I’ve been skimming through my Victorian medical book (1866). One of the previous owners made some markings in the book.
He wrote his name (Albert Henry) and also made a note that mustard plasters should be 1 to 3. I haven’t found out what the 1 to 3 represents. The 1 is likely the mustard powder but the 3 could be eggs, flour or water or some other ingredient I don’t know about. This mustard plaster seems like a nasty business that could burn the skin and trigger asthma.
Further along in the book there is a page that the book seems to open up easily to, implying to me, a page that was frequently turned to so that the spine of the book has been “broken in”. There is also a penciled in x.
It has me wondering if Albert had palpitations or if he was dealing with someone who did. The treatments mainly seem to deal with sedating or relaxing the person. Lie down. Take ether and lavender. A shot of booze. Cayenne has been used for thousands of years for medicine and circulation problems is one of the possible uses.
The recommended use of stramonium (loco weed) and digitalis (the plant we get digoxin from) concerns me. I sure hope that this stuff was being prescribed by a doctor and whipped up by a pharmacist. I’d hate to think that some house wife could buy this stuff over the counter or pick it in her garden and whip it up herself!
I often lament some of the loses of the Victorian culture…the fashions, the beauty and grace of the pomp…but I do not lament the loss of their medical procedures. I get free health care in Canada so I am particularly happy to be living now where the practices are not so barbaric and I don’t have to pay to be treated. Do you think it is possible that 100 years from now, people will look back at our current medical practices and feel horrified and wonder how we could have put up with such primitive and cruel practices?