A Little Physicke

Longhi the faintSusan here, hoping you all are feeling healthy! Spring is on its way, but we’re still in this damp, cold wintry season, where colds and flu viruses can flourish. We have fortunate and fast access to all sorts of help—with either a trip to the doctor’s office or a trip to the local pharmacy, we can get over-the-counter or prescription cough and cold remedies, flu shots, antibiotics and more. But viruses, in one form or another, have been around for ages. What did people do in the days before guaifenesin, nasal sprays, amoxicillin and so on? Some of the natural remedies we use routinely to defeat colds and flu in particular were recognized as useful centuries ago, and many are being studied today and found to be effective to some degree.

Some common treatments used long ago and in some form now are garlic, which helps reduce phlegm and has natural antibacterial properties, willow, which as a natural salicylate helps reduce fever, licorice root and marshmallow root for coughs, honey, known for its antiviral and antibacterial and throat-soothing properties (honey and lemon in hot tea is just the best when you’re feeling sick!) – and there’s peppermint for upset tummies, and of course chicken soup, the practically legendary all-purpose cold and flu remedy (and science has proven that it has properties that really do work. All these things and way more can help when we’re suffering from sneezy, drippy, hoarse, feverish miseries.

And of course, there’s the hot toddy if you so prefer, a concoction of whisky, honey, hot water, sometimes lemon and spices, which certainly relaxes the Hot_toddy_(1) cold sufferer if nothing else, but it can help open the breathing, soothe the throat with its heat, and generally make you feel better! Hot toddies originated in Scotland in the 18th century, they say, as a blend of hot water, honey, and spices including nutmeg and cinnamon meant to disguise the no doubt noxious burn of raw whisky, perhaps in the days before the whisky was appropriately aged in sherry casks to add flavor and depth. Doctoring raw liquor led perhaps to the accidental discovery that toddies helped those with runny noses, fevers and coughs feel some relief. An 18th century physician advised, for colds and influenza, rest, fluids, lemons and oranges, al though he might have been thinking of that new fad, the hot toddy, when he said “many attempt to cure a cold by getting drunk . . . but it is a very hazardous and fool-hardy experiment.”

I would down a pitcher of hot toddies, gallons of chicken soup and long strings of garlic any day over some other remedies used in the past, which we may hope will never reappear as natural remedies today.

For instance, Henry VIII would take, and recommended heartily, a treatment for the sweating sickness—a potion Unicorn met
made from mustard seed, milk thistle, water of dragons, and powdered unicorn horn. Mustard seed and milk thistle—okay, but, er, what exactly were the sources of water of dragons and powdered unicorn horn really? Only the apothecary knows.

When a tonic of hyssop, wine, ginger, cumin and figs—or a variety of other concoctions—did not work to cure hoarseness and cough in the 15th century, there was always bloodletting, a general cure-all believed to clear bad humors out of the body, leaving the patient weak but cleansed. A slice on the arm, a bowl to catch the blood and all that invisible badness in it, perhaps a leech or two stuck on fast, and you were good as new. Too bad they didn’t give out orange juice and cookies, since it was a blood donation.  

A gooey blend of nut oil, wine, rue, marjoram, rosemary, lard and zinc oxide was used as a rub for chest congestion as well as a burn salve in medieval Italy. Might have worked for sunburn too! 

For centuries, the apparently magical properties of mercury made it a handy little cure-all for everything from coughs to cuts to syphilis. If you survived a dose of mercury, you were hardy indeed. Medical uses for mercury survived well into the 20th century, and many of us are still walking around with it in our tooth fillings.

Carbolic_smoke_ball_coAll sorts of snake oils and wacky concoctions were sold in the 19th century that were wildly irresponsible by today’s standards. Back then they did not quite realize the harmful effects of plenty of morphine and opium in cough syrups, or adding chloroform to a syrup to help calm fretful babies.

Inhaling the smoke from a “carbolic smoke ball” – a hollow rubber ball filled with carbolic acid and fitted with a tube for the nose—was also advertised as a remedy for everything from colds, cough and catarrh to deafness and headache. 

