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Author Topic: Were medieval people less smelly?  (Read 5869 times)

Offline thedoc

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Were medieval people less smelly?
« on: 19/01/2010 19:04:08 »
When comparing medieval times to present day, the lack of hygiene back then seems pretty offensive.  Were people then just not as smelly as we are today?  In other words, does the processing additives, antibiotics and hormones in the food that we have today for instance affect our body odour?
Asked by Sara, Germany

               
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« Last Edit: 19/01/2010 19:04:08 by _system »


 

Offline Geezer

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Were medieval people less smelly?
« Reply #1 on: 09/01/2010 17:45:52 »
I don't think they were - probably much worse in fact. The people of those times wore, or carried, "nosegays" or "posies" made from fragrant flowers and herbs. These could be held up to the nose to mask the 'orrible pongs of the time.
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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Were medieval people less smelly?
« Reply #2 on: 09/01/2010 22:07:20 »
I don't think they were either - most likely much worse.
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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Were medieval people less smelly?
« Reply #3 on: 09/01/2010 22:10:19 »
Does the processing, additives, antibiotics and hormones in food today affect our body odour?
Odor originating from Medications
All medications have side effects, but these in particular affect the patient body odor.

a. Excessive Sweating
Overdoses of analgesics such as aspirin and acetaminophen, some anti psychotic medications used to treat mental disorders, morphine, drugs to reduce fever, and excess doses of the thyroid hormone thyroxine can cause excessive sweating in the body. Offensive bacteria proliferate in perspiration.

b. Dehydration
Antihistamines/decongestants, antidepressant, anticholinergic (blocks the effects of a neurotransmitter), anorexiants (diet pills), antihypersentives (blood pressure control), anti-Parkinson agent, some antipsychotics, some birth control pills, bronchodilators (ashtma), diuretics (water pill), and sedative (sleeping pills) have dehydration as a side-effect. Dry mouth means less saliva. Less saliva means more sulphur-producing bacteria.

c. Candidiasis
Antibiotics, antineoplastic drugs (anticancer) and corticosteroids (asthma) promote candidiasis.

d. Hairy Tongue
Phenothiazines (one of a group of tranquilizing drugs) cause hairy tongue in some patients, providing an ideal environment for the aggregation of food particles and bacteria.

e. Halitosis
The cysteamine bitartrate has been used to treat cystinosis. Treatment with cysteamine bitartrate can delay or prevent kidney transplant in cystinosis patients. In current available form, however, cysteamine bitartrate poses unpleasant side effects: It smells and tastes like rotten eggs, consequently the patient may present halitosis and body odor. Levocarnitine treats carnithine deficiency. Common side effect: Bad taste in mouth; diarrhea; mild muscle weakness; nausea; stomach cramps; unpleasant body odor; vomiting.
 
http://bodyodor777.com/causes_medications.html
 

Offline EatsRainbows

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Were medieval people less smelly?
« Reply #4 on: 10/01/2010 08:22:12 »
I had a friend in my teens that started taking a medication for his VERY bad acne. Acne disappeared but his perspiration was REALLY unpleasant... side effect of the drug... not sure what it was.
 

Online Bored chemist

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Were medieval people less smelly?
« Reply #5 on: 10/01/2010 13:54:35 »
While it's true that, in relatively rare cases, medication gives rise to body odour, I think it's fair to assume that not washing would have given rise to body odour in practically every case. The collective odour from them must have been a whole lot more pongy than it is now.
 

Offline thedoc

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« Last Edit: 19/01/2010 19:04:09 by _system »
 

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Were medieval people less smelly?
« Reply #6 on: 19/01/2010 19:04:09 »

 

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