8 Previous Medical Practices That Did Extra Hurt Than Good

8 Previous Medical Practices That Did Extra Hurt Than Good
8 Previous Medical Practices That Did Extra Hurt Than Good
Rate this post

For so long as human beings have been round, they’ve been getting sick, injuring themselves, and contracting ailments.

Physicians have been concocting tinctures and performing surgical procedures to alleviate these illnesses for simply as lengthy.

Nonetheless, whereas we’re fortunate as we speak to be alive in a time of nice scientific and medical information, that was sadly not at all times the case.

All through historical past, going to the physician was typically extra dangerous than simply taking your possibilities along with your sickness.

Poor hygiene requirements, poisonous medicines, and a normal misunderstanding of human anatomy all led to some inventive, albeit in the end harmful, medical practices.

All too typically, the physician’s cures solely ended up inflicting their ailing sufferers extra hurt than supposed.

Anyway, with out additional ado, listed below are eight outdated medical practices that did extra hurt than good.

Corpse Drugs


For lots of of years, European physicians believed that an entire host of human maladies could possibly be cured by cannibalism.

Peaking in recognition within the 16th and 17th centuries, docs prescribed all the things from blood to ground-up skulls to their sufferers.

When rubbed on the skin of the physique, it was believed that human fats may relieve aches and remedy gout, whereas a tincture of ground-up cranium blended with alcohol may assist remedy epilepsy.

Consuming recent blood was thought to assist normally well being and vitality.

Everybody from laypeople to royalty believed in the concept that corpses retained the “spirit” of the one who had handed. Due to this fact anybody who consumed human stays may acquire a few of their former energy.

As ugly as it’d sound, corpse medication remained a well-liked course of therapy for hundreds of years, with the final identified incidence taking place in 1908.



As we speak, mercury is named a doubtlessly poisonous aspect that may be dangerous in giant doses. Nonetheless, that wasn’t at all times the case.

From the 16th all the way in which as much as the 20th Century, mercury was welcomed as a therapeutic drug and commonly prescribed by docs and consumed by sick folks.

Due to its purging capabilities, docs believed that it may remedy all the things from constipation to parasites, the flu, and even melancholy.

Calomel, the powdered model of mercury, was prescribed by way of the 20th Century.

Nonetheless, ingesting mercury can even result in lung harm and kidney toxicity, and many individuals present process this therapy died of mercury poisoning.

On this case, the remedy actually was worse than the illness.



You’d hope that after mercury, folks would have realized their lesson about utilizing doubtlessly poisonous components as a healing tonic. Nonetheless, that, sadly, wasn’t the case.

Radium, one other harmful aspect, was generally blended with water offered as an over-the-counter “vitality” drink within the early 20th Century.

Radium water was marketed underneath the identify model RadiThor with the slogan: “A Treatment for the Residing Useless.”

It claimed to not solely enhance vitality, however may additionally assist in digestion, improve vitality, and remedy impotence in males.

Even though the adversarial well being results of radium have been already generally known as early as 1913, RadiThor remained a well-liked drink all through the Nineteen Twenties, till the federal authorities compelled an finish to its manufacturing in 1932.



Robert James, an 18th Century English doctor, invented and patented his well-known “Dr. James’s Fever Powder” in 1747.

Dr. James claimed his concoction may deal with any variety of illnesses, together with fever, scurvy, and even distemper in cattle.

However he was notoriously secretive concerning the recipe of his fever powder. Because it turned out, the key ingredient was antimony, a poisonous metallic.

Antimony was believed to work as a cure-all for any variety of illnesses, together with fever and gout, primarily for the straightforward motive that it made folks vomit.

Within the 18th Century, docs believed that purging was an indication that the physique was ridding itself of poisons and restoring itself to a pure, wholesome state.

Whereas there may be some fact to that, inducing vomiting by ingesting poison usually did extra hurt than good.



Trepanation is among the oldest medical practices in human historical past. For over 5,000 years, people have tried to remedy head ache, cranium trauma, and even neurological ailments by drilling holes within the affected person’s cranium.

Much less excessive variations concerned merely scraping or slicing smaller sections of the cranium.

Proof of trepanation has been discovered worldwide, together with in Europe, China, Russia, and the Americas.

A contemporary model of trepanation nonetheless exists in medication, now referred to as a craniotomy. It’s solely achieved to deal with excessive situations, akin to a mind tumor, and the cranium fragments are instantly changed.



Arsenic is one other very historical medication, courting all the way in which again to Hippocrates. The daddy of medication himself used the metalloid to deal with ulcers and different sores.

From historical Greece to historical China, arsenic was valued for its medicinal properties.

It was believed to have the ability to restore well being, and was made into tinctures to deal with a number of ailments, from open wounds and ulcers to sleeping illness.

In 1786, an enterprising physician named Thomas Fowler manufactured his personal arsenic-based treatment and commenced bottling and promoting it underneath the identify Fowler’s Resolution.

Fowler’s Resolution was offered by way of the 20th Century as a remedy for situations like psoriasis, bronchial asthma, and heartburn, and it was even used within the therapy of leukemia.



As early as 3,000 years in the past, historical Egyptians pioneered the follow of bloodletting, utilizing a lancet or leeches to open a affected person’s veins and draw out their blood.

The follow unfold to historical Greece and continued to be a well-liked follow in Europe and America all the way in which up till the late 1800s.

In medieval Europe, physicians believed that the physique consisted of 4 humors: blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile.

If certainly one of these humors have been out of steadiness, the physique would grow to be sick.

Bloodletting was believed to be an answer for any maladies attributable to an extra quantity of blood within the physique, and the follow was used to deal with sicknesses as wide-ranging as migraines, seizures, sore throats, and even childbirth.

Animal Magnetism


Created by the German doctor Franz Anton Mesmer within the 1770s, animal magnetism was the assumption that the planets exude magnetic rays, which affect human well being by way of an invisible magnetic fluid that permeates the human physique.

Mesmer believed that sickness was brought about when an individual’s magnetic fluid was blocked or unbalanced.

By utilizing magnets together with sure hand gestures, Mesmer claimed he may unblock an sick individual’s magnetic fluid and restore well being.

Animal magnetism, additionally referred to as Mesmerism, gained recognition in Europe. Wolfgang Mozart and Empress Maria Theresa have been amongst his sufferers.

Nonetheless, Mesmer’s success was additionally short-lived.

Following a scandal involving certainly one of his blind sufferers in 1778, Mesmer’s popularity was ruined, and animal magnetism fell out of vogue.

Nonetheless, Mesmerism can be typically thought-about the precursor to a follow that we’re all accustomed to as we speak: the artwork of hypnosis.

The historical past of medication is stuffed with loopy, questionable, and typically downright harmful practices.

However on the time, most docs really believed they have been doing the very best they may to heal their sufferers.

It makes one marvel: what’s going to historians say about our fashionable medical practices 100 years from now?

Supply hyperlink


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings