A new report, presented by Professor Peter Barnes from Imperial College London, has brought out some of the weird and wonderful cures through the ages.
Strong black coffee and herbal 'cigarettes' were once popular treatments for asthma, which used to be thought of as a psychosomatic condition brought on by stress. Ancestors used various herbal remedies derived from horsetail, thorn-apple, and deadly nightshade, available as 'asthma cigarettes'.
AdvertisementWhen the plague broke out in the 1300s, some of the most surprising cures that doctors tried included arsenic and sitting in the sewers.
There was also this idea that bad blood caused illness and could be removed by blood letting. This mode of treatment has been around since the ancient Egyptians and has remained popular through the famous physician Galen until the Renaissance.
Ancient Babylonians opted for cures involving magic to solve their health problems. One such treatment, in this instance for grinding your teeth, was sleeping with a human skull nearby, as well as kissing it several times in the night, to remove spirits trying to get in contact.
It was once thought that drilling a hole on your skull could cure a headache.
The 17th Century saw Sir Kenelm Digby's idea of the 'powder of sympathy', a copper sulphate mix which was applied to both the injured person and the object that caused the injury, for instance a sword.