Foraging for Early Modern Medicines (1600-1750)

Project: Research

Project Details


Throughout the early modern period recipes for ‘Kitchen physick’, medicinal remedies produced in the home, were recorded in manuscript collections. Remedies treated everyday ailments like headaches and more serious conditions like gout. Historians have discussed whether ingredients for these medicines were sought in the hedgerow or were purchased from an apothecary. This project will bring to life the skills required of men and in the seventeenth century to produce remedies in their kitchens. Dr Jennifer Evans and expert forager and distiller George Fredenham, who ran ‘The Foragers’ restaurant in St. Albans for ten years, will together create foraging walks that seek out ingredients commonly used by seventeenth-century men and women, including common mallows, elderflowers, and germander. These walking tour workshops will develop participants’ understanding of the accessibility, complexities, and dangers of finding suitable ingredients in the English countryside. The walks will vividly evoke the depth of seventeenth-century people’s everyday botanical and medical knowledge and will reveal how these same plants and substances are now being rediscovered and used in contemporary food and drink. The talks will present a sensory and embodied knowledge of medicine production. The walks, for example, will draw on participants’ sense of touch and smell to identify and understand ingredients.
Effective start/end date29/07/2231/07/23


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