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Domestic Medicine

Most medical care took place in the home. Family members or neighbours were the first port of call for the sick, and healing was often seen as part of women’s work.

Many of the remedies and techniques used in domestic medicine were the same as those used by doctors. Knowledge passed back and forth between lay and professional people in prescriptions, medical books, letters and advice.


Commercial Medicine

There were large numbers of people making all or part of their living as medical practitioners in early-modern England. Those who specialised in making medicines — what we would call pharmacists today — were known as apothecaries, and later as druggists. Many of them also acted as general practitioners, treating the sick.

Many other medical practitioners also made and sold medicines, from members of the College of Physicians, a highly educated, small group of physicians in London, to poor unlicensed healers.