7 Ancient Medical Treatments That Should Stay in the Past Forever


They had always needed medical care for as long as people lived. Our ancestors often had such advanced knowledge that even modern medicine couldn’t crack it. Most of the past methods, however, were rather weird, if not dangerous.

1. Toothache was treated with smoking goat fat.

People had learned how to make dental fillings and prostheses back in ancient times. A human tooth with signs of dental work has been discovered in Italy, estimated to be about 14,000 years old.

Many old techniques were pretty uncommon. As a dental treatment, Avicenna recommended smoking the patient with a burning blend of goat fat, henbane, and onion. Pliny the Elder believed that the only way to get rid of toothache was to catch a toad at midnight, spit in his mouth, and utter special words of “healing.”

2. Mothers delivered babies standing or sitting on their haunches.

They learned how to shift the fetus’ location in utero in Ancient India. And in some African tribes healers were able to use their primitive instruments to perform a cesarean section.

The majority of ancient knowledge was lost in the medieval era, due to the church’s influence. Midwifery was underdeveloped, and many women and neonates died during childbirth.

3. They used juniper and mandrake extracts as anaesthesia.

Our ancestors produced fantastic surgical outcomes. Doctors used alcohol and opium in ancient Mesopotamia to help the patients feel no pain.

They had made extracts from mandrake fruits in ancient Egypt. Juniper, hemp, and aconite had been used as anaesthetic agents in India and China. It is difficult to tell how successful they were.

4. Chronic diseases were treated with physical exercise and holy water.

We claimed in the days of Hippocrates (460-370 BC), that epilepsy was caused by the will of God. He was persuaded that wind, cold, and sun were the factors behind this illness. Those with epilepsy were considered to be possessed by demons in the middle ages and were punished with prayers and holy water.

Ancient physicians treated diabetes with physical exercises and soothing plants, but this did not produce any good results, and generally, the patients died.

Skin diseases, such as psoriasis, were considered incurable. Patients were obliged to carry a bell to alert others to keep away.

5. Almost all diseases were treated with bloodletting.

Bloodletting was popular in India and Arab countries and was even mentioned in ancient Greek and Egyptian documents.

Blood was believed to contain “bad humour,” which the patient had to be let out to cure. Barbers took care of the bloodletting during the medieval period. It’s been common until the 19th century. Only George Washington, though he died later, had his tonsillitis treated this way.

6. They used snake venom and poisonous herbs.

Before antibiotics, people tried to use remedies based on plant poisons and viper venoms to fight infections. Modern scientists came to the conclusion that little proteins called disintegrins were the reasons for their antibacterial behaviour.

They used tobacco, morphine, and henbane, in ancient Egypt. In the middle ages, doctors added their potions with dried snakes and scorpions.

7. A tobacco smoke enema was a very popular treatment.

Digestion issues, drowsiness, stomach cramps, and parasites were all treated with an enema of tobacco smoke, a practice adopted by North American Indians. Nevertheless, they found in the 19th century that tobacco contains toxic nicotine, and these enemas have gone out of fashion.