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Hippocrates


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Hippocrates was born on the Greek island of Kos in the 5th century BCE, and he became the most famous physician in antiquity. He established a medical school on the island, wrote many treatises on medical matters, and is, through his systematic and empirical investigation of diseases and remedies, credited with being the founder of modern medicine.

Biographical Details

Information regarding Hippocrates is patchy and unreliable. He was perhaps born c. 460 BCE, but details of his life were speculated upon even in ancient times. One of the oldest sources is the Life of Hippocrates credited to Soranus of Ephesus, himself a physician, who lived in the 1st and 2nd centuries CE. Soranus' method of quoting from now lost earlier texts has been an invaluable source of information on ancient medicine. He states that Hippocrates knew several 5th-century sophists, notably Gorgias of Leontini, and was taught medicine by both his father and Herodicus of Selymbria, a gymnastic trainer. We also know that Hippocrates set up and ran a school of medicine on Kos.

Plato mentions Hippocrates in his Protagoras, suggesting that he worked for fees and believed the body should be treated as a whole (Phaedrus). The Roman scholar and medical writer Cornelius Celsus claims that Hippocrates was the first to separate medicine from philosophy, and other ancient sources also suggest that Hippocrates believed in the importance of diet and exercise for a healthy body. Soranus goes on to inform us that Hippocrates travelled throughout his life and died at Larissa in Thessaly, c. 370 BCE.

Hippocrates was the first to separate medicine from philosophy & HE believed in the importance of diet & exercise for a healthy body.

In antiquity, many legends arose of Hippocrates' great talents but most of these are likely pure invention. He reportedly discovered that King Perdiccas II of Macedon's health problems were down to lovesickness, he eliminated the plague that hit Athens in 430 BCE by burning fires everywhere, and he treated the philosopher Democritus whom everybody thought mad (not without some justification). Hippocrates had three sons who carried on his work - Thessalus, Dracon, and Polybus.

Hippocratic Corpus

Hippocrates has long been credited with writing a large number of ancient treatises, speeches, and letters on medicine, collectively referred to as the Hippocratic Corpus (Corpus Hippocraticum), which was compiled in the Hellenistic period in Ptolemaic Alexandria. Modern scholars consider that, on stylistic grounds alone, these texts must actually have been written by multiple authors and point out that there is no reference to Hippocrates ever writing anything in sources contemporary with his lifetime. Scholars, therefore, hold the position that some of the texts were written by Hippocrates but exactly which ones are still debated.

The 3rd-century BCE Corpus was edited again in the 1st century CE by the scholars Dioscurides and Capiton. Several ancient writers, often famous physicians themselves, frequently wrote commentaries on works attributed to Hippocrates, amongst the most notable are Herophilus of Chalcedon (4th-3rd century BCE), Apollonius of Citium (1st century BCE), and Galen (2nd-3rd century CE).

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The Hippocratic texts deal with all manner of medical topics but can be grouped into the four main categories of diagnosis, biology, treatment and general advice for doctors. There are over 60 treatises, each on specific topics, for example, joints, therapy, regime, surgery, physiology, the progression of diseases, purging remedies, and gynecology. The issues of ethics and medicine's relation to other subjects, especially philosophy, are also discussed.

The Hippocratic Oath

The famous Hippocratic Oath probably appeared after Hippocrates' lifetime and was reserved for a select group of doctors. It was actually a religious document ensuring a doctor operated within and for community values. With the Oath the practitioner swore by Apollo, Hygieia, and Panacea to respect their teacher and not to administer poison, abuse patients in any way, use a knife, or break the confidentiality between patient and doctor. Modern versions of the oath, or similar such statements, are still today sworn by many medical students around the world.

Conclusion

Hippocrates is credited by historians with moving the subject of medicine away from the previously supernatural and religious approach, which had been closely linked to the Greek god of healing Asclepius, towards a modern approach of observation, classification, causes and effects, and so on. Even if others before him, such as Alkmaion of Kroton, had also begun to approach medicine in a rational manner and the details of his life and work are few, Hippocrates has, nevertheless, come to be known, just as he was in the ancient world, as the father of modern medicine.


Hippocratic Oath

The Hippocratic Oath is an oath of ethics historically taken by physicians. It is one of the most widely known of Greek medical texts. In its original form, it requires a new physician to swear, by a number of healing gods, to uphold specific ethical standards. The oath is the earliest expression of medical ethics in the Western world, establishing several principles of medical ethics which remain of paramount significance today. These include the principles of medical confidentiality and non-maleficence. As the seminal articulation of certain principles that continue to guide and inform medical practice, the ancient text is of more than historic and symbolic value. Swearing a modified form of the oath remains a rite of passage for medical graduates in many countries, and is a requirement enshrined in legal statutes of various jurisdictions, such that violations of the oath may carry criminal or other liability beyond the oath's symbolic nature.

The original oath was written in Ionic Greek, between the fifth and third centuries BC. [1] Although it is traditionally attributed to the Greek doctor Hippocrates and it is usually included in the Hippocratic Corpus, most modern scholars do not regard it as having been written by Hippocrates himself.


