Get-togethers are important and are a time of sharing and caring with those people who are important to us for whatever reason.
Some of get together every weekend for church or dinner. At the very least, we get together with family and friends on birthdays and holidays. Most of us look forward to these occasions, but for others get-togethers can trigger feelings of loneliness, frustration, or sadness for personal or financial reasons. Highly Sensitive People often avoid get-togethers purely to avoid becoming over-stimulated. You see, over-stimulation causes overwhelm.
Perhaps, like me, you have a hard time coping with large groups of people (or even small ones), even when it is family. I know I don’t have to tell you how hard it is to walk into an environment filled with various and unfamiliar smells, odd lighting, changing temperatures, a cacophony of voices (some familiar and some not). It can make me feel trapped, especially when expectations are entered, such as being expected to share my thoughts and feelings on a subject or being asking to say grace or asked what I've been up to when I've, basically, had a 'sucky' year and nothing positive to contribute at the moment. Then, there’s the anxiousness about having to make some excuse to leave when my sensitivities are about to make my head burst and the worry that someone will be upset after I make my hasty exit. It’s enough to make me want to play hooky from the event all together, due to complete and utter overwhelm. Now, I'm not saying I don't enjoy get togethers or that I don't appreciate building memories or that, sometimes, I don't even mind being the last one to leave, but can you relate?
None of us like overwhelm because of the way it makes us feel. All too often, we turn down invites because we get caught up in "What if?" But, without participating in life, we run the risk of isolation, which causes low self-esteem, which doesn’t feel good either and can lead to depression.
With that said, and thinking in terms of tradition and get-togethers, perhaps it is time to start some of your own traditions that honor your sensitivities, reduce stress, and are more inclined to represent who you are at this point in your life.
Perhaps you could…
Ways to Reduce Stress at Get-Togethers
There are a gazillion suggestions for reducing stress, bu tin my opinion, the following have worked the best for me in reducing sensitivity to stress. Try them on for size. They may work for you too!
1. Prioritize your activities (work, family, and personal time) and don't overdo in any one area. Learn to set SMART goals.
2. If people criticize you realize they are criticizing their perception of you, not the whole, real you. don't believe everything you hear. Once you don't believe you'll find it easier not to react. Result? Less stress.
3. Drink no less than 4 and no more than 10 glasses (8 ounces each) of pure water each day, unless it is very hot outside. Then, drink 2-3 more glasses. Caffeine is dehydrating, so for every cup of caffeinated coffee or tea you drink, drink an additional cup of water.
4. Eat fresh veggies and fruit every single day.
5. Avoid caffeine, nicotine and any other stimulants.
6. Every single day, pick either to walk or swim or do Yoga, Tai Chi, or Qi Gong.
7. Meditate, chant or pray a prayer of thankfulness.
8. Take deep breaths as often as you can think to do so, or when you feel tense.
9. If you have a partner, family or a pet, give lots and lots of love, hugs, and pats.
10. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. This balances your sleep and wake cycle and helps to keep stress hormones under control.
Near death experiences, or NDEs, often trigger being even more sensitive. I experienced this in my own life at about 10 years old and again in 1978, after giving birth to my youngest son. Both were experiences I recall very vividly and in great detail.
We are spirit living in physical bodies. If you are not practicing a spiritual based philosophy or religion you may find this difficult to grasp, but knowing that spirit is energy might help you to better understand death.
Most of us do not remember what it was like to be unborn. However, for those having crossed over and come back, it is a memory that increases our sense of awareness and, possibly, our sensitivity to life as we know it as well.
If you are already Highly Sensitive Person, having a NDE may make you even that much more sensitive. In fact, it can leave you completely open to seeing others and the world in a whole new light with a whole new perception of how life and the world could be if love (positive energy) were always in place. This can be disheartening as love seems so absent at times.
What's more, you may not be able to live your life without love as you did or thought you could before your NDE (Near Death Experience).
You may find you have to learn how to create your own 'heaven on earth' by making big changes in your life to honor love and energy and change can be frightening. Might I add, resistance to these change can cause symptoms and syndromes.
