Lebenswecker (medical instrument), wood / metal, made by Carl Baunscheidt, Endenich, Bonn, Germany, 1865-1875
The Lebenswecker is a tool used to pierce the skin, and in conjunction with a stimulating oil, cause blisters and irritation. One purpose of this instrument was to raise blisters to relieve an illness or infection by setting up a secondary inflammation on another part of the body. The theory is that by setting up a secondary infection or inflammation, the body's attention would be diverted away from a bigger infection or illness and the patient would heal faster.
Baunscheidt claimed this method could cure all types of illnesses and suggested it did this through "creating additional pores" in the skin which allowed toxic substances to be more rapidly exuded. Baunscheidt's methods became quite a popular form of homeopathy and came to be know as 'Baunscheidtism'. His methods were believed useful in curing a variety of illnesses including toothache, baldness, whooping cough, and even mental disorders.
The lebenscweker is an example of early homeopathic treatment in Australia. In 2010 Baunscheidtism is still practiced by many homeopathic practitioners
Spennemann, D. A Baunscheidt Homeopathic Medicine Kit in the Jindera Pioneer Museum, 2007 (www.nla.gov.au/nla.arc-70915)
The lebenswecker was made by Carl Baunscheidt in Bonn, Germany, between 1865 and 1875.
Carl Baunscheidt studied chemistry, physics, mechanics, and horticulture in the early 1800s. Although he never gained a formal medical education he developed a general understanding of contemporary medicine and he produced the first Lebenswecker in 1848. He went on to invent a range of pharmaceutical products including a smallpox vaccinator, a mouth wash, and an oil that was alleged to "clense the blood".
The Lebenswecker was used with an accompanying oil, the ingredients kept secret, and used together, Bauncheidt claimed they could cure all types of illnesses and suggested it did this through "creating additional pores" in the skin which allowed toxic substances to be more rapidly exuded.
The instrument became extremely popular. Baunscheidt's company produced them until it was bombed by Allied attack in 1944.