– VERMEULEN Frans
Force works on servile natures, not the free.
CLASSIFICATION Zinc has its place as the lightest member in group 12 of the periodic table, with cadmium and mercury as the two other group members. A blue-white metallic element, zinc is seldom, if ever, found in native form but commonly in the minerals sphalerite [zinc blende, zinc sulphide], smithsonite [zinc carbonate] and calamine [zinc silicate]. Sphalerite occurs in association with lead glance [galena], with the heavier lead ore paradoxically lying above and the light zinc blende below. Sphalerite derives its name from the Greek word
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sphaleros, ‘treacherous’, for it was known that it often resembled galena but yielded no lead. China, Canada and Australia are the major zinc producing countries. Zinc is the third most used non-ferrous metal [after aluminium and copper], of which the U.S. consumes more than one million metric tons annually. The average person will use 730 pounds of zinc in his or her lifetime, according to the U.S. Bureau of Mines.
FEATURES Metallic zinc is stable in dry air, but becomes covered with a white coating of basic carbonate on exposure to moist air. It burns in air with a bluish-green flame. It combines with oxygen and other non-metals and reacts with dilute acids to release hydrogen. The tendency of zinc to oxidize in preference to iron when both metals together are exposed to a corrosive medium is known as sacrificial protection. Zinc coatings are firmly adherent and withstand considerable deformation. Zinc sheets used in architecture, for roofs or facades, on counters and on bar tops, have a maintenance-free life of over 60 years. Highly pure zinc [99.99%] is ductile; zinc with a purity of 99.8% is brittle when cold but above 100o C can be rolled into sheets that remain flexible. Heated at 210o C it becomes brittle again and pulverises. Alloyed with aluminium, zinc exhibits superplasticity. Zinc can store six times as much energy per pound as other battery systems, increasing the range of electric vehicles. Zinc is dull stuff, thinks Primo Levi, “it is not an element which says much to the imagination, it is grey and its salts are colourless, it is not toxic, nor does it produce striking chromatic reactions; in short, it is a boring metal.” Yet also something so dull and boring as zinc has its uniqueness: “The course notes contained a detail which at first reading had escaped me, namely, that the so tender and delicate zinc, so yielding to [dilute sulphuric] acid which gulps it down in a single mouthful, behaves, however, in a very different fashion when it is very pure: then it obstinately resists the attack. One could draw from this two conflicting philosophical conclusions: the praise of purity, which protects from evil like a coat of mail; the praise of impurity, which gives rise to changes, in other words, to life. I discarded the first, disgustingly moralistic, and I lingered to consider the second, which I found more congenial. In order for the wheel to turn, for life to be lived, impurities are needed, and the impurities of impurities in the soil, too, as is known, if it is to be fertile. … But immaculate virtue does not exist either, or if it exists it is detestable. So take the solution of copper sulphate which is in the shelf of reagents, add a drop of it to your sulphuric acid, and you’ll see the reaction begin: the zinc wakes up, it is covered with a white fur of hydrogen bubbles, and there we are, the enchantment has taken place, you can leave it to its fate and take a stroll around the lab.”1
HISTORY Centuries before zinc was discovered in the metallic form, its ores were used for making brass, and zinc compounds were used for healing wounds and sore eyes. The Greeks probably knew of the existence of zinc, which they called ‘pseudargyras’ or ‘false silver’, but they had no method of producing it in quantity because the temperature necessary to reduce the metal from its ore also vaporized it. The realisation that to make zinc it was necessary to produce the metal as a vapour and then condense it seems first to have been reached in India in the 13th century. By 1374, the Hindus had recognized that zinc was a new metal, the eighth known to man at that time, and a limited amount of commercial zinc production was underway. In Europe, Paracelsus was the probably first to realise that zinc was metallic. Commercial production of the metal did not start in Europe until the middle of the 18th century and in the United States until 1850. The word zinc probably comes from the Persian word sing, stone. In Arabic, zinc is known as kharseen, i.e. Khar from Al-Ghar = mine, seen from Al-Seen = China, hence kharseen, the metal from Chinese mines. ‘Messing’, the Dutch and German words for brass, may be related to the Latin massa, lump of metal.
