Women and Medicine Through Time


Women and Medicine Through Time

Prehistoric Times

Little is known about women in prehistoric medicine, we know there was definitely a medicine man, and it is thought unlikely that any women would have filled this role, but nobody really knows. However, most women were closely involved with treating illnesses on a day to day basis. They were generally regarded as skilled in treating illnesses with herbal cures.

Egyptian Times

The Iliad mentions a female Egyptian doctor, named Polydamna. But again, we don't really know alot about women in medicine at this stage. We do know however that they must have been present, since there was a medical school at Heliopolis for female students. It is also likely, that similar to prehistoric times, women treated illness on a day to day basis, with their knowledge of herbs.

Greek Times

In Greek times, women were supposed to stay in the house, but somehow, this didn't stop them from practising medicine. In the temples of Hygaeia and Panacea (daughters of Asclepious, Greek God of Healing), there were many women healers.

However, as a general rule, women weren't allowed to practice medicine, as it was seen as unsuitable for the female mind. Nevertheless, after the success of a female doctor called Herophilus, the rules were amended, so that 'free-born' women, ie. not slaves, could learn medicine.

Roman Times

In Roman Cities, some doctors were women, mainly specialising in women's illnesses, Antiochus, one female doctor, was so successful, they put up a statue in her home town. Women in general played a vital role in treating illnesses, mostly associated with the use of herbs for healing.

Middle Ages

In the Middle Ages, women were not allowed to go to University, so…


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