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Now and Before

                 Homeopathy in the Past and Present


Since Homeopathy has been promoted by Hahnemann, it once sprang up in the countries of Europe and America, and grew up rapidly. But in the late 19th century, Homeopathy was almost completely extirpated. Until 1960s it gradually became prosperous again. Why is there such a phenomenon? The development of Homeopathy in the past and present was stated as follows:

The Past of United States of America: The Rise of Homeopathy

In 1832 cholera epidemic prevailed in Europe. After the news of the cholera patients successfully treated by local Homeopath was spread to the United States, the doctors in the United States showed their interest to Homeopathy. In just a few years, Homeopathy was blooming like the flowers in the Spring. In 1844, American Institute of Homeopathy was established in the United States. and was regarded as the first organization applied the registration to the country and was certified by the federal government in the states. Until the latter half of the 19th century, Homeopathy was very popular in the United States. In 1890 there were a total of more than 14,000 homeopaths in the whole United States, that is not less than 15 percent of physicians deploying the Homeopathy practice. In some areas such as the New England states, and more states of Midwest the proportion of homeopaths was up to 20% ~ 25%. At that time there were 22 homeopathic medical schools, more than 100 homeopathic hospitals, more than 1,000 homeopathic remedies suppliers. Today the famous Boston University School of Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School, New York Medical College, University of Minnesota School of Medicine, Hahnemann College of Homeopathy and Standford University School of Medicine have once been the homeopathic hospitals at that time.

In 1848 the homeopathic Boston College Female Medical College was founded to become the first women's medical school in the world. In 1873, the college changed was renamed the New England Female Medical College, and was soon merged with another homeopathic medical school, Boston University School of Medicine. In 1871 Homeopaths admitted women into American Institute of Homeopathy, which was the first medical association in the word to accept the women physicians, while women were not invited into American Institute of Medicine (AMA) until 1915. Compared to AMA, American Institute of Homeopathy accepted female members 44 years earlier than the AMA. According to a U.S. Commission on Education in 1898, three out of the four medial schools with the largest libraries and complete series of reference books were homeopathic colleges. Obviously, the education standard of homeopathic medical school was much higher than the Western Medicine school at that time. The development of Homeopathy was all the rage.

In addition, there were many famous great writers, politicians and businessmen supporting Homeopathy in the United States. They all played an important role in promoting Homeopathy. The great writers included Mark Twain, William James, Louisa May Alcott, Harriett Beecher Stowe, Henry David Thoreau and so on. Politicians included William Lloyd Garrison and Zabina Eastman (abolitionists), Susan B Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton (feminists), the presidents for the United States such as James A Garfield and William McKinley. The businessmen included the famous millionaries such as John D. Rockefeller and William , etc..

1 Coulter, Divided Legacy: Conflict Between Homeopathy and The American Medical Association. Vol.3, pp. 124-126. Berkeley: North Atlantic, 1975.
2.Coulter, Divided Legacy, Vol. 3, pp. 304, 460; Transactions of the American Institute of Homeopathy, 1901, pp. 657-746.
3.Ibid. Transactions of the American Institute of Homeopathy, 1908, p.128.
4.King, History of Homeopathy, Vol. 2, pp. 159-213.
5.Abrams, Ruth, ed., Send Us a Lady Physician: Women Doctors in American, 183-1920 (New York: Norton, 1985), p.100.
6.Pials, University of Michigan, 1901.
7.New York Journal of Medicine, 5 (1845): 418.

The Past of the United States of America: Western Medical Society forced Homeopathy into corner resulted in the downturn of Homeopathy

During the growing prosperous period of Homeopathy in the United States, the allopaths established the American Medical Association (AMA) in 1846. The main purpose of AMA was to declare war to American Institute of Homeopathy. The main reason was that American Institute of Homeopathy kept on growing. More and more physicians joined American Institute of Homeopathy and the patients turned to homeopaths as they were unsatisfied with the adverse effects from the traditional treatment of Western Medicine. The situation is getting worse as the homeopaths always criticized the treatment used by Western Medicine in public. This led to the enmity of the allopaths on the homeopaths day after day, and finally resulted in the establishment of American Medicine Association, associated with the western medicine manufacturers, resisted American Institute of Homeopathy. During this period, AMA used all sorts of despicable political means to stifle the development of Homeopathy.

