Sue Young Histories

Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Ehrhardt 1794 - 1848

June 24, 2009

Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Ehrhardt 1794 - 1848 was a German orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy

Ehrhardt was a student of Samuel Hahnemann, and a member of Samuel Hahnemann’s Prover’s Union, and he was a colleague of Frantz Hartmann, John Ernst Stapf, Wislicenus.

Ehrhardt practiced in Merseburg.

Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Ehrhardt, MD homoeopathic physician in Merseburg, died on August 25th, at 1 P.M. quietly and without pain, wasting away, owing to a scirrhus of the liver.

He was one of our best men, both as a man and as a scientist, indefatigable as a physician, kindly and self sacrificing, only living for his art, for science and for the welfare of the numerous patients who entrusted themselves to his care, a good husband and a good father to his children, shunning no sacrifice in order to secure their good education.

I fulfill the sad duty which I have performed for many before him, to erect a small monument in this journal to this good and sterling man, who was dear to me as a friend and highly valued as an intelligent, successful Homeopath.

He was born in 1794 at Gera, where his father, Carl Gottfried Wilhelm, lived as a surgeon and where he died as early as 1814, of the prevailing typhus fever caused by the war, and which he caught in fulfilling the duties of his calling. The family name of his mother, Christiane Marie, was Jähren.

He acquired the knowledge necessary for entering a university first through instruction at home and the remainder in the Gymnasium (High School), at Merseburg, and was enrolled at Jena in 1814, by Prorector Voigt. His teachers here were Luden, Voigt, Oken, Graumueller, Gruner, Doebereiner, Loebenstein, Loebel, Lenz, Fuchs and Eichstaedt; of these he was especially attached to the last three.

He also became a member, here, of the Mineralogical Society. In the year 1815 he became an academic citizen of the University of Leipzig under the prorectorate of Weise. Here he enjoyed the friendship of Kuehn and the especial favor of Cerutti and the younger Haase, who also gave him an opportunity of seeing many patients and of treating them under their direction.

His studies not only extended to medicine in the more limited sense, but inspired by the lectures of Oken, and later by those of Platner, Krug and Heinroth, he directed his attention also to philosophy and found especial satisfaction in the writings of the genial Herbart of Gättingen.

By a stipendium of Schneeberger and Quelmalz he was supported during his stay at Leipzig, where he honorably passed first his examination for the Baccalaureate in 1817, and later on October 17, 1819, the rigorosum. Oil the 7th of December, he defended his dissertation, _De aneurysmate aortae commentatio anatomico-pathologica_, under the presidency of Rosenmueller, and received his diploma as doctor on the 12th.

In the winter of 1819-20, he passed the state examination at Berlin, and visited there the clinics of Behrends, Hufeland, Horn, Rust, and Graefe, before he settled as practicing physician in Eilenburg.

His conversion to Homeopathy he has himself described in his preface to the Malin disease (glanders) in John Ernst Stapf’s Archiv (XVIII, No. I). His education in Leipzig could not predispose him in favor of Homeopathy, nor was he brought closer to it by his intercourse with some pupils of Samuel Hahnemann in Leipzig, nor by some imperfect trials made of this new curative method in conjunction with Prof. Haasejun. Nevertheless he had found out from experience that the expectative method gave better success than a mere blind dosing with medicines.

An extended practice in the country, which was not only full of hardships but also fully occupied his time, did not for a long time allow him to turn his whole attention to Homeopathy to which he was nevertheless drawn by living near Dr. Wislicenus, now in Eisenach, but who then also lived in Eilenburg.

Several chronic patients, however, who were pronounced incurable, gave occasion in the winter of 1823, to try Homeopathy; the success in these cases, as also the friendly relations entered into with Frantz Hartmann in Leipzig, and later on with John Ernst Stapf, , brought him ever nearer to the new doctrine.

He continued proving everything slowly and exactly, and finally became a zealous adherent and eulogist, as well as a successful practitioner. The matter was not easy, and he began it in a serious manner.

“My first endeavor” he says, “was to form and write down for myself from the motley mixture of the symptoms of a remedy the living images of diseases. Then I sought to go to work analytically, so as to determine semiotically the value and significance of the symptoms in a physiological manner; and to make prominent the diagnostic characteristic relations of the remedies to the natural diseases.

“This more rational, though more difficult way, which had to be gone over with a good deal of skeptical inquiry as to the results obtained by provings on healthy persons. and the slowly maturing knowledge of the remedies, had the advantage that while gradually the external part, the physiognomy of the remedy, came within my cognizance, I at the same time learned to adapt them according to their probable internal character to the fundamental essence of the disease; thus I was saved the mechanical gathering together of the symptoms which has to be repeated so often, takes so much time and is often so unreliable; I needed not therefore, in any morbid conditions which were analogically related, spend ally time in merely covering the symptoms.”

This method. which is surely a very correct one, gave hint a thorough knowledge of Materia Medica, which with his excellent preparatory medical training he could put to good use. In the summer of 1833, he went to Merseburg to fill my place as a homeopathic physician. The confidence there enjoyed by Homeopathy and the personal trust put in him on account of his successful cures, his great care and kindliness, brought him a very rich practice, fully 2.500 patients a year.

This practice required the expenditure of a good deal of strength as it also extended to the surrounding country and necessitated much traveling and writing. Nevertheless he found the time to conduct his journal of cases treated with great exactness, and we hope to receive from it, through his successor, Dr. Grube, many instructive communications.

All this work could, of course, be only done by denying himself many enjoyments. and especially by limiting his social relaxations, and he sought and fouled relief from his labors chiefly in the bosom of his family; he seldom took part in public entertainments, though he was by no means an ascetic.

In the beginning of his practice he used only the low potencies, later on higher ones, and toward the end of his career he was a great admirer of high potencies, using both those made by Caspar Julius Jenichen and those made by Petters, though he preferred those by Caspar Julius Jenichen.

Being always healthy, he probably gave too little heed to the first symptoms of a hepatic disease, continued riding in a rumbling rough carriage, until a violent inflammation of the diseased organ compelled him to a more serious treatment of his malady.

In this John Ernst Stapf gave him his faithful assistance. The inflammation of the liver was also soon removed, and he began to recover somewhat, and thought that by drinking the water of Carlsbad at home he might remove the induration of the liver that remained; but the result did not correspond with his expectations; the emaciation and loss of strength very rapidly increased, and so he soon succumbed to his incurable disease, which likely had commenced even a long time before he had become aware of it, as he had not been able to bear any tight clothing on his abdomen for a long time before.

In him Homeopathy lost a brave champion, although he advanced and spread it actively, more by his cures than by his writings. His memory will long be cherished in fond hearts.

Ehrhardt submitted cases and articles to various homeopathic publications, and he wrote De aneurysmate aortae commentatio anatomico-pathologica,

Of interest:

James Tyler Kent developed his own dynamizing machine used by the company known as Ehrhardt & Karl to produce potencies above 1M. Ehrhardt & Karl sold homeopathic drugs and books,


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