If you have survived a Near Death Experience, sense-based remedies, where you are regularly using your 5 senses to experience life more fully, can help you to achieve a sense of balance in life. Sense-based therapies include activities that include your sense of sight, sound, Taste, Touch and Smell, such as healthy nutrition, supplements, essential oils, exercise, and even organizing and decorating your household.
Sense-based remedies just for you, based on your aura color personality, are available in my e-book, The Aura Energy Self-Test & Aura Color Personality Reports for HSPs.
Your body contains unique energy systems, which can be affected by stress; the circulatory, digestive, endocrine, immune, lymphatic, muscular, skeletal, nervous, respiratory, reproductive, and urinary systems.
These systems work together and are interconnected with your 11 energy meridians (much like a city's energy grid), depending on one another and you, in keeping you healthy.
Your 11 Major Energy Meridians
When the energy in these systems is working properly, you have a sense of balance, of peaceful enthusiasm for life, and the ability to experience joy and happiness with others and yourself.
However, when the energy in these systems is blocked you feel pressured, out of sorts, and stress syndromes can develop over time.
Furthermore, the location of energy weaknesses and blockages in your body determine how your sensitivities might manifest emotionally and physically. Since we are each unique in our strengths and weaknesses, our symptoms differ individually.
To determine whether you might be experiencing personal energy blockages there's my Aura Energy Self-Test.
Mindfulness is simply taking your mind off of things for awhile. It doesn't have to be complicated. Consider it as just a few minutes out of your day to gain your balance, get fresh perspective, and give yourself a break from any overwhelm you may be experiencing.
Mindfulness is not like praying. When you pray, you ask or thank. In mindfulness you focus and listen. The key in mindfulness is to concentrate on something positive, without being distracted, for a certain length of time. Don't worry if your mind keeps drifting to your shopping list or last night's events. This is normal. It's OK. You don't have to make your mind a blank page.
Go somewhere quiet where you will not be disturbed and get into a comfortable position. It's nice to have a spot in your home for just this, a place to be quiet or pray. Close your eyes and regulate your breathing, neither too shallowly or too deeply. As you breathe out, imagine you are expelling all of your tensions and worries. Let negative out. As you breathe in, you are taking in peace and love. Let positive in.
While being mindful you might also focus on what you hear, smell or feel around you. If this doesn't suit you, picture a place in your mind you go or would like to be that is calming. For example, feel the sun on your face, smell flowers, hear the waves roll up on the beach and feel the warm sand between your toes as if it were really happening.
Sensitive people particularly like string instruments (violin, cello, harp, etc.). Listening to this type of music may be more in line with your tastes than chanting or just soft, background noise. If you are at home or have the use of headphones at work, playing soft meditation music in the background can calmly belay the stages of your meditation and act as a reminder to wrap things up.
Being mindful isn't about creating exciting, mental rendezvous. It's about creating a mental oasis of serenity that you can pull into place whenever and wherever you feel stressed.
Start with meditating for just five minutes and gradually build from there.
When you are through with your meditation, sit for a moment or two and reorient yourself to your surroundings, your breathing and your five senses. Smile and give yourself a shoulder hug.
Guided meditations and color therapy gazing boxes are available in my e-book, The Aura Energy Self-Test & Aura Color Personality Reports for HSPs.
I don't pretend to be an expert in HSP family relationships, but I will share with you what I know and refer you to those who know more. For this reason, this blog is a little longer than most.
Highly Sensitive Children
Highly Sensitive Children are usually very willing to obey, are loving, and affectionate. When they are little they are often referred to as having wonderful little personalities, regardless of their quirks. These quirks may include having colic as an infant, being more dependent on the close proximity of a parent, and asking "Why?" about everything as they grow up. All the little darlings are empathic to some degree, which means they will 'feel' what you really mean before they 'hear' what you mean.