Hippocrates - History

Hippocrates was an ancient Greek physician whose work was enormously influential with the development of modern medicine. Through the lens of history, he is viewed as one of the very greatest of all physicians of Greek antiquity.

The Early Years of Hippocrates

As is the case with many famous persons born a long time ago, many of the records of the birth, life, and death of Hippocrates have been lost – if they were recorded at all. Based on the records that do survive, we can ascertain that Hippocrates was born in 460 B.C. in Kos, Greece. What we do know about the man is found in the work of his primary biographer Soranus of Ephesus and also in the writings of the philosopher Aristotle.

Hippocrates was the son of Heraclides, who was also a physician. It would seem that Hippocrates learned the basics of early medicine from both his father and his grandfather. Throughout his entire life, Hippocrates practiced medicine. His practice was not solely based in Kos, as Hippocrates traveled all throughout Greece and its territories. His life did have quite a bit of tumult as his theories on medicine frequently irked those who preferred the status quo.

Core Philosophies

One of the most important assertions made by Hippocrates was the notion that diseases and illnesses do not derive from curses from the Gods nor are they rooted in any supernatural or superstitious origin. By changing the focus from superstition to science he helped to alter the course of medicine and scientific study.

What Hippocrates did know based on his observations was that diet, lifestyle, and environmental factors all contributed to the health of a living person. Today, we look at such an assessment as being rooted in simple, basic, common sense. In the world of antiquity, superstition was far more prevalent and all things that were not clearly understood were assumed to possess a magical and a mystical origin. Hippocrates revolutionary belief system offered a thoroughly new approach that was not exactly accepted by his contemporaries. In fact, the great physician would suffer greatly for his beliefs.

At the time Hippocrates lived, very little was known about disease because Greek society forbade dissection. As a result, a lot of guesswork was required on the part of physicians. Perhaps claiming supernatural origins was an easy way out for doctors at the time. Then again, they likely believed in the notion that disease was the curse of the gods.

Hippocrates took things a step further and developed the theory of a disease crisis. The notion of a crisis referred to determining how far a disease was along and whether or not the patient would recover. While quite a bit of speculation is involved here, no one would say that the man was not headed in the right direction with his theories.

Punishment of Hippocrates

For his opposition against prevalent beliefs in Greece at the time regarding medicine, Hippocrates was sentenced to a 20 year prison term. There was a positive outcome that emerged from this prison sentence. Hippocrates did not allow it to deter him in his beliefs. In fact, he used his time in prison productively as he wrote “The Complicated Body,” a treatise that was many centuries ahead of its time. A great deal of what we know today to be true in modern medicine can be traced to the material in this work. Upon reviewing it, most will agree Hippocrates truly does deserve the title of being the “Father of Western Medicine.”

The Body of Work of Hippocrates

Upon looking at the work of Hippocrates, it is not exactly easy to decipher his approach to how he actually practiced medicine. While we do have a general idea based on what records survive, the unfortunate truth remains a great many facts about his life are lost to history. What has survived and what we do know does reveal he was brilliant man who was far ahead of his time. Based on his work, the Hippocratic Oath emerged and this is the governing philosophy all doctors prescribe to.

Hippocrates eventually passed away circa 370 B.C.

2 responses to “Hippocrates”

What is your source, please, for this ‘Hippocrates in prison’ story? And for this treatise ‘The Complicated Body’? There is no such treatise in the HIppocratic corpus and I have only found this prison saga on a few Internet sites. But someone must have started it!


The humors and personality

Hippocrates and his followers never saw disease as a solely organic matter. They believed that the mind and the body were a single entity. As such, during disease, the mind had certain effects on the physical body and vice versa.

Members of the Peripatetic school added another idea to the theory of the four humors. They postulated that an excess of one of the humors brought about a specific temperament in people. Later on, Galen elaborated on this. He stated that a lack of balance between the four humors affected people’s way of acting, feeling, and thinking.

Galen ended up outlining the existence of four temperaments:

  • Melancholic: In these people, black bile predominates. They have a melancholic temperament, are very sensitive, and enjoy artistic pursuits.
  • Choleric: People in this category have a higher amount of yellow bile, which is the source of their passionate temperament. They have enormous vitality and get angry quickly.
  • Sanguine: Blood is the predominant humor in these people. They’re confident, joyful, optimistic, expressive, and sociable.
  • Phlegmatic: The phlegmatic have a high amount of phlegm in their systems. They’re deep thinkers, fair, calm, willing to compromise, and hard workers.

The Hippocratic Oath

The very familiar “Hippocratic Oath” is a document on medical practices, ethics, and morals. Originally, Hippocrates was credited with composing the oath, however, newer research indicates it was written after his death by other physicians influenced by the medical practices in the Corpus. Though not applied in its original form today, the many modernized versions that exist serve as the foundation for the oath medical graduates take at the start of their careers. Some of the basic tenets of the oath include practicing medicine to the best of one’s ability, sharing knowledge with other physicians, employing sympathy, compassion and understanding, respecting the privacy of patients and helping to prevent disease whenever possible. 


