Sue Young Histories

Peter Jacob Liedbeck 1808 - 1876

May 04, 2009

Peter Jacob Liedbeck 1808 - 1876 MD 1835 was a Swedish orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy to become the first practicing homeopath in Sweden.

Liedbeck was a student of Goran Wahlenberg.

Liedbeck edited the Homeopatiska underrättelser för svenska folket 1855 - 1856, and he translated Samuel Hahnemann’s Organon into Swedish in 1835, after meeting with Samuel Hahnemann in 1832 and speaking at his lectures.

In his time, homeopathy was introduced into the Central Gynmastic Institute of Stockholm, and Liedbeck was married to a daughter of Per Henrik Ling. Liedbeck edited Ling’s General Principles of Gymnastics with Augustus Georgii.

Peter Jacob Liedbeck favoured the use of double remedies, and of the higher potencies.

Peter Jacob Liedbeck practiced in Stockholm.

Peter Jacob Liedbeck started his career as prosector of anatomy in Uppsala and practised homeopathy in Stockholm until his death. He was married to a daughter of the founder of Swedish curative gymnastics, Per Henrik Ling

He was born in 1802 and lead a very active life. The interest in medicine began when, as a schoolboy, he read Christoph Wilhelm von Hufeland´s _Art of Prolonging Life_.

He began his studies in Uppsala in 1821, became a licenciate of medicine in 1831 and a doctor of medicine in 1835. He was a Prosector of Anatomy at the university from 1831 to 1846 and tought anatomy.

However he didn’t become a professor because of his interests in homeopathy. Then he moved to Stockholm and devoted his time to homeopathy. The interest in homeopathy began when he attended Goran Wahlenberg’s lectures on Materia Medica.

Liedbeck had visited the European continent twice in 1832 and in 1844. The first time he went there to see Samuel Hahnemann and speak at his meetings. The second time the university sent him to the continent to do some anatomical studies.

He was very influenced by Johann Gottfried Rademacher, who based his research on empirical observations. Homeopathy was not at all liked by the organized state medicine in Sweden. There was a compact resistance to homeopathy in order to prevent it from getting established.

In 1876 he sent his paper History of Homeopathy in Sweden to the World’s Convention in Philadelphia.

He died in 1876 after having practice homepathy for 30 years.

The editor of The British Journal of Homeopathy for January, 1877, says: Dr. P J Leidbeck, known all over Scandinavia and by large circles abroad, departed this life, at Stockholm, in his seventy fifth year, on the 5th of October last.

He had hardly arrived home, late in the evening, from his daily round of visits to his patients, when he suddenly died from paralysis of the heart; thus he actually died in harness as he often had wished.

His life throughout was full of unceasing activity and struggle. From the first he was, by a stern father, destined to the clerical profession; but his own taste was early bent towards medicine, in which, having already as a schoolboy read Christoph Wilhelm von Hufeland´s _Art of Prolonging Life_, he saw in his youthful imagination a grand and glorious object.

He was born in 1802, admitted as a student at the University of Upsala 1821, became a licentiate of medicine in 1831, and graduated as M. D. in 1835. He commenced, in 1831, to officiate as Prosector of Anatomy at the University, and continued in this capacity till 1846, lecturing on anatomy for several terms, instead of the then professor at the University.

The professorship, notwithstanding, at the vacancy, passed him by, evidently from no other cause than his medical heterodoxy. He removed to Stockholm, devoting himself henceforth exclusively to the practice of Homeopathy.

He had already as a medical student become a convert to Homeopathy, of which he had first heard mention during a course of lectures on materia medica by the learned occupier of the Chair of Linnaeus, Goran Wahlenberg, who, though not practicing himself, was a great admirer of Samuel Hahnemann and his doctrine.

In selecting as a motto for the inaugural thesis for his medical diploma, “Qualis sit quantumque valeat methodus specifica in medicina,” Liedbeck had already shaken off the fetters of the old school, and became, with a warm, living conviction, a faithful and zealous pupil of Samuel Hahnemann and expounder of Homeopathy.

He had twice visited the Continent in 1832, principally in order to see Samuel Hahnemann, and he used often to speak of his conversations with and the teachings of his great Master; in 1844 his Continental tour was more extensive. undertaken for special anatomical studies at the expense of the University.

An indefatigable inquirer, a constant and studious reader, he kept himself au courant with the literature of the different medical schools. He thus became acquainted with Johann Gottfried Rademacher’s writings, which no doubt exercised a considerable influence on his practice in late years.

The traditional medicine, as living amongst the people, was also a subject in which he took great interest, and he even published two essays on the subject, of which that under the title  Popular Medicine in Contra Distinction to Medicine and Quackery (1858) ought to be mentioned…

He was at one time a frequent contributor to the German homeopathic periodicals; also in this country interesting contributions from his pen have appeared. In his practice of Homeopathy, he leaned more towards Samuel Hahnemann’s early practice, as known by his Lesser Writings, than towards his later teachings as to the exclusive use of the higher dilutions.

