Take two or three snailes as hot as you can suffer

Today’s snippets are a collection of entertaining remedies to cure piles, dating from the mid 17th century.

Salves for the Piles

Take Mullet leaves and gilt grease, and stamp them with the oyle of Garden-snails, and so make a Salve of it, and annoint the place grieved.

Take herbe grace and sheeps dung, being new, and boil it with Guilts grease, and so straine it, and put it up in a box.

Take the blowing of ones nose, and put it on a cloth, and lay to the place.

Take cold cream, and annoint them, and take the powder of fine ginger, and strow upon it.

Take the blowing of ones nose, and the soot of a brasse pot, and lay it to it, and if they come too low downe, sit upon a close stoole with Frankinsence, on a chafingdish of coals, after you have beene at the stoole.

Take the flocks of Scarlet, the hoofe of a horse, and frankinsence, put them all in a chafingdish of coles, and sit over it, and take the heat.

By Mr. Jacob: Take half an handfull of elder budds, as much of camomile, as much of wild mallowes, as much of mullet leaves, and boil them in a pot of strong ale, when they be tender, take half of them out, and crush out the ale of them, and grind them in a mortar, as you doe green sawce, very fine, with a quarter of a pint of Sallet oyle, and so make it as thick as salve, and put it in a box, and when neede requires, spread it on a cloth, and lay it on the piles, and if it be in the fundament pricking, you must take the rest of the herbs and ale, seething hot, and sit over it in a close stoole. After you have beene, wet a piece of a spunge in it, and sit close upon it.

Take mastick and burn it upon a chafingdish of coals and sit over it, after you have beene at the privie.

Take Germander, two or three garden snailes rosted and pilled, and so bruise the snailes, and Germander together, and lay them too, as hot as you can suffer.

Take an onion cored, and put a little Saffron into it, and rost it in a paper, and when it is rosted, pill it, and lay it to the piles.

By Mrs. Downing: Take Longwort, otherwise called lovage, chop it very small and beat it, boile it in fresh butter a good halfe houre or more, then straine it in a close box as you neede it, take lint and spread some on it and lay it to.

By Mrs. Scudamore aliàs Scidmer: Take a quantitie of unwrought tarre, and a quantitie of treacle, as much of the one as of the other, mingle them together, then take a little black, as broad as the sore place is, and lay the tarre and the treacle upon it in manner of a plaister, and so lay it to the fore.


  • August 7, 2010 - 1:35 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure. Soot, snot, and hot coals is almost as bad as poor Edward’s fate.

  • August 7, 2010 - 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Thank the Lord I don’t live in the 17th century.

    But, at least these treatments are not as horrible as the one that ended Edward the second’s life.

  • August 7, 2010 - 12:58 pm | Permalink

    The notion of applying hot snails to relieve piles is just so baffling I had to share. Presumably the scorch marks from the snails detracted from the agony of the piles themselves.

  • August 7, 2010 - 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Highly informative and instructive post – some of the remedies sound even more ‘Grievous’ than the condition however. Thanks for sharing, Dainty – I think ;-). Good thing I wasn’t eating while reading this

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