The most detailed book on scrofula and the royal touch published during the early modern period was the lavishly titled Adenochoiradelogia, or an atomick-chirurgical treatise of glandules & strumas or, Kings-evil-swellings: together with the royal gift of healing. Scrofula was known as the king’s evil: ‘evil’ means malady and it was the king’s because, it was believed, his physical touch could cure it. Adenochoiradelogia is a Greek neologism meaning ‘the healing of glands’. Written in English and published in London in 1684, the book’s author was John Browne, surgeon-in-ordinary to Charles II. Browne was a competent naval surgeon who had worked at St Thomas’ Hospital, where he became the first medical practitioner to describe cirrhosis of the liver.
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