Series: History of sickness and medical art

History of sickness and medical art 31: China 6


病と医術の歴史 31: 中国 6        




< 1. Bronze ware of Yin dynasty, the 14-11th century B.C. >

< 1. 殷の青銅器、紀元前14~11世紀 >


This time, I introduce a summary of Chinese medical art, and end it.




< 2. “Dishes of Chinese food therapy”was stewed medicines in soup >

< 2. 薬材を煮込んだ薬膳料理、 >


The megatrend (mainly till the 1st century)

In ancient China, the medical art of empirical science gradually developed from medical art being mainly magic.

As for the recognition to physiology, there was an emphasis on heart and a body fluid theory same as other ancient civilization.

There were several phases of outstanding changes in medical art till the 1st century.

Doctors divided their treatments among medicine men in Imperial Court.

There was the activity of doctors who went around each country intended for common people also.

Some important medical books were published.

The etiology had a concept being close to human body at around the 1st century B.C., but after that, it united with a theory of mind by religion (Taoism) and it didn’t develop.

However, because they attached importance to the practice, Acupuncture, Moxibustion and Chinese herb were developed











< 3. pulse diagnosis >

< 3.脈診 >


The characteristic of Chinese medical art, and the background

A: they did not identify a cause of the disease and decided the treatment policy by combination of plural symptoms.

B: they attached importance to disease prevention by raising natural healing capacity than treating the disease from outside.

C: in the disease diagnosis, the pulse diagnosis was developed especially.


In China, why didn’t the surgery develop? And why did the etiology greatly depend on the theory of mind?


Many religions of the world disliked the profanity of the body, and Confucianism prohibited the dissection like Christianity and Islam.

Therefore it is weak as a persuasive power that Chinese surgery didn’t develop by the prohibition of the religion.

Looking around the world, because pastoral tribe did not have resistance to the dissection than agricultural people, this may be a cause of it.


Another characteristic will originate in a reason that is pointed out in certain culture psychology.

People of the East Asia have a strong tendency that ” can see forest but don’t look at tree ” as compared with Westerner.

This seems to have led Chinese etiology that didn’t identify one cause and saw the whole symptom.

This will become to the characteristic A.



A: 一つの病因を特定するのではなく、複数の症状の組合せ「証」によって治療方針を決めた。

B: 病気を外部から治療するよりも、自然治癒力を高めることと病気予防を重視した。

C: 病気診断では、四診(観察、聴・嗅診、質問、脈診)の脈診が発達した。















< 4. a symbol showing “Yin and Yang” and a temple of Taoism >

< 4. 陰陽を表す図と道教の寺院 >


In China, Yin and Yang philosophy (space or body unify and change by two opposed elements) began to be unified at about the 3rd century B.C.

And Confucianism and Taoism of two major religion of China theorized it.

Taoism greatly was developed during Tang Dynasties, and the prescription of perpetual youth and longevity was expected, but failed in Chinese alchemy (mercury poisoning).

The Buddhism being ascendant in those days had a systematized theory of mind (people’s understanding brings solace), and Taoism enhanced Yin and Yang philosophy to counter it, and it seems to be involved in medical art.

This will become to the characteristic B.


Still probably, the biggest factor was that China was on the Eurasian edge, and was shut from other advanced civilization with the large desert, the mountain range, and the sea for a long time, therefore it seems to cause.


From the next time, I see the medical art of the ancient Greece.















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History of sickness and medical art 30 : China 5

病と医術の歴史 30: 中国 5



 < 1.   Soldiers of Sanguo Shidai of China >

< 1. 中国、三国時代の軍人 >


This time, I introduce medicament, cure, and Chinese alchemy.




“Shennong Ben Cao Jing” is fatherless, the oldest book about materia medica, and was compiled during Later Han and Sanguo Shidai( the 2nd –3rd century).

This book sums up the knowledge and the treatment of the medicament from Zhanguo ( the 4th century B.C.).


薬 剤






< 2. “Shennong Ben Cao Jing” >

< 2. 神農本草経 >




< 3. Ephedra >

< 3. 麻黄 >


In the book, there are 365 kinds of medicament, it is categorized as 252 plants, 67 animals, and 46 minerals, and majority of the efficacy is obvious.

For example, ephedra is antidiarrheal, seaweed is used to treatment of lump, glycyrrhiza is alexipharmic, and rheum is a laxative.  

The medicament is categorized into 3 groups.

It consist of 120 kinds of medicament having harmless but weak effect for recuperation, 120 kinds of medicament having harmless and effect for recuperation and treatment, and the rest is such as medicament for destroying tumors in the stomach but being harmful.

And it mentions the production area of medicament, the collection season, the processing process, the most suitable type (pill, powder, and it saturated in alcohol), the taking time, and the taking method.


Books about materia medica after the 3rd century were based on this “Shennong Ben Cao Jing”.

In plant medicament, it is well known as a certain kinds of hydrangea is suitable for malaria, ginseng is suitable for recovery of energy, and tetradium ruticarpum is suitable for ascariciding.

Some of the medicaments were from Egypt and India, and Southeast Asia.













The regimen was important means of tonicity, the prevention of disease, and prevent aging.

Many thinkers and medical scientists preached the regimen, and there were two points of view: “Let’s cultivate life with motion” or “Let’s cultivate life with stillness”

” Hundred Schools of Thought” insisted that we have to be according to nature, and do the care of health about eating and drinking, and have the harmony of mind.

Tua Tuo created the exercises borrowing from five animal postures in Qigong。

“ Curing before becoming sickness” had been written in certain medical book.


