Paper On Medival Medicine

1118 words - 5 pages

It is said that 'An apple a day keeps the dentist away.' This has become a common saying among Society today. We do not stop to think of how it reflects our outlook of Medicine in our lives. We have come to understand the value of simple practices in order to keep ourselves healthy. This is not, however, the case of Medieval England. Most 'medical practices' of the time were based upon superstition, ancient texts, myth, or the direction of the church. Medical practices of Medieval England often based upon nothing more than superstition proved un-beneficial if not harmful to the people of England.Part of the obvious problem was the fact that the common person had little care or sense ...view middle of the document...

They still believed in the Doctrine of four humours, making diagnoses by inspection of the blood and urine. Most of the therapeutic measures included blood letting, steam baths, amulets, spells, hexes, prayers, the king's touch, and poly pharmacy known as the riaca. (Snyder 1).The problem is furthered by the fact that these 'practices' proved of little benefit. Most of these 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 than the body; disease usually was considered supernatural in origin and cured by religious means. As a result, scientific investigation was inhibited during this time. Brothers of various monasteries copied and preserved those scientific manuscripts and documents which were thought to be consistent with prevailing religious thought....' Ency To sum it up, 'For England, as far as the twelfth century was concerned, medicine was traditional, composed of a mixture of herbal lore and popular magic, while surgery was brutal-and must often have been fatal.' (Tokeieff 120). This now brings us to another point, the fact of the severe and unsophisticated nature of surgery. 'Two twelfth-century manuscripts, one early, show medical treatment, and in both cauterizing looms large. The earlier one shows the physician cauterizing a shorn head, while an attendant in a room below is heating a relay of instruments in a furnace. The second manuscript shows cauterizing 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 medieval superstition reigned supreme. The ingredie...

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