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History of self-medication in homoeopathy

The aim of this research project is to record and describe the tradition of self-medication in homoeopathy between 1810 and approximately 1970 (researcher: Dr. Marion Baschin). The physician Samuel Hahnemann developed his "alternative" system of healing at the beginning of the 19th Century. His method, though controversial, was very popular with lay healers. The simple procedures, application almost entirely without side-effects and the low costs of purchasing the medicaments, all offered considerable advantages for self-treatment. The continued demand from lay people and the foundation of associations saw Hahnemann's theories disseminated further. Homoeopathic therapy was also considerably more effective in the treatment of illnesses such as cholera than standard methods were, meaning that Hahnemann's teachings enjoyed particular popularity in the 1830s. In addition, the lack of homoeopathic doctors forced interested parties to take matters into their own hands and treat themselves. There were countless guides published to this effect.

The project, supported since 2011 by the Deutsche Homöopathie-Union Karlsruhe, is based on documents left by the associations of homoeopathic lay healers, which are primarily housed in the Institute for the History of Medicine of the Robert Bosch Foundation in Stuttgart, as well as documents relating to the activities of these associations and their pharmacies, held in several state archives. In addition, the periodicals, specially published for lay people interested in homoeopathy, as well as the "Homöopatische Monatsblätter" or the "Leipziger Populäre Zeitschrift für Homöopathie", were taken as sources. Reference was also made to the price lists of homoeopathic pharmacies and the guides for lay people.