Strange medical practices from the past that, fortunately, were abandoned
In ancient cultures, a variety of healing methods were practiced. Some eventually formed the basis of modern medical standards, while others were so strange and even dangerous that one can only rejoice that they are no longer used. In our review, 10 forgotten medical practices from the past.
When a child begins to grow teeth, they say that they erupt. This term came from medical practice that arose in France in the 16th century.When the child began to cut their teeth, doctors cut the gum tissue over the teeth with a scalpel to allow them to “come out easier”. Initially, this practice originated in France, but ultimately spread throughout Europe and the United States. Needless to say, how many children died from tooth cutting due to the lack of sterile tools and gum injuries.
Pasta from mice, Egypt
In ancient Egypt, many people who suffered from tooth decay or earaches believed that mice could be a panacea for them. Toothache was especially common in Egypt due to the fact that sand was often found in food. Due to its granularity, sand often wiped off enamel from teeth, exposing nerves and blood vessels. For some reason, the Egyptians decided that dead and decaying mice were an effective way to solve this problem.
Dead mice were crushed and ground to a paste-like state, and then this paste was applied to the affected area. In case of severe toothache, a whole dead mouse was applied directly to the tooth. There was only one problem – applying rotting tissue to nerves and blood vessels could turn a toothache into a full-blown infection.
The use of clay, Greece
In ancient Greece, a certain type of clay (terra sigillata), which is found on the Greek island of Lemnos, was often eaten. This clay was sold as a medicine for stomach problems and diarrhea. Despite the fact that some people still use clay today, most do not recognize this as medically useful. The clay found on the island of Lemnos contains kaolin and bentonite. These two elements are used in modern medicines to treat patients suffering from diarrhea. Hippocrates wrote about the benefits of using this clay. As it turned out, the most famous classical doctor was right.
Retaliation or compensation, Mesopotamia
In Mesopotamia, around 1700 BC, King Hammurabi created a code of laws, some of which became known as “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” When the surgeon performed a successful operation, he was awarded a certain amount of money, which depended on the patient’s position in society. An unsuccessful operation could cause the surgeon to lose his arm. In ancient Mesopotamia there were several types of doctors.
Asipu or sorcerers diagnosed patients’ illnesses and determined which evil spirits dwell in them. Then they either cast spells or enchantments to expel the evil spirit, or refer the patient to an ace (doctor). Asu was mainly given herbal remedies. Given the harsh penalties implied by the Hammurabi Code, Asu preferred to use homeopathy rather than a scalpel.
Excrement treatment, Egypt
The ancient Egyptians often practiced rubbing manure of various animals into wounds or inflamed areas. In addition, a mixture of manure and other ingredients was used internally to treat many diseases. Manure of pigs, donkeys, lizards and even children was used as an ingredient in various medicinal ointments throughout the history of ancient Egypt.
Doctors tried to achieve the appearance of pus, which, in their opinion, had a positive therapeutic effect in the treatment of infection. Today, people, fortunately, already know that pus is just a sign of infection.
Partial language removal, Europe
Resection of half of the tongue or hemiglossectomy is a medical procedure that involves the removal of part of the tongue. Today, it is given to patients who suffer from diseases such as oral cancer. In terms of removing malignant cancerous tissue, the procedure is quite effective, but it leads to a visible deformation of the tongue. Unfortunately for patients in the 18-19 centuries in Europe, this treatment was not aimed at combating cancer, but was a means of correcting stuttering. Doctors thought the best way to cure stuttering was to cut off half of the tongue. Many patients died of infection and blood loss.