Sue Young Histories

Rocco Rubini 1805 - 1886

July 11, 2009

Rocco Rubini 1805? - 1886? MD was an Italian orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy, to become the Medical Director of the Homeopathic Hospital of Saint Maria della Cesarea in Naples, and the Physician of the Count of Syracuse,

Rubini successfully treated Frances Bryant, the wife of William Cullen Bryant, in Naples in 1856.

In 1864, Rubini proved Cactus Grandiflorus, and he was awarded an Honorary Degree from the Homeopathic Medical College of Pensylvania.

Rubini was a correspondent of Adolph Lippe, and he was a colleague of Anfosso, Anniballi, Guiseppe Belluomini, Bondini, Cajaro, Hugh Cameron, Edward Cronin, Paul Francois Curie, Harris F DunsfordWilliam Kingdon, Victor Massol, Monti, G Palmieri, Polagi, Rabatta, Francesco Romani, Frederick Hervey Foster Quin, Sagliocchi, Stephen Simpson, Francesco Taglianini, Thomas Uwins, Varni, Vianelli,

In 1828-9, Rubini attended the clinical trials into homeopathy in Naples conducted by Cosmo Maria De Horatiis,

In 1854-5, with his colleagues, Ricci, Sabatini, Salutanzii, Spitelli, Rubini so successfully treated the cholera outbreak in Naples in 592 people, using homeopathy, that his ’Rubini’s camphor’ became famous and is still famous amongst homeopaths today.

In 1854, Rubini received a note of thanks from Commandante Filippo Rucci of the Royal Hospice, thanking him for the lives of 200 inmates, who survived the cholera under homeopathic treatment.

In 1855, Rubini received a note of thanks from Commandante Nicola Forni of the Royal Ale House, thanking him for the lives of his patrons, none of whom died from cholera under homeopathic treatment,

In 1855, Rubini was asked to treat the soldiers of the Swiss Regiment of Wolff Number 3 in Naples under the command of Colonel Eduardo Wolff, who wrote afterwards to thank Rubini, as all his soldiers recovered under his homeopathic treatment, including Knusali Gaspare, who also suffered with typhus.

The mortality rate for the homeopathic treatment was 8%, for the allopathic treatment 53%. The camphor tincture became known as “Rubini’s Camphor.”

Rocco Rubinia was a distinguished pioneer of Italian Homeopathy. Frederick Hervey Foster Quin, in 1834, tells us that he was practising at Teramo. Dadea says that in 1832 he went into the province of Teramo, where Homeopathy was held in great esteem on account of what had been accomplished by other physicians and veterinary surgeons, and by the pharmacist Crocetti di Mosciano, a distinguished botanist, who founded a homeopathic laboratory which attained a great reputation.

After having been engaged for eight years with his worthy colleagues in extending the field of Homeopathy in this province, Rubini returned to Naples and took up his residence there. In that city his enthusiastic devotion to the new science, his energetic efforts in its cause, and a Highly successful practice, procured him much renown, and in 1850 he was appointed physician to His Royal Highness, the Count of Syracuse.

The influence of Dr. Rubini with this prince was of great advantage to the cause of Homeopathy in this region. Through the intercession of the prince permission was obtained from the Neapolitan government for the establishment of a specific Homeopathic pharmacy, which opened in August. 1852. It was called the Dragon Pharmacy.

This institution was of great service in affording proofs of the unfounded nature of the allegations brought by allopaths, and was an effectual answer to the ridicule they sought to heal upon the new doctrines. It did much to establish Homeopathy yet more firmly throughout the kingdom, and formed a precedent in its legislation which was to produce important results.

In 1854 Rubini was invited to undertake the superintendence of the Royal Hospital for the Poor. It happened that an infirmarian, to whom he had confided the ditty of administering camphor during the first stages of cholera, reserving to himself the privilege of prescribing for the subsequent stages, found on his hands a grave case of the disease, and during the absence of the doctor, being without further instructions, he continued to give camphor until finally the patient became well.

Another very grave case was accordingly treated by the doctor in the same way camphor being used both externally and internally, and the result was again favorable. These two facts he considered as tending to prove that camphor could safely be prescribed in any stage of cholera.

