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Yourlastname 1 Student Name Professor Name Subject Date Medieval Medicine Usefulness Medicine is an irreplaceable aspect of our everyday

life. It guards health of numerous individuals and without it we would not have as much benefits as we have now. However, it was not always this way. Just a few hundred years ago the medications and treatments we obtain nowadays were unavailable and not existent. It was greatly possible for people to get a disease or infection, which would lead to lethal outcome. Most of the illnesses that used to haunt human kind ages ago are now curable thanks to the progress of science and medicine in particular. There are various periods of time and different leading views on medicine, which lead to what we have today. These include: prehistoric medicine, antiquity, medicine of the Greek and Roman, Middle Ages medicine, which was lead by Islamic Middle Ages and Scholastic medicine, Renaissance, Early Modern period, Rise of modern medicine in the 19th century, and the modern medicine of our days. Each of these eras of medicine development has brought something very special to the creation of the entire practice. In this paper the main emphasize and work focuses on the medicine of Middle Ages, as one of the most important ones, and the contributions it brought, as well as its usefulness during the time of its being. During the Medieval Ages medicine was versatile and complex. Unfortunately, with the fall of Roman Empire the medical knowledge dramatically declined, however works and books of the Romans and Greeks were greatly saved. Despite that, the knowledge of Medieval Ages

Yourlastname 2 was filled with superstition and supposition, rather than prior scientific knowledge and experience. The process of treating relied on the abilities and skills of different classes of medical professionals of that era according to the socio-economic status a patient belonged to. Although largely the practices and procedures consisted of herbal medications and remedies, prayers, charms and spells, there are also some notes in the history of surgeries being performed and cures being found. The very first medical university was founded during the Medieval Ages, more specifically in 10th century, in Salerno, Italy. Despite the fact that most of the lectures and studies were quite rudimentary, some works of greatest physicians of antique era were preserved and passed on. Much like the physicians from the Ancient Greece, the brightest minds of Medieval Ages believed that the body consists of four most important humors: sanguine or blood, choler, phlegm, and melancholia. The greatest influence of these times was Hippocrates who has set that belief. Alongside humors, demons, spirits, bad smells, astrology and stars, destiny, and so on were responsible for sicknesses. The primary cause and reason for occurrence of illnesses they found to be in the imbalance of these humors. After finding out which humor was responsible for the disease they would attempt to fix the problem with spells and herbal medications to put everything back into balance. Formation of the first medical institution is considered a great step in the creation of the entire process of studying and researching medicine and while the methods and beliefs may seem nothing like what we know today, knowing them gives us a sense of trials and errors as well as description of numerous illnesses and methods that actually worked and saved lives. The first hospitals were established during this era as well; largely open to the traveling pilgrims, old, and disabled.

Yourlastname 3 Most of the prominent medical professionals of Medieval Ages stayed in the big cities where they obtained privileges and significant wages. Their services were quite expensive and only wealthy individuals could afford such procedures (Schulman). The medicine back then was guided and guarded largely by the church, which had its own view on the illnesses and medications (Graf). For example, the church considered medical issues to be sent to an individual as a payback of some sort for his or her deeds and it was earned. For that reason, spells and incantations to gods were soon replaced with prayers to the saints and the Christian God. The church made Galen and his works the main focus of the students and medical practitioners (Graf; Daly, Brater). It simply denied any need for further investigation, supposing Galens vision to be perfectly correct (NLM). Pilgrimages were given a lot of attention, so much in fact, that the practice is still alive today. Human dissection was forbidden and this has lead to numerous misleading ideas, which were not supported by any scientific fact. Although some agreed with the view of the church, the most literate class of society the monks continued implementing the knowledge that they have gotten from the saved ancient medical texts by rewriting and copying them. This has definitely influenced the entire state of medicine providing insights on prior research and giving inspiration to instigate new ones. Despite all the primitivism, it is possible to say that the medicine in Medieval Ages was quite useful. They obtained the anesthetic, which could make man all asleep while an operation was performed made out of hemlock juice, lettuce, wild briony, henbane vinegar, and opium poppy. For tooth ache pellitorys root was utilized, dandelions were used to increas e the flow of bile from the liver, in case of bee stings waybread was largely used, seeds of psycliium were commonly known as laxative, and so on. They did not have any sources for the medical

Yourlastname 4 treatments, as we know them today, however, it is possible to observe that a lot of the remedies could actually be found in the nature around us. It was very different in the Muslim Middle east, however. The books of Hippocrates were translated into the Arabic language during the Harun al-Rashids reign. Initially, the ideas were conserved and stable there as well, however, later on Avenzoar and Ibn an Nafis, two of the most famous historical figures in the development and practice of medicine during Medieval Ages in the Middle East, instigated the process of challenging misunderstandings, misleading and errors by challenging the already known (BBC). Nevertheless, their work never really made it to the Europe as the church suppressed their ideas. The only exception is the work of Ibn Sina or Avicenna Canon of Medicine - that still is a rather important source for information on hygiene and sanitary. Thus, although the treatments and medical practices may not seem very efficient, it is important to understand that they were developing according to their time and were, in fact, useful for the population. Despite the fact that the research was majorly inhibited by the church it still became possible for individuals to promote new ideas and challenge old errors, which lead to the formation of the medicine as we know it today.

Yourlastname 5 Works Cited BBC. Medieval Superstitions and Muslim knowledge. http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/history/shp/middleages/medievalknowledgere v2.shtml Daly, Walter, Brater, Craig. Medieval Contributions to the Search for Truth in Clinical Medicine. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 43(4), 2000. http://muse.jhu.edu/login?auth=0&type=summary&url=/journals/perspectives_in_biolog y_and_medicine/v043/43.4daly.pdf Graf, Rebecca. The Church and Medieval Medicine. http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art171246.asp http://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/greek/greek_galen.html NLM. Greek Medicine: Galen. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/greek/greek_galen.html Schulman, Jana. The Rise of the Medieval World, 500-1300: A Biographical Dictionary. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002.