Cure-All Copper in the 1850’s: 32-260 mg, Rademacher

Copper was used as a cure-all in 1841 by Johann Gottfried Rademacher. It was listed as a “universal medicinal product” that can “eliminate most forms of disease”. He used amounts from 32 mg black copper oxide to 260 mg copper oxide, in doses no larger than 65 mg.

I found an English translation or transliteration of Rademacher, on copper.

This is a translation from 1909, and some words need defining and explaining, so [My comments are in brackets like this].

Pages 15 to 18:

III Copper (Cuprum).

This remedy, one of, if not the oldest universal remedy of the arcanologists, is not noxious, when employed properly; if it was, the coppersmiths who work in an atmosphere laden with copper oxide, and consequently must take in a lot of it, would be very sickly; but on the contrary, they are healthy. It is true that this remedy is apt to bring about nausea and vomiting; in such cases an addition of cinnamon will moderate or even prevent that. [Cinnamon is high in molybdenum!] Rademacher used the black oxide [], from 1 to 4 grains [1 grain = 65 mg, 4 grains is 260 mg copper oxide] daily, in doses of 1/2 or 1 grain, or 1.5 to 3 drachms of the acetate tincture daily, with cinnamon water; he claims that when given in proper doses, it acts mildly and agreeably on the human body, and, as it were, increasing life quantitatively; hence its use by the ancient alchemists as a panacea [a solution or remedy for all difficulties or diseases] for the prolongation of life. It is useful in acute and in chronic diseases, but universal copper diseases did not come quite so frequently under his observation as martial or saltpetre [Saltpeter is one name for the compound called potassium nitrate, which has the chemical formula KNO3] affections, and their pathognomonic symptoms [pathognomonic – (of a sign or symptom) specifically characteristic or indicative of a particular disease or condition.] are much more difficult to elicit than those of the two previous affections.

Among the few symptoms which indiate a copper disease (i.e. an affection curable by copper) may be enumerated an acid urine (which is also the case in saltpetre affections, copper and saltpetre affections having the greatest similarity), a considerable muscular debility, delerium (or at least a weakness of memory, on account of which the correct word cannot be found), and in acute fevers a sudden dyspnoea, [Dyspnoea, also known as shortness of breath or breathlessness, is a subjective awareness of the sensation of uncomfortable breathing.] which not seldom is the forerunner of great danger, or of death through paralysis of the lungs. The effects of this remedy are so clear, so salutary, and so quick that when it is used as a test remedy it very soon reveals the true condition of the whole organism; the muscular debility disappears within a day, so does the dyspnoea, and the urine turns clear and limpid, [limpid-clear] if it was brown and muddy; but if it was at first clear and limpid, and then gets darker on giving copper, the physician is on the wrong track. In martial affection, the urine is alkaline in the rule, but sometimes it is acid instead; in such a disease, if copper is administered by mistake, the urine will turn alkaline in two or three days, which is then a sign that iron, the right remedy, must be given now, and copper discontinued.

In enumerating some diseases in which copper proved curative, the reader is warned to remember that it is not recommended as anti-apoplectic, [apoplexy – unconsciousness or incapacity resulting from a cerebral hemorrhage or stroke.] or anti-rheumatic, etc., but as a remedy against all those diseases which are merely different forms of an affection of the whole organism, curable by copper.

With copper Rademacher cured some neuralgias [Neuralgia is a stabbing, burning, and often severe pain due to an irritated or damaged nerve.] of the head, apoplexy, paralysis, angina [ an·gi·na – a condition marked by severe pain in the chest, often also spreading to the shoulders, arms, and neck, caused by an inadequate blood supply to the heart.] and scarlatina [scarlet fever, a red rash], threatening paralysis of the lungs, pleurisy [Pleurisy is a condition in which the pleura — two large, thin layers of tissue that separate your lungs from your chest wall — becomes inflamed. Also called pleuritis, pleurisy causes sharp chest pain (pleuritic pain) that worsens during breathing.] (in January, 1825, he treated several cases of pleurisy and cured them with copper), dropsy, [dropsy – old-fashioned or less technical term for edema.] haematuria, [Hematuria is the presence of blood in a person’s urine.] acute and chronic rheumatism (especially in 1832 and 1833), eczema and herpes, asthma, and worms. Copper does not expel the round worms alive, but it kills them, when given in small doses for a length of time; the black oxide of copper given in 1,2,3 or 4 grains a dose 4 times a day kills the tapeworm, too, head and all, thus differing from turpentine which may only expel some segments, without the head; turpentine has another disadvantage, it makes some people very dizzy, while copper has no antagonistic effect on the body, only on the worms. Copper does not seem to kill thread worms, but expels them alive.

To show its beneficial effects Rademacher cites the case of a young man, formerly employed in a distillery, but now unable to work on account of a humid itching tetter on his arms, truck and legs, which made his wrists almost immovable; any movement was painful, and he felt an aversion to work and a heaviness in the whole body; he felt weak, was emaciated, his sleep did not refresh him and was very much dejected by the thought of becoming a burden to others. He was given the tincture of acetate of copper 30 drops six times a day; after taking it for three days, the feeling of lassitude diminished, and instead he soon became aware of a feeling of strength and health, although no difference could be noticed in the appearance of the herpetic eruption; then the itching lessened, the eruption lost its redness and its humidity, a new epidermis was formed, and in three weeks he was entirely well and remained so.

As remedies related or similar to copper in their curative effects, Rademacher mentions wine, brandy, and ether. From 1802 to January, 1808, her cured many pleurisies and fevers merely with spirituous drinks, alone or with ether. Wine did not aggravate the delirium, a common symptom of those fevers, but on the contrary by its means the patients regained their reason. The year 1808 was the turning point for a change of diseases and of remedies; after January 17 of that year alcoholic drinks and ether acted injuriously in the diseases treated by Rademacher, and other remedies had to be employed.

Rademacher advises his readers to watch the effects of saltpetre, iron or copper, as their use may lead the physician to find out hidden organ diseases; for instance, a sensation of fullness or pain in the right or the left hypochondrium, following the use of a universal remedy, may denote a hepatic or splenic affection, calling for the appropriate organ remedy.


Thus, according to Radmacher, copper cured “everything”, considered as a cure-all, increasing quality and length of life, including healing the nerves, paralysis, brain, memory problems, blood vessels, stroke, pains, muscles, weakness, joints, bones, arthritis, lungs, breathing difficulties, asthma, bleeding, low energy, fevers, rashes, ezecma, itching, sicknesses, herpes, worms, parasites.

Radmacher’s book also mentions zinc, borax, iodine, sulfur, and potassium (salt petre) for healing!

Also, bismuth.

This was all before the coining of the word or concept: “vitamin”.