USES The major uses of zinc metal are in galvanising iron and steel as a coating to protect against corrosion, and in making brasses and alloys for die castings, used extensively by the automotive, electrical, and hardware industries. Zinc oxide is a unique and very useful material to modern civilisation. It is widely used in the manufacture of paints, rubber products, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, floor coverings, roof sheeting, building materials, railroad car linings, plastics, printing inks, soap, storage batteries, textiles, dry cell batteries, and electrical equipment. The electrical conductivity of zinc oxide can be increased many times under the influence of light, and so is utilized in photocopying processes. Zinc sulphate is used as a weed killer, in the manufacture of viscose rayon, and as a mordant in dyeing. The sulphide is used in making luminous dials, X-ray and TV screens, and fluorescent lights. 2,3 The mineral sphalerite [zinc sulphide], too, possesses the power of absorbing sunlight or artificial light and giving it off in the dark. Some sunscreens use zinc as a physical sun block.
TOPICAL AGENT Aside from the employment of insulin zinc suspensions as long-acting drugs in the treatment of diabetes, zinc is mainly used as a topical agent. In skin affections such as eczema, impetigo, ringworm, pruritus, and psoriasis, zinc oxide [flower of zinc and calamine] is applied externally because of its mildly astringent and antiseptic effect. Zinc pyrithione [a zinc sulphur compound] is an ingredient of antidandruff shampoo [Head and Shoulders] that is reportedly damaging to nerves. With aluminium compounds, zinc salts form the most commonly used ingredients of antiperspirants. Baby powders or baby ointments of 3-5% zinc, e.g. for diaper rash, are water repellent and prevent urine irritation. Bleach and freckle creams, face powders, foundation creams, protective creams, nail whiteners, white eye shadow, shaving creams, etc., all contain zinc in proportions considered harmless.
PHYSIOLOGY The body contains about 2 g of zinc, widely distributed throughout the body in bones, teeth, hair, skin, liver, kidney, and muscle. The highest amounts are found in muscle and bone, and in skin and hair [zinc content measured by hair analysis]. The highest concentrations occur in prostate and semen, in the brain [pineal gland and hippocampus], and in the choroid layer of the retina. The body does not store zinc. Zinc is present in red blood cells as an essential part of the enzyme carbonic anhydrase, which promotes many reactions relating to carbon dioxide metabolism. In addition, it occurs in white blood cells and platelets. Zinc is a component of some 200 enzymes and is involved in more enzymatic reactions than any other mineral. It is a constituent of insulin, growth hormones and sex hormones, and is richly contained in human sperm. Zinc is crucial for the maturation and the proper functioning of the sex glands, particularly the prostate. Urinary zinc excretion is high in hyperthyroidism, suggesting that the body is trying to get rid of excess zinc. In hypothyroidism, urinary zinc excretion is low. Zinc accompanies calcium in the mineralization of bone and when calcium is lost from bone. The absorption of zinc takes place in the small intestine. Alcohol and smoking deplete the mineral, and profuse sweating can cause a loss of up to 3 mg a day. Intake from dietary zinc is antagonized by cadmium [high amounts in cigarette smoke] and by high copper content of blood. The reverse is also true: high zinc intakes reduce copper absorption, and zinc aids the excretion of cadmium. Diarrhoea causes loss of zinc. Zinc requirement increases during pregnancy or lactation.
