Medieval Medicine Revision Summary - Causes, Treatment, Prevention and Case Study: Black Death.

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  • Medieval Medicine
    • Causes
      • RELIGION - test of faith, punishment for sin. Most people religious.
      • ASTROLOGY - star and planet alignment, Hippocrates started it. Unpopular.
      • THEORY OF 4 HUMOURS - body balanced in 4 humours: choler, phlegm, black bile, blood. Very popular, taught by Church. Twisted to fit new findings.
      • MIASMA - Bad air that created harmful fumes, from corpses, swamps and rotting matter. Clean smells = spirituality, incense burnt to purify air.
    • Treatment
      • RELIGION - Prayers, fasting pilgrimages, special masses. Charms and amulets but, not approved by Church.
      • ASTROLOGY - Charts consulted diagnosed and treat. Cutting hair and nails and gathering herbs.
      • HUMOURAL - Symptom treated separately. Blood-letting, remove blood to restore balance. Cutting vein, leeches, cupping. Purging remove food. Laxative or enema. Different foods.
      • HERBAL - Theriaca. Warm baths. Boiling fox. Applying frogs and chickens etc.
    • Prevention
      • RELIGIOUS - Living sin-free. Regular prayers, payments and confessions of sins.
      • HYGIENE - Regimen Sanitatis, widespread.
      • MIASMA - Carry flowers, pomander. Clear rotting animals. Keep towns clean. Sweet smelling herbs like lavender.
      • HUMOURAL - Healthy diet, over-eating bad, led to purging.
    • Case Study: Black Death
      • SYMPTOMS - Buboes in groin and armpit, sneezing, fever, chest pain, breathing difficulties. Victim dead 3-5 days.
      • Causes
        • RELIGIOUS - punishment from God.
        • ASTROLOGY -  1345 unusual alignment of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.
        • MIASMA - impure air causes corruption, air from volcano, earthquake.
      • Treatment
        • RELIGIOUS - confess, if a punishment it will not work.
        • HUMOURAL - purging, bleeding
        • MIASMA - strong-smelling herbs and theriaca tried, no use.
      • Prevention
        • RELIGIOUS - pray, pilgrimage, self-flagellation.
        • NATURAL - run away, avoid infected, sweet smelling posies, stop bathing.
        • GOVERNMENT - Quarantine, cross on door, street cleaning, banned large gatherings.


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