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Lotions, Potions, Pills, and Magic – Health Care in Early America - NYU Press Scholarship Online
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Lotions, Potions, Pills, and Magic: Health Care in Early America

Elaine G. Breslaw


Health in early America was generally good. The food was plentiful, the air and water were clean, and people tended to enjoy strong constitutions as a result of this environment. Practitioners of traditional forms of health care enjoyed high social status, and the cures they offered—from purging to mere palliatives—carried a powerful authority. Consequently, most American doctors felt little need to keep up with Europe's medical advances relying heavily on their traditional depletion methods. However, in the years following the American Revolution as poverty increased and America's water and a ... More

Keywords: early America, health, American Revolution, alternative medicine, public health, American medicine, medical education

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2012 Print ISBN-13: 9780814787175
Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016 DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814787175.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Elaine G. Breslaw, author