Sue Young Histories

Elias Altschul 1807 - 1865

January 26, 2009

Elias (Emil) Altschul 1807 (1797) - 1865 was a Jewish Czech orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy and who worked in Prague and taught homeopathy from 1848 on at the University of Prague. Altschul was an Associate Professor at the Prague Medical Faculty.

Elias Altschul was the copy editor of the Monthly Journal for Theory and Practice of Homeopathy.

In Prague, the capital of Bohemia, the first handbooks and introductions to homeopathy came out already in the first half of the 19th century but they were written in German.

One of the best known authors of these fundamental writings was without doubt Elias Altschul (1797 – 1865): Der homöopathische Zahnarzt, 1841 (The Homeopathic Dentist); Lehrbuch der physiologischen Pharmacodynamik, 1853 (Textbook of Physiological Pharmacodynamics); Taschenwörterbuch der Kinder-Krankheiten und ihre homöopathische Behandlung, 1863 (Pocket Dictionary of Children’s Diseases and Their Homeopathic Treatment, including the newest simple remedies of the physiological school for physicians and surgeons).

His Klinisch homöopathisches Taschenwörterbuch für das Haus und die Reise, 1861 (Clinical Homeopathic Pocket Dictionary for Home and Abroad) as well as his Real Lexicon für homöopathische Arzneimittellehre, Therapie und Arzneibereitungskunde, 1864 (Encyclopaedia for Homeopathic Medicines, Therapy and Remedy Preparation) were published in a different place (Sondershausen), where also the works of other important Czech pioneers of homeopathy came out…

In Prague appeared, between 1853 and 1864, a Monthly Journal for Theory and Practice of Homeopathy (from 1855: Prague Medical Monthly Journal for Homeopathy, Balneotherapy and Hydropathy). Elias Altschul, of whom we have already heard, copy edited this journal until his death…

The homeopaths who were practising in the 19th century in Bohemia and Moravia were usually members of the Austrian Homeopathic Doctors’ Association, which had been founded in 1846 and already had 60 members by 1848.

In 1857, an association meeting discussed a question that had been brought up by Dr Altschul, namely, whether the founding of local associations was advisable especially in the countries that were part of the Habsburg Empire…

Fourteen homeopaths were practising in Prague alone at the time: Salomon Duseny, Dr Altschul, Dr Hirsch, Dr Nathan Elsaß, Docent, Franz Josef Hofrichter, Dr Kafka, Dr Komareck, Dr Kovacz, Dr Michl, Dr Porges, Dr Seegen sen., Dr Seegen jun., Dr Teller, Dr Wehle…

From 1850, Dr Elias Altschul lectured in the medical faculty of this university on homeopathy. This lectureship came with a polyclinic which essentially consisted in Dr Altschul’s private practice.

In 1860, he organised a public final examination for the graduates of his course, in which Professor Joseph Halla participated who was then Dean of the Medical Faculty at the Charles University.

Although his lectures were, on the whole, not that well frequented, Dr Altschul was greatly respected by his faculty colleagues because of his outstanding expertise.

His funeral was attended not only by the president but also by the Dean of the Medical Faculty…  there existed in the 1850s Dr Altschul’s polyclinic (without beds) in Prague which has been mentioned already as well as a homeopathic hospital run by the Sisters of Mercy in Kromeriz (Kremsier).

Elias Altschul also wrote Homöopathischer Reise-almanach, Gomeopathichesk?? domashn?? i dorozhny? almanakh, Homöopathisches Taschenwörterbuch, für das Haus, die Reise und das Krankenbett, Offenes Sendschreiben an Herrn Dr. Carl Ernst Bock, Klinisch-homöopathisches Taschenworterbuch für as Haus und die Reise, Das therapeutische Polaritatsgesetz der Arzneidosen als prinzipielle.