Another article of diet which the loose-boweled were advised to eat was the first rib of salted roast beef. A more vulgar procedure was to sleep with puppies for several nights until cured of this ailment.
In children, or for that matter in adults, incontinence of water was treated rather quaintly. It was the custom to give to a child who suffered with this defect three roasted mice.
Numberless as are the aches that afflict the human being so numerous are the remedies which purport to cure these ailments. For the general aches and pains of muscles, "the laying under your pillow for nine nights a crooked six-pence that has belonged to three young men of the name of John" will cause relief. Sweating was good for the usual muscular aches.
For I do sweat already, and I'll sweat more;
'Tis good they say to cure the aches.
For the household toothache, it was the custom in Shropshire to apply the amputated foot of a live mole (oont). For intestinal worms, a live trout was laid on the stomach of the patient, and the water in which earthworms had been boiled was taken internally as a broth.
Boils and abscesses were poulticed for three days and nights, and the bandages were then deposited in the coffin of one awaiting for burial. These patients were also advised "to creep under a bramble that had taken second root at the branch end, moving on the hands and knees." Another procedure which Diaxe speaks about is "walking around six, and crawling three times across the grave of one of the opposite sex on a dark night following the interment "—a rather shivery experience! For a carbuncle:
On advertit ceux qui ont carboncle de ne passer l'eau, sur pont ou sur bateau, ne en sorte que ce soit
A special amulet worn by nursing women to protect them against sore breasts was a heart-shaped medal made of the lead cut off the quarrels of a church window at midnight. Bleeding of the nose was prevented, so was it thought, by wearing a red ribbon around the neck, or by suspending from the neck a dead dried toad, or a large key. A lace
- Bullein, "Bulwarke of Defence," 1562, p. 84.
- Mrs. Hannah More, "Tawny Rachel."
- Webster, "Cure for a Cuckold."
- T. Diaxe, "Bibliotheca Scholastica Instuctissima," 1633.
- L. Joubert, loc. cit.