1. Biomedical Methodology

One way to parse the groups of Hippocratic writers revolves around their geographical origins: Cos vs. Cnidos. Though this classification is controversial, it is useful (whether one accepts the literal geographical demarcation) to mark some clear distinctions in the Hippocratic body of writing. It appears to be the case that the Cos writers sought to create general biomedical “laws” that for the most part would give the explanation for why someone was sick. Any physician might make reference to these “laws” and thereby have an etiology for the disease, and by extension a strategy for treatment.

A. The Four Humors

The most historically prominent theoretical scheme of the Coan writers was the doctrine of the four humors of the body: blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile (or sometimes serum). Health was defined as the balance of the four humors. Disease was defined as the imbalance of the humors. When imbalance occurred, then the physician might intervene by making a correction to bring the body back into balance. For example, if the individual were too full of phlegm (making her phlegmatic or lethargic), then the phlegm must be countered. Citrus fruit was thought to be a counter-acting agent. Thus, if one feels lethargic, increasing one’s citrus intake will re-create balance. The treatment is, in fact, generally effective. Moderns might describe the therapy differently by ascribing the effect to vitamin-C, phosphorus, and natural sugar. This example illustrates the scope of the Hippocratic physician in this context: something like a cross between the modern roles of an herbalist dietician and a personal trainer. Nonetheless, the cures that were dictated by the four humor theory seemed to work well enough for this theory to extend to the nineteenth century (in various guises).

B. An Ancient Debate: Are General Causal Theories Beneficial?

Other biomedical writers–some say from Cnidos–held that strict empirical principles did not allow scientists to go far beyond the data. It was a better methodology for the biomedical practitioner to stay as close as possible to the data that were before him. This meant that each patient would be seen in her particularity. Such a method required careful trial and error observation and only slight manipulation of the patient in the form of treatment.

There was a great conflict in the ancient world concerning the status of observational conclusions (the empirically concrete). Should they be given in their specificity and remain as disparate, individual accounts, or should they be grouped and more general principles drawn from them? In this instance it was very much in dispute whether it was better to set out individual reports of particular illnesses (case studies) or to try to draw general rules from the particulars.

Take, for example Epidemics III:

THE MORTIFICATION OF THE GANGRENE. If the gangrene mortifies itself there is a head pain and frequently a scratchy throat the sick limb loses sensation, a feeling of cold comes to the head and the affected limb sweats. He suddenly loses his speech and blows blood from his nose as he becomes pale. If the disease takes hold of the patient with a weak force, he recovers the discharged blood. If the disease takes him with a strong force, he dies promptly. In this case one induces sneezing by pleasant substances one evacuates by the upper and lower. Alternatively those odors will be a little active. The soup will be light and hot. Wine is absolutely forbidden. (Epidemics III, Littré 7, p. 123)

In this passage one is left merely with symptoms and treatment. But when one practices medicine in this way there are severe restrictions. For the disease is seen as a collection of symptoms. The cure can only be guessed at unless it has been previously written down in a manual. When a physician is confronted with a novel disease he must find a similar set of symptoms and use that treatment. This aspect of the “trial and error” method brought harsh rebuke from Galen.

The point is that they [the Cnidians] looked at the varieties of symptoms which change for many reasons and failed to consider the specificity of the dispositions, as did Hippocrates, who used for their discovery a method only by using which, one can find the number of diseases . . . . Hippocrates censures the Cnidian physicians for their ignorance of the genera and species of diseases, and he points out the divisions by which what seems to be one becomes many by being divided. (Corpus Medicorum Graecorum 5.9.1, pp. 121-22 Claudii Galeni De Placitis Hippocratis et Platonis, ed. I. Mueller (Lipsiae, 1874), p. 776)

C. Prognosis and Treatment

What was it that made the Cnidians different from the Coan writers? This can be found by examining the two steps in any medical practice: Prognosis and Treatment. In the Coan work, On Prognosis, the writer suggests that prognosis consists in knowing the patient’s condition in the past, present, and the future. Now how could a physician know this? Well, this could also have been part of a handbook catalogued through similar case studies. The practitioner could memorize each individual description. Next, the practitioner could add to this his own experience. But the problem is that each case is individual. It possesses “nature” only in the sense of possessing a unique set of properties. The practitioner would not be in a good position to treat novel cases. When confronted with a novel case, the practitioner is left with seeking similar cases. The implied premise is that similar cases call for similar remedies. The more the experience, the more refined the practitioner can be in balancing similar cases with the remedies.

Obviously, much rides on the word, ‘similar.’ Is a rich body of knowledge enough? Is it not also requisite to have a classification procedure, which itself implies rules of classification. And how does one select and justify such rules? It would seem that we are pressed backwards toward archai, starting points for some axiomatic system (à la Aristotle’s Posterior Analytics, I, i-ii).

Such an alternative to the empiricist program aims at establishing a theory of causes that underlie individual cases. These causes such as the “hot,” “cold,” “wet,” and “dry” or “the four humors” are more general because they seek to describe a different sense of the nature of disease. ‘Nature’ in this context refers to the sort of condition that comes from observations based upon the individuality of actual patients. For here we are interested in the genera and species of the disease in question. Such an exercise creates a classification of types of diseases.

