Butter and Milk as Curatives

Butter and milk are often carriers for medical herbs in the old leechbooks. Herbs boiled in milk or butter release their essences, in a soothing, calming base. Nor was the restorative benefits of the plain item overlooked: sometimes the afflicted are simply instructed to drink milk warm from the cow, sheep, or goat, or to drink a bowlful of melted butter. One book advises nursing women who are not producing enough breast milk to take a mouthful of warm milk from a single-coloured cow.

cowsSometimes warm milk or butter was applied upon the skin. The Venerable Bede (673-735) tells us that as a child St Cuthbert had a tumour on his knee, so large and painful that he had to be carried about by servants. He was visited by a resplendent angel, dressed in white and riding a fine horse, who examined the knee and told the boy:

“Boil some wheaten flour in milk and bathe the tumour with it hot, and you will be healed.” Bede further relates: “Cuthbert did as he was bidden and within a few days was well again.”
excerpt of Bede’s Life of Cuthberttranslated by J.F. Webb

Chapped hands? Try some Wool-wax.

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