• Question: Have you seen or heard of some really crazy old medicines, if so, did any of them work?

    Asked by FinnickTheCrab to Roisin on 27 Apr 2020.
    • Photo: Roisin Jones

      Roisin Jones answered on 27 Apr 2020:

      Ooooh that’s a very interesting question, thanks FinnickTheCrab (nice name :D). Down through the years, people have done some pretty insane things in the name of health, from bloodletting with leaches (the leeches used actually had anticoagulants or blood thinners which were transmitted using their bite, so they could be effective), to using arsenic to ‘improve the complexion of young ladies’ (this did make people paler, but also poisoned them, so on balance, less effective than the leeches). There is also such a thing as maggot therapy (I’m going to put a massive GROSS OUT warning before you read this one, don’t keep reading if you’re squeamish!), which was basically used as a treatment for infected wounds – they would put live maggots into the wound, and the maggots would eat the dead flesh, but leave the living, healthy tissue. Gross as it is, this was really effective of cleaning up bad infections, and is still used today in some places.