You can now place requests for physical library materials on this website. Be advised that items recently returned to the library may continue to appear on your account for a few days. For the safety of library customers and staff, returned materials are quarantined for a minimum of 96 hours before they are checked in. Please contact your local library for hold pickup instructions, or to ask any questions about returned items.

Lotions, potions, pills, and magic : health care in early America

by Breslaw, Elaine G., 1932-

Format: Print Book 2012
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 1 copy
Available (1)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library Second Floor - Non-fiction R152.B725 2012
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Second Floor - Non-fiction
Call Number  R152.B725 2012

Health in early America was generally good. The food was plentiful, the air and water were clean, and people tended to enjoy strong constitutions as a result of this environment. Practitioners of traditional forms of health care enjoyed high social status, and the cures they offered--from purging to mere palliatives--carried a powerful authority. Consequently, most American doctors felt little need to keep up with Europe's medical advances relying heavily on their traditional depletion methods. However, in the years following the American Revolution as poverty increased and America's water and air became more polluted, people grew sicker. Traditional medicine became increasingly ineffective. Instead, Americans sought out both older and newer forms of alternative medicine and people who embraced these methods: midwives, folk healers, Native American shamans, African obeahs and the new botanical and water cure advocates.

In this overview of health and healing in early America, Elaine G. Breslaw describes the evolution of public health crises and solutions. Breslaw examines "ethnic borrowings" (of both disease and treatment) of early American medicine and the tension between trained doctors and the lay public. While orthodox medicine never fully lost its authority, Lotions, Potions, Pills, and Magic argues that their ascendance over other healers didn't begin until the early twentieth century, as germ theory finally migrated from Europe to the United States and American medical education achieved professional standing.

Additional Information
Subjects Medicine -- United States -- History -- 18th century.
Medicine -- United States -- History -- 19th century.
Medical care -- United States -- History -- 18th century.
Medical care -- United States -- History -- 19th century.
Physicians -- United States -- History -- 18th century.
Physicians -- United States -- History -- 19th century.
Public health -- United States -- History -- 18th century.
Public health -- United States -- History -- 19th century.
United States -- Social conditions -- To 1865.
Publisher New York :New York University Press,2012
Language English
Description xiv, 236 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 203-226) and index.
ISBN 9780814787175 (cloth : alk. paper)
0814787177 (cloth : alk. paper)
Other Classic View