Medicine through time

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Prehistoric Medicine

  • Life expectancy

Women died younger than men, most women died at 15 - 24 years old. The likely cause was pregnancy or childbirth.

  • Causes of death

Most people suffered osteoarthritis (painful swelling of the joints), which may have been caused by carrying or pulling heavy loads.

  • Treatments for illness and injury

They used herbs and plants to treat sickness.
They wore charms to ward off evil spirits that could cause disease.
They also believed in visiting the medicine man.

  • General health and wellbeing

Their teeth were very healthy, although they were ground down. They had strong leg muscles, although their ankle bones were unusual.

  • What they thought caused illness

Poor diet and demands of heavy physical work.

  • Who provided medical care

The medicine man (australian aborigine).

Australian Aborigines

They believed in spirits and the medicine man. They wore charms to cure illnesses. They haven't changed how they behave for hundreds of years.

Trepanned skulls - holes that have been drilled into the skulls while the patient was still alive. Some skulls show signs of healing.
It was done to release evil spirits.
It was done to people with mental health or bad heads and was often done by a medical professional. 

Ancient Egyptians

Egyptians had trained doctors and effective medicines were prepared and used.

Their medical equipment included: Knives, Drills, Saws, Forceps or Pincers, Censers, Hooks and a Pot on a pedestal.

The egyptian herbs included: Garlic (gives vitality and soothes flatulence), Henna (stops diarrhoea and closes wounds), Liquorice (mild laxative and soothes the liver) and Honey (natural antibiotic and dresses wounds).


  • Knowledge of science and technology

The river itself gave doctors a theory about how disease was caused. They decided that disease was caused when the vessels became blocked.

  • Religion

Egyptians believed that there was life after death and people needed their body and their vital organs when they passed into the after life - so they preserved or mummified bodies.

  • Government

Rich people paid doctors to look after them. The poorest of people could have doctors help. Also, the egyptians also had many specialist craftsmen.

The role of the priest was to do with the evil spirits and the supernatural side of things.

The theory of the channels - it was a natural theory which was to do with your body having channels inside them, when a channel became blocked, it would then cause an illness/disease.

  • The theory of the channels

1) Channels lead from the heart. The egyptians believed they normally carried blood, air and water.

2) Undigested food rotting in the bowels let off gases which seeped along the channels.

3) These prevented the normal flow of blood, air and water and caused disease in different places.

Ancient Egyptians believed that all illnesses were caused by the Gods.

  • Ancient Greece

Ancient Greece was based around the city states like Athens and Sparta.

Women weren't allowed to be involved in the work, the slaves did it.

The Greeks were powerful and successful warriors.



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