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Tudor remedies and medical treatments
January 14, 2010
5:18 pm
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missisGG
Yorkshire, England
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Just wondering if there is any evidence that treatments from the Tudor times were actually useful?

Infusions, bleeding people etc. There are still herbal remedies about so it makes me wonder if they did help perhaps? Although to be fair I would never rely on a herbal remedy to keep me alive!

January 15, 2010
1:21 am
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Hannah
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Surely some of the herbal and plant based remedies worked? I mean, a lot of our own mediceines are derived from it. But bleeding was useless and purges were downright dangerous!

Be daly prove you shalle me fynde,nTo be to you bothe lovyng and kynde,

January 16, 2010
10:27 am
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Justice4Boleyn
Australia
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January 16, 2010
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I suppose if we go back to why the people of the Tudor era chose to use such methods, we could tell whether it was based on science or mere belief. Bleeding, for example, was of pure belief so of course we see no use in it. According to the people of the Tudor times, everything was composed of four elements, Earth Air Fire and Water. In the human body, the humours were the natural bodily fluids that corresponded with Cold Dry Hot and Moist (ie the elements). When the humours were out of balance, illness resulted. Doctors 'bled' their patients to restore this balance, because blood was considered to have preminence over the other humours. Wacky stuff!

So I agree, I believe most herbal methods would have had some positive effect but most medicinal practices were based on beliefs so no scientific evidence exists that such methods really worked. But maybe there are sources out there that mention a method or more that consistently brought good results? Who knows !!

January 20, 2010
3:30 am
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Emma_pug
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Tudor/Elizabethan medicine has always been so interesting to me!  The four humours, etc.

I would think the remedies were successful, at least to a point.  People trusted doctors and recovered from illnesses after being treated – so there had to be something successful.  Maybe at times it was a placebo effect?   Even today there is a lot of evidence that herbs and homeopathic remedies work, just in a different way (with the body) from medication.   Herbal medicine has been practiced longer than traditional medicine.

There is a great book by Liza Picard called, \”Elizabeth's London\”, which has some fascinating details about medical practices, treatments and surgeries during the reign of E1.  Unfortunately I loaned it to a friend who has a habit of not returning books (sigh), and can't consult it.

Noli me tangere

January 20, 2010
2:35 pm
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Claire
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I've been watching \”Tales from the Green Valley\” on DVD, which is a series where 5 historians and archaeologists live for a whole year on a farm as if they were living in 1620. In the programme, Ruth (a domestic historian) makes some natural remedies whcih were made in Tudor and Stuart times and talks about how important the women were at providing remedies and medical interventions because doctors were so expensive. She made salves and balms with herbs and things like pig fat and also distilled herbs and plants to create what we now know as \”essential oils\”. Many of us know how useful essential oils and herbal remedies can be so I'm sure some of their remedies did work.

Debunking the myths about Anne Boleyn

January 20, 2010
7:02 pm
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Melissa
New York City
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It's also known that Henry VIII was an amatuer pharmacist himself and liked to invent remedies.  Supposedly they worked.  I remember reading in one of my Tudor history books that a guy came to court to talk to the king about something and somehow Henry had heard that the guy had an embarassing personal problem (hemorrhoids or something).  As soon as the man approached the throne Henry started giving recommendations for remedies, until finally the man had to politely stop him and say his majesty had been misinformed, he did not in fact have that ailment.

Being pretty bored I just did some research and found this http://www.herbs-hands-healing…..alism.html

“Henry devised a plaster which “Resolved Humour If There Is Swellgnje In The Legges”. Among many others there was a “grane oyntement” invented by the King “to take away heat and indurations and to resolve and ease payne”. One interesting “oyntment” was invented “for the Kings grace to coole and dry and comfort the membre” and yet another “to dry excorations and comforte the membre”. It would appear that Henry's very active sexual life would frequently call for the use of these particular salves. The majority of the ingredients used by Henry were herbal as was the usual practise in those times – these plants and flowers were known for centuries and include plantain, fenugreek, linseed and marshmallow.”

Ainsi sera, groigne qui groigne.

May 8, 2010
3:17 am
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allison
Egypt
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Hmmm

not so sure.

I used to do Neuro surgery and burr holing to relive pressure definitely saved patients.

Burr holing or trepanning as it was called way back was used successfully for may things and patients survived.

Making a hole in someones skull to save them and bleed them definitely works.

VINCERE VEL MORI

August 4, 2010
6:10 am
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Boleynfan
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I think some–but not many–remedies did work. For instance, some of the beauty treatments like face paint and wigs did work. Some holistic medications even worked, but bleeding did not. Actually it weakened the patient because of blood loss! And a lot of people, even well-educated ones, did believe in bleeding, you were sick because of “ill humors”, etc.

"Grumble all you like, this is how it's going to be"

November 26, 2010
2:22 pm
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Anyanka
La Belle Province
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I've seen medical instruments from that period as well….scary.

It's always bunnies.

November 26, 2010
2:41 pm
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Anyanka
La Belle Province
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Take the green of goose dung and boil it in fresh butter and strain it very clean and use it.

 

Gervase Markham The English Housewife pub 1615.

 

THis is the remedy for a sore. I don't think I'd  fancy tryiing that one.

It's always bunnies.

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