From Bulgaria to Italy: "The Bulgarian Cure" of Encephalitis Lethargica

Paolo Mazzarello

Abstract


In 1915-16 a strange epidemic began to sweep Europe and United States. The onset of the disease was characterized by a flu-like syndrome followed, at a various time, by a series of neurological symptoms, especially somnolence, oculogyric movement, motor and mental disturbances. These acute phase had a mortality rate ranging between 30% to 40%. The survivors developed a parkinsonian syndrome at variable time from the acute phase. One of the most successful treatment of these neurological sequelae was introduced by a Bulgarian herbalist, Ivan Raev on empirical bases. The new therapy attracted the interest of Queen Elena of Savoia who propounded its application in Italy. From the peninsula this therapy quickly spread in the Western countries.


Key words: Encephalitis lethargica Parkinsonism - Ivan Raev - Atropa Belladonna - Queen Elena of Savoia - Giuseppe Panegrossi


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