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Medicine (Science)

For much of period medical knowledge was based on hearsay, conjecture, and largely incorrect ancient medical manuals.Doctors (or leeches) attempted to treat the soul as well as the body.

The reasons for this are many, but one large obstacle to improving medical knowledge were the Church regulations regarding examination of the body. In particular, the banning of human dissections made it impossible to verify theories about the inner workings of the body. When doctors were finally allowed to perform dissections, they were limited to working on criminals. It became obvious that accepted knowledge regarding the body was wrong, but this was disputed with the argument that the bodies dissected were those of criminals and thus abnormal.

It is interesting to note that a number of traditional medicines have more recently been found to actually be relatively effective. eg Willow bark to reduce fever (aspirin).

Notable medical figures

Medicine (Period Pharmaceuticals)

Some cultures believed that plants have souls. In 4th century BC, Aristotle believed that plants had a psyche.

In medieval Europe, the Doctrine of Signatures stated there was a connection between how a plant looked (God's signature) and how it could be used medicinally, such as the Lungwort (which looks like a lung) which was/is used to treat respiratory illnesses.

Period medicines:




Respiratory medicines

For a sore throat

For healing wounds

Healing ulcers





To soothe your mouth/gums

Medieval Narcotics

Interesting texts: Chevallier, A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants, DK, London. 1996.

See also Herbs.