Strange, but true! Odd acts done to prevent diseases and treat illness.

Posted on March 9, 2017 by Alaina Gallagher

Every culture throughout history has had its own superstitions and old wives’ tales. While they may seem ridiculous now, many of these odd acts were done in the hopes to prevent diseases and treat illness.

  1. Fertility and childbirth have a long history of strange superstitions. In 19th Century England, men would not eat lettuce because they thought it caused infertility. A book on ‘Plant Lore’ implied that lettuce was a sterile plant and because of this, the men who ate it would become sterile.
  2. Headaches are quite a nuisance, so it’s no wonder many people would do anything to help prevent them. One of the suggested methods of prevention was to save your hair clippings from a hair cut and bury them under a rock. It was said by practicing this method, you will then never have a headache again.
  3. One old wives tale describes a way to prevent epileptic fits. The individual who is experiencing the episodes of seizures should place the body of a dried frog in a silk bag and wear it around their neck.
  4. The Black Death was an extremely devastating pandemic that resulted in millions of deaths in Europe and Asia in the 1300’s. It’s no wonder people turned to “cures” that we would now think of as crazy in the hopes of preventing or treating the disease. One of these crazy cures was the consumption of crushed emeralds. The precious stones were ground to a powder and taken with a liquid or mixed with food. While this did absolutely nothing to ward off the disease, it did allow people the unpleasant experience of eating glass.
  5. A simple and somewhat pleasant belief to prevent a cold is to catch a falling leaf on the first day of Autumn. This will keep you from catching a cold all winter.

Most superstitions were practiced due to the belief there was no other option to prevent an illness. While superstitions still exist throughout many cultures, there are now proven methods that can help prevent many unwanted outcomes from occurring.

Medications are used to treat all sorts of ailments in place of old wives tales and superstitions. When taken correctly, they can treat illness and prevent diseases. The problem we are faced with now that can cause medications to not work isn’t from a misguided old wives tale or superstition, it is from medication mismanagement.

This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. If medications are not taken according to instruction they can not properly treat the targeted illness or disease, and they can have negative effects which may possibly result in death. In the United States 125,000 people die every year due to mismanaged medications*. Proper medication management is possible with tools such as pill boxes, pill dispensers, reminders, applications, and with the help of a healthcare team, people can control their treatment and ensure the desired outcome is met.

Let’s avoid our story becoming an old wives tale. Prevention is possible when medications are managed correctly.

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"Medication Adherence - Taking Your Meds as Directed." Medication Adherence - Taking Your Meds as Directed. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Nov. 2016.