Ernst Ferdinand Rueckert (Rückert/Rucken) M.D. (3 March 1795 – 27 July 1843), was a German orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy, to become the second person after Johan Joseph Wilhelm Lux to apply homeopathy to veterinary practice.

Ernst Ferdinand Rueckert was a student of Samuel Hahnemann, and a member of Samuel Hahnemann’s Provers Union which consisted of Carl Gottlob Caspari, Carl Franz, Gustav Wilhelm Gross, Franz Hartmann, Carl Gottlob Helbig, Christian Theodore Herrmann, Christian Gottlob HornburgErnst Kummer, Christian Freidrich Langhammer, Viet Meyer, Friedrich Jakob Rummel, John Ernst Stapf, Teuthorn, Oscar D Tietze,

Ernst Ferdinand Rueckert studied with Samuel Hahnemann in Liepsig for three years, and he then finished his medical studies in Dresden and Jena. At first, he tried to establish practices in Grimma, Motschen, Bernstadt and Lobau, but he was unsuccessful. Ernst then became a tutor to some noble families between the years 1822 – 1829, when he became homesick and in 1829, he returned to Germany.

Ernst stayed with Samuel Hahnemann in Kothen and compiled a Reportory of all the remedies in Chronic Diseases. Ernst then began to practice medicine in Bautzen, Camenz and Koningsbruck, where he obtained the patronage of Count von Hohenthal, and he devoted this last 12 years of his life to writing.

Ernst Ferdinand Rueckert assisted Samuel Hahnemann as prover of Dulcamara, Aconite, rheum, rhus tox, bryonia, helleborus, digitalis. With Johan Joseph Wilhelm Lux, he may be considered the founder of veterinary homeopathy.

Ernst Ferdinand Rueckert was born near Herrnhut, March 3, 1795. He went to Leipsic in 1812, and was one of the first of Samuel Hahnemann‘s pupils. From 1816 to 1817 he visited the Medico Chirurgical Academy at Dresden.

He first settled at Grimma, but soon went to Mutchen and soon after again changed location, going to Bernstadt in 1819. He practiced homeopathy in a number of other localities in Germany and was instrumental in spreading the new doctrine.

Dr. Rueckert’s brother (Theodor Johannes Rueckert) thus writes of him : (All. Hom. Zeitung., Vol. XXXVIII, p. 81. (Nov. 26, 1849): “I have been requested by several parties to write something to serve as a memorial of my deceased brother, who left this world six years ago; and since no one else has been found who would wreathe with laurels the grave of this roving wanderer I undertake this solemn duty.

“Nevertheless I do this with a heavy heart, well convinced that the biography of a physician who has become well known, even to the more general public through his numerous writings, would have been more fittingly composed by the open of a person not related to him, than by his own younger brother.

“I must, therefore, in advance, ask the indulgence of the reader if in some things I may not appear sufficiently impartial, or too diffuse, and if I mention also the failings of my brother as a man, contrasting these with his goodness.

“Our eldest brother, Ernst Ferdinand Rueckert, was born in Grosshennersdorf, near Herrnhut, March, 3, 1795; he was instructed there till the year 1807 by my father himself, who was pastor. He learned very easily, so that he also made good progress in the high school at Niesky, near Goerlitz, where he remained until the year 1812. He had an especial facility for learning the languages and quickly advanced in his classes.

“His intention was originally to study theology: he therefore entered, on the 2th of June, 1812, into the school of the gymnasium at Zittau, and received on the 27th of September of the same year, in his eighteenth year, the Testimonium maturitatis and went to the University of Leipsic.

“Now the time had come when the leading traits of his character could show them selves freely and openly. His fellow students who are still alive may testify whether I judge rightly of my brother when I say that he was extremely good natured, very cheerful in company, and entertaining by his witty notions.

“Whatever he undertook he seized with a mighty zeal, aye, he was enthusiastic and depicted its consequences in the future in the brightest colors; but he was lacking in endurance and firmness, therefore he could easily be turned away again from his first intentions and be led off to others. This was his misfortune and it followed him through life.

“In good company and tinder a good leader he was a most solid man, while giddy company easily led him astray. The beginning of his unsteady life was made already in 1813, when he renounced his first intention of studying theology and changed to medicine. After the great battle of Leipsic he effected the change and continued his studies until 1810.

“He was then already acquainted with Homeopathy and he was one of the first of Samuel Hahnemann‘s pupils, together with Frantz Hartmann and Christian Gottlob Hornburg. We find his name as prover of several remedies: Dulcamara, Aconite, rheum, rhus tox, bryonia, helleborus, digitalis.