養 生










< 4. Chinese alchemy? >

< 4. 錬丹術? >





< 5. Cinnabar > 

< 5.丹砂 >


Chinese alchemy and immortality

On the other hand, “Shennong Ben Cao Jing” included the knowledge of Taoism (thought of immortal), and showed the early state of Chinese alchemy.

In this book, it was written that mercury already had effect on the treatment of scabies and the insecticide of louse.

Chinese alchemy is to made the medicament for immortality by means of mixing and producing chemically change to metals such as mercury sulfide (cinnabar), gold or leaden.

A certain book of Taoism in the 4th century was the first important book about Chinese alchemy, and the chemical knowledge became abundance.

Chinese associated the elixir of immortality with remarkable changing of mercury from red ore of mercury sulfide (fig. 5) and the non-corrosive attribute of gold.

In ancient China, the people attached importance to living in this mortal world than afterworld.

Therefore, the First Qin Emperor had searched the medicament for immortality, in best days, kings of Tang (the 7-9th century) drank the medicament for immortality made by Chinese alchemy, and the many kings died by poisoning.

Before long, Taoism came to cultivate the immortality not by medicament of immortality but by Qi (spirit) of his body.

On the other hand, the abundant knowledge by Chinese alchemy developed the chemistry and the metallurgy, and then the world’s first gunpowder was made in China in the ninth century.















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History of sickness and medical art 29 : China 4

病と医術の歴史 29: 中国 4



< 1. Acupuncture >

< 1. 針治療 >


I reopen this serialization after a long absence.

It carries on from “ History of sickness and medical art 26,27,28:China 1,2,3 “



「病と医術の歴史 26,27,28: 中国 1,2,3 」の続きです。

2,亀甲, Tortoiseshell 

< 2. Tortoiseshell >

< 2. 亀甲 >



Medicine man ascertained the cause of sickness by the fortune-telling using a tortoiseshell, and used three kinds of treatment measure.

  1. The physical measure being friction, fumigation and Acupuncture Moxibustion, etc.
  2. The measure transferring a demon of the disease cause to other.
  3. The measure by incantation, or talisman, etc.

Clause 1 involves the administration of a medicine, and it also is an aim that an internal demon runs away because of pain of the drug.

Clause 2 used the dolls being made of grass.




治 療


  1. 一. 摩擦・燻蒸・鍼灸(針灸)などの物理的なもの。
  2. 二. 病気原因の悪霊を他の物体に乗り換えさせるもの。
  3. 三. 呪文・護符などによるもの。




3,藁人形, Doll of straw

< 3. Doll of straw used for a curse in Japan >

< 3. 日本で呪詛のために使われた藁人形 >


When empirical science advanced in medical art, for the diagnosis, there was observation, observation with stethoscope, interview, pulse diagnosis, and palpation was adopted in some cases.

After, the pulse diagnosis was regarded as important, it was done in three places, and it was said that it was able to catch hundreds of characteristics.

Treatment measure was five methods of psychotherapy, dietary cure, drug therapy, whole body therapy, Acupuncture Moxibustion therapy.

Dental therapy was limited to being coated with medicines or drinking.

In the 2nd century B.C., a doctor left the first medical record.

Tua Tuo is a doctor who played an active part in the private sector in the 2nd century A.D. and he did open surgery with using anesthetic.

The anatomy did not develop, because Confucius forbade the profanity of the body.











4,華佗, Tua Tuo is a surgeon

< 4. Tua Tuo is a surgeon >

< 4.外科医、華陀 >


5経路図, Human body meridians

< 5. “Human body meridians” shows the points that are stabbed with needle >

< 5.経路図は針を刺す位置を示している >



The history of peculiar Acupuncture of China is old, and acute bone for Acupuncture was excavated from remains of 5th millennium B.C.

At first, man broke a pustule with the sharp part of a stone, and emptied pus and blood.

From this treatment reducing swelling, the Acupuncture was developed.

Moxibustion seems to have been developed from the accidental healing experience of burn injury.






The purpose of this therapy is to discharge surplus yin and yang, it is to bring appropriate balance, and then it is said that can flow the outside energy into the body.

In Acupuncture therapy, the curer pricks the skin with a long needle till the constant depth at a certain place.

The curer pricks 365 energy centers along the meridians running on the surface of the body with the needle.

Human body meridians cover the body surface, and have a function to carry active vitality called “ Qi”.

For example, pricking a certain point of the earlobe with a needle treats an abdominal disease.

This therapy is said to be good for every sickness, debilitation, symptom, and, after it came to be used for anesthesia, too.










Moxibustion therapy is a cure to make a blister, by putting moxa (dried leaves of wormwood) on the skin small at energy centers same as the Acupuncture therapy and burning it.

Acupuncture Moxibustion therapy developed, but the development of the surgery is late, and drug treatment drinking as a decoction became central part of medical art.





6太極拳,Tai chi chuan

< 5. Tai chi chuan is performed in the morning in Chinese park >

< 5. 太極拳は中国の公園で早朝よく行われている >


In the Christian Era, Anma( Japanese massage) and Tai chi chuan later were born.

In the 11th century, Chinese medical art succeeded in immunity of the smallpox along with India.

It is to pour the dried powder made of a crust of the smallpox into a nostril with using a thin pipe.








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History of sickness and medical art 28: China 3

 medical book “Huangdi Neijing”

<1. medical book “Huangdi Neijing”>


This time, I look at how people recognized the sickness in those days.



 Restored instruments of acupuncture in “Huangdi Neijing” 

< 2. Restored instruments of acupuncture in “Huangdi Neijing” >


The oldest medical book “Huangdi Neijing”

This Chinese oldest medical book is written in the form that legendary Yellow Emperor discusses with a subject.

It was written in the first century B.C.

