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Table 2 Contact, signs, formulas and rituals used on certain days of the year to cure disease

From: From Disease to Holiness: Religious-based health remedies of Italian folk medicine (XIX-XX century)

Diseases Contact Signs Formulas Days
Certain infectious and parasitic diseases     
Tuberculosis Adenitis   Making crosses using a holy gold ring [30].   
Anthrax    Reciting a formula related to Holy Trinity [37].  
Erysipelas   Making a cross using a metal with the symbol of Solomon engraved on it; making crosses with a gold object, a wedding ring or a silver object [24, 30, 99]. Drawing the sign of Solomon on the thumb [36]. Making three crosses using the fingers [89, 100]. Apply on the part a sheet of paper with a drawing of a circle, four crosses and holy words; applying on the body tracing paper on which is drawned a cross [28]. Reciting a formula rubbing a wool cloth or the feather of a black hen dipped in oil on the part; reciting a formula wetting the part with breast milk and touching it with the point of a scythe; reciting a formula making a cross with a silver coin [38]. Reciting a formula applying leaves of elder in the form of a cross [90]. Reciting a formula related to Mary, God, Saint Nunziata, Saint Croce, Saint Nicola; reciting a formula rubbing a silver coin on the part [55]. Making crosses with the left thumb reciting a formula [89]. Reciting a formula miming nine crosses on the body using a knife [24]. Making crosses with a gold object reciting a formula [32, 45, 64].  
Fevers Scrape and eat the dust of the church walls or wearing the ground collected close to the Chapel of Madonna del Latte (Abruzzo) [24, 30].   Reciting a formula resting the hands on the forehead [38]. Using coal found during the day of Saint Lorenzo [65]. Drinking an egg at Easter that was produced on Good Friday [30].
Helminthiasis Hang around the neck a small sack containing different objects including blessed olive leaves [24]. Making crosses on the stomach [28, 49, 62]. Reciting a formula related to Holy Trinity, Mary, Jesus, Saint Cosma, Saint Damiano, Saint Elia, Saint Giobbe, Saint Giuliano, Saint Biagio, Saint Martino, Saint Rosalia, Saint Oronzo, Saint John and Holy Week [24, 28, 40, 52, 55, 89, 90, 98, 101104]. Reciting a formula shaking the child upside down; Reciting a formula making the patient drink barley water and wetting the mouth with honey; reciting a formula making three times the sign of the cross and massaging with ointment [90]. Reciting a formula massaging the lower stomach [38, 93]. Draw crosses on the umbilicus reciting a formula [56]. Reciting a formula miming the pulling out of worms from the stomach [40]. Rolling the child on the ground on Easter Saturday [31]. Using garlic or wild mint picked on the day of Saint John [23, 30, 45]. Using gentian picked on the day of Holy Cross [60].
Herpes   Applying on the part, nine times, four little leaves of blackberry bush in the form of the cross [100]. Reciting a formula related Saint Antony [28]. Making the sign of the cross using a gold ring and reciting a formula [30].  
Leprosy     Rolling in the meadows during the night of Saint John [59].
Malaria Drink water of the church of San Mercurio (Sicily); apply a handkerchief that was kept open during the prayer of the Salvatore [28]. Making three crosses using an axe [24, 37]. Miming the sign of cross on the spleen [30, 37]. Apply on the spleen two strips of blu paper in the form of a cross; apply the stalks of a plant called “pastorella” in the form of a cross [24]. Making crosses on the lower stomach [28]. Reciting a formula related Saint Margherita [24]. Drink wine with coal that was found during the day of Saint Lorenzo [28, 65]. Begging for food in three or nine houses during the Christmas night [36, 88].
Mumps   Draw on the
part using a feather the sign of Solomon [23, 24, 51, 52]. The sign of Solomon was traced on two hot bricks which are applied to the body [27, 28, 51, 55]. Miming the cross with the thumbs, an axe or using a gold ring [24, 36]. Writing the initials of holy words [24, 37]. The seventh-born of seven sisters made a serious of crosses after putting her thumb in her mouth [47]. On the part of the body you make three crosses using the left hand holding a ladle [55].
  
Pediculosis    Reciting a formula related Holy Week and Ascension [28].  
Rabies Carrying a splinter from the door of the church of San Vito Lo Capo (Sicily) [28].   Reciting a formula related to Saint Antonio [55].  
Scabies     Put on the head the dew collected on the day of Saint John [99]. Diving in the sea or rolling naked in the meadows during the night of Saint John [28, 30, 58, 65, 105]. Diving in the sea or rolling in the meadows during the night of the Ascension [28, 55, 65, 86].
Stomatitis    Reciting a formula dragging the tail of a black cat across the mouth [24].  
Tinea    Making a cross on the head with a gold ring reciting a formula [106]. Submerging the head in two fountains during the day of Saint John [28].