But there was one particular cure-all, believed in the medieval and Renaissance eras to be very efficacious — the use of urine for all sorts of medical treatments. Judging a person’s health by the state of their urine—color, density, amount, and so on—is still done today, but we stop short at drinking it. Yes, drinking it. Urine was thought to have benefits to help all sorts of ailments. Sometimes animal urine was recommended—and sometimes the best remedy was downing a cup of one’s own product.

Robert Record, physician and author of “The Urinal of Physick” Al-razi in 1665, wrote that one physician of his acquaintance “did drive away the Ague above 8 times with the only drinking of his own Urine, at the beginning of the sickness. And many still do of the same practice, and it proveth well, and likewise many men do.” And let that be a lesson to those of us who would not prefer to take a swig of that! Record also used more than half his book to bash the suspect efforts of many doctors, apothecaries, and chirurgeons. 

I asked Dr. Josh, nephrologist and toxicologist, who acts as an amiable medical research consultant for some of the Wenches (and who occasionally blogs for us about medical history), about some of these early and strange cures.

“Medicine at that time was at a crossroads,” says he, “the influence of ancient Greek and Persian physicians was in contest with physicians like Paracelsus. The followers of the ancients (Team Galen) adhered to theories like the four humors; Team Paracelsus and his like believed that experience is the best teacher. Paracelsus, grandfather of modern toxicology among other accomplishments, said 'There is more medicine in my little finger than in the works of Galen and Avicenna.' As a university lecturer, at one point Paracelsus piled up medical texts and lit them in a bonfire. (He wasn't asked back for the next year). He was an alchemist who sometimes recommended toxic 'cures,’ and though he stayed pretty healthy himself, it’s recorded that he died in a bar fight.

"Team Paracelsus ultimately won," Dr. Josh explains, "though it took centuries. The evidence-based medicine that we follow today came from his philosophy. Many modern Medieval-Medical-Bookstreatments are derived from early herbal remedies, but for every useful suggestion there is a bizarre treatment with little basis in reality that would surely worsen the unfortunate patient’s condition.”

So, the next time your throat feels a little scratchy and your nose starts running, mix yourself a hot toddy, toss some extra garlic in the chicken soup, get some extra rest – and be glad your doctor is not suggesting that you break out the powdered unicorn horn, slap on a few leeches, or sip a little fresh pee! 

Physick 5Do you rely on natural home remedies for colds and flu? Where do you get your powdered unicorn horn?

Susan 

 

The closing page of Robert Record's book. And I am the well-wisher of your health too!  

85 thoughts on “A Little Physicke”

  1. One of the multitude of reasons I’m glad I live now and not then! I use a lot of essential oils and teas and things for minor ailments. I keep a tin of candied ginger chunks for unhappy tummies and drink hot water with honey, lemon and essential oils in it for sore throats. However, when the flu hit, I was in line at the emergency clinic for Tamiflu. Unfortunately, my last supplier of powdered unicorn horn has gone out of business so I’m at a loss. Seriously, the things these practitioners pulled off. LOL

    Reply
  2. One of the multitude of reasons I’m glad I live now and not then! I use a lot of essential oils and teas and things for minor ailments. I keep a tin of candied ginger chunks for unhappy tummies and drink hot water with honey, lemon and essential oils in it for sore throats. However, when the flu hit, I was in line at the emergency clinic for Tamiflu. Unfortunately, my last supplier of powdered unicorn horn has gone out of business so I’m at a loss. Seriously, the things these practitioners pulled off. LOL

    Reply
  3. One of the multitude of reasons I’m glad I live now and not then! I use a lot of essential oils and teas and things for minor ailments. I keep a tin of candied ginger chunks for unhappy tummies and drink hot water with honey, lemon and essential oils in it for sore throats. However, when the flu hit, I was in line at the emergency clinic for Tamiflu. Unfortunately, my last supplier of powdered unicorn horn has gone out of business so I’m at a loss. Seriously, the things these practitioners pulled off. LOL

