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10 Strange & Horrifying Ancient Remedies Used in the Past

10 Strange & Horrifying Ancient Remedies Doctors Practiced in the Past!

10 Strange & Horrific ancient remedies Doctors Used in the Past!

I can’t think of anyone I know who enjoys going to the doctor, not one. However, a visit to the doctor these days is a walk in the park compared to years gone by.

If doctors weren’t mutilating animals or pouring broken glass into patients eyes they were prescribing body parts of dead people, all in the name of medicine. If you’d like to be grateful you were born in modern times all you need to do is continue reading the 10 strange & horrifying ancient remedies doctors used in the past.

Cure for Teeth Grinding in Ancient Mesopotamia (3,000 years ago)

Ancient remedies for teeth grinding.

A medical text written 3,000 years ago in ancient Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq, Syria, and Kuwait) advised people who had problems with grinding their teeth at night to sleep next to a human skull for seven nights and to kiss and lick the skull several times during the night.

Skulls were used to communicate with the dead, and the Mesopotamians believed that teeth grinding was caused by the ghost of a family member trying to contact the sleeping person. Sleeping with and licking the skull was thought to be a way of appeasing the ghost, thereby making it go away.

Harsh Remedy for Cataracts in Ancient Egypt

Weird cure for Cataracts, strange remedy, gross remedies

In ancient Egypt, physicians remedy for cataracts was to pour hot broken glass into the sufferer’s eyes.

Talk about horrifying medical cures, imagine knowing you had an appointment for this procedure in the morning.

16th Century Cure for Warts in England

A 16th-century English remedy for warts was to cut a mouse in half and apply the exposed mouse interior to the wart.

Ancient Remedy for Boils in England 1651

In a 1651 publication, English chemist Daniel Border gives this advice for getting rid of a wen, a kind of boil or cyst that forms on the surface of the skin:


I have been told since of a certain, that if ye rub the wen often with the hand of a dead man until the wen wax hot, it will consume away in a short time after.

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Horrifying Remedy for Stuttering, 1841 in Europe and The United States

Horrifying remedy for Stuttering, 1841 in Europe and The United States.

In 1841, Prussian surgeon Johann Frederich Dieffenbach developed a cure for stuttering. He’d have the stutterer stick his or her tongue out. He’d grab the tongue with pincers and pull it out as far as he could and then use a scalpel to cut a deep, triangle-shaped wedge
out of the base of the tongue.

This was done without anesthesia. The worst part is it didn’t work. It actually often made things worse, as some patients voices were affected by the fact that their tongues had been mutilated.

That didn’t stop Dieffenbach’s technique from being practiced in Europe and the United States, until it was outlawed after several
patients died due to infection or blood loss.

Homemade Suppository in England 1676

In 1676, English physician Gideon Harvey, who later became one ot England’s most prominent medical minds, wrote this description of a homemade suppository in his self-published treatise, The Family Physician and the House Apothecary:

Take a beet root, or a cabbage root, cut it according to the length and shape of your forefinger, that is, tapered; a little pointed at one end semicolon dust it about with a little salt powdered fine, and put it up your fundament.

Creepy and Disturbing Remedy for Teething Pain in Victorian England

Horrific ancient remedies for Teething Pain in Victorian England

Doctors in Victorian England advised mothers that they could cure a baby’s teething pain by tying a dead mole to a piece of string and hanging it around the baby’s neck

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A Logical Medieval Remedy for Burns.

To treat burns in Medieval times doctors would rub the slime of a live snail on the wounds.

(That was actually a good one. Modern scientists have discovered that snail slime contains chemical ingredients that actually have some antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibiotic properties. And in 2014, Dr. Organic, a British organic skin care company, released “Snail Gel,” an anti-aging skin lotion made with slime harvested from snails.)

Remedies for Tiredness in England 1696

Horrific Cure for tiredness in Victorian England.

This is ancient remedy is in a category by itself. In The Queen’s Closet Opened a recipe and general advice book published in England in 1696, this was the entry for people who were tired all the time:

It is necessary for lethargy-sufferers that people talk loudly in their presence. Tie their extremities lightly and rub their palms and soles hard; and let their feet be put in salt water up to the middle of their shins, and pull their hair and nose, and squeeze the toes and fingers tightly, and cause pigs to squeal in their ears… Put a feather, or a straw, in his nose to compel him to sneeze, and do not ever desist from hindering him from sleeping; and let human hair or other evil-smelling thing be burnt under his nose.

Basically they wouldn’t allow the person to sleep and then wonder why they were tired. Makes sense.

14th Century European Doctors Black Death Cure

Weird medical procedures for black death.

During the Black Death pandemics that killed as many as 200 million people in Europe in the 14th century, medieval physicians believed the disease was caused by invisible toxic vapors called miasma.

(It was actually caused by the Yersinia pestis bacterium, which causes several different diseases, such as bubonic plague.)

Those early physicians advised patients that they could fight the plague with toxic vapors of their own...by collecting their farts in jars and sniffing them during plague outbreaks.

Well, that does it for 10 Strange & Horrifying Ancient Remedies Used By Doctors in the Past.

Have you gained a greater appreciation for modern medicine? While it is far perfect, it’s come a long way in the last few centuries. Although, you know 200 years from now, people will be shocked by our current medical practices.

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