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Prehistoric Medicine

Brief history of Medicine in prehistoric times

Although there is no record to establish when plants were first used for medicinal purposes (herbalism), the use of plants as healing agents is a long-standing practice. Over time through emulation of the behavior of fauna a medicinal knowledge base developed and was passed between generations. As tribal culture specialized specific es, Shamans and apothecaries performed the "niche occupation" of healing.

 
Egypt
The Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus, written in the 17th century BCE, contains the earliest recorded reference to the brain. Ancient Egypt developed a large, varied and fruitful medical tradition. Herodotus described the Egyptians as "the healthiest of all men, next to the Libyans", due to the dry climate and the no public health tem that they possessed. According to him, " the practice of medicine is so specialized among them that each physician is a healer of one disease and no more." Although Egyptian medicine, to a good extent, dealt with the supernatural, it eventually developed a practical use in the fields of anatomy, public health, and clinical diagnostics.
Medical information in the Edwin Smith Papyrus may date to a time as early as 3000 BCE. The earliest known surgery was performed around 2750 BCE.Imhotep in the 3rd dynasty is sometimes credited with being the founder of ancient Egyptian medicine and with being the original author of the Edwin Smith Papyrus, detailing cures, ailments and anatomical observations. The Edwin Smith Papyrus is regarded as a copy of several earlier works and was written c. 1600 BCE. It is an ancient textbook on surgery almost completely devoid of magical thinking and describes in exquisite detail the examination, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of numerous ailments.
The Kahun Gynaecological Papyrus treats women"s complaints, including problems with conception. Thirty four cases detailing diagnosis and treatment survive, some of them fragmentarily. Dating to 1800 BCE, it is the oldest surviving medical text of any kind.
Medical institutions, referred to as Houses of Life are known to have been established in ancient Egypt as early as the 1st Dynasty.
The earliest known physician is also credited to ancient Egypt: Hesy-Ra, Chief of Dentists and Physicians for King Djoser in the 27th century BCE. Also, the earliest known woman physician, Peseshet, practiced in Ancient Egypt at the time of the 4th dynasty. Her title was Lady Overseer of the Lady Physicians. In addition to her supervisory role, Peseshet trained midwives at an ancient Egyptian medical school in Sais.

Middle East
The oldest Babylonian texts on medicine date back to the Old Babylonian period in the first half of the 2nd millennium BCE. The most extensive Babylonian medical text, however, is the Diagnostic Handbook written by the ummânū, or chief scholar, Esagil-kin-apli of Borsippa, during the reign of the Babylonian king Adad-apla-iddina (1069-1046 BCE).
Along with the Egyptians the Babylonians introduced the practice of diagnosis, prognosis, physical examination, and remedies. In addition, the Diagnostic Handbook introduced the methods oftherapy and etiology. The text contains a list of medical symptoms and often detailed empirical observations along with logical rules used in combining observed symptoms on the body of a patient with its diagnosis and prognosis.
The Diagnostic Handbook was based on a logical set of axioms and assumptions, including the modern view that through the examination and inspection of the symptoms of a patient, it is possible to determine the patient's disease, its aetiology and future development, and the chances of the patient's recovery. The symptoms and diseases of a patient were treated through therapeutic means such as bandages, herbs and creams.
There was little development after the medieval era. Major European treatises on medicine took 200 years to reach the Middle East, where local rulers might consult Western doctors to get the latest treatments. Medical works in Arabic, Turkish, and Persian as late as 1800 were based on medieval Islamic medicine.