In order to get rid of American Institute of Homeopathy and homeopaths, AMS’s first step was to start up an internal “purge”. In 1855 AMA established a code of ethics which asserted that orthodox physicians would lose their membership in AMA, if they even consulted with a homeopath about the medical records and treatment of the patient, regarding this as unethical behaviour. At that time, if a physician lost this membership in the local medical society, it meant he no longer had a license to practice medicine. Before the setup of this code of ethics, there was never practical execution of any rules. However, these harsh rules on homeopaths were highly accepted and severely executed. For example, Joseph K. Barnes, the Surgeon General of the United States, was denounced for aiding in the treatment of Secretary of State William Seward on the night he was stabbed and Lincoln was shot, simply because Seward's personal physician was a homeopath. In 1833 the AMA declined to acknowledge the delegates from the New York State Medical Society because this society recognized homeopathic physicians and the physicians who might use Homeopathy. The code of ethics for this internal "purge" to homeopathic physicians was only abolished until 1901. This was not because the AMA had changed the standpoint towards Homeopathy, but they have a new direction of the strategy of “purge”.

In 1910 Carnegie Foundation recruited Abraham Flexner and a number of important members of the AMA to assess all the medical societies in the States. The assessment results were submitted to the state medical licensing boards, so that the eligibility of candidates was determined based on these results. This Flexner's Report gave higher ratings to the AMA but lower ratings to American Institute of Homeopathy. Its purpose was to expel out the homeopathic college graduates, so that they could not participate in medical licensing examination. Under this situation, American Institute of Homeopathy was gradually purged by Western Medical Society. From the year of the report to be published, viz. in 13 years from 1910 to 1923, Flexner's Report successfully eliminated 20 homeopathic medical schools. The original 22 homeopathic medical schools were thus reduced to only two in 1923.

In addition to homeopathic medical school, the major “purge” target of Flexner's Report also aimed at black and female medical physicians. The report successfully eliminated five out of seven black medical schools and reduced 33% of women entering medical school and being physicians after graduate. This report was actually an open and legitimate discriminated bill against human rights, gender and freedom of choice in a so-called democratic country.

In addition to the suppression of Western Medicine School on Homeopathy, the second major factor for the downturn of Homeopathy was due to the accelerated pace of life led by the industrial revolution in the late 19th century. In order to earn their living and look for the enjoyment in a material world, people increased the working hours. The requirement on treatment had been changed from a total cure to a quick and efficient treatment. At that time the pharmaceutical companies produced the new medicine such as the painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs which could help to suppress the symptoms of the patients in a short time. This misled the patients to have a perception of a quick recovery of sickness. Therefore, these new drugs could fully meet the requirements of the people at that time. On the other hand, for the homeopathic treatment, homeopaths need longer time for diagnosis, and its therapeutic effect was slower than the palliative western medicine. Besides the patients who preferred to adopt this quick treatment with new western medicine, many homeopathic physicians decided to use western medicine for treatment due to their own financial reasons.

In addition, due to the different theories and technologies in using remedies by different homeopathic schools, there were criticism and censures among the homeopathic schools resulted in their discord. The AMA took this advantage to entirely cope with Homeopathy. Thanks to the endless conflicts among the schools and constant attack from allopathy, Homeopathy had finally vanished. In 1950, the original 22 homeopathic medical schools in the States were either forced to close or changed to western medicine schools. The homeopaths were left to just around 100, and most were in the age of 50 years and more. After the century of purging, Western medicine society finally succeeded in terminating Homeopathy.

1.Kaufman, "Homoeopathy in America", p. 53.
2.Coulter, Divided Legacy, Vol.3, p.199.
3.Ibid, pp.206-219.
4.Starr, Social Transformation, p.98.
5.Coulter, op., Cit., P.314.
6.Starr, Social Transformation, p.119.
7.Coulter, Divided Legacy, Vol.3, p.44
8.Kaufman, Homeopathy in America, p.166.
9.Starr, Social Transformation, p, 124.
10.Ullman, Dana, The Consumer's Guide to Homeopathy, A Jeremy P. Tarcher / Putnam Book, New York, 1995. Pp.33-34.


The recovery of Homeopathy in Europe

In France, there were only around 400 homeopathic physicians left in the early 1960s. In 1990s , 39% of the physicians turned to be homeopaths. Until nowadays in the 21st century, over 70% of the physicians make use of homeopathic remedies to treat patients. There are currently seven Allopathic Medical School teaching Homeopathy. In addition, teaching courses of Homeopathy are provided by 21 colleges of pharmacology, 2 medical schools of stomatology, 2 medical schools of veterinary and 3 medical schools of midwives. Around 98% of 45,000 pharmacies are now selling homeopathic remedies in the country. According to the statistics, as the national health insurance has accepted Homeopathy, the percentage of homeopathy users in France has been increasing from only 16 percent to 29% in 1987, and then reaching 36% in 1992. The highest sales volume and the most popular cold medicine in the country is the homeopathic remedy, accounting for 50% of sales of cold medicine.

