1 The Role of Gentry Manor in Healthcare of the Polish Countryside in 19 th Century Iwona Arabas In the first half of 19 th century relations between gentry and peasants had in almost all cases feudal character. Only the reform dated 1864 had changed completely the situation, however it did not have any influence on healthcare in the country. Medical services were by tradition the duty of gentry manors. Gentry women before getting married were obliged to obtain essential information on household which included basic medical knowledge 1. Already in 19 th century the typical Polish manor house was equipped with a separated room dedicated only to storing pharmaceutical raw materials and preparing remedies or culinary delicacies including spices, roots, delicacies, comfitures, juices, spirits, etc. Therefore such a room functioned as a larder and a medicine chest 2. The manor medicine chests (household medicine chests) were very well known in Poland since a long time and were defined in encyclopaedias as early as in 19 th century. The Great Illustrated Encyclopaedia (Wielka Encyklopedia Ilustrowana) 3 from 1890 explained the necessity of possessing one for reason of lack of pharmacies and doctors in the provinces. At the beginning applied medicaments had often had a form of household preserves. Remedies prepared by women in such rooms were often not known to doctors nor to pharmacists. 1 I. Rychlikowa, Ziemiaństwo polskie ( ). Zróżnicowanie społeczne, Warszawa 1985, K.W.Wójcicki, Niewiasta polska w początkach naszego stulecia ( ), Warszawa 1875, W. Łoziński: Życie polskie w dawnych wiekach, Kraków 1978, M. Lipińska, Kobieta i rozwój nauk lekarskich, Warszawa Ł. Gołębiowski, Domy i dwory... Warszawa 1830, Potrzeba apteczek domowych, Gwiazada 1869, nr 3, s Wielka Encyklopedia Powszechna Ilustrowana, Warszawa T. III s. 494, too Z. Gloger: Encyklopedia staropolska ilustrowana, Warszawa (repr. 1985, t. I s.57-58, por. t.iii s.319).
2 Acta - Congressus Historiae Pharmaciae 2001 The 19 th century household medicine was mostly based on agelong experiences of folk medicine and on the late medieval knowledge. The significant progress in household medicine in Poland took place in 17 th century, as a consequence of development of printing technology. The first printed medical forms as herbals, medical handbooks appeared in the manors. With time almanacs and women magazines became also a source of pharmaceutical information 4. The most precious information about remedies were recorded in handwritten manor ledgers, so called silva rerum 5 today one of the most valuable source of information on contents and usage of manor medicine chests. Pharmaceutical recipes from silva rerum were mostly used by pharmacy maidens 6 ( panny apteczkowe ) women taking care of preparation of the household medicaments and of care over the sick in Polish gentry manor. The pharmacy maidens were normally residents poor relatives of manor owner. They took care of all manor inhabitants, workers, peasants and numerous guests. The peculiarities of Polish manors described above were quite unique. One of very popular books in 19 th century a French handbook by Aglae Adanson entitled Country Manor 7 during translation to Polish language done by Karolina Nakwaska had to be partly rewritten mainly because of the differences in duties of healthcare of Polish and French manors. The book strongly underlined the differences in contents of medicine chests between these two countries. The handwritten diary of Tretterówna 8 ( ) is an example of extremely interesting and unique document of the period. The essence of the diary testifies the exceptional role and position of 4 S. Syreniusz, Zielnik..., Kraków 1613, J.K. Haur, Ziemiańska generalna oekonomia, Kraków 1679, B. Bieńkowska, Staropolski świat książki, Wrocław 1976, J.Tazbir, Kultura szlachecka w Polsce, Warszawa J.Partyka, Rękopisy dworu szlacheckiego. Warszawa 1995 oraz J. Partyka, Szlachecka silva rerum jako źródło do badań etnograficznych, Etnografia Polska, XXXII, 1988, 2, p I.Arabas, Panny apteczkowee rola dworu szlacheckiego w kształtowaniu świadomości terapeutycznej na polskiej wsi, s.85. Pod patronatem Hygiei... red. I.Arabas, Warszawa O potrzebie wyższego wykształcenia naukowego dla kobiet..., Gwiazda 1869, p.3-7, 11-13, 22-23,29-31, 37-38, 45-47, 61, Aglae Adanson, Dwór wiejski, dzieło poświecone gospodyniom polskim, przydatne i osobom w miescie mieszkającym, z wielu dodatkami i zupełnem zastosowaniem do naszych o- byczajów i potrzeb. Poznań 1843, K.Nakwaska, Dwór wiejski dzieło poświęcone gospodyniom polskim przydatne i osobom w mieście mieszkającym, T.I, Lipsk Pamiętnik Celiny Treterówny ( ). Bibl.Nar.II 6441.
