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17 July 2010 @ 05:07 pm
fire us hence like foxes  
I was reading here and there in a book about Elizabethan London (as you do), and came across a little section of treatments for various diseases. The one for asthma involved "the lungs of a fox washed in wine, herb and liquorice." Sadly, the book doesn't tell me what one is supposed to do with them once this has occurred.

I often wonder what the logic is behind these sorts of treatments--this one seems fairly straightforward, actually, in a sympathetic way, though the rationale for fox lungs in particular, and not the lungs of some other animal, could use some explication. Frequently, though, the treatments are just printed in a slightly appalled way: how on earth could they have thought that would help? But there must have been a reason to believe that such treatments could hold out a bit of hope, or were at least worth trying.
the love song of j. aimee prufrocke: phantasm | parsley sage rosemary & thymefaeriemaiden on July 18th, 2010 01:45 am (UTC)
Oh man, I love this stuff. It's like ballads -- details with all of the motivations taken out. Especially as I've been reading a bit about magic and sacred plants, trees, what have you, for writing research, and I love the symbolic connections between things... but yeah, what was the reasoning behind this one? And, eew, lungs.
tempestsarekindtempestsarekind on July 18th, 2010 02:25 am (UTC)
I'm assuming that it works on the same principle as sympathetic magic, trying to improve the lungs by using other lungs--but I do find myself thinking, 'oh, the poor fox!'
viomisehuntviomisehunt on July 18th, 2010 03:41 am (UTC)
Hm. Have Astma--Don't have to kill the fox, do I? Can't I just just extract O2 from it's lungs?
tempestsarekind: viola giggletempestsarekind on July 18th, 2010 06:11 pm (UTC)
Given the advances in technology, I'm sure that would be okay. :)
viomisehuntviomisehunt on July 18th, 2010 06:18 pm (UTC)
I have a writers reference book on medicine practices from ancient times to now. I'll have to look to see if the fox remedy is in there.
tempestsarekind: books and flowerstempestsarekind on July 18th, 2010 06:30 pm (UTC)
I'd definitely be interested to hear any details you might find!