Medieval Medicine Essay

966 words - 4 pages

One in every three people during the medieval period died due to the Black Death. This was due to the ignorance of medicinal science during the medieval period. The practice of medicine during the medieval period was majorly influenced by religion, superstition, and misguided practices.
The medieval period started in around 500 A.D. and ended in around 1500 A.D. It also took place mainly in Western Europe. (Medieval Medicine and the Plague, 4) Some of the knowledge that people of the medieval period used was passed down from the Greek and Romans. However, not all this knowledge was true. The Greek and Romans gave doctors of the medieval period the idea of the four humors (Medicine in the ...view middle of the document...

They cast upon the herbs magic spells to bring out the power in the plant. God made nature which includes herbs which were believed to contain special healing powers (Superstition and Medieval Medicine). The incantations of herbs would soon turn into charms and superstations.
“Science did not have the power that superstition had over the medieval society” (Superstition and Medieval Medicine). One thing that people of the medieval period feared was evil. Demons were most likely to be blamed for illness. Witches were also known to push diseases / evil into someone by looking at them with the evil eye (Superstition and Medieval Medicine). Some preventative methods were to take rue for preventing bad eyesight or even moving to the country to prevent one from catching the plague (Medieval Medicine and the Plague, 14, 9). Divination played a big role in superstition. Astrology was used to figure out what prescription to prescribe while certain plants corresponded with certain body parts (Superstition and Medieval Medicine).
One of the main aspects of the poor medicine during the medieval period was the misguided practices. Many healers during this time were mot professionally trained and included housewives. Those, however, who were rich enough to visit an apothecary, were sometimes misdiagnosed. This would not help and often made matters worse. The punishment for misdiagnoses was the loss of the apothecary’s shop and banishment from the practice of medicine. The doctors and healers of that time would lack hygiene and even though some might have attempted to clean their tools, they might not have cleaned them properly. Barbers, who would cut hair, also performed minor surgeries such as tooth extractions and bloodletting; the red and white from the barber’s pole symbolizes the blood and bandaged form this practice. Whilst hospitals were supposedly a peaceful place to heal and rest, they were...

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