Medieval potions and modern lotions

THURSDAY 17 JUNE, 16.00 17.00 GMT

Claire Burridge (BSR; Sheffield)

Booking is via the British Academy here.

Medieval medicine often conjures up images of bubbling potions and dubious cure-all ingredients like snails, said to heal anything from nosebleeds and headaches to spleen pain. With recipes passing between communities, across borders and down the generations, many herbs found in medieval remedies such as ginger and lavender are still commonly used today. But could there also be some medical merit behind many of the seemingly bizarre ingredients?

In this event, Claire Burridge will reveal the surprising uses of some weird and wonderful medieval ingredients and how this knowledge might benefit us today. She’ll be joined by Nat Mady from Hackney Herbal, who will show you how to make your own soothing herbal tea blend, using a range of historic ingredients.

Claire Burridge was a Residential Research Fellow at the BSR in 2020–1, having spent 2019–20 as a Rome Fellow. She completed her PhD at the University of Cambridge in 2019 and began a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship at the University of Sheffield in May 2021. Broadly, Claire works on early medieval health and medicine and is particularly interested in exploring questions of medical practice during the Carolingian period. Her research draws on a range of disciplines, bringing together textual, archaeological, and biocodicological evidence to understand the relationships between, on the one hand, individuals’ health and lived experiences and, on the other hand, medical knowledge and perceptions of health and healing. Claire’s project at the BSR (on The movement of early medieval medical knowledge: exchange in the Italian peninsula) was her first foray into the digital humanities and lays the groundwork for a long-term, large-scale study of early medieval medicine that will be pursued during her Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship

This event is part of the British Academy Summer Showcase, presented in collaboration with the British School at Rome. Sign up to watch the event live and have the opportunity to submit your question during the audience Q&A. Join the conversation online too, using the hashtag #ForCuriousMinds.