But for this classification not to be based upon accidental characteristics, it is requisite that it include the causal factors that operate to bring about the disease in the first place. This is really the foundational or causal network that is responsible for the disease’s very existence. Such an understanding of “nature” moves away from individuals and their “similarities” toward the theoretical. Understood in this way, the nature of disease is a regulating factor upon the prognosis of the physician. This nature must be understood in order to offer treatment. In this sense, nature is the overarching principles that give an account of the mechanism of the disease. What made the Coan writers so attractive to Galen was that they investigated various senses of nature while the Cnidians confined themselves only to the data as they presented themselves.

D. The Hippocratic Writings and Hellenistic Medicine

The Hippocratic writings were influential in the development of later biomedical practitioners. The three principal Hellenistic schools: Dogmatists, Methodists, and the Empirics all hearken back in various ways to the Hippocratic writings. Many debates in the Hippocratic writings (such as the “preformation” vs. “epigenesis” debate) are picked-up again and given a twist according to the predilections of the Hellenistic schools. Galen, himself, often cites Hippocrates, aka “the Hippocratic writers,” as the point of departure for his own theory building. Thus, it would be fair to say that not only were the Hippocratic writers the first systematic biomedical writers in the Western tradition, but also the most influential to later writers.


A brief biography of Hippocrates

The famed doctor was born in the Greek island of Kos around 460 BCE. Like many physicians at that time, his supposed lineage can be traced back to the Greek god of healing, Asclepius. True to their dynasty’s destiny, Hippocrates’ father, Heraclides, was also a physician.

Plato mentions Hippocrates’ alleged ancestry in Phaedrus, calling him “of the Asclepiad family”. Whether that meant Hippocrates being a temple attendant to Asclepius or him belonging to a sect of doctors who were considered descendants of the healing god, we can’t exactly be sure. But textual evidence points to the latter as Hippocrates was wont to detach diseases from divine sources (but he is open to the possibility as shown in his text Prognostic). The folk-clerical therapies employed in Asclepius’ temples by its stewards also contradict with Hippocrates’ largely materialist medicine. Plato also tells us in Protagoras another important social function that Hippocrates fulfilled, that of a medical instructor, a role that he performed for an unspecified price.

Of his stature as a physician, we read from Aristotle a glowing endorsement of his medical abilities. In Politics, Aristotle uses the doctor as a comparative standard for what a well-functioning institution should be like:

“For a state like other things has a certain function to perform, so that it is the state most capable of performing this function that is to be deemed the greatest, just as one would pronounce Hippocrates to be greater, not as a human being but as a physician, than somebody who surpassed him in bodily size.”

Acclaim wasn’t limited to his homeland either, so it seems. News of his extraordinary talents had reached the neighbouring kingdom of Persia, where the king Artaxerxes was listening attentively. Artaxerxes later ordered the governor of the Hellespont to bribe Hippocrates with extravagant gifts, hoping that the allure of riches would convince the doctor to ditch Greece for Persia. Unfortunately for Artaxerxes, the offering only managed to elicit Hippocrates’ defiance and nonchalance over worldly riches, for the doctor promptly refused the offer. This story is largely a legend with only a few kernels of truth in it it was probably first concocted as a political parable peddled by the Greeks to bolster anti-Persian prejudice.

An incomplete yet already coherent picture of Hippocrates emerges out of these few reports. With Plato and Aristotle’s accounts, we can be certain that there was indeed a Hippocrates whose medical talents overshadowed others, which was reason enough for aspiring physicians to pay tuition to study under his tutelage. Moreover, the use of Hippocrates as propaganda against the Persians affirms his salutary stature within the greater Mediterranean.

As a doctor of elite acclaim and a medical teacher of great repute, we can safely assume that Hippocrates fostered within and around him an academic culture that especially focused in, but wasn’t limited to, medicine. In a time when specialisation was alien to intellectual life, Hippocrates and his students would have welcomed insights from other fields if it improved medical treatments. This openness wasn’t unique to the Hippocratics, but it was quite common in ancient Greece. An earlier school, that of Pythagoras of the famous theorem, mixed medical treatments with music and a strict regimen of vegetable diet. Aristotle’s Lyceum, which opened decades later after Hippocrates’ death, also followed a similar schema, especially embodied by its founding headmasters. While Aristotle busied himself with zoological research — culminating in the multi-volume Historia Animalium which garnered him the accolade of being the “father of biology” — his chosen successor as headmaster of the Lyceum, Theophrastus, set his eyes on another living kingdom. As a sort of complement to Aristotle’s compendium, Theophrastus wrote a comprehensive botanical study called Historia Plantarum. Because of this work, Theophrastus was later granted custody of his kingdom and named “father of botany”.

An eye for medicine buttress the works of these two. Implicit in Aristotle’s work is the importance of understanding the reciprocal relationship between anatomical form and physiological function when it comes to the well-being of the organism, that is, of its health. Theophrastus, meanwhile, devoted portions of his anthology to herbal lore and used this as a segue to discuss illnesses and their respective cures. Given Aristotle’s high praise of the doctor, it’s plausible that Hippocrates had significant influence on both their works.

