Tudor remedies and cosmetics

by Veronica

Yesterday I visited a Medieval Hall for a Tudor medicine and cosmetics talk. See how some things change and some things stay the same. :)

Tudor medicine was not advanced and relied heavily on herbal and natural treatments.

Yesterday I visited Little Moreton Hall
( see side bar or https://wizzley.com/little-moreton-hall-it-shouldn-t-be-standing-up/) where a very talented lady dressed in role was showing us various Tudor remedies.

In Medieval Britain it was believed that any illness could be cured by a plant that they thought looked like the ailing part of the body. e.g. Lungwort, liverwort . Tudors believed that too much blood was bad for the body and caused illness. Therefore blood would be let from the body to cure an illness. This could be done by cutting or with leeches.

Many plants are still used in modern medicine and while it is easy to smile at some of these Tudor remedies, the people had to do something to help them cure their pain and ills.

Below I have photographed and described just a few remedies and cosmetics that I saw today.

Little Moreton Hall remedies talk

Natural medicine
Natural medicine

A beautiful aroma of herbs and flowers greeted us as we entered the room where the short  talk was taking place.

On the table the Facilitator, dressed in costume, had placed various remedies. Some things change and some things change the same. Many of these herbs are still used.

  • Bad headaches were treated with Meadowsweet, Willowbark and Feverfew
  • Fingernail breaking was treated with Horsetail
  • Rosemary was used for bad memory
  • Hay fever was treated with nettles
  • Stress was treated with St John's Wort, Valerian, Chamomile, Lemon balm and Lavender

Have you ever used any of these herbal remedies above ?

lavender
lavender

The teeth

The richer a Tudor person was, the worse their teeth were because only the rich could afford sweet things. Rich Tudors would use sugar coated fennel seeds  (below left)  to sweeten their breath. Cloves and clove oil  ( front left ) were used for tooth ache and Cuttle bones was used for cleaning teeth.

Some people rubbed their teeth with salt and sage ( below ) or powdered Cuttle bone to clean them. Fingers or twigs would be used as toothbrushes.

The teeth

Toothache cures and hygiene
Toothache cures and hygiene
Salt and sage tooth rub
Salt and sage tooth rub
Cuttle fish bone and powder
Cuttle fish bone and powder

Wound wash

Wound wash ingredients
Wound wash ingredients

This  wound wash recipe consisted of Marigold, Horsetail, Sage, Camphor, Lavender and Violet leaves.

The Tudors believed that bad smells made them ill and that by carrying herb bags named posies, tussie musses or nosegays, the bad smells would not make them ill.

Some lavender nosegays are on the right of the picture.

Tudor cosmetics

The Tudors believed that very very white skin was desirable . Egg white must have been like the first Botox and was used to tighten the skin on the face.

Urine ( not pictured  :)  ), rhubarb  and white flour were put on the skin to give a very white appearance.

Cosmetics

Egg white
Egg white
white flour
white flour
Rhubarb stalk
Rhubarb stalk

Some things stay the same. The tweezers haven't changed much. nor the fine tooth comb. I don't recall seeing an ear wax stick before though.

tweezers and fine tooth comb
tweezers and fine tooth comb
ear wax stick and tweezers
ear wax stick and tweezers
Updated: 08/26/2016, Veronica
 
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Veronica on 09/08/2016

just one ? :)

frankbeswick on 09/07/2016

That's one fact I did not know.

Veronica on 09/07/2016

Well rhubarb has well known cleansing properties. My mother used to use the leaves to clean burnt pans. She boiled the leaves in pans and they came up beautifully so who knows ?

Veronica on 09/07/2016

Katie, ty. I feel very blessed to be able to visit events such as this. I know people can't visit them s I do like to share my excitement.

frankbeswick on 09/07/2016

Urine mixed with ashes was used by the mediaeval Irish as a hair bleach, so it has a bleaching function. Why rhubarb I am unclear.

katiem2 on 09/06/2016

Hmmmmm I grow rhubarb and have never heard about using the stalks for beauty treatments.... I love using herbal cosmetics and remedies, a far better option than chemical laden products. I will be giving this a go. Your adventure sounds wonderful, thanks for including us.

Veronica on 08/26/2016

There is fortunately a return to using plants in medicine. They were put on this earth for health and well being and nutrition. We should use them.

Veronica on 08/26/2016

Leeches, yes indeed. Spot on ! They were used in blood letting as in the first paragraph. The facilitator did not have any but she did mention them. I have added a sentence about them. TY. I knew they used them but did not know why until yesterday.

She had lots of visitors to her table and people were fascinated.

Veronica on 08/26/2016

It was interesting to do a general visit which had a specific focus....if that makes sense. I visit Little Moreton regularly but to go for a particular event was ...well, .... riveting to be honest.
The facilitator was very knowledgeable which helped.

I feel so much more informed about Tudor medicine now.

frankbeswick on 08/26/2016

Herbal medicine began to be placed on a scientific footing in the early seventeenth century, when some scholars did research on the efficacy of treatments. so herbal medicine should not be dismissed as quackery or mumbo-jumbo.


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