Leprosy

January 27th, 2008

Universally this evil hath much tokens and signs. In them the flesh is notably corrupt, the shape is changed, the eyen become round, the eyelids are revelled, the sight sparkleth, the nostrils are straited and revelled and shrunk. The voice is hoarse, swelling groweth in the body, and many small botches and whelks hard and round, in the legs and in the utter parts; feeling is somedeal taken away. The nails are boystous and bunchy, the fingers shrink and crook, the breath is corrupt, and oft whole men are infected with the stench thereof. The flesh and skin is fatty, insomuch that they may throw water thereon, and it is not the more wet, but the water slides off, as it were off a wet hide. Also in the body be diverse specks, now red, now black, now wan, now pale. The tokens of leprosy be most seen in the utter parts, as in the feet, legs, and face; and namely in wasting and minishing of the brawns of the body.

To heal or to hide leprosy, best is a red adder with a white womb, if the venom be away, and the tail and the head smitten off, and the body sod with leeks, if it be oft taken and eaten. And this medicine helpeth in many evils; as appeareth by the blind man, to whom his wife gave an adder with garlick instead of an eel, that it might slay him, and he ate it, and after that by much sweat, he recovered his sight again.

Source: Mediaeval Lore from Bartholomew Anglicus, Robert Steele