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The content of the exhibition

The exhibition illustrates the characteristic features of homoeopathic medicine and explains its therapeutic principles and its holistic view of disease processes. It introduces the similarity rule which is central to homoeopathy as well as the production of homoeopathic medicines from animal preparations, mineral and plant substances.

The journey through history begins with the situation leading up to the first beginnings of homoeopathy. When the physician Samuel Hahnemann developed homoeopathy in the late 18th century, medicine was still far away from its present-day standard of knowledge. Without much insight into the causes of disease physicians harried their patients with bloodletting, enemas and vast amounts of (often harmful) medicaments.

Compared to the medical practices of his time Hahnemann’s approach was revolutionary in that he postulated the exact observation of the patient and the disease picture, the meticulous study of drug effects and, above all, the precise and very low dosage of remedies to avoid any undesired side-effects.

Famous patients from the aristocracy and the art world promoted the dissemination of homoeopathy as their social standing greatly enhanced its public image.

During the cholera epidemic of the 1830s physicians had the first opportunity to publicly prove the efficacy of the new healing method. Their therapeutic successes which were striking compared to the failures of conventional treatment contributed immensely to the popularity of homoeopathy.
In the face of much resistance and hostility from the orthodox medical fraternity, homoeopathy spread in the first half of the 19th century, first in Germany and then worldwide. With their idealism and financial support a number of wealthy sponsors and patrons made it possible to set up homoeopathic hospitals. In the late 19th century the first few factories developed out of the small homoeopathic manufactures and soon dominated the homoeopathic pharmaceutical market.

The 200-year history of homoeopathy also includes the Nazi time when many homoeopaths hoped for the fulfilment of their long-harboured dreams of public recognition.

The exhibition follows the worldwide development of homoeopathy in detail paying particular attention to the diverse ways in which it evolved in the various European countries up to its present-day boom that also extends to Central and Eastern Europe. The success of the North American homoeopaths and how it was received worldwide was an important influence right up to the early 20th century. Nowadays it is the renaissance of homoeopathy in South America that excites much interest. Special attention is given to Brazil where homoeopathy is recognized as part of the ‘integrative national health system’. The development in Asia is demonstrated by the example of recent innovative streams, such as in Japan, and the situation in India where homoeopathy is holding a strong position being fully included in the national health care provision. India boasts the widest dissemination and the best institutional recognition of homoeopathy worldwide.

The historical review closes with a look at the situation of homoeopathy today. Since the 1980s homoeopathy has experienced a considerable global upsurge. In the course of its 200-year history various regional schools of homoeopathy have emerged. The efficacy of the high potencies has remained controversial until today. The exhibition therefore also gives an account of the current research into this question and the outcomes of the research into health care provision. Special indication areas for homoeopathy and patient needs are described in conclusion.

Contact person for booking the exhibition

Archivist Prof. Dr. Martin Dinges
Institut für Geschichte der Medizin der Robert Bosch Stiftung  
Straußweg 17
D-70184 Stuttgart
Tel.: 0711 / 46 08 41 67 (direct)
Tel.: 0711 / 46 08 41 71+72 (Secretaries)
Fax: 0711 / 46 08 41 81

Contact person for the technical procedure

Archivist Sandra Dölker
Institut für Geschichte der Medizin der Robert Bosch Stiftung Stuttgart
Straußweg 17
D-70184 Stuttgart
Tel.: 0711 / 46 08 41 70
Fax: 0711 / 46 08 41 81