ANIMAL Zinc is essential for animals. “Oysters, bony fishes, crabs, and starfish are rich in zinc. In the blood of the cuttlefish it is tied to protein, as is copper. Zinc has been found in cod-liver oil, in the muscles and liver of the sea lion and the sperm whale [about 40 ppm]. The herring, during its mating season, contains up to 160 ppm in the body, and up to 350 in the testes. In swine and sheep the seminal vesicles are particularly rich in zinc, while in the bull it is the prostate, the sperm containing as much as 2000 ppm. It is striking that in snakes the poison glands show an increase in zinc. Presumably, this is to enhance the protein destroying effect of the snake poison, which is an attempt, as it were, to inaugurate an extra-bodily digestion by way of the bite. Strong decomposing forces are thus introduced into the protein. A decomposition of the protein, a segmentation or splitting of the protein of the nucleus preparatory to fertilization, is part of the effect of the sperm; it drives this protein into chaos so that the creative, life-forming, cosmic, etheric forces may begin their work. It is in connection with these processes that we must look at zinc.”4
FOOD The 80% loss of zinc in flour refining is about the same as for iron, so that white flour contains only about 20% of the zinc present in wheat. For the breakdown of alcohol the liver requires an enzyme in which zinc is an essential component. As demonstrated by studies, patients with liver cirrhosis from excessive alcohol consumption have decreased zinc levels in blood and liver and greater losses of zinc with the urine. On average, 20% of dietary zinc is absorbed. Zinc from animal and fish sources is better absorbed than that from vegetables and fruits. The amount of protein in a meal has a positive effect on zinc absorption. Phytic acid in cereals, vegetables, and other foods rich in fibre may limit zinc absorption. Meat [esp. red meat], poultry, fish, shellfish, crab, and notably oysters are rich in zinc. Other sources include legumes, nuts [Brazil nuts, walnuts, and almonds], wheat bran, eggs, and cheese [esp. cheddar, edam, and parmesan]. Giovanni Giacomo Casanova, the Italian womaniser and adventurer, was well aware of the connection between oysters and the sex drive: he customarily ate 50 oysters for breakfast. Women, he once said, were his cuisine.
DEFICIENCY A syndrome of dwarfism and hypogonadism with low zinc status, seen in the Middle East, has been shown to respond to zinc supplementation. Secondary deficiency occurs in liver disease, malabsorption states, and during prolonged parenteral nutrition. The symptoms of zinc deficiency are many and varied; they include: night blindness [zinc releases vitamin A from the liver]; mental lethargy; stunted growth; slow learning; swelling of prostate; sterility; impotence; delayed sexual maturation in children; menstrual irregularities; stretch marks in pregnant women; post natal depression; susceptibility to infections, particularly Candida; poor circulation; loss of sense of smell and taste; acne; offensive perspiration; allergies [zinc inhibits histamine production]; susceptibility to diabetes; poor wound healing; white spots on nails; pica-eating of dirt and indigestible substances by children. Zinc deprivation has been reported to cause poor growth and maturation of the cerebellum. Defective zinc metabolism may result in acrodermatitis enteropathica, an intermittently progressive disorder in young children from 3 weeks to 18 months old. Symptoms usually begin after the infant is weaned from breast milk. The first manifestation often is a blistering, oozing, and crusting [psoriasiform] eruption on an extremity or around one of the orifices of the body. Hair loss, paronychia, growth retardation, and diarrhoea or other gastrointestinal disorders follow this. Feeding with human breast milk causes a remission and feeding with cow’s milk produces a relapse of the disease. Complete remission is obtained by supplementation with zinc sulphate. “Lack of zinc has been implicated in impaired DNA, RNA, and protein synthesis during brain development. For these reasons, deficiency of zinc during pregnancy and lactation has been shown to be related to many congenital abnormalities of the nervous system in offspring. Furthermore, in children insufficient levels of zinc have been associated with lowered learning ability, apathy, lethargy, and mental retardation. Hyperactive children may be deficient in zinc and vitamin B6 and have an excess of lead and copper. Alcoholism, schizophrenia, Wilson’s disease, and Pick’s disease are brain disorders dynamically related to zinc levels. Zinc has been employed with success to treat Wilson’s disease, acrodermatitis enteropathica, and specific types of schizophrenia.”5 A team from Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, USA, pooled the results from 17 international zinc studies and found that adding zinc to the diet of infants and children can reduce incidents of diarrhoea by up to 25% and pneumonia by 41%. Head-injury victims tend to have low zinc levels in the weeks following their accidents, resulting in decreased cognitive function. Zinc levels drop rapidly with stress and shock from burns or wounds, further aggravated by loss through exudation. Use of oral contraceptives lowers the blood zinc level.
