1 September 2022, 10:21

Salted owls and boar fat: Cambridge to digitize ancient medical manuscripts

Salted owls and boar fat: Cambridge to digitize ancient medical manuscripts
The Cambridge University Library has launched a project to digitize ancient manuscripts that were created by medieval doctors. After digitization, the materials will be in the public domain.
Most of the works date back to the XIV-XV centuries. However, among them there are those who are thousands of years old. Manuscripts are distinguished by rich illustrations, the presence of medical schemes. Also among the materials there are small books for pocket carrying.
As James Freeman, an expert on the Middle Ages of Cambridge, noted, medieval literature is a unique opportunity to understand what medical culture was like in the Middle Ages. Interactions between patient and patient. Modern doctors will be able to analyze prescriptions for antibiotics, antiseptics and analgesics.
Some of the recommendations of the doctors of the Middle Ages can not only surprise, but also shock. For example, gout was recommended to be treated with a mixture of crushed salted owl and boar fat. In the treatment of cataracts, the gallbladder of a hare and honey "helped".
As a rule, the ingredients were mixed and applied to places on the body that bothered the patients. These were components of mineral and vegetable origin. Mostly herbs and spices.
Doctors often resorted to bloodletting. The manuscripts include special diagrams with the location of large veins, which made it possible to quickly alleviate the pain of the patient.
Experts from Cambridge plan to digitize about 180 manuscripts. Most will be supplemented with translations, since many of them are written in Latin. Other languages ​​include French and Middle English.

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