Mattei's electro-homeopathic treatments, Bologna, Italy, 1871-1885

1871-1885 in Bologna

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Mattei's electro-homeopathic cures (quack), with 4 labelled glass bottles and 16 phials, c1870

Cesare Mattei, an Italian count, was interested in homeopathy. Mattei believed that fermented plants gave off ‘electrical’ energy that could be used to cure illness. He also believed that every illness had a cure provided in the vegetable kingdom by God. He began to develop his system from 1849. The large bottles are labelled ”Red”, ”Green”, “White”, “Yellow” and “Blue” so the actual ingredients remained a secret. Ointments were made up with ingredients from the small and large bottles. The vial labelled “Canceroso 5” was used for bruises, cancers, chilblains, hair loss, skin diseases and varicose veins, among other conditions.

Although dismissed by the medical profession as quackery, Mattei’s system was popular. It formed part of the treatment at St Saviour’s Cancer Hospital in London from 1873. However, by the 1930s Mattei’s ideas were generally dismissed.

Related people


Object Number:
cork, cotton wool, felt, glass, incomplete, leather, materia medica, sealing wax and silk
overall (closed): 52 mm x 159 mm x 106 mm, 0.404 kg
overall (open): 51 mm x 159 mm x 214 mm, 0.404 kg
medicine chest
  • furnishing and equipment
  • furnishing - artefact
  • case furniture
  • chest

Cite this page


We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.

Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero

Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence

Using our data


Download catalogue entry as json

View manifest in IIIF viewer

Add to Animal Crossing Art Generator

Download manifest IIIF

Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.