Patients accepted bitter medicine, not just because of firm conviction on behalf of the physician, but because of belief systems enmeshed into the fabric of our society.
The notion of mortal suffering as a manifestation of the wrath of God(s) has been prevalent in cultures around the world, since well before Victorian principles embraced the concept of “original sin”.
The worse a pill tasted or the more endurance a cure required, the better the chance that it may do some good.
After all, the patient had brought it on themselves … they had it coming! There remains even to this day an unspoken fear in some patients that their illness is punishment for wrongdoing and that treatment is a form of divine retribution. In this context the physician whose role is to dish out (God’s) medicine is a necessary evil.