A History of Medicine

hippocrates_quoteHello again.  Let’s call this message “a history of medicine.”

If you read the scriptures you know that a man named Luke was a physician.  I do not know what he was taught nor what he did, but he was a man of medicine.  Probably every king and ruler in ancient times had a court physician.  I would imagine that this position did not come with a lifetime guarantee.  The only life guarantee was yours if you did not produce the goods as promised.  Additionally, in the tribal cultures they normally had a shaman or medicine man.  These guys knew every herb and weed in the forest or jungle.  As a matter of fact, modern man still goes to them for their medicines and knowledge because the chemicals in the herbs worked then and still do today.

The father of modern medicine is a title normally given to a Greek physician named Hippocrates.  He lived from 460 BC to 370 BC.  Living for 90 years wasn’t too bad, I think.     Have you ever read the Hippocratic oath?  The new physician swears to several things.  The new physician must 1. Do no harm.  2.  Give no poisons and swear to numerous other moral requirements including keeping all he knows and learns to himself except for other physicians and their sons.  Ever wonder why the docs are so secretive?  They are required to be so. Ever wonder why around 1900 all the docs were wealthy white males?  I believe that I have the answers to those questions.

As far as modern docs go they obviously violate the tenets of do no harm and give no poison.  Modern docs do three things.  The will cut you ( surgery), burn you ( cauterization, radiation), or give you a prescription for a poison (all drugs are poisons with an LD50, the lethal dose that would kill 50% of those taking it.)  You must also realize that all this is to treat your symptoms.  You get to keep your disease.  We will get more into this in part 2 of “a history of medicine.”

Lets drop on down to 1520.  In 1520 a German chemist by the name of Count von Hoenblume was working in the mines purifying ores.  This can be done by several means with one of them being the use of mercury, Hg.  Mercury is a very dense, silvery liquid.  The idea came to him that if man could purify ores with mercury, why not man himself.  He quit work as a chemist and began again as a physician.  His stock in trade was to give his patients a dose of mercury and then watch what would happen    The unfortunate patient would immediately vomit and have roaring diarrhea.  The doc thought he was “purifying” the body.  Mercury in German is Queck Salber which in English comes out as quick silver.  The name given to this process of purging came to be known as quackery and the doc was the quack.   By the way, modern medicine is still using mercury and mecurials.

At one time, to practice medicine in England you had to have the King’s permission.  Now the doctors are sworn to secrecy and believe that what they know is superior to anything someone else might know.  They tried to form a monopoly and force the midwives, the nature docs, and anyone not practicing their style of medicine out of business much as the docs today do.  Such a howl went up from the poor that the King gave out an edict that stopped the docs and allowed the poor at least some measure of medical help.  The docs termed this something like the “quackery laws”.

I hope you can see that when it comes to health, sickness, disease, cures, and healing there is quite a lot to learn about, even if you have not studied it in college.

We will pick this thread up again in the history of medicine part 2.

So long and see ya’ll later.  DrC