trifles seem important .
On descending . When walking rapidly . On crossing running water .
Pulsating, from sudden motion , > pressure ; occiput, on moving , on stooping ; vertex, on motion .
Lachrymation, from pain in other parts of body .
Acute, at night, hysterical persons [2/1].
Noises, ringing, before menses , during menses .
Impaired, before menses .
Sensation of a lump, on empty swallowing , when not swallowing .
Exophthalmic goitre, from suppressed menses [3/1].
Eructations, after beer , after fats ; bitter, after fat food ; smelling like spoiled eggs ; of food, by the mouthful . Sensation of fulness, after eating ever so little . Indigestion, from eggs , from meat . Vomiting, after acids , after beer , after eggs .
Diarrhoea, after cold drinks , while eating , after exertion , after fruit , from meat , < motion . Bladder Involuntary urination, during motion , from sudden movement [1/1], while standing . Male Coition, enjoyment absent . Female Coition, enjoyment absent ; painful . Insensibility, vagina, during coition . Menses, clotted, dark clots , clotted, partly fluid ; copious, from motion . Pain, vagina, during coition . Respiration Difficult, wants to be fanned , > motion , > reading , > talking , > walking , > slowly walking about [3/1].
Palpitation, motion, compelled to move [2/1], > slow motion .
Pain, lumbar region, before a snowstorm [1/1].
Position, can lie only on back , on side impossible .
Of battles . Falling into water . Of war .
Orgasm of blood from nervousness .
Aversion: : Drinks; drinking during headache. : Beer; bitter; eggs; meat; solid food; sour; vinegar. : Ale; cooked food, during headache; hot drinks; hot food; milk; sour fruit.
Desire: : Bread; bread and butter; lemons; liquid food; sour; tomatoes; warm food. : Butter; hot food; lime; meat; sweets; tomatoes; tomatoes, raw; warm soups.
Worse: : Cold drinks; fat. : Beer; butter; eggs; fruit; meat; pungent; sour; tea; vinegar. : Hot food; milk; rich food; sour fruit; sour wine; strawberries; sweets; warm food; wine.
Better: : Cold food. : Milk; sour wine; tea.