ROOTS-L ArchivesArchiver > ROOTS > 2003-03 > 1047749396
Subject: [ROOTS-L] Old Time Medicine
Date: Sat, 15 Mar 2003 12:29:56 EST
Let us not forget that wonderful "cure all" of blood-letting. They would
actually cut deep into veins and allow the "bad blood" to drip into a cup. I
often wondered how they stopped the bleeding when they had taken enough. So
an ill person is made weaker.
Sometimes they would use leeches for the blood-letting - attaching leeches to
various parts of the body and leaving them to drink their fill. SHUDDER
Toxic treatments were very common - and in some places people still use them
for old home remedies. I couldn't believe it when a friend said that her
mother used to give her kerosene and sugar for a sore throat. This friend is
And giving a "physic" was and still is a common one. People will take large
doses of laxatives to "purge the poison" out of their systems. Not a good
thing when you are ill already.
It is interesting that many of the old treatments that doctors
used then were actually toxic. I have transcribed the prescription
book of Dr. Phineas Ingalls, and he frequently used red lead in
his prescriptions. We now know that red lead is toxic.
I suspect that toxic prescriptions may have been one of the
contributing factors to the short lifespan of many of our ancestors.