Skip to comments.17th Century Baldness Cure Is Chicken Dung Says Ye Olde Men's Goode Health
Posted on 08/30/2007 6:52:41 AM PDT by DogByte6RER
17th century baldness cure is chicken dung says Ye Olde Men's Goode Health
By OLINKA KOSTER
30th August 2007
In our age of gyms and jogging, dental floss and deodorants, mouthwash and moisturisers, a chap can waft along with ease every day feeling fit and fragrant.
But back in 1654, with Oliver Cromwell ruling England, good health and grooming for men was somewhat more basic.
Then, no self-respecting male's medicine chest was apparently complete without liberal supplies of cat's dung, snail's blood and chicken droppings - not to mention arsenic and brimstone.
Gruesome as they may sound, they were recommended as remedies for everything from bad breath to baldness, fatness to flatulence.
The fascinating array of potions and lotions is chronicled in The Path-Way To Health, a sort of 17th century version of Men's Health magazine, which has emerged from a private collection of antiquarian books.
One of the earliest medical journals written in English, it will go up for auction in October. These are some of its suggested cures:
According to the journal's author Peter Levens, the best way to restore growth is to "Take the ashes of Culver-dung in Lye, and wash the head therewith. Also Walnut leaves beaten with Beares suet, restoreth the haire that is plucked away. Also, the leaves and middle rinde of an Oak sodden in water, and the head washed therewith, is very good for this purpose."
For those brave enough to try the cure today, Culver-dung may be translated as chicken dung, while "Lye" is a strong alkaline solution of potassium salts made from ashes and used in soapmaking. Quite where one might acquire "Beares suet" today is open to question.
To "take away haire" in unwanted places: "Take the shels of two Egges, beat them small, and stil them with a good fire, and with that water annoynt the place; or else take hard Cats dung, dry it and beat it to powder, and temper it with strong Vineger, then wash the place with the same, where you would have no haire to grow."
Another cure for unwanted hair - which the author admits is something of an experiment - reads: "Take the bloud of a Snaile without a shel, and it hindereth greatly the growing up of haire.
"Also take Labdanum (a sticky brown resin obtained from certain shrubs), the gum of a Ivie tree, Emmets Eggs, Arsenick and Vineger; and binde it to the place where you wil have no haire to grow."
One cure involves boiling "Frankensence and Barrows grease" into an ointment, while a remedy for nits suggests smearing the scalp with "the gall of a Calfe".
"Take Wheat flower, and mingle the same with Honey, and lay it to the nails, and it wil help them."
Where nails have been "rent from the flesh", a mixture of "brimstone, arsnick and vinegar" can ease pain.
There are numerous suggestions for curing "stinking breath". One involves washing the mouth out with water and vinegar, followed by a concoction of aniseed, mint and cloves "sodden in wine".
For a "stench" under the armpits: "First, pluck away the haires of the arme holes, and wash them with white Wine and rosewater that cassialigna has been sodden in, and use it three or four times."
To help "break wind in the belly," drink a mixture of cumin seeds, fennel seeds and aniseeds in wine three times a day.
AND FOR THE LADIES ...
The journal includes some advice for women with "great bellies", but makes no mention of whether it will also work on beer-bellied men. However, like many of the cures, it appears fattening.
"Take an handful of Isop, a handful of Herb-grace, a handful of Arsmart, and seeth all these herbs in a quart of Ale til it come to a pint, then preserve the same in a glass, and give the woman so grived a quarter of a pint at once, first in the morning and last at night."
For "Womens paps (breasts) that arte rancled and be ful of ache," the author suggests: "Take Grounsel, and two times as much of Brouswort, and wash them both, and stamp them, and temper them with stale Ale, and straine it through a cloth, and give it to the Patient thereof first thing in the morning and last at night."
The journal's cover bills it as revolutionary, with a subtitle reading: "Wherein are to be found most excellent and approved Medicines of great vertue, as also notable Potions and Drinks, with the Art of distilling divers precious Waters, for making of Oyls, and other comfortable Receit for the health of the body, never before printed."
The book also bears the name John Willcock, who owned the rare copy in 1721 and made notes in its margins. It will go on sale at auctioneers Bonhams in Oxford in October and is listed to fetch a modest £400.
Book specialist Luke Batterham said: "It is a fascinating volume - on the cusp of being an enlightened work and a quack book. It is a genuine attempt at a medicinal guide, accumulating worthwhile remedies from established sources with old wives' tales."
If this is what the Brits were using in the 17th century for baldness, just imagine what the Islamists are using for baldness right now. After all, their minds are still back in the 5th century...
I hear it's also good for friends and acquaintances removal
This one is just right up your alley...
I wonder if this is the origin of the term “sh*thead”...
God shows off those things he’s most proud of.
Don’t laff til you’ve tried it!......now all I gotta do is find me a chicken......
Why does the author find the incusion of brimstone so odd? It’s antiseptic properties were so strong it was a miraculous to the ancient world. The Greeks called in Theion, meaning “presence of god.” It was thought to destroy evil itself.
The modern version.........
Looks like the point was to get so tanked up that you no longer cared if you had a "great belly", baldness, or body odor or not!
BALDNESS is no problem for the Massai Tribesmen
in Africa. Their hair grows inordinately fast
because they cover their heads with cow dung.
Without a doubt, Keanu’s finest hour.
I loved that book.
I remember reading the chapter on building your own house and saying to myself . I could do that .
All the way up to the point where they describe making your own shingles.
ping candidate :)
Yep, and it’s still sold in drugstores. Was very convenient back in my younger days for making gunpowder.
The real question is, DID IT WORK?
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on or off the
"Gods, Graves, Glyphs" PING list or GGG weekly digest
-- Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)