This form resembles the pattern that a legendary wizard had a dialogue with a king in ” Caraka Sanhita” of India.

It consists of pathology, general remarks of physiology, and clinical medicine including diagnosis, treatment, acupuncture and moxibustion.


“ People are kept alive by life energy ( Qi ) of nature, and is controlled with the rule of four seasons”

From ancient times, in China (East Asia), people think people being harmonize with nature, and it becomes sickness when balance collapses.











this Classic Taoist Taijitu shows “Yin and Yang” 

< 3. this Classic Taoist Taijitu shows “Yin and Yang” >


The fundamental theory is in Confucian doctrine” I Ching”.

It is said that people take birth with life energy ( Qi ) of “ Yin and Yang”, and people get sick if the harmony in the body was lost.

Furthermore, it was assumed that the human body is made of wood, fire, soil, gold, and water.

The basic elements of every phenomena and things were assigned to five.

There was 4 body fluid theory in Greece medicine, but there was 5 body fluid theory in China.

Moreover, people recognized that all blood was under rule of the heart, circulated through it continuously, and didn’t stop.








Meridian of “Huangdi Neijing” 

< 4.   Meridian of “Huangdi Neijing” >


Moreover, there is the 12 principal meridians in body, and life energy ( Qi ) circulates through this course.

It presupposed that health can be maintained by keeping this circulation normal, and the sickness is treated by giving acupuncture and moxibustion.

Moreover, it presupposed the sickness was divided into two, one of it depended on external factor such as wind, chill, dryness, humidity, and other depended on inner factor of joy, pathos, anger, fear, etc.





     Zhang Zhongling

< 5. Zhang Zhongling >


The oldest clinical medical book “Shanghan Lun”

This book was written by Zhang Zhongling of good doctor at the end of the Han dynasty, and was a monument that told the birth of experience medicine.

He was called Hippocrates.

In a preface, he wrote his families had died in large quantities in a short term and 70 percent of it was “Shanghan”, and indicated the motive of writing the book.

He systematically explained the treatment of “Shanghan” from the onset of a disease to the death, and medical treatment was explained mainly by medicines only, but the etiology was not explained.










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History of sickness and medical art 27: China 2

Medical treatment scene of doctor Bian que

< 1. Medical treatment scene of doctor Bian que >


This time, I look at the change of medicine through the activity of the doctor.



.  Capital's remain of Yin dynasty 

< 2. Capital’s remain of Yin dynasty >



In the entire world, the medical treatment by fortune telling or prayer was in the mainstream in ancient times.

Similarly, medicine man (witch doctor) was most valued in the royal palace of Yin that occurred in the 16th century B.C.

However, a portent of experience medicine was seen also in Yin dynasty, and, in Western Zhou Dynasty in the 8th-11th century B.C., the tendency further was progressing more.


医 師




.  Duke of Zhou is a Prime Minster of Yin dynasty and seemed to have written ”Rites of Zhou”

< 3. Duke of Zhou is a Prime Minster of Yin dynasty and seemed to have written ”Rites of Zhou” >


According to ”Rites of Zhou” in which the administrative organization of Western Zhou Dynasty is described, there was a medical special department that separated from magic and religion.

It included the disease prevention, the treatment, the management about medicine and medical appliances, and the accountancy.

The ranking of medical person was indicated in that order: the doctor (he collected medicine and superintended inferior doctors), food doctor (he prescribed food and drink), internist, surgeon, and veterinarian.

The doctor had been classified by the results and was obliged to report his failure or his success as the judgment data.

In the middle of next chun qiu Zhan guo shi dai (end of the 8th-3rd century B.C.), the change appeared furthermore.

As we had looked a famous physician of the King of Qin last time, doctors like Bian Que (the 5th century B.C.) came to play an active part among many thinkers (Hundred Schools of Thought) that went around feudal lords of each country.








a relief engraving(hua xiang shi) in the 2nd century A.D. showed Bian Que carrying out acupuncture. 

< 4. a relief engraving(hua xiang shi) in the 2nd century A.D. showed Bian Que carrying out acupuncture. >


The bird expresses the doctor, and his name means the magpie of a wise bird.

He visited main five countries of those days.

He was skillful at pulse diagnosis and also was excellent in internal medicine, surgery, gynecology, pediatrics, five senses (eye, ear, nose, mouth, and tongue), acupuncture and moxibustion.

He was dealt with in “Records of the Grand Historian”, and it was written that he cured the diseases of from feudal lords till common people of each country.

In his words, there was “there are six cureless sickness”, and one of that was ” a person believes pythoness and does not believe medical art.”

This shows a firm belief in medical art of those days, and it shares similarity with Hippocrates of Greece of the same period.

However, the experience medicine did not replace magic medicine.

In the preceding paragraph story of the famous physician of the King of Qin last time, the King was divined by pythoness as “King was cursed as that king had killed two men by his hand, therefore he must die.”










“Shennong Ben Cao Jing” is a Chinese book on agriculture and medicinal plants

< 5.  “Shennong Ben Cao Jing” is a Chinese book on agriculture and medicinal plants >



The sick classification was hardly based on cause of disease, but was based on “proof” of the condition or pulse diagnosis.

Therefore, the ancient name of disease is uncertain.

As for the oldest specialized book ofmateria medica, there is “Shennong Ben Cao Jing”(the 1st century B.C.).

The disease names being written in this book covered 170 different types including jaundice, malignant tumor, cold, etc.

And it explained each disease of internal medicine, surgery, gynecology, ophthalmology, otolaryngology, and dentistry.









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History of sickness and medical art 26: China 1

Bronze ware

< 1. Bronze ware, the 6th century B.C. >


I look at the medical art of China in the first millennium B.C.

This time, I survey Chinese medical art of those days.