The fact that Hippocrates found an audience within the philosophical community is a testament to the intellectual quality of the corpus. In fact, there is enough reason to suppose that Hippocrates was a more direct spiritual and intellectual forerunner to Aristotle, as many of the “modern” and “scientific” elements espoused by the philosopher were already developed in many Hippocratic texts. Especially consonant with Aristotle’s science was Hippocrates’ pursuit of a correct method in On Ancient Medicine which showcased the doctor’s best attempt at a philosophy and history of medicine.


Main contributions of Hippocrates

Transforms medicine into a discipline

Until the fifth century before Christ, medicine was not a discipline fit to be studied. In fact, it was thought that the diseases had a strict relation with superstitions, legends and magic.

The arrival of this Hippocrates drastically changed the look towards medicine, as he raised it more rationally.

He looked away from the legends and began to study the causes of disease. He argued that the diseases that man contracted depended more on the environment, habits and food.

In addition, it implemented techniques and methodologies for the treatment of some diseases, including diagnostics and preventive measures that would mark the beginning of the art of medicine, expanding to different parts of the world.

Some of these approaches and descriptions were rescued and as a whole is now known as the Corpus Hippocratic . It is a compilation where you can find the most important findings for medicine during the fourth and fifth century.

Hippocratic Oath

The creation of the ethical basis of medicine starts from this writing. This oath, attributed to Hippocrates, is a document which describes the principles that a person dedicated to medicine must possess.

Currently in many of the world's medical schools, students of this discipline must take an oath, allusive to this writing, at their graduation ceremony.

Anatomy

Among the different writings rescued of this time some drawings of the human anatomy were discovered. However, this anatomy was based primarily on animals, so there was no detailed knowledge of the human body.

Although the knowledge about the anatomy of the man was scarce, these writings were the first impressions that were related to the human anatomy.

Description of diseases

In the experience gained during his life, and his dedication to medicine, Hippocrates was able to describe many diseases (hemorrhoids, diseases located in the chest, lung diseases, heart disease, among others).

Although some of his descriptions are not exactly accurate, they were a strong basis for making medicine a science.

Surgery

Another of the great contributions to modern medicine was the possibility of surgery. The data collected about this time, indicate that Hippocrates was one of the first surgeons to record.

Despite the time, they are talking about quite adequate methods, taking into account the technological limitations.

Preventive medicine

This was an important part in the writings of Hippocrates. It indicates in them the evolution of certain diseases, describes their symptoms and the possible complications to be able to give a diagnosis.

Also, depending on the diagnosis, the literature describes guidelines for achieving improvement.

Hippocrates also had other aspects relevant to the prognosis of diseases, such as diet and Lifestyle Of the patient.

He considered that the habits and environment in which a person was, influenced the illnesses that he contracted.

Gynecology

On this subject, Hippocrates studies women in different situations. For example, it describes the diseases that come to suffer the virgin women. It describes other states, such as sterility, pregnancy, among others.


Contraception in History Part I: Aristotle, Hippocrates, and a Whole Lotta Lead

There’s a common misconception (no pun intended) that contraception didn’t exist in any real capacity before the twentieth century. Previous generations were able to control themselves, were not as sex-mad as we are today, and only ever engaged in the act after (heterosexual!) marriage and for the sake of procreation.

I have always believed that people haven’t changed at all over the course of human history, and the more I study, the more I believe this to be true. Sure, the way people make sense of their world changes, as does the way they write about it, but people don’t change. This is particularly true when it comes to sex. Our very existence is proof that every generation since the dawn of man has been powerless against it. More than just a biological urge, it’s a desire and an obsession. As long as mankind has understood that sex can lead to pregnancy, we have sought ways to prevent conception.

This is nothing new. You want proof?

This twelve-thousand year old cave painting from the Grotte des Combarelles in France is believed to be the first depiction of condom use.

Being a life-long fan of historical romance, I have always been curious about contraception. Assuming the woman didn’t die having her first or second child, how did she avoid having twenty more? Do they all have syphilis? If not, why not? What does syphilis look like?

Assuming I’m not the only person who has ever wondered this (and I might be…), I’m going to write a series of posts of contraception throughout history. If there’s a particular time, place, or aspect that you’re interested in, please let me know.

For now we’ll start in the Ancient World.

Obviously women are all-powerful, but Hippocrates was among the first to believe that women could prevent conception by banishing sperm on command, as he explains in The Sperm, fifth century BCE: “When a woman has intercourse, if she is not going to conceive, then it is her practice to expel the sperm produced by both partners whenever she wishes to do so.”

You read that right, the sperm produced by both partners. While Aristotle and Plato argued that men’s sperm was responsible for producing embryos and that women were little more than a receptacle for it, Hippocrates understood that conception was a complex process involving both partners. Although he might not have been quite right about conception (or lack thereof) at will, he reasoned that both parties had to be involved because children could look like either parent. So far so logical.

Diseases of Women, a Hippocratic treatise, goes on to recommend a sure fire way of dealing with unintended pregnancies: “Shake her by the armpits and give her to drink…the roots of sweet earth almond.”

There is no evidence that the sweet earth almond, also known as the Cyperus esculenthus is anything other than a tasty, tasty nut. It’s a good source of protein, healthy fats, and Vitamins E and C, so it’ll make your skin look great, but it has no known contraceptive or abortive properties.

