Doctors aren't always right. In fact, sometimes medical advice given to patients really stinks -- in more ways than one.
Consider, for example, a period in medical history back in the 17th century when doctors actually recommended sick patients store their farts in a jar.
No joke. The prescription for better health included farting into a jar and sniffing your brand when you were feeling feeble, according to David Haviland, author of the new weird medical trivia book, "Why You Should Store Your Farts in a Jar & Other Oddball or Gross Maladies, Afflictions, Remedies and 'Cures.'"
To be more precise, Haviland told AOL News that the smelly suggestion was part of doctors' orders in Britain during the Great Plague of London in 1665.
The disease -- which stemmed from the widespread Black Death plague that invaded Europe centuries earlier -- caused civilians to drop like flies, and, apparently, some serious delusion in doctors.
"Knowledge of medicine was very, very limited back then. It was believed that the plague was caused by deadly vapors in the air so many doctors thought it could, in turn, be cured by bodily vapors," explained Haviland.
"They figured an equally foul vapor, like a fart, could combat the disease, so they suggested patients store their farts in a jar. This way, when the plague appeared in their neighborhood, they could open the jar and inhale the fumes to ward off the bad vapors that came with the disease. It made sense to them."
Sounds like doctors were trying to fight fire with fire -- only their method stunk.
Of course, Haviland said that particular medical malpractice eventually ran out of gas, but doctors haven't stopped giving weird prescriptions to the ailing.
Here are a few other curious cases from the medical world:
Goat Testicle Transplants for the Impotent
Long before Viagra there were goat testicles, and a quack named John R. Brinkley, who started calling himself a "doctor" after buying a medical degree from a diploma mill. In 1918, Brinkley famously began claiming that goat testicles would improve a man's libido and virility if inserted into the human scrotum. Before long he began performing the weird, expensive goat gonad surgeries, which he promised would cure impotency in the bedroom.
His testicle transplants made him incredibly wealthy, but the famous fraud eventually lost his medical license.
"Brinkley's testicle surgery definitely qualifies as a medical oddity," said Haviland. "While researching his career, I found out that he'd go out and personally pick the goats for the transplants -- as if he really knew which goat had the best pair for his pretend cure. Brinkley was a strange character."
Powder of Sympathy
Haviland said that in the 17th century, some folks swore by a wacky potion called the Powder of Sympathy, which supposedly healed the injured. Haviland said the alleged remedy -- popular in occult medicine -- contained all sorts of odd ingredients, including earthworms, pig's bones, iron oxides and powdered mummy.
"Instead of applying the mixture to their wound, people would apply it to whatever weapon caused their wound, thinking it would help them heal faster. A lot of doctors used the Powder of Sympathy to treat soldiers that were injured in battle," he explained.
King George V's Death
After sifting through endless history books and medical journals, Haviland said he was most surprised to learn how King George V really died in 1936. Though it was initially reported that the royal leader died of natural causes, the truth is, the King died at the hands of his own doctor, Lord Dawson of Penn.
"King George V was essentially murdered by his own doctor, who administered two lethal injections of morphine and cocaine while he was on his deathbed. This was done so that his death could be reported in time for the print deadline of 'The Times' newspaper the next morning," said Haviland.
Dying to meet a deadline? You don't say.
Boxers Drink Their Own Urine
Some people drink water when they're thirsty, others drink their own urine. According to Haviland, this strange health practice is common among boxers and those involved in martial arts. Since the athletes are always looking for ways to add more nutrients to their diet, drinking their own pee seems logical.
"They figure that this way, they get the nutrients from their food twice," explained Haviland. "Boxers drink their own urine for extra stamina."
Ever heard of Gatorade, boys? There's a yellow Lemon-Lime flavor that might taste a little better than your own pee.
There you have it. Medicine is weird.
If we've learned anything today, it's to ask questions at the doctor's office. And never, ever accept a testicle transplant from a guy holding a pair of goat gonads in one hand and a suspicious-looking degree in the other.
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