TOXICOLOGY Zinc is not considered to be toxic; but when freshly formed zinc oxide is inhaled a disorder known as the oxide shakes, zinc chills, or brass-founders’ ague sometimes occurs, resulting in neurologic damage. “Zinc toxicity from excessive ingestion is uncommon, but gastrointestinal and diarrhoea have been reported following ingestion of beverages standing in galvanized cans or from use of galvanized utensils. With regard to industrial exposure, metal fume fever resulting from inhalation of freshly formed fumes of zinc presents the most significant effect. This disorder has been most commonly associated with inhalation of zinc oxide fumes, but it may be seen after inhalation of the fumes of other metals, particularly magnesium, iron, and copper. Attacks usually begin after 4 to 8 hours of exposure – chills and fever, profuse sweating, and weakness. Attacks usually last only 24 to 48 hours and are most common on Mondays or after holidays. The pathogenesis is not known, but it is thought to be due to endogenous pyrogen released from cell lysis. Extracts prepared from tracheal mucosa and from the lungs of animals with experimentally induced metal fume fever produce similar symptoms when injected into other animals.”6 Other symptoms reported from inhalation of zinc fumes include sweet taste, dry throat, cough, weakness, generalized aching, nausea, and vomiting. Zinc workers suffer skin eruptions called ‘zinc pox’ under the arm and in the groin, which is believed to be caused by blocking of the hair follicles.
LONG-TERM EFFECTS “Schlokow observed the effects of zinc on the workmen who extracted it from the ore by a kind of distillation, whereby the oxide was deprived of its oxygen by great heat in a clay retort, and deposited as metal in a kind of receiver. Those who had worked at the business for a long time suffered from chronic and obstinate catarrhs of the respiratory organs and disorders of digestion. Enlargements of liver and spleen were frequent, and tendency to intestinal catarrh. The complexion of face and skin is dirty grey, on the gums is a narrow dark line, and the victims look older than their age. Some of them suffer from night blindness accompanied by xerosis conjunctivae. After 10 or 12 years of this work, the workmen complain of pain in sacrum, and there is increased sensitiveness of lower extremities. They complain that their soles are too sensitive to the smallest unevenness of the floor, and every stone causes them pain; they have burning in feet which disturbs their sleep; they have a feeling as if the skin of their legs was too short, and as if mice came running about on them; they have formication and creeping in lower extremities. Some complain of chilliness in the tibiae and burning in skin; if a fold of skin is raised up, that causes pain as if cut with a knife. There are various pains in thighs, not very severe. In this stage they generally have the feeling of girdle or hoop round the body. Later gone-to-sleep feeling, numbness and furriness of legs; they feel their feet cold, but to touch they are quite warm. The sense of touch in the lower extremities is generally lowered, so that they do not feel the ground properly when they step on it. Pricks with a pin are felt in some parts of skin of lower parts of body indistinctly, in others very acutely. Sometimes the dorsum of foot or anterior tibial surface is oversensitive, whilst the abdominal integument and genitals have diminished sensitiveness. The knee-jerk is usually exaggerated; blows upon patella and tendo-achillis cause reflex contraction in almost all the muscles of the body. There is usually a diminution of the muscular sensibility, so that the control over some muscles is lost. The patients walk stooping, in order to be able to follow the movements of their legs; when they shut their eyes they soon begin to stagger, and would fall unless supported. In the dark they are quite lost, because then they are not masters of their extremities. But when lying or seated they can move their extremities properly. Later their gait becomes wide, stiff, spasmodic, hurried and uncertain; they put down the whole sole when they tread. They turn and go upstairs with difficulty; with every movement of the legs there occurs muscular trembling, esp. in thighs and nates; this is excited by the smallest mechanical shock and lasts a long time. The nutrition and size of the muscles do not suffer; their irritability by induction current seems to be increased. As the disease advances there occurs a paralytic weakness of the muscles of the lower, and lastly of the upper, extremities, shown when attempts are made to lift the legs, and to move them sideways, to bring the knees together; the power of pressure of hand is diminished, and the resistance of the muscles to passive movements is weak. .”7
PROVINGS ••  Hahnemann – 12 provers; method: unknown.