    Reply
  4. One of the multitude of reasons I’m glad I live now and not then! I use a lot of essential oils and teas and things for minor ailments. I keep a tin of candied ginger chunks for unhappy tummies and drink hot water with honey, lemon and essential oils in it for sore throats. However, when the flu hit, I was in line at the emergency clinic for Tamiflu. Unfortunately, my last supplier of powdered unicorn horn has gone out of business so I’m at a loss. Seriously, the things these practitioners pulled off. LOL

    Reply
  5. One of the multitude of reasons I’m glad I live now and not then! I use a lot of essential oils and teas and things for minor ailments. I keep a tin of candied ginger chunks for unhappy tummies and drink hot water with honey, lemon and essential oils in it for sore throats. However, when the flu hit, I was in line at the emergency clinic for Tamiflu. Unfortunately, my last supplier of powdered unicorn horn has gone out of business so I’m at a loss. Seriously, the things these practitioners pulled off. LOL

    Reply
  6. What a really fascinating post! I don’t know that the hot toddy concoction (with whiskey) has any healing properties, but it must certainly make you feel better. I also know that vinegar applied directly to a sunburn will take the sting away almost immediately. But thanks to sun block that isn’t needed much anymore.
    My grandmother believed in something called homopathic remedies. She had at least a dozen tiny bottles of what looked and tasted like little sugar pills. The only time I ever tried one was when she gave me one for a fever blister. Surprisingly it seemed to work. I don’t think it was the placebo effect, because I truly believed it would not do a thing. Only took to appease my grandma. Hmmm – maybe I should check out homopathic remedies for my arthritis pain (smile).

    Reply
  7. What a really fascinating post! I don’t know that the hot toddy concoction (with whiskey) has any healing properties, but it must certainly make you feel better. I also know that vinegar applied directly to a sunburn will take the sting away almost immediately. But thanks to sun block that isn’t needed much anymore.
    My grandmother believed in something called homopathic remedies. She had at least a dozen tiny bottles of what looked and tasted like little sugar pills. The only time I ever tried one was when she gave me one for a fever blister. Surprisingly it seemed to work. I don’t think it was the placebo effect, because I truly believed it would not do a thing. Only took to appease my grandma. Hmmm – maybe I should check out homopathic remedies for my arthritis pain (smile).

    Reply
  8. What a really fascinating post! I don’t know that the hot toddy concoction (with whiskey) has any healing properties, but it must certainly make you feel better. I also know that vinegar applied directly to a sunburn will take the sting away almost immediately. But thanks to sun block that isn’t needed much anymore.
    My grandmother believed in something called homopathic remedies. She had at least a dozen tiny bottles of what looked and tasted like little sugar pills. The only time I ever tried one was when she gave me one for a fever blister. Surprisingly it seemed to work. I don’t think it was the placebo effect, because I truly believed it would not do a thing. Only took to appease my grandma. Hmmm – maybe I should check out homopathic remedies for my arthritis pain (smile).

    Reply
  9. What a really fascinating post! I don’t know that the hot toddy concoction (with whiskey) has any healing properties, but it must certainly make you feel better. I also know that vinegar applied directly to a sunburn will take the sting away almost immediately. But thanks to sun block that isn’t needed much anymore.
    My grandmother believed in something called homopathic remedies. She had at least a dozen tiny bottles of what looked and tasted like little sugar pills. The only time I ever tried one was when she gave me one for a fever blister. Surprisingly it seemed to work. I don’t think it was the placebo effect, because I truly believed it would not do a thing. Only took to appease my grandma. Hmmm – maybe I should check out homopathic remedies for my arthritis pain (smile).

    Reply
  10. What a really fascinating post! I don’t know that the hot toddy concoction (with whiskey) has any healing properties, but it must certainly make you feel better. I also know that vinegar applied directly to a sunburn will take the sting away almost immediately. But thanks to sun block that isn’t needed much anymore.
    My grandmother believed in something called homopathic remedies. She had at least a dozen tiny bottles of what looked and tasted like little sugar pills. The only time I ever tried one was when she gave me one for a fever blister. Surprisingly it seemed to work. I don’t think it was the placebo effect, because I truly believed it would not do a thing. Only took to appease my grandma. Hmmm – maybe I should check out homopathic remedies for my arthritis pain (smile).