Sensitive children are creative. They draw, paint, sing, and write stories, dance, and even have make believe friends. These traits are a valuable and necessary part of society. If I were to offer a tip to HSP parents it would be to start your child out with toys that encourage creativity and learning without causing stress and overload to the family's nervous system (like drums and trucks with screaming sirens). Choose toys and projects, such as rattles, stuffed animals, balls, dolls, tea sets, color books, blocks, action figures, books, tinker-toys and legos, trikes, hula-hoops, skates, and bikes, which are all 'old school' toys and donate the mechanical, pulsating, siren-screaming toys to other people's kids. Allow TV only for an hour or two out of your child's day. Day care may have their own set of rules, but you should always question the types of toys and entertainment that are provided when your sensitive child is in the care of someone else.
Highly Sensitive People, in general, cannot NOT create. That would be like telling God himself to take a day off. In fact, sensitive children who find themselves unable to create can become quite bored, which can cause negative emotions, apathy, and even depression. Although some sensitive children grow up to quietly manifest their creative streak in the quiet world of world of art, photography, crafts, or writing, others may actually crave more thrill and seek creative adventures. Some children decide to hide themselves in drama class where they are able to be thrilling and adventurous while hiding their true nature.
The Highly Sensitive Teenager often develops the knack of knowing just what needs to be said or done at the right moment. They have an endearing way of can making you feel as though you were just rescued by your prince or princess charming. However, these same sweet, sensitive souls can end knowing exactly what spiteful thing to say to hurt you the most and may end up self-medicating with drugs, food, sex, gambling, or alcohol just to get away from their own senses. It is not easy to feel, know, or question so deeply.
And, since there since there is not one type of HSP there can be many differences between Highly Sensitive Children as well. Some HSP traits are more difficult than others to live with, such as when a sensitive child refuses to be in a crowd (which could be anything from a family get together to a football stadium) and throws a tantrum. Or, you can't get your child to keep his clothes on, sleep alone, or become active in sports.
The Deeper Relationship Complexities HSP Families Face
Whether you are a Highly Sensitive Person or are in a relationship with, living with, married to, or are raising someone highly sensitive, you will find your relationship comes with deeper complexities. One of the best examples of this is how difficult it can be to 'put one over' on the Highly Sensitive Person who is extremely empathic. No matter what you say or do to or for a HSP they will always, instantly, feel or see the real truth of a matter. If what you are saying doesn't jive with your actions or the feelings they are picking up from you they will automatically know they have received a mixed message. Mixed messages are untrustworthy and hard for anyone to deal with. HSPs naturally need more time to process their emotions in order to make sense of them. If what you are telling them doesn't make sense it causes the HSP pain. This is difficult for the HSP. It is also difficult for the non-sensitive person to feel so very transparent much of the time. In adult relationships this can cause break-ups. In families, it is often at the root of hurt feelings.
Decoding can be quite an emotional chore. Decoding mixed messages on a regular basis causes overwhelm. Imagine someone telling you they love you, but saying it meanly or not acting as if they do. Obviously, it doesn't take a Highly Sensitive Person to figure out this is a mixed message and love is absent. However, HSPs can feel love is absent even when the other party is not aware of it themselves. This is what it truly means to be empathic. The HSP senses not just truth, but hidden truths. Imagine living life never having the luxury to just believe someone at word value.
When relating to a Highly Sensitive Person, whether child or adult, mean what you say and say what you mean. It will save them and you much grief.
When you are a parent that is highly sensitive your energy reserves can become thoroughly exhausted in the raising of children. Having your senses assaulted on a daily basis by all that goes into parenting (and if you are a HSP parent you know what I mean) can be exceptionally draining. And yet, your energy reserves can be filled by your ability to see the larger picture, to understand your children on an intuitive level, to find joy in who they are becoming and in their potentials.
My best advice for HSP parent is to creatively find ways to organize parenting into schedules you can handle and to find at least 10 minutes out of your day, every day, to relax your mind and body.
Spend at least one day or evening every week away from the family involved in something independently meaningful, such as taking a class, working, volunteering, or just meeting with friends for some fun or pleasantries.
Sense-based activities can help to reduce and prevent overwhelm. The children can get involved in these activities as well.
