Biographies of Homeopaths

Dr. Samuel Lilienthal – A Great Homeopath and Advocate For Women’s Rights!

Dr. Samuel Lilienthal
Iman Navab
Written by Iman Navab

A brief remembrance of Dr. Samuel Lilienthal (1815-1891)

Dr. Samuel Lilienthal

Dr. Samuel Lilienthal

Dr. Samuel Lilienthal (1815-1891) was from Germany, and became a pioneer homeopath in America. He received his Doctor of Medicine Degree from the University of Munich in 1838. After he moved to the United States, he was hired as Professor of Clinical Medicine at New York College for Women, and also as Professor of Mental and Nervous Diseases at the New York Homeopathic College. As a homeopath physician he developed his career very fast, as he was a focused, punctual and dedicated man. Besides his outstanding efforts for homeopathy, Samuel Lilienthal was also known as a great advocate and determined friend of women. He supported their rights and helped in getting many women admitted to medical schools and in furthering their careers. Certainly this was not an easy task at that time, as many were opposed to women entering medical school.

Dr. Samuel Lilienthal was the author of many great books including “Homeopathic Therapeutics”. For many years, with the support of Dr. Constantine Hering, he was the editor of the North American Journal of Homeopathy.

In 1874, Boericke and Tafel from Philadelphia visited him in New York and requested that he prepare a textbook on diseases of the skin, for the use by homoeopathic practitioners. Their plan was to publish a portion of this work in the journal of the Hahnemannian Monthly. As a result of that request, a great treatise on skin diseases and their homeopathic treatments was completed in two years by Samuel Lilienthal and published by Boericke and Tafel in 1876. In his book, Diseases of the Skin, Dr. Lilienthal carefully collected information from the best authorities in pathology and therapeutics of his era. He hoped that his book would serve well for physicians of the homoeopathic school.

In his other book, the Homoeopathic Therapeutics, Dr. Lilienthal mentioned the challenges of mastering the Materia Medica. He wrote that “There is a continual outcry against the impossibility of mastering our ever-increasing Materia Medica, and many physicians are therefore in the habit of making their own repertories. They give hints and only hints, and always necessitate further study, in order to ascertain the simillimum. Thus originated this treatise on therapeutics, which I now put before my professional brethren; and I hope and trust that it shall be of as much benefit to them, especially to the younger ones, as it has been to me during the many years of my medical practice.”

Dr. Lilienthal also wrote about Jahr’s work (Jahr was one of Hahnemann’s pupils and assistants). “Jahr’s Clinical Guide, which I had the honor to bring out in a new edition some ten years ago, is still the skeleton around which I clustered the experience of our best men.”

In the late 1880’s, Dr. Lilienthal moved from New York to San Francisco, to stay with family members. Samuel’s son, James Lilienthal, also a homeopath, taught at the Homeopathic Medical College of the Pacific.
Dr. Lilienthal passed away on February 2nd 1891 in San Francisco. I like one of Lilienthal’s quotes from 1879: “Let us all work together for our benefit.”
God bless his soul.

Credit, source: Magnes, Bancroft Library, University of California.

About the author

Iman Navab

Iman Navab

Iman Navab is a certified classical Homeopath and doctor of alternative medicine from Canada. He is the President of the Applied Research in Homeopathy Foundation of Canada (www.ARHFC.ca). He is the author of 'Miasma of Cancer', and is a historian of Homeopathy. Iman teaches History and Philosophy of Homeopathy at the Canadian College of Holistic Health. Navab gives lectures and seminars to raise awareness about the rich history of Homeopathy.

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4 Comments

  • For many decades, I have collected antique homeopathic books, and I am blessed to have purchased some books that were formally owned by Dr. Samuel Lilienthal, including his personal copy of that book on skin diseases discussed above! In fact, when I was visited by the President of the B. Jain book company of India, he had never seen that book. He asked to borrow that copy so that he could publish it…and I wanted that book to be made available. So, if you happen to have a copy of this book, I was its “midwife” (so to speak). Cool story, eh!?