Back in the 17th century, meat was not just something you dished up for dinner – it could also act as a rather large band aid.
“Take a piece of lean salt beef and let the beef be of that greatness that it may fill the wound, and lay it in the fire in the hot ashes till it be hot through, and all hot stuff it in the wound and bind it fast.”
Cures for constipation or stomach upsets also involved food that was not ingested in the usual way.
“A suppositor good for those that are troubled with the collicke or the winde is half a flattened fig with some bay salt rolled up inside it, skin inwards. Tie it with thread, grease with butter and administer to the patient“
It was a time when many believed that a woman’s uterus moved about in her body and could be threatened back into position. Nowadays a prolapse is usually treated with pessaries or surgery (how many times do I have to tell you to keep doing your kegels? are you clenching now? good… keep at it) but back then doctors believed in scare tactics
“”You may fright it back in with a hot iron presented near the opening as if you would burn the falling part“
And beef makes another appearance during pregnancy as a way of preventing miscarriage
“Take a fillet of beef half roasted hot from the fire, then take half a pint of Muscat wine, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and grains of paradise. Make a sauce, divide the beef in two and dress with the sauce.
Then bind one piece to the bottom of the woman’s belly and the other to the kidney area of her back, as hot as may be suffered and keep them on twenty four hours at the least and longer if need thereof.”