If that didn’t work (and all signs point to no), he also advised women to jump up and down repeatedly with her heels touching her butt. It’s worth a shot.

While Aristotle underestimated the woman’s contribution to conception, his contraceptive recommendations sound a little more effective. He advised women to: “anoint that part of the womb on which the seed falls with oil of cedar, or with ointment of lead or with frankincense, commingled with olive oil.”

Lead is one explanation for the shockingly low birthrates in Ancient Rome. The aqueducts were made of lead, and it is not unreasonable to suspect that most of the population was suffering from a degree of lead poisoning (more on that here). Lead poisoning causes infertility in men and women, yes, along with behavioral changes, irritability, convulsions, and permanent damage to the central nervous system.

Throughout history, lead has been used in a number of common products from paint to eyeliner and has been a well-documented cause of infertility and madness.

So there you have it. If you can’t find someone to vigorously shake you by the armpits, try lead.*

Tune in next Thursday for more on contraception in history. If you can’t wait, read Aine Collier’s The Humble Little Condom: A History for a fun introduction.


Contributions of Hippocrates

In this article, I am going to talk about some of the Contributions of Hippocrates.

1. A direction towards the healthy way of Life

From his books, we get guidance about our food habits. In all his books, Hippocrates talks concerning the significance of following an excellent food plan reminiscent of consuming meals containing chlorophyll, and different foodstuffs like wheatgrass, sprouts, and edible algae.

At present, we perceive that life-style and poor food plans can result in illness, and plenty of issues are brought on by consuming an excessive amount of fats and sugar.

Hippocrates felt that the physical and psychological problems we may have, most are caused by our unplanned food habit. Hippocrates first recognized this when he made dietary suggestions with the intention to assist individuals to remain match and wholesome.

This recommendation remains to be legitimate at present, as seen in his suggestion to eat meals stuffed with chlorophyll, i.e. green food, which means vegetables and food full of vitamins and minerals.

2. A collection of 60+ medical work in the books – Hippocratic Corpus

Hippocrates authored many books as regards science and drugs and one instance is the Hippocratic Corpus. This is a complete collection of many solutions and guidelines effective even in the present time.

Hippocratic Corpus was written in Ionic Greek and contained lectures, philosophical essays, and analysis. It additionally included a group of around 70 completely different ailments, their signs, and solutions.

3. People suffer mostly because of Chest-Related Illness

Hippocrates was a great surgeon at all times. From his 90 years of life, Hippocrates experienced that people mostly suffer from their chests. Apart from the head, the chest is the most important part of the body engaging many other critical organs of the body. A lot of Hippocrates’ work and education were associated with ailments of the chest.

He was the primary to empty an abscess on the chest wall utilizing a tube, and this method remains to be used at present. Lots of his ideas are nonetheless taught to medical college students.

4. Pneumonia was very common and horrible

Now, we don’t see Pneumonia is so gruesome, but the days of Hippocrates were not that much easy. Pneumonia is an inflammatory situation that impacts the air passage or air sacs within the lungs. It’s primarily brought on by viruses or microorganisms.

Many people suffered from Pneumonia and succumb to death. Hippocrates first identified the signs in kids and referred to as it an illness “named by the ancients.”

He acknowledged that in extreme instances, it may result in death, and many individuals died of pneumonia as a result of they may not get the right therapy. Now, pneumonia might be handled with improved drugs and saved the lives of many.

5. Hippocrates brought out medication and cure for Empyema

Empyema or empyema thoracic is a group of pus and fluid within the area between the 2 pulmonary pleura brought on by microorganisms.

Additionally, it is referred to as respiratory inflammatory illness. It may be cured with the assistance of antibiotics and chest-tube drains. Without therapy, it may result in pneumonia, which is one of the great contributions of Hippocrates.

The primary signs of the illness are cough, fever, and chest ache. At present, the prognosis for this illness is a CT scan and X-ray, however, Hippocrates was capable of diagnosing without using these fashionable methods.

The illness consists of three essential levels: the formation of pleural fluid, fibrous septa forming within the membranes, and the shortcoming to sufficiently increase the lungs.

This illness can unfold to all elements of the lung and sometimes led to dying until Hippocrates got here up with a treatment. It was frequent in each adult and kids.

6. Finger Clubbing is a sign of chronic lung disease, lung cancer, and cyanotic heart disease.

Hippocrates was the primary to diagnose this situation which is characterized by the swelling or bloating of the fingers, which is a symptom of many other serious diseases, such as chronic lung disease, lung cancer, as well as cyanotic heart disease.

Signs and history are crucial for doctors to start medication. It is likely one of the signs of Eisenmenger’s syndrome which is a chromosomal dysfunction resulting in congenital coronary heart defects and pulmonary hypertension. At the moment, nobody had heard of the situation.

7. Epilepsy is a dysfunction of the nervous system

Epilepsy is a dysfunction of the nervous system and was documented by Hippocrates in his ebook On the Sacred Illness.

Individuals at the moment thought that epilepsy was a supernatural illness without particular origin, however, Hippocrates proposed that it was a bodily ailment.

