Ancient Medical Procedures: Bloodletting

What modern medical procedure are you scared of? I am scared of a lot of medical procedures lol, most especially surgeries and even mammogram.

At a point, I was scared of injections but I had to get use to them. Thank God for knowledge, I haven’t had any injections since 2017. Modern medical procedures are quite safe now than ever.

I will be taking you back to the history of medicine, to ancient times when people carried out incredible procedures in treating diseases. When I first had about these procedures, I couldn’t help but wonder how people subjected themselves to such.

And the funny thing is that it worked for them then, but if they are to re-introduce them into the society, I am sure a lot of people might prefer to die than go through such.

The Need For Medicine

The history of medicine can be traced back to the origin of man. As man strayed from nature and diseases started setting in, men of old then started coming up with their own opinions and treatment methods for diseases.

These included ancient surgery methods, herbalism, energy healing, herbalism, spiritualism, and others. Among these, the ones I find outrageous are:

7 Unbelievable Ancient Medical Procedures

  1. Trepanation

This is the oldest form of surgery in human history and I think it is the most gruesome. Trepanation dates back to 7,000 years ago and it is done by boring holes into the skull to cure diseases.

We don’t know why this gruesome surgery was carried out, but researchers propose a common theory that suggests it might have been a form of ritual.

Some are of the school of thought that it must have been a method of removing evil spirits thought to possess sick and mentally challenged people.

Other scientists are of the opinion that it was the conventional way of treating epilepsy, abscesses, blood clots, and headaches. It is also believed trepanation was an emergency procedure used in cleaning out fragment of bones left caused by skull fractures.

Many of trepanned skulls found in places like in Peru showed that many people survived these procedures. You might be wondering why this form of treatment was developed in the first place, I am also searching for the answer.

If you find it, please let me know, lol.

  1. Animal Dung Ointment

Another ridiculous procedure but in ancient Egypt it was part of their standard treatment for diseases. The funny thing is that ancient Egypt was known for having a well-organized medical system. They had doctors who specialized in treating specific illnesses.

But when I read of their practices, I was amazed. Apart from animal dung ointment, they also prescribed lizard blood, moldy bread, mud, dead mice, and others that were used as topical ointment and dressings for wounds.

Women with low libido were given horse saliva and other unimaginable things. The one I find most disgusting of all is the animal dung ointment.

Ancient Egyptian physicians used human and animal feces to treat diseases and wounds. The Eber Papyrus (1500 BC) stated that fly, donkey, gazelle, and dog dungs were celebrated for their ability to protect against evil spirit and treat diseases.

Though these remedies had bad odors, they were not ineffective, in some cases, they might have led to tetanus but they still worked. I believe it worked because there are microflora present in some animal dungs that have antibiotic properties.

  1. Bloodletting

Ancient medical practitioners had this believe that a little “bad blood” caused diseases. This practice started with the ancient Egyptians and Sumerians but it wasn’t common until the time of classical Rome and Greek.

Hippocrates and Galen and other influential physicians used this procedure. They taught that the human body contained 4 basic humors or substances.

They were yellow bile, black bile, blood, and phlegm. These healers taught that these substances have to be kept in balance in order to maintain proper health.

So, when people were sick with fever or other ailments, they were diagnosed with an overabundance of blood. In order to restore this balance, their vein would be cut open and some of their vital fluids will be drained into a container.

Leeches were even used to suck blood directly from the skin.

  1. Wandering womb

I laughed hard the first time I read of this. Physicians in ancient Greek believed that a woman’s womb was a separate creature that had a mind of its own.

Plato and Hippocrates believed this and taught that when a woman abstains from sex for a long period of time, her womb, which they described as a “living animal” will be eager to bear children.

When this doesn’t happen, the womb dislodges and glides freely about her body leading to hysteria, seizures, and even suffocation. To prevent their womb from gliding about their bodies, ancient women were taught to marry early and give birth to as many children as possible.

To treat a womb that has already broken free and gliding about the body, doctors prescribe therapeutic baths, physical massage, and infusions to force the womb back into position.

