12 Brutally Old-School Medical Practices To Make You Grateful For Modern Medicine!

1. Curing a “canine appetite” (in a…person).

John Wesley, a British evangelist wrote this terrifying book: Primitive Physic: An Easy and Natural Method of Curing Most Diseases. His ‘cures’ were bizarre. For example, to sort out a case of “canine appetite” (which he defined as  “an insatiable desire of eating”) Wesley stated thought your best option would be to get a  “small Bit of Bread dip it in Wine, and apply to the Nostrils.” Yeah.

2. Blistering

When someone was going through a touch of insanity, hypochondriasis, and hysteria, the medical pro’s would ‘apply blisters’. And by that, we mean, BURNING blisters on to the patient.

 3. When you’ve got a darn violent cough

Throw together this delicious cocktail: sweet Oyl, four spoonfuls of Penny Royal (a type of mint), water, and 20 drips of Hartshorn (a distillation of horn shavings that produced ammonia). Let the good times roll.

4. For when you get the ol’ “white specks on the eye.”

Throw some ear wax up on them peepers. For real. And people were well into it. What even are ‘white specks on the eyes’? Can’t say it’s a thing you run into every day, is it?


5. Being mentally ill was not a particularly good time.

Because the mentally ill were not thought to be fully human, they were treated very primitively. Instead of trying to understand their plight, physicians and the public often just locked em up. Restraint was the name of this awful game. Chains, collars, handcuffs, cages, iron girdles and all sorts of other horrors were employed to keep the misunderstood misunderstood.


6. Sore tooth?

Simply electrocute the thing, of course! Or, alternatively, pop a clove of garlic into your ear.

7. Yet another horror for the mentally ill: the “Tranquilizing Chair.”

Mental illness was supposed to come from problems with the blood and the blood flow. These were referred to as one’s “humors”. Of course, the treatment was not humorous. At all. The mentally ill were strapped in for easy bleeding.


8. When ye can’t stop that ther bleed’n.

Get yourself some Shepherd’s Pouch (an astringent used since the Middle Ages) and throw it up your nose.


9. When you gotta get your leg cheekily amputated.

The rules of the med game (in 1712) stated that amputating a leg should be done quickly and with a crooked knife. Then, the stump was to be covered with a little excess skin. Sweet. Oh, and as far as painkillers? A little bottom of the barrel booze, if you’re lucky.

10. When you’ve got a headache…opium!

Laudenum was all the rage back in the day. It was a mixture of opium latex, wine, and brandy. It was used for darn near everything, including as a sedative, as a coughing remedy, a diarrhea suppressant and various other things. People got deeply addicted, believe it or not!


11. Introducing…the all-powerful cold bath!.

This was used from everything from a temperature, to convulsions, insanity, plague, typhoid fever, drunkenness, and breast cancer. Um, drunkenness, kinda. Breast cancer, typhoid and plague…not so much.


12. For when your kid is having a particularly bratty tantrum…

Simply get a wet cheesecloth and force it over their face so that it molds to the shape of their face. That should suppress their wailing awfulness. And if not, well resort to this gem: mash up peas and butter and stuff that right up their nostrils. Yeah, they had it tough back in the day.