He believed that the situation started with the formation of phlegm within the veins of the pinnacle and will result in psychological sickness.

This particular disease can occur in any part of life. For some, epilepsy occurred at delivery and others developed the situation later in life. Hippocrates is famous that younger kids who have been vulnerable to die from epilepsy.

The ancient concept was a bit different, quite superstitious. The traditional Greeks described the situation as “sacred,” and Hippocrates believed that epilepsy proved that that mind may management the body.

Hippocrates had a modern mind. He believed in logic and science. He additionally advised that the mind was the eventual reason for dying as a result of the shortcoming to breathe was brought on by a blockage within the veins of the head. He noticed that the primary signs of epilepsy have been shivering and a contraction of the mind.

8. Remedy for Hemorrhoids was a great relief for human

Hemorrhoids, or more generally piles, is a dysfunction of the rectum and anal canal. In historic Greece, it was thought to have been brought on by extra bile and phlegm and was troublesome to deal with.

Hippocrates first noticed this situation and worked on it, which is now recognized to be brought on by a swelling of the blood vessels within the rectal space, which is one of the great contributions of Hippocrates. The findings of Hippocrates is still addressed significantly by the doctors.

9. Hippocratic Face must have their logical causes

The Hippocratic face is caused by impending danged of death, long term illness, or excessive hunger, excessive evacuation, or anything like this. The Hippocratic face, or Latin facies Hippocratica, describes a dramatic change in an individual’s facial options which is characterized by sunken eyes and cheeks, and relaxed lips.

These signs have been first described by Hippocrates and have been an indication of extended moderately than acute sickness. If the causes weren’t handled, the situation could possibly be deadly. People earlier that time, used to think about the face, cursed.

10. Hippocratic Oath still renders the professional spirit

Hippocrates was an excellent doctor and wished all those that adopted him to abide by the identical set of ideas and ethics. He due to this fact proposed the Hippocratic oath which outlines the foundations that must be adopted by all medical practitioners.

The oath is a commitment and self-motivation. The oath states that each one doc ought to do their responsibility with full respect to the affected person and keep away from any malpractice.

The oath is the liability of the doctor to professional ethics. The oath begins by swearing upon the gods and units out a listing of guidelines that must be adopted.

The oath is included in his Hippocratic Corpus. One instance included within the oath is that of abortion being an immoral act.

Hippocrates additionally states that anybody who follows his oath will acquire an excellent status as a physician. At present, most medical college students swear this oath on commencement.

10. Use of diagnosis, medication, and devices

The rectal speculum is a beneficial diagnostic device for docs and was first utilized by Hippocrates to detect illnesses contained in the body. It’s inserted by the anus and used to detect tumors and inside irritation.

Hippocrates used many devices like this to diagnose illness and taught his college students to use every instrument precisely and when to make use of it. He additionally invented devices which could possibly be used to carry out surgical procedure.

11. The Endoscopy gives an inner look into the body

It was much needed to view inside the body in order to diagnose. The precept of endoscopy is to look contained in the body, and its earliest type was invented by Hippocrates.

Hippocrates initiated the process during his time. At the time, individuals have been cautious of this method, however, nowadays it’s a frequent diagnostic device used for early detection of sickness and illness.

12. Hippocratic theory is evergreen

Hippocrates is credited with being the primary particular person to imagine that ailments have been induced naturally, not due to superstition and gods. Hippocrates was credited by the disciples of Pythagoras of allying philosophy and drugs.

He separated the self-discipline of drugs from the faith, believing and arguing that illness was not a punishment inflicted by the gods however somewhat the product of environmental components, weight loss program, and residing habits.

Certainly, there’s not a single point out of a mystical sickness within the entirety of the Hippocratic Corpus.

Nonetheless, Hippocrates did work with many convictions that have been primarily based on what’s now identified to be incorrect anatomy and physiology, corresponding to Humorism.

13. First Documented Chest Surgeon with a lot of success and new findings

Hippocrates’ another contribution could also be present in his descriptions of the symptomatology, bodily findings, surgical remedy, and prognosis of thoracic empyema, i.e. suppuration of the liner of the chest cavity.

His teachings stay related to present-day college students of pulmonary drugs and surgical procedures.

Hippocrates was the first documented chest surgeon and his findings and strategies, whereas crude, corresponding to the usage of lead pipes to empty chest wall abscess, are nonetheless legitimate, which is one of the great contributions of Hippocrates.

14. Hippocrates is recognized as the Father of Medicine

Hippocrates is revered to be the “Father of Medicine” for his manifold pioneering contribution from the front. His contributions revolutionized the follow of drugs however, after his demise, the development stalled.

So revered was Hippocrates that his teachings have been largely taken as too nice to be improved upon and no important developments of his strategies have been made for a very long time.

The centuries after Hippocrates’ death have been marked as a lot by retrograde motion as by additional development.

15. Hippocrates was a great doctor

Hippocratic drugs were notable for their strict professionalism, self-discipline, and rigorous follow. The Hippocratic work On the Doctor recommends that physicians all the time be well-kempt, trustworthy, calm, understanding, and critical.

