Ancient medicine of Egypt, China, India. History of medicine


Diseases exist as much ashumanity, and therefore, at all times people needed the help of a knowledgeable specialist. Ancient medicine developed gradually and went a long way, full of big mistakes and shy samples, sometimes based only on religion. Only a few of the mass of ancient people were able to wrest their consciousness from the clutches of ignorance and give mankind great discoveries in the field of healing, described in treatises, encyclopedias, papyri.

Medicine of Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egyptian medicine became the cradle of knowledgefor the doctors of Ancient Rome, Africa and the Middle East, but its origins lead to Mesopotamia, which already in 4000 BC had its own practitioners. Ancient medicine in Egypt combined religious beliefs and observations of the human body. The first doctor and founder is Imgotepa (2630-2611 BC), although Egyptologists only recently proved the reality of his existence: for many centuries he was considered a fictional god. This man was the genius of his time, like Leonardo da Vinci in the Middle Ages. Basic knowledge of the structure of man Egyptians received thanks to the embalming of the dead - even then they knew that the heart and the brain are the most important organs.

ancient medicine

All diseases in the ancient medicine of Egypt were dividedon two camps: natural and demonic (supernatural). The first category included diseases related to injuries, poor nutrition and poor water, intestinal parasites or adverse weather conditions. Careful attention was paid to body hygiene: according to the law, each person had to undergo a three-month wash of the digestive system (enemas, vomit and laxatives).

Supernatural reasons wereobsessions with evil spirits, demons and the intervention of the gods: exorcism among the lower strata of the population was in great demand and existed thanks to the priests. Also, various recipes were used with bitter herbs - it was thought that it drives away the spirits. All the ancient recipes in the arsenal of physicians was about 700, and almost all of them were of natural origin:

- vegetable: onions, dates and grapes, pomegranate, poppy, lotus;

- mineral: sulfur, clay, lead, saltpetre and antimony;

- Parts of animals: tails, ears, grated bones and tendons, glands, insects were sometimes used.

Even then, the medicinal properties of wormwood and castor oil, flaxseed and aloe were known.

The main sources for research of the ancientEgyptian medicine is papyri, inscriptions on pyramids and sarcophagi, mummies of people and animals. Up to now, several papyri on medicine have been preserved in the original state:

  • Papyrus Brugsha is the oldest manuscript in pediatrics. Includes a teaching about the health of children, women and methods of treating their diseases.
  • Papers Ebers - tells about the diseasesdifferent organs, but it contains many examples of the use of prayers and conspiracies (more than 900 recipes from digestive diseases, respiratory and vascular systems, eye and ear diseases). This scientific work for a long time was considered a medical encyclopedia of ancient healers.
  • Kahun papyrus - includes a treatise on gynecology and veterinary medicine, while, unlike other scrolls, it practically does not contain religious implication.
  • Smith's papyrus is considered by Imotepa as its author. It describes 48 clinical cases of traumatology. The information is different - from the symptoms and methods of research to the recommendations for treatment.

In the ancient medicine of Egypt, the firstscalpels and tweezers, uterine mirrors and catheters. This indicates a high level and professionalism of surgeons, even if they were inferior in skill to Indian healers.

Basic medicine of India

Indian medicine of ancient times relied ontwo authoritative sources: the code of laws of Manu and the science of Ayurveda, which originates from the Vedas - the oldest sacred texts in Sanskrit. The most accurate and complete retelling on paper was written by the Indian doctor Sushruta. It describes the causes of the diseases (imbalance of the three doshas and gunas, of which the human body consists), recommendations for the treatment of more than 150 ailments of a different nature, in addition, about 780 medicinal herbs and plants are described, information on their use is described.

medicine of the ancient east
Particular attention in the diagnosis ofhuman structure: height and weight, age and nature, place of residence, field of activity. Indian physicians considered it their duty not to treat the disease, but to eradicate the causes of its occurrence, which puts them on top of the medical Olympus. At the same time, surgical knowledge was far from perfect, despite successful operations to remove gallstones, caesarean section and rhinoplasty (which was in demand due to one of the punishments - cutting off the nose and ears). About 200 surgical instruments were inherited by modern specialists from therapists from India.

