Wednesday, October 29, 2014

How to Cure a Nosebleed, 1561

Ortus Sanitatis (1499)
"Beat egges shales to pouder and syft them through a linnen cloth and blewe them into his nose: if the shales were of egges whereout yonge chickens are hatched, it were so much the better. Or els take the dounge of an asse, mixe the same wyth vinegre, and holde the same at his nose. Lykewyse doth the dounge of a Sowe or Swyne that hath eaten grasse.” 
Hieronymus Brunschwig,  A Most Excellent and Perfecte Homish Apothecarye
A handy quiz for identifying effective nosebleed remedies:
1. Did it come out of a farm animal?
2. Did a farm animal come out of it?
If you answered "yes" to one or both of these questions, go ahead and apply it to your nose.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

How to Prevent Pregnancy, c. 1260

British Library Sloane MS 75, f. 87r
"A weasel placed on a scorpion bite helps greatly... if its heel is taken from it while it still lives and is placed on a woman, she will not get pregnant as long as it is there." 
Albertus Magnus, De animalibus
As if you needed another reason to keep a live weasel in your bedroom.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

How to Enchant Your Lover, c. 1470

BL Stowe 17 f. 143
"When a woman wants to be well loved by her husband or her lover, she must give him catnip to eat: he will be so much in love with her that he will not rest unless she is close to him."

The Distaff Gospels

Even if this man-enchanting trick doesn't work out for some reason, you'll still be accompanied by a devoted band of cats.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

How to Maintain Facial Hair, 1609


John Bulwer, Anthropometamorphosis (1650)
"It is most true that a man is to be commended, if he be cleanly... his haire well dressed, his beard well brushed, and alwayes his vpper lip well curled... as if every haire would threaten to pull out his eyes, for if he chance to kisse a Gentlewoman, some rebellious haire may happen to startle in her nose, and make her sneese, so by this meanes, he applies both physick & courtesie at one time, then he may freely say, God blesse you Lady, receaving back the chirping Eccho of I thenk you sir."

Simion Grahame, The Anatomie of Humors 

Want to improve your kissing technique? With a properly curled mustache, your next kiss will really be explosive.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

How to Groom Yourself, c. 1200

Walters Art Museum, W.105

 "Let your hair be combed, and your haircut be equally neat. If you are shaggy, have your hairy beard trimmed back. If your eyes are watery, consult a doctor. Let your hands be clean, your sleeves laced up. Don’t have deformed fingernails, or disgusting teeth. Don’t let long hairs sprout from your nostrils. Your feet should not be marred with ugly skin; you should walk elegantly with your head high."
Daniel of Beccles, Urbanus magnus
Don't take this the wrong way, but the Middle Ages would like to gently suggest that you walk those gnarly feet to the pedicurist.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

How to Cure Tooth Problems, 1673

Jan Miense Molenaer, The Dentist (1629)
"Take the Powder of double refined Sugar, and Powder of White Pepper of each alike, being melted in a Brazen or Copper Ladle, make it up into small Balls, and hold them between your Teeth, and it giveth present ease..." 
William Sermon, A Friend to the Sick 
Toothache? No problem. Just whip up some of these peppery caramels and stick them to your teeth. There, isn't that better?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

How to Keep Your Cat, c. 1470

Cat Churning Butter, 14th c.
Yale, Beinecke MS 404, f. 148r

"If you have a good cat and you don't want to lose it, you must rub its nose and four legs with butter for three days, and it will never leave the house."

The Distaff Gospels

This trick will certainly prevent your cat from running away. It's less clear whether the cat will stick around because of adoration or poor traction.