Ancient cultures have been training therapeutic arts for so long as we’ve got written historic data. Many of those practices ultimately led us to the fashionable medical requirements we recognize right now. Though they paved the way for contemporary drugs, a few of these practices weren’t solely counterproductive and dangerous, however they have been typically fairly odd. Thankfully, all the following have fallen out of use.

10 Chopping Tooth

The time period “slicing tooth” is not solely an idiom meaning studying primary expertise in a brand new line of labor; it was a medical apply. When a child begins to develop tooth, we name this teething, however this phrase comes from a medical follow that started in France within the sixteenth century. When a child’s tooth would start the method of coming via the gums, docs would take a scalpel and slice open the tissue over the tooth to permit them to return by means of. Chopping tooth started in France however ultimately unfold all through Europe and into the USA.

The apply started with French physician Ambrose Pare, who examined the corpse of a kid in 1575. “Once we diligently looked for the reason for his demise, we might impute it to nothing else than the contumacious hardness of the gums . . . once we cut the gums with a knife we discovered all of the tooth showing . . . if it had been executed when he lived, probably he would have been preserved.” Sadly, the apply of chopping tooth was carried out till the early twentieth century, although it was a hotly debated medical topic. It’s unknown what number of youngsters died from teething, however the lack of sterile instruments and the trauma inflicted on the younger youngsters typically resulted in demise.

9 Mouse Paste

mouse paste

In historic Egypt, many people who suffered from widespread illnesses resembling toothaches or earaches discovered that mice have been the perfect reply to their issues. Toothaches have been particularly widespread in Egypt because of the prevalence of sand of their diet. Sand would get into virtually every little thing, together with meals. Due to the grittiness of the sand, consuming it might typically put on down the enamel overlaying the tooth, which uncovered the nerves and blood vessels.

For some purpose, the Egyptians determined that dead and often festering mice have been an efficient treatment for this drawback. The lifeless mice can be mashed right into a paste and utilized to the troubled space. For critical toothaches, an entire lifeless mouse would simply be utilized on to the tooth. Widespread sense tells us that this remedy can’t have labored in curing the aching tooth, and it almost definitely triggered extra issues. Making use of rotting tissue to uncovered nerves and blood vessels is a reasonably good way to show a tiresome ache right into a full-blown an infection.

8 Clay Consumption

medicinal clay

In historic Greece, it was a standard apply to eat a specific sort of clay that was discovered on the Greek island Lemnos referred to as terra sigillata. Disks of clay have been exported and bought as a medical treatment for abdomen issues and diarrhea.

Whereas some people do nonetheless eat clay at present for their very own unusual causes, most people do not acknowledge clay consumption as a viable medical apply. That being stated, the clay discovered on the island of Lemnos accommodates kaolin and bentonite. These two parts are utilized in trendy medicines to deal with sufferers affected by diarrhea. People like Hippocrates wrote about the advantages of ingesting such a clay, and because it seems, probably the most well-known classical doctor was right—at the least within the identification of therapeutic properties via the consumption of the particular clay. Equally, bark from the willow tree is used right now to make aspirin. This was additionally possible recognized by the likes of Hippocrates, so whereas it’s good that we do not eat clay all that always, we do profit from the traditional apply any time we’ve got a contact of Montezuma’s Revenge.

7 Retribution Or Compensation

hammurabi code

In Mesopotamia round 1700 B.C., King Hammurabi created a codex of legal guidelines, a few of which can already be acquainted, like “An eye fixed for an eye fixed and a tooth for a tooth.” Apparently, when a surgeon carried out a profitable operation, he was awarded an applicable quantity of shekels related to the affected person’s standing locally. A failed or botched surgical procedure may outcome within the lack of the physician’s hand if the affected person have been of high standing and didn’t survive.

There have been a number of forms of docs in historic Mesopotamia. The ashipu, or sorcerer, would determine the sufferers’ illnesses and decide which evil spirits inhabited them. They might then both prescribe spells or charms to expel the evil spirit or refer the affected person to an asu, a doctor. These physicians would apply natural cures and plaster casts to wounds.

The Code of Hammurabi directed retribution or compensation for surgeons provided that they used a knife of their follow. This restricted surgical choices because of the comprehensible reluctance of a surgeon to chop a affected person for worry of succumbing to the identical destiny. Since there was no prescribed retribution for non-surgical makes an attempt, the asu handled their sufferers homeopathically extra typically than surgically.

6 Have Some Poo

dung beetle

Once we get eye infections nowadays, our first thought is not to rub animal dung into our eyes. The traditional Egyptians could not say the identical. The remedy for a lot of illnesses was, the truth is, to rub the dung of various animals onto a wound or an infection. Moreover, a mix of dung and different elements was administered orally for myriad illnesses and illnesses. The dung of pigs, donkeys, lizards, and even youngsters was used as an ingredient in numerous medicinal salves and oral remedies all through historic Egypt. One of many objectives of Egyptian physicians was to create pus, which they believed was therapeutic in treating an an infection. We now know that pus is merely an indication of an infection, however the Egyptians have been fairly happy with its presence.

Thankfully, we not rub poop into our eyes and wounds, however trendy physicians do use feces in a number of medical remedies. To fight Clostridium difficile, which causes extreme diarrhea and hundreds of deaths per yr, docs implant feces right into a affected person’s bowels to switch the useful microbes misplaced through the course of the an infection. New developments on this apply have led to the creation of frozen poop pills, which permit for a similar remedy with out the necessity to gather feces from a prepared donor on the time of the process.