By studying the question of diet and regimen in a country where the eating of salted food is very prevalent, he came to the conclusion that salt eating was a cause of many ailments, thus confirming an old observation of Linnaeus, who called a form of pyrosis from salt eating pyrosis suaecica. Liedbeck’s papers on Haliphagismus are, if not exhaustive, at any rate interesting as an incentive to further investigation on the subject.

Pursuing the subject of dietetics still further, he recommended the use of what has lately been called food medicines, and gave special indications for their use. Thus originated with him what he called the homeopathic treatment, which he meant to be used as a complement to Homeopathy, thus annexing what will remain true in physiological medicine to the central truth of Homeopathy, similia similibus curentur.

Notwithstanding the most indefatigable work for more than forty five years there is none at present in Sweden who can take Liedbeck’s practice. This can only be explained by the compact opposition of an organized state medicine which all these years has met the single handed champion of Homeopathy in Sweden whose loss we now record.

In 1876 Dr. Liedbeck sent the History of Homoeopathy in Sweden to the World’s Convention, held in Philadelphia. It was published in the Transactions, vol. 2. The Bibliography of Swedish Homoeopathy is also that of the writings of Liedbeck.

In this Dr. Liedbeck says: “There is no special law affecting Homeopathy or its practitioners in Sweden. I have the privilege of dispensing my own medicines, and, like every other properly qualified Swedish physician, the right to import drugs for my own practice, after having first given due notice to the Royal College of Health.

“As to my own practice, I would only briefly mention that, having first filled several official medical appointments, I obtained the post of Professeur Agrégé (Prosector Anatomiae) at the University of Upsala in 1831. This made me in some measure independent of the uncertainty of practice, giving me at the same time liberty to practice Homeopathy.

“As I had on several occasions officiated instead of the professor of anatomy in giving lectures, holding examinations, etc., I had a fair prospect at his retirement of succeeding to the chair of anatomy. My medical heterodoxy was, however, too well known not to influence to my prejudice in the appointment of a successor, and I therefore removed, in 1846, to Stockholm, where I have since continued as a private practitioner of Homeopathy.

“Though, as I have said before, neither the success of my practice nor my publications seem to have had any influence on the medical profession at large in making converts among them, yet Homeopathy has not a few patrons and followers in all classes of society, and several of the clergy have in this country as elsewhere been warm advocates, and even practitioners, of the system.

“As to the question of dose, it will be seen from sundry articles emanating from my pen from time to time that I belong rather to those who follow Samuel Hahnemann in his early practice than in his old age, when he advocated almost exclusively the higher attenuations.

“Not to make this letter too long, I must also refer you to the homeopathic literature as regards the homeoplastic treatment I have introduced as a supplement to our Homeopathy.”

The Zeitung thus announces his death: At the end of October of this year (1876) died Dr. Liedbeck, in Stockholm, who had practiced Homeopathy there successfully for 30 years.

He was 75 years of age, and died of marasmus. He communicated to us last year several cures of hygroma patellae with Flor. arnic. sicc. placed upon the kneepan in little sacks.

His own cure from fatty degeneration of the heart by means of Arnica, as given in my Therapy (I, 345), was by Dr. Argenti erroneously ascribed to the deceased: it was communicated in epistolary form in vol. 92, No. 2 p. 88.

(Brit. Jour. Hom., vol. 13, p. 694 ; vol. 35, p. 90, vol. 39, p. 255. Mon. Hom. Rev., vol. 20, p. 720. Hom. World, vol. 2, p. 572. World’s Con., vol. 2, p. 340. Bibl. Hom., vol, 9, p. 89. Allg. Hom. Zeit., vol. 93, p. 184)

Peter Jacob Leidbeck wrote On the influence of Alcohol on Man 1831, On Homeopathic Medicine and Its Literature 1832, Hahnemann’s ’__Organon__Translated 1835, __Is There a Remedy for Consumption? 1841, De Cerebello Humano 1845, De Veneficio Phosphoreo Acuto 1846, A Short Account of the Present State and Development of Homeopathy in Foreign Countries 1846, Directions for the use of Some Homeopathic Medicine in Cholera 1848, How to Cure Frostbites and Burns 1850, Homeopathic Information for the Swedish People (a monthly periodical) 1855-56, On the Different Schools of Medicine at the Present Time, and Their Principal Distinctions 1862, On the Spirit of Camphor Alone as a Remedy for Cholera 1866, De Pipere cubeba dissertatio, Horti upsaliensis plantae cultae ab initio saeculi, and many cases and articles published in various homeopathic journals and publications.


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