I read on the news this morning that Richard 111 had an infestation of roundworms...the soil in and around his skeleton was sifted and examined and they found round worm eggs in the soil where his pelvis was...

Internal parasites were the norm in the Middle Ages...they were surprised not to have also found tapeworm eggs but came to the conclusion his meat had been thoroughly cooked...he'd have eaten more meat because he was King, and between the low standards of hygiene and undercooked pork, most people of his standing would have had a tapeworm munching away on whatever they'd eaten...quite why the cook would have served him with overdone pork and beef wasn't made clear...

My old medical book which was published in 1837 has several suggestions for ridding oneself of worms...the most popular appears to be a greater intake of salt with every meal...if that didn't work, then to take an ounce of common salt dissolved in half a pint of warm water and drunk twice daily...you were to avoid all vegetables and take a cold bath every morning. If you'd survived the salt water regime and still had worms then you could recourse to Oil of Turpentine...an ounce at a time. The author does admit it may prove difficult to persuade a child to take Oil of Turpentine owing to its foul taste...

The symptoms...I should have put them first but no matter...the symptoms were a distended hard belly and convulsions and the causes were eating too many vegetables and sweet cakes.

He points out that some physicans recommend the intake of tin-filings and tobacco...but he considers his cure of salt to be the most effective...

I turned over a few more pages and found the cure for Yellow Fever...strip the patient naked and throw cold water over him until his fever abates...and let out twenty ounces of blood from his arm daily...his diet should be simple...toast soaked in warm water accompanied by a strong bowel purgative.

Whether the author of the book had ever come across a case of Yellow Fever he doesn't make clear...he may well have travelled to Africa of course and had first hand knowledge of the symptoms...I'm not certain he would have effected many recoveries using his methods of treatment though.

A cure for internal worms in Ireland was a porridge made from the common plant of Chickweed, Hazel buds and Wood Sorrel...all boiled up together with oats. The same mixture was also used as a remedy for colds and sore throats...

The Irish herbal cure is grand if you want to try it...none of the ingredients are harmful. But I'd not suggest for one minute you ever try drinking salt water or taking a cold bath...!