Trombiculosis   Miming with a burning coal the sign of Solomon; Miming a sign of cross with a wedding ring [45].   
Tuberculosis    Reciting a formula applying omentum of calf on the lower stomach and on the back [30].  
Warts Enter through the church door in which you’ve never been [46]. Miming on the part a cross using a knife [28]. The seventh-born of seven brothers apply on the part two reeds in the form of a cross; burying two wooden stakes in the form of a cross [23]. Reciting a formula related Jesus and Mary [46]. Reciting a formula tieing warts with six strands of straw which are then thrown into a wall [28]. Rubbing an egg on the part produced on the Ascension Day [36].
Diseases of the blood and blood-forming organs and certain disorders involving the immune mechanism     
Favism   Sign the sufferer with crosses [95].   Drink fave beans that have been polverized and cooked on Easter Thursday [95].
Endocrine, nutritional and metabolic diseases     
Goitre   Making a cross with a wedding ring [30].   Drink an egg produced on Ascension Day [30].
Mental and behavioural disorders     
Fear Drink water in which the medal of Saint Elena and Saint Diego has been immersed [91]. Cutting the hair in the form of the cross [64].   
Madness    Reciting a formula covering the patient with the smoke of incense [28].  
Diseases of the nervous system     
Nervous Ailments     Use lavender or drink the decoction of chamomile collected on the night of Saint John [23, 49, 61].
Epilepsy   Making the cross using the tool used to make woollen balls [37].   Use gentian collected on the day of Holy Cross [60].
Headache Tie a ribbon around the head on the day of Confirmation [30]. Making a cross with the stalk of a plant called “jia petrosa” and put it on the forehead [38]. Put on the head of the patient a bucket of boiling water making crosses on the forehead [24]. Applying on the nape two blessed olive branches in the form of a cross [96]. Reciting a formula related to God, Mary, Saint Joseph, Jesus, Saint Peter, Saint Donato, Saint Silvestro and Saint Flaviano [24, 38, 55, 90]. Reciting a formula putting two black cockerels on the head and on the feet; reciting a formula rubbing the hand on the forehead [38, 101]. Reciting a formula putting a plate of oil on the head; making three crosses while tightening a handkerchief on the head and reciting a formula; reciting a formula making a cross on the head [28]. Put on the head the dew collected on the night of Saint John [23, 24]. Passing over a stream three times on the day of Pentecost [28]. Drink the decoction of bettony collected the night of Saint John; applying the ashes of the first Wednesday of Lent; wearing on the head a crown of flowers on the day of Saint John; wash using the water of seven different springs on Easter Saturday [30]. Passing on the forehead a silver coin wetted with chamomille collected on the night of Saint John [62]. Applying lavender collected on the night of Saint John; drink an egg produced on the Good Friday [23].
Insomnia Drink the water that rises near the church of Vergine di Santa Maria di Gesù [28].    
Diseases of the eye and adnexa     
Eye Ailments Touch the part with a crystal that came into contact with a relic of Saint Lucia [29]. Wash with the water rises near the Chapel of Saint Lucia [30]. Touch the part with stones collected in the grounds close to the Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Rocca [28]. Making a cross using wedding ring [30]. Reciting a formula breathing on the eyes while chewing rute [90]. Reciting a formula spitting on the ground [45]. Reciting a formula related to Saint Lucia, Saint Joseph, Jesus and Mary [24, 38, 55, 97]. Reciting a formula applying on the eye a wedding ring or a silver object and making signs of cross on the part [24]. Reciting a formula applying a little bough of fennel on the eye; reciting a formula passing on the part the eye of the needle or a gold brooch [27]. Washing using the water of polenta cooked on Easter Saturday [46]. Washing with water on Easter Saturday [23, 36].
Catarats    Reciting a formula making signs of cross [56].  
Conjunctivitis    Reciting a formula lowering down eyelid and moving it from right to left [107]. Using water, which has had roses left in it during the night of Ascension [42].
Pterygium    Reciting a formula applying a small branch of fennel or verbain on the eye passing on it a gold ring. Reciting a formula touching the part with a clove of garlic and making three crosses [28].  
Sty   Miming a cross with a white strand passed through a needle [64]. The sign of the cross must be done by the last of seven children [99]. A twin must make with the tongue the sign of the cross on the eye [91]. Miming signs of crosses [100].   Wetting the eye during Easter Saturday [25].
Diseases of the circulatory system     
Epistaxis   Putting two wooden stakes on the nape in the form of the cross [46, 105]. Sign on the forehead the cross using blood from a nosebleed [30]. Putting two stalks in the form of the cross on the head or nape [23, 30, 32, 36, 42, 45]. Sign with a wedding ring the cross on the head [32]. Putting three pieces of straw and three matches in the form of the crosses on the forehead [28, 99]. With the stems of horsetail make a cross on the head [60]. Draw three crosses, one on the forehead and two on the cheeks [23]. Reciting a formula related to God and Jesus [24]  
Gangrene   Sign the part reciting three Ave Maria [94].   