    Reply
  11. In a pinch, I will drink whiskey, honey, and lemon to sooth a throat UNTIL I can get to the store for cough/throat medicine.
    Among the “Lots of Liquids” I include both chicken and beef soups. And I up my beef intake in general because I tend to become anemic.
    All this have folk medicine counterparts, but my usage has come mostly from the suggestions of my doctors.

    Reply
  12. In a pinch, I will drink whiskey, honey, and lemon to sooth a throat UNTIL I can get to the store for cough/throat medicine.
    Among the “Lots of Liquids” I include both chicken and beef soups. And I up my beef intake in general because I tend to become anemic.
    All this have folk medicine counterparts, but my usage has come mostly from the suggestions of my doctors.

    Reply
  13. In a pinch, I will drink whiskey, honey, and lemon to sooth a throat UNTIL I can get to the store for cough/throat medicine.
    Among the “Lots of Liquids” I include both chicken and beef soups. And I up my beef intake in general because I tend to become anemic.
    All this have folk medicine counterparts, but my usage has come mostly from the suggestions of my doctors.

    Reply
  14. In a pinch, I will drink whiskey, honey, and lemon to sooth a throat UNTIL I can get to the store for cough/throat medicine.
    Among the “Lots of Liquids” I include both chicken and beef soups. And I up my beef intake in general because I tend to become anemic.
    All this have folk medicine counterparts, but my usage has come mostly from the suggestions of my doctors.

    Reply
  15. In a pinch, I will drink whiskey, honey, and lemon to sooth a throat UNTIL I can get to the store for cough/throat medicine.
    Among the “Lots of Liquids” I include both chicken and beef soups. And I up my beef intake in general because I tend to become anemic.
    All this have folk medicine counterparts, but my usage has come mostly from the suggestions of my doctors.

    Reply
  16. Thanks for another fascinating article, Susan. I do a lot of hoping that I won’t get sick and then go from there.
    Drinking one’s own urine is not as outdated as you might like to think; I’ve known people who have done it. (I’ll pass. Thank you very much!)

    Reply
  17. Thanks for another fascinating article, Susan. I do a lot of hoping that I won’t get sick and then go from there.
    Drinking one’s own urine is not as outdated as you might like to think; I’ve known people who have done it. (I’ll pass. Thank you very much!)

    Reply
  18. Thanks for another fascinating article, Susan. I do a lot of hoping that I won’t get sick and then go from there.
    Drinking one’s own urine is not as outdated as you might like to think; I’ve known people who have done it. (I’ll pass. Thank you very much!)

    Reply
  19. Thanks for another fascinating article, Susan. I do a lot of hoping that I won’t get sick and then go from there.
    Drinking one’s own urine is not as outdated as you might like to think; I’ve known people who have done it. (I’ll pass. Thank you very much!)

    Reply
  20. Thanks for another fascinating article, Susan. I do a lot of hoping that I won’t get sick and then go from there.
    Drinking one’s own urine is not as outdated as you might like to think; I’ve known people who have done it. (I’ll pass. Thank you very much!)

    Reply
  21. Hmm, I replied earlier but my comment has disappeared into the ether!
    I generally simply hope that I don’t get sick and then go from there. Susan, your thought that no one currently drinks urine is sadly not true; I’ve known a couple of people who have. (And, no, I’m not one of them.)

    Reply
  22. Hmm, I replied earlier but my comment has disappeared into the ether!
    I generally simply hope that I don’t get sick and then go from there. Susan, your thought that no one currently drinks urine is sadly not true; I’ve known a couple of people who have. (And, no, I’m not one of them.)

    Reply
  23. Hmm, I replied earlier but my comment has disappeared into the ether!
    I generally simply hope that I don’t get sick and then go from there. Susan, your thought that no one currently drinks urine is sadly not true; I’ve known a couple of people who have. (And, no, I’m not one of them.)

    Reply
  24. Hmm, I replied earlier but my comment has disappeared into the ether!
    I generally simply hope that I don’t get sick and then go from there. Susan, your thought that no one currently drinks urine is sadly not true; I’ve known a couple of people who have. (And, no, I’m not one of them.)

