Catnip and dried pig testicles: study reveals medieval infertility advice
Researcher finds medieval understanding of male and female infertility was more evenhanded than thought - and discovers some interesting ‘cures’Boiled catnip taken on an empty stomach for three days could help, or a delicious goblet of dried ground pig testicles mixed with wine: a new study of medieval advice on male infertility – and recipes to remedy it – suggests people were far less ready to automatically lay blame on the woman than had been assumed.Catherine Rider, senior lecturer in medieval history at the University of Exeter and expert on medieval magic, medicine, religion and marriage, has studied popular texts in English from the period, as well as Latin texts aimed at the university-educated elite. She found a general understanding that male infertility could be responsible when a couple failed to produce a longed-for child. In the late 14th century John of Mirfield, who worked at St Bartholomew ’s hospital in London and probably drew on much earlier texts, warned: “It should be noticed that when sterility happens between married people, the males are accused by many people of not having suitable seed.”Continue reading...
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