Indian traditional medicine shared all the means by their impact on the body:

- vomiting and laxatives;

- exciting and soothing;

- sweatshops;

- stimulating digestion;

- narcotic (used as an anesthetic in surgery).

Anatomical knowledge of doctors was not enoughdeveloped, but the physicians divided the human body into 500 muscles, 24 nerves, 300 bones and 40 leading vessels, which in turn were divided into 700 branches, 107 joint joints and more than 900 ligaments. Much attention was also paid to the mental state of the patients - Ayurveda believed that most of all diseases come from the malfunctioning of the nervous system. So extensive knowledge - as for the ancient medicine of India - made the doctors of this country very popular beyond its borders.

The development of medicine in ancient China

Medicine of the Ancient East was born in the fourthcentury BC, one of the earliest treatises on diseases is "Huangdi Nei-ching", and Huangdi is the name of the founder of the Chinese direction in medicine. The Chinese, as well as the Hindus, believed that man consists of five primary elements, the imbalance of which leads to various diseases, which was described in great detail and was told in Nei Ching, which was rewritten by Wang Bin in the 8th century.

than treated in antiquity

Zhang Zhong Jing - Chinese physician, author of the treatise "Shan Han tsza bin lun ", narrating about the methods of treatment of fevers of various types, and Hua To is a surgeon who began using seams in cavitary operations and anesthesia with opium, aconite and hemp.

For the treatment of various diseases physicians already thencamphor, garlic, ginger and Schisandra were used, and sulfur and mercury, magnesia and antimony were especially welcomed from mineral rocks. But in the first place was, of course, ginseng - this root worshiped and made on its basis a lot of different drugs.

Special pride of Chinese doctors was pulseDiagnosis: the predominance of the rapid pulse indicated a too active nervous system, and the weak and intermittent, on the contrary, testified to its inadequate activity. Chinese doctors distinguished more than 20 types of pulse. They came to the conclusion that every organ and every process in the body has its expression in the pulse, and by changing the latter at several points it is possible not only to determine a person's illness, but also to predict its outcome. Wang Shu-he, who wrote the Treatise on the pulse, described all this in great detail.

Also China - the birthplace of point cautery andacupuncture. Historical texts tell about the healers Bian-tsio and Fu Wen, the authors of treatises on these methods. In their writings, they describe several hundred biologically active points on the human body, affecting which one can completely cure any disease.

The only weak link in the ancient medicine of ChinaIs surgery. In the Celestial Empire, methods of fracture treatment were practically not used (a struck place was simply placed between two wooden plates), did not practice bloodletting and amputation of limbs.

The father of medicine

This is considered to be Hippocrates (Greek. Ippokratis), an ancient Greek physician in the 17th generation, who lived in 460 BC and initiated the development of medicine in ancient Rome. The famous promise of doctors before taking office - "the oath of Hippocrates" - this is his offspring. The father of the great healer was Heraclides, also an outstanding scientist, and Fenaret's mother was a midwife. Parents have done everything to ensure that at the age of twenty their son had the reputation of a good doctor, and also received initiation into priests, without which there could be no question of qualitative practice in the field of medicine.

medical schools

Hippocrates in search of various successful treatments traveled a lot of countries of the East, and after returning home, he founded the first medical school, putting science at the head of the corner, and not religion.

The creative heritage of this genius is sotremendously, that the permanent publisher of his works Charterius spent on his printing forty (!) years. More than one hundred of his works are collected in a single "Hippocrates collection," and his "Aphorisms" are still in great demand.

The most famous doctors of the old world

Many of the greatest doctors of ancient medicine have contributed something to this science, giving their ancestors ideas for reflection, observation and research.

1. Dioscorides, an ancient Greek physician of the 50th century AD E., author of the treatise "Medicinal Substances," which was the leading textbook on pharmacology until the 16th century.

