Yummy Mummy!


Mummy British Museum 600 apr 12.jpg
Yummy Mummy! 

Mummy, or rather the preserved flesh of dead people, was once seen as the panacea for all ills. Indeed, European noblemen used to carry pouches of mummy powder with them wherever they went.

Even Shakespeare acknowledged this practice in his play 'Othello', remarking that the main character carried a handkerchief "dyed in mummy, which the skillful/conserved of maidens' hearts."

Mummy could still be obtained from apothecaries throughout most of the 18th century. Originally, the source of this human cure-all was meant to be only the finest Egyptian flesh, but over time any corpse would do, animal and bird included.

However, there appears to be have been some misunderstanding regarding the medicinal qualities of the mummy that can be traced back to Ancient times.

Apparently the Persians extracted a black, bituminous substance called 'mumia' from a local mountain because it was purported to have strong healing powers.

The Greeks, however, wrongly thought that the Egyptians also used 'mumia' for embalming, and thus the preserved remains of Egyptian bodies became known as "mummies".

Recipes for mummy medicine abound. Here's a typically gruesome one from the 17th century Germany:

"Take the fresh corpse of a red [haired], uninjured, unblemished man, 24 years old and killed no more than one day before, preferably by hanging, breaking on the wheel or impaling Leave it one day and one night in the light of the moon, then cut into shreds or rough strips. Sprinkle on a little powder of myrrh and aloes, to prevent it from being too bitter."

This is a picture file from the Wikimedia Commons http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mummy_at_British_Museum.jpg
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