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Ancient medical practices which are stranger than fiction

Whenever someone exclaims, that the medicine has formula invented centuries ago, we develop a form of trust on it. But after reading this article, you will question your judgment again. Ancient civilizations have been developing healing techniques for more than a millennia. They had started with the use of natural substances obtained from plants and animals to cure diseases. Many medical practices like Ayurveda are even followed today, thus putting belief in the ancient wisdom. There is no doubt, that modern medicine and operative techniques have been derived with the past experience only, and all the ancient medical practices have served as a base to develop the future medical technologies. But all over the world, there were many wild and bizarre practices which were followed. It was believed that these practices had healing capabilities and most of them were defined by culture.

  • Surgery isn’t an option: Let’s take the tour to Mesopotamian civilization, where physicians were punished or rewarded. If the surgery by any physician was performed successfully he was heavily rewarded. But one wrong step or a failed surgery could lead to the doctor losing his hand. Want to be a doctor now? This resulted in doctors not willing to perform surgeries and treating the patients with herbal remedies. Also the sorcerers emerged who tried to cure the illness through spells and charms.
  • Love for Mice: What do you do when you have a toothache? Go to a dentist. Unfortunately in ancient Egypt, there were no dentist. To counter the toothache, they made a special paste and applied it to their teeth. That Delicious paste was made by squashing Mice. Yeah! For some reason they believed that this paste made of mice would act as a painkiller. Although modern science suggests that although the paste did more harm than good, the belief in paste had a psychological effect and toned down the pain for the mind.
  • Cut the tongue: No, cutting the tongue was not any ancient torture technique. It was a ‘healing’ technique in Europe. It was believed the only cure to stammering was cutting half of the tongue. Pretty naïve right? This lead to multiple infections in the tongue which ultimately caused the death of some patients. Oh! You are asking if it worked. Obviously not. But it took a lot of time for them to realize that.
  • Healing turns disgusting: Our tour brings us back to the Ancient Intelligent Egyptians who believed that poop could help in curing infections. Yuck! They even orally administered poop for diseases. Oh! And you sure had some variety, the dung of lizards, pigs, children and donkeys were used on the wounds.

All this might sound weird, but some part of it is also used today. Like tongue is partially cut to counter Oral cancer and faeces is used in countering clostridium difficile. In India, cow dung is even used today as it is believed to have many medicinal properties. You should just feel lucky enough that none of these practices are followed today, and we have the gift of advanced medical science to cherish.


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