Tweet Medieval Medicine and Healing Practices in Europe When the Roman Empire fell in the fifth century, Europe fell into what became known as the early medieval period or the dark ages. Much of the knowledge gained by earlier civilisations was lost leaving medieval medicine and healing practices in Europe largely reliant on superstition and speculation. During this time, Europe was run by local lords who ruled over small fiefdoms.
The History Learning Site, 5 Mar Health and medicine in Medieval England were very important aspects of life. For many peasants in Medieval England, disease and poor health were part of their daily life and medicines were both basic and often useless.
Towns and cities were filthy and knowledge of hygiene was non-existent.
There was no knowledge of germs. Medieval peasants had been taught by the church that any illness was a punishment from God for sinful behaviour.
It was believed that the body had four humours fluids in our bodies and if these became unbalanced you got ill.
Astronomers blamed the planets going out of line As important, no-one knew how diseases spread — the fact that people lived so close together in both villages and towns meant that contagious diseases could be rampant when they appeared; as happened with the Black Death.
Physicians were seen as skilled people but their work was based on a very poor knowledge of the human anatomy. Experiments on dead bodies were unheard of in Medieval England and strictly forbidden.
Physicians charged for their services and only the rich could afford them. Their cures could be bizarre though some cures, including bleeding and the use of herbs, had some logic to them even if it was very much a hit-or-miss approach.
He was considered a master in his field but his cure for kidney stones was a hot plaster smeared with honey and pigeon dung! Physicians would have had their own ideas as to what caused illnesses.
Those who blamed bad luck would use prayers and superstitions. When by some luck, a patient got better or simply improved, this was a sure sign that a cure worked.
It also meant that the cure used would be used again.
If it did not work on the next patient, this was the fault of the patient rather than of the cure. In fact, these men were unskilled and had other jobs such as butchers and barbers. The red stood for blood and the white for the bandages used at the end of an operation.
Operations could end in death as post-operative infections were common. Instruments used in an operation were not sterilised — as there was no knowledge of germs, there was no need to clean instruments used in operations.Most medieval ideas about medicine were based on those of the ancient work, namely the work of Greek physicians Galen (– CE) and Hippocrates (– BCE).
Their ideas set out a theory of the human body relating to the four elements (earth, air, fire and water) and to four bodily humours (blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile). King Henry’s affliction was commonplace in medieval times, and lice were certainly no respecter of social status.
Filth was a fact of life for all classes in the Middle Ages. Towns and cities were filthy, the streets open sewers; there was no running water and knowledge of hygiene was non-existent. Of the four infectious diseases examined in this article, leprosy may well have been the most widely dispersed throughout Eurasia during the medieval period.
A disease that manifests in a variety of different ways, and maims rather than kills, leprosy elicited a range of responses. Medieval Diseases. Along with some familiar names, here you will find: The Bloody Flux Saint Anthony's Fire Lepry The Ague Endemic in medieval armies and pretty common in cities.
Infantile diarrhea was a leading cause of death for infants. After a variable but possibly years-long period of latency, facial features begin to coarsen and. Health and medicine in Medieval England were very important aspects of life.
For many peasants in Medieval England, disease and poor health were part of their daily life and medicines were both basic and often useless. Towns and cities were filthy and knowledge of hygiene was non-existent.
The Black Death was to kill two thirds of England’s. Beliefs About Medicine and Healing in the Later Medieval Period The Four Humours - One of the prevailing theories about disease in medieval medicine was that of the four humours.
The idea was that the body had four bodily fluids, yellow bile, black bile, blood and phlegm, and these were used to analyse the state of a person’s health.