Triple hazelnut amulet, England, 1901-1916
The growing influence of biomedicine in the 1800s did not necessarily replace established forms of treatment based on belief and superstition. What could be referred to as folk medicine – customs that often went back generations – continued to be practised. For example, unusual triple and double hazelnuts were carried in the pocket as a cure for toothache. The hazelnut looks like a row of teeth and it was hoped that the pain of toothache would be transferred to the nut. The triple hazelnut was a gift to the Wellcome collections in 1916 from Edward Lovett (1852-1933), a collector of British amulets and charms. It is pictured here with four other amulets against toothache: two large animal teeth (A132477 and A132541) and two stones (A132503 and A132474).
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Pain in a tooth or in the teeth
Small object or piece of jewellery worn as a protecting charm to ward off ill health and bad luck.
The name given to the medical practice that is based on the sciences of the body, such as physiology (the functioning of the body).