Ridiculous medieval 'cures' are a warning against flat-earth-style thinking on climate change and more – Scotsman comment
Particularly in recent years, there has been a tendency to take the wonders of science for granted.
We think nothing of playing online chess with someone on the other side of the world or taking a flight on a giant hunk of computer-filled metal to some far-flung destination.
Much more alarmingly, some people decide they know better than the scientists because, well, they just ‘know’, on a range of issues from climate change to Covid vaccines.
Once upon a time, we were very much more at the mercy of people who nowadays would probably be tinfoil-hat-wearing conspiracy theorists, as demonstrated by some of the whacky supposed ‘cures’ documented in a new digital archive of medieval manuscripts.
Suffering from gout? Well, just bake an owl and then grind it into a medicinal powder! Or, alternatively, stuff a puppy with snails and sage royal, roast it over a fire and use the fat that drips off as a salve. A troublesome cataract? Just take one hare’s gallbladder, mix with honey, then apply to the affected eye with a feather for three nights!
Not all medieval medicine was so ridiculous and the people of that period were not idiots. Instead, they were much like us – just as capable of being fooled by nonsense but without the benefit of the decades of rigorously tested information upon which we have built the modern world in all its glory.
So next time you happen across an intriguing YouTube video by flat-earthers or similar anti-science charlatans, just remember what life was like when such people held sway and hope that twinge in your toe isn’t a sign of gout.
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