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Coil of dried eel skin, United Kingdom, 1880-1930

The growing influence of biomedicine in the 1800s did not necessarily replace established forms of treatment based on belief and superstition. What could be referred to as folk medicine – customs that often went back generations – continued to be practised. For example, eel skins wrapped around the finger to ward off cramp were a Scottish medical tradition. The eel had first to be killed, skinned …