The sun was just coming up through the trees as I bustled about putting together my medieval medicine booth at the Abbey Medieval Festival this past weekend.
I hung herbs and amulets, medieval mittens and coin purses, and assembled the various medicines and concoctions I’d made. Somehow the woodsy location right next to a Viking encampment was the perfect setting.
I’ve studied natural medicine for many years in an effort to help myself get through health issues doctors were unable to help me with. I’ve learned so much and found numerous things that have helped tremendously in bringing about healing and renewing my strength and energy.
Over the past couple of years I’ve focused on medieval medicine, curious to learn how they took care of themselves in an age when doctors were only available to the rich and wonky religious beliefs hampered even the most basic medical advancements.
I had so much fun studying that the head of our medieval group volunteered me to give two lectures on medieval medicine at the festival.
It sounded like a good idea at the time until it hit me that I’d actually have to stand up in front of strangers (yipes!) and talk! I hoped to high heaven that my mind wouldn’t go completely blank at first glimpse of their expectant faces.
I tried not to think about it as I set up bottles of medieval anesthetic and a rather delicious treatment for digestive disorders, rolls of linen bandages, and a great block of beeswax used to make healing salves and ointments.
Bit by bit my jitters calmed as I brewed pine needle tea (the vapors are brilliant for easing congestion), carefully assembled quail eggs (the whites are perfect for smearing over open wounds to seal them from bacteria), and arranged some rather lethal looking surgical instruments like a bone saw, tooth-puller, and scalpel.
At last everything came together and I settled myself in to await my first customer.
Much to my delight, my fears fled once we got talking. All the lovely bits of information I’ve been treasuring and using all these years flooded back as I was peppered with questions.
I met the most wonderful people – folks from Switzerland and Germany who shared medieval recipes passed down through generations, lovely Aussies who introduced me to native Australian berries, roots, bark, and herbs that I’d never even heard of, herbalists from all over who were fascinated by the medieval treatments and how they were similar, if not identical, to ones being used today.
When it came time for my talk I was prepared for maybe 5-10 people who would find medieval medicine interesting. I was stunned when over the two days over 100 people showed up to learn, clustering around the booth afterwards to ask questions, share information and experiences, and give me great ideas of things they want to learn about next year. I also got to meet the President of the Queensland Herbal Society and I will be speaking at their monthly meeting very soon.
So fun! 🙂
It was such a great experience and I am so glad I faced my fears of failure and forgetfulness and stumbling over my words. It was worth every jitter.
My far the most popular medieval concoction was the medieval deodorant I made. It really is quite divine, looks so pretty in a clear, glass jar, and smells fresh and clean and absolutely wonderful.
If you don’t fancy mixing up your own deodorant but still want to choose a natural remedy, try rubbing chlorophyll-rich leaves such as spinach, Swiss chard, or parsley under your arms, or slice a lemon in half and do the same thing. They all work brilliantly. Or use a combination of patchouli and cypress essential oils. Patchouli takes care of any odor while cypress whisks away wetness.
Have you faced any fears lately? I’d love to hear about it. 🙂
Medieval Deodorant Recipe
1 part white wine vinegar
1 part water
fresh herbs such as sage, rosemary, peppermint, bergamot, and lavender
essential oils – add one-two drops each of the essential oil that corresponds to the fresh herbs you use
1 clean glass bottle
- Pour everything into clean, glass bottle, seal then shake vigorously. Store in cool, dark place until ready to use.
- Apply with cotton ball or decant into a spray bottle and apply that way.