VICTORIAN ERA, MEDICINE AND SUPERSTITION

By Eleonora Zizzi

Greetings to all Readers of Masticadores! I am Storyteller’s Eye (aka Eleonora Zizzi) and today’s topic, compared to the previous one, will not deal with the theme of the paranormal (and about that if you are curious read my article of February 23), but rather of something that remotely reminds him, as well as my second great passion, the Victorian era.

It is really full of curiosity, charm and above all strangeness! With great joy, for the second time as a guest of this immense and extraordinary reality, I present once again a little glimpse of the magical world of Storyteller’s Eye Word (name of my blog) with a new, I hope welcome, reading. After all, I will leave the link for the most curious to deepen some reading on my blog and why not follow me, leave some stars and constructive comments. And now, subject to this, let us forward to today’s subject. In particular, I decided to focus on the field of medicine and how the latter was often strongly conditioned by superstition, given the inability of the doctors of the time to explain many aspects of it. The concept of medicine was really far from that known and practiced nowadays, so much so that it often relied on a good deal of empiricism and unorthodox practices. Perhaps the most inquetante part, more than medical related to the world of witchcraft, is the same superstition, used in professional terms, but without a real and effective medical feedback. We are in the middle of an industrial period, the secondary sector is beginning to develop rapidly and with it in England, scientific knowledge. In the territories of Queen Victoria medicine every year makes important progress. It is the period of the first vaccines, the first microbiological discoveries and the first rudiments on disinfection. It was in these decades that it became known the origin of most pathogenic bodies, that is, from the air, and more certainly from unhealthy environments. London, during the first and second half of the nineteenth century, especially along the banks of the Thames, was dirty, bad smells could be felt from everywhere and everywhere a real receptacle of bacteria. Many respiratory patients were advised to stay days or weeks at the sea or in more healthy environments. For so many people, unable to literally cross Europe because of economic constraints, they relied on the second remedy, namely pharmacological treatment. It was in this period that the phenomenon of pharmacy began, environments in which it was possible to buy mixtures, herbs and syrups of miraculous qualities. This was the principle of new masses of charlatans and fairground imbonitors who proposed, even with false witnesses, the most unlikely remedies. In addition, drugs, opium, cannabis and cocaine, sold in glass bottles and passed off as “the cure of all evil”, also took off. The latter for many represented easy gains, thanks to the misleading words addressed to the poor people. But for many, what for us today are drugs, they were real cures. Just think of the famous Laudano, the main remedy for various types of suffering, from pains to states of agitation. The invention was attributed to Paracelsus, of the sixteenth century. It was a basic mistura of opium macerated in wine or alcohol. It was used as an analgesic and was often addictive. But opioid treatment was only part of the strange remedies used in medicine during the Victorian era. To these were added, for example, the equally famous salassi; often entrusted to bloodsuckers, or scalpels, little and badly disinfected. Precisely because of the very poor hygienic conditions it was almost impossible to avoid diseases such as cholera, plague, diphtheria, smallpox, measles, scarlet fever, chickenpox, mumps and rubella. Other great remedies, incredibly questionable today, were arsenic and mercury. With them they treated syphilis, typhus and tuberculosis. Fortunately, some counter-current doctors tried to introduce herbal macerated treatments for these pathological treatments. Last but not least, the unlimited range of tonics and restoratives, especially aimed at women, who were weak or eager to raise children. In the typical Victorian medicine cabinet there was always a strange “pallor pill”, of which components are still unclear, and strychnine, a poison in all respects, as a restorative. And what do you think? Let me know with a comment and if you appreciate the article leave a like. If you want to take a look at my blog you are welcome, we are a big family where equality and respect are sovereign! To understand the meaning of my words click here. Greetings and a hug from your Storyteller’s Eye.

The latter for many represented easy gains, thanks to the misleading words addressed to the poor people. But for many, what for us today are drugs, they were real cures. Just think of the famous Laudano, the main remedy for various types of suffering, from pains to states of agitation. The invention was attributed to Paracelsus, of the sixteenth century. It was a basic mistura of opium macerated in wine or alcohol. It was used as an analgesic and was often addictive. But opioid treatment was only part of the strange remedies used in medicine during the Victorian era. To these were added, for example, the equally famous salassi; often entrusted to bloodsuckers, or scalpels, little and badly disinfected. Precisely because of the very poor hygienic conditions it was almost impossible to avoid diseases such as cholera, plague, diphtheria, smallpox, measles, scarlet fever, chickenpox, mumps and rubella. Other great remedies, incredibly questionable today, were arsenic and mercury. With them they treated syphilis, typhus and tuberculosis. Fortunately, some counter-current doctors tried to introduce herbal macerated treatments for these pathological treatments. Last but not least, the unlimited range of tonics and restoratives, especially aimed at women, who were weak or eager to raise children. In the typical Victorian medicine cabinet there was always a strange “pallor pill”, of which components are still unclear, and strychnine, a poison in all respects, as a restorative. And what do you think? Let me know with a comment and if you appreciate the article leave a like. If you want to take a look at my blog you are welcome, we are a big family where equality and respect are sovereign! To understand the meaning of my words click here (https://storytellerseyewords.com).

Greetings and a hug from your Storyteller’s Eye.

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