early cures

The Ancient Romans believed phthisis to be cured in warm, dry climates, and sent their sick from Rome to Sicily or Egypt.  Alternatively, warm sea-air was also thought to improve the disease in its early stages.  Rest and improved diet were also recommended.  Stranger recommendations include eating the bacon of a sow fed on herbs, smoking dried cow dung, bathing in human urine, or drinking elephant's blood.

The Early Modern Europeans (late 15th - 18th centuries) continued to apply many of these treatments, recommending marine air, sun, exercise, and the consumption of milk to improve the condition of the phthisical patient.  They too had their "superstitious" treatments, including eating butter from cows fed in churchyards.  The Royal Touch was also commonly sought to heal those with phthisis, though it is unlikely that the touch of European kings and queens ever did the sick much good.

Explore the picture gallery to learn more about this treatment.