Friday, 30 December 2011

Alternative Medicine

Those of you who give a damn will be pleased to know that I am over my cold. I beat it by good old fashioned rest and some non-branded cold and flu lemon drink. What I didn't do was pay any attention to the old adage "Starve a fever, feed a cold" - because, let's face it, in the days when that saying came about medical science was in its infancy, and people were being declared witches if they could spell.

And who knows what other 'household remedies' might have existed at that time? Who is to say that for many centuries, the recommended cure for a temperature was a hard kick in the groin? That may sound ridiculous, but I have it on good authority (namely, I saw this on Q.I. last night) that long ago it was thought that the best way to deal with a snake bite was to suck out the poison using the arse of a pigeon.

It's true!

So why could it not be possible to think that the cure for a headache was to choke the person suffering - or that the quickest way to cure the hiccups was to stab the person hiccuping? It is true that a sudden shock can stop the hiccups, and being stabbed suddenly would be quite shocking.

To be honest, you could make up any old nonsense and pass it off as a medieval remedy:

Starve a fever, feed a cold. Stab a hiccup, throttle a headache. Gouge a nosebleed, Chinese Burn a Verruca. Amputation for Measles, impaling on a spike for piles.

And there are remedies for non-physical ailments too:

If your child wets the bed, drain two pints of blood from it. Suffering from nightmares? Smack yourself in the face twice with a chicken just before bed. Scared of heights? Tear open a sparrow and smear its innards on your head, then stick a feather in each orifice for a week.

That's the good thing about medieval remedies - almost anything was thought to cure almost everything (especially dung) - and if you couldn't be cured, you were burnt at the stake for witchcraft.

Which incidentally, was also a great cure for Exzema.

We have all heard the more "fashionable" old remedies - goose fat on the chest for pneumonia, seaweed on the head for migraine - but what about the others? What about having a weevil bury into your eyeball to cure a cataract? Or slapping your genitals with a Salmon to promote fertility? There are thousands of long forgotten remedies that are waiting to be revived, and if they were good enough for folk back in medieval times, they must be good enough for us?

Yes, the death rate was much much higher then - but I'm sure that is just coincidence.......

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