Necklace of woody nightshade stalks, amulet to protect against teething problems, Lovett collection, from Coventry, English, 1901-1913
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).