For various reasons, during the middle ages excess blood in the body was seen as the cause of numerous ailments. Many people would even use leeches recreationally just because they thought it would keep them healthy.
Honey coated cadavers
According to some sources there were elderly men in Arabia that would eat nothing but honey until they died. They were then buried in honey and left in a tomb for over a century after which they were ready for consumption by people with various ailments.
Although today it is known as one of the most addictive substances on Earth, scientists at the beginning of the 20th century for some reason thought it was a non-addictive form of morphine. Therefore, Bayer actually produced heroin as a cough suppressant for children. Not surprisingly production ended shortly thereafter.
Like trepanation, lobotomies were performed by drilling a hole into the head, at least until psychiatrist Walter Freeman realized that an icepick through the eye socket was faster. Thankfully, with the advent of effective antipsychotics in the 60s, this procedure fell out of favor.
In spite of the fact that it kills 3 million people per year, it apparently raises your body temperature enough to kill the bacteria that cause syphilis. Dr. Julius Wagner-Jauregg even won the Nobel prize in 1927 for the discovery. Not surprisingly this treatment is no longer used today.
Hitler’s doctors are possibly the most famous example’s of using this treatment. As Hitler was a known hypochondriac they would often inject him with all sorts of medications, including meth. Go figure.
In the mid 1800s Italian chemist Angelo Mariani came out with a “healing tonic” that consisted of red wine and cocoa leaves. The tonic became very popular (for those of you that don’t know, coca leaves contain cocaine). Which leads us to our next entry…
Inspired by Vin Mariani, Coca-Cola (made from coca-leaves and cola nuts) was also originally intended to be a medicine. Colonel John Pemberton, the inventor, claimed that it could cure headaches, morphine addiction, and impotence.
Basically the medieval word for enemas, people would often put all sorts of things into their rectum hoping for a magical cure. However, to give credit where credit is due, they did use it to cure constipation, which is still done today.
Urine as an antiseptic
Yup, it had multiple uses, and this one was often the treatment of choice on the battlefield. Interestingly enough, urine was in all likelihood the most sterile substance available in such a scenario.
In the middle ages, people were convinced that the black death was caused by smelly odors. The prevailing view of the day was that “like cures like” so many physicians encouraged people to fart in jars and then open the jars when the plaque came to town.