The Hippocratic doctor paid cautious consideration to all elements of his follow: Contributions of Hippocrates were to adopt detailed specs for, “lighting, personnel, devices, positioning of the affected person, and strategies of bandaging and splinting” within the historic working room. He even stored his fingernails to an exact size.

16. Naming of the medical terms

Analyzing nature and signs in different cases, Hippocrates categorizes human illnesses according to merit, such as acute, chronic, endemic as well as epidemic.

He also applied terms like exacerbation, relapse, resolution, crisis, paroxysm, peak, and convalescence, considering signs and history, some of the valuable contributions of Hippocrates.


Galen's Guide to a Great Massage Oil

One of the things Galen discusses in his treatise on Hygiene is how to make a great massage oil. To make a massage oil, a base oil or oils are mixed or impregnated with various resins, essential oils and aromatic medicinal principles.
Today, making a good but basic massage oil is a relatively simple affair. A base oil is mixed with essential oils in certain proportions, and that's it. But how was it done back in Galen's time?
For therapeutic massage purposes, Galen's preferred base oil was Olive Oil, which he considered to be completely balanced in temperament, or the Four Basic Qualities. Moreover, the best kind of olive oil was what he called Sweet Oil, or Sabine Oil - olive oil from the Sabine region of Italy. He considered this oil to be superior for oleation and massage because it had no trace of harshness, bitterness or astringency. If real Sabine Oil should be unavailable, a high quality Pomace Oil will do.
Because olive oil is so balanced in all its qualities, it's most suited as a base oil for those of a fairly balanced temperament. However, there are many other fine base oils out there that, due to their special virtues, are more suited to those of different temperaments, and for different conditions:
Castor: A very thick, unctuous, heavy oil, slightly heating. Great at dispersing obstructions, congestion, plethora, and at drawing out pus and purulent toxins. Excessive use can aggravate heat and choler. Very penetrating.
Coconut: A rich, thick, heavy, cooling oil that nourishes the Phlegmatic humor and cherishes the inherent moisture of the organism. An excellent moisturizer indicated for all dry conditions. Contraindicated for Phlegmatics.
Grapeseed: A very light, subtle, penetrating oil. Great for Phlegmatic and Sanguine types, and conditions of phlegm and dampness. Not favorable for Melancholics, who need a heavier, more grounding oil.
Sesame: The base oil of preference for Melancholics. Rich, heavy, soothing, warming and unctuous.
Sunflower: The most cooling oil. Best for Cholerics. Contraindicated for Phlegmatics, or those suffering from conditions of coldness and phlegm.
Massaging with pure base oils is only recommended for those with no marked toxicity or humoral aggravations that are compromising their health. To check for toxicity and humoral aggravations, look at the tongue: if there is a marked, thick or turbid tongue coating, pure base oils are contraindicated and medicated oils, as appropriate, must be used.
There are several ways of medicating oils. In Galen's time, the fresh cones of the Fir tree (Abies picea) were mashed up and soaked for 40 days in olive oil in a dark, warm place in a stoppered jar. Alternatively, the fresh buds of the Poplar tree (Populus nigra) were mashed and extracted in oil for their medicinal oleoresins.
To enhance the extraction process, the oil and the aromatic cones or buds were put into a pot and heated slowly, over a very low flame. To avoid burning or smoking the oil, a double boiling process was also used, in which the pot with the buds and oil was put inside a larger pot of boiling water. Nowadays, an electric crockpot is excellent for this purpose.
Instead of Fir cones, those of other evergreens, like Pine, Spruce or Larch, may also be used. And a good substitute for Poplar buds in the United States is Balm of Gilead buds (Populus candicans), which is actually another species of Poplar.
The aromatic essence of the Fir cones, when dissolved in the oil, Galen said to be good for those whose flesh was congested by excess Phlegmatic fluids, lymph and dampness. These essences also have a diaphoretic effect that opens the pores and promotes sweating. The essence of the Poplar bud is also stimulating, and no less of a diaphoretic than the Fir.
When soaking the Fir or Poplar in oil, cover it with enough oil to leave an inch or two of oil above the crushed cones or buds. Strain or press out the oil after soaking for 40 days, or after simmering it slowly for several hours.
Galen then instructs us to melt some Fir resin into the oil, and then to thicken the oil with Beeswax in a ratio of five parts oil to one part wax. Another valuable therapeutic ingredient that was often added was Terebinth, or natural turpentine (Don't use the turpentine from your local hardware store!) Terebinth, in a massage oil, is one of the best muscle relaxants and antirheumatics known.
The essential oil of Fir is balsamic and pectoral in that it opens up the lungs, chest and respiratory passageways. It's also antirheumatic in that it relieves rheumatism and muscular aches and pains. It's also antiseptic and antimicrobial in fighting infections and putrefactions. It's also anticatarrhal in respiratory colds and congestion, and a stimulant to the circulation and metabolism in general.
When using Fir essence, Terebinth, or other essential oils in a massage oil, put them in in the ratio of one tablespoon of the essential oil or essential oil blend to a cup of the base oil. Other essential oils that work well in a massage oil and mix very well with Fir essence are the essential oils of Cinnamon, Laurel, Juniper and Lavender.



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