Treacle is a by-product of sugar production and it was often given to sick patients if it was at least ten years old. This sticky and smelly substance was believed to fight against the horrific effects of the disease.
This was called the Vicary Method and it was very popular back in the days. The people suffering from the plague were advised to shave a hen’s butt and strap it to their swollen lymph nodes, while the chicken was still alive.
One of the most common treatments used back then was bloodletting with the help of leeches. They were supposed to suck the infected blood, but most people could not affors leeches and thus, a blade was used to push into a vein and drain the blood into a bowl. Of course, this was not an effective method and many times it lead to serious infections.
It is not surprising that religion played and important part in people’s lives and this is precisely why most of them thought that the disease was either a punishment from God, or His way of testing people. This is why many people who were afraid of catching the disease punished themselves…by whipping themselves.
Many times, doctors used to recommend a concoction made out of tree resins, flower roots and…human poo. This mixture was pushed inside the open wounds of the victims and it was supposed to cure them. Maybe there is no wondering that there were so many people who died. Sometimes the cure was even more disgusting the disease itself.
At some point people realized that the plague was airborne so some of they decided to live in the foul-smelling sewers. They believed this environment discouraged the cleaner air from coming near and infecting them. Of course, this was not a viable solution, and many of them died because of other disease caught while living there.
One of the most popular ways to prevent the infection with the plague was aromatherapy. Basically, people were carrying with them sweet smelling flowers or packets of herbs to avoid the bad smell. However, as you may presume, this was not an efficient treatment or preventive method.
Urine baths were recommended to those suffering from the plague and sometimes they were even advised to drink it.
Another crazy cure which was used against the plague was crushed emeralds powder. They were mixed either with a beverage or food, but it must have been really painful to swallow this mixture which had the texture of broken glass.