Encouraged by this experience, he made use of no other remedy in the epidemics of 1854, 1855 and 1865, and out of 448 cases which came under his hands in every case the patient was cured.

Out of 255 cases treated by others in the same manner in Naples and in the Abruzzi provinces, only two deaths are recorded. Of those cured by him in 1854 and 1855, fifteen were in an algid condition. The cases of cholera sicca were not few; seven were accompanied with epileptic convulsions.

The camphor was prepared by alcoholic solution in equal parts with highly rectified spirits: the dose was five drops, at times twenty or thirty drops, given every five urinates on a piece of sugar. The spirits were rubbed over the whole body, eight pounds being once employed in a desperate case and were also injected; as preservative, they were administered in doses of five drops three or four times a day.

These facts are given in full by Rubini, and are proved by documents, whose authenticity and correctness have in but few cases been denied, in a work which he republished several times, each edition being enriched by the addition of new facts. The book was entitled Statistica dei colerici curati omiopaticamente in Napoli and on the strength of these facts he claimed from the Academy of France the Breant premium.

These statements were denied in the Allg. hom. Zeitung, Volume 75, page 136, and Dr. Rubini’s, answer with affidavits may be found in the same volume, page 159.

The French Academy refused to recognize Dr. Rubini’s cures or to award a premium; in Italy the government refused to avail itself of his services, which he offered gratuitously whenever the cholera broke out. It was not till 1866 that he could obtain any recognition of his merits.

In this year he was appointed to take charge of the Cholera Hospital of Foggia; but owing to the savage intolerance of the allopaths on one hand and the weakness of the authorities on the other the appointment was rendered futile.

The prefect of Foggia, intimidated by the threats of the old school of physicians, received him courteously and conducted him over the whole province; but neither at Foggia, nor at San Severo, nor at Alpicena, where the epidemic was raging most violently, did he permit him to prescribe for a single case of cholera.

In May, 1860, he was appointed to the clinical direction of the small hospital called the Spedale della Cesarea, which is under the charge of the Board of Managers for the Royal Hospital of the Poor. This office he held for three years and a half. The managers not being able to provide the necessary funds, Rubini defrayed out of his own purse the expenses necessary for cleaning the walls of the hospital, for renewing the pavements, supplying the beds with linen, etc.

During this period four hundred and fifty patients were restored to health, and six died, under his treatment; while during the three previous years, when the hospital was in allopathic hands, out of four hundred and forty eight patients the deaths were twenty nine.

A certain allopathic physician, of the name of Ciccone, being appointed Superintendent of the Royal Hospital of the Poor, Rubini of course found it impossible to retain his position any longer, and, notwithstanding the money he had disbursed and the success attending his treatment, he was obliged to renounce the hopes he had formed of continuing to demonstrate in that hospital the superiority of Homeopathic methods.

Another circumstance to which Rubini owes his enduring celebrity is the pure experiment he made about this time with the Cactus Grandiflorus. The _Cactus Grandiflorus_ published by him in 1864 has been translated into all the languages, and at present forms a valuable part of every treatise of pure Materia Medica and of therapeutics.

As the only surviving member of the noble band of standard bearers in the cause of Homeopathy in Italy, Dr. Rocco Rubini, notwithstanding the obstacles in his path, continued with a youthful ardor to do all in his power to advance the interests of the science in whose name he had combatted for fifty years the enemies aroused against it.

When Rubini returned to Naples in 1840, the physicians practicing Homeopathy in that city hardly exceeded half a dozen. At the meeting of the World’s Homeopathic Convention of 1876, held in Philadelphia, Carroll Dunham, in his Presidential Address, spoke of Dr. Rubini, saying that he had sent to him letters of Samuel Hahnemann and some statements of the camphor cure of cholera. He also sent a number of copies of his book. Statistica dei colerici curati omiopaticamente in Napoli. These books were distributed free to the members of the World’s Convention. (World’s Con. Volume 2, page 1087).

Rubini wrote Statistica dei colerici curati omiopaticamente in Napoli, and Cactus Grandiflorus, following the publication of its proving in the British Journal of Homeopathy, and the American Homeopathic Observer in 1864, and in the American Homeopathist in 1865.


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