Herbes & health
Although illnesses were regarded as God´s retribution, it was Christian duty to help ill Christians. But cures were very much influenced by superstition.
When the common penance didn´t help, doctors had various methods to cure the patients.
Against the plague they recommended scented fire, vinegar or the smell of animals.
For other illnesses they used the very common bloodletting, cupping, cauterization or clyster.
When surgeries were necessary, they were carried out with the patient being perfectly conscious. The only narcotics they had were opium, mandrake root or poppy.
Pharmacists sold potions and herbs, village quacks worked as barbers and extracted teeth or bled people.
There were also hospitals, but soon they developed into asylums for the aged where wealthy people lived – poorer ones had to help in the kitchen or in the garden so as not to be evicted.
The first medical university was founded in 1111 in Bologna, later Montpellier and Paris followed. As surgery was regarded as unchristian, it was soon forbidden for doctors.
There were also some female doctors, but without a university examination they weren´t allowed to work in the cities.