77 – Unferth the Unhealthy

Ok, so last week we chatted a bit about treatments. And from the comments that I’ve received, it seems like many of you were quite interested in the treatments and wanted to hear some more. And frankly, I had fun putting it together. So lets talk about some more.

Lets begin with trauma since there would have been a fair amount of that in Anglo Saxon britain.

If Unferth was in a fight and received a cut that went down into the senews and severed them (and lets face it, this was probably not an uncommon event)… Bald’s leechbook suggests that the physician pound some earthworms and then put them on Unferth’s open wound. Yep. Ground up earthworms. I suppose he should just be happy it isn’t the powdered fresh horse dung from last week.

But it really makes you wonder who thought worms were a good idea and why, after it undoubtedly failed on numerous occasions, they kept doing it and wrote it down.

10 Responses to “77 – Unferth the Unhealthy”

  1. How do I download this?

  2. Thought you might like to suggest this for Unferth if he gets a bloody nose…
    1285: For a severe nosebleed, Ibn al-Nafis suggests stuffing the nostril with a mix of basil, mint, cobwebs and “juice of donkey excrement”.

  3. I, and nearly every other breastfeeding mother I’ve known, have definitely used breastmilk as a medicine for baby; in eyes for conjunctivitis (pink eye), on skin for eczema and diaper rash, etc. It has amazing healing properties.

  4. Also, I just thought I’d mention that earthworms are anticoagulants, and even now are used (usually in powdered form) as medicine in several applications. Some interesting info here: http://altmedrev.com/publications/16/1/50.pdf

    • That’s an excellent find. Also… kind of crazy to think about. :)

      • I know! Squirrely! haha But also so VERY awesome to see that many centuries-old medical or nutritional traditions can now be verified as actually useful. Chances are that UNhelpful experiments would not have been passed down through generations (if they had tried earthworms and the arm fell off and the person died, they’d likely have tried something else!), so there’s got to be SOMEthing to most of it. :)

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