A Word About HSPs & Abuse
HSPs need positive environments and loving relationships to thrive. That's not to say all sensitive people are meek and mild people who need quite and calm like I do. Quite the contrary. Some are stimulation junkies and thrill seekers who love combative sports, loud music and fast cars. However, abuse of any form, whether it's emotional, verbal, physical, or sexual can affect the HSP traumatically. A hurtful word can do as much damage as a physical slap to the face. HSPs often become physically ill when confronted with abuse. Abuse is never OK, whether you are Highly Sensitive or not.
Positive Support for Families of Highly Sensitive People
It's important for Highly Sensitive Children and HSP families to be around like-minded people. There's nothing more positive and that makes you feel better than to know you can turn to others like yourself for understanding. If you think you or your child can handle being different alone, you are wrong. Well, maybe you can handle it, but the path will be very hard and lonely, and why should that happen? Use your search bar and look up HSP Groups online. Get involved, even if it's only peeking in on a forum or messaging on Facebook. Share your thoughts, feelings and ideas with other like-minded individuals who will welcome you into their worlds and hearts and, perhaps open doors of friendship in the physical world.
Autism, Asperger's Syndrome & The Highly Sensitive Person
While many members of my own family share the trait of sensitivity and some of us are Autistic I have to tell you that being a HSP and having Autism or Asperger's Syndrome are different things, although they can certainly overlap.
What I do know is that Highly Sensitive People and those with Autism are both sensitive to their five basic senses, as well as the sixth sense of Spirit, much like those with Asperger's Syndrome.
The books, The Strong, Sensitive Boy, by Dr. Ted Zeff or The Highly Sensitive Child, by Elaine Aron may be of further help to you in raising your Highly Sensitive Child.
Also see HSPs.
When I first discovered I was a Highly Sensitive Person I was a bit put on edge when I read how we Highly Sensitive People feel more deeply and react more strongly to our internal and external environment more than the general population does. Meaning, we absorb so many different types of energy around us and have to, somehow, process it all as it filters through us or end up suffering from physical symptoms caused by our own emotional reactions to it.
It seemed to me that this new information I had discovered about myself just meant I was going to be cursed forever with trying to figure out how to successfully manage being me while 'vibes' attacked me from every angle as I walked through my life. I found this news overwhelming, to say the least.
Talk about feeling vulnerable. I felt as if I had been diagnosed with a terminal illness. I didn't want to feel this way, but, somehow, even though I was relieved at finding out why I was different than others, the answer had me resisting any acceptance of it, at least until I learned how to reduce my sensitivity enough to begin seeing the perks.
So, what are the perks? I can only speak for myself, but here goes.
The Perks of Being a Highly Sensitive Person
We HSPs are a wonderful group of beings and it's important to remember the positive attributes we share as Highly Sensitive People and contribute to humanity as a whole.
Read The Captains Lady's HSP Daily for the latest news in the HSP worldly community.
Mermaids are popular all over the world. Christopher Columbus and Henry Hudson both wrote detailed entries in their ships logs about their encounters with mermaids. They have been spotted in China, Japan, Korea, Hawaii, the South Pacific Islands, Denmark, Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Iceland. Japan says you gain mortality without aging by eating the flesh of a 'Ningyo' and the 'Syrenka' has been the symbol of Warsaw since the 14th Century. Mermaids and Mermen appear human in form from the waist on up and as fish from the waist on down. They have smaller sex organs than humans. The lower body, appearing to have scales, is actually very smooth and their tails are iridescent, which causes them to shimmer and sparkle in the water. There are, reportedly, greenish, white and black skinned merfolk. Some even have two tails rather than one.
Mermaids are said to be beautiful, having ageless beauty, although some resources say they are not as beautiful as some have reported. Perhaps they were speaking of the males. Mermen tend to be uglier than females and can be quite wild and scary.
A Mermaid is a mammal. Her lungs are able to breathe both the air from the sky and the oxygen from water. In fact, Mermaids and Mermen can be on land for a while, if they choose, before swimming back out to sea.
