Thursday, February 26, 2009

Green with Love

Green - it is not just the color of envy. Shakespeare said it best: “green indeed is the colour of lovers.” Medieval doctors even had a medical term for cupid’s affliction called “green sickness” or chlorosis. This sickness fit into the accepted theory of the 4 humours which taught that the body was made of up four fluids; blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile. Too much or too little of one fluid would cause your humours to become imbalanced and the patient to become ill. Young females were especially prone to a humour imbalance if they failed to menstruate. Couple this female curse with a woman’s proclivity toward an overabundance of mad monkey lust and you had the pernicious green sickness.

Know someone who could be suffering from green sickness this month? The Raucous Royals is here to help you diagnose and cure their illness.

People most susceptible:
Female virgins with passionate inclinations

1. A pale green complexion
2. Listless energy
3. Decreased appetite
4. Lack of menstruation
5. Patient has recently fallen in love and that love has gone unrequited

Treatments (Results may vary):

1. Drink a flask of red wine containing rusted iron filling
This cure was prescribed by Thomas Sydenham in 1624. He may have been on to something put ingesting iron in the pill form might be tastier.

2. Apply 6 to 8 leeches to the cutaneous part of labia
This cure was prescribed by Edward Tilt in the nineteenth century. If the leeches make you squeamish then you could always try the alternate cure of cutting the hymen.

3. Apply Electricity to "stimulate" the womb
This cure was prescribed by none other than our randy Benjamin Franklin who had the wisdom to envision infinite uses for electricity. A girl suffering from green sickness visited Mr. Franklin in Philadelphia and stayed for two weeks (aaahem). She left with "a glass and bottle" and the strict instructions to electrify herself (1). She was cured two months later.

4. A pinch of chalk in four to six spoonfuls of water
This cure was prescribed by the hydropathist Sebastian Kneipp in the belief that the magnesium and salt in the chalk would help iron absorption. But as any female with PMS can attest to...chocolate (containing magnesium) goes down much easier.
*The owner of this blog takes no responsibility for negative side effects resulting from these treatments.

King, p. 106

Sources and Further Reading:
King, Helen. Disease of Virgins: Green Sickness, Chlorosis and the Problems of Puberty, New York: NY, Routledge, 2003.
Shakespeare Quarterly, V0l. 12, No. 1 (Winter, 1961), pp. 47-55


Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

I don't like any of those cures, although I'm always up for a glass of red wine.

Heather Carroll said...

I think my female innards just shriveled up and died once I read #2.

Lucy said...

Pretty harsh...although way back in high school I used to know a few girls with those same symptoms...hmm