Animal and human substances in the traditional pharmacopoeia in Brittany and elsewhere, end of the XIX th century – beginning of the XX th century

Bernard HEUDE

Docteur vétérinaire, Docteur en Histoire
25, avenue de La Mouillière, 45100 Orléans
bernard.heude@orange.fr

At the end of the XIX th century, a Breton woman (1859-1957) collected and wrote down a thousand therapy recipes. The study of this corpus reveals the popular volunteer healers’ school of thoughts, whose prescriptions show an ancestral knowledge going back to the Antiquity. As well as using the most divers products of nature, traditional medicine calls in magic, symbols, evil animals to fight fire with fire or other species to which the pathogenic principle can transfer to. The treatments, mainly for external use, would willingly blend disgusting substances. The question is the effectiveness of the latter, since scientific therapy has confirmed the legitimacy for some of them.

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Ref. : Bull.soc.fr.hist.méd.sci.vét., 2015, 15 : 35-68

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