An explanation of Homeopathy (the treatment of choice by the Alcotts)

This is a fascinating article that explains with great clarity the scope and nature of  homeopathic medicine (my thanks to Dr. Norbert Hirschhorn  for this referral). Bronson and Abba Alcott were firm believers in Homeopathy, using its treatments and medicines (in lieu of a doctor) during the outbreak of smallpox in the family in 1850, and scarlet fever in 1856. Louisa also used homeopathic means (among other things) to help with her many ailments. One can see why Bronson in particular was attracted to Homeopathy:

How Homeopathy Came to New Hampshire, 1840–1860
by David K. Nartonis

In 1856, Bronson wrote the following in his journal about the treatment of Lizzie’s scarlet fever using “Hahnemann’s Tract on the Cure and Prevention of Scarlet Fever:”

“Dispense all fears by means of kind and cheering words, by nice little presents, by holding out hopes of a speedy recovery—and on the other hand, we should allow the patient a free choice of all kinds of drinks and (use) of cooler coverings to suit his feelings. The patient’s own feelings are a much surer guide than all the maxims of the schools. We must only take care kindly to keep the patient from taking solid nutriments too soon, or in too great quantity during convalescence.” Houghton Library, Amos Bronson Alcott papers, 1799-1888, MS Am 1130.12, sequence 99, page 451, June 1, 1856

Houghton Library, Amos Bronson Alcott papers, 1799-1888, MS Am 1130.12, sequence 99, page 451, June 1, 1856

You can read Bronson’s journal from 1856 here – the end of May and the first week of June concern the use of homeopathy:


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