Like the Chinese, Galen believed in the use of animal parts as well as herbs in treating illness. Muslim science was a reposi- tory upon which Western societies drew again and again. Islamic medicine favored cauterization for internal and external diseases and prescribed drugs of all kinds, many of which—for example, nutmeg, ambergris, camphor, cloves, tamarind, myrrh, and senna—had to be imported from India or China.
Throughout the Middle Ages, during which the Europeans seemingly avoided any reminiscences of the ancient world, they prayed to God and to assorted saints, who sometimes let them down. Despite their prayers, smallpox was rampant throughout Europe, and in , the bubonic plague, or Black Death, killed at least one-quarter of the popu- lation of Europe. Take then mugwort and everlasting and boil these three in several kinds of milk until they become red.
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The leading pharmacological text for sixteen centuries and the fore- most classical source of modern botanical terminology was De materia medica, the work of Dioscorides c. Along with painstakingly accurate illustrations of various botanicals were found descriptions of their medicinal or magical properties much like their Chinese counterparts. Mandrake Atropa man- dragora , a member of the nightshade family, which includes belladonna, henbane, and tobacco, however, was the plant most infused with magi- cal properties.
The long root, which can sometimes resemble a human form, has been used since ancient times to arouse ardor, overcome infer- tility, and even increase wealth. It is poisonous, a narcotic, an anes- thetic, and a preventative against demonic possession. It was reputed to grow only under the gallows of murderers. It screamed like a human when pulled from the ground, and whoever heard it was killed or driven mad. The only way to pull it out of the ground was to tie a dog to it; the dog would die, but at least you had the root.
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How they were used was important too. To fend off demons or cure diseases, herb drinks were mixed with ale, milk, or vinegar; many of the potions were made with herbs mixed with honey. Ointments concocted with herbs and butter were prescribed for common ailments such as bleeding noses, bald- ness, sunburn, loss of appetite, and dog bites. Herbs were also utilized as amulets or charms against evil and diseases. One of the most important herbals of the Elizabethan era was Histo- rie of Plants by John Gerard — For his botanical descriptions and remedies, Gerard depended on his own observations, but he also consulted earlier authorities.
Artfully blending herbalism, alchemy, and astrology, Nicholas Culpeper —54 gave us an insightful, often amusing glimpse of European medicine in the seventeenth century. Like those in medieval China, most Western herbals emphasized botanical preparations. Neither, at the time, did those of the Chi- nese, given the scale of medications prescribed and the number of ani- mals that would have to be killed to provide them.
While both English and Chinese apothecaries used a surprising abundance of animal parts and excrements , it was still the botanicals that dominated both materiae medicae.
Of course, the plants differed according to what was available. Where the English materia medica included bracken, cowslip, elm, heather, lavender, and woad, the Chi- nese version includes ginseng, lotus root, mung bean, sandalwood, cin- namon, and gardenia. Galen was not translated into Latin until The medical faculty of the University of Paris adopted his works as their standard text and stuck to his words as if they were gospel.
But the man known as Paracelsus soon completely changed the way medicine was taught in Europe. Born in Switzerland around as Theophrastus Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombast von Hohenheim, Paracelsus was well-versed in alchemy, chemistry, and metallurgy, but his fame lies in his boisterous and argumentative rejection of traditional theories of medicine.
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Herbs were too imprecise or crude. But where his predecessors had watched from on high while a barber-sur- geon pulled organs out of a cadaver, Vesalius performed his own dissec- tions and eventually produced four large anatomical charts. In , he produced Institutiones anatomicae, an anatomical manual for his stu- dents, in which he began to question some of the Galenic precepts.
Was there cross-fertilization between Western and Chinese medicine before the modern age? Did Marco Polo bring back news of Chinese med- icine when he returned to Europe in ? They carried cargoes of silks, porcelains, and lacquerware to trade for ivory, pearls, and spices, but their main pur- pose was to impress local rulers with the riches of the Chinese empire and the grandeur of its emperor.
The seventh expedition —33 was the most ambitious of all, carry- ing forty thousand men to every port from Java to Mecca and returning with tributes collected from the Asian and Arab states, including horses, elephants, and a giraffe, but without Cheng Ho, who had died at sea. With med- icine, as in other areas, the Europeans would have to work things out for themselves. In his chapter on Chinese medicine, Roy Porter wrote: From the wider perspective there is a key difference between the eastern and western medical traditions.
Both initially shared com- mon assumptions about the balanced and natural operations of the healthy body and these were inscribed in hallowed texts. Western medicine alone radically broke with this. Contrasting early Greek and early Chinese science, Geoffrey Lloyd and Nathan Sivin scholars of each, respectively together wrote The Way and the Word , a book in which they discuss how knowledge of the natural world was acquired, propagated, and disseminated in each of the two cultures.
Where Greek inquirers strove to make a reputation for themselves as new-style Masters of Truth, most Chinese Possessors of the Way had a very different program, namely to advise and guide rulers. Although most Europeans believed that bubonic plague, which ravaged Europe from to and arose spo- radically until , was caused by bad air miasmas or bad faith, there was an inkling of belief that it might be spread by contagion.
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It would be another three hundred years, however, before the germ theory of disease would become prevalent in the West. What caused diseases in the early Chinese view?
Once the temporal cycles of susceptibility to illness and the seasonal epidemic chhi stimulate it, the disease will unfailingly break out. If one waits to deal with it until it has broken out, because epidemic chhi is already rampant the symptoms will generally be unmanageable. Although without the germ theory, the Chinese nevertheless seem to have invented variolation, the practice of implanting live variola into an incision, which often resulted in a milder form of the disease with a much lower fatality rate than if the disease had been transmitted through the respiratory tract.
