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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, some believed that if a double or single row of woody nightshade stalks threaded on string were placed around a child’s neck it might protect against teething problems. The necklace was changed every other day. This one 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 other teething amulets: a piece of flint (A132464), a piece of turf (A132465) and a calf’s tooth (A665423).

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    Glossary: necklace

    Ornaments worn around the neck, usually in the form of chains or strands of beads, pearls, stones, or the like, and often including a suspended ornamental pendant. Use "chokers" for short, narrow necklaces worn close to the throat. Use "dog collars (necklaces)" for wide ornamental bands worn tightly around the neck.

    Glossary: teething

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    Glossary: amulet

    Small object or piece of jewellery worn as a protecting charm to ward off ill health and bad luck.