Ocean Planet Customized Tour: Page 7 of 17

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Remedies, Rumors, Cures

The oldest medical texts--Chinese, Egyptian, and Roman--indicate that marine algae, fish, and invertebrates have been prescribed for thousands of years. Folk medicines are often thought to work through a combination of supernatural and physical forces, and many remedies do have real therapeutic value. §

For DIGESTIVE PROBLEMS, a traditional remedy is made from IRISH MOSS SEAWEED, Chondrus crispus. It has been prescribed for diarrhea, dysentery, gastric ulcers, and colds. §

For CONVULSIONS in epileptic children, an old English remedy specified RED CORAL, 10 grains, powdered, given in breast milk or cherry water. It was also used to drive away ghosts, harden diseased gums, and relieve stomach pain. §

To help BREAST MILK flow freely, women of some countries wear SEAHORSES. In Europe, seahorses have also been used to cure urinary incontinence, and in Ancient Greece, to cure cancer. §

For ILLS of all sorts, people have tried EELS. In England, Anguilla eels helped difficult childbirth. Egyptians treated sweaty feet with eels for centuries. In Japan, eels were eaten on the first day of summer for health all year. §

For COLDS and as a general tonic, COD liver oil was once a traditional American remedy, brought by Scandinavian immigrants. Later it was used as a regular source of vitamins A and D for children. §

For INSANITY and many other maladies, PEARLS were often prescribed in Europe and Persia. In England, they were used for fevers and heart, brain, and stomach problems. Ancient Indians mixed pearls with coral to treat tuberculosis. §

For CORNS, an old English remedy prescribed ABALONE SHELL: squeeze lemon juice over mother-of-pearl buttons twice a day for 7 days till buttons turn to paste. Spread on, cover with bandages, and repeat daily until the corn is gone. §

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gene carl feldman (gene@seawifs.gsfc.nasa.gov) (301) 286-9428
Judith Gradwohl, Smithsonian Institution (Curator/Ocean Planet)