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10 medieval methods of treatment that seem somewhat strange today

In medieval medicine, there were often practices that modern people may find very strange. However, some of these strange remedies aren’t actually that outlandish. Medieval doctors believed that the human body was a microcosm. Hence the methods of treatment, which, although they are of great interest, but their effectiveness would not be worth checking.
1. The gizzard swallows against epilepsy

This procedure has become famous thanks to the English doctor of medicine of the 14th century John Hadeshen, who wrote in his treatise the following:

“The little red stones that can be found in the stomachs of swallows are very useful if you hang them around the patient’s neck. After catching a swallow, you need to remove its stomach, and this should be done in the middle of the day. The advantage of these stomachs is that if they are dried and hung around the patient’s neck, they can treat epilepsy, insanity, and sleepwalking.”

The effectiveness of using such “stones” is proved by a medieval doctor on the grounds that the Sun is hot and the Moon is frozen. The stones are “warm”, like the Sun. Accordingly, the effectiveness of this treatment is based on the belief that epileptic seizures are the result of “too much fire” or high temperature in the brain. And, as the Benedictine abbess Hildegard of Bingen wrote back in the 12th century,”a wedge is kicked out with a wedge”.

2. Prevention of libel using marigolds

The book of secrets of Albertus Magnus is a guide to herbal therapy that was written with astrological practices in mind. For example, it was recommended to use flowers called marigolds to protect against robbery:

“If you collect marigolds when the sun is in the sign of the Lion (in August) and wrap them in a Bay leaf, adding also a wolf’s tooth, then the person who will carry it with them will not be able to slander. Also, if something is stolen from this person, it is enough for him to put marigolds wrapped in a Bay leaf under his head at night to see the thief in a dream.”

3. Mandrake Root against depression

It has always been believed that the Mandrake root has magical powers because of its resemblance to a human figure.

In order to combat depression, Hildegard of Bingen recommends digging up the root of a Mandrake, which is supposed to scream when it is taken out of the ground. Mandrake should immediately be placed in a closed box and buried for a day to eliminate the evil from the root. Then you need to get a Mandrake, put it next to the bed and say a special prayer.

The result is that the person will begin to feel happy.

4. The fur of the bear against anxiety

Anxiety was common in the middle ages, and many people still suffer from it today. The cure can be found in Hildegard of Bingen’s treatise “Physica”:

“You need to take some wool between the bear’s ears and place it on your chest opposite your heart until it gets warm. Immediately, the person will feel peaceful and calm.”

5. The hoof of a unicorn against poisoning

Those who think they are trying to poison him should put the unicorn’s hoof under their tray or mug. If a poisoned drink or food is hot, the hoof will make it sizzle and foam, and if cold, it will smoke. The unicorn’s hoof can detect poison in food, ostensibly because the unicorn is the epitome of purity.

6. Medicine for testicle

For those who have encountered any difficulties with their testicles, Hildegard of Bingen in” Physica ” recommends the following recipe: “He should burn a swallow’s egg right in the shell, then grind it into a powder, add chicken fat and mix. This mixture should be applied to the testicles.”

7. Bat against jaundice

In the case of jaundice, the “Physica” recommended blinding a bat by hitting it on the head with a stick. Then the mouse should be tied to the patient’s leg, while wrapping the leg with the mouse’s wings,and leave it to die.

8. The ear of a lion against hearing problems

According to “Physica”, the lion’s ear can treat hearing damage:

“You should put the lion’s ear to your ear, which is affected by deafness, and hold it until it warms up, then read a prayer.”

9. Medieval viagra

Countless tonics for potency, contraception and increasing the chance of conception, the recipes of which were found in medieval books of medicine, prove that people of the middle ages were no less concerned about bedtime than they are today. Interestingly, then there was its own equivalent of Viagra:

“A gentleman whose potency leaves much to be desired should make a decoction of parsley, aloe, fennel seeds, cinnamon, sativa, cardamom, and other ingredients. All this should be mixed with sugar and drunk.”

10. Contraception

In the 11th – 12th centuries, Trotula of Salerno wrote a book on women’s medicine known as “De passionibus mulierum”, which translates as”Diseases of women”. Almost nothing is known about trotula’s life, but Her book became widely used in Europe from the 12th to the 15th centuries.

To avoid pregnancy, Trotula recommended that women carry a dried goat uterus with them, so that it touches their bare skin.


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