Prehistoric Medicine

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  • Prehistoric Medicine
    • Who treated the sick?
      • Gods.
      • Hunter-gathers had a group medicine man to treat the sick.
      • Farmers also had a medicine man to cure them of illness and disease.
      • Many may have gone to wise adults in the family such as their mothers or women in general.
    • Causes
      • Animals skins and bites caused rabies.
      • Hunter-gathers believed that evil spirits caused disease.
      • Hard physical work meant they suffered from painful joints.
      • (The Medicine Man.)
      • Curses.
      • Many believed spirits and Gods caused sickness and disease as well as witches and enemies.
      • Polluted Water
      • Tools and Weapons.
      • Gangrene.
    • Treatments
      • Open cuts/wounds were covered with mud and bound with strips of bark. A chant was sung to ward away evil spirits.
      • Herbs and plants were used all over the world as a cure for some illnesses.
      • Willow as an antiseptic.
      • Smear cuts with herbs.
      • Animal parts were used as treatments.
      • Steam (vapour inhalation used to treat colds and coughs by putting crushed tea-tree leaves in boiling water.
      • Sore throats were cured by honey and herbs drink.
      • Broken limb would be covered in mud and left for it to set hard.
      • The medicine man put charms an people's foreheads and said prayers to the Gods to stop them from feeling sick and tired.
      • If people believed they had an evil spirit inside them, the medicine man would drill a hole in their heads to release it (trephining).
    • Health Problems
      • Coughs and colds.
      • Sore throat.
      • Hunters caught diseases such as anthrax and rabies from animal skins and bites.
      • Locking jaws.
      • Many died from trephining.
      • Rheumatism (painful joints) from hard work.
      • Animals polluted water supplies.
      • Tiredness and sickness.
      • Many died because some treatments failed or made  illnesses worse.
        • Piles of human excrement attracted disease so tribes had to keep relocating.
      • Abscesses.
      • Because many wounds were left open, people soon died of gangrene.


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