Sometimes, doctors would “fumigate” the patient’s head using sulfur and pitch. They also rub pleasant-smelling lotions simultaneously between the woman’s thighs.

They believe that the womb will run from the bad smells and go back to its rightful position.

This thought and practice endured into the time of the Romans and Byzantines but became obsolete when doctors discovered that the womb has ligaments that hold it in place.

  1. Babylonian Skull Cure

I find this most hilarious. In ancient Babylon, illnesses were thought to be caused by demonic possession or inflicted by the gods for misdeeds.

Doctors, exorcists, and priests had many things in common since they viewed sicknesses as a spiritual thing. Their cures always involved some form of magic.

For instance, someone who grinds their teeth while sleeping at night will be diagnosed of a ghost visit, lol. They believed that a ghost of a deceased family member or friend want to contact them as they sleep.

Ancient necromantic texts reveal that the doctor would tell the patient to sleep by a human skull for one week to keep the ghost or evil spirit away.

For the treatment to be more effective, the patient was asked to kiss and lick the skull 7X each night before sleeping.

  1. Mercury

In this age we know better of the toxicity of mercury but back then, it was used as a topical medicine and common elixir. Ancient Greeks and Persians esteemed it highly as a useful ointment.

Ancient Chinese alchemists held liquid mercury in high esteem. They also highly regarded quicksilver and red mercury sulfide because they thought it increased lifespan and increased vitality.

Some healers even went as far as telling their patients to drink harmful brews made with mercury, arsenic, and sulfur so they can gain eternal life and also to be able to walk on water.

This particular procedure led to a lot of casualties and one of them which was famous was the death of the Chinese Emperor Qin Shi Huang, who died after ingesting high doses of mercury pills so he could be immortal.

Down to early 20th century, mercury was popular in used in making medicine for treating STDs. While this fought of the infection, it made patients come down with kidney and liver damage due to mercury poisoning.

Today, mercury is known as a lethal poison and people try their best to avoid it. It is also one of the reasons people reject vaccines because mercury is one of the many dangerous things used in making vaccines.

  1. Cannibal Cures

This is the grossest, ewwww. In ancient medicine, an elixir containing human bone, blood, or flesh was prescribed for muscle cramps, persistent headaches, or stomach ulcers.

This Corpse medicine was common for hundreds of years. The Romans used the blood of fallen gladiators because they believed their blood could cure epilepsy.

The 12th century apothecaries kept a stock of “mummy powder”. They got it from mummies looted from Egypt and made a macabre extract of them.

Also, in 17th century England, King Charles II regularly enjoyed his draught of “King’s drops”. It was believed to be a restorative brew made from alcohol and crumbled human skull.

This cannibal medicine was also believed to have magical powers. People back then believed that when you consume the remains of a dead person, you also ingest some parts of their spirits.

They also believed that it increased wellbeing and vitality. Different types of cannibal cures were prescribed for different types of ailments. For instance, the skull was used to treat migraines and brain problems and human fat were used to treat muscle aches.

Back then, getting fresh stock was a gruesome process and some patients had to attend executions so that they could get a cheap cup of a freshly killed human blood.

 

I know you are thanking your stars now that you weren’t born then, lol. But how sure are we that our procedures now won’t be laughed at or discarded by future generations.

I believe in the future people will ask how we accepted some medical procedures like chemotherapy, mammogram, and others. When the knowledge of natural medicine floods the earth, even the older generations will ask themselves how they allowed such to happen.

Medical Disclaimer

The information on this website is a collection of peer-reviewed studies, research, and real life observations. We are sharing this for you to be healthy and disease-free. Some of the information here are sensitive and also controversial. So we advise that you use your judgment and intuition. Also, the information here is just to educate and not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure diseases. Although this is protected under free speech, it is not advisable to use this as a substitute for professional medical advice. If you want to do anything stated here or handle your health issue naturally, do so under the supervision and direction of a naturopathic physician.

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