Cures for the Black Death

Cures for the Black Death

The terrifying Black Death killed one in three people over two years within Medieval England, with no hope of a final cure. However the townspeople tried various different methods to try and cure themselves of the fatal disease. Unfortunately they did not have any medical knowledge and their theories about the plague were completely wrong, meaning their cures were often strange and not guaranteed to succeed.

Cures for the Black Death
Cures for the Black Death
  • Bleeding
  • Placing a live hen against buboes (inflamed lymph nodes in the armpit or groin)
  • Encouraging buboes to burst to release pus and covering them with strange (and unhygienic) mixtures
  • Making a poultice (mixture) of butter, onion and garlic and placing it on the buboes
  • Drinking urine
  • Drinking a mixture of ground roasted egg shells and marigolds
  • Washing in vinegar and rose petals
  • Burning/spreading spices and herbs to ‘clean’ the air
  • Using traditional herbs and flowers to treat symptoms, such as rose petals for a headache and mint for sickness

Some sensible methods appeared later on, like the introduction of quarantine and cleaning the streets

During Medieval England people would visit the priest rather than a doctor when illness struck, as life revolved around religion and the church - many people viewed the plague as a punishment from God for sins. So prayer would have been the answer for a cure rather than medicine. An irrational cure was the killing of Jews, as it was believed that they had set out to poison Christians. Some Jews were at first tortured and ended up confessing to the accusations, which led to thousands more Jews being burnt.

The Black Death eventually ended but without any intervention, and people who survived were probably immune to the sickness. The epidemic finally finished but the plague still exists today, though it can be cured when caught early and today’s death rate is below 14 per cent in comparison to the one in three count in Medieval England.

See also: The Black Death

MLA Citation/Reference

"Cures for the Black Death". HistoryLearning.com. 2015. Web.