Medicines of human origin are probably the most repugnant to our contemporary sensibilities. Renaissance doctors and druggists relied heavily on human excrement, ingested as well as applied externally, for various cures. In this they followed the example of the doctors of antiquity, who prescribed a mixture of dried children’s feces and honey for inflammation of the throat. But Renaissance doctors did not stop at excrement: they used a combination of mud and ear wax to cure migraine and applied saliva, preferably that of a “fasting young man” on dog bites and itchy rashes. Human blood was considered an excellent fortifier; weak patients were given blood to drink, while lepers soaked their limbs in tubs of blood. (I imagine with blood-letting being one of the most popular treatments for a variety of ailments, it wasn’t difficult for apothecaries to provide the ingredients for these fortifying drinks.)
Medicines of animal origin were equally inventive. Dog turds were considered remarkable for treating pleurisy and colic; pig urine lowered fevers. Crow droppings dissolved in wine were good for dysentery; the chopped meat of geese and “well nourished kittens,” roasted and distilled, cured jaundice. Ground unicorn horns from India and Ethiopia (!) were of great repute for treating plague, rabies and scorpion bites. Even in the sixteenth century, viper’s venom was known to be a powerful antidote to the bites of poisonous animals and was used to combat the effects of poisonous plants. All parts of the viper, not only the venom, were used in various cures; the bodies were dried, then pulverized and mixed with wine and other ingredients.
The pharmacological properties of plants were well known to Renaissance healers. Apothecaries mixed innumerable aperitifs, digestifs, purges, and simples. Exotic herbs and spices from all over Africa and the Far East entered France through Lyon and found their way onto apothecaries’ shelves. Tobacco was introduced into Europe by Spain and Portugal at the end of the fifteenth century and was consumed in many different forms: as oil, salt, syrup, perfume, water, leaves and powder. Smoking tobacco was considered useful for strengthening the memory, curing cataracts, and mitigating headaches and asthma. Tobacco oil was used on pimples; dropped in the ears it cured deafness. Tobacco salt whitened teeth; tobacco syrup arrested colds. Other plant products much used in medications included pepper, ginger, saffron, almonds, and fennel. Chewing on cloves relieved toothaches, a remedy Jollande’s mother-in-law relies on in The Measure of Silence.
Kicked Out of Heaven Vol. II
Paperback Now in Color $90.00
The Untold History of The White Races cir. 700 – 1700 a.d.
666 pgs + 196 pix = 1,000s of FACTS!
Kicked Out Of Heaven Vol. II: The Untold History of The White Races cir. 700-1700 a.d. is a 3 volume series that will be released one by one. This book details everything about European society and mentality. In this edition you will find these facts: Alcoholism & The Blue Devils, Insanity & Lead Poisoning, Ergot (LSD) Hallucinations, The Sweating Sickness & Leprosy, The Tobacco Enema & Leeches, The Defloration Mania, The Dancing Mania, The Black Death, The Gravediggers & Body Snatchers, Jews Poisoning the Wells, Millions of Deaths, Folklore & Superstition, Magic Mirrors & Crystal Balls, Witches Dancing in Baby Blood, Pants Made of Human Skin, Necromancy & Ghost Armies, Attacks from The Undead, Lycanthropy & Were-Wolves, Multiple Cases of Vampires, Who is Satan, Lucifer & The Devil!
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