Apothecary, Healing & Widwifery

Apothecaries

This skill is used to create medicines and poisons.

Tinctures: A tincture is a solution that uses alcohol or alcohol and water and/or containing animal, vegetable, plant, or other chemical drugs to create a medicinal remedy. The can be made up by grinding up precious stones, lead, mercury and other things.

Teas: Can me made up of any number of herbs that are either dried or fresh and have been soaked in hot water.

Poultices: Poultices are used to treat a variety of ailments from arthritis to lung maladies. Poultices are made of up cloth, meal and herbs. They are normally applied hot to the afflicted part of the body. In cases of lung or throat maladies the poultice is applied to the chest.

Balms and Salves: These are ointments that are applied topically to the skin. They are usually made out of oils that have been infused with herbal remedies and are used for medicinal purposes.

Birth Control: This consists of the use of sea sponges soaked in tansy oil, condoms made of sheep intestines, herbs to purge a pregnancy (tansy, wild carrot and other herbs), a sponge covered in silk and then wrapped with string can be used as well.

Purging: One way to purge poisons from a victim/patient would be to induce vomiting. This would done through the use of emetics or purgatives. This was done with a variety of herbs and concoctions that are regional to the area.

Medicinal Herbs and Poisons and other treatments not listed: Each area of this world has their own remedies that can be used. In terms of role playing, those remedies must be of European origin and must have been used before the Renaissance. A wonderful guide to use would be some of the writings of Hildegarde of Bingen, notably Physica and Causa et Curia. The writings of Nicholas Culpepe and Jane Sharp can be handy as well.

Healing

Healers are the physicians, barbers, and surgeons of this time. The following is a guide to help enhance roleplay and should never be used in real life for diagnosis or treatment of anything.

Humors: A healers goal is to restore balance to the body when the body was ill or sick. One of the many tools they would use for diagnosis on how to treat a person was the four humors. The four humors are as follow: blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile.

The humors are based on the symptoms a patient presents.

Blood: Hot and moist,
Phlegm: Cold and Moist
Yellow Bile: Hot and Dry
Black Bile: Cold and Dry

Examples: If a patient had a fever and was sweaty based on the humors, it would be thought that they have too much blood in them. In order to restore the balance to that particular humor they would need to be bled either by the use of leeches or cutting.

It was also believed that if a patient had an imbalance of the humors it would and could affect their personalities. If a patient was melancholic, they would have too much Black Bile and therefore would need to be treated accordingly.

Too much phlegm makes make a patient phlegmatic. You would have to put the patient on a fluid restriction and set them by the fire. Yet another healer may say in order to balance these humors they may need to drink blood. They would give them a vile of sheep's blood.

The bottom line is this medicine was more of a philosophical approach and not a scientific approach when the Healer uses the four humors as a way to treat and diagnose a condition.

Urine: Urine was also used as a way to diagnose a patient. For instance, if the urine tasted sweet then the patient had diabetes.

Surgery: Surgeries did happen but they were not like modern surgeries. These surgeries mostly were of amputation and removal of masses. In the case of neurosurgeries they performed trepanations. For example; a way of treating a migraine would be to do a form of trepanation.

Trepanation (or bloodletting) is a the art of drilling a hole in a patient's skull. These procedures are performed without anesthesia because there are none.

A good surgeon prides himself or herself on how well and quickly they can amputate a limb or remove a mass. There are many techniques that are used to cauterize a wound after amputation. Some healers use pitch, sap and/or sear the wound with hot pokers.

Surgeons would also do tooth extraction and cut hair.

Keeping of Surgical instruments: A good Healer would clean his or her instruments with vinegar and/or alcohol, as it keeps the steel from rusting.

Broken Bones: Splints of wood and casts made of hard leather would be used to make it so a patient could not move a limb while it was healing. Poultices would be applied and teas drank.

Angelics: Healers have the option of using poppy juice, cannabis and willow bark tea to swollen joints or sore muscles. Monks hood oil (topical only and should not be applied if there are breaks in the skin), and wintergreen can also be applied in salve, balm or oil.

Anesthesia: Wintergreen would be used to create a form of local anesthesia.

Treatment of Infections: Each healer depending on how they were trained have different techniques they would use to treat infected wounds. A few examples are as follows: Maggots to eat away the necrotic tissues, searing the afflicted flesh with hot pokers, irrigating the wounds out with a tincture of iris root, and washing wine or harder alcohols.

Midwives and Pregnancy

The midwife skill is associated with Apothecary or Healing. In order to acquire Midwifery, one must have the Apothecary or Healing skill, and the Midwifery skill cannot be higher than the associated skillset.

Most Midwives are trained in the art of Healing and are able Apothecaries in their own right, but only they are trained to deliver babies. Those who are just healers do not have the skill or the training to perform such task as an expert. However, anyone could attempt to deliver a baby.

Men and Childbirth: Childbirth is a secret and fearful experience - something reserved for only woman, for men it is a mystery and something that should remain a mystery. Because of this view it is even rare for a man to be in room with a woman as she gives birth.

Pregnancy: The typical symptoms can vary from pregnancy to pregnancy. When a woman is almost to term she wears a charm to protect her and offer her and her unborn child blessings.

Birth: It is rare that a woman will give birth laying down. Most women give birth in a squatting position or use a birthing stool. When a woman goes into labor, and she is not ready to push the midwife will allow the woman to walk and change position. Rushes or straw are usually placed underneath the birthing stool, to collect blood, urine and feces, the after birth and other bodily excretions from the laboring woman.

Cesarean: This is only done when the mother died in childbirth and there is a possibility that the child is still alive.

Forceps and Hooks: The use of forceps during difficult births is permissible and some midwives do use them. The hooks were used to pull out a stillborn baby or fetus.

Afterbirth: The afterbirth is disposed of and is normally burned along with the soiled rushes.

Game Mechanics for Birth: The players character who is in labor will make a +roll Body+Body. Depending on the results will determine the roll needed by the Midwife and it will determine the results of the birth. Next the midwife will make a +roll Midwife. The midwife will need to get a result above failure. Each result that is one step above what the mother rolls determines how much of an impact the midwife has on the birth with her skill.

If a midwife fails her roll, she then must make a +roll healing, depending on the result the Midwife may then attempt to make another +roll Midwifery.

Special thanks to Wenna for her research and hard work in creating this page

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