2. Claudius Galen is an ancient Roman naturalist, the author of numerous works on medicinal plants, the methods of their application and the manufacture of preparations from them. All water and alcoholic infusions, decoctions and various extracts from plants are still called "galenic". It was he who began to conduct tests on animals.

3. Harun al-Rashid is an Arab ruler, the first to build a state hospital in Baghdad.

4. Paracelsus (1493-1541) is a Swiss doctor who is considered the founder of modern chemical medicine. He was critical of Galen and all ancient medicine as a whole, considering it ineffective.

5. Li Shizhen - an expert in the field of medicine of the Ancient East, a Chinese healer of the 16th century, the author of "Foundations of Pharmacology". The work, consisting of 52 volumes, describes about 2000 medicines, mostly of vegetable origin. The author persistently opposed the use of mercury-based tablets.

6. Abu Bakr Muhammad ar-Razi (865-925) - Persian scientist, natural scientist, he is considered the pioneer in the field of psychiatry and psychology. The author of this outstanding physician belongs to the famous "Al-Khawi" - a comprehensive book on medicine, which opens the foundations of ophthalmology, gynecology and obstetrics to the world. Razi proved that the temperature is the body's reaction to the disease.

7. Avicenna (Ibn Sina) - the genius of his time. Originally from Uzbekistan, the author of the "Canon of Medical Science" is an encyclopaedia in which several hundred years other doctors were trained in medical art. He believed that any disease can be cured by proper nutrition and a moderate way of life.

 medicine of the ancient world

8. Asklepiad Bithinski - Greek physician, who lived in the 1st century BC. The founder of physiotherapy (physical education, massage) and dietetics, urged contemporaries and descendants to maintain a balance between the health of the body and spirit. I took the first steps in molecular medicine, for that time was something fantastic.

9. Sun Ximiao is a Chinese physician of the Tiang Dynasty who wrote a 30-volume work. "King of medicines" was the name of this genius who made a significant contribution to the development of medical affairs. He pointed out the importance of nutrition and the right combination of products. The invention of gunpowder is also its merit.

As well as than treated in an antiquity

The medicine of the ancient world, despite the genius of the well-known healers, was quite intimidating. However, judge for yourself. Here are just a few interesting facts about the methods of treatment:

1. The method of scaring and aversion of the disease was actively practiced in Ancient Babylon: that the disease leave a person, it was fed and watered with a rare rubbish, spit on it and gave cuffs. This "treatment" often led to new diseases (which is no wonder).

2. In Egypt under King Hammurabi, medicine was quite dangerous, because one of the king's laws promised death to the healer if his patient died on the operating table. Therefore, spells and prayers were more often used, which were described on 40 clay tablets.

3. Egyptian priests left the sick person to sleep in the temple, in a dream the deity should appear to him and announce the method of treatment, as well as the sin for which he was punished with the disease.

4. Equally impressive was the surgery of Ancient Greece. Here, whole representations were made of operations in which a make-up healer depicted the god of medicine Asclepius. Sometimes in the process of acting, patients died - rather from long high-flown tirades, than from an insufficient skill of a doctor-doctor.

5. A widespread "falling sick" disease was treated with dope, bleached and wormwood.

6. In Egypt and Mesopotamia, holes were often drilled in the skull (sometimes even a few) to relieve the patient of a migraine caused by an evil spirit.

7. Tuberculosis was treated with drugs made from light foxes, and snake meat soaked in opium.

8. A panacea for all diseases was teriak (a drink of 70 ingredients) and a philosopher's stone.

doctors of ancient medicine

The Middle Ages: The Decline of Medicine

The most significant property of medicine in the Middle Ageswas the introduction of a compulsory medical license: this law was first accepted by the King of Sicily, Roger II, and later picked up by England, forming in the 15th century the Guild of Surgeons and Hairdressers (who often made bleeding sick) and France with the College of St. Como. The doctrine of infectious diseases and methods of public health began to be clearly outlined and formed. Guy de Chaillac, a village surgeon of the 14th century, actively promoted the prevention of charlatans to treat people, proposed new methods for working with fractures (stretching with the help of a load, applying a sling dressing, suturing the edges of open wounds).

