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10 Of The Most Weird And Macabre Medical Practices Of All Time

Fortunately, we stay in a world with fashionable medicine. Usually, we are able to depend on our docs to make or hold us effectively. But this hasn’t all the time been the case. Loads of unhealthy illnesses and viruses worn out total populations earlier than the invention of antibiotics, antiretroviral medicine, huge medical and anatomical information, and lots of extra marvels of in the present day.

Along the way in which, there was quite a lot of medical trial and error and many individuals suffered as a consequence. These remedies typically induced disastrous outcomes that outweighed any potential advantages. Here are 10 of essentially the most macabre medical remedies historical past has ever recognized.

10 Bloodletting

Bloodletting is an previous, macabre medical apply that’s been round for millennia. A doctor “lets the blood out of” (drains) a dwelling affected person to treatment an ailment or disease. This is normally primarily based on fully bunk medical information.

Sometimes, bloodletting managed to assist folks battling numerous sicknesses—as an illustration, overweight folks coping with metabolic points. Usually, although, it harm greater than it helped.[1]

The process is pretty simple and easy, though it should make you squeamish for those who aren’t keen on the sight of blood. You take a lancet, knife, razor, or any sharp object and lower open a vein, normally on the affected person’s arm.

The doctor would then place a gathering machine, similar to a bucket, beneath the affected person to catch the draining blood. While the intention was to attract out pathogens, viruses, evil spirits, and extra, the standard consequence was merely draining blood from the already struggling sufferer and additional weakening his already compromised immune system.

One can nearly think about a medieval scene with a sick individual groaning in agony, arm stretched out whereas a doctor takes a knife and cuts the individual open to gather his blood in a bucket beneath him.

9 Plastic Surgery

In the West today, plastic surgery is a day off and a minor funding. It’s so widespread that we nearly think about it a ceremony of passage, even amongst teenagers and preteens. Just a little little bit of anesthetic and a few painkillers and you may look the way you’ve all the time wished.

But such surgical procedure wasn’t all the time a simple expertise. Even in historical history, we’ve proof of rhinoplasty (aka “nose jobs”) and different types of plastic and beauty surgical procedure to maintain the folks of the day trying sharp.

The historical folks of India had been significantly fond of assorted plastic surgical procedures, even providing breast discount surgical procedure. All of this is able to be executed with the sharpest of rocks, knives, or different objects that would take away the flesh of a dwelling, respiratory affected person—with out using any of in the present day’s fashionable ache meds, after all.

The Sushruta Samhita, an historical Indian textual content from about 600 BC, describes such practices and the way they went about their historical model of nip and tuck.[2] So how would you are feeling about getting dental surgical procedure within the previous days to cowl up some not-so-beautiful tooth? There is proof of cosmetic surgery and cavity cover-ups way back to 7000 BC, lengthy earlier than the invention of native anesthetics.

eight Trephination

Trephination is likely one of the oldest medical remedies of all time. It is the primary recognized surgical procedure and would make a 20th-century lobotomist blush. Although the phrase “trephination” sounds fancy, it’s actually simply code for “drill a hole in the guy’s head and check it out.”

This apply began as early because the Neolithic interval, with proof exhibiting up as early as 7000 BC. The ancient Greeks even invented drills devoted to this apply. One was the terebra, which was a pointy level on the tip of a sticklike equipment that was wrapped in a wound thong or rope.

You wind the instrument up, place the sharp level on the affected person’s head, place your finger on the rounded portion on the opposite finish, reverse the pinnacle, and let it spin.[3]

While this process is horrifying to us in the present day, accidents on the battlefield in historical Greece had been far more brutal. So the flexibility to take away a chunk of fractured bone or drain extra blood may truly assist the affected person.

Later in historical past, this apply was used to “release demons” from the heads of supposedly possessed folks by giving the demons an escape route. But the weirdest of all is the bountiful proof that trephination was a typical apply even within the absence of head damage. The ancients did this to wholesome folks, too.

