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The cure for what ailed you in the 17th century? Storing your farts in a jar

These days, we can knock out plague pretty easy if it were to pop up, but in the 17th century, doctors in London had an unusual suggestion for people suffering from plague during the Great Plague of London of 1665. They suggested that people keep their farts in a jar and when they were feeling feeble, they should open the jar and take a big whiff of their own gas. 

The disease — which stemmed from the widespread Black Death plague that invaded Europe centuries earlier — caused civilians to drop like flies, and, apparently, some serious delusion in doctors.

“Knowledge of medicine was very, very limited back then. It was believed that the plague was caused by deadly vapors in the air so many doctors thought it could, in turn, be cured by bodily vapors,” explained Haviland.

“They figured an equally foul vapor, like a fart, could combat the disease, so they suggested patients store their farts in a jar. This way, when the plague appeared in their neighborhood, they could open the jar and inhale the fumes to ward off the bad vapors that came with the disease. It made sense to them.”


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