••  Northrop – 5 [male] provers, c. 1888; method: repeated doses of 2x trit.
 Primo Levi, The Periodic Table.  Encyclopaedia Britannica.  Lide [ed.], Handbook of Chemistry and Physics.  Pelikan, The Secrets of Metals.  Pfeiffer and Barverman, Zinc, the brain and behaviour; Biological Psychiatry, 17 , April 1982.  Klaassen, Casarett and Doull’s Toxicology.  Hughes, Cyclopaedia.
BRAIN and NERVES [occiput; spine; orbital region]. Root of nose. Blood. Inner canthi. * Left side. Right side.
Worse: EXHAUSTION. Suppression. Noise. Touch. Wine. After being heated.
Better: Motion. Hard pressure. Warm open air. FREE DISCHARGES; during menses; by restoration or development of eruptions; from restoration of discharges.
M MENTAL PROSTRATION.
Suppression or decrease of free expressions, caused by weakness or mental overexertion.
M CAN’T THROW THINGS OFF. [Boger]
Horrible things, sad stories have a profound effect.
Suppression of emotions.
• “Suppression of emotions due to oversensitiveness to criticism, also due to unhappy home life; combined with suppression of gonorrhoea with strong drugs used locally; combined with disappointment in the one thing he wanted to do for a living. It went on into delusions of persecution and a general nervous break, which changed him prematurely into an old man and made it seem as if a hospital for the insane lay just ahead. Ten months of treatment with a few doses of Zincum, given at long intervals, has changed all that so the patient can see that his persistent thoughts are foolish and imaginary. The general health has improved one hundred per cent.”1
M YIELDING. Quiet disposition.
[Zinc acts as a sacrificial metal. This is because zinc is more easily oxidized than iron, and if corrosion occurs, the zinc rather than the iron reacts. The zinc in a zinc disc attached to the iron rudder of a ship will gradually corrode and disappear, whilst the iron rudder will remain unattacked.]
Forced by pressure.
Dominated by the ‘father’.
• “Fear of the law. Zincum individuals have a superego that gets in their way. The paternal figure in their life had had a castrating effect on them, in the psychoanalytical sense of the word. … In everyday life, this fear of the father extends to paternal substitutes, guardians of the law: teachers, police, judges, and so on.” [Grandgeorge]
• “This situation often originates in the sort of upbringing they had at home. Here the emphasis will have been on intellectual achievement, having to score high marks at school, otherwise they won’t count. It is often the father who exerts this sort of pressure and its is remarkable that these children are usually accompanied by their father when they come for a consultation.” [Scholten]
• [Case 1; male, 54 y.] “His father was strong, dominating. … As a result, the boy grew up shy and timid and hardly spoke to people. … His father was always angry with him but never expressed any anger towards his sisters. … His father used to insult and humiliate him. As a result, his individuality and his personality never developed.”2
• [Case 2; male, 19 y.] “His father was strict with him about his studies. He wanted his son to excel in his studies. … His father constantly compares him to his cousins. He feels that the boy is not as competitive as he should be. He is constantly under pressure and gets tense before his examination results, because he fears his father’s reactions. He tries to work hard to fulfil his father’s expectations.”3
M Oversensitive to NOISE, to VOICES.
M Drive everybody mad with their constant complaining and moaning.
M MOOD alternating; changeable.
Anger – discouragement. Anger – sadness. Anger – timidity.
Anxiety – contentment.
Sadness – cheerfulness. Sadness – fear. Sadness – laughing. Sadness – timidity.
G Ailments from LOSS of SLEEP, FRIGHT, STRESS, exhausting diseases,
G Chilly – warm.
• “Tend to be more on the warm side than the chilly side.” [Morrison]
• “Chilliness is a feature, esp. when out of doors, or when touching some cold object. A sensation of coldness may be located in the abdomen or feet.” [Gibson]
G Increasing weakness.
And RESTLESSNESS [esp. of legs].
• “Rolls head and grinds teeth.” [Boger]
G Very HUNGRY about 11 or 12 a.m. ; eats greedily.
