nos-trum. pronunciation: \nos'-trum\. noun. Etymology: Latin, neuter of noster our, ours.
1. a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness.
2. a usually questionable remedy or scheme.
See here for more discussion.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Medicine In History. The Fate Of Charles II

Medicine in History.  Officially Charles II died of complications of a stroke.  I wonder...

And, admit it, we've come far since then.  At least we now recognize the difference between science and woo...sometimes.

I take that back.

When King Charles II fell ill on the morning of February 2, 1685, a team of six doctors were immediately at his side--and it might have been the worst thing to ever happen to him.  The following are some of the procedures used on the king:

-They let (drained) sixteen ounces of blood.
-In order to "stimulate the system," they applied heated cups to the skin that formed large round blisters.
-They let eight more ounces of blood.
-They induced vomiting to cleanse his stomach, gave him an enema to purify his bowels, and made him swallow a purgative to evacuate his intestines.

This type of torturous treatment continued for four days.  More bleedings, more blistering, more purging, more vomiting, more enemas, a concoction made from pigeon droppings, a cure of "40 drops of extract of human skull" of a man who had met a violent death, a force-feeding of the gallstone of a goat, and finally, "extracts of all the herbs and animals of the kingdom."  The result? The king died.  In comparison, dealing an HMO sounds pretty good.
--from Stupid History: Tales of Stupidity, Strangeness, and Mythconceptions Throughout the Ages, by Leland Gregory, Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2007.

A very entertaining book.  Recommended.  Amazon has it here.
Doc D

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