Cholera cure

“We print this recipe, not out of self-interest, since we are giving it away free, being inspired solely by the conviction that we have of its efficacy and to see if we can be of assistance to our fellow men.”

1853: Juan Cabot y Suñol's grave in <a href=Tiana" title="1853: Juan Cabot y Suñol's grave in Tiana" />

1853: Juan Cabot y Suñol's grave in Tiana

Edmund Charles Wendt wrote of the 1830s Asiatic cholera epidemic that

Spanish quarantine was rigorously enforced, except among the troops. Every other traveler from the infected district was detained, and even threatened with death and confiscation of goods, if he did not go through all the formalities; and also all those who harbored him. But cholera broke out soon, of course, in many provinces in Spain, reached Madrid, and was even carried over to Barcelona on the east coast.

In the 50s prevention failed once again and rich and poor perished in the great Catalan epidemic of 1853-6, many after spending ridiculous sums of money on bizarre cures. Here‘s a typical freeware remedy of the time:

Boil roughly two ounces of rosemary sprigs with two purrons, ie 1.88l] of water, mixing in half an ounce of sublimated sulphur, when it has boiled down to a quantity equivalent to a patricó [container a quarter of the size of a porrón], remove it from the fire and store it until the morning of the following day, when at first light and on an empty stomach it should be passed through a sieve, filling a patricó and adding two spoonfuls [curllaradas] of red sugar [suca roix, from sucre rouge], it is taken at once. It has been observed that no one has suffered an attack of this terrible sickness if they take just four cups early in the morning and on an empty stomach. If the person suffers an attack, then the dose is doubled, repeating every two hours until heavy sweating is induced. We print this recipe, not out of self-interest, since we are giving it away free, being inspired solely by the conviction that we have of its efficacy and to see if we can be of assistance to our fellow men.

One of the most interesting things about this is the language in which it is written. I don’t know whether the experts would want to regard it as some kind of proto-xava, but it certainly gives the lie to the notion that “Catalan” way back then was somehow purer (in the sense of being free of “Spanish” and other dangerous alien influence) than it is now.

Original text
En lo any 1854 lo acreditat periódichch nomenat l’ancora que se imprimia en Barcelona, portaba varias receptas per preservarse y curar en los atacals lo cólera morbo asiátich. Entre aquellas y habia una que per la sua sensillés y facilitat en la sua confecció, ( sens que puga produhir ningun mal, segons parer de personas competens ) que la adaptarem enseguida , ab on resultat aixis com la havem usada en lo present conflicle, prometennos, mediant Deu, que també en aquesta época nos veurem lliurats de tal assot.
Se fa bullir un faixet de rumaní de unas dos unsas ab dos purrons d´aigua mesclanti mitcha unsa de fló de sofre, cuant ha butllit bastan que aigi mimbat cosa de un patricó, se trau del foch y se guarda fins lo andemá dematí , que á primera hora y en dejú se passa ab un sadás, se ompla un vas de patricó y anyadinti dos curllaradas de suca roix , se pren enseguida. Se ha observat que ningú ha sigut atacat de tan terrible mal , prenent tan sols cuatre tasas en altres tans matins y en dejú. Si la persona está atacda se dobla la dósis , repetint cada dos horas fins originarli un gros suó.No nos mou ningun inbterés al imprimir aqueixa recepta , puix que gratis la donem, tan sols nos ha inspirat lo convensiment que tenim de la bondat de ella y veurer si podem ser útils á nostres semblants.

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