Mermaids give birth as other mammals do. Merbabies learn to swim immediately, but are often carried encircled in the mother's arms as she glides through the water. As they mature, they often grasp on to their mothers hair or tail fin to be pulled along, especially when they are tired. Mermaids can live to be 300 years old, or longer, and then dissolve into sea foam.
Humans, especially men, are attracted to the song of the Mermaid. If a Mermaid falls in love with a human male she will go to great lengths to show him how much she loves him. If he returns her love, she may live forever as a mortal and give birth to a mortal child. If not, she is doomed to watch the land babies from the shore.
Yes. Mermaids do sleep. Mermen snore, while females do not, as they are more sensitive to water disturbances that air bubbles cause, and all Merfolk dream.
Mermaids live in underwater castles and coral caves. They often travel great distances and sleep over in underwater shelves and coves. They have even been known to visit lakes, rivers and swamps. During their travels they collect treasures, such as seashells, pearls, and anything that has been lost at sea. They take them home for useful purposes and souvenirs.
The personality of merfolk differs between male and female. Mermen don't care much for humans and avoid them. Too bad, as they are able to cure sickness, grant wishes and lift curses. Mermaids have a tendency to be innocently vain, loving their own images. Mermaids often warn sailors of a coming storm or disaster. They, like the Mermen, are able to offer cures to sicknesses, but often expect something in return for their favors, often feeling slighted if they are not rewarded. In this case, they may provoke a storm or curse a ship so that sailors will fall into the ravaging sea or ground their ships. Not realizing her own physical strength, she may squeeze a drowning victim too hard and cause his death. Sometimes, Mermaids forget that humans can't breathe under water. While carrying him home in order to help him, he loses his life to the sea.
Merfolk have many friends and a strong social network. Among their friends are the Sirens, Harpies, Nereids, Oceanides, Dryads, Selkies, Sea People and Water Fairies. I am sure they consider dolphins, whales, manatees, dugongs and serenia friends as well. They often play and exercise together.
How do Merfolk exercise? For Merfolk it is important to increase upper body and back strength in order to age more gracefully. There's nothing worse than a case of dropsy for a Mermaid. Mermaids should exercise moderately, longer, and more frequent routines than Mermen, who benefit from exercising shorter, fewer and more intense routines. They swim and do water aerobics, of course, perform water sports and engage in Mermaid Pilates (there is such a thing). As humans, we can mimic these activities and add others, such as scuba diving, kayaking and beach-walking.
Mermaids, especially merchildren, often have pets, such as hermit crabs, snails, toads, and an occasional dragon fly, which are treated with love and allowed to roam freely. Of course, the very young must be taught to keep their pets out of their mouths.
Well, that just about covers Mermaid lore. I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about them as much as I enjoyed researching them.
In my opinion, the more you eat like a mermaid and act like a mermaid, the healthier and happier you will become.
Visit The Captains Lady's The Art of Mermaidism board on Pinterest for mermaid inspirations!
Photo Credit: Mermaid (iStock.com #69104777)
One of the duties of the lady of the castle was to ensure the planting and harvesting of the herb garden each year. Without a proper supply of herbs the inhabitants of the castle may not last through a harsh winter. Most of the herbs she found most important to plant in her garden are still available today and can be grown year round in your garden or in pots on your kitchen windowsill.
Basil, Coriander, Curry, Chives, Garlic, Lavender, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Tarragon and Wintersavory. Chives, Garlic, some Oreganos and Wintersavory were often able to continue to grow through winter conditions. These herbs were used to give flavor to meals, used as tea and often hid the taste of rancid meat.
Citron, Lavender, Pennyroyal, Peppermint, Parsley, Rosemary and Sage were used to freshen the air. Lavender, Rosemary and Citron kept fleas and moths away. They were often used in sachets and as deoderants during months when bathing was not an option.
Boneset, Dandelion, Feverfew, Garlic, Goosegrass, Lavender, Peppermint, Sage, Self-heal, Tansy, and Willowbark.
Dandelion was used as a purgative and diuretic, Self-heal, Feverfew and Willowbark for fever and pain and Goosegrass and Boneset were used for breaks, cuts and lesions.
