From the Greeks to the Victorians the men of medicine were repeatedly confounded by the ailments of women – check out this interesting article by Sarah Jaffray on the history of hysteria from the Wellcome Collection’s Blog!

Wellcome Collection Blog

The definition and diagnosis of hysteria has quite a history. Sarah Jaffray takes a look back over the years to explore the beginnings of hysteria in Greece, through to animal magnetism, vibrators and shell shock in WWI. 

When it comes to explaining hysteria, you might have heard some variation of the following.

  1. In ancient Greece it was thought that women’s wombs wandered through their bodies, causing madness: (hystera = womb; hysterikos = of the womb).
  2. Hysteria stems from sexual frustration in women.
  3. (And the one you are most likely to have heard) In the 19th century women thought to have hysteria were “treated” with vibrators by their doctors.

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So evidently cupping glasses are still a thing?

I didn’t know they were still a thing. As a historian of ancient medicine with a particular interest in Hippocratic and Galenic medicine, the use of cupping glasses is something I’ve run across quite a bit.

But I didn’t know people were still subjecting themselves to it…

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I have finally conquered my white whale. I have found the perfect biscuit recipe. But more on that later…

In order to talk to you about my most recent success, I’m first going to tell you about sage and the medicinal properties that the ancients thought it had. There’s a link, I promise. It may seem odd to the modern reader, but the herb was primarily used for medical, rather than culinary, purposes.  Continue reading