Alcohol – panacea of folk medicine of old Polish lands in the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century. Part II – remaining ailments

Journal Title: Medycyna Ogólna i Nauki o Zdrowiu - Year 2013, Vol 19, Issue 3


Introduction and aim of the article: Alcohol in folk medicine in the treatment of ailments such as malaria, cholera, dysentery, tuberculosis and symptoms of jaundice, gripes, stomach aches and diarrhea was discussed in Part I of the article. In this part, the focus is on the use of alcohol during childbirth and confinement, in the treatment of children and also ailments caused by hard labour, rheumatism and heart conditions. The treatment of convulsions, eye conditions and teeth are also described. The aim of the study was to establish what ailments were treated by the country people of old Polish lands under foreign rule by using alcohol, and whether alcohol can indeed be called the folk panacea. Material and method: After conducting research in journals publishing folk articles from the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century (64 volumes) and in monographs describing the countryside (72 volumes) at the time of foreign rule, the materials found were matched to particular ailments, with the use of folk names. Due to its length, the article was divided into two parts. Inner criticism of sources was conducted. The integral method was used. The botanical names were based on “Krytyczna lista roślin naczyniowych Polski”. Results, conclusions: In folk medicine, alcohol – especially high proof – might be considered a panacea. It was given to both adults and children. Before it became part of academic medicine, alcohol was commonly used in the treatment of wounds. Its analgesic properties were also acknowledged, thus it was commonly used during childbirth. Alcohol was a common remedy in treating joint pain, teeth, conditions caused by hard labour and paralysis. It was probably a key remedy in treating trachoma which was very common in the past.Key words: panacea, folk medicine, ethnomedicine, ethnopharmacology, alcohol

Authors and Affiliations

Lilianna Wdowiak


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  • EP ID EP69761
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How To Cite

Lilianna Wdowiak (2013). Alcohol – panacea of folk medicine of old Polish lands in the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century. Part II – remaining ailments. Medycyna Ogólna i Nauki o Zdrowiu, 19(3), 344-350.