    Reply
  25. Hmm, I replied earlier but my comment has disappeared into the ether!
    I generally simply hope that I don’t get sick and then go from there. Susan, your thought that no one currently drinks urine is sadly not true; I’ve known a couple of people who have. (And, no, I’m not one of them.)

    Reply
  26. I get a flu shot each year and take 1000 mg of vitamin C each day. Haven’t had the flu since 1983 and can not remember the last time I had a cold. When I was sick I drank a lot of hot tea and soup. Plenty other things wrong but not colds or flu.

    Reply
  27. I get a flu shot each year and take 1000 mg of vitamin C each day. Haven’t had the flu since 1983 and can not remember the last time I had a cold. When I was sick I drank a lot of hot tea and soup. Plenty other things wrong but not colds or flu.

    Reply
  28. I get a flu shot each year and take 1000 mg of vitamin C each day. Haven’t had the flu since 1983 and can not remember the last time I had a cold. When I was sick I drank a lot of hot tea and soup. Plenty other things wrong but not colds or flu.

    Reply
  29. I get a flu shot each year and take 1000 mg of vitamin C each day. Haven’t had the flu since 1983 and can not remember the last time I had a cold. When I was sick I drank a lot of hot tea and soup. Plenty other things wrong but not colds or flu.

    Reply
  30. I get a flu shot each year and take 1000 mg of vitamin C each day. Haven’t had the flu since 1983 and can not remember the last time I had a cold. When I was sick I drank a lot of hot tea and soup. Plenty other things wrong but not colds or flu.

    Reply
  31. Well, I haven’t had much luck locating powdered unicorn horn, but I have two cold remedies on which I have relied for years.
    The first is hot tea and Jane Austen, while curled up in a comfortable chair. (This is good any time, but a cold offers a plausible excuse.)
    The second, to be used in the evening, is hot lemonade with honey and rum. I don’t know that it cures anything, but it definitely makes me feel better and promotes a good night’s sleep.

    Reply
  32. Well, I haven’t had much luck locating powdered unicorn horn, but I have two cold remedies on which I have relied for years.
    The first is hot tea and Jane Austen, while curled up in a comfortable chair. (This is good any time, but a cold offers a plausible excuse.)
    The second, to be used in the evening, is hot lemonade with honey and rum. I don’t know that it cures anything, but it definitely makes me feel better and promotes a good night’s sleep.

    Reply
  33. Well, I haven’t had much luck locating powdered unicorn horn, but I have two cold remedies on which I have relied for years.
    The first is hot tea and Jane Austen, while curled up in a comfortable chair. (This is good any time, but a cold offers a plausible excuse.)
    The second, to be used in the evening, is hot lemonade with honey and rum. I don’t know that it cures anything, but it definitely makes me feel better and promotes a good night’s sleep.

    Reply
  34. Well, I haven’t had much luck locating powdered unicorn horn, but I have two cold remedies on which I have relied for years.
    The first is hot tea and Jane Austen, while curled up in a comfortable chair. (This is good any time, but a cold offers a plausible excuse.)
    The second, to be used in the evening, is hot lemonade with honey and rum. I don’t know that it cures anything, but it definitely makes me feel better and promotes a good night’s sleep.

    Reply
  35. Well, I haven’t had much luck locating powdered unicorn horn, but I have two cold remedies on which I have relied for years.
    The first is hot tea and Jane Austen, while curled up in a comfortable chair. (This is good any time, but a cold offers a plausible excuse.)
    The second, to be used in the evening, is hot lemonade with honey and rum. I don’t know that it cures anything, but it definitely makes me feel better and promotes a good night’s sleep.

    Reply
  36. Many of the remedies produced by pharmaceutical companies today have their “roots” in plant medicine. What the companies do is to concentrate the active ingredient and make it consistent from dose to dose. Working with leaves or other plant parts it might be hard to get the same amount because the size of the leaves differ and there might be other differences in the soil, moisture, or handling after harvest. One of the most interesting stories about plant medicine from history is the one about the discovery of digoxin, which is an extract of foxglove leaf. Evidently there was a woman in the north of England who had great results treating patients with heart failure. A fancy London doctor heard about her and went to study with her. This is amazing in itself because of the prejudice against the herb women. He was able to work with her recipe and discover which of the ingredients was the effective one. I don’t know what he did with it afterwards, whether he grew enormously wealthy because of that work, but that is an example of herbal medicine with real effects. A caution for readers, though, is that many people think that any herb is “natural” and cannot possibly harm them. If the herbs don’t have an effect then you are wasting your money. Also they may cause an interaction with your other medicines or cause liver problems. Thank you for this post, Susan.

