Cannibalism is rightly understood to be not such a great thing…however, that wasn’t always the case.
For years, Europeans participated in cannibalism, right up until the late 18th century, in fact. They weren’t cannibals as we think of them today, actively eating the flesh of living or newly deceased people, though. Instead, they used parts of the dead to create medical remedies.
You see, during the 16th and 17th centuries, medical science was quite primitive. The prevailing thought about cures for various illnesses was “like treats like.” For instance, ground up bits of skull will cure a headache.
Specifically, Europeans at the time blended bits and pieces from ancient Egyptian mummies into medical remedies that were believed to cure everything from a simple headache to more serious conditions like seizures.
Famously, King Charles II of England was known for his personal cure-all called “The King’s Drops.” It contained ground up bits of human skull mixed with alcohol.
Some doctors at the time also believed that drinking blood made a person healthier. Apparently the thought was the fresher the blood, the healthier it would make you.
Luckily for us, this belief in “corpse medicine” died out along with the excess supply of mummies from Egypt.
Now that grape cough syrup doesn’t sound so bad.
Well, that is pretty darned gross. Researching all this just makes me very glad that I’m alive in 2016.