Early knowledge about this system of medicine can be traced back to 15000 BC. Several instruments made of stones similar to that of surgical instruments were excavated. They attributed the cause of diseases to:
- THE CURSE OF THE GOD;
- MALEVOLENT INFLUENCE OF STARS AND PLANETS, &
- INVASION OF BODY BY EVIL SPIRITS
Hence the method of treatment was aimed at:
- Pleasing the God by offering prayers, rituals, and sacrifice, and
- Driving out of the evil spirits from the body
This era is intermingled with superstition, witchcraft and religion. The physicians of that time were called as “MAGICIANS”. Religion had a great influence over the practice of medicine. Hence priests had a major role in the practice of medicine. They were in charge of both soul and body of human being. They used stone instruments for amputation circumcision and triphoning. Bible gives a lot of information about personal and social hygiene. Physical purity was considered as complimentary to moral purity.
SCHEN NUNG (BC 3000) was considered as the father of Chinese medicine. His book PENTSOAS contains description of 1000 drugs. The principle of Chinese medicine is based on TWO opposing forces
- Yang-active masculine and
- Yin-passive feminine principle.
Balance of these opposing principles maintains normal health. They gave importance to HYGEINE; DIETETICS; HYDROTHERAPY: MASSAGE and DRUG THERAPEUTICS. THEY ARE THE PIONEERS OF IMMUNISATION AND PRACTICED VARI0LISATION AGAINST SMALL POX. They developed ACUEPUNCTURE SYSTEM AND BARE FOOT DOCTOR’S SYSTEM.
History of Egyptian system of medicine can be traced back to BC 2900. Egyptians invented the method of pictorial writing on PAPYRUS and the beat known medical manuscript was “EBERS PAPYRUS. It contains description about 800 remedies prepared from 700 drugs. They considered that, diseases were due to absorption of some harmful substances from the intestine which gave rise to putrefaction of blood to formation of pus. They treated diseases with cathartics, blood letting, turpentine’s, Senna, lead and copper alts. They trained doctors in the temples and doctors were officially paid by the state. ln the “field’ of PUBLIC HAELTH Egyptians excelled others. They built planned cities and underground drainage system and public bath systems. They had good knowledge of inoculation, value of mosquito nets and association of plague with death of, rats.
HORUS was considered as the GOD of health and he lost one of his eyes in a fight with SET, the demon of evil. This was restored miraculously and formed a design of Rx, which was used as sign of danger: and in the prescription of physicians.
The first known medical men was IMHOTEP, who was considered by the Egyptian as GOD of medicine.
Contemporary with ancient Egyptian civilization, there exist another civilization in the land which lies between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, Mesopotamia (now part of Iraq, often called the “Crad of Civilization”, as long as 6000 years ago.
In ancient Mesopptamia, the basic concepts of medicine were religious, and taught and practiced by herb doctors, knife doctors an spell, doctors — a classification that roughly parallels our o internists, surgeons and psychiatrists. Mesopotamia was the cradle magic and necromancy. Medical students were busy in classifying “demons”, the cause of disease Geomancy, the interpretation dreams, and hepatoscopic divination (the liver was considered t seat of life) are characteristic of their medical lore, Sumerian Babylonians and Assyrians were the authors of a medical astrology which flourished in the whole of Eurasia. Prescriptions were written on tablets, in cuneiform writing. The oldest medical prescription comes to us from Mesopotamia, dating back to 2100 BC.
Hammurabi, a great king of Babylon who lived around 2000 BC formulated a set of drastic laws known as the Code of Hammurabi that governed the conduct of physicians and provided for health practices (14). Doctors whose proposed therapy proved wrong ran the risk of being killed. Laws relating to medical practice, including fees payable to physicians for satisfactory services and penalties for harmful therapy are contained in the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi, the very first codification of medical practice. While the code of Hammurabi reflected a high degree of social organization, the medicine of his time was devoid of any scientific foundation.
Greeks are the civilizers of the world. The leader of the Greek system of medicine was AESCULAPIUS (BC 1200).He is the person who designed the symbol of medicine. His daughter, HYGEA was worshipped as the GODESS of HEALTH.
The greatest Greek physician was HIPPOCRAT (460 BC ).He was called as the FATHER OF MEDICINE .His study and classification of disease was based on OBSERVATION and REASONING. For this purpose he introduced CLINICAL method in medicine.
His collection of writings called, as ‘CORPUSHIPPOCRATICUM’. These writings are famous for the aphorisms. The first aphorism reads as LIFE IS SHORT’-‘ART IS LONG’- OPPORTUNITY FLEETING-EXPERIMENT DANGEROUS and JUDGEMENT DIFFICULT’.
He advised doctors to do the right thing at the right time, in which, patient, attendant, and external, circumstances must co-operate.
He advised to focus the attention on the patient. From the natural study of the patient he was able to give the prognosis of the case. The classical description of the HIPPOCRATIC FACIES is the best example of this. The positions of the patient, nature of respiration, appearance of Sputum were stressed by him for this purpose.