G AVERSION to FISH; meat; sweets [sugar]; wine.
WORSE from WINE; sweets; milk.
G > EATING.
Trembling when hungry; weakness from hunger.
G < SUPPRESSED discharges. [gonorrhoea; expectoration; foot sweat; menses; otorrhoea; lochia; milk; perspiration]. OR: Defective vitality, brain or nerve power too WEAK to develop exanthemata, or menses; to expectorate; to urinate; to comprehend; to memorize. [Nash] • "Feeble girls, late appearance of menses." [Nash] Feeble digestion. G > FREE secretions; flow of menses.
• “Symptoms of the chest are ameliorated by expectoration; of bladder, by urinating; of back, by emissions; and general, by menstrual flow.” [Nash]
G < WINE. [= vertigo; headache; redness face; weakness; weariness; asthma; confusion; constipation; diarrhoea; cough; sensation of heat in back; chorea] G Twitchings, jerking, spasms, tremor. G BURNING [pains and sensations]. [eyes, eyelids; throat; heartburn; anus; spine; chest; urethra] G Clinical. • "Other areas for enquiring into the use of Zincum are Diabetic retinopathy and neuropathy. Candida infections, particularly the link between vaginal thrush and contraceptive hormones. Uterine spasms, prolonged labour and retained placenta. Dark adaptation in the elderly and in chronic alcoholism."4 G Vertigo. Preceded by pressing sensation [inward] above root of nose or sensation as if the eyes were drawn together. P HEADACHE. < Warmth. > Hard pressure.
And Pressing sensation above root of nose [or on vertex].
And Confusion, photophobia and physical restlessness.
P VISUAL disturbances [flashes of light, scintillations] AFTER eye operations. [Strontium: photopsia after eye operation.]
P RESTLESS LEGS; can’t keep them still.
Can keep patient awake.
 Julia M. Green, A Method of Remedy Study: Zinc; Hom. Rec., March 1936. [2-3] Farokh J. Master, The father theme: Two cases of Zincum met.; HL 2/99.  Shuttleworth, Zinc – in perspective; BHJ, Apr. 1986.
Anger, so angry that he could have stabbed anyone , hearing other people talk . Anxiety > during menses . Presentiment of death, calmly thinks of death [1/1]. Delusions, she is accused , devil is after her , persecuted by the devil for crimes he had never done [1/1], hearing voices from within him speaking in abusive and filthy language [2/1]. Dulness, on closing eyes [1/1], after wine . Impatience, during talk of others [1/1]. Tormenting everyone with his complaints .
Pain, before menses, > when flow begins , > hard external pressure; occiput, < laughing [1/1], < wine [1/1]; bursting, as if vertex would split open [1/1].
Blurred, one-half of vision [1/1]. Colours before the eyes, blue circles [1/1], green circles [1/1], yellow wheels . Dim, in morning on waking . Fiery circles .
Acute, to rumpling of paper , to voices and talking .
Pain, pressing, at root, followed by vertigo [2/1].
Taste, bloody, during pregnancy [2/1]; metallic, during pregnancy [1/1].
Sweetish eructations during pregnancy . Heartburn, after sugar [1/1], after wine .
Constipation after wine [2/1]. Urging, during vertigo .
Sexual desire increased in company of women [1/1].
Weakness, lumbar region, < reaching up [1/1].
Rush of blood to legs ; as if blood stagnated in legs [1/1]. Itching soles of feet at night . Swelling of feet during pregnancy . Weakness, lower limbs, during hunger [2/1], during menses .
Overpowering sleepiness when working .
Disgusting, soiling himself with excrements . Being strangled .
As if covered with ants .
Sea bathing < . Trembling when hungry .
Aversion: : Fish; meat; sugar; sweets; veal; wine. : Brandy; cooked food; warm food; water.
Desire: : Beer, evening. : Beer; cold drinks; cold food; salt.
Worse: : Wine. : Bread; milk; veal. : Hot food; spices; sugar; sweets; warm food.
Better: : Cold food. : Cold drinks.