3 Iwona Arabas women having a basic pharmaceutical knowledge and being able to help people. The diary contains tens of recipes for popular homemade medicaments and directions for use of them. Popular 19 th century publications had still been propagating mainly purgatives and emetics. Still popular blood-letting, using cupping-glass and leeches was the subject of warnings contained in the books of doctors as Sochacki 9 and Raspail 10. In 1888 in Warsaw Dr. Sochacki published a manual entitled Medicine chest for country manor and people living in the country ( Apteczka dla dworu wiejskiego i osób na wsi zamieszkałych ). What had inclined the doctor to propagate, in fact already depreciated, self-therapeutics in the country? The answer for this question was already given in the preface- it was the tragic wholesome state of Polish countryside. At that time it was obvious for educated people that medical care should be conducted by professional doctors and pharmacists. However, sanitary condition of Polish countryside was not alike to rapid change. The author hoped the manual would help to develop therapeutic services given by polish manors, which were said to spent a lot of money for not properly chosen and used remedies. Well equipped manor medicine chests and basic medical training of gentry women in this situation could decide on life of sick people in the countryside. Sochacki proposed pharmacists to offer special help in preparation of medicine chests and reduced prices for medicaments bought as a supply for a medical chest. A medicine chest together with adequate professional assistance could help manors in serving better healthcare. Possession of medicine stores at manors and the custom of extending medical assistance at the Polish manor-houses was so deeply rooted in custom that already since 1844 legal regulations were being introduced that referred to the principles of operation of these institutions. Succeeding law regulations come from 1920 and studying them it is easy to find that after 76 years there were not so many changes made to the assortment of medicines dedicated to manor medicine chests 11. Among 26 remedies listed in 1844 and 38 from 1920 only 8 9 A.Sochacki, Apteczka dla dworu wiejskiego i osób na wsi zamieszkałych, Warszawa F.V. Raspail, Domowy lekarz i domowa aptekarz, Warszawa J.Podbielski: Zbiór ustaw i rozporządzeń. Warszawa s i
4 Acta - Congressus Historiae Pharmaciae 2001 were identical: Alumen pulveratum, Camphore, Chininum, Emplastrum adhesivum, Folia sennae, Magnesia sulfurica, Radix rhei pulv., Tinctura Valerianae. In a recommended medicine chest from 1844 worth mentioning is large number of purgatives and emplastrums. The set contained also Pulvis Doveri (containing opium) a kind of panaceum. In 1920 purgatives were also the most numerous group of remedies. One of innovations introduced in 1920 was including a large number of disinfectants in the official list. Decree from 1844 Decree from 1920 Acidum boricum Acidum carbolicum Acidum tannicum Acetum saturninum. Extractum saturni Alumen depuratum pulveratum Borax pulveratus Camphora Chininum sulphuricum Emplastrum Cantharidum ordinarium Emplastrum Lithargyri compositum Emplastrum Lith: cum Resina pini Folia Sennae Alumen pulveratum Ammonium causticum solutum Aqua sedativa Raspailli Aqua calcis Aspirinum Bismutum subnitricum Camphora Chininum muriaticum Elixir regis Daniae Emplastrum adhesivum ext. Emplastrum plumbi comp. Foliculi sennae Kalium chloricum Kalium hypermanganicum Linimentum saponato-camphor. Liquor aluminii acetici
5 Kali nitricum depuratum pulveratum Liquor Amonii caustii Magnesia carbonica Magnesia sulphurica Manna Calabrina Mixtura sulphurico acida Pulvis Ipecacuanhae opiatus (pulvis Doveri) Pulvis pro Infantibus Pulveres purgantes Pulvis emeticus Radix Ipecacuanhae Radix Rhei pulveratus Radix Salep pulveratus Spiritus sulphurico-aethereus Tartarus depuratus pulveratus Tinctura Cinnamoni Tinctura Valerianae Iwona Arabas Liquor plumbi subacetici Lycopodium Magnesia sulfurica Natrium bicarbonicum Oleum camphoratum Oleum jecoris Oleum ricini Pulvis magnesiae cum rheo Pulvis liquiritiae compos. Radix Althacae Radix rhei pulv. Sal.carolineses fact. Solutio argenti nitrici 2% Spiritus camphoratus Tinctura jodi Tinctura menthae piperitae Tinctura valeriane aethereae Ung.acidi borici Ung. xeroformi * Spelling of all names mentioned in the table is original. Polish noble women usually lent a hand to peasants. In a very superstitious and underdeveloped society they were the only persons
6 Acta - Congressus Historiae Pharmaciae 2001 trying to implement hygienic principles and give a first aid. They played a great role especially in times of epidemic and in birth assistance. Probably the situation seen in Poland in 19 th century was unique in the Europe. The manors were the only source for medical and pharmaceutical services for polish countryside, additionally the level of healthcare was in huge majority dependant on knowledge of gentry women.