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02 December 2008

Coffee for Roosevelt: treatment a century ago

If you ever think that taking your asthma medication is an inconvenience, spare a thought for asthmatics from days gone by.

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Over the years, our understanding of medicines has improved in leaps and bounds. If you ever think that taking your asthma medication is an inconvenience, spare a thought for asthmatics from days gone by.

At the beginning of the 19th Century, treatments for asthma included a daily teaspoon of mustard seeds or quicksilver and cinnabar. It was also believed that liquor, strong coffee, smoking tobacco (an absolute no-no, nowadays!) and garlic were helpful in controlling asthma.

Worst of all, however, was “bleeding” the patient - either by cutting the vein or using leeches.

Did you know that Marcel Proust (a 19th Century philosopher and writer); American president Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt and British author Charles Dickens were all asthmatics?


National Asthma Education Programme (NAEP)
Allergy Society of South Africa (ALLSA)

 
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