Research topic: Folk medicine
Folk medicine is a research area within the field of cultural history that covers subjects including the study of treatment methods and the people providing them, as well as concepts and mind-sets relating to disease, the causes of disease and treatment.
Folk medicine is traditionally used as a term to describe healing skills that are associated with folk methods and that do not form part of formal medical training. This distinction is, however, primarily an academic construction and tells us little about the reality of everyday medicine as we are able to study it in a historical context.
In Norway we have a range of written sources that in various ways describe how people treated diseases in earlier periods. Descriptions of journeys, medicinal reports, decrees and laws, as well as books of black magic, are all examples of important sources for the study of diseases, treatments and therapists from the time following the Reformation. By studying "black books" (books of witchcraft), for example, we can learn how diseases and treatments in Norway in the 17th and 18th centuries were closely linked to religious belief, ideas about supernatural forces, magic and enchantment, as well as the use of a range of different Herbs.