Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
The History of American Homeopathy

The History of American Homeopathy: From Rational Medicine to Holistic Health Care

John S. Haller
Copyright Date: 2009
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Pages: 208
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    The History of American Homeopathy
    Book Description:

    Although scorned in the early 1900s and publicly condemned by Abraham Flexner and the American Medical Association, the practice of homeopathy did not disappear. Instead, it evolved with the emergence of holistic healing and Eastern philosophy in the United States and today is a form of alternative medicine practiced by more than 100,000 physicians worldwide and used by millions of people to treat everyday ailments as well as acute and chronic diseases.

    The History of American Homeopathytraces the rise of lay practitioners in shaping homeopathy as a healing system and its relationship to other forms of complementary and alternative medicine in an age when conventional biomedicine remains the dominant form. Representing the most current and up-to-date history of American homeopathy, readers will benefit from John S. Haller Jr.'s comprehensive explanation of complementary medicine within the American social, scientific, religious, and philosophic traditions.

    eISBN: 978-0-8135-5118-0
    Subjects: Health Sciences

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Michael A. Flannery

    In 1978 Dr. Ramunas Kondratas, then assistant curator at the National Museum of American History, Division of Medical Science at the Smithsonian Institution, made a rather unique documentary film on homeopathy. Featuring Gustav “Gus” Tafel, who took the audience on a 30-minute tour of the largest manufacturer of homeopathic medicines in the United States, Boericke & Tafel, “Reunions: Memories of an American Experience” presented a distinguished looking gentleman in his late sixties, the grandson of co-founder Adolph J. Tafel, who waxed nostalgic over his time at the “B & T” firm. Located in Philadelphia at 1011 Arch Street, the building, apparatus, and...

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-4)

    A medical system more diverse than modern homeopathy is almost unimaginable. The multiplicity of its beliefs makes it difficult to decide whether it is a single healing system or a plural system supporting multiple practices. This complexity of character has been a part of homeopathy’s leitmotif since its founding but is more prominent now than ever before. Today, there is no single perspective in homeopathic theory and practice; nor is there any one preeminent authority—canonical or heretical. Like modern Christianity, which can and does accommodate such extremes as monasticism, televangelism, Appalachian snake handlers, exorcism, incantations, and liberation theology, homeopathy...

  6. Chapter 1 The Decline of Academic Homeopathy
    (pp. 5-34)

    Reflecting on the history of academic homeopathy from 1850 to roughly 1900, and its precipitous decline thereafter, homeopathic authors Daniel Cook, MD, and Alain Naudé sought in an article published in 1996 to dispel the widespread belief that this earlier period represented the “Golden Age” of homeopathy in America. What had once appeared as “promising and bright,” they explained, was not homeopathy at all, but rather “a caricature of homeopathy” that neither Abraham Flexner in his classicMedical Education in the United States and Canada(1910) nor the American Medical Association were responsible for creating. Instead, homeopathy had collapsed because...

  7. Chapter 2 Esoteric Homeopathy
    (pp. 35-62)

    While academic homeopathy died at the hands of both conservative and progressive homeopaths—each for different reasons—classical, esoteric, or Hahnemannian homeopathy continued its journey into the twentieth century. Among proponents, classical homeopathy implied allegiance to an original and unwavering set of correct principles. It seems clear, however, that aside from an adherence to the theory of vitalism, few principles remained intact for very long. Instead one finds any number of individuals purporting to connect fragments of Samuel Hahnemann’s writings with their own ideological proclivities. Out of this emerged many competing and often divergent practices, each seeking a kind of...

  8. Chapter 3 The Laity Speaks Out
    (pp. 63-86)

    The spread of homeopathy in the United States came from two sources: one professional, the other, lay. The professional route went from physician to student by means of preceptorships and didactic education, and from one physician to another through formal and informal contacts. Through the first half of the nineteenth century, the greatest number of these professionals came as converts from regular medicine. By the second half of the century, the medically trained homeopath came principally from one of sixty-nine colleges organized between 1835 and 1935. The other route, via the laity, was equally important. Lay advocates were often owners...

  9. Chapter 4 Postwar Trends
    (pp. 87-114)

    At the close of the Second World War, homeopaths at home and abroad sought to reestablish contacts interrupted by the war and to resume their collective and cooperative efforts. At the first postwar meeting of the Council of the International Homeopathic League which met in London in 1947, William Gutman, MD, of New York proposed the establishment of an International Homeopathic Research Council as an instrument for future research initiatives. The institute’s functions were to include the proving of drugs; the collection of toxicological facts; the collection of pharmacological data which confirmed the Law of Similia; the publication of case...

  10. Chapter 5 Roads Taken and Not Taken
    (pp. 115-140)

    Given that the term “allopathy” had been originally intended as a derogatory description of mainstream medicine and connoted as a therapeutic regimen no longer practiced, editor Allan D. Sutherland (1897-1980) of theJAIHurged readers in the late 1950s to desist from using the word. Originally devised by Hahnemann in his bitterness, the term ignored medicine’s empirical grounding as well as significant advances made during the middle and late nineteenth century.¹ Sutherland, a 1925 graduate of Hahnemann of Philadelphia and dean of the AIH Postgraduate School of Homeopathy from 1943 to 1979, was one of many at the AIH who...

  11. Chapter 6 Whither the Future?
    (pp. 141-152)

    In its summer 2002 issue, theAmerican Journal of Homeopathic Medicine(AJHM) published a series of articles highlighting a controversy involving the question of whether some reformers had gone too far in their acceptance of “new ideas” and thus undermined homeopathy by forsaking “disciplined thought and rational skepticism.” The ideas in question included quantum theory, chaos theory, systems theory, and consciousness. Did these concepts alter the way homeopaths conducted provings? Did they change how homeopaths formulated ideas about the materia medica? Did they change how homeopaths administered their medicines?¹ Referenced in the exchange of views were the so-called essences of...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 153-174)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 175-180)
  14. Index
    (pp. 181-192)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 193-194)