What happened when illness struck?
What happened to ordinary families in medieval England when illness struck? Doctors were few and far between and anyhow were too expensive for the average person.
There have always been people who had an understanding of plant medicine, perhaps a monk working in the priory garden or a family where this knowledge has been passed down through generations. History tells us that way back in neolithic times man used plants to regain health, and in the anglo-saxon period there were many skilled herbalists. Some of the "cures" used in villages were mixed up with superstition and magic but many had been tried and tested over time.
Bad harvests could result in a much weaker population and indeed before the Black Death there had been a series of wet summers thus making the people less resistant to disease. For many there was little or nothing in the way of help, but we have written evidence about the type of remedies that would supply the patient with vitamins and minerals and others that cleansed wounds with plants, speeding up the healing process by means of antibacterial properties. To people of this time, much of what we now regard as weeds was looked on as food e.g. nettles, dandelions, cleavers, St John' wort, burdock, comfrey, hawthorn berries, elderberries and many others were a vital source of nutrition for people that seldom had enough to eat, especially if the harvest was a poor one.
Our herbalist is happy to talk and what life was like for our distant ancestors and what the survival rates were for the mainly agricultural poor.