Medival Medicine Essay

1118 words - 5 pages

It is said that 'An apple a day keeps the dentist away.' This has become a common sayingamong Society today. We do not stop to think of how it reflects our outlook of Medicinein our lives. We have come to understand the value of simple practices in order to keepourselves healthy. This is not, however, the case of Medieval England. Most 'medicalpractices' of the time were based upon superstition, ancient texts, myth, or the directionof the church. Medical practices of Medieval England often based upon nothing morethan superstition proved unbeneficial if not harmful to the people of England.Part of the obvious problem was the fact that the common person had little care orsense for improving ...view middle of the document...

They still believed in the Doctrine of fourhumours, making diagnoses by inspection of the blood and urine. Most of thetherapeutic measures included blood letting, steam baths, amulets, spells,hexes, prayers, the king's touch, and polypharmacy known as theriaca. (Snyder 1).The problem is furthered by the fact that these 'practices' proved of little benefit. Most ofthese had no scientific basis and were instead rooted in superstition and/or the church.'The concern of Christian theology, on the other hand, was to cure the soul rather thanthe body; disease usually was considered supernatural in origin and cured by religiousmeans. As a result, scientific investigation was inhibited during this time. Brothers ofvariousmonasteries copied and preserved those scientific manuscripts and documents whichwere thought to be consistent with prevailing religious thought....' EncyTo sum it up, 'For England, as far as the twelfth century was concerned, medicinewas traditional, composed of a mixture of herbal lore and popular magic, while surgerywas brutal-and must often have been fatal.' (Tokeieff 120). This now brings us to anotherpoint, the fact of the severe and unsophisticated nature of surgery. 'Two twelfth-centurymanuscripts, one early, show medical treatment, and in both cauterizing looms large. Theearlier one shows the physician cauterizing a shorn head, while an attendant in a roombelow is heating a relay of instruments in a furnace. The second manuscript showscauterizing for trouble in the head and in the stomach-a painful remedy!' (Tokeieff 120).More is written of this, 'Two of the manuscripts show the doctor in his drug store,instructing his apprentice in the compounding of medicines. It was here that the medievalsuperstition reigned supreme. The ingredients heated...

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