Slovenski etnografski muzej

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Baroness Maria Wambolt and her homeopathic treatment of pigs in Dolenjska

Originally, only people were treated with homeopathy, but in the early 19th century its use was spread to domestic animals. The fi rst sources reporting homeopathic treatment of domestic animals in Slovenia date from the 1830s. To date, several lay homeopaths have been identifi ed who treated people as well as domestic animals. According to the gathered data, the following people treated animals in Dolenjsko in the early 20th century: the landowner, miller and sawmiller Jakob Košak (1829–1918), the priest Baltazar Bartol (1821–1911), and baroness Maria Wambolt. Baroness Maria Wambolt (1848–1915) moved with her husband Franz from Germany to Hmeljnik Castle in Dolenjsko in 1876. That she treated people and pigs as a lay homeopath is witnessed by her notebook about her patients from the 1906–1913 period, which is in the Archives of the Republic of Slovenia. In this period, hundreds of people, mainly peasants from Dolenjsko, turned to her for help for themselves or their pigs. Her notes are a precious source because they provide information about her knowledge of homeopathy and on her patients. Maria Wambolt brought her knowledge of homeopathy with her from Germany and she probably used the manual of the well-known homeopath Arthur Lutze (1813–1870)– Lehrbuch der Homöopathie. Baroness Wambolt treated her patients for free and this was certainly one of the reasons why the peasants from the environs turned to her instead of to the offi cial veterinary service. That she treated pigs was probably due to the high economic importance of pig-breeding to the small peasants of Dolenjsko before the First World War. She treated infectious and other pig diseases. Peasants turned to Wambolt when they noticed feeding disorders (pigs not eating, eating too little, eating only some fodder, or not gaining weight when eating normally). They asked for medicaments when their pigs has digestive disorders (constipation or diarrhoea, stomach cramps), when they were indolent, were lying down most of the time or could not get up, coughed, had a swollen neck, breathing difficulties, changed body temperature or temperature of some body parts, changes to the their skin (rashes, patches), when the pigs did not have their periods, difficulties in giving birth, injuries, and bleedings. Baroness Wambolt used thirteen different homeopathic drugs, most frequently Arsenicum Album.