The surgeon’s chest found on the Mary Rose contained the largest collection of Tudor medical supplies. This includes many medicines, still in their original containers
Nine of the wooden containers in the chest contained ointments. Some of them may have been used to prepare dressings. We also found spatulas, which might have been used to apply the ointments, either to the patient or to bandages.
A wooden container full of peppercorns was also found in the chest, these could have been used as a medicine to help a patient expel wind. Many Tudor medicines were made from herbs and spices, some of which are still used today. The surgeon would have books full of herbal remedies.
Some treatments were worse than others. Some diseases were treated by injecting the sufferer with a poisonous liquid metal called mercury. Not only did the treatment not work, mercury makes you go mad! Some of the mercury, and a syringe for this job, was found on the Mary Rose.