Cures for the Black Death

Cures for the Black Death

The Black Death was responsible for the deaths of one in three people in Medieval England between 1348 and 1350, with no cure ever found during this time.


With no medical knowledge and theories about the plague that we now know to have been extremely far from reality, the population of England did not know where to begin when attempting to tackle the disease. However, this didn’t stop the townspeople from testing a wide variety of potential cures in a bid to rid themselves of the fatal disease.


Cures tested included:

  • Bleeding
  • Holding a live hen against lymph nodes in the groin or armpit
  • Encouraging these lymph nodes, or buboes, to burst and then covering them with various concoctions
  • Creating a poultice of butter, garlic and onion to be placed on the lymph nodes
  • Drinking their own urine, or the urine of others
  • Drinking mixtures containing ingredients such as roasting egg shells
  • Burning spices that were thought to clean the air
  • Washing in vinegar or petals
  • Using herbs or flowers

Medieval England was centered around religion and the church, so many of those inflicted with the disease would visit a priest rather than a doctor. To some, the Black Death was considered a punishment for their sins, and this encouraged them to resort to prayer in an attempt to cure the plague.

Strong religious beliefs also led to many people targeting and killing Jews, who were believed to have poisoned Christians. This began with the torture of a few individuals, but the desire to save themselves led to false confessions. As the plague progressed, thousands of Jews were hunted and burnt.

Towards the end of the two year period, some more sensible methods of dealing with the disease appeared, including the introduction of quarantine procedures and the cleaning of the streets.

However, these more sensible cures were certainly not widespread, and the plague eventually ended without intervention. It is believed that those who survived were simply immune from the sickness.

See also: The Black Death

MLA Citation/Reference

"Cures for the Black Death". 2023. Web.