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Curiosities about the history of medicine

The medicine has evolved giant strides throughout history. It is undoubtedly one of the scientific fields that has developed the most over the centuries. The methods and practices that are carried out today have little or nothing to do with those of just fifty or a hundred years ago.

Thus, throughout history, there have been practices that are currently most curious. Methods that today are considered a real madness in many cases, but that were used frequently in the past.

The greatest curiosities in the history of medicine

Here are some of the most interesting curiosities in the history of medicine.


One of the most used methods in antiquity to deal with bad moods, as well as certain ailments, was to make a series of cuts in one of the patient’s veins. Not surprisingly, it was an extremely dangerous practice, although it was believed to be very effective in treating some physical and mental illnesses. It was a method that was practiced for several centuries. Many of the patients who underwent it bled to death.


The concept of hospitals from the 15th century on was very different from the one we have today. Usually, people who belonged to the upper class of society died in their own home as they could afford to pay a private doctor.

Thus, only the most humble people went to hospitals , which were located in the main cities. The vast majority of hospotales were financed through charity collections and run by monastic orders.

The sanitary and hygienic conditions of hospitals were very poor until well into the 19th century, which greatly favored the spread of diseases .

At that time there were hardly any treatments to combat certain pathologies, so hospitals dedicated themselves almost exclusively to helping patients before they died.

Epidural anesthesia

Epidural anesthesia was discovered by a Spanish military surgeon in the early 20th century . In 1921 he published an article in health and military magazines entitled “Metameric anesthesia.” In it he described a total of 43 operations that had been carried out using this anesthesia.

Later a great controversy arose. And it is that both magazines were only published in Spain. Thus, in the early 1930s an Italian doctor claimed responsibility for the discovery. However, with the passage of time the international scientific community recognized the Spanish military surgeon as the main discoverer.

Hygiene measures

One of the most curious facts related to the history of medicine has to do with hygiene. And it was not until the nineteenth century when it was discovered that the existence of germs during surgical operations and the stay of patients in hospitals gave rise to infections that were lethal.

It was not until then that people began to become aware of the importance of extreme hygiene measures in the medical field ; Doctors began to wash their hands prior to any operation, the fact of sterilizing surgical instruments became widespread …

This discovery came from the hand of Ignác Semmelweis, who in 1818 came to the conclusion that a greater number of women died in delivery rooms when no type of hygienic measure was taken.


The epilepsy is a disease that has resulted in a wide range of research and studies throughout history. In ancient times, those who suffered from it were identified as “possessed by an evil being . ” Usually they used to be marginalized in society.

One of the methods most commonly followed for its treatment, although without any effect, was to perform a trepanation in the skull . It was believed that in this way the evil spirits of the individual came out.

A treatment that caused the death of the vast majority of patients since the brain was exposed to germs and microorganisms.

Lead in medicines

Since ancient times, numerous studies have been carried out that have demonstrated the dangers of lead to the health of individuals. Even so, until the middle of the 20th century, a large selection of drugs included it in their formulation.

The truth is that a small amount of lead does not have to be lethal, but if a treatment based on a drug of this type is followed, it can cause death in the medium and long term.

Without going any further, some experts point out that Beethoven died from excessive lead consumption over a long period of time.


Barbers have been closely associated with medicine for several centuries. And it is that until the 18th century professional surgeons were conspicuous by their absence. Thus, it was the barbers , who had great experience with the blade, who were in charge of performing the surgical operations.

Why there were hardly any surgeons has an explanation. Until the seventeenth century the act of touching blood was believed to be impure , so professionals such as barbers or butchers were marginalized.

The barbers were therefore the ones who had the most practice with the blade. However, their medical knowledge was very limited, so that the vast majority of patients who underwent an operation died of subsequent infections.


The first ambulance in history was created in 1792, by the hand of Napoléon Bonaparte’s doctor . The reason for its construction was to remove wounded soldiers from the battlefields quickly and efficiently. Thus, Dominique Jean Larry created a team of drivers, surgeons and stretchers. Ambulances were first used during Napoleon’s invasion of Italy in 1796.


Currently, a very repeated gesture among athletes of all fields when winning a gold medal is to bite it. Well, it is a tradition that goes back several centuries.

Gold was believed to help improve health . Thus, the wealthiest people chewed gold sheets, and even accompanied their dishes with powders of this material. King Louis XII is said to have consumed liquid gold to stay healthy.

Spanish flu

The influenza pandemic that took place in 1918 was one of the deadliest in history , causing more casualties than the plague in the Middle Ages. It was known as the Spanish flu, although in reality this was not its origin. It was baptized with this name because Spain was one of the first countries to report on the epidemic. While in other countries the news was silenced due to the censorship of the war, in Spain the press reported daily on the victims.

It all began in early 1918 when the kitchen soldier Albert Gitchell began to feel ill , with symptoms typical of a common flu, such as headache, fever and cough. However, in just one week 522 young people fell ill.

During World War I, many of the soldiers returning home were infected, thus spreading the virus around the world. At that time there was no type of vaccine for the flu, so the only method to fight it was to avoid contagion.

The pandemic lasted for about a year, during which between 50 and 100 million people died.

Stool transplants

Although it may seem like an extremely repulsive method today, the truth is that in ancient times it was considered that ingesting someone else’s feces was one of the best remedies for treating different intestinal diseases .

During World War II, the custom spread among German soldiers stationed in Africa, to consume camel feces as a natural remedy against bacterial dysentery. There was only one requirement, and that is that they should ingest them while they were still hot. The truth is that the results were very good due to the beneficial bacteria in camel manure .

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Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of ​​Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.

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