Homeopathy 2017; 106(04): 250-259
DOI: 10.1016/j.homp.2017.07.001
Original Paper
Copyright © The Faculty of Homeopathy 2017

Private and institutionalised patients' use of homeopathy in the early nineteenth century

Silvia Waisse

Subject Editor:
Further Information

Publication History

Received05 August 2016

accepted12 July 2017

Publication Date:
04 January 2018 (online)

Medicine underwent a major crisis in the 18th century and several approaches, including homeopathy, were formulated to fill the void left by the fall of traditional Galenic medicine. While most of the literature deals with the reasons doctors had to shift to homeopathy, the patients' views became the focus of increasing scholarly attention along the past 20 years. In this article I present and discuss the current knowledge about the socio-demographic characteristics and medical complaints of patients who sought homeopathic care in the early 19th century in both private and institutional settings. The results show that not only patients from the higher and more educated classes sought homeopathic care, but a considerable number of individuals from the middle and lower strata did so too, even though they also had access to conventional hospitals. As to the clinical complaints, the reasons to seek homeopathic care were the typical ones for any general practice or hospital in the period considered.


• Patients developed much interest in contending medical approaches in the 19th century.

• The outcomes of homeopathy were not better compared to conventional medicine.

• One strong reason to seek homeopathic care was to avoid the ill effects of conventional medicine.

• Homeopathy patients came from all society strata and educational levels.

• There was no definite trend in the type of disease for which homeopathic care was sought.