Primitive Physic

Five Facts about the Primitive Physic

1) Primitive Physic became the most popular medical book of its time, going into 23 editions.

2) Primitive Physic outsold all of John Wesley’s other publications – selling over one million copies.

3) Wesley encouraged his preachers to carry copies of ‘Primitive Physic’ and to recommend it and enhance it with their own ideas.

4) Wesley never forgot the power of prayer, calling it ‘the medicine of medicines’.

5) One of the remedies in the book suggests drying and powdering a toad to make pills to help ease asthma!

About the Primitive Physic

John Wesley believed that everyone should have access to information about looking after their health. In 1747 he published a medical handbook entitled, Primitive Physic, Or an Easy and Natural Method of Curing Most Diseases. For many the expense of being seen by a good doctor was beyond what they could afford. This medical handbook allowed the masses to treat themselves at home in very practical, affordable ways. He listed ailments alphabetically, giving a brief description of symptoms and suggested a range of treatments. Some of the treatments listed are more likely to kill you than cure you, but many are still a healthy part of medical practices today, such as keeping a healthy diet and taking regular exercise.

"Really excellent - I will be recommending it to friends" - Museum visitor

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