SCROFULA (Lat. for " little 'sow "), or STRUMA, the general names formerly given to the disease now termed tuberculosis (q.v.) " scrofulous," " strumous " and " tuberculous " being nearly interchangeable. The particular characters associated with " scrofula " have, therefore, varied at different periods, when the real nature of the disease was misunderstood; but essentially what was meant was tuberculosis of the bones and lymphatic glands, with its attendant symptoms, and it is in this sense that the word survives. The old English popular name was " king's evil," so called from the belief that the sovereign's touch could effect a cure. This superstition can be traced back to the time of Edward the Confessor in England, and to a much earlier period in France. Samuel Johnson was touched by Queen Anne in 1712, and the same prerogative of royalty was exercised by Prince Charles Edward in 1745.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)