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Development of Ancient Medicine

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Essay title: Development of Ancient Medicine

Many different cultures have tried different methods as to find out about the causes of disease and how to treat different kinds of diseases. Various countries have come up with alternate cures and treatments for various diseases. These ancient societies compromise of China, Greece, Egypt and South America. They practiced a wide range of cures for their patients, and they specialize in different fields. For example, meditation and acupuncture were practices in China. Dissection, operations and drug therapy were also performed. But how did theses societies ¡V who did not have as much technology as today ¡V found out about the different illnesses and their cures?

The western medicines usually compromise the use of folk remedies and prayers. They now believed that sickness was not a result of punishments sent from gods, but something ¡¥natural¡¦. Dissection was performed and thus, they knew more about the internal organs of animals ¡V although they were not allowed to dissect humans yet. Plants were also used as medicines. These were known as herbal medicines. In the eastern countries, there seem to be more on religious treatments, and healing the entire body ¡V not just the deformed part. They believed that the whole body is to be treated to maintain a healthy body and prevent disease.

Various kinds of treatments were discovered throughout the ancient societies. These cures includes trepanning, surgery, herbal medicines, religious or agricultural remedies, and sacrifices. These were the forms of treatments undertaken by the patients. One interesting fact includes the operated remains, especially the trepanning of the skull. A number of these patients survived the treatment, as some of the wounds have signs of healing. Therefore, they must have lived for sometime before death.

Medicine was an important aspect of Greek life. The ancient Greeks were thought to be the fathers of medicine, especially Hippocrates, whose ideas still influenced the modern world. He was also the founder and developer of physics, and considered the human being as an organic whole. Diseases were caused by something supernatural, for example, the will of a god. Therefore, one easy way of healing was to visit a temple.

There was a legend about a doctor named Asclepius ¡V who lived in about 1200BC ¡V was so successful in curing the sick that he was now known as a god. People who were diseased slept at his temples, and he was said to cure them at night. Other prayer and magical rituals of healing includes the use of diet and mineral baths. By 400BC, their doctors began to use more practical means to cure illnesses. They healed wounds with alcohol. Herbal remedies were used. Also during this period, was the formation of the ¡¥the four humours¡¦. Its formation was due to the belief that the world was made up of four elements ¡V air, earth, fire and water. So, the human body was made up of the four humours known as ¡V blood, phlegm, yellow bile (choler), and black bile (melancholy). Illness occurs when the four humours were out of balance. This lead to a practice of balancing the humours, by means of deliberate bloodletting, toileting, and vomiting. The Greeks were also believers of cleanliness. A Greek doctor named Diocles of Christos wrote in the fourth century BC: ¡¥everyday he should wash have and eyes and he should rub his teeth inside and out with his fingers.¡¦ By this, we can see how the Greeks values cleanliness.

Hippocrates was the first to come up with the theory that medicine was scientific and that it had nothing to do with religion. ¡¥Sickness is not sent by gods or taken away by them. It has a physical basis. If we can find the cause we can cure the disease.¡¦ (By Hippocrates, quoted from History of Medicine by L. HARTLEY. Blackwell History Project). He trained his fellow students to recognize the outward appearance of a patient with a particular disease. He developed skills in observations, diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment. Although drugs were used, Hippocrates often believed that the body should heal itself. Drugs were only used to aid the healing process and to relieve pain. Surgery was understood, but not common. Trepanning had once existed in Greek, and they had left behind descriptions of trepanning. Surgeons would dip a knife or drill into cold water to keep the tools within temperature and workable. Hippocrates¡¦ writings include treatment of dislocated joints.

As said before, Hippocrates¡¦ teachings on medicine did have an impact on modern medicine. Most of today¡¦s theories are based on his hypothesis. His lessons on observations, diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment, became the basis of today¡¦s treatments.

The Chinese medicine had developed over thousands of years, without any outside influences. This had leaded them to again, think

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