Hemorrhages    Reciting a formula related to Jesus [89].  
Hemorrhoids Spread the grease of a bell [30].    Use the dew collected on the night of Saint John [24].
Diseases of the respiratory system     
Asthma    Reciting a formula massaging the chest [64].  
Cold    Reciting a formula rubbing chamomile oil on the body [38].  
Hiccup   Putting on the back two pieces of straw in the form of the cross [30]. Draw a cross on the Adam’s apple [28].   
Pleurisy    Reciting a formula making a sign of cross [89].  
Pneumonia    Reciting a formula applying leeches to the [38]. Reciting a formula related to Saint Sebastiano [24].  
Rhinitis     Covering the patient with the smoke of pennyroyal collected on the day of Saint Maria Maddalena [28].
Tonsillitis   The sign of Solomon was traced on a heated tile that was applied leaving the sign on the part [108].   
Diseases of the digestive system     
Gingivitis     Use the water left in the open air during the Ascension night [32].
Hepatitis   Drink for seven days an egg after drawing a sign of the cross inside with a coin [37]. Reciting a formula related to Saint Costantino [28].  
Hernia Spread on the part the grease of a bell [36].    On Annunciation or Easter Saturday or Saint John or Holy Cross passing three times the child across a split tree or in a circle created by a branch split in two for the occasion [37, 40, 55, 6366].
Glandular Inflammations Rubbing oil taken from a votive lamp [28, 30]. Making crosses with a wedding ring [30].   
Meteorism    Reciting a formula rubbing oil on the lower stomach [28]. Reciting a formula related to Saint Cosma, Saint Damiano, Saint Lorenzo, Saint Apollonia and Saint Leonardo [24, 28].  
Swelling Mouth    Reciting a formula rubbing a key under the tongue [24].  
Ranula    Reciting a formula putting ash under the tongue [28].  
Stomachache Rubbing oil taken from a votive lamp [30, 31, 46]. Putting on the part the key of the door of Cathedral [97]. Making cross with the thumb [31]. Reciting a formula related to God, Holy Trinity, Mary, Jesus, Saint Peter, Saint Biagio, Saint Giobbe, Saint Martino, Saint Rocco and Holy Week [28, 30, 55, 64, 93, 97, 98, 103, 109]. Reciting a formula rubbing warm oil on the part [24, 55, 109]. Reciting a formula healer walking on the sufferer [28]. Applying on the part a coal found during the day of Saint Lorenzo [49]. Rolling on the ground the day of Easter Saturday [23].
Toothache Attach and ring a bell using the teeth [30, 38]. Making cross with a wedding ring [30]. Reciting a formula touching the tooth with the root of scotch; reciting a formula touching the tooth with a stalk of wheat [93]. Reciting a formula related to Holy Trinity, Mary, Jesus, Saint Peter and Saint Leonardo [38, 93]. Applying a mush of parsley, oak and acacia reciting a formula [36]. Eat three seeds of grapes during the day of Saint John [36].
Diseases of the skin and subcutaneous tissue     
Boils   Drawing with a quill-pen dipped in ink the sign of Solomon [23].   
Acne     Wetting with seawater collected on the night of Saint John [96].
Alopecia     Applying the dew collected on the night of Saint John [23, 24, 30, 36].
Calluses     Stepping barefoot onion on plants during the day of Saint John [30].
Chaps     Applying vinegar used during Christmas dinner [36].
Milk Crust     Wetting the head during Christmas night [58]. Put on the head the dew collected on the night of Saint John [45].
Skin Diseases     Rolling in the meadows during the night of Saint John [31]. Diving in the sea during Christmas night or Ascension night [28, 55].
Skin Eruptions   Drawing the sign of Solomon on the part [46].   Applying the dew collected on the night of Saint John [23, 96].
Hyperhidrosis Putting the hands on the altar of a church [28].    
Impetigo Use priest’s saliva [97].    
Lupus    Reciting a formula related Holy Trinity and Mary [24].  
Maculas     Applying the dew collected on the night of Saint John [45]. Rubbing an egg produced on the Ascension day on the part [36].
Wrinkles     Applying the dew collected on the night of Saint John [23].
Diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue     
Arthritis Rubbing oil taken from a votive lamp [28, 30]. Drawing on the part the sign of Solomon [30, 47]. Reciting a formula bandaging the part with a warm cloth [90]. Applying capon fat used during the Christmas dinner [31]. Use a stone collected on the night of Saint John [96].
Cramps   Miming three signs of crosses on the part [31, 101]. Miming three crosses on the part reciting a formula [28].  
