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Whether because they thought physicians were misguided, too expensive or simply too scarce, many families kept home medical kits and self-help books. A home medical kit around 1830: mortar and pestle, syringes, two lancets with case, gourd medicine vial, suture needle and thread. In the 1800s, patients and doctors believed the key to good health was balance, both internally and in relation to the environment. Almost anything could throw the body out of balance: stress, the weather, puberty, childbirth, too much food or alcohol, too little exercise and work, too much blood or even too much passion. First published in 1830, the book suggested anyone could and should learn the secrets of medicine rather than call a doctor.The rise of alternative healing systems in the 1800s stemmed from and added to widespread prejudice against conventional doctors.
Any of these imbalances could cause disease.To restore balance, remedies and therapies were generally designed to make the sick person bleed, sweat, vomit, urinate or defecate. Naturopathic medicine is based on the belief that the human body has an innate healing ability.American Association of Naturopathic PhysiciansNaturopathic medicine is based on the belief that the human body has an innate healing ability.


Physicians were often criticized for their excessive use of bloodletting and calomel.Thomsonianism was one of the most popular alternative medicine systems in North Carolina.
It maintained that the stomach acted as a kind of furnace, keeping the body warm and healthy. Calomel, a powerful laxative, was a popular form of mercury that could poison the patient if given in large and frequent doses. A leech would attach itself to the patient by biting through the skin and injecting an anti-clotting substance into the wound. Homeopathic physicians did not begin practicing in North Carolina until the mid-1800s, but some people began treating themselves with homeopathic cures before that time.When faced with serious illness, people in the early 1800s often looked to more than one source for help, much as we do today.
Today surgeons find them valuable when regrafting amputated appendages, such as fingers and toes.)An alternative to leeches was a scarificator, an instrument used to draw blood.
Upon the release of a trigger, 13 blades shot out of the bottom of the instrument into the patienta€™s flesh, creating a series of cuts.


The incisions were often followed by cupping, placing a heated cup on the wound to form a vacuum and suck out blood. Dry cupping without an incision was also used at times to create blisters, believed to draw disease out of the body.Fevers called for draining large amounts of blood.
People believed the patienta€™s flushed skin and rapid pulse signaled an excess of a€?vital energya€? in the body. In fact, bleeding was often continued until the patient nearly fainted.Understandably, many patients had mixed feelings about doctors and their harsh methods.



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