In 1991, there were more than 25 percent of physicians using Homeopathy in Germany. Among these physicians, 10 percent of them were homeopathic specialists, the other 10 percent of them might sometimes use homeopathic remedies, and the remaining 3000 out 11,000 naturopathic physicians were the homeopathic specialists. In the year of 1991, the sales of the homeopathic remedies were 428 million dollars, of which 85% of the sold remedies were referred to the prescription offered by the homeopaths. Around 98% of the pharmacies in the country are now selling homeopathic remedies.

Due to the support of British royal family, Homeopathy has a better development in UK. According to the report in London Times magazine dated November 1989, the number of Scottish people receiving homeopathic treatment increased from 5% in 1985 to 11% in 1989, while there were 11% of the national citizens accepted Homeopathic treatment in the whole country. Among which 80% of the patients expressed their great satisfaction with Homeopathy. At present, there are five British homeopathic hospitals, which are cooperating with the National Health Service (NHS). Because of high number of patients, it takes about two years for the admission of the chronic patients to the hospitals after making the general application. Hence it indicates that Homeopathy is a very popular treatment method in the United Kingdom. In the investigation report published in the British Medical Journal (February 1991), 42% of physicians are willing to refer patients to homeopath for treatment. In the statistical report published in the British Medical Journal, Doctor, dated 16th July, 1992, more than 80% of physicians believed the effectiveness of Homeopathy. The spokesman of Department of Health of UK pointed out that 80% of physicians tended to learn alternative medicine, while Homeopathy is one of the most popular master's and doctoral disciplines. In 1994, British Medical Journal reports indicated that more than 37% of physicians deploy Homeopathy.

The development of Homeopathy varies in different degrees in other European countries. Based on different statistical reports, in Switzerland about 11% to 27% of the physicians make use of homeopathic remedies; in Italy about 10% of the physicians make use of homeopathic remedies; in the Netherlands 20% of the people accept the alternative medical treatment while Homeopathy is the most popular one. In medical community, over 45% of physicians believe that Homeopathy works definitely, 47% of the physicians make use of alternative medicine, and Homeopathy is most popular treatment methods chosen by physicians. There were more than 2,000 physicians using Homeopathy.

In Russia, since the former Republics of the Soviet Union recognized the status of Homeopathy, the pharmacies sold up to 200 million bottles of homeopathic remedies in Moscow in 1981. Although homeopathic treatment was not covered in the scope of treatment at public expense, many Russians prefer to see the homeopath to get the homeopathic treatment at their own expense rather than the free treatment of Western medicine. Most people receiving homeopathic treatment were highly educated or in a high-income class.

In Hungary Homeopathy had once been banned by the government before 1990. This lasted for 40 years. Then Hungarian Homeopathic Medical Association started with 11 members in 1990. After 18 months, the number of members had increased to 75. In 1994, there were 302 members

Czech Medical Homeopathic Society was founded in November 1990. Shortly after its establishment, it was accepted as a subsidiary under the jurisdiction of Western Medicine. In the next year, Homeopathy was recognized as a specialized medical subject by Ministry of Health Service of Czech Republic.

Before the independence of Slovakia, the last homeopathic pharmacy was closed in 1964, and the last homeopathic physician also died in 1967. But then in 1993, the newly established Slovakian Homeopathy Association had more than 800 members.


1.Alternative Medicine / Alternative Medical Market. Frost and Sullivan Ltd. Report E874, London, 1986.
2.Homeopathic Medicine Association of Canada Newsletter, Spring, 1992.
4.L 'Homeopathie en, 1993. Lyon: Syndicate National de la Pharmacie Homeopathique, 1993 (Quoting COFREMCA and IFOP public opinion survey.)
5.Ullman, Dana, Consumer's Guide to Homeopathy, p.36, Tarcher / Putman Book, 1995.
6.Marketing Herbal and Homeopathic Remedies in Germany. Essex, England: Nicholas Hall, July, 1992.
7.Fisher, P., Ward, A.: Complementary Medicine in Europe. British Medical Journal 309: 107, 1994.
8.Raymond J. Garrett & Taresa Stone: Catching Good Health with Homeopathic Medicine, Chapter 8, Homeopathy Around the World, p.117, CRS Publication.
9.Ullman, Danna, Consumer's Guide to Homeopathy, Tarcger / Putman Book, p.38, 1995.
12.Sandra M. Chase, "The Status of Homeopathy in the World," Presentation at the National Centre of Homeopathy Conference, April 7, 1995.