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p-medicine-lnks – 12/10/04


A set of web links to information on medieval 'Flu and other illnesses by Dame Aoife Finn of Ynos Mon.


NOTE: See also the files: p-medicine-msg, p-dental-care-art, birth-control-msg, p-herbals-msg, per-lepers-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I  have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I  have done  a limited amount  of  editing. Messages having to do  with separate topics  were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the  message IDs  were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make  no claims  as  to the accuracy  of  the information  given by the individual authors.


Please  respect the time  and  efforts of  those who have written  these messages. The  copyright status  of these messages  is  unclear at this time. If  information  is  published  from  these  messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org



From: aoife at scatoday.net

Subject: [Aoife-Links] Medieval 'Flu and other illnesses

Date:  October 22, 2004 3:25:52 PM CDT

To: aoife-links at scatoday.net


Hello Everyone!


"Medieval 'Flu" is NOT another good excuse to take off work, nor a euphemism

for unexplained illness. Nor is it an excessive desire for perfectly spiffy

medieval garb. This links list, Titled "Medieval 'Flu and other Illnesses,"

is about real communicable illnesses in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and

how they were treated (though we'd be hard pressed to actually label any of

them legitimately the 'flu from this great distance). In light of the recent

furor over the shortage--in the U.S.--of 'Flu Vaccines, I thought a trip

through history might be in order, to let us know how bad it was back then.

Of course, if you got the flu in the Middle Ages, you might not call it

influenza. Perhaps you had a surplus of Choler, suffered from Catarrh,

contracted an Ague, or had the Gripes.


No matter what you call it, however, we're still LOTS better off today, when

over-the-counter medicines exceed the health care of most medieval patients.

I hope you enjoy the following links on Medieval medicines and illnesses,

and will feel free to pass it along wherever it will be wellness-received :)

PLEASE remember that if you attempt to use any of the below medical

practices or methods, you are on your own as far as results go. This author

claims no responsibility if your unusual treatments go awry! As they say all

the time on television, "Don't try this at home!" There is no substitute for

the advice of a good doctor. Whatever else you may do, PLEASE try the

Medieval MD quiz, and see how you'd measure up as a Doctor in the Middle

Ages. You might learn something!






Dame Aoife Finn of Ynos Mon

from the stormy Canton of Riverouge

Barony of the Endless Hills,

In Glorias Aethelemarc!


Wickipedia: Medieval Medicine


(Site Excerpt) In the early period there was no single, organized, strand of

medieval medicine. Instead someone struck down by injury or disease could

turn to folk medicine, prayer, astrology, spells, mysticism, or to an

established physician if such were available to him. The boundaries between

each profession were loose and movable.


Riverdeep---Bug Medicine


(Site Excerpt) History is full of home remedies used throughout the

centuries. People have been known to slather honey on burns, use black tea

as a sort of natural antibiotic, and eat clay. This might sound strange to

you, until you realize that white clay is also an ingredient of Kaopectate,

a popular antidiarrhea medication in the United States. Chances are that

you've eaten clay, too!


Health and Medicine in Medieval England


(Site Excerpt) The cause of the Black Death according to Guy de Chauliac, a

French doctor: Three great planets, Saturn, Jupiter and Mars, are all in

close position. This took place in 1345. Such a coming together of planets

is always a sign of wonderful, terrible or violent things to come.


Stefan's Florilegium


Click "Unclassified" (last menu item on left), then "p-medical" to get to

the historical medical practices file, where you will find a wealth of

information in the form of collected missives on the subject.


National Library of Medicine: Islamic Culture and the Medical Arts


(Site Excerpt) The hospitals were dependent upon charitable endowments for

their maintenance, and with time these funds became insufficient to support

them, or, not infrequently, the lands supporting the endowment were

confiscated. Consequently, the hospitals tended to deteriorate and

eventually fall into disuse, except for a few such as the Nuri hospital in

Damascus which continued to operate as a hospital until the end of the 19th



Medieval Diseases


(Site Excerpt) Life before the discovery of penicillin, antisepsis, and germ

theory necessarily meant that disease was a constant companion of medieval

people. Fortunately, from the eighth through the mid-fourteenth centuries

Europe was remarkably free from most epidemic diseases.


