Suffer the little children?

If your little (or not so little) darlings have been driving you mad over the holidays, you may want to reflect on how they would have been treated in the eighteenth century. Here are some recommendations from MS1320 in the Wellcome Library, “A Book of phisick. Made June 1710”:

Let them eat water pap for a fortnight [after they are born] then put a little milk in it not all milk till 6 weeks old.

Let not their beere be stale, boyle in it a few marigold flowers, sweet marjoram & aniseeds. Strain it and sweeten it.

If they snufle lay a peice of double Tifany [cheesecloth] to the mould of the head, & put up the bignesse of a pea of fresh buter up the nostrils.

If they are much stuffed with Ph[l]egm, given them 2 spoonfulls of oxmill squils* to vomit them gently or 2 spoonfulls of syrrup of rhubarb & succory to purge them.

If they have a fever… plaisters to the feet of garlick & hon[e]y beat together put upon rags spread & aplyed to the soles of the feet, sowed on & not taken off till they recover.

A little pop[p]y water at night is good to make them rest, a spoonfull.

Beer and opium – I’m sure they’d have been very happy!

*Oxymel is a solution of vinegar and honey; the squill or sea onion is a plant from the lily family which is used as an expectorant (and as rat poison!).

PS I’m taking part in the WordPress Post a Week challenge.

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