hack cough uuurgh

Hullo all. Apologies if this post seems a little phoned in. That’s for the simple reason that it is. I’ve come down with the dreaded lurgy, some form of the ‘flu. The doctor tells me it’s down to an excess of licentiousness, but the horoscope bodes well for my recovery provided I avoid shellfish, willow bark and the colour red. So I’m afraid I’m sort of writing this in the few minutes of coherence I have.

Rather than send you good people away empty-handed, here’s an interesting fact concerning illness. No less an authority than Dr Travers of the Brompton Hospital recommended an unusual treatment for tuberculosis in the 1860s consisting of antimony, creosote and boa constrictor excreta. It’s not clear whether this was supposed to be used as a balm or taken orally, but for the sake of the patients I hope it wasn’t oral. Apparently it was a treatment only affordable to the rich, due to the obvious scarcity of snake-poo. Having said that, given that the treatment probably had zero effect whatsoever (other than perhaps as an emetic once the doctor told you what you’d just swallowed), I think I’d rather take my chances. Given the choice between dying of TB and dying of TB with a stomachload of creosote, I think I’d favour keeping things simple.

Anyway, there’s that for you. Hopefully normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

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Filed under 19th century, History, Medicine, Only loosely about London

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