Misconceptions about Medieval Medicine


(Site Excerpt) Our stomachs turn at an image of leeches growing fat on the

warm blood of the sick; our minds are horrified by the fact that medieval

doctors honestly believed the best remedy for a patient might be to open a

vein and drain off quarts of precious blood; our hearts ache to think of

virulent diseases ravaging bodies while a physician recited incantations or

a priest prayed for deliverance of the patient from pain. In the same vein,

we are often equally filled with amazement and awe that, despite such

revolting medical practices, the human race survived at all to produce such

humane and urbane, all-knowing and all-controlling creatures as ourselves.


Mostly Medieval: Medieval Medicine: Commonly Used Medieval Medicinal Plants


This list contains items which are clickable. By clicking on an herb's name

you find what herbs were used for and sometimes how they were used.


A General Study of the Plague in England 1539-1640

With a Specific Reference to Loughborough

By Ian Jessiman


(Site Excerpt) Throughout the Middle Ages most of populated Britain suffered

sweeping ravages of disease and pestilence; individually and collectively

these epidemics were referred to as the plague. Examination of the

Leicestershire town of Loughborough's Parish Register 1, reveals valuable

statistical data, particularly in respect to burials after 1538. The History

and Antiquities of the County of Leicester, Vol III part II, by J Nichols 2,

offers an insight into some of the social effects of the plague.


Marchione di Coppo Stefani, The Florentine Chronicle

Rubric 643: Concerning A Mortality In The City Of Florence In Which Many

People Died.


(Site Excerpt) In the year of the Lord 1348 there was a very great

pestilence in the city and district of Florence. It was of such a fury and

so tempestuous that in houses in which it took hold previously healthy

servants who took care of the ill died of the same illness. Almost non of

the ill survived past the fourth day. Neither physicians nor medicines were

effective. Whether because these illnesses were previously unknown or

because physicians had not previously studied them, there seemed to be no



What was the Vinegar of Four Thieves?

By Chelsie Vandaveer


(Site Excerpt) Legends also abounded over those who survived, in particular,

four thieves who robbed the bodies and houses of the dead. The confused

legend places the thieves in Marseilles, or Toulouse, or maybe London, on or

around the late 1500s, 1628, 1632, or 1722, caught and brought before the

mayor, or councilmen, or judges, and sentenced to death. They would be

spared if they told the secret for their survival: the Vinegar of Four



BBC Schools: Medieval Medicine


(Site Excerpt) Leprosy was one of the most feared and terrible diseases of

the Middle Ages. Victims of the disease were outcasts from their homes and

villages. They were condemned to become beggars, warning people of their

approach by the ringing of hand-bells. Lazar houses were built in towns

throughout England. These were isolation hospitals where lepers would live a

monastic type of life.


Health and Medicine in Medieval England


(Site Excerpt) No one knew what caused diseases then. There was no knowledge

of germs. Medieval peasants had been taught by the church that any illness

was a punishment from God for sinful behaviour. Therefore, any illness was

self-imposed - the result of an individual's behaviour.


The Middle Ages: Health


(Site Excerpt) There were many myths and superstitions about health and

hygiene as there still are today. People believed, for example, that disease

was spread by bad odors. It was also assumed that diseases of the body

resulted from sins of the soul. Many people sought relief from their ills

through meditation, prayer, pilgrimages, and other nonmedical methods.


Medieval MD Quiz


(Site Excerpt) Here's your chance to try to diagnose and cure patients as if

you were a doctor in the Middle Ages. There are three patients for you to

cure. Read about their symptoms and then decide what treatment to prescribe.

