Colonial Medicine By: Marion Panepento
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Colonial Medicine By: Marion Panepento

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Colonial Medicine By: Marion Panepento

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Colonial Medicine

By: Marion Panepento 7A4-ID3



In colonial times they didn’t have Advil or Tylenol, they mostly used herbs to ease their pain. Every herb had a different use such as: Basil- was used to make tea to calm your nerves.

Dogwood- the bark of a dogwood was used to reduce fevers.Thyme- was used to slow spasms and stop coughing.

Dandelion- Dandelion juice was used to relieve joint pain.

Sage- was used to ease headache pains and fevers.



Blood was thought to be very important to health in colonial society. When someone had a disease or sickness, the colonists believed that this was because they had too much blood in their body so, they would open up a vein and let some blood out. Or they would use leeches to suck blood from the body. Very often this would weaken the patient and speed up a person’s death. We now know that this is not a cure for illness. Often the person performing the blood loss procedure was the barber and not a doctor.


Dental Health

There were no dentists in colonial times, but, they did have apothecaries. These apothecaries sold herbs and remedies that the colonists used. If you had a toothache and went to an apothecary, they would give you a herb such as catnip, to ease the pain from your tooth. You wouldn’t have check ups like nowadays. If your tooth was fully rotted, you would go to the apothecary and have the tooth pulled. The apothecaries provided herbs for all types of illnesses and would also sometimes perform surgery on colonists when there was no doctor around!



Doctors in colonial times had no formal medical training. Instead they learned from other doctors. The main things that they learned were how to help a broken bone and how to prescribe herbs. Doctors weren’t as plentiful as they are today so they were consulted only for major problems that came to the colony. Most illnesses that were not serious were treated at home by the family’s doctor: the mother.



Many diseases were caught by colonists on the boat ride to America. Some of the most common diseases were:Scurvy was very common among passengers on the Mayflower. You get Scurvy when you have a lack of vitamin C.

Small Pox was also fairly common in the colonies. This virus causes a severe fever with blisters and is very contagious.

On the boat there were also common sicknesses like colds. There were often only one or two doctors on the ship, so only the most serious illnesses could be treated. Also the doctors were exposed to the same diseases as the other passengers and if they got really sick and died then everyone else on the ship that was sick couldn’t be helped.


Home Remedies?

If you got sick and it wasn’t very serious then your mother would care for you. Women learned about how to treat various illnesses from their mothers. They would use herbs from the house garden to treat most illnesses. Women would plant these herb gardens so that when someone in their house got sick they could treat them right there, at home. Mothers recorded their Home herbal treatments in books like cookbooks. The herb garden also produced different types of plants to make tea. Tea was used to calm down your nervous system. Only if you got sicker and it was very serious would you go try and find the doctor.



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