    Reply
  37. Many of the remedies produced by pharmaceutical companies today have their “roots” in plant medicine. What the companies do is to concentrate the active ingredient and make it consistent from dose to dose. Working with leaves or other plant parts it might be hard to get the same amount because the size of the leaves differ and there might be other differences in the soil, moisture, or handling after harvest. One of the most interesting stories about plant medicine from history is the one about the discovery of digoxin, which is an extract of foxglove leaf. Evidently there was a woman in the north of England who had great results treating patients with heart failure. A fancy London doctor heard about her and went to study with her. This is amazing in itself because of the prejudice against the herb women. He was able to work with her recipe and discover which of the ingredients was the effective one. I don’t know what he did with it afterwards, whether he grew enormously wealthy because of that work, but that is an example of herbal medicine with real effects. A caution for readers, though, is that many people think that any herb is “natural” and cannot possibly harm them. If the herbs don’t have an effect then you are wasting your money. Also they may cause an interaction with your other medicines or cause liver problems. Thank you for this post, Susan.

    Reply
  38. Many of the remedies produced by pharmaceutical companies today have their “roots” in plant medicine. What the companies do is to concentrate the active ingredient and make it consistent from dose to dose. Working with leaves or other plant parts it might be hard to get the same amount because the size of the leaves differ and there might be other differences in the soil, moisture, or handling after harvest. One of the most interesting stories about plant medicine from history is the one about the discovery of digoxin, which is an extract of foxglove leaf. Evidently there was a woman in the north of England who had great results treating patients with heart failure. A fancy London doctor heard about her and went to study with her. This is amazing in itself because of the prejudice against the herb women. He was able to work with her recipe and discover which of the ingredients was the effective one. I don’t know what he did with it afterwards, whether he grew enormously wealthy because of that work, but that is an example of herbal medicine with real effects. A caution for readers, though, is that many people think that any herb is “natural” and cannot possibly harm them. If the herbs don’t have an effect then you are wasting your money. Also they may cause an interaction with your other medicines or cause liver problems. Thank you for this post, Susan.

    Reply
  39. Many of the remedies produced by pharmaceutical companies today have their “roots” in plant medicine. What the companies do is to concentrate the active ingredient and make it consistent from dose to dose. Working with leaves or other plant parts it might be hard to get the same amount because the size of the leaves differ and there might be other differences in the soil, moisture, or handling after harvest. One of the most interesting stories about plant medicine from history is the one about the discovery of digoxin, which is an extract of foxglove leaf. Evidently there was a woman in the north of England who had great results treating patients with heart failure. A fancy London doctor heard about her and went to study with her. This is amazing in itself because of the prejudice against the herb women. He was able to work with her recipe and discover which of the ingredients was the effective one. I don’t know what he did with it afterwards, whether he grew enormously wealthy because of that work, but that is an example of herbal medicine with real effects. A caution for readers, though, is that many people think that any herb is “natural” and cannot possibly harm them. If the herbs don’t have an effect then you are wasting your money. Also they may cause an interaction with your other medicines or cause liver problems. Thank you for this post, Susan.

    Reply
  40. Many of the remedies produced by pharmaceutical companies today have their “roots” in plant medicine. What the companies do is to concentrate the active ingredient and make it consistent from dose to dose. Working with leaves or other plant parts it might be hard to get the same amount because the size of the leaves differ and there might be other differences in the soil, moisture, or handling after harvest. One of the most interesting stories about plant medicine from history is the one about the discovery of digoxin, which is an extract of foxglove leaf. Evidently there was a woman in the north of England who had great results treating patients with heart failure. A fancy London doctor heard about her and went to study with her. This is amazing in itself because of the prejudice against the herb women. He was able to work with her recipe and discover which of the ingredients was the effective one. I don’t know what he did with it afterwards, whether he grew enormously wealthy because of that work, but that is an example of herbal medicine with real effects. A caution for readers, though, is that many people think that any herb is “natural” and cannot possibly harm them. If the herbs don’t have an effect then you are wasting your money. Also they may cause an interaction with your other medicines or cause liver problems. Thank you for this post, Susan.