 Terracotta Army in Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor

< 2. Terracotta Army in Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, the 3rd century B.C. >


The Chinese civilization began from a large number of city-states that was born in the Yellow River middle region.

The oldest dynasty is “Xia” in about 2070 B.C.

In the wake of the large conflict of “ Chun qiu Zhan guo shi dai”(770B.C.~221B.C.), Qin Dynasty accomplished first unification, then Han Dynasty (202B.C.~220A.D.) took it.

From these days, China was the supreme ruler of East Asia and was the most advanced civilized country.








Chinese drama "Confucius"

< 3. Chinese drama “Confucius” >


For us, China was a great teacher and a cultural superpower that had abundant classics.

Although the birth of a character would be in about the 16th century B.C., it became popular for writing to a strip of wood card and a silk cloth.

The contents became various from about the 8th century, and it were written about a myth, poetry, the history, accounts of war, the thought, and the medical art.

Such as Confucius, the thinker’s birth that began from about the 6th century B.C. became a landmark event of culture.








Chinese medicine drugstore street

< 4. Chinese medicine drugstore street in Guangzhou >


The old medical art of China is called Chinese medicine and is contributing by the drug and health management method still today.

It includes Chinese herb, massage, and a food therapy meaning that foods are medicines.

And especially acupuncture, moxa cautery, and a therapy by life energy are peculiar.

The medical art of China was tied to much God and black art in the first stage in common with other civilization.








< 5. Inscriptions on bones and tortoise carapaces, the 13 –11th century B.C. >

I introduce two stories.

“ Policymaker uses the doctor who performs fortune-telling by a tortoise shell and bamboo sticks.” (the 2nd century B.C.- the 2nd A.D.)


“ This sickness cannot get cured. The moxa cautery does not work because that it is located at the lower side of your heart and upper side of your diaphragm. And the acupuncture does not reach it. Medicines also do not work additionally.” (About the 4th century B.C. time)  


The former shows that they depended on treatment of witch doctor performing a fortune-telling and a prayer.

The latter shows that famous physician in ordinary to King of Qin was invited to Jin, and he diagnosed the King of Jin.

In those times, there was a doctor who won fame by medicine.

He had known three kinds of cures and diagnosed for medical problem.


I look at how the empirical science-like medical art including the magical factor has changed, from the first millennium B.C. to the 3rd century A.D.

















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History of sickness and medical art 25: India 5


< 1. Yoga >


This time, I introduce Yoga and summarize the medical art of ancient India, end it.




Yoga is known as a thing increasing health enhancement now.

On the other hand, deity statue performing Zen (meditation) around the world will be only Buddha statue.

Long history is concerned with this.







a seal of Indus civilization: a Yoga ascetic sits while wearing a crown of horn 

< 2. a seal of Indus civilization: a Yoga ascetic sits while wearing a crown of horn >


The oldest image that is sitting is in the seal of Indus civilization.

The oldest description about Yoga was in an Upanishad of about the fourth century B.C.

Following sentence teaches an ascetic training of Yoga.

“Recognize Atman of an absolute hiding in depth of our existence by introspectiveness”

In India, it was idealized that people had been absorbed quietly in meditation under forest tree from time immemorial (ashrama).

Caraka sanhita that became medical knowledge of Buddha makes reference to yoga a lot.









 Bhagavad Gita is part of the Hindu epic Mahabharata, and a sacred text of the Hindus. 

< 3. Bhagavad Gita is part of the Hindu epic Mahabharata, and a sacred text of the Hindus. >


Yoga developed in the first millennium B.C. as the religious self-training method (enlightenment or nirvana) or moral culture, and Buddhism took in it.

The system of the Yoga was completed at about the fourth century, and at about the twelfth century, mystical yoga was born and adopted physical movement.

This spreads now all over the world.






Alexander the Great : a scene of the movie  

< 4. Alexander the Great : a scene of the movie  >


Ancient medical system of India advanced

Emperor Ashoka built hospital for people in the third century B.C.

In Europe, similar thing is built in the fourth century.

When a Greek doctor was not able to cure a soldier who was bitten by a snake, Alexander the Great commanded Indian doctor to cure him.

The medical treatment was successful, and Alexander the Great who was impressed with it employed Indian doctors in his army.



The characteristic of the medical art in India seemed to attach importance to more the cure for a patient than the etiology.

New doctors escaped from religious bondage, and participated actively in the cure.

As seen in Yoga, there was an Indian culture that attached importance to the cultivation of mind, and this affected religion, medical art, and health care.


From next time, I introduce ancient medical art of China.


















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History of sickness and medical art 24: India 4


< 1. Buddha >


How did Buddha who participated actively around the 6th century B.C. face the illness?

We will see new breath in it.





About Buddha of the day

Brahmanism that was mainstream of the day was mainly role to provide offering and ceremony for God.

Buddha who wanted new path to the salvation preached the teachings along with doing communal living with many pupils and traveling over villages.

This priest group involved the participation of all classes, man andwoman.

They didn’t work, accepted charity, didn’t have goods, and lived equal and simple life.

Acceding to the rule that Buddha decided was a single condition that the members can belong to the group.

During several hundred years, the pupils had carried on the tradition of these rules, and then these became the Scripture being calling Vinaya-Pitaka.










Turmeric: medicines and curry powder 

< 2.  Turmeric: medicines and curry powder >


From Vinaya-Pitaka, below are an extract and a summary.


“A priest suffered from a sickness. Everybody nursed him, but he didn’t recover. He went to a slaughterhouse of pig, and ate the uncooked meat and drank the blood. His disease thereby recovered. Buddha said, “ I forgive the sick person for eating uncooked the meat and drinking the blood.””


