Sue Young Histories

The Stearns Surname and Homeopathy

February 11, 2008

divided legacyThe Stearns surname contributed a very famous homeopath and very famous founder of today’s pharmaceutical companies. Divided Legacy indeed!

Daniel E Stearns was a member of Hans Burch Gram’s circle of friends (Gram introduced homeopathy into America in 1825).

Frederick Stearns companyFrederick Stearns (1831-1907)** *was a Detroit businessman, philanthropist and manufacturer of pharmaceuticals who collected and studied many things to satisfy his own intellectual interests, who collection of musical instruments to the University of Michigan. In 1876 Frederick found a way to circumvent the laws governing the production and sale of ‘nostrums’ by producing a line of ‘non secret’ medicinal preparations and family medicines (Harris Livermore Coulter, *Divided Legacy, Volume III: Science and Ethics in American Medicine, (North Atlantic Books, 27 Jan 1993). Page 404). Frederick’s ‘New Idea’ caused confusion in medical ethics and spawned a profusion of drug companies, including Merck, Abbott, Lilly, Dohme, Merrell, Parke Davis and Abbott laboratories, all ‘inspired’ by homeopathic medications (Richard Grossinger, Homeopathy: The Great Riddle, (North Atlantic Books, 14 Aug 1998). Page 128).  Irony seems too small a word for this Divided Legacy!

As if this isn’t complicated enough:

The Vitamin Shoppe, a leading discount retailer and direct marketer of vitamins, minerals and nutritional supplements, is an affiliate of Bear Stearns Merchant Banking. Together with The Vitamin Shoppe’s Founder and CEO, Jeffrey Horowitz, and President and COO, Thomas Tolworthy, will retain an equity interest in the company.

The Vitamin Shoppe stores offer more than 20,000 items from 400-plus national brands, plus the company’s own private-label products. Founded in 1977 as a corner shop in New York City, in 2002 the company was taken private by Bear, Stearns & Company, which has filed to take it public again.

Frederick Stearns and Co was acquired by Winthrop Stearns Lab’s, Division of Sterling Drug, Inc. July 1947 which today manufactures ‘medical cannabis’

Asking any present-day Drug/Pharmaceutical manufacturer if they ever used Medical Cannabis in any of their pre-1937 medical products is a bit of a joke. Each and every last one of them (while not actually denying it) will simply tell you that they don’t have any records or information about the subject. All this makes it hard for present-day historians to locate and identify pre-1937 Medical Marihuana (then known as Cannabis) medical products. It is for this reason that the museum has put together the following index list)…

Guy Beckley Stearns 1870 -
1947Guy Beckley Stearns 1870 - 1947 was an American physician specializing in homeopathy and the developer of autonomic reflex testing in the study of homeopathic remedies.

He also was the founder of the Foundation for Homeopathic Research.

Stearns conducted early research with very highly potentized remedies first with fruit flies and later with the Emanometer, a tuning device made by William Ernest Boyd of Glasgow, Scotland.

Guy Beckley Stearns (1870 - 1947) American homeopath and author. Made contributions to the beginnings of kinesiology and radionics. He also criticised over drugging with aspirin and warned about the dangers of such massive doses:

Aspirin and the other coal tar products are condemned as causing great numbers of unnecessary deaths. The omnipresent aspirin is the most pernicious drug of all. It beguiles by its quick action of relief of pain, a relief which is but meretricious. In several cases aspirin weakened the heart, depressed the vital forces, increased the mortality in mild cases and made convalescence slower. In all cases it masks the symptoms and renders immeasurably more difficult the selection of the curative remedy. Apparently aspirin bears no curative relation to any disease and it ought to be prohibited.” Guy Beckly Stearns, MD, New York. The Journal of the American Institute of Homeopathy, Volume 13. American Institute of Homeopathy. 1921. Page 1041.

(my fourth year project at Regent’s College of Homeopathy was on The Relationships of Remedies and quotes the work of William Ernest Boyd, McCrea and Guy Beckley Stearns work).

Dr. Boyd did countless studies and was very pragmatic and scientific in his approach. His claims were investigated by a committee of orthodox medical men and scientists called the Horder Committee and the findings were submitted to the British parliament.