One Taoist hermit came from O-Mei Sand, and brought the technique of inoculation and intro- duced it to the capital. The Western version of variolation came later, probably not influ- enced by the Chinese. Her husband had been appointed ambassador to Constantinople, and while there, she had her own children successfully inoculated. They all became free men. With variolation, the fatality rate was reduced from 30 percent to about 1 percent.
And the procedure spread to America, where John Adams was successfully variolated in and Thomas Jefferson like- wise in It was not until , when Edward Jenner inoculated eight-year-old James Phipps with cowpox which was harmless to humans and found that the lad became immune to smallpox that vaccination was accepted in England and western Europe. Western belief in person-to-person transmission as distinct from miasmatic transmission was also strengthened by the introduction of smallpox to Europe by returning crusaders and by the later introduction of syphilis to Europe by travelers to the New World.
The interesting parallels of variolation aside, while Chinese medi- cine maintained continuity over the centuries to the present, the further development of Western medicine of bacteriology led to increasing divergence between the two practices. Leeuwen- hoek had learned to grind lenses, made simple microscopes though the more powerful compound microscopes had already been invented , and began observing with them.
The biggest sort. Moreover, the other animalcules were in such enormous numbers, that all the water. Five years later, Koch revealed before the Berlin Physiological Society the bacillus that causes tubercu- losis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and in , in India, he demonstrated that Vibrio cholerae, the bacillus that causes cholera, was communicated by polluted water.
The freshly isolated microorganism, when inoculated into a healthy laboratory animal, should cause the same disease seen in the original animal. The microorganism can be retrieved from the inoculated ani- mal and cultured anew. But, as we shall see, a cure for malaria came straight out of the pharmacopoeia of China. Herbal and animal-based substances continue to be prescribed in China for a wide range of conditions, based largely on the ancient prin- ciples of TCM.
Among the more commonly treated disorders are skin diseases, including eczema, psoriasis, acne, and rosacea; gastrointestinal disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome, chronic constipation, and ulcerative colitis; gynecological conditions, including premenstrual syn- drome, dysmenorrhea, and infertility; respiratory conditions, including asthma, bronchitis, chronic coughs, and allergic and perennial rhinitis and sinusitis; rheumatological conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis; urinary conditions such as chronic cystitis; psychological problems such as depression and anxiety; and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Chinese herbals describe the use of every plant from ginseng and alfalfa to sas- safras, cloves, myrrh, frankincense, cannabis, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme; and of course, various parts of various animals are still high on the list of curative substances. A list of the substances used in TCM and the conditions for which they are applicable occupies most of the page Fundamentals of Chinese Medicine. There was one widespread and deadly disease for which TCM pro- vided no treatment; indeed, the Chinese government was even reluc- tant to acknowledge its existence.
Studies in China and Thailand, where TCM has almost universal acceptance and a record of use going back several thousand years, have found that many people have successfully used TCM for addressing other HIV factors including fatigue, general energy loss, and declining mental powers. What does TCM say about cancer? One TCM Web page that I consulted noted that cancer can be caused by air pollution, food, and radiation— in agreement with Western medicine. The Cameron Clinic of Chinese Medicine www. A third pattern is when Qi Stagnation and Phlegm accumulation lead to excessive Heat toxins, which then turn to hard breast lump masses.
Despite theories that cancer was caused by irritation, trauma, and parasites a Nobel Prize was awarded in to Johannes Fibiger of Denmark who demonstrated that cancer in mice was caused by a worm , clinical experimentation has shown that the disease could be caused by carcinogens such as coal tar, benzene, aniline dyes, asbestos, radiation including sunlight , hydrocar- bons particularly in tobacco smoke , and, most recently, viruses.
In any discussions, Chinese or Western, the reasons that cancer strikes some people and not others is largely unknown. We know that cancer develops when cells in a part of the body begin to grow out of control, and instead of dying, as normal cells do, cancer cells continue to form abnormal cells. The process known as metastasis occurs when cancer cells get into the bloodstream or lymph nodes and begin to replace normal tissue. Galen consid- ered cancer incurable, but by the early twentieth century, the some- times successful removal of tumors by surgery was the prevailing treatment in Western medicine.
It has now been shown that a diet high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans, when combined with regular exercise, reduces the risk of cancer. Not smoking, staying out of the sun, and avoiding excessive radioactivity such as nuclear explosions do the same. If a balanced diet can reduce the risk of can- cer, it now appears that the TCM theory about correcting an imbal- ance of yang and yin can presumably also have validity after all.ergo-docs.therefore.ca/28094.php
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Arguments about risk and cause aside, the application of the right ani- mal, vegetable, or mineral pharmaceuticals could probably cure a number of diseases or ameliorate the symptoms, even if the explana- tion is 2, years old. For example, Artemesia annua, known in English as sweet wormwood and in Chinese as qinghao, has been shown to be a cure for malaria. It was only in a recent study by scientists at St.
It has the ability to destroy the malaria parasite by releasing high doses of free radicals that attack the cell mem- brane of the parasite in the presence of high iron concentration. In fact, over one million malaria patients have been cured via this method.
Their symptoms also subsided in a matter of days. Research is now being conducted on claims that Artemisia may also kill cancer cells. So far, the most extensive study on the use of artemisinin as an anticancer agent has been carried out by bioengineering scientists Narenda Singh and Henry Lai of the University of Washington, as reported in in the journal Life Sciences. They concluded that artemisinin kills malaria but it can also be used to treat various cancers.
Most cancers have more iron-attracting transferring receptors on their cell surface than normal cells. On the other hand, the normal cells remained vir- tually unharmed.
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