    Reply
  41. Many modern drugs have their “roots” in plants. What the drug companies do is standardize and concentrate the active ingredient to make it consistent from dose to dose. This is needed because there can be a great difference in the potency of herbs depending on sun, rain, handling after harvest, and size of the leaf. One of the best stories about herbal medicine is related to digoxin, a medicine from foxglove leaves. Apparently there was a herb woman in Northern England who had great success with heart failure. A London doctor went to study with her. This is pretty amazing, given the attitude toward herb women at the time. Anyway he worked with her recipe to find the active ingredient and was able to purify the medicine with great effect.

    Reply
  42. Many modern drugs have their “roots” in plants. What the drug companies do is standardize and concentrate the active ingredient to make it consistent from dose to dose. This is needed because there can be a great difference in the potency of herbs depending on sun, rain, handling after harvest, and size of the leaf. One of the best stories about herbal medicine is related to digoxin, a medicine from foxglove leaves. Apparently there was a herb woman in Northern England who had great success with heart failure. A London doctor went to study with her. This is pretty amazing, given the attitude toward herb women at the time. Anyway he worked with her recipe to find the active ingredient and was able to purify the medicine with great effect.

    Reply
  43. Many modern drugs have their “roots” in plants. What the drug companies do is standardize and concentrate the active ingredient to make it consistent from dose to dose. This is needed because there can be a great difference in the potency of herbs depending on sun, rain, handling after harvest, and size of the leaf. One of the best stories about herbal medicine is related to digoxin, a medicine from foxglove leaves. Apparently there was a herb woman in Northern England who had great success with heart failure. A London doctor went to study with her. This is pretty amazing, given the attitude toward herb women at the time. Anyway he worked with her recipe to find the active ingredient and was able to purify the medicine with great effect.

    Reply
  44. Many modern drugs have their “roots” in plants. What the drug companies do is standardize and concentrate the active ingredient to make it consistent from dose to dose. This is needed because there can be a great difference in the potency of herbs depending on sun, rain, handling after harvest, and size of the leaf. One of the best stories about herbal medicine is related to digoxin, a medicine from foxglove leaves. Apparently there was a herb woman in Northern England who had great success with heart failure. A London doctor went to study with her. This is pretty amazing, given the attitude toward herb women at the time. Anyway he worked with her recipe to find the active ingredient and was able to purify the medicine with great effect.

    Reply
  45. Many modern drugs have their “roots” in plants. What the drug companies do is standardize and concentrate the active ingredient to make it consistent from dose to dose. This is needed because there can be a great difference in the potency of herbs depending on sun, rain, handling after harvest, and size of the leaf. One of the best stories about herbal medicine is related to digoxin, a medicine from foxglove leaves. Apparently there was a herb woman in Northern England who had great success with heart failure. A London doctor went to study with her. This is pretty amazing, given the attitude toward herb women at the time. Anyway he worked with her recipe to find the active ingredient and was able to purify the medicine with great effect.

    Reply
  46. I think I’d rather die than drink my own urine!!!! What a disgusting thought. This was a great post and I really enjoyed it. Can’t imagine walking into my local Boots and asking for an ounce of unicorn horn!!!!

    Reply
  47. I think I’d rather die than drink my own urine!!!! What a disgusting thought. This was a great post and I really enjoyed it. Can’t imagine walking into my local Boots and asking for an ounce of unicorn horn!!!!

    Reply
  48. I think I’d rather die than drink my own urine!!!! What a disgusting thought. This was a great post and I really enjoyed it. Can’t imagine walking into my local Boots and asking for an ounce of unicorn horn!!!!

