Sue Young Histories

Carl Ernst Brutzer 1794 – 1877

March 27, 2009

Carl Ernst Brutzer 1794 – 1877 was a Latvian orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy in 1833.

In 1853, Brutzer was listed in official homeopathic directories for Riga, alongside Brauser, Karl Hencke, Lembke. Riedel. and Semble.

Brutzer was a keen advocate of isopathy in his practice.

In 1838, Dr Carl Ernst Brutzer (1794 – 1877) published a German opus with the title Versuch einer theoretischen Begründung des Princips der Homöopathie, nebst einigen Folge- und Nebensätzen für Ärzte. (Attempt at a Scientific Foundation of the Homeopathic Principle). It was intended as a guidebook cum materia medica.

Already in 1833, Brutzerad asked the society of physicians of which he was a member: ‘Should it be possible for a conscientious physician of our times to leave homeopathy unexamined?’ and he answered the question himself by describing some cases from his homeopathic practice. He also offered a prize of 100 ducats for an unbiased research paper on homeopathic case studies. Brutzer continued to practise in Riga to a very high age and celebrated his golden jubilee as a doctor in 1872…

The Zeitung contains the following: On March 5, 1877, at Riga, at the age of eighty four, State Councilor and Chevalier Dr. Brutzer, for a long time a homeopathic physician. Carl Bojanus, writing for the World’s Convention of 1876, says that Dr. Brutzer, of Riga, in 1833, made a bold stand in favor of the new system.

He put the question openly to a medical society of which he was a member: “Is it becoming in a conscientious physician under present circumstances to refuse to study Homeopathy ?”

Two years later he repeated the question and quoted cases from his own homeopathic practice. This created much commotion and Dr. Brutzer resigned from the society. Persecution followed, but he gained a strong party among the more intelligent of the public, who presented him with a large silver cup in acknowledgment of his fearless championship.

Since then both he and the system he defended have derived advantage from his great talents, noble character, and enormous activity, and full of years and memories of an honorable life, he still lives at Riga.

Amongst the men whose names and works are part of the history of Homeopathy, Brutzer occupies a prominent position.He was dissatisfied with the scientific arguments propounded in the Organon. He held that the essence of Homeopathy does not rest on the use of medicines producing like symptoms but like conditions. He would replace “Similia similibus curentur” by “Idem efficientibus eodem debellantur” and the name Homeopathy by Isocraty or Isonergy.

But whatever the value of such criticisms as these, he entertained some just views on the condition of the Materia Medica, which he characterized as defective, since it contains mostly subjective symptoms; paying no heed to the anatomical, pathological and chemical changes produced in the organism. To this imperfection he attributed the frequent want of success of homeopathic remedies, and considered it to be the source of the famous psora theory.

He urged the reproving of remedies, with a studious regard to pathological anatomy, the aid of chemical analysis, and the light derived from experiments with animals with poisonous doses. Thus, he thought, we should learn the general characteristics of remedies, and by a proper classification of them, materially aid the selection of the proper remedy in a given case.

In 1836 there appeared in the German St. Petersburger Zeitung, No. 32, an article signed by two allopathic physicians, Seidlitz and Weisse, announcing that the St. Petersburg Society of Corresponding Physicians proposed to give a prize of fifty Dutch ducats for an essay.

The announcement was as follows:“The St, Petersburg Society of Corresponding Physicians,” starting from the conviction that all cases of disease treated homeopathically are only examples of the natural course of morbid conditions in the organism, such as rational physicians can rarely see, and that only when they abstain from treatment, wished:

That the histories of cases contained in the whole homeopathic literature should be reviewed, critically elucidated and arranged, so that the course of development of whole classes and genera of diseases, as also of particular diseases, should be exhibited in the clearest possible way; the result of these researches must be compared with the normal development of disease in the Hippocratic sense.

At the same time the phenomena which usually precede the favorable as well as the unfavorable termination of diseases treated homeopathically as also the metaschematisms of morbid affections are to be prominently exhibited.

At the same time all polemics against Homeopathy as a system, and against homeopathic practitioners, were to be avoided and the prize was to be awarded to the essay which should most fulfill the expectations of the society.

This remarkable offer was ridiculed by the Homeopaths, and even some allopathic writers said it was unscientific and did not deserve notice.

The prize was awarded the following year to a Dr. Simson, of Breslau, who, in the preface of his treatise, declares that he has written with the “purest scientific intentions, and with the deepest abhorence of everything which has the slightest relation to Homeopathy,” declarations which evidently touched the hearts and opened the collective purse of the “Society” to the prize-seeker.

Dr. Brutzer then offered a prize of 100 Dutch ducats for an essay that should give a fair and scientific statement, and elucidation of the cases of disease published in homeopathic works, and draw logical inferences from them, even should these, far from fulfilling the expectations of the Society go directly counter to them.

Brutzer appointed a committee of five foremost members of the medical faculty to award the prize, and named two years as the limit of competition. He advertised the offer extensively. Essays  were sent to Brutzer from Goullon, Sr., of Weimer, and Dr. Heubel, of Wulk. Heubel got the prize, but his essay was not published.

Goullon was not satisfied, and Brutzer wrote that he only offered the prize as a demonstration against the allopathic society, and wondered that any one could take his offer in earnest. Dr. Heubel then wrote that he had got the fifty ducats paid him. Brutzer wrote a work published in Riga in 1838 : Attempt at a Scientific Foundation of the Homeopathic Principle.

(*Allg. hom. Zeit., vol. 94, p.96. World’s Con., vol. 2 , pp. 255,

  1. Brit. Jour. Hom., vol. 38, pp. 310, 315.*)

Brutzer wrote Anleitung zur Behandlung der Cholera homöopathischen, Attempt at a Scientific Foundation of the Homeopathic Principle, Isopathie. All. All. Hom. Hom. Z. 44; 13, 193-201 (1852). Z. 44; 13, 193-201 (1852), _and he contributed cases and wrote articles for various homeopathic publications. _


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