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Small homeopathic medicine chest and handwritten list of preparations, possibly English, 1830-1850

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Homeopathy relies on the idea that ‘like cures like’. For instance, treatment for vomiting is something that causes vomiting but in a smaller, much diluted dose. This leather-covered wooden medicine chest contains 143 tiny phials of homeopathic medicines. It is accompanied by a handwritten list identifying the ingredients by the number on each phial. It is unknown who made the medicine chest. Considerable effort went into its construction. It is covered in gilded leather. A hand tooled design is embossed upon it. It is accompanied by a small scoop, possibly gold. This homeopathic kit is said to have been bought in 1835. This was when homeopathy was in its infancy. Homeopathy was founded by Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843). It was brought to England in the 1830s. There were over 80 homeopathic practitioners in London by the 1870s. There was friction with the traditional medical establishment. However, pharmacists quickly exploited interest in the new remedies.

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Glossary: medicine chest

Small chests fitted for bottles and intended to hold medical supplies; of a type made in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

Glossary: homeopathy

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