Physicians of Myddfai by Terry Breverton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The book is divided into 8 parts. The first part is an introduction explaining the various sources of contribution to the medical knowledge of Myddfai. The second part of the book discussed the legend of how the physicians of Myddfai came about. This second part in my opinion is the best part of the book. The third and fourth part consists of remedies for various ailments. I found this part to be rather tedious and boring with many of the cures being outdated. Still they are useful for history,. The fifth part talks about different charms to heal ailments like headaches, constipations and toothaches. The final parts of the book discuss the Welsh effort to preserve their culture at Myddfai and not let the herbal knowledge fade into oblivion.
For those with some medical knowledge it will be very clear that Greek doctors like Galen and Avicenna had a major influence on the development of herbology is in Myddfai. The discussion of the humors, and the different natures of people are thoroughly discussed.
According to legend a son and his mother lived in a hut close to the lake. On a daily basis the son would take the cattle to graze by the lake. One day while taking his cattle to graze by the lake he spied a beautiful maiden in water. His efforts to catch her in vain. When he returned home he got advice on how to win over this maiden. First he took some over cooked bread and offered it to her but she turned him down and went away. The young man came back the next day and offered her some undercooked bread. She still turned him away. Finally he gave her some brad that was baked just right. She agreed to marry him. She ducked underneath the water and got her father. The father agreed . The maiden was told to hold her breath and count. Her counting brought about that numbers of s3elect gfiven farm animals. The only condition of their marriage was that should he strike her three times she would leave and take the animals with her. They spent many years together and had children. Through her blessing he became very rich. Yet the inevitable occurred. He struck her three times. Once while telling her to stop laughing at a funeral. Another time a leather strap just touched her. A third who remembers. They were more like taps. Anyway she returned to the watery depths. The son Rhiwalon became a famous doctor tending the wounded and sick of the Welsh king. This lineage still persists to this day.
The Red book of Hergest which was written in Welsh has now been translated into English. I would say that most of these cures are outdated. I mean who would use urine, or dog feces or even animal parts. We go to the doctor. Still a medical student might want to study it for historical reference. I found these very tedious and had to force my way through. Still it was essential for the book and coud not be helped. I wrote down part of a remedy that might be of use or interest.
For Kidney Stone you should macerate these herbs in strong ale, water pimpernel,tutsan, meadow sweet, st john’s wort, ground ivy, agrimony, milfoil, common burnet, columbine motherwort and laurel. Seriously where are you going to find all that.
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