By Lois N. Magner
A non-technical, jargon-free presentation of the background of drugs from palaeopathology to fresh theories and practices of recent drugs. It supplies a wide-ranging review of Western drugs and an advent to the wealthy and sundry scientific traditions of the close to and much East.;This textual content stresses the foremost issues within the historical past of drugs - putting the trendy adventure in the framework of ancient concerns - and it offers clinical heritage as an enormous a part of highbrow and social heritage, delivering scholars with an exam of the sector that encourages them to query glossy scientific assumptions. components which are much less commonly used to scholars are highlighted, and case histories symbolize broader matters and traits.
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Additional resources for A History of Medicine
Added confusion arises from ritual mutilation of the body, the admixture of grave goods and gifts, which may include parts of animals or grieving relatives, and distortions due to natural or artificial mummification. Indeed the possibility of arriving at an unequivocal diagnosis is so small that some scholars suggest that the names of modern diseases should never be conferred upon ancient materials. Other experts have systematically catalogued Paleolithic ailments in terms of congenital abnormalities, injury, infection, degenerative conditions, cancers, deficiency diseases, and that all-too-large category, diseases of unknown etiology.
From the primitive pharmacopoeia, modern medicine has adopted salicylic acid, quinine, ipecac, cocaine, epherdrine, colchicine, digitalis, ergot, and many other drugs. Traditional healers used their knowledge of animal behavior for diagnostic tests. For example, certain native American healers had their patients urinate on the ground near an anthillthe behavior of the ants provides a low-cost test for sugar diabetes. Probably more than half of the prescriptions written by American physicians today involve a drug extracted from a member of the vegetable kingdom or its synthetic equivalent.
To drive out or confuse evil spirits, the shaman may give the patient a special disguise or a new name, offer attractive Page 10 substitute targets, or prescribe noxious medicines to transform the patient into an undesirable host. The shaman may dispense powerful drugs, but it is the ritual, with its attempts to compel the cooperation of supernatural powers, that is of prime importance to healer, patient, and community. Outsiders may see the healing ritual in terms of magical and practical elements, but for healer and patient there is no separation between the magical and empirical aspects of therapy.
A History of Medicine by Lois N. Magner