Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Homeopathic Dose of Money

Sensible folks know that homeopathy is nonsense. Yet it's all too easy to assume that in the quaint old past, people gave credence to this buncombe. After all, even the U of M had a department of homeopathy. Surely people thought this was a valid treatment back in the day, when they didn't know what we know today.

It's easy to assume so. Yet that would be wrong. Even in its day, homeopathy was ridiculed by many contemporaneous folks. I've read a joke in a late 19th-century Ypsi paper about a baby drinking up a bottle of medicine and a mom panicking. "Don't worry, Ma--it was only a homeopathic medicine. He won't be affected in the least."

Here's another tidbit of evidence that homeopathy was viewed with skepticism by many. It's an ad from the 1892 Ypsi city directory. The newspaper, from its office at the southeast corner of Cross Street and Huron, is advertising its job printing services for anyone who needs a church bulletin or commencement booklet or the like.



Dusty D said...

Scanned this baby at 300 dpi, so not sure why it's pixelated. Sorry about that. I'll look into it, for future images.

Russ said...

I remember hearing or reading at some time in the past that the success of homeopathic medicines were how small the amount of medicine was present in the mixture. Really small, like diluted to 10,000 to 1 or even less. I wonder if the paper was referring to this example to emphasize how small an amount of money you need to pay? Russ

Dusty D said...

Yes sir, I believe you are right. Around this time local newspapers in general were around $1 a year for home delivery [$24 in today's money).

Dusty D said...

Whoops, misremembered: it was a joke from the March 22, 1889 Ann Arbor Argus:

An Effective Dose.

Mrs. Younglove: I am so glad, dear, that Dr. Carver is a homeopathic physician.

Mr. Y: Why, my best beloved?

Mrs. Y.: Because, when the baby was left alone today the dear little thing are three bottles of pills and drank two bottles of liquid. I shudder to think what the consequences might have been if the medicine had been allopathic.