Medicine through time

last minute revision, everything you need to know for tomorrows exam, hope it helps :)

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  • Created on: 06-06-11 19:25
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Magic, Religion and belief in spirits played an important part in pre-historic medicine.
They face a lot of difficulties in finding evidence about pre-historic medicine; all of the
evidence we have is from the last 20,000 years, they use Anthropology which is looking for
comparisons between the two lifestyles of the prehistoric people to the Australian
Aborigines who lived as hunter gatherers till quite recently. They also use archaeology which
is looking at cave paintings and skeletons to find out more evidence about their way of life.
This was done because there was no written record and any knowledge was passed down by
word of mouth.
Natural Cures
Herbal medicines were used for many illnesses such as fevers and stomach disorders, Clay,
mud and wood were used to treat broken bones Massage
with various substances such as saliva, sweat or animal & vegetable fats were used, massage
was used to get rid of the spirits from the body, also in certain illnesses it was used to
stimulate blood circulation
Willow Bark was used to treat cuts
Mud was used to set fractures
Orchid bulbs were used to treat an upset stomachs
Sap from trees used to treat burns
Their belief in spirits helped explain the many natural phenomena they did not understand.
Prehistoric people had little of the causes of and therefore the cures of illness. Prehistoric
people consulted Sharman's who tried to find a cure, Sharman's conducted rituals involving
magic and charms either to cure or ward off illness, this was a form of faith or spiritual
Trephining was drilling or cutting a hole in the skull to allow the evil spirit to escape but also
Trephining could be used to relieve the patient of symptoms of certain medical conditions
such as pressure on the skull resulting from an head injury.
Evidence shows that most prehistoric people survived Trephining which shows that
sharmans possessed quite a lot of practical skill.

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Ancient Egyptian Medicine...
In ancient Egypt they believed there were many gods, goddesses and evil spirits , as most illnesses
had no obvious causes, they believed that some of these gods or spirits caused or cured illnesses .…read more

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Egyptian Medicine part 2...
Ancient Egyptian religion emphasized cleanliness and hygiene, this led to practical
developments such a toilets and mosquito nets which prevented disease.
Ancient Egyptians also bathed and changed their clothes regularly and shaved their
heads in an attempt to stay hygienic.…read more

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Pharaoh was the ruler of Egypt who was also worshipped as a God.
The Irrigation system ­ Egyptians built irrigation channels from the Nile to take
water to the surrounding land, it was important that these stayed clear, this is an
important link to their theory of what caused disease.
Greek Medicine...…read more

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These ideas were very important in the
switch from supernatural to natural forms of medicine.
At first women weren't allowed to train as doctors, one woman Hagnodice pretended to be a
man and trained to be a doctor, she was very popular with the female patients. When it was
discovered she was a woman the law was changed to allow women who were not slaves to
train as doctors. Many women became doctors and often went to work for the Roman Empire.
Roman Medicine...…read more

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The Greek idea which mostly influenced Romans was the importance of staying healthy, To the
Romans it seemed much more practical to spend time keeping fit rather than spend money on
doctors for the sick. The Romans believed it was important to build their settlements in healthy
places near good springs, rivers or wells. Besides having good drinking water the Romans
believed in the importance of personal cleanliness, they set about making daily bathing
possible for all citizens.…read more

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Then he announced `When I cut this nerve,
the pig will stop squealing'. He cut the nerve and the pig was silent. He proved that
the brain not the heart controlled speech; he also proved that the arteries, not just
the veins carried blood.
Galen wrote hundreds of books, covering every aspect of medicine in an extremely detailed
and well organised way.…read more

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He wrote an important book: The
comprehensive book.
Abul Kasim 936-1013
He was the greatest Arab surgeon, and wrote a book on surgery containing advice on amputations,
fractures, dislocations, how to sew wounds & dentistry
Ibn Sina 980-1037 His
canon of medicine ( a complete medical system based on Galen and his own new observations) was
later translated in to Latin, becoming the main medical textbook in Europe until 1700.…read more

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Main ideas and developments: However,
medicine became very professional around the end of the eleventh century. In the
tenth century the Law of Edgar allowed women in England to train as doctors, But as medicine
re-emerged as a specialised and high-status profession, it became an increasingly male job.
Increased contact with the Islamic world led to more knowledge of Hippocrates and Galen and to the
establishment of medical schools. By
the fourteenth century medical departments were being set up in universities.…read more

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The church set up hospitals for the sick. These had effective sanitation,
and concentration on providing clean and quiet conditions. However,
some of these hospitals were only concerned with providing care, not
The Black Death...
Concern over public health issues came to head in 1348 when the Black Death
(Bubonic Plague) reached England.
The victims of Black Death suffered a high temperature, headache and vomiting
followed by lumps (buboes) in the armpit or groin.…read more


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