Cures in Medieval Times

Updated February 21, 2017

Medieval cures were hit-and-miss and often relied on crude medical procedures that were anything but curative. In an era of rampant bloodletting and feverish attempts to balance the body's four "humours," the safest bet would be for an individual living during the medieval age to avoid getting sick in the first place.

The Four 'Humors' and Urine Samples

Medieval physicians felt that many ailments were caused by an imbalance of the body's four humours: sanguine (blood), phlegm, choler and melancholia. Urine samples were examined for colour, clarity and smell before a cure, such as bloodletting or a purge using laxatives, was recommended.

Features of Medieval Cures

Illnesses in the medieval age were viewed with a superstitious eye. Many cures during this time involved the wearing of faeces, bringing dead animals into the house, drinking or bathing in urine, and wearing small bundles of herbs around the neck.

Divine Retribution and God

Many people at the time believed that a person stricken with illness had incurred God's disfavour. Therefore, prayers and appeals were offered as a part of a patient's cure, as well as a quick check of the alignment of stars and planets.

Surgical Cure

As a last result, surgery was performed on a patient to relieve the agony of haemorrhoids, kidney or bladder stones, gangrenous limbs and abscessed teeth. However, the surgical cure often brought additional agony and infection.

Creative Herbal Remedies

Monks, physicians, barbers and peasants doled out herbal cures that consisted of various herbs chosen for their colours and healing properties. Herbal remedies were sometimes mixed with animal faeces, ground worms and, of course, urine, a medicinal staple of the times.

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