Often, these herbs would be mixed with a bit of fat and applied topically or ground and used in poultices. Of course you can always buy them predried or capsuled and ready to use from herb retailers, such as Mountain Rose Herbs.
Thyme was commonly used to treat various ailments, from flu to epileptic seizures.During the middle ages, people mixed thyme with lavender in equal amounts and sprinkled on the floors of churches to get rid of any unwanted odors. Moreover, it has also been used to heal wounds and prevent infections, and it was applied crushed on the affected areas.
Visit The Captains Lady's Tiny Medieval Garden board on Pinterest for some fascinating ideas on how to create your very own medieval garden and ways to use your herbs for natural healing.
In the middle ages the Empirics were the largest group of health care providers in Europe.
Empirics, who were called so by the rather prejudiced university-trained doctors of the time, were the healers who relied on their experience in providing cures (what worked and what didn't seem to), rather than classical medical training. They were more commonly called healers, wise men, or wise women who often relied heavily on traditional home remedies, prayers, and incantations.
There's very little evidence as to how these healers were trained (most were illiterate), but it is generally assumed they either trained under someone medically trained or learned from things they picked up along the way.
There are very few references to Empirics, except perhaps a smattering of court records where either their skills were not up to par or they were so up to par that jealous medical doctors would fine or jail them for not having a license to practice. To me, this sounds similar to modern day practices (the divide between the medical and holistic communities, as well as the inability for any health practitioner to say they can 'cure' anything) and is probably what brought on witch hunts, in my opinion.
Aside from the Empirics, there were other practitioners in the middle ages, such as monks and nuns who studied in libraries and tended to patients, daughters of physicians or surgeons who were trained by a parent (although daughters were banned from medical practice until the 14th century) and were only able to offer services privately, never publicly, and noble women who were basically in the same category as the daughters, but who were expected to take care of their families, close relatives and friends. Then, there were also the apothecaries.
While Empirics gathered herbs for treatments, apothecaries were those who provided medical substances for doctors, such as pearls, gold, spices, and sugar. Why sugar? Sugar was used in making syrups and sugar pills for the wealthy. The apothecary didn't just buy and sell, he created pastes, salves, tonics, and pills as per the doctor's instructions. Some of these were available over the counter, while others only by prescription. Most apothecaries learned their trade through an apprenticeship and were often subject to periodic inspection, as some were found to be diagnosing and remedying ailments entirely on their own, which, of course, was not allowed. This would be like someone in today's world working for a pharmacy and selling drugs out of the back door.
Diagnostic and remedy techniques were often related to blood and urine according to the smell, color, or even taste. Diet was an extremely important part of 'medicine' in the middle-ages and foods were prescribed according to the 4 humours. Often, bleeding and cautery were used. Wine was used to clean wounds and then bandages applied. Herbs that were in supply were used, as well as some more bizarre substances like bird or pig ‘poop’. Surgery was not used, unless there was no other course, whether there was anesthetic or not and , more often than not, these were performed by barbers and executioners who knew something of anatomy. Mental illness was considered caused by a physical condition or by supernatural forces and were 'cured' through, again, the 4 humors. other remedies already described in this blog, or by exorcism.
Midwives (nurses), which were to work only under the supervision of a physician. They were often given the responsibility of handling gynecological and obstetric care of other women and to perform cesarean births, as the physician found this kind of work distasteful. As a result, many poorer women had only the help of the midwives (nurses), while the more noble had both doctor and nurse.
And, last, but not least, monks and nuns carried out the responsibilty of doctoring and nursing in monasteries.
If you are interested, I offer a glimpse at what it was like to be a medieval practitioner on The Captains Lady's Medieval Health Practices board on Pinterest.
Photo by Hannah Chapman
What, exactly, did people do to remedy symptoms and illness in medieval times? I mean, have you ever thought about what would have happened had you been born in some medieval village and caught a cold, broke your leg, or, heaven forbid, had a terminal illness? I watch shows like Outlander and I shiver at the idea of what people went through without today's emergency medicine.
