Next time you wake up with a raging hangover, just be glad that you don’t live in Ancient Greece, where the preferred hangover cure was raw owls’ eggs, with some sheep’s lungs mixed in (Yes, I'll give you a moment to process that). In the latest episode of The List Show, John Green shares 33 unusual remedies from the past, and when you find out some of the ways historical people used urine, the ancient Greeks’ horrible hangover cure won’t actually sound so bad. The remedies in Green's list range from the ridiculous to the stomach churning, but one thing’s for sure: The 21st century is a good time to be a human.
Here are only a few of the remedies for common ailments you will be delighted to know are no longer popular:
- Bird poop was once used to treat burns. According to Green, one 17th century source recommended treating burns with a mixture of “groundsel, house leek, goose dung, chicken dung, and boar's grease.” (Do I even want to know what “boar's grease” is?)
- The Elizabethans used mice to treat small pox, whooping cough, and bedwetting. They also thought one could cure warts by “cutting a mouse in half and applying it to a wart.”
- The ancient Egyptians attempted to remedy erectile dysfunction by applying ground crocodile hearts to the penis.
- Nineteenth- and 20th century doctors had their patients with asthma smoke medicated cigarettes.
- Some (presumably very wealthy) medieval Europeans attempted to cure the plague by swallowing crushed emeralds.
- People in 20th century Norfolk sometimes tried to prevent rheumatism by putting potatoes in their pockets. In other places in Europe, people would attempt the same thing using rotten apples.
- People in ancient China used liquid mercury to increase their longevity… which is a really good way to get mercury poisoning.
- It turns out that “urine therapy” is a very old practice extending back five thousand years. According to Greene, many still believe that urine is an effective acne treatment. (That “Pepto Bismol face mask” doesn’t seem so weird any more, does it?)
Check out all 33 weird remedies below:
Images: YouTube (3)