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Medicine: examining urine

c.1300

Medicine: examining urine

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  • Intro

    Medieval doctors often made their diagnoses by examining stools, blood and especially urine. Numerous manuscripts from this period include images of doctors holding flasks of urine up to the light. Some medical treatises, such as this one, contain illustrations showing urine in different colours. This would have acted as a kind of chart, helping doctors to make decisions about their patients.

     

    Support from properly trained doctors would only have been available to a minority - the wealthy and those in monasteries, for instance. Most ordinary people, particularly those outside towns, would have found it difficult to access professional care. Those in need of medical assistance might instead turn to local people who had medical knowledge derived from folk traditions and practical experience.

     

    Shelfmark: Harley 3140 f. 32v

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