This section is from the book "A Practitioner's Handbook Of Materia Medica And Therapeutics", by Thos. S. Blair. Also available from Amazon: A Practitioner's handbook of Materia Medica and Therapeutics.
Graphites, Black Lead. This is a homeopathic remedy much derided by others. We will try herein to be at least fair to it. Graphite is a crystalline form of carbon with an unctuous quality due to some substance not well defined. The present author has handled many grades of it in large quantity, and believes there is some peculiar hydrocarbon combined in it. At all events, long handling of it and ingestion of its dust produces ugly eczemas and cracked or fissured sores that exude a sticky or glutinous fluid with considerable gastro-intestinal disturbance. The powdered graphite in 10 gr. doses has been given as an "anti-psoric," but the crystals are insoluble, and if it really possesses medicinal virtues it is probably not due to the carbon itself but to the substance taking the place of the water of crystallization, and it would require the disintegration of the crystals to free this substance and render it capable of absorption into the system. I know very well from disagreeable experience that there is an irritant in some graphite, and have no doubt that a trituration containing an appreciable amount of it would exert some influence not to be derived from pure carbon. On the other hand, I really cannot see what "high potencies'. of this agent could do. Alcohol seems to extract the medicinal element of long triturated graphite, and one can taste and see the color of graphite in 3x trituration. Personally, I believe it to be an alterative that influences markedly the secreting surfaces rather than the deeper tissues. In the absence of sufficient ex perience or definite data concerning its therapy, I will have to be content with what its sectarian advocates say of it and give its "indications" in brief for what they are worth, and would suggest that IX or 2X triturations will do whatever graphite can do. "Patients inclined to an unhealthy obesity and a condition of the epidermis inclined to crack and fissure with an eruption that exudes a honey-like fluid; patient is inclined to be sad, irritable, melancholy; moist eczema on the face; erysipelas, burning and stinging; eczema capitas which forms massive dirty crusts, matting the hair together; unhealthy skin, every injury suppurates, and the skin oozes a watery, transparent, sticky fluid; leucorrhea in gushes day and night; crippled nails; old sores break open; skin dry and inclined to crack. The remedy is especially indicated in females with a tendency to unhealthy corpulence, with deformed nails, menstrual troubles, and a characteristic exudation of the skin." (Wm. Steimauff, M.D., "Materia Medica.") Locally, cerates of graphite have been employed from Hippocrates down to to-day. It is useful in fissured sores and sore nipples.