In the Middle Ages, constant hunger was habitual,poor harvests, which caused people to eat spoiled food, while the "cult of the pure body" was in disfavor. These two factors contributed to the development of infectious diseases: fever, plague and smallpox, tuberculosis and leprosy. Indestructible faith in the healing properties of "holy relics" and witchcraft (while the knowledge of modern doctors denied completely) provoked an even greater development of diseases, which they tried to cure by cross ways and sermons. Mortality was several times higher than the birth rate, and life expectancy rarely exceeded thirty years.

The influence of religion on medicine

In China and India, faith in the gods did not interferedevelopment of medical business: progress was based on natural observations of a person, the effect of plants on his condition, and methods of active analytical experiments were popular. In the countries of Europe, on the contrary, superstition, fear of God's wrath, hacked all attempts of scientists and physicians to save people from ignorance.

Church persecutions, curses and campaigns againstheresies were of enormous proportions: any scientist who tried to speak in favor of reason and against the divine will for healing was subjected to cruel tortures and various types of execution (widely spread by the auto-da-fe), to intimidate ordinary people. The study of human anatomy was considered a deadly sin, for which execution was relied.

Also a huge minus was the scholastic methodtreatment and teaching in rare medical schools: all theses should have been accepted unconditionally on faith, sometimes without a firm ground, and a steady denial of the experience gained and the inability to apply logic in practice reduced many of the geniuses of modernity to "no".

Where were the doctors trained in ancient times?

The first medical schools in China appeared onlyin the 6th century AD, before that the art of healing was transmitted only from teacher to student in oral form. The state-level school first opened in 1027, its leading teacher was Wang Wei-i.

ancient chinese medicine

In India, the method of oral transmission from the teacher tothe disciple was preserved until the 18th century, and the selection criteria were extremely stringent: the healer was to be a model of a healthy lifestyle and a high level of intelligence, to know perfectly the biology and chemistry, to orientate perfectly in medicinal plants and methods of preparing potions, to be an example for imitation . Cleanliness and neatness stood in the first place.

In ancient Egypt, priests were trained in healingtemples, and corporal punishment was often used for negligent pupils. In parallel with medicine, the teaching of calligraphy and rhetoric went, and each trained doctor belonged to a special caste and temple, which received a fee for the treatment of the patient in the future.

Mass training in medicine has developed in large scale in ancient Greece and divided into two branches:

1. Croton School of Medicine.Its main idea was the following thesis: health is the balance of opposites, and the illness must be treated in the opposite way (bitter - sweet, cold - warm). One of the pupils of this school was Akmeon, who opened the auditory canal and optic nerves to the world.

2. The Cnidian School.Her basic knowledge was similar to the teachings of Ayurveda: the physical body consists of several elements, the imbalance of which leads to the disease. This school continued to improve the work of Egyptian healers, so formed the doctrine of the symptoms of the disease and diagnosis. Eurithon, a pupil of this school, was a contemporary of Hippocrates.

Oath of the doctor

For the first time, the oath was written on paper in the 3rd century BC by Hippocrates, and before that it was passed on for a long time verbally from generation to generation. It is believed that the first it said Asclepius.

The modern oath of Hippocrates is already far fromof the original: her words changed many times, depending on time and nationality, the last time it was heavily distorted in 1848, when a new version of the speech was announced in Geneva. Almost half the text was cut out:

- the promise of never having abortions and castration procedures;

- under no circumstances do not do euthanasia;

- the promise never to have an intimate relationship with the patient;

- under no circumstances to drop its dignity, refraining from illegal actions;

- part of their income for life is given to a teacher or school, who has trained a doctor in medical matters.

From these points it is clear how modern medicine has lowered the moral and ethical level of the doctor as a highly spiritual person, leaving only basic functions - rendering assistance to the suffering.