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Vesalius. 2014 Winter;20(2):89-94.

Did Jews avoid using products made of pigs as medical materials? "And the swine ... it is unclean unto you" (Deut. 14 : 8).


Medical and halakhic literature in medieval and modern times teach us that healing by porcine produce was used quite extensively. Medical materials made of pig were mentioned in Jewish manuscripts in Christian and Islamic territories. We assume that, in fact, they were in wider usage in Europe, where the pig was common. Much of the permitted uses seem to involve external application and there was little ingestion orally unless there were compelling reasons. The Jewish medical literature mentions many treatments using pig products, such as: the fat for skin diseases, diaphoresis; bile for gynecologic problems; dung to stop bleeding in circumcision and drinking urine for kidney stones.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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