Monday, January 2, 2012

A cure for rheumatism or gout

Monday, January 2, 2012

Gillray, The Gout
Loretta reports:

Welcome back, readers!  We hope you had fine holidays, and return to us refreshed, eager for another year of unbridled historical nerdiness.

We begin 2012 with a holiday that may be unknown to many of our readers, and an infallible cure for gout or rheumatism, courtesy Mr. William Hone’s Every-day Book, whose full title you'll find below.
The first Monday after new year's day is called Handsel Monday in some parts of Scotland, and is observed by merrymaking. In sir J. Sinclair's " Statistical Account," it is related of one William Hunter, a collier, that he was cured in the year 1758 of an inveterate rheumatism or gout, by drinking freely of new ale, full of barm or yeast. "The poor man had been confined to his bed for a year and a half, having almost entirely lost the use of his limbs. On the evening of Handsel Monday, as it is called, some of his neighbours came to make merry with him. Though he could not rise, yet he always took his share of the ale, as it passed round the company; and, in the end, became much intoxicated. The consequence was, that he had the use of his limbs the next morning, and was able to walk about. He lived more than twenty years after this, and never had the smallest return of his old complaint." This is a fact worth remembering, as connected with chronical complaints.
Rowlandson, Gouty Gourmands
The Every-day book and Table book:  or, Everlasting calendar of popular amusements, sports,
pastimes, ceremonies, manners, customs, and events, incident to each of the three hundred and sixty-five days, in past and present times; forming a complete history of the year, months, and seasons, and a perpetual key to the almanac including accounts of the weather, rules for health and conduct, remarkable and important anecdotes, facts, and notices, in chronology, antiquities, topography, biography, natural history, art, science, and general literature; derived from the most authentic sources, and valuable original communications, with poetical elucidations, for daily use and diversion, Volume 1, 1827 (the Google edition is 1838).

James Gillray, The Gout, 1799, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
Thomas Rowlandson, Comforts of Bath, Gouty Gourmands at Dinner, 1798, courtesy Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection.


Pauline said...

Now here is a thing I wonder about often, and I very much appreciate you bringing this up. My daughter, soon to be 15, has struggled with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis her whole life and I try to imagine how people would deal with it "back in the day". There must have been ways as it is not uncommon among young people of European, African and Native American descent but there is very little written about it.

I'm probably on a tangent here but it is something for those of us who do historical research, and are touched by the disease daily, to consider.

LorettaChase said...

Pauline, watch for more about historical treatments for rheumatism & gout next week! Thanks for sending me in search of info!

QNPoohBear said...

I have to send this to my sister's Father-in-law who is suffering from gout. I'm sure he will enjoy the cure!

hilda dada said...

Thanks for an excellent article! I appreciate your insights and agree with what you wrote. gout cure

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