“ I allow use of roots-root of turmeric, ginger, and iris, etc.- as medicines. Although these are appetizing and add a flavor, healthy person must not eat it. You will commit a crime, if you eat them though these are not necessary.”


“ Ananda, because I am out of condition, I want to drink a purgative. Ananda consulted Jivaka. The doctor ordered Ananda that he must paint fats the body of Buddha for a few days, and then the doctor gave him a light purgative. The doctor said to Buddha that you should refrain from liquid meal until you completely recovered. And Buddha recovered.”


Buddha knew the medical art of the time, and applied it actively.

He hadn’t the idea of the sickness that was caused by the violation of taboo or the punishment by God.

In addition, he was a friend with skilled physician Jivaka.















Turmeric: medicines and curry powder 

<  3.  Map >


 Taxila ruins, after the 6th century B.C.

< 4.  Taxila ruins, after the 6th century B.C. >


About legendary doctor Jivaka.

He was a skilled physician that participated actively in the capital of Magadha country, cured the king and was also Buddha’s court physician.

Although he was of low birth, he become a pupil of a doctor in Taxila, learned the medical art of Caraka samhita, and then he went back.

Why did he go to the far-off Gandharan capital?

At the time, Gandhara in the northwest was under the influence of the Persia civilization.

On the other hand, he probably thought that learning of new medical art was difficult in Magadha country where Brahmanism’s ideology had permeated in.  











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History of sickness and medical art 23: India 3

Caraka was a famous ancient doctor 

< 1.  Caraka was a famous ancient doctor >

I look at the activity of doctors and the medical groups.



Two red points show Taxila and Varanasi

< 2.  Two red points show Taxila and Varanasi >

 Appearance of the doctor

Ayurveda includes two major medical books of Caraka samhita and Susruta samhita.

This title originates in each doctor’s name.

Caraka was a court physician of Kanishka King of the 2nd century B.C.

Susruta was a surgeon of several centuries B.C.

These medical books came into existence after the 3rd century A.D., but the schools of medical thought that brought about those had been born around the 6th century B.C.

The school of medical thought of Caraca was active in Taxila of Pakistan(Gandhara), and it of Susruta was active in Varanasi(a holy place of Hinduism and Buddhism).

The former adopted the medical treatment and the latter had also adopted surgery treatment.









Orthopedic surgery of a nose

< 3. Orthopedic surgery of a nose   >

A world’s first orthopedic surgical operation was in ancient India.


It is orthopedic surgery of ear and nose, which was explained in detail by Susruta samhita.

In the upper class of Hindu society, they had a custom of making a hole in their earlobe and also outspreading it.

Moreover, as there was punishment that sliced off a nose, the recovery surgery was required.

The epoch-making method of this surgery was slicing off a skin of patient’s jaw or the forehead, and transplanting to the patient’s affected part.

Probably, it was carried out in several centuries B.C.

This operation becomes about 1500 years earlier than Europe.

The Indian orthopedic surgery and surgical instrument advanced very much.

However, the anatomy seems to have not advanced, because the dissection was prohibited by Manusmriti (Indian ancient social norm).













< 4.  marma >

In India, there also is marma of body points resembling acupuncture points of China.

However, marma was not connected directly with organ and nerve, and the moxibustion or acupuncture was not provided.




The status of doctor

Early time, the doctors were only Brahman, later were able to be even from the low-ranking hierarchy.

If even a low hierarchy person became doctor, he was ranked the high rank, and tax was exempted from him.

The doctor at Imperial Court had achieved successful career, and he was able to become the important person of the country like Caraka.

The criminal punishments with unsuitable medical treatment by the doctor have been written in Manusmriti.

The cost of treatment was no charge for Brahman and poor, and others were charged according to the economic conditions.

Those who want to become doctor became pupil of teacher, recited Ayurveda, learned the treatment of medicinal herb, received training of the action method, etc.

The pupil had been recognized by the teacher, subsequently had the authorization of king, and became the full-fledged doctor.















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History of sickness and medical art 22: India 2

God of India

< 1. God of India >

We look at the medical art of ancient India from this time.



This was established in about 1000 years B.C., was a sacred book for the private sectors, and had a relationship with medical treatment most.

This excluded disaster by magic, prayed for beatification, and aimed for medical treatment, love, victory, good luck, and expiation.

The object of disease treatment was diarrhea, heart disease, skin disease, tumor, fracture, intestinal worm, and poison of snake, and eye disease etc.

And it also included energy reinforcement and long life.

For example, the treatments were that a patient caught the hand of a magician, and made an incantation.

The treatment of fever was to transmit it to a woman of Sudra (slave), and the treatment of headache and coughs was to transmit it to the trees of hill and forest

For constipation, the patient was made to drink the soil of a rat hole along with singing a devotional song.











The spice of curry was based on Ayurveda 

< 2. The spice of curry was based on Ayurveda >


Birth of Ayurveda

In the early stages, Brahmin (flamen) doubled also as doctor, and mainly treated sickness by means of using magic.

Before long, the experience and the knowledge about sickness or medicinal herb had been accumulated, and two medical schools that specialized in the internal medicine and the surgery treatment appeared in the 6th century.

These had been integrated into a system of Ayurveda (knowledge of the life) during several centuries A.D., and moreover it adopted yoga and developed.








16 major nations: The first city-states were born.

< 3. 16 major nations: The first city-states were born.  >

When it came at the 7th century B.C., rice cropping and trade became popular in Ganges basin, and many city-states were born.

This pushed the society toward the birth of freethinker, Sakyamuni, and medical school.





Change of the medical treatment

According to typical etiology of Ayurveda, the sickness was that the equilibrium among yellow bile, viscous liquid, winds, and blood collapsed.

