Broadsheet advertising Carl Baunscheidt’s Life-Awakener (Lebenswecker) or “Artificial Leech” that was used to drive toxic oils into the body by piercing the skin with needles. J. C. Reisner.
Broadsheet advertising Carl Baunscheidt’s Life-Awakener (Lebenswecker) or “Artificial Leech” that was used to drive toxic oils into the body by piercing the skin with needles

Broadsheet advertising Carl Baunscheidt’s Life-Awakener (Lebenswecker) or “Artificial Leech” that was used to drive toxic oils into the body by piercing the skin with needles

Lebanon, Pennsylvania: 1866. This two-page broadsheet measures 20” x 14.5”. Two storage folds. Light toning.

The device consisted of a rod with dozens of sharp needles which were dipped into an irritating “oleum” and then driven into the skin creating blood blisters.

The advertisement describes Baunscheidt’s theory behind Lebenswecker’s as well as his inspiration:

“The ‘Lebenswecker’ . . . imitates Nature . . . more than any other healing-art. . .. There are certain poisons . . . that would destroy and kill every human life if there were not ways and means provided through which they can be removed. . .. It is known that most diseases . . . are accompanied by an eruption . . . to conduct the poisonous matters from the inner organs to the skin [by blood] circulating through the organism [which] creates various pains. . .. To all these pains, man would not be subjected, if these poisons had been extracted from the blood and nervous system. . .."

The ‘Lebenswecker’ contains in itself far more healing power than all illegible receipts in the law of physic, or all the mixtures of the apothecary shop. . .. Its effects are warming, animating and relieving; it causes irritation and governs circulation of the blood. . .."

The discovery of [this] “Dematiobiokon,” as it may be properly called [occurred when Dr. Baunscheidt suffered] rheumatic pain in one of his hands. . .. During the day he took a nap, . . . when a swarm of gnats . . . settled on his diseased hand and commenced piercing it with all pleasure. When he awoke the gnats . . . went off and to his great astonishment and comfort, the pain of his hand went with them. . .. For the poisonous matter which could not evaporate, the gnats opened a way by piercing the skin. . .. And now, thought he, I will [put] together a set of sharp needles; will pierce through the skin and see if I can take out those rheumatic pains. But to his astonishment, he has since taken out of the human body, the pains of almost all curable diseases”.

Very good. Item #009536

The Lebenswecker proved to be an exceptionally popular medical device that remained in use throughout German-speaking Europe and America until around 1900, in part because it could be used by anyone, not only physicians. Diseases and conditions that were claimed to have been cured by Baunsheidtism included whooping cough, baldness, toothaches, and mental disorders. J. C. Reisner, an Evangelical minister, was the first person in Lebanon county to use and sell homeopathic cures, prescribing them for friends, neighbors, and others as early as 1835. For more information see King’s History of Homeopathy. . .. and Evan’s Baunscheidt’s Lebenswecker: the 19th-Century “Life-Awakener”, both on-line.

Perhaps now unique. At time of listing, no similar advertisements are for sale in the trade or have been listed at auction per Rare Book Hub. Neither are any listed as part of institutional collections by OCLC. Actual life-awakeners are held by several museums, and occasionally appear for sale on eBay.

Price: $350.00

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