Deer poo, snail syrup and farts in a jar, weird medical treatments from history

Last updated at 11:04
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Imagine going to the doctor and being given something with deer poo in it! If you were ill in the 17th Century, this might happen.

Cambridge historians are writing up the patient records of two famous doctors, Simon Forman and Richard Napier and they include some very unusual treatments,

A patient suffering from the "pox, with boils and itch" was given a mixture which included roses, violets, boiled crabs and deer dung.

And their strangest treatment was telling patients to wear dead pigeons as slippers - yuck!

Simon and Richard weren't the only doctors with strange techniques. Here are some of the weirdest medical treatments from history:

Farts in a jar
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During the Great Plague of London doctors recommended that patients should store their farts in jars, and if they felt unwell they should smell the fart to make themselves feel better.

Mouldy bread
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In Ancient Egypt they used mouldy bread on cuts.

Ancient Egyptian texts showed that mouldy bread was used on wounds. There's evidence that 2000 years ago it was also used in China, Greece, Serbia and Egypt.

This might sound disgusting, but actually they were on to something. The bacteria in the mould could be used to fight the infection in the cut.

The discovery of the antibiotic penicillin in 1928 was actually from a type of fungus and it is still used to treat infections.

Powder of sympathy
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Earthworms were included in one cure called 'powder of sympathy'.

In the 17th Century a man called Sir Kenelm Digby claimed to have a cure for sword wounds which involved putting a solution on the weapon itself.

This revolting mix of earthworms, pigs' brains, iron oxide and mummified corpses was called 'powder of sympathy'.

Snail syrup
Snail
Some people thought the snail's slime could help sore throats.

Snail syrup was traditionally used as treatment for coughs and sore throats in Ancient Greece but it was still being used right up until the Middle Ages.

It's even possible to buy it now in some countries, but there has never been any proof that it works!

Bats' blood
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The bat of a blood was used by the Ancient Egyptians for eye problems.

Over 3,000 years ago the Ancient Egyptians used bats' blood for problems with eyes. One recipe included bats' blood to cure in-growing eyelashes.

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