“From 1816 to 1817 he visited the Medico Chirurgical Academy in Dresden. He received his doctor’s diploma at Jena in 1819, and had his Colloquium upon the same year in Leipsic, as he had chosen Grimma for his resting place in order to begin there his practical career. But his unsteady spirit drove him away from there in a short time.

“He was lacking in the firmness necessary to overcome the first obstacles, which every practical physician must meet when he commences, and already the following year he thought that he recognized in the town of Mutchen the goal of his sanguine hope, and he exchanged this little town again in 1819 for Bernstadt in the Upper Lausitz. He soon found more to do here than in the two former places, and several years after he had left Bernstadt I still heard families, where he had made successful cures, speak of him gratefully.

“But misfortune here also followed the poor man. Soon after his arrival another physician, an Allopath, settled in the little town, who, although not hostile to him, nevertheless by his winning personality soon gained the whole practice. Highly discouraged by this the vacillating man thought to cheer himself by company, and then lost the proper position, so that he found it best to change to Loebau.

“But even here he was not yet destined to find a lasting position, since his relations with his colleagues made his rising in practice difficult, so that he determined to give up the medical career entirely and to endeavor to make his living as a teacher. He soon succeeded in finding a position as a tutor in a noble family in Livonia, and he cheerfully left his native land in 1822 and arrived, after a stormy voyage, without having become seasick, in Riga.

“The happiest time of his life he now spent in Livonia, until the year 1829. Living part of the tune as a tutor in various families, the other part in educational institutions, he was esteemed and loved by all. The study of the languages, which had always been so easy to him, was revived and cultivated now in his leisure hours, and he had soon advanced enough to be able to translate historical works from Russian into German.

“But not valuing his success sufficiently he desired to see again his native land, and he arrived in Samuel Hahnemann‘s house in Coethen soon after his jubilee celebration of August, 1829, and was received kindly by Samuel Hahnemann and worked for him till Easter, 1830. Introduced anew to the art by the master, my brother began practicing as a physician a second time, first in Bautzen, where he remained a year ; then he moved to Camenz, where he remained several years; lastly he found his asylum at Konigsbrueck under the particular protection of the Count von Hohenthal. His domestic life was also rich in experience during these last years, as he married twice, having lost his first wife by death.

“He bore patiently every severe affliction, owing partly to his cheerful temperament which enabled him soon. again to see the rays of the still even through the thickest fog, and partly owing to his firm faith in Christ of which the germ had been laid even in his tender youth.

“Finally as a weary wanderer after a journey full of thorns and thistles, after a lung disease had first undermined his strong health, he fell asleep in the eternal rest in the year 1843 at the age of forty eight years.

“With great zeal, industry and perseverance he made use of all his leisure time during his last twelve years to be active for Homeopathy, and especially to facilitate as far as possible the difficult task of finding the proper remedy in any given case. The most excellent of his works which even at this day has its classic value, and will retain it, is the Systematic Presentation of all the Homeopathic Medicines known to this Time, a work which in a short time (1835) had its second edition, and is even at this day found in the hands of innumerable physicians, and will continue to be so, for the symptoms are there given just as they are found in the provings.

“Would that such names as Atriplex… could not be found in it, as they remind us of an author who by his fabrications will remain a disgrace in the history of Homeopathy.

“A second, larger work, which also in token of its usefulness rose to a second edition, is : A Brief Survey of the Effects of Homeopathic Medicines on the Human Body, in which also, unfortunately, some sham remedies are found; this appeared in 1834.

“The third and last larger work is Sketch of a Future Special Homeopathic Therapy, 1837, a work which in its time filled a gap not unimportant in Homeopathic literature, although its tendency was questioned by Philip Wilhelm Ludwig Greisselich, who has also departed to his eternal home. Many an observation might indeed yet be struck out in this work, and in my opinion, at least, the effect of the remedies might be given a little more in detail, even though briefly.

“During the twelve years that have passed since the appearance of the work the published cures wrought by means of the various remedies have been greatly augmented, and I myself have for some time been occupied in collating them and at the request of several of my colleagues, as has been stated in the previous volume of the Allgemeine Zeitung, I shall as a trial make a beginning in printing some parts of this work arranged in a somewhat different order.

“The fourth, smaller work from his pen is The Effects of Homeopathic Medicines under Certain Conditions represented in a Tabular Manner, 1833. The fifth work is Cutaneous Diseases. The sixth work is a translation from the English of Jacob Jeanes Practical Experiences in the Domain of Homeopathy, 1842. The seventh, Knowledge and Cure of the most Important Diseases of the Horse, etc., Description of the Diseases of Cattle, Sheep, Hogs, Goats and Dogs. The eighth, Description of the most frequent Herbs and Ferns, both the wild and the cultivated, so also of some official Mosses and Mushrooms of Saxony, etc., with Statement of their injurious Properties.

