From People Who Were There
- Plague is carried by “miasmic air”, so avoid the coast – miasmic air might waft off the sea.
- Avoid marshes and windy places for the same reason.
- Burn nice-smelling woods and plants to drive off the miasmic air: ash, juniper, musk, cyprus, laurel, rosemary.
- Likewise, fill your home with flowers.
- Bad smells also compete with and drive off miasmic air, so hang over the latrine and breathe deeply.
- Sprinkle rose-water and vinegar on the floor of your house.
- Carry around an apple – smell that.
- Live in a house that faces north.
- Avoid lepers – they are jealous and may try to poison you.
- Lie around – do not exercise. When you exercise, you breathe more heavily and will breathe more miasmic air.
- For this reason, definitely do not have sex, under any circumstances.
- Don’t sleep on your back.
- Don’t sleep after eating.
- Speaking of eating, don’t eat fish – they come from the miasmic sea.
- Don’t eat hard-boiled eggs.
- Don’t eat lettuce.
- If you must eat, mix ten-year-old treacle with wine and chopped snake – eat that.
- Grind an emerald into powder so strong that “if a toad looked at it, its eyes would crack” – eat that.
- If you must drink, mix a drink of lemon, rose-water, peppermint, and apple-syrup – drink that.
- Mix one ounce of gold with eleven ounces of quicksilver over heat, “let the quicksilver escape”, add forty-seven ounces of water of borage, store for three days over heat in an air-tight container, then drink that.
- Take an amethyst, etch onto it a picture of man bowing and holding a snake, its head in his right hand, and its tail in his left. Set the amethyst in a gold ring. Wear that.
- Definitely do not bathe.
- If you must wash, only wash your hands with vinegar or rose-water.
- Get bled – try to give eight pounds of blood.
- Even though everyone around you is dying, don’t get sad. This makes you more susceptible to the miasma.
- And above all, stay calm.
For all of the listed proscriptions, read Philip Ziegler’s The Black Death.
Image from wikipedia.