5 Partial Tongue Removing


Hemiglossectomy is a medical process that includes the removing of a part of the tongue. It’s practiced right now for sufferers affected by illnesses reminiscent of oral most cancers. The remedy works properly in eradicating cancerous tissue, although it leads to a visual deformity of the tongue. Luckily, there are plastic surgical procedures and strategies for enhancing the standard of lifetime of sufferers who bear hemiglossectomies.

Sadly for patents in 18th- and nineteenth-century Europe, the remedy was much less about coping with most cancers and all about correcting a stutter or stammer. That is proper—docs thought that the most effective way to deal with somebody with a stutter was to chop off half of his or her tongue. Since this clearly did not work to repair a stutter and lots of sufferers died in consequence an infection and blood loss, it’s a must to wonder what number of occasions this was accomplished earlier than somebody determined that it simply did not work.

4 Tobacco
North America


For Native American societies, tobacco was thought-about top-of-the-line medicinal cures for something from persistent ache to tuberculosis. The leaves have been smoked, eaten, or floor up and utilized topically. At the moment, we do not think of tobacco as a wholesome factor. We have recognized for many years that smoking tobacco results in illnesses like lung most cancers and cardiovascular illnesses, however the tobacco in cigarettes is laced with an extremely high quantity of chemical compounds. The tobacco utilized by the Native American inhabitants for medicinal functions was pure.

Even pure, tobacco continues to be a harmful plant and may be hazardous when used medicinally. Docs within the nineteenth century believed that the plant was able to treating numerous illnesses—ringworms, constipation, hernias, infections—when taken orally or rectally, or utilized externally.

That being stated, nicotine and tobacco are addictive substances. We do not advocate their use, particularly for medicinal functions. If you need to quit smoking, analysis smoking cessation and ask your physician for help.

3 Grub Salves
Aboriginal Australia


The traditional Aboriginal Australians would grind up the grub worms of the witchetty moth (Endoxyla leucomochla) and use them as a salve for pores and skin lesions and wounds. They might pack the crushed worms into any reduce or abrasion that required therapeutic. The paste produced from the grub worms would truly help within the therapeutic course of. As soon as packed right into a wound, a bandage would then be utilized and the mixture would maintain out air and micro organism, which aided in therapeutic.

Immediately, the grub just isn’t used medicinally prefer it was, however it has turn into a staple in lots of aboriginal diets. Current-day Aborigines harvest and domesticate the moths. “Moths have been cooked in sand and stirred in scorching ashes, which singed off the wings and legs. Moths have been then sifted on a internet to take away their heads. On this state, they have been usually eaten, though typically they have been floor right into a paste and made into desserts.” The grubs are thought-about a delicacy and in the event you ever go to considered one of these tribes, anticipate to be provided one. It’s thought-about impolite to refuse, so be ready to chow down on certainly one of these little buggers!

2 Counter-Irritation


The follow of counter-irritation makes slightly little bit of sense. Once you scratch an itch, you’re producing a counter-irritation to your pores and skin; primarily inflicting a new irritant which is much less painful or annoying than the preliminary itch you wanted to scratch. In historic medical apply, counter-irritation was much more nefarious. When somebody sustained an damage, it was widespread apply to chop into the damage additional and sometimes reopen the wound each day to pour numerous concoctions into it—all within the hope that the brand new irritant would help to alleviate the affected person of the previous irritant.

There are some trendy examples of counter-irritation in drugs and homeopathy, like acupuncture. “Some proponents argue that the needles might stimulate the discharge of ache-killing pure chemical compounds, loosen up tense muscular tissues, or inhibit the conduction of pain by means of counter-irritation. “

Further examples of counter-irritation which might be not acknowledged as medically viable are inserting a affected person’s infected limbs into anthills. If no anthills have been out there, practitioners used to create blisters with a scorching iron or acid. One other technique of “Counter-irritation concerned making a noticed-formed wound and inserting dried peas or beans into it. The physician would then make sure the wound remained open, maintaining it from therapeutic, from weeks to months, changing the peas and/or beans as essential.” Leeches have been additionally used as a way of bloodletting topically, orally, and vaginally to alleviate “sexual excitement” in ladies.

1 Castration


Drugs wasn’t all the time a science. In historic Assyria and Babylon, it was extra of a magical and religious train. Castration wasn’t a traditional follow of the Assyrians or Babylonians outdoors of drugs. Usually, the removing of the testes was carried out by a doctor for one in every of quite a lot of causes, however the most typical was to permit males to work within the harem as eunuchs. This wasn’t all the time voluntary. In contrast to the harems in Turkey, which required the removing of each the penis and testicles, the Assyrians and Babylonians solely required the removing of the testicles. Removing wasn’t essentially all the time achieved and from time to time, “testicles have been crushed or damaged in such a way as to destroy the perform of the seminal ducts.” (Getting them eliminated is one factor, however the concept of getting them crushed should make your abdomen flip.)

The follow of castration was solely accomplished by medical professionals solely as a final resort and virtually solely for the creation of a eunuch. The Assyrians and Babylonians have been very involved with the character of male genitalia as a result of they have been conscious that they have been integral in human copy.

In Assyria, it was a extreme legal act to wreck a person’s testicles. If a lady have been to crush a person’s testicle in a struggle, she would have a finger reduce off. If each testicles have been broken, each of her nipples can be torn off.

Castration is not usually carried out for medicinal functions any longer, nevertheless it has been administered by way of chemical castration as punishment for sexual crimes.

I’m an newbie graphic artist, illustrator, and game designer with a number of independently-published games by way of my recreation firm, TalkingBull Games. I take pleasure in researching and writing about historical past, science, theology, and lots of different topics.