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The Black Death, Causes and Treatments

60 second histories

This video covers:  A look at some of the medieval beliefs and ideas that were thought to have caused the plague.

Although some ideas of how the plague spread were good, many were not. Some people believed the old Galen teachings, thinking the plague was caused by the body’s humors being out of balance whilst others thought the movement of the sun and planets caused it or that it was a punishment sent by God or that it was spread by poisons in the air. Remedies for the bubonic plague were varied and usually of little help. One treatment they used was to burst the buboes and drain them, which is of course a sound idea, however one recipe was to mix an ointment that contained dried human excrement and tree resin and apply it to the open, drained buboes, yuck! Another remedy was to take a plucked live chicken and place the clammy skin against the buboes and the chicken was supposed to draw out the infection, alternatively a toad might be used to suck out the poison until it burst. There was no way of course to fight the pneumonic plague; symptoms would appear so quickly and aggressively that most died within two days.
Medicine & Health
Medicine & health
Victorian school teacher
Key words: 
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