In order to regain this equilibrium, patients must eat and drink sweet, acid, bitter, salt, and astringent depending on his condition.

For example, it is said that the acid is effective in the increase of digestion or mental function.

There are many medicines to treat, and they consist of minerals, animals, and 1000 or more kinds of medical herbs, and the purpose and the usage are classified.

Some medicines were the Egypt origin and the curative medicines of skin disease reached 100 kinds.

There were many medicines with clear effect and they used opium, ginger, cinnamon, wolfsbane, castor oil, alum, mercury, etc.

The mainstream of medical treatment was emetic method, enemas, nasal drops method, and phlebotomy method (bloods are drained).












.  a relief engraving of a tooth extraction  

< 4.  a relief engraving of a tooth extraction  >

The name of diseases of internal medicine exceeds 300 kinds, and hiccups, the illness of head, and insanity are also included.

There were surgical operations of anal fistula, fracture, tooth extraction, renal calculus, cataract, and nose job, etc. 

The doctor did auscultation of patient, observed the state of his skin or his tongue, and judged diabetes with tasting his urine.


In this way, the conversion to medical art of empirical science from it of only past magic happened.










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History of sickness and medical art 21: India 1

Brahman God

< 1. Brahman God >

We look at medicine of India at about the first millennium B.C.

There was a medical system called Ayurveda in I    ndia.

Before looking at it, we survey Indian culture and religion of the day.


As for the ancient record of India, the time when it was written is ambiguous, and the contents are almost the scripture and the myths.

The spread of writing began around the 5th century B.C. by rule class.

There are few ruins that tell the history of the time vividly except some king’s epitaphs.











Kausanmbi: a city remains at the 7th century B.C. 

< 2. Kausanmbi: a city remains at the 7th century B.C. >

The Aryan who came in northwest India from about 1500 years B.C. ruled the indigenous people.

Then they produced Brahmanism, and established the sacred book (Veda).

The contents of this Veda were mainly the songs praising for gods and religious service, and were inherited with the word-of-mouth between teachers and students.

The beginning of Veda was considerably old, and many myths and the Scriptures were produced over long years.  

Brahmanism managed the festival of the royal family, and was also concerned with the religious service of village after village.

The Brahman who has monopolized the festival had very big power and privilege.









The civilization area at the first millennium B.C. 

< The civilization area at the first millennium B.C. >

From around 500 years B.C., a new breath arose in the religious world.

It is that esoteric books (Upanishad) making up for Veda was produced.

Soon the freethinkers who criticized Brahmanism began activity.

From among them, people appeared who dived into public and created a new religion.

In this way, Buddhism and Jainism were born.

The center of the civilization and the religion at the time is middle basin of Ganges.










< 4. Atharvaveda >

I quote two phrases from Atharvaveda (this sacred book including many incantations was established at about 1000 years B.C.).

“A thing in thee, a thing in thy body, and it are fearful things.

A thing in hair and a thing in thy eyes.

I will beat the all things by my words.

As with Savitr God may encourage thou.”


“As wind, as thinking power, and as a bird.

A child of October!  Let you fly along with childbirth.

You give a birth and must descend from it.”


Lower phrases are the incantation for avoiding a miscarriage.




「汝自身の中にあるもの、汝の身体の中にあるもの、それは恐るべきものである。髪の中にあるもの、さてはまなざしの中にあるもの。そのすべてを言葉によって打ち負かそう。サヴィトリ神が汝を鼓舞するように! 」





a ceremony of the modern Hinduism

< 5.  a ceremony of the modern Hinduism >

The important duty of Brahman was to remove accident and illness by religious service (altarage) and incantations.


We look at the medicine of India from the next time.








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History of sickness and medical art 20:  Table of contents and abstract of the articles 1~19


I wrote the article of 19 episodes, and about 1/3 was over until now.

I make a table of contents and the abstract of the past article a list.




A table of contents and abstract 目次と要約


1Introduction  / はじめに

2.  Start of the cure 1  / 治療の始まり 1


 Neanderthal man has supported a disabled person for a long time.

Chimpanzees cured a diarrhea by itself and performed the care of health or healing each other.




3.  Start of the cure 2治療の始まり 2


The animal is performing various kinds of pediculicidal measures.

It may be said that the most primitive curing of others is the behavior of the cleaner fish of the coral reef.

Can the mouse feel the pain of others?





4. In preliterate society  /  無文字社会では 1


The recognition for the disease of indigenous people resembles that of ancient civilization.

The appearance was varied in accordance with the peoples, but the magician and medicinal herb were important in everything. 




5. In preliterate society 2  /  無文字社会では 2


I look at the role and the treatment of magicians (shaman) of the world. 



6. In preliterate society 3 無文字社会では 3


 I look at how a pastoral tribe in Kenya deals with the disease.

They have some recognition that is slightly different from others.




7. In preliterate society 4 無文字社会では 4



 The sickness and medical treatment of the nonliterate society are summarized.

There was an intersection of early religion and science.




8.  Modern humans, the oldest medical art  / 人類最古の医術



I look at the oldest medical art that was performed in ancient civilization.

It exists surprisingly from time immemorial.




9.  Mesopotamia 2 メソポタミア 1


I look at what kind of medical art have spread in the oldest civilization.



10. Ancient Mesopotamia 2 古代メソポタミア 2


The flamen and the doctor performed medical treatment and the medicines and a prayer were important means.

Even so, the medical art advanced markedly, and the medical system was made, too.




11. Ancient Egypt 1 古代エジプト 1



Egypt left a lot of oldest medical books.



12. Ancient Egypt 2  /  古代エジプト 2


They had the many names of the disease and the prescription thanks to the record of an abundant papyrus.