    Reply
  49. I think I’d rather die than drink my own urine!!!! What a disgusting thought. This was a great post and I really enjoyed it. Can’t imagine walking into my local Boots and asking for an ounce of unicorn horn!!!!

    Reply
  50. I think I’d rather die than drink my own urine!!!! What a disgusting thought. This was a great post and I really enjoyed it. Can’t imagine walking into my local Boots and asking for an ounce of unicorn horn!!!!

    Reply
  51. I do believe in herbal tea for a cough or cold. Slippery elm, ginger, fennel seed and thyme for a cough or congestion. But the blood-letting, ugh! It always upsets me when a character in a historical novel gets “quacked”. I’m reading and saying to myself, “no, no, don’t listen to the doctor!”.

    Reply
  52. I do believe in herbal tea for a cough or cold. Slippery elm, ginger, fennel seed and thyme for a cough or congestion. But the blood-letting, ugh! It always upsets me when a character in a historical novel gets “quacked”. I’m reading and saying to myself, “no, no, don’t listen to the doctor!”.

    Reply
  53. I do believe in herbal tea for a cough or cold. Slippery elm, ginger, fennel seed and thyme for a cough or congestion. But the blood-letting, ugh! It always upsets me when a character in a historical novel gets “quacked”. I’m reading and saying to myself, “no, no, don’t listen to the doctor!”.

    Reply
  54. I do believe in herbal tea for a cough or cold. Slippery elm, ginger, fennel seed and thyme for a cough or congestion. But the blood-letting, ugh! It always upsets me when a character in a historical novel gets “quacked”. I’m reading and saying to myself, “no, no, don’t listen to the doctor!”.

    Reply
  55. I do believe in herbal tea for a cough or cold. Slippery elm, ginger, fennel seed and thyme for a cough or congestion. But the blood-letting, ugh! It always upsets me when a character in a historical novel gets “quacked”. I’m reading and saying to myself, “no, no, don’t listen to the doctor!”.

    Reply
  56. Vinegar, when applied directly to a sunburn, will take the sting out of it. Thanks to sun block it is not needed so much anymore.

    Reply
  57. Vinegar, when applied directly to a sunburn, will take the sting out of it. Thanks to sun block it is not needed so much anymore.

    Reply
  58. Vinegar, when applied directly to a sunburn, will take the sting out of it. Thanks to sun block it is not needed so much anymore.

    Reply
  59. Vinegar, when applied directly to a sunburn, will take the sting out of it. Thanks to sun block it is not needed so much anymore.

    Reply
  60. Vinegar, when applied directly to a sunburn, will take the sting out of it. Thanks to sun block it is not needed so much anymore.

    Reply
  61. Ah, glad to see that the comment feature is now working; I tried unsuccessfully to comment a time or three over the past couple of days.
    I tend to spend time hoping that I will not become sick. (I have had mixed success.) I can say, Susan, that there are still people who drink their own urine; I’ve known a couple. (Not me though!)

    Reply
  62. Ah, glad to see that the comment feature is now working; I tried unsuccessfully to comment a time or three over the past couple of days.
    I tend to spend time hoping that I will not become sick. (I have had mixed success.) I can say, Susan, that there are still people who drink their own urine; I’ve known a couple. (Not me though!)

    Reply
  63. Ah, glad to see that the comment feature is now working; I tried unsuccessfully to comment a time or three over the past couple of days.
    I tend to spend time hoping that I will not become sick. (I have had mixed success.) I can say, Susan, that there are still people who drink their own urine; I’ve known a couple. (Not me though!)

    Reply
  64. Ah, glad to see that the comment feature is now working; I tried unsuccessfully to comment a time or three over the past couple of days.
    I tend to spend time hoping that I will not become sick. (I have had mixed success.) I can say, Susan, that there are still people who drink their own urine; I’ve known a couple. (Not me though!)

    Reply
  65. Ah, glad to see that the comment feature is now working; I tried unsuccessfully to comment a time or three over the past couple of days.
    I tend to spend time hoping that I will not become sick. (I have had mixed success.) I can say, Susan, that there are still people who drink their own urine; I’ve known a couple. (Not me though!)

    Reply

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