Offered is a very scarce boxed set of late 19th century Homeopathic medicine vials, most of which still retain their contents. The box is made of cardboard covered by a thin layer of what appears to be leatherette.
The box is mildly worn commensurate with age and use, with some tape holding the top sides together. It measures 5.5"L x 3.75"W x 3.5"H.
Twenty three of the 24 bottles retain their contents, with the one bottle displaying a dark cork being empty and broken (parts of the glass from this broken vial are stuck to the box interior compartment). The vials measure just over 3 inches tall including corks and sport handwritten labels, most of which are legible (a few are faded and illegible).
Overall a very unusual find when you consider that the contents remain.
Although homeopathy has its roots in ancient Greek medicine and in the work of the 16th-century physician, Paracelsus, modern homeopathy dates back 200 years to the work of the German doctor and chemist, Samuel Hahnemann. Hahnemann qualified as a physician but ceased to practice as a doctor because of what he saw as the barbaric medical practices of his day - which included bloodletting and the overuse of toxic medicines, leading to horrific side effects.
A brilliant linguist, he earned a living from translating books and was interested by a reference in a medical textbook describing the use of China (Peruvian bark) as a cure for malaria. Intrigued to know why China worked, he took doses of the remedy until he himself began to exhibit malarial symptoms. He stopped taking the China, and the symptoms went away. From this he deduced that the ancient principle of 'like cures like' actually worked.
His next step was to determine if there were safe levels at which toxic substances could be given - and still cure the type of symptoms that they might otherwise cause. His experiments with dilution led him to discover that the more a substance was diluted, the more potent it appeared to become.
Homeopathic medicine was born, but in practicing it, Hahnemann and his followers were subjected to ridicule and persecution by the medical establishment, despite the fact that they were seeing patients getting better on tiny doses of medicines, prescribed on the basis of 'like cures like'. Many European practitioners immigrated to the United States, where homeopathy flourished in the 19th century – until the traditional medical establishment systematically acted to remove its influence.
Hahnemann ended his days as a renowned and very busy practitioner in Paris, working into his 80's. He is interred at the Cimetière du Père Lachaise, where a large monument honors him and his discovery of Homeopathy.