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    16 Things People Did To Their Bodies In The Past That Are As Terrifying As They Are Gross

    Who knew urine was such a holy grail product?!

    1. Ancient Romans wiped their butts using a sponge on a stick, which doesn't sound awful, apart from the fact that the stick was communal.

    BBC

    The tersorium was essentially a sea sponge attached to a wooden stick, and users would dip it in a bucket of vinegar to "sterilise" it for the next person.

    2. But those that couldn't afford luxury sponge sticks had to make do wiping with pieces of discarded pottery.

    BBC

    Shards of broken wine and oil pots were the go-to for your average poor Roman. You'll be pleased to hear that archaeologists have reported that these pieces were often re-cut to make them smoother on the bum.

    3. In the late 1700s, the chainsaw was invented as a more efficient way to to cut the pelvic bone during childbirth – a common practice at the time.

    Fox

    Before the caesarian was introduced, babies had to pass through the pelvis to be born. So, when the pelvis was too narrow that meant bones had to be cut in a process called symphysiotomy. The invention of the chainsaw in 1780 actually improved this ordeal – before then, the bones were cut with a small knife in a long and painful procedure.

    4. A popular hair dye recipe in ancient Rome was a combination of leeches and vinegar left to pickle for 40 days.

    Syndication

    If that doesn't sound unpleasant enough, because the mixture was pickled in a leaden vessel, it also came with a risk of poisoning.

    5. In Georgian England, women would trap and skin mice, and then glue their fur to their faces in place of shaven off eyebrows.

    BBC

    This practice was done the name of fashion, and while there's little written about it in history books, many poems from the 1700s reference mouse-catching.

    6. And in Ancient Egypt, a common cure for toothache was a freshly killed dead mouse applied directly to the mouth.

    BBC

    In Ancient Egypt, mice were considered 'Givers of Life,' and were used to help with all kinds of ailments. When it came to toothache, a live mouse would be cut, and half of its still-warm body would be placed onto the patient's gums.

    7. In the 18th century, lancing – cutting the gums of a baby to bypass teething – was a common practice in Europe, as it was believed that it was safer than teething.

    Fox

    Many doctors believed that teething was responsible for seizures, diarrhoea, and other illnesses that infants at the time were dying from. The procedure, which involved cutting the baby's gums down to the teeth, was very popular until as late as the 19th century, and was also practised in the States.

    8. And to help ward off sexually transmitted diseases in Ancient Rome and Greece, condoms made from the bladder and intestines of animals were the go-to.

    CBC

    This method was also inadvertently a method of birth control, and some historians have theorised that some condoms were made from the innards of slain enemies, but no hard evidence for that has been found.

    9. And in a number of pre-historic cultures all over the world, drilling holes directly into the skull of a live person was a practice thought to be a treatment for head injuries.

    Warner Archive / Via giphy.com

    Archaeologists have found a number of skulls that have evidence of this procedure which is called trepanation, but scientists don't completely agree on exactly why it was performed. While findings indicate that some cultures used trepanation to treat pain, many researchers believe that it may have also been part of spiritual rituals.

    10. Europeans in the 16th and 17th would ingest remedies that contained human blood, fat, and bones, often sourced from Egyptian tombs and Irish burial grounds.

    Disney

    These gruesome remedies were believed to solve a huge range of ailments, from nosebleeds to headaches, and they were really popular – King Charles II even had his own personal tincture which contained powdered human skull in alcohol.

    11. And up until the sixth century, in the Roman Republic, drinking gladiator blood was believed to be a cure for epilepsy.

    BBC

    Several medical authors from the time reported that consuming the blood or liver from a fallen gladiator (which was believed to have sacred properties) had healing powers. When gladiatorial combat was outlawed, the blood of people who had been executed became the go-to.

    12. Up until the early 1900s, chloroform and smoking were both recommended as treatments for asthma.

    Warner Bros. Pictures

    Chloroform – a toxic solvent, and smoking – famously not great for the lungs, were both tried, tested, and pushed by doctors. These risky remedies were popular in Europe, Canada, and The State – chloroform was still a treatment being advised by doctors in as recent as 1910.

    13. Long before the days of whitening mouthwash, ancient Romans kept their teeth pearly by gargling with urine.

    HBO

    And if you're wondering if they were gargling their own urine, the answer is probably not. Families had specific chamber pots for saving their wee, and there were even traders who collected it from public urinals and had to pay a special tax on it.

    14. Urine was also a key ingredient for clothes washing back in medieval times.

    CBS

    When left to become ammonia, urine has strong cleansing properties (and a very strong smell). Back in the day, workers would mix said ammonia with water, pour it onto their dirty laundry, and then step on it (barefoot, might I add) until they reached their desired cleanliness.

    15. When it came to birth control, crocodile dung was the key ingredient for contraception in Ancient Egypt – it was mixed with sour milk or honey and inserted into the vagina before sex.

    WWE / Via giphy.com

    It was believed that the paste formed from these combinations created an acidic environment, working as a spermicide. Although stats on how well this recipe worked are tough to find, it's likely it was somewhat effective, as a similar method was used in ancient India (using elephant dung, instead).

    16. And finally, in early 20th century America, douching with Lysol – the cleaning product that contains a bunch of toxic chemicals – was recommended as a method of birth control.

    Comedy Central

    For married couples in the states, birth control was illegal until 1965 (and 1972 for singletons). Advertised as a "feminine hygiene" product, Lysol was the best-selling "contraception" during the Great Depression, despite the fact that many people died from using it.

    Which one shocked you the most? Tell us in the comments!

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