Dislocations   Making crosses on the part [30, 100, 106]. Reciting a formula bandaging the part [89].  
Gout   Drawing on the part the sign of Solomon [47]. Reciting a formula related Jesus, Mary and all the Saints [47].  
Sciatica   Making with oil three signs of crosses on the part [31]. Reciting a formula related to Mary, Saint Sisto and Saint Silvestro [96]. Reciting a formula rubbing hard on the part [24].  
Sprains   Making crosses rubbing oil on the part [28]. Reciting a formula rubbing oil on the part [28]. Reciting a formula related to God, Holy Trinity, Mary, Saint Joseph and Saint John [24].  
Diseases of the genitourinary system     
Uterus Ailments     Use the decoction of chamomile collected on the night of Saint John [30]. Use gentian collected on the day of Holy Cross [60].
Renal Colics Rubbing a stone placed close to the church of Saint Getullio on the back; rubbing the sides on the columns of a church [24]. Rubbing the sides on the walls of a church [38]. Keep in the hand nine walnuts that come from a crib [28]. Making three crosses touching with feet the loins of the sufferer [30]. Reciting a formula while healer sitting astride sufferer [24, 32, 94, 96]. Reciting a formula related to Beato Salvatore [98].  
Impotence     Urinating on a plant of rosemary during the night of Saint John [23].
Infertility     Applying the decoction of various herbs collected on the night of Saint John [30].
To regularize Menstruations     Use lavender collected on the night of Saint John [23].
Metrorrhagia   Put on the lower stomach small pieces of straw in the form of a cross or drawing crosses with ink or soot [23]. Reciting a formula related to Saint Marta [23].  
Wombache    Reciting a formula related to the Holy Trinity and Saint Cipriano [89, 93].  
Pregnancy, childbirth and the puerperium     
Abortus Wearing a glass that came from a church lamp [37].   Reciting a formula related to God [98].  
To favour Birth Attach and ring a bell using the teeth [52]. Apply on the head a handkerchief that was kept open upon a Mary’s altar [30].   Reciting a formula lighting a candle during Candlemas day [38].  
Colics of Infants    Reciting a formula related to Jesus, Saint Cosma and Saint Damiano [28].  
To eliminate Maternal Milk   Put on the breasts leaves of parsley in the form of a cross [99].   
To favour the secretion of Maternal Milk Eat the left-overs from table of Capuchins [24, 32]. Wearing the ground collected close to the Chapel of Madonna del Latte [30]. Eat the left-overs from table of Franciscans; wearing chick-peas donated by a priest; drink the water that rises near the churchs of Saint Scolastica, Saint Agata or near the monastery of Franciscans; [24]. Miming three crosses on the shoulders [28]. Reciting a formula related to Saint Agata [24].  
Injury, poisoning and certain other consequences of external causes     
Insect Bites   Making crosses with the thumb [110]. Reciting a formula applying a knife on the part [28].  
Venomous Bites    Reciting a formula related to God. Jesus and all the Saints [24, 55].  
Foreign Body in Eyes    Reciting a formula closing the eyes [105].  
Foreign Bodies in Respiratory Tracts     Eat a piece of bread used during Christmas lunch or offered during the day of Saint Biagio [30].
Burns    Reciting a formula drawing a circle on the part [24]. Reciting a formula related to Mary [24, 55].  
Contusions   Miming a sign of cross using a wedding ring or a piece of a plate [28, 46].   Applying butter, pork fat, oil or remains of candle used during Christmas dinner [36].
Fractures     Applying the sticks of cork oak collected on the day of Saint John [111].
Wounds Drop on the part oil drips previously dropped on a blessed olive leaf [99]. Miming three crosses on the part [38]. Reciting a formula rubbing a cloth dipped in oil and soot on the part [28, 38]. Reciting a formula making with the thumb a sign of cross [89]. Reciting a formula attaching a strand on the part [109]. Reciting a formula related to Jesus, Mary and Saint Lazzaro [24]. Applying butter, oil or pork fat used during Christmas dinner [36]. Use the dew or the lavender collected on the night of Saint John [23, 25]. Rubbing elm’s oil or Saint John’s wort’s oil collected on the day of Saint John [28, 29]. Using oil, which, has had lizards and scorpions left in it and captured during the Ascension day [99]. Use blackberry bush’s oil collected on the day of Ascension day [95].
External causes of morbidity and mortality     
Falls     Drink an egg during Ascension day [30].
Miscellanea     
All Diseases Rubbing oil taken from a votive lamp [24, 32].   Reciting a formula related to Jesus and Mary [90]. Use water collected from a public fountain during the Christmas night [97]. Diving in the sea during Ascension day [55, 92]. Using water, which, has had roses left in it during the night of Ascension [55].
Children Diseases Rubbing oil taken from a votive lamp [46].    
Pains     Use garlic collected on the day of Saint John [59]
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