The Earliest Medicine

The story of medicine opens with a struggle - both for survival and for understanding of a world that seemed, to its first human inhabitants, to operate by the whim of powerful forces.

So, for millennia, humanity practised primitive preventive medicine - for this was all it could do - by appeasing the gods through ritual and sacrifice.

Gradually, a body of knowledge built up, based on chance observation and trial and error. To people who believed that disease was caused by evil spirits, was it not logical to drill the skull of a person suffering from a blinding headache, in order to release them?

Unconcerned that this might also relieve intra-cranial pressure, they were simply content the procedure sometimes worked.

And slowly, in measured steps over thousands of years, the body of medical information acquired more flesh, as civilization gathered pace.

First, the ancient Egyptians mixed magic spells with psychotherapy, while using animal fat and dung as their drugs of choice; then Hammurabi of Babylon codified medical practice, primitive and brutal though it was; next, Judaic law laid down dietary and hygienic proscriptions.

But the first, tentative attempts to treat medicine as a science developed at more or less the same time in Greece, India and China. Doctors - for we may now call them so - were often wrong, but their approach to the body and disease was based on logic, each in their own tradition.

It was a golden age, soon to be torn apart by the fall of Rome, by barbarian hordes, and by the destruction of the great storehouse of ancient learning in Alexandria: in short, the Dark Ages of medicine.

As the shadow of superstition fell once more on Europe, the beam of knowledge was kept alight in the Muslim world of the Middle East. Long-forgotten truths returned, embellished, to Europe as the Moors occupied Spain and the Crusaders fought for the Holy Land.

But this reawakening was cruelly shattered as the medieval world was torn apart by the Black Death.

Similar of The Earliest Medicine

Egyptian Medicine Magic Spells as Psychotherapy

They fought disease with lettuce, onions and positive thinking The people who settled the Nile Valley believed that disease came from evil spirits that entered

Treating Depression: Patients were not Healing With the First Medicine That I Tried had A Good Chance of Success The Second Time

Treating Depression: Patients were not Healing With the First Medicine (AP) - The largest study ever done on treating depression has found that patients were not healing with the first medicine that I tried had a good chance of

The Encapsulated History of Medicine

Who first used plants as medicine we do not know. But someone - or more possibly, many different people - discovered that some plants are good to eat and still

The World of The AIDS Generation

Kampala, Uganda. Rebecca has been living with AIDS since 1992. That was the year her husband died after many months of illness. He never told her what was

Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine - what is it?

Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine - what is it? Patients often ask me, "What is Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine and how does it differ from chiropractic treatment and massage? What conditions can it be

Vaccinations: Preventive Medicine for Kids and Adults

Vaccinations: Preventive Medicine for Kids and Adults Immunizations aren't just kid stuff. Adults also need protection against infectious disease. Yet, surveys find that most American adults, and many children,

Good Preventive Medicine: How to Avoid Burning Out

Good Preventive Medicine: How to Avoid Burning Out A substantial percentage of professional working people will experience burnout at some point in their lives. Don't let it happen to you! Take action before

Topics:

Comments

Post new comment