William Ernest Boyd arranged a series of double blind tests capable of being evaluated on a statistical basis. In this manner the accidental success ratios could be compared with actual successes. The most rigorous of these trials was repeated at an interval of a few months produced a 33,000,000 to 1 ratio in favor of the reality of the phenomena. The controls were carefully kept by the investigating committee.

The scientists concluded that they did not understand the mechanism involved in the emanometer but noted that the results were consistent and dramatically self-evident. The group then turned their findings over to a parliamentary committee.

Although little came of it, this “official recognition” is one of the reasons that further work in medical dowsing has not been suppressed in Britain as it has been in the USA. The IHA committee was headed by Guy Beckley Stearns, MD, and published a paper of its findings in

  1. Dr. Stearns was a well known homeopath who was a colleague of Allen and Boger.

Dr. Stearns took up William Ernest Boyd’s work in the USA worked out the autonomic reflex testing of remedies directly on the human body. He demonstrated that the autonomic nervous systems reacts to homeopathic remedies on mere contact or at a distance if the constitution is susceptible to their action.

This testing works with standard clinical reflexes such as the pulse, heart beat, respiration, pupil dilation, the act of percussing the abdominal and chest cavities, palpation of tissue and muscles, changes in small blood vessels on translumination, as well as a number of changes in sense and touch sensations, etc.

He even observed the reactions of the heart directly by fluoroscope and changes in galvanic skin response through rubbing a dielectric rod made of glass, rubber, or bakelite, on the abdominal area.

Stearns demonstrated that the most important effects which William Ernest Boyd observed with the emanometer could be carried out directly on the human organism in question. This led to the use of clinical reflexes rather than using the various devices and became known as Autonomic Reflex Testing.

(With thanks to David Little) In 1922 the I.H.A. requested The Foundation for Homeopathic Research, under the auspices of Guy Beckley Stearns MD. to investigate the claims of Albert Abrams that the traditional clinical reflexes responded to homeopathic remedies in a thorough scientific manner and to report back to the association.

The results of this study were delivered 10 years later in a lecture before the I.H.A. Bureau of Clinical Medicine on June 9, 11, 1932 and was published in The Homoeopathic Recorder on Nov. 15, 1932. The report confirmed the abdominal reflexes of White, Albert Abrams, and William Ernest Boyd and much, much more.

The list of clinical observations that react to the contact of homoeopathic remedies included the change of percussion tones of the abdomen and the chest; relaxation of the muscles and connective tissue on palpation; changes in the heart beat, pulse rate and character; changes in the respiratory rate, dilation of the pupils: intensification of the color of the iris; direct observation of the blood flow changes in the capillaries by transillumination of the ear lobes and webs of the fingers; direct observation of the variation in the caliber of the veins on the back of the hand; movements in the fine reticulations of the skin; changes of shade of colored pigments when they are rubbed into the skin; observation by fluoroscope of the changes in the amplitude of the heart pulsations; impediment of a dielectric rod when rubbed on the skin; and changes of sensations associated with touch; and changes in the taste.

Out of these various tests the easiest methods to use in the clinic are the pupil dilation effect; changes in pulse and respiration, the percussion of the abdomen and chest cavity; and the impeding of a dielectric rod or glass bottle on the skin of the abdomen, on the inside of the arm, and near the spine.

One who is skilled in the art of palpation can also detect changes in the tonus of the muscles and tissues of the body to remedies.

All of these effects are the reaction of the autonomic nervous system to the radiations of energy waves from the homoeopathic remedy. In fact many of these reflexes will react before the vial is actually brought into contact with the patient.

This also includes assessment of changes in leg lengths and body alignment as well as muscle testing by the Applied Kinesiology of Goodheart.

Kinesiology is not as objective as the traditional clinical reflexes because of the intimate involvement of the operator in the testing of the reflex. It also entails the use of both the autonomic and voluntary nervous system and the conscious minds of both individuals.

This statement is not meant to debunk or disclaim the system in the hands of an expert operator. In fact Applied Kinesiology can be very useful when kept within reasonable bounds. Nevertheless, the clinical reflexes cannot be as easily manipulated consciously or unconsciously by the tester because the reactions only involve the autonomic nervous system of the client. Autonomic reflex testing is an art that can be learned by anyone who is willing to try it.

Stearns added the following insight into the process of testing and its relationship to homoeopathy. Life often demonstrates the truth that “what goes around, comes around” as this method ended up saving Dr. Stearns’ own life.