If you like, you can read more about the symptoms and healing methods of the



Medieval Sourcebook: Bocaccio's Decameron


(Site Excerpt) The onset of the Black Death, was described by Giovanni

Boccaccio (1313-1375). I say, then, that the years of the beatific

incarnation of the Son of God had reached the tale of one thousand three

hundred and forty eight, when in the illustrious city of Florence, the

fairest of all the cities of Italy, there made its appearance that deadly

pestilence, which, whether disseminated by the influence of the celestial

bodies, or sent upon us mortals by God in His just wrath by way of

retribution for our iniquities, had had its origin some years before in the

East, whence, after destroying an innumerable multitude of living beings, it

had propagated itself without respite from place to place, and so

calamitously, had spread into the West.


About.com: Avoid the Plague


(Site Excerpt) Should you forget to get innoculated before you travel back

to the 14th century, you'll need to take some measures to avoid the deadly

Bubonic Plague...Once away from all human contact, wash in extremely hot

water, change into your clean clothes, and burn the clothes you traveled in.

Keep a minimum distance of 25 feet from any other human being to avoid

catching any pneumonic form spread through breathing and sneezing. Have your

armies burn and raze to the ground any nearby houses where plague victims

have resided. Pray to the deity of your choice frequently and fervently.

Stay where you are until six months after the most recent nearby outbreak.


ORB: Medical Misconceptions by Bryon Grigsby


(Site Excerpt) The two greatest misconceptions about medicine arise

primarily from our modern attempts at interpreting the medical system of the

Middle Ages. The first misconception is to see medicine in the Middle Ages

as an unsophisticated system. Early scholars of medieval medicine found

medieval doctors' theories ridiculous when compared to modern ones. Charles

Singer, for example, found medieval medicine demonstrative of "the wilting

mind of the Dark Ages." <1> Singer also believed that medieval medicine,

specifically the Anglo-Saxon herbals, "lacked any rational element which

might mark the beginnings of scientific advance."


Teacher's Guide: Plague and Pestilence


(Site Excerpt) Some remedies from the Middle Ages are becoming increasingly

popular in the world of modern medicine. As gross as it sounds, the use of

leeches is one such treatment that is making a comeback!


Medieval black death not bubonic plague by A'ndrea Elyse Messer


(Site Excerpt) "The symptoms of the Black Death included high fevers, fetid

breath, coughing, vomiting of blood and foul body odor," says Rebecca

Ferrell, graduate student in anthropology. "Other symptoms were red bruising

or hemorrhaging of skin and swollen lymph nodes. Many of these symptoms do

appear in bubonic plague, but they can appear in many other diseases as



Medieval World: Health and Hygiene Links



Plague and Public Health in Renaissance Europe


(Site Excerpt) This project involves the creation of a hypertext archive of

narratives, medical consilia, governmental records, religious and spiritual

writings and images documenting the arrival, impact and response to the

problem of epidemic disease in Western Europe between 1348 and 1530. When

completed researchers will be able to follow themes and issues

geographically across Europe in any given time period or chronologically

from the first cases of bubonic plague in 1348 to the early sixteenth



Hippocrates on the Web: The Salerno Book of Health


(Site Excerpt-note that you must hit "next" a few times to cruise past the

modern reprint information -of 1920) The Salerne Scholl doth by thefe lines

impart/all health to England's King and doth aduife/from care his head to

keep, from wrath his heart.


Nova Online: History of Biowarfare


(Site Excerpt) In the 14th and 15th centuries, little was known about how

germs cause disease. But according to medieval medical lore, the stench of

rotting bodies was known to transmit infections. So when corpses were used

as ammunition, they were no doubt intended as biological weapons. Three

cases are well-documented..


The Plague Doctor


Site lists Supposed cures, how those cures were supposed to work, and what

they actually accomplished.


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org