Amazing Facts About The History Of Medicine
According to Merriam Webster dictionary, medicine is the science and art dealing with the maintenance of health and the prevention, alleviation, or cure of disease. And Medical News Today says medicine is the field of health and healing. It includes nurses, doctors, and various specialists. It covers diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease, medical research, and many other aspects of health.
The history of medicine is very rich and there are facts about it that are mind-blowing and we may not know; here are some of them:
Herbal Medicine In Medical Practice
Herbal medicine is the earliest scientific tradition in medical practice, and it remains an important part of medicine to this day – in a line descending directly from those distant beginnings. The early physicians stumbled upon herbal substances of real power, without understanding the manner of their working. Hence, herbal medicine or botanical medicine is still widely used in the world today.
Some Of The Earliest Named Doctors Were Women
A nearby tomb reveals the image of Merit Ptah, the first female doctor known by name. She lived in approximately 2,700 BC and hieroglyphs on the tomb describe her as ‘the Chief Physician’.
Some 200 years later another doctor, Peseshet, was immortalized on a monument in the tomb of her son, Akhet-Hetep (aka Akhethetep), a high priest. Peseshet held the title ‘overseer of female physicians’, suggesting that women doctors weren’t just occasional one-offs. Peseshet herself was either one of them or a director responsible for their organization and training.
Leeches Were Used in Medical Treatment
Since the time of ancient Egypt, leeches have been used in medicine to treat nervous system abnormalities, dental problems, skin diseases, and infections. But it was in the early 19th century that the leech really soared in popularity. Led by French physician François-Joseph-Victor Broussais (1772–1838), who postulated that all disease stemmed from local inflammation treatable by bloodletting, the ‘leech craze’ saw barrels of the creatures shipped across the globe, wild leech populations decimated almost to extinction, and the establishment of prosperous leech farms.
Today, they’re mostly used in plastic surgery and another microsurgery. This is because leeches secrete peptides and proteins that work to prevent blood clots. These secretions are also known as anticoagulants. This keeps blood flowing to wounds to help them heal. Currently, leech therapy is seeing a revival due to its simple and inexpensive means of preventing complications.
Magic And Religion In The Medicine Of Prehistoric Or Early Human Society
Magic and religion played a large part in the medicine of prehistoric or early human society. Administration of a vegetable drug or remedy by mouth was accompanied by incantations, dancing, grimaces, and all the tricks of the magician. Therefore, the first doctors, or “medicine men,” were witch doctors or sorcerers. The use of charms and talismans, still prevalent in modern times, is of ancient origin.
The Jews Were Public Health Pioneers
The search for information on ancient medicine leads naturally from the papyri of Egypt to Hebrew literature. Though the Bible contains little on the medical practices of ancient Israel, it is a mine of information on social and personal hygiene. The Jews were indeed pioneers in matters of public health.
History had been really inspiring and learning is fun and amusing. Share your thoughts if you have learned something new or if you know an astounding fact about the history of medicine or anything about history.
Written by: Abegail Galang
Merriam Webster (https://www.merriam-webster.com)
Medical News Today (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com)
History World (http://www.historyworld.net)
History Extra (https://www.historyextra.com)
Health Line (https://www.healthline.com)