I have been reading a lot about medieval royalty and also about medieval women as healers. Women had day to day experiences of life (childbirth) and death. It was usually the women who fed the household and took care of the sick. Knowledge of herbal cures were passed down from mother to daughter and are some are still used now. Sometimes these women who used these cures were considered witches. Later on some schools in Spain for physicians educated women. There is a very good book by Barbara Tuchman called A DISTANT MIRROR that tells of medieval France and England. Geraldine Brooks has written some very good books about the plague years.