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The American Who Killed Homeopathy

When I first discovered that homeopathy was a genuine and effective, and a genuinely effective, form of medicine, the first question I had was,

"What the hell happened to homeopathy in the US?"

Today in the USA, fewer than 3% of Americans use homeopathy, and far fewer actually know enough to say what it is (

This was not always the case.

In the mid Nineteenth Century and up until the Great Depression, homeopathy was hugely popular in the United States. There were 28 homeopathic medical schools, over 100 homeopathic hospitals, thousands of homeopathically trained medical doctors, thousands of lay practitioners, and over a thousand homeopathic pharmacies. In Rochester, NY alone (where I am based), there were two homeopathic hospitals, and one of them housed a homeopathic nursing school. Genesee Hospital, which stood on Alexander Street was originally Rochester Homeopathic Hospital, and Highland Hospital, near Mt. Hope, was originally Hahnemann Hospital.

In fact, homeopathy was doing so well that conventional physicians began to be frightened about their livelihood -- especially when caught their wives giving homeopathic medicines to their children because the medicines were so safe.

In 1844 Medical homeopaths created the first medical association in the United States, The American Institute of Homeopathy (which still exists today). In 1847 in response, conventional (allopathic) physicians formed the American Medical Association. Immediately the AMA began to aggressively de-legitimize homeopathy and homeopathic practitioners (AMA, Report of the Committee on Medical Education, 1851, P428 - 434 The AMA

Such was the fear on the part of conventional doctors, that for many decades, conventional physicians who held any truck with homeopaths, homeopathic institutions, homeopathic medicines, even friendships, were called out by peers and regularly expelled from the AMA. Such expulsions typically included the withdrawal of a license to practice, and a total withdrawal of professional connections to other conventional physicians-- effectively killing the career of the physician.

Enter into this the aging, John Davison Rockefeller, Sr. who had been an ardent patron of homeopathy over most of his life. What followed is a century long tragedy of public health, the likes of which we are now, maybe, hopefully, just beginning to recover from.

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