India
The Atharvaveda, a sacred text of Hinduism dating from the Early Iron Age, is the first Indian text dealing with medicine, like the medicine of the Ancient Near East based on concepts of theexorcism of demons and magic. The Atharvaveda also contain prescriptions of herbs for various ailments. The use of herbs to treat ailments would later form a large part of Ayurveda.
In the first millennium BCE, there emerges in post-Vedic India the traditional medicine tem known as Ayurveda, meaning the "complete knowledge for long life". Its two most famous texts belong to the schools of Charaka, born c. 600 BCE, and Sushruta, born 600 BCE. While these writings display some limited continuities with the earlier medical ideas known from the Vedas, historians[who?] have been able to demonstrate direct historical connections between early Ayurveda and the early literature of the Buddhists and Jains. The earliest foundations of Ayurveda were built on a synthesis of traditional herbal practices together with a massive addition of theoretical conceptualizations, new nosologies and new therapies dating from about 400 BCE onwards, and coming out of the communities of thinkers who included the Buddha and others.
According to the compium of Charaka, the Charakasamhitā, health and disease are not predetermined and life may be prolonged by human effort. The compium of Suśruta, theSuśrutasamhitā defines the purpose of medicine to cure the diseases of the sick, protect the healthy, and to prolong life. Both these ancient compia include details of the examination, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of numerous ailments. The Suśrutasamhitā is no for describing procedures on various forms of surgery, including rhinoplasty, the repair of torn ear lobes, perineal lithotomy, cataract surgery, and several other excisions and other surgical procedures. Most remarkable is Sushruta"s penchant for scientific classification: His medical treatise consists of 184 chapters, 1,120 conditions are listed, including injuries and illnesses relating to ageing and mental illness. The Sushruta Samhita describe 125 surgical instrument, 300 surgical procedures and classifies human surgery in 8 categories. 
The Ayurvedic classics mention eight branches of medicine: kāyācikitsā (internal medicine), śalyacikitsā (surgery including anatomy), śālākyacikitsā (eye, ear, nose, and throat diseases), kaumārabhṛtya (pediatrics), bhūtavidyā (spirit medicine), and agada tantra (toxicology), rasāyana (science of rejuvenation), and vājīkaraṇa (aphrodisiacs, mainly for men). Apart from learning these, the student of Āyurveda was expected to know ten arts that were indispensable in the preparation and application of his medicines: distillation, operative ss, cooking, horticulture, metallurgy, sugar manufacture, pharmacy, analysis and separation of minerals, compounding of metals, and preparation of alkalis. The teaching of various subjects was done during the instruction of relevant clinical subjects. For example, teaching of anatomy was a part of the teaching of surgery, embryology was a part of training in pediatrics and obstetrics, and the knowledge of physiology and pathology was interwoven in the teaching of all the clinical disciplines. The normal length of the student"s training appears to have been seven years. But the physician was to continue to learn.
As an native form of medicine in India, Unani medicine got deep roots and royal patronage during medieval times. It progressed during Indian sultanate and mughal periods. Unani medicine is very close to Ayurveda. Both are based on theory of the presence of the elements (in Unani, they are considered to be fire, water, earth and air) in the human body. According to followers of Unani medicine, these elements are present in different fluids and their balance leads to health and their imbalance leads to illness.
By the 18th century A.D., Sanskrit medical wisdom still dominated. Muslim rulers built large hospitals in 1595 in Hyderabad, and in Delhi in 1719, and numerous commentaries on ancient texts were written. Some European plants and medicinals were gradually incorporated into the Indian pharmacopeia, but otherwise there was little intellectual exchange with the West.

China
China also developed a large body of traditional medicine. Much of the philosophy of traditional Chinese medicine derived from empirical observations of disease and illness by Taoist physicians and reflects the classical Chinese belief that individual human experiences express causative principles effective in the environment at all scales. These causative principles, whether material, essential, or mystical, correlate as the expression of the natural order of the universe.
The foundational text of Chinese medicine is the Huangdi neijing, or Yellow Emperor"s Inner Canon, written 5th century to 3rd century BCE). near the of the 2nd century AD, during the Han dynasty, Zhang Zhongjing, wrote a Treatise on Cold Damage, which contains the earliest known reference to the Neijing Suwen. The Jin Dynasty practitioner and advocate of acupunctureand moxibustion, Huangfu Mi (215-282), also quotes the Yellow Emperor in his Jiayi jing, c. 265. During the Tang Dynasty, the Suwen was expanded and revised, and is now the best extant representation of the foundational roots of traditional Chinese medicine. Traditional Chinese Medicine that is based on the use of herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage and other forms of therapy has been practiced in China for thousands of years.
In the 18th century, during the Qing dynasty, there was a proliferation of popular books as well as more advanced encyclopedias on traditional medicine. Jesuit missionaries introduced Western science and medicine to the royal court, the Chinese physicians ignored them.
Finally in the 19th century, Western medicine was introduced at the local level by Christian medical missionaries from the London Missionary Society (Britain), the Methodist Church (Britain) and the Presbyterian Church (USA). Benjamin Hobson (1816-1873) in 1839, set up a highly successful Wai Ai Clinic in Guangzhou, China. The Hong Kong College of Medicine for Chinese was founded in 1887 by the London Missionary Society, with its first graduate (in 1892) being Sun Yat-sen, who later led the Chinese Revolution (1911). The Hong Kong College of Medicine for Chinese was the forerunner of the School of Medicine of the University of Hong Kong, which started in 1911.
Due to the social custom that men and women should not be near to one another, the women of China were reluctant to be treated by male doctors. The missionaries sent women doctors such as Dr. Mary H. Fulton (1854-1927). Supported by the Foreign Missions Board of the Presbyterian Church (USA) she in 1902 founded the first medical college for women in China, the Hackett Medical College for Women, in Guangzhou.
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Compiled By: Dr.Kamran Jalali
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_medicine
 
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History of Medicine