Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 83.djvu/99

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95
VULGAR SPECIFICS

of an egg add salt, then make a salve and apply. A prescription which was given to Pope Clement VII. to relieve his carcinoma (I believe) read as follows:

 
Take of
Cinnamon 10 ounces
Ginger  5 ounces
Zedoary  4 ounces
Nutmeg  3 ounces
Elder root  2 ounces
Calamus  1 ounce
Dissolve in a decoction of lemon juice mixed with wine.
Take a half pint before meals in the time when the moon is in Cancer, Leo or Virgo.
 

Brâssieres, speaking about the errors of medicine^ relates the following procedure for the treatment of cancer:

Chacun connait ce vieux prejuge que l'on ne rencontre plus que cJiez de pauvres femmes du siècle dernier. Atteintes de cancer, elle nourissent avec soin, pour ne pas en etre devoreés ce pretendu animal, en appliquant tons les matins sur leur plaies une tranche fraiche de veau.[1]

For the treatment of urinary lithiasis, very many curious means were in use in the middle ages. Goat's urine was recommended by all the Arabian physicians to be taken internally. The Talmud mentions quite a remarkable cure for the kidney or bladder stone. Baas speaks of this method in a very bitter way, but it is no more vulgar than many similar customs in different countries. Baas's "History of Medicine" is rather unfair and partial in its treatment of Hebrew contributions to medical knowledge. The method to which I am referring was cited in another paper by me on the history of the lithotomy operation.[2]

A bone from the head of a carp is said to be good for apoplexy or the falling sickness.[3]

All flower water was given to patients suffering with asthma. This "all-flower water" was called urina vaccæ. Patients complaining of chorea were usually taken to one of the holy shrines where remarkable cures were said to be performed. Lourdes in France still boasts of the survival of this ancient custom. Emile Zola in his masterly novel, bearing the name of this city, vividly describes how the sick and suffering from all parts of France come to this town and expect complete restoration to normal health.

The next is Vitus sodde in Oyle, before whose ymage faire,

Both men and women bringing hennes for offering do repair;
The cause whereof I do not know, I think for some disease

Which he is thought to drive away from such as him do please.[4]

For shingles, herpes zoster, there was practised the following cure:

  1. A. F. E. Brâssieres, "Sur les Erreurs en Medicine," 1860.
  2. Kahn, "History of the Lithotomy Operation," Medical Record, 1912.
  3. J. Schroedems, "Zoology," 1659.
  4. Googe, "Popish Kingdom," 1570, p. 54.