He used medicines rarely for treatment and depended mainly on “VIS MEDICATRIX NATURAE. ”
HIPPOCRAT attributed diseases to disturbance of ”’ 4 Humours- Blood, Phlegm, Yellow bile & Black bile
He formulated the code of conduct to the physicians, which is called as the –“HIPPOCRATIC OATH”
Other important personalities during this period were-
ARISTOTLE [BC 3B4-322] followed Hippocratic and approved the concept of humours forwarded by HIPPOCRAT. He gave importance to the comparative study of Anatomy and Embryology ‘ and gave description of entire world and its classification.
THEOPHRASTUS was a botanist and explained the use of plants, for therapeutics.
DIOSCORIDES [AD 60] was the surgeon to emperor, NERO. He compiled books on materia medica and explained the use of lead, copper, & 600plants.
AESCLEPIADES was against depending wholly on nature for cure. He advised the active role by physician. He advised “CITU, TUTO, ET JECUNDO” [speedily, safely, and agreeably]. He considered health as the balance between “TENSIONL RELAXTION” similar to Broussians concept of IRRITATION and Brownian’s concept of STHENIC and ASTHENIC states.
ARETAEUS classified diseases to ACUTE and CHRONIC.
By the first century BC the centre of civilisation shifted to ROME. Romans borrowed their medicine mainly from Greeks. They are more practical minded than the Greeks.
They considered disease s due to:
- PRE – DISPOSING FACTORS,
- EXCITING FACTORS, &
- ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS. ‘
They gave much importance to sanitation, provided water supply to all cities, built sewage systems, and established hospitals for sick. The important personalities during this period are:
HEROPHILUS[BC 300]- Anatomist , who conducted practical dissection and named DEUDINUM & COUNTED PULSE.
ERASISTRATUS [ BC 300 -Founder of physiology, distinguished. CEREBRUM & CEREBELLUM, SENSORY MOTOR NEURONEB. He believed that air enters into the LUNGS and from the to HEART and there it is changed into VITAL SPIRIT, then carried to different parts of body.
Celses [25BC – 60AD] explained cardinal principles of inflammation. His book “e medicina” contains description of diseases according to anatomical basis.
Galen [130 – 205 AD] was considered as the “Dictator of medicine”.
He accepted the concept of Humours.
Recognized he predisposing and exiting factors of diseases.
Conduct of dissection was considered as illegal and his explanations are based on dissection on Apes and Pigs.
Explained bones, named optic and olfactory nerves.
Used the term PNEUMA for spirit
Classified Diseases as:-
- Affecting simple tissues & organs
- Organic &.compound, and
- Diseaes due to general & humoral dyscrasia.
Indian System of Medicine
AYUR=LIFE, VEDA = SCIENCE the history of Ayurveda can be traced back to BC 1500. DHANWANDHARV was considered to be the God of Hindu system of medicine. He was born during the churning of the ocean during a tug of war between Gods and DEMONS. The earliest reference to this system of medicine can be seen in RIGVEDA. ATHREYA ( BC 600 ) , SUSRUTHA ( BC500 ) , CHARAKA ( ADI00 ), VAGHBAT ( AD700 ) were the leading physicians of Ayurveda. This system of medicine flourished during the reign of emperor ASHOKA. SUSRUTH compiled the surgical knowledge of his time in his treatise “SUSRUTHA SAMHITHA (BC 800-400). CHARAKA was the court physician to the king KANISHKA and he compiled the medical knowledge in his book “CHARAKA SAMHITA”.
The basic principles of Ayurveda lies in the TRIDOSHA theory _ VATHA, PITHA & KAPHA. This system of medicine Influenced Arabian, Greek, and roman system of medicine.
Health is defined as- (fire)
- “Sama dosha.samagnecha, [samagnecha = environment]
- Samadhathu,malakriya, [malakriya = exeretion]; presenna,athma,mana- [Ashtangahridaya.]
- Indriyai swastha: eva theeyethe”. [remember]
- The principles of treatment are:
- “Vridhy samana: sarvesham: [ Vridhy = increase]
- Vipareenair: vipareethahai:” -Ashtangahridaya.
This means that an increase in similar increases all doshas,while opposites, will have opposite effect.
Ashtangahridaya consist of 8 parts:
- Kayaiti – Kayakalpa, chiklitsa.
- Bala:” – [geriatrics].
- Briha: – solar system.
- Oorgangha – environment.
- Salyam – surgery
- Dramsta’ – bites
- Jara – skin.
- Vrlshari – vaJjekaranam
They gave much importance to HYGEINE (MANU SAMHITHA). THE GOLDEN AGE OF AYURVEDA was between 800
BC to 400 AD.
There are two methods of treatment !
- Hethu-vyathi vipareetha
- Hethutadrthakari Vyadbythadarthakari
They used ANNA. OUSHADHA and VICHARA in their treatment.