He was given up for lost due to a severe heart condition by the best homoeopathic prescribers in America. He became so ill that he could not even walk more than a few steps without suffering great pain. In an attempt to save his own life Dr. Stearns trained two laymen in the pupil testing methods.

For 12 days his assistants tested 100 medicines a day, a totality of 1200 remedies. On the 13th day all the remedies that had shown a response on the pupil were retested and compared. At the end of the day it appeared that Morphine Acetate came through as the best remedy.

Dr. Stearns took this remedy and made a slow but steady improvement. This remedy was later followed by two other remedies that showed up during the testing, Ruta and Rhus tox.

On these three remedies Dr. Stearns made a full recovery. Thus Dr. Stearns’ own vital force assisted by the two laymen was able to do what the best classical prescribes of the day could not! (continue reading:)

Guy Becley Stearns was born in Wilmot, New Hampshire, a son of Minot Stearns and his wife, the former Sara J. Hazeltine. Stearns married Ada King prior to 21 April 1912. She died in 1956.

Stearns was a graduate of the Homeopathic Medical College in New York City and a 1900 graduate of New York Medical College.

In 1907, when Stearns was a resident at Metropolitan Hospital (the located on Blackwell’s Island in New York City), as well as Flower Free Surgical Hospital, he was arrested for performing an unspecified private operation on a nurse and longtime friend named Susan T. Greene (a.k.a. Mrs. Graham), who then died of septic peritonitis.

Given the evasiveness of the New York Times article about the case in terms of specifics, as well as considering that the nurse used the false name Mrs. Graham when she checked into Stearns’s office and that she travelled from Boston to New York solely to be operated on by Stearns, with whom the paper reported she had worked in a resort hotel when they were teenagers, indicates that the doctor may have been arrested for performing an illegal abortion.

In The Homoeopathic Recorder (Vol XLVII, Nov. 15, 1932, No. 11), Stearns published an article called Body Reflexes as a Means of Selecting a Remedy.

"This is a seminal article of this genre. It is a report of a committee," wrote Jack Prince in "[_The Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients_](". "They found that if a remedy in a vial was placed on the skin or brought close to a patient, measurable autonomic reactions occurred if it was the [simillimum](

“The study included 1,200 remedies measured on a patient, 100 per day for 12 days. The study included many patients. The two most reliable reactions for remedy selection were changes on the pupil and the pulse.

“Other changes include color change in the iris and the tone of chest percussion. Many changes were recorded including alteration in the amplitude of heart pulsations observed by fluoroscope.

“If an individual is touched with a homeopathic vial, a dielectric rod is impeded when rubbed on the skin. The remedies were always in glass containers for this study. No contact with the physical material was made.

“The conclusion was that reactions were due to energy acting on the autonomic nervous system.”

For Laurie’s Domestic Medicine, a medical guide published in 1942, Stearns and his research assistant, Edgar D. Evia, contributed an essay called ”The New Synthesis”, which that same year was expanded into a book called ”The Physical Basis of Homeopathy and the New Synthesis“.

In the New England Journal of Homeopathy (Spring/Summer 2001, Vol. 10, No. 1.), Richard Moskowitz, MD, called the Stearns-Evia article

“a cutting-edge essay into homeopathic research that prophesied and actually began the development of kinesiology, made original contributions to radionics, and dared to sketch out a philosophy of these still esoteric frontiers of homeopathy at a time when such matters were a lot further beyond the pale of respectable science even than they are today.”

The Physical Basis of Homeopathy and the New Synthesis has been described as

“a fascinating synthesis of various ideas about potency, the biology of reaction in organisms and techniques for measuring nervous system responses to a remedy.

“The book discusses pulse testing and pupillary reaction as a method of testing sensitivity to homeopathic substances.”

The book remains in print, published by B. Jain Ltd. of New Delhi.

Stearns and Evia also contributed, from March until June 1942, a column entitled ”The New Synthesis” to the Journal of the American Institute of Homeopathy. The pair also published, in the February 1942 issue of the Journal of the American Institute of Homeopathy, an article entitled ”_The Physical Basis of Homeopathy. _

Stearns was a well known collector of rare books, including a 1479 edition of the works of Horace, a partial autograph manuscript of Mark Twain’s A Tramp Abroad, and a first edition of Ben Jonson’s Q Horatius Flaccus.