In fact, some medieval remedies are straight out of scenes from a terrible nightmare and, surely, killed people quicker than what ailed them to begin with, such as trepanning, a procedure where a small hole was bore out of the skull in order to relieve 'pressures', which was often used for epilepsy, migraines and mental disorders.
There was also a certain amount of blood-letting in medieval times. Opening a vein (venesection) and allowing the blood to leak out or placing leeches on the skin to draw out the blood was considered one way to draw out one's ills. It often lead only to weakness and death. It might interest you to know that a physician's desk reference in medieval times was called a leech book.
Humorism was a well known method of healing among those who had the money or status to actually see a physician trained in Roman/Greek methods of diagnosing an illness. The humors, certain fluids found in the body (the blood, the bile, phlegm) were examined for imbalances. Urine and feces were also often examined. Those in hospital were often used as case studies. Each of these humors, based on appearance, consistency and smell, related also to wet, dry, cold, or hot therapies. The humors could, therefore be balanced and wellness restored with appropriate therapies.
It might also interest you to know the term 'in hospital' meant being put somewhere you could receive help. It may have been someone's home, a church, a designated building for the homeless, sick or poor. To be in hospital implied you could not, for whatever reason, take care of yourself.
When the Black Death struck in 1347, people had no idea what caused it. The Black Death (the Bubonic Plague) was actually a pneumonic infection that was contracted through inhalation, ingestion and slight abrasion. It was also passed on by rats and fleas that traveled filth-ridden streets and towns. It was the plague that caused people to take a look at the link between hygiene and health. It was during this time that a group of spice trading thieves concocted a recipe, later called Thieves oil, to prevent themselves from getting sick while robbing victims of the plague. They used the oil as a rub on their bodies and under their noses in order to be able to rob the diseased and the dead without becoming sick themselves.
If you have never heard of Thieves oil it probably sounds like some hokey snake oil treatment sold back in the day and you'd be half right. It was sold as a treatment, but there is nothing hokey about it. In fact, it was the only treatment that worked.
Back then, Thieves oil was actually made by creating herbal infusions, vinegar and tinctures with fresh or dried herbs, which takes a little longer to make, but can still be made today to be used as a cold, flu, virus preventative when rubbed on the soles of the feet each day, as a remedy should you come down with symptoms, as a body spray when combined with water or Witch Hazel, as a decongestant when used in a vaporizer, as an aromatic that kills germs in the air when simmered in a pot of water on the stove for 20-30 minutes, and as a sanitizer when spritzed on hands, toys, sheets, counter tops, lunch boxes and pet beds. It can also be used to prevent and relieve symptoms of cold sores and genital herpes. I've created my very own formula based on the principals of this medieval remedy, which is available through my web store. Since the oils I use in my recipe are proven to be antiviral my balm recipe works wonders against the herpes virus, cutting healing time by half and erasing agonizing pain and itch.
Another disease that had people questioning its cause was Leprosy. Leprosy is actually a bacteria. It was so completely misunderstood that Lepers were banned from 'normal' society and had no right under law. In fact, under church law Lepers were considered dead. Leprosy still exists today, but now that is is understood that it is caused by a bacteria, no one has to suffer the isolation that so many faced in medieval times. Still, it is a very difficult disease to treat and there are many who are still afflicted even in today's world.
Other methods were not so unlike those we use today, such as herbal therapy, where whole herbs, herbal tinctures, rubs, poultices and teas are implemented to relieve symptoms.
There were those who might know a little something about setting broken bones or putting a few stitches into a person, but anesthesia was not really discovered until the 1800s, so these kinds of things, including amputations, were at best a horror to the person involved. At best, a bit of alcohol or opium was provided. At worst, a concoction called dwale, which was a sedative made from various ingredients, such as vinegar, herbs (including lettuce and hemlock), and opium, which was quite toxic and could end in death if mixed wrong.
Deep punctures, arrow and other battle wounds were cleaned with mint, myyrh (as an antiseptic), vinegar or alcohol, yarrow or achillea (also for headaches), and cauterized with a red-hot iron. Sometimes, wounds were cleaned out with urine, which was sterile when first out of the body and cleaner than most water available.
Mint was also used to treat venomous bites.