7 Silphium Birth Control

When they weren’t drilling holes in folks’s heads and conquering the complete Mediterranean, Greeks had different medical points to take care of. Of course, some of the common was discovering or inventing contraceptives to forestall being pregnant.

The historical Greeks used a plant referred to as silphium, which was a little bit of a cure-all on the time.[4] Silphium seems like a sunflower and produces the unmistakable yellow flowers that everyone knows and love.

As a contraceptive, silphium was positioned contained in the vagina with a slightly unusual applicator. The ancients would soak a hunk of wool within the plant’s juice, shove it contained in the vagina, and hope for the very best.

6 Female Circumcision

Tragically, this process continues to be round in the present day though the United Nations has referred to as for zero tolerance of recent feminine genital mutilation. Female circumcision has been widespread for millennia, with Herodotus describing its apply in historical Egypt as early as 500 BC.

Throughout historical past, this barbaric apply has been carried out in numerous methods for a wide range of causes. Methods vary from shaving or reducing off the tip of the clitoris, fully eradicating the clitoris and the labia, and even doing what they name “pharaonic circumcision.” This is when the clitoris and the labia are fully eliminated and the remaining flesh on either side is stretched throughout the vagina and sewn collectively. A small opening is left for urination and the discharge of menstrual blood.[5]

The causes for some of these operations span from the spiritual to supposed rites of passage. Often, these procedures are compelled upon girls and ladies as a technique to protect chastity, decide virginity, or intensify sexual pleasure for males. In some cultures, this apply is finished to extend the desirability of a feminine within the realm of marriage.

5 Reverse Circumcision

Yes, you learn that proper. Reverse circumcision has existed for hundreds of years, and it sounds completely terrifying.

In historical Rome, beauty surgical procedure was fairly in style, together with the elimination of several types of skin abnormalities and something that seemed ugly to their image-oriented tradition. Much of our information comes from Aulus Cornelius Celsus. Although he wrote extensively, solely his medical works survive.

In historical Greek and Roman society, being circumcised was uncommon and will put a serious dent in your social relations. But Celsus instructed his readers, “If the glans is bare and the man wishes for the look of things to have it covered, that can be done.”

Now let’s remember that this can be a day earlier than fashionable painkillers. Celsus described the operation in his De medicina:

The prepuce across the glans is seized, stretched out till it truly covers the glans, and there tied. Next, the pores and skin protecting the penis simply in entrance of the pubes is lower thorough in a circle till the penis is bared, however nice care is taken to not lower into the urethra, nor into the blood vessels there. This executed, the prepuce slides ahead, towards the tie, and a type of small ring is laid naked in entrance of the pubes, to which restrict is utilized so that flesh might develop and fill it up.

If that’s not terrifying sufficient, Celcus goes on to say, “But in one who has been circumcised, the prepuce is to be raised from the underlying penis mound the circumference of the glans by means of a scalpel. This is not so very painful.”[6]

four Mercury

The battle to overcome the vicious illness of syphilis has gone on for millennia and brought many lives. Over the course of this tragic arms race between man and micro organism, many various weapons had been deployed in an try to overcome this brutal illness. It turned the once-mighty mobster Al Capone right into a bodily weak and delusional man though he was one of many first civilian recipients of penicillin. For Capone, the drugs got here too late.

The signs of syphilis are reddish-brown sores that cowl the physique in a rash; sores within the mouth, anus, or vagina; swollen glands; complications; neurological issues; an infection in membranes surrounding the mind; deafness; dementia; stroke; and far more.[7]

Mercury is a enjoyable little metallic that you simply don’t need go close to, though it’s the one metallic that may be a liquid at room temperature. When a human is uncovered to it, mercury assaults the central nervous system as a neurotoxin.

Its brutal results are nearly fast and might embody nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, disorientation, “tunnel vision,” respiratory issues, numbness within the extremities, lack of ability to talk or hear, distortion in talking or listening to, pores and skin rashes, nervousness, pores and skin ulcerations, tooth loss, madness, paralysis, and loss of life. Its results on the human physique are each instantaneous and unforgiving.

