Thompson, Samuel(1769–1843) holistic physician; born in Alstead, N.H. Lame from birth, son of a farmer, he preferred studying the curative powers of plants to working on the farm. With minimal formal education, he developed a theory of disease and a curative process (relying on such plants as lobelia and cayenne pepper) which he patented in 1813 and 1823. Author of Learned Quackery Exposed (1824), he franchised his system and fought litigious attacks from old-school physicians. Although his knowledge was flawed, he anticipated certain modern theories of health and medicine.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.