The vast majority of people know very little about medicine or healthcare other than a little basic understanding, meaning that we usually have to put a lot of trust in doctors and other medical professionals. Their treatment suggestions and advice is followed even if the medicine they suggest might seem strange or even contradictory, simply because it’s hard for the public to question their methods. Even bearing that in mind though, it is difficult to understand why anyone would use these so-called medicines to treat themselves on the advice of a doctor.
It is now understood exactly how dangerous mercury is to human health but before the 1940s, many different treatments and medicines involved liberal use of the heavy metal. For thousands of years it was used with the aim of helping people with diseases and skin conditions, though it often caused more damage than it fixed, leading to teeth loss, organ failure and even death in many instances.
Before the dangers of nicotine and tobacco were fully understood, cigarettes were often used to ease sore throats, coughs, headaches and even fight infectious diseases. Most of the theories about it health benefits revolved around the smoke somehow killing off bacteria and preventing disease.