Biography of Dr. John Martin Honigberger

The name of Dr. Honigberger, M.D. will be honored as the first man to introduce homeopathy to India. He was born in the year of 1795 at Krostadt, a town in Transylvania a place in Rumania. He enjoyed a successful medical practice in his place. He came to India from his native country through Levant, Egypt, Arabia and Persia.

He left his native town in 1815; later in 1817 he visited Jerusalem. In the status of a physician to the Governor of Toccata, he travelled with him to Asia Minor. Dr. Honigberger arrived at Lahore during1829-30. His first patient at Lahore was the adopted son of General Allard. His fame spread when he treated and cured some soldiers who had been bitten by a mad jackal and were beginning to show signs of hydrophobia.

He was invited to treat the Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab, who at that time was suffering with the paralysis of vocal cords and edema. Dr. Honigberger also treated his favorite horse of its bad ulcers of the leg. Maharaja Ranjit Singh was impressed by his treatment and developed great confidence in him and handed over the management of a gunpowder manufactory and also a gun stock establishment.

Honigberger went back in 1834 to his native place and the following year he met Hahnemann and his wife.On the advice of Dr. Hahnemann, he bought a large quantity of homeopathic medicines from Hahnemann’s pharmacist, Lehmann of Kothen.

In the year 1836, during his visit to Vienna, he caught an infection of cholera. He treated himself with the help of homeopathic medicine “Ipecac”. He observed that Armenians who wore a string tied to a bean of Ignatia did not suffer with the attack of plague. Thus, he started treating the cases of plague of that area with “Ignatia” successfully. He also treated a case of hemorrhage with Aranea diadema, which brought him both name and fame.

On the invitation of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, he visited Lahore again in 1839. Even after the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, he stayed on in Lahore. He wrote a book compiling all his experiences by the title “Thirty-five Years in the East, adventures, discoveries, experiments, and historical sketches, relating Punjab and Kashmir, in connection with medicine, botany, pharmacy etc, together with an original materia medica and a medical vocabulary in four European and five eastern languages”.

After the death of Maharaja, his position and influence waned, but again Sardar Jawahar Singh came to power, and restored his position as Court Physician and Director of the gunpowder mill. In 1849, the Punjab was annexed by Sir Henry Lawrence. With the abolition of the Sikh Darbar, he had to relinquish his post. He was granted a pension. He resided for about 15 years in Punjab and returned via Afghanistan, Bokharo and Russia to his country.

Exact date of his death is not known, but most of them consider it as 1869.

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