The period between the 5th and the 15th century in European history is widely known as the Middles Ages of the Medieval period. Those were the years of some of the darkest and brightest times of mankind. In the passing of the centuries, the world witnessed wars and torment but also marveled with discovery during the Renaissance times.
Two subjects are still being discussed to this very day: magic and Christianity. The Medieval medical practices that affected these rituals are still a controversial topic .
Almighty God Vs. Spiritual Healing
During the Medieval times, medicine was a mixture of spiritual rituals and influences. There was absolutely no scientific base to diagnosing or curing ailments or diseases. All of the medical practices were adapted from the Greek and Roman texts that were saved in places like monastery libraries after the fall of the Roman Empire. These texts were actually the base on which Medieval medicine was created.
The view on physical illness was, at the time, very different from what it is today. The origin of a disease or health problem was traced back to either sin, fate or even the power of the stars. Religious influences, being as heavy as they were, lead to curing ailments through charms, prayers and even repentance. t was believed that God delivered sickness as punishment and only He could take it away. But, despite the misguidance, this approach was very popular and the salaries of “physicians” were quite high.
That’s Definitely Not All, Folks!
Apart from all the practices of traditional specialists, people dealt with their health issues in many different ways and developed what was known as “folk medicine”. As professional medicine became stale due to lack of progress and non-efficient due to its very religious nature, folk medicine spread and advanced.
As a mixture of Pagan medicine and shamanism, folk medicine was based on herbalism as well as the use of concoctions and homemade remedies. Some of the practices included rituals as well. These routines were mostly to protect the patient from sickness and evil or to prevent certain diseases. These acts of wisdom that survived throughout the ages have given us some of the greatest gifts of alternative medicine.
The Herbs of Yesterday Are the Remedies of Today
The use of herbs has been important in the treatment of illness for more than 5,000 years, dating back to the times of the Sumerian civilization. Ancient civilizations all across the globe, from ancient Egyptians to the Greeks, based their remedies on herbs.
More than 500 plants are documented in texts from the past. Whether it was derived from stems, seeds or leaves, these magical little plants provided cures for everything from simple cuts to psychological disorders. These herbs were boiled as beverages or ground into a paste, treating topical wounds and internal ailments. The fun fact about these treatments is their healing properties have been confirmed to this very day through extensive research!
The Gift That Keeps on Giving
Herbalism has truly proved to be a gift to mankind. We know that herbs are readily available and relatively inexpensive, which make them accessible for many people.
Here are some of the herbs that were used in medieval times that continue to help humanity to this very day:
Angelica: It was the common ingredient in plague remedies and to this day it’s used in medication for respiratory system illness.
Rosemary: Other than a wonderful spice for food, rosemary is known for its countless healing properties. It was used in pastes in order to dress wounds and treat bone fractures. Rosemary can be steeped in tea to stop nausea, dizziness or feelings of weakness.
Cabbage: Although not considered an herb, cabbage is known for curing stomach pain and diarrhea. In addition, it is said to have properties that are beneficial to eye problems.
Basil: Its leaves were one of the best cures for dangerous insect bites and scorpion stings. Basil is also an effective cure for any problems with the stomach or the abdomen.
Belladonna: Even though this plant is actually poisonous, it is a powerful sedative and pain killer if used correctly.
Coriander and Cowbane: In case you are wondering why these two are together, that is due to their very similar properties. They both possess the ability to cure cramps and work as natural painkillers. Coriander was also used in the cure of the plague, coughs, insomnia and epilepsy.
Wood Betony: This plant was a cure for everything. As the base of numerous concoctions, it was used for pretty much every health issue someone could have.
Magic or Not, Herbs Work Wonders!
Nobody can dispute that medicine has made astonishing progress through the years. From medication to vaccines and surgery, all forms of healthcare have advanced. Physicians work hard not only diagnosing and treating patients, but also on taking natural remedies to new levels.
However, what was once known as “folk medicine” continues to help people to this very day. Alternative medicine (as it is called these days) involving herbalism, shamanic healing, meditation and other practices, is rapidly gaining ground.
And why wouldn’t it? It is cost effective, more natural and in many cases, better for our systems! Even though the mystical components of these practices justifiably faded away, preserving them for their scientifically proven properties is both essential and crucial.
If you enjoyed this article, take the time to learn more about herbs and how they can enhance your health. Be one of the natural folks and help continue the legacy the people of the medieval times left us through studying herbology. Discover the gifts of plant-powered medicine today!