So, what does syphilis must do with mercury?

Until the 1920s, the torturous remedy for syphilis was to douse the individual in mercury in an try to treatment him, even realizing that ache and sometimes loss of life would consequence. This was executed with lotions or different mixtures containing the vicious metallic.

Sufferers stated that the “cure” on this case was worse than the illness. During the intervals when syphilis was handled with mercury, European skeletons present considerably extra harm than different stays which had suffered both mercury poisoning or syphilis on their very own.

three Drinking The Blood Of Dead Gladiators

Rome was the prized civilization of the traditional world. At one level, the empire spanned the whole thing of the Mediterranean and past. Rome had essentially the most cutting-edge applied sciences of the day in addition to an unstoppable military that made the world tremble.

We would count on such a high-class civilization to be the forerunners of historical drugs, proper? Of course. But this is identical Rome that gave us emperors like Caligula and Nero, gladiatorial video games, and extra. So it’s no shock that Rome got here up with some weird remedies for numerous sicknesses.

Epilepsy is a horrible illness that has bothered people worldwide since historical occasions. Fortunately, fashionable drugs has given us numerous remedies, together with medicine. In historical Rome, the remedy was to drink the blood of a lifeless gladiator. According to Pliny the Elder, “The blood, too, of gladiators is drunk by epileptics as though it were a draught of life, though we shudder with horror when in the same arena we look at even the beasts doing the same thing.”[8]

Rome later banned gladiatorial preventing, and this epilepsy remedy was continued with the blood of executed people, particularly decapitated ones, as a substitute.

2 Cannibalism

Bill Schutt, a zoologist at Long Island University, says that cannibalism is completely pure. He believes that this type of conduct is comprehensible and predictable when the necessity for meals is bigger than how a lot you care about consuming one other human being (and the danger of subsequent illness).

Now everyone knows that completely different cultures have practiced cannibalism—some for spiritual causes, others when meals will get scarce. But many occasions in historical past, cannibalism has been seen as medicinal.

Even after the Renaissance, cannibalism as drugs continued in supposedly civilized Europe. According to the Smithsonian, King Charles II of England “sipped the king’s drops,” a combination of pulverized human cranium and alcohol.

During the Renaissance, so-called specialists would grind up powders made out of (typically stolen) Egyptian mummies and promote that as a treatment for numerous sicknesses.[9] German physicist Johann Schroeder as soon as prescribed the next meal as a “medical-grade substitute” for floor mummy:

Take the contemporary unspotted cadaver of a red-headed man (as a result of in them the blood is thinner and the flesh therefore extra wonderful) aged about 24, who has been executed and died a violent loss of life. Let the corpse lie in the future and night time within the solar and moon—however the climate have to be good. Cut the flesh in items and sprinkle it with myrrh and a bit of aloe. Then soak it in spirits of wine for a number of days, cling it up once more for six to 10 hours, soak it once more in spirits of wine, then let the items dry in a shady spot. Thus, they are going to be much like smoked meat and won’t stink.

1 Tobacco Smoke Enemas

The tobacco smoke enema was once a wildly in style medical remedy to treatment a wide range of illnesses within the 17th and 18th centuries. They had many kits and gadgets particularly designed for this apply in order that docs might safely and (gently?) blow tobacco smoke into the anus of a affected person.

Initially, it was used to attempt to revive drowning victims however was later expanded to deal with typhoid fever, abdomen pains, and far more. A tobacco enema was the primary process when attempting to avoid wasting the lifeless or dying. If that failed, docs would resort to synthetic respiration (now generally known as CPR).

At first, the tobacco smoke enema didn’t have particularly designed machines to help the method.[10] It was typically carried out with a pipe or no matter machine the doctor had available. “Take a puff, insert pipe, and blow” can be the unique methodology. It actually makes us surprise who invented this and why.

Joe likes to put in writing in regards to the darker facet of humanity, historical past, and philosophy. He manages a number of Facebook pages, together with Murderworks Horror, Serial Killer Memes, and extra.


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