13. Ancient Egypt 3  /  古代エジプト 3


They used some versatile theory for the understanding of the sickness, and considered that a specific internal organ is important.

In Egypt, some skilled physicians have left the name to the history.




14. It originated in ancient Egypt 古代エジプトにはじまるもの


I seek an origin of the religious precepts of a circumcision and the pork evasion, and the mandragora of medicinal herb.



15. Ancient Israel 1 古代イスラエル 1


I survey the Israeli history and look at the characteristic.

The Bible is the only one of source of medical information.




16. Ancient Israel 2 古代イスラエル 2


I look at the situation of the doctor, and the trust for medical treatment.


17. Ancient Israel 3  古代イスラエル 3


About medical treatment and medicines, I look concretely.



18.  Ancient Israel 4 古代イスラエル 4


The medical treatment was not important in the Bible, but the miracle of Jesus played a big role.

This was a great transformation in respect of the recognition to sickness, and about the religion too.




19. Ancient Israel 5 古代イスラエル 5


In this land, I see the disease was recognized very much religiously.

Thank you and please let me know if you have any questions.




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History of sickness and medical art 19: Ancient Israel 5

One scene of Exodus of the Torah (commandment)

< One scene of Exodus of the Torah (commandment) >

This time, it becomes a conclusion of ancient Israel.

Although there was no explanation of systematic structure of human body in the Bible, there was a thinking of dividing into three of soul, life principle, and flesh.

The name of organs was borrowed from Egypt, and heart was thought important similarly.

The law of rest day is coincident with a custom of Assyria that severely restricted the activity of the 7th day of a week.

In the Mesopotamia or Egypt, the cause of sickness that is not cured easily was a punishment of Gods, or work of various devil.

On the other hand, in Israel, it hinges on only absolute God all.

The foulness was considered to be a punishment of God by having violated the prohibition that you must not touch, instead of work of the devil that was reason of it.

The taboo of Mesopotamia to tell not to approach a sick person was considered to be punishment and foulness in the Old Testament, and the sick person came to be isolated strictly.

In due course, rather than depending on a punishment necessarily, the sickness came to be realized to be a trial that God gave. (From Job to the New Testament)












a miracle of Jesus

< a miracle of Jesus >

I look how the Bible has dealt in a skin disease.


“And the priest shall look on him, and behold, the scab hath spread in the skin; then the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is leprosy.”  Lev.13:8


“And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him.”  Luke 5:13


“The person who watched lepers says, the true judgment of god comes to be celebrated. ” the Talmud


Between Judaism (the Old Testament, the Talmud) and Christianity (the New Testament), the recognition to skin disease (a punishment of God) has a large difference.












 Gospel of Luke

< Gospel of Luke >

According to the Talmud, the cause of disease depends on the imbalance of four body fluids, and it is based on a theory of Greece.

This will depend on having been a Jewish medical school in Alexandria city in the 4th century B.C.





Jews hold the Torah

< Jews hold the Torah  >

The rule of health had to be conformed with the commandments rather than medical reason.

It had extended to every action, including a time and a place of the burial, the isolation of the sick person, the cleansing before the meal, the slaughter of the animal, and the cooking of the food.

There were many regulations to putrilage, fungus, skin disease, and especially blood.

In this way, the regulation of foulness and contraindications permeated widely.









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History of sickness and medical art 18: Ancient Israel 4

Michelangelo's David

< Michelangelo’s David  >


About 50 sorts of sicknesses are looked at in the Old Testament.   

In surgical sickness, there was a giant’s malformation, a weakening of hand and foot of the muscle atrophy or the paralytic nerve, a defect of hand and foot, blindness, and deafness.

There were many cases of swelling or skin disease and there were smallpox, black plague, and leprosy.

In the circulatory organ, there were a heart attack, cerebral hemorrhage, and the headache that was thought to be the subarachnoid hemorrhage, too.

In other cases, there were lung disease, fever, gout, peritonitis, woman’s illness, malaria, and dysentery, and then the eye disease are regarded as endemic disease.

In the psychiatry, there were the mental derangement and deafness that were possessed by an evil spirit.


病 気









< Talmud >

Medical treatment

The treatment of the doctor was doubtful, and the medical treatment with medicine appears in the Old Testament only 12 times.

Except the circumcision as the ceremony, the Bible hardly has referred to the surgery.

The midwife only encouraged and attended a pregnant woman.

Although Talmud had descriptions of medical treatment, most of them were based on a superstition.

I introduce a treatment of fever from Talmud.

“A sick person is sat on a crossroads. If the ant that is carrying the heavy burden on its back is seen, he catches and shakes the ant, and he shouts, “Your heavy burden is imposed on me and my heavy burden (fever) is imposed on you.” “


治 療







a miracle of Jesus

< a miracle of Jesus  >

However, there was revolutionary change in medical treatment.

Although it is called a miracle, it may be able to say that a psychological treatment started.


“ for I Jehovah thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, upon the third and upon the fourth generation of them that hate me.” Exodus 20:5

“If thou, Jehovah, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?” Psalm 130:3

“Then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing.” Isaiah 35:6

“And he took him aside from the multitude privately, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat, and touched his tongue.”

“And his ears were opened, and the bond of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke plain.” Mark 7:33,35











a expiation: Sacrifice of the lamb 

< a expiation: Sacrifice of the lamb >

Into this undercurrent, I can read a change from God that gives a punishment (sickness) to God that gives a blessing (healing).

By repenting its sins, that is to say, because each person faces one’s mind, they will be freed from their sickness.

Jesus rather gave a sinner (sick person) a blessing.

Although Gautama Buddha of India denied the expiation and the miracle also, the thing that he aimed was the same.