“Without giving any further judgment as to these works, we may see from them that he was willing to do everything possible to assist in the development of our art and science. The host reward of these labors is when many a patient through the easier finding of the fitting remedy has found relief from his sufferings. Theodor Johannes Rueckert, Practising Physician in Herrnhut.

Frantz Hartmann says of him (N. W. Jour. Hom., Vol. IV., p. 188. Med. Couns., Vol. XI., P. 242. Kleinert’s Geschichte der Homöopathie) “Rueckert was an original man, but unsteady in all he undertook, wavering, with no perseverance, and yet very well informed; he rather skimmed over the surface of the sciences, and never attained any profound knowledge of them because he the more easily overcame the difficulties which the entrance to any science presents than the slighter ones that he met in his further progress; add to this the fluctuation which prevailed throughout his whole life, and which he might earlier in life have gotten rid of, perhaps, under the guidance of a more serious and steadfast nature, and we can understand his extensive but superficial knowledge.

“But notwithstanding all this inconstancy, one could not but love him for his captivating manner, his sparkling wit, his courteousness.

“On the other hand, it was difficult to gain his friendship, since he was ever distrustful of others, from which distrust lie never could free himself, even when lie was fully convinced of its unreasonableness.

“He was a kind of necromancer: he interested himself much in supernatural things and would sit by the hour together staring at a speck, and quite forgetting everything about him; hence he preferred to be alone and hired a summer house to which he might resort for solitude.

“Here I have often seen him, for my windows were directly opposite to his residence and I often worked at night, walking backwards and forwards, in summer and winter, by day and by night, with huge strides; frequently he delivered philosophic discourses from his window to the cats, who paid their respects to him in his garden.

“Rueckert was quick at seizing anything, but the ties of order and regularity sat heavily upon him; he soon flagged in his good resolutions, and carelessly threw away what he had just undertaken to seek some new phantom.

“It was thus with his drug provings; the Materia Medica Pura owes him but little, and the symptoms that are marked – Rueckert – were not reported by him, but by a namesake of whom my recollection is but indistinct.

Lorbacher says (Brit. Jour. Hom., Vol. XXXII., p. 457) “Ernst Ferdinand Rueckert, whom Frantz Hartmann confounds with a younger brother, co-operated in proving medicines under Samuel Hahnemann‘s direction. He published some original works on Homeopathy, and along with Johan Joseph Wilhelm Lux may be considered the founder of Homeopathic veterinary medicine.

WRITINGS: Systematic Presentation of all Homoeopathic Medicines known hitherto, including the Antipsorics in their pure Effects on the healthy Human Body. 3 Vols. Leipsic: L. Schumann. 1831-33. 2d Edition, 2 Vols. Leipsic. 1835. Brief Survey of the Effects of Homeopathic Medicines on the Healthy Human Body, with Hints as to their use in various Forms of Disease. 2 Vols. Leipsic: Schumann. 1831-32. 2d edition. Leipsic: Melzer 1834-35. The effects of Homoeopathic Medicines under certain conditions, presented in Tabular Form. Leipsic. Melzer. 1833. Cutaneous Diseases, or Systematic Presentation of the various Eruptions. Elaborated in the Homeopathic Manner. Leipsic: Melzer. 1833. Principles of a Future Special Homeopathic Therapie. Leipsic: Andra. 1837. With new title. Leipsic: Hunger. 1841. Trans. by Charles Julius Hempel. New York: Radde. 1846. Diagnosis and Care of the Most Important Diseases of the Horse, elaborated according to Homeopathic Principles, for Agriculturists. Meissen: Klinkicht. 1839. Description of the Diseases of Cattle, Sheep, Swine, Goats, and Dogs, with Directions as to their Cure according to Allopathic and Homeopathic Principles. For Agriculturists. Leipsic : Friedlein and Hirsch. 1841.

This biography is extracted from the book of Thomas Lindsley Bradford The Pioneers of Homeopathy 678 pages, Boericke Tafel (Philadelphia, 1897). Pages 103 to 108.

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Of interest:

Theodor Johannes Rueckert (1800 – 1885), younger brother of Ernst Ferdinand Rueckert, was also a homeopath.

Theodor practiced in Herrnhut, and he survived his brother Ernst by 42 years. Theodor was a prodigeous author, commended several times by Samuel Hahnemann.

Theodor Johannes Rueckert wrote Clinical Experience in Homeopathy, and his articles were collected together into the following books, A Treatise on Headaches, Apoplexy and Palsy, On Diseases of the Eye and Ear, On Nervous Diseases and Mental Derangement, On Inflammatory and Organic Diseases of the Brain, On Diseases of the Stomach, On Inflammation and Dropsy of the Brain.