Hemorrhoids were, sometimes, treated with a hot-poker until they discovered they were best treated with a soak in a bath.
Burns and skin scrapes were soothed with Aloe vera.
Those with headaches were given Chamomile tea and told to lay on a pillow of Rosemary and Lavender for a few minutes. Those with more severe head pains were also treated with sweet smelling herbs, such as Rose, Sage and Bay.
Coriander was used for fever.
Henbane and hemlock were applied to aching joints.
Wormwood, mint, laurel leaves (chewing on) and lemon balm were used for stomach ache and general stomach sickness. Later, Ginger was included.
For respiratory ills, specifically related to the lungs, liquorice and comfrey were offered.
Horehound syrups and beverages were given for colds and coughs.
Illness in medieval times was also diagnosed and cured through astrology, with certain body parts being directly influenced by the sun, moon and planets. Therefore appropriate therapies could be drawn up accordingly.
Last, but certainly not least, charms, rituals and prayer were used to heal the suffering.
Photo by Pulkalski
About the Author
Mari Joanne' Dionne is an AADP Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner of Natural Healing, NLP Certified Life Coach, and Highly Sensitive Person. Read more...
Forgotten Health Terms
Fish-Whole ~ as sound as a fish or healthy
Accoucheur ~ a male mid-wife
Kingsevil ~ a disease or swelling of the cervical lymph nodes
Valitudinary ~ subject to sickness; crazy
Chime-Child ~ a child born on Sunday who was immune to witchcraft, could see ghosts, and was a natural healer
Periblepsis ~ a delirious stare of the eyes
Wormland ~ a churchyard
Green-Sickness ~ a disease incident to virgins; sickly paleness, with green tint of complexion
Tissek or Tissicky Cough ~ a tickling faint cough
Multiplying Medicine ~ an elixer of the alchemists, used in making and multiplying gold
Peat-Reek-Whisky ~ highland whiskey, distilled over peat fires
Belly-Brussen ~ a distended stomach or having a protuberant stomach
Oint ~ to smear with an unctuous substance (usually having to do with painting or disguising something)
Farbed-Up ~ confused
Nyctobasis ~ Somnambulism; to walk in one's sleep
Roozles ~ wretchedness of mind and body
Coolth ~ coolness (opposite of warmth)
Pharmacopolist ~ an apothecary
Laver ~ to wash (before dinner)
Gothicism ~ to be rude or rudeness
Desuetude ~ lack of use
Splay the Bream ~ to cut up that fish
Doctor of Skill ~ a physician
Pimpish ~ dainty in the matter of food (taking in small quantities)
Dendranthoplology ~ the theory that man sprang from trees
Fash ~ care, trouble, anxiety, as in "do not fash yerself."
Satisfy Colon ~ to satisfy one's hunger
Neurasthenia ~ debility or impairment of the nerves
Trollibags ~ the intestines
Cothish ~ faint, sickly, ailing
Fogo ~ a disagreeable stink or smell
With Squirrel ~ pregnant
Pottinger ~ a cook, apothecary, druggist (Scotland)
Pomster ~ a quack doctor; to treat illness without knowledge or skill
Bleflummery ~ vain imaginings
Venefice ~ a practice of poisoning
Weaponsalve ~ a salve that was supposed to cure the wound by applying it to the weapon that caused it
Overset ~ to recover from mental shock
Fordolked ~ wounded
Witchify ~ to bewitch
Wamblecropped ~ humiliated
Naufrage ~ shipwreck
Peffle ~ in a nervous state
Measondue ~ a hospital or poor house
Dead-Nip ~ a blue mark on the body not caused by an injury or any known cause...sometimes called a witch's nip
Sadly On ~ expressing that a person is ill or in a bad way
Whirligigs or Tallywags ~ testicles
Betwattled ~ to be surprised, confounded, out of one’s senses
Blind Cupid ~ the backside
Bone Box ~ the mouth
Dicked in the Nob ~ silly, crazed
Head Rails ~ teeth
Hickey ~ tipsy, hiccupping
Knowledge box ~ a term for the head