Anglo-Saxon Medicine: Herbs, Charms and Prayers

A comparison of modern medication to that of the past.

An examination of Anglo-Saxon medication. The author looks at what Anglo-Saxons used as a form of medication, such as their use of herbs. The author compares medicine of today to that of the past.
“At the time Beowulf was written, Anglo-Saxon medicine consisted of two primary components:some remnants of scientific knowledge (interwoven with Christian doctrine) left over from the Roman occupation and the pagan superstitions and magic lore that the Anglo-Saxons themselves brought from the continent. Their medical practices became a curious mixture of these elements which included herbal salves and tinctures, recitation of magic charms, and the invocation of Christ and the Saints through the Mass. Thus, armed with almost no factual knowledge of disease and its causes, no x-rays, no MRIs, and no synthetically produced medications, the Anglo-Saxons dealt with a compendium of medical problems similar to those which face the modern world today.’