His name is given in an Edgar Cayce reading 254-97 on file at the ARE in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Arthur Hill Grimmer mentions that Dr. Guy Beckley Stearns, a famous New York City homeopath and researcher, had made remedies from several strains of influenza including the Spanish Flu.

Dr.G.B. Stearns of New York collected through the International Hahnemannian Association 17,000 cases of Influenza with a mortality rate of 4%.

Guy was not impressed by aspirin

Aspirin and the other coal tar products are condemned as causing great numbers of unnecessary deaths. The omnipresent aspirin is the most pernicious drug of all. It beguiles by its quick action of relief of pain, a relief which is but meretricious.

In several cases aspirin weakened the heart, depressed the vital forces, increased the mortality in mild cases and made convalescence slower. In all cases it masks the symptoms and renders immeasurably more difficult the selection of the curative remedy.

Apparently aspirin bears no curative relation to any disease and it ought to be prohibited.

Guy wrote extensively about the nosodes

A nosode is an isopathic remedy consisting of the product of some specific disease administered in minute doses for the cure of the same disease”. (Century Dictionary.)

This definition applies better to allopathy than to homœopathy because, in old school practice, a vaccine is administered specifically for its own disease, whereas, in homœopathy, a nosode is given in potentized form on symptomatic as well as on clinical indications.

In the old school, vaccines can be either autogenous or standardized products and are usually given hypodermically. (continue reading:)

Medical Pioneer. Always striving to prove the physical effect of the non-physical properties of homeopathic remedies his early research was with fruit flies. He was the second husband of the well-to-do widow Ada King on 1 February 1910. He was the son of Sarah J (Hazeltine) and Minot Stearns.

His protegé Edgar de Evia, who would go on to become the noted photographer, was his reasearch assistant in the early 1940s. While he had no known direct descendants, he was survived by a nephew who was his namesake Guy Beckley Stearns, II.

Guy left an important legacy to Homeopathy

Liga Medicorum Homeopathica Internationalis. We have already made a start through the generosity of the late Dr. Stearns of New York and I have been elected President of the International Foundation for Homeopathic Research. We have a capital of $15,000 and a valuable library.

This is the beginning, this should be and will be transferred into the International Institute for Homeopathic Research as a nucleus and it can only expand through cooperation and work. We do not need money, but we need from every country a handful of workers in the field willing to adopt a common plan and attend meetings where we can pool our experience and work as one great team.

In that way we shall achieve results and become worthy followers of the immortal Hahnemann.

Guy wrote Treatment of Influenza, A New Synthesis, The Physical Basis of Homoeopathy and a New Synthesis, Mental Ills Considered from the Standpoint of Sigmund Freud’s Theory… , Apropos of Radium, Significance of Symptoms, Types of Infection Cured by Arsenicum, calcarea carb in both the The Hahnemannian Monthly and Transactions and many other papers on various homeopathic subjects published in most of the American Journals.

G R Stearns was awarded the Prize Microscopes Awarded by the New York Homeopathic Medical College in 1878.

Katie Stearns was a nurse at the New York Homeopathic Hospital.

Mary Elizabeth Preston Stearns born in Norridgewock, Me., in 182~, was the niece of abolitionist author Lydia Maria Francis Child (~802-80) and frequented transcendentalist circles in the ~ 830s and ~ 840s.

In ~ 843 she married George Luther Stearns (~809-67), a wealthy Boston businessman and abolitionist who financially aided John Brown in Kansas and was one of the ”secret six” who backed Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry.

He was an active supporter of Radical Republican causes during and after the Civil War. After his death Mrs. Stearns continued her husband’s interest in aiding blacks, though with none of his flair for action, probably due in part to her ill health and her reliance on homeopathy as a cure.

She contributed financially to institutions devoted to educating freedmen, including Hampton and Tuskegee, and aided Negroes individually, including Olivia Davidson. She died on Nov. 28, egos, leaving a bequest to Tuskegee.

Mrs. Stearns, who had known John Brown well, was by her deathbed request ”buried on December 2, day of execution of John Brown, to whose memory the day had been kept sacred for many years in her household.”

Mary F Stearns left a bequest of $10,000 to the Massachusetts’s Homeopathic Hospital in her will in 1901.


Any views or advice in this site should not be taken as a substitute for medical advice or treatment, especially if you know you have a specific health complaint