Many of ancient civilization developed the ceremony of the expiation, and the sin was not forgiven without the expiation.










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History of sickness and medical art 17: Ancient Israel 3

a trepanation evidence in an ancient Jewish city of Lachish

< a trepanation evidence in an ancient Jewish city of Lachish  >

From now on, we look at medical art until about the first century A.D. from the first millennium B.C.




The epidemic of an ancient city of Philistine : it described black plague in the eleventh century B.C.

< The epidemic of an ancient city of Philistine : it described black plague

in the eleventh century B.C. >


The Doctor

The Israeli flamen performed medical care in the same way as them of Mesopotamia and Egypt, and also performed magic and exorcism.

The flamen distinguished a sickness according to a rule of religious uncleanliness.

Although this differential diagnosis included the thing based on medical basis, there were many superstitious things.

About skin disease, the flamen determined whether or not it was an epidemic, and after that, he decided the medical treatment method.

The patient of leprosy (Hansen’s disease) was isolated.

In ancient times, prophets took the place of the doctor; Elisha was curing the skin disease of a general in Syria.

Isaiah attached a dried fig to a swelling of dying Jewish King.

Becoming the doctor was restricted to the Levite, and it was forbidden that the defective person of eyesight performs medical care.

It was not permitted that the doctor inspects patient, in evening, on a cloudy day, or the dusky room.



医 師











prophet Isaiah: a picture by Michelangelo in Sistine Chapel

< prophet Isaiah: a picture by Michelangelo in Sistine Chapel >

Barbers etc. might have performed bloodletting (phlebotomy) and the simple physical therapy that was not approved generally, but the doctor came to gradually make a specialty of the medical care.

Although it seemed that the doctor performed both internal medicine and surgery, there also was the surgery specialty.

The brain surgery (trepanation) of Lachish in the 9th century B.C. shows the existence of the expert clearly.

“The doctor”of Hebrew word in the Old Testament meant the repairman.

It was despised with “a useless doctor” in the Book of Job.

Talmud (establishment in the 4th century) described the doctor was ingredients essential for the community life.

Moreover, it also described, “unless one pays a suitable charge, one cannot receive good medical treatment. “










The excavation of a wine cellar at about B.C. 1700 in Canaan  

< The excavation of a wine cellar at about B.C. 1700 in Canaan  >



Olive oil or wine was used for external medicine of a wound, dried fig was used for medicine of a swelling, and a marjoram (mint family) and sour wine were used for a painkiller.

Peppermint or cumin were used for a cold medicine, almond were used for a love potion, myrrh was used for a preservative and a painkiller, and frankincense was used for a body preservative

There were a lot of medicines of Mandrake (hallucinogenic drug), Balsam (plaster), resin, a spice, oil, and narcotic etc.

However, the number was few as compared with the medicines of the Mesopotamia or Egypt.


薬 剤







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History of sickness and medical art 16: Ancient Israel 2


Jesus turns merchants out of the shrine.

< Jesus turns merchants out of the shrine. >

We watch ancient medical art of Israel from now on.

First, let’s see some descriptions of the doctor in the Bible.




Construction of the second shrine 

< Construction of the second shrine >

A. “And in the thirty and ninth year of his reign Asa was diseased in his feet; his disease was exceeding great: yet in his disease he sought not to Jehovah, but to the physicians.”

“And Asa slept with his fathers, and died in the one and fortieth year of his reign.”

2Chron 16:12,13

Although this describes the king of the Judah kingdom in 868 BC, it was edited in the 4th century BC.


「 アサはその治世第四十一年に先祖と共に眠りにつき、死んだ。」



Alexandria library: an academic city that Alexander the Great built 

< Alexandria library: an academic city that Alexander the Great built >


B. “Honor a physician according to your need of him with the honors due to him:

For verily the Lord has created him.”

“The skill of the physician shall lift up his head; And in the sight of great men he shall be admired.”

Sirach 38:1,3

This was edited at the end of the 2th century BC.



「 医者はその博識によって高い身分を与えられ、/権勢ある人々の前で驚嘆される。」



C. “And Jesus having heard [it] says to them, they that are strong have not need of a physician, but those who are ill. I have not come to call righteous [men], but sinners.”

Mark 2:17



the Roma forces destroyed Jerusalem

< the Roma forces destroyed Jerusalem >

I chose the above sentences among ten books of the bible that included descriptions of the doctor, along chronological order of establishment.

In the Old Testament, the doctor was positioned in the low rank than God.

In A, the person who ignored God paid the penalty, but in B, the position of the doctor improved.

In other section of the New Testament, although there were the complaints about not being cured by the doctor, in C, it is recognized that the doctor is the healer of the sick person.

The doctor in Egypt and Mesopotamia also was ranked lower than the flamen .

In this way, the recognition to “the sickness and the doctor” seems to have changed during about 400 years.


The established time of these books was tumultuous time for the people of Judea.

Time of A:  the people were released from the Babylonian captivity, and returned to Jerusalem.

Then they rebuilt the shrine, and were riding high for the reconstruction.

Time of B: After invasion of Alexander the Great, while the people had been subject to Greek civilization (Hellenism), they gained the independence of Palestine to aim at racial self-determination.

Time of C: After an internal fighting, division of small country occurred, and the Roman Empire ruled it.

Judaism was preserved, but had become emasculation.

Jesus lived in this time.










Aの時期: 人々はバビロンの捕囚から解放され、エルサレムに戻り、神殿を再建し、復興の意気盛んな時代でした。

Bの時期: アレクサンドロス大王の侵略後、ギリシャ文明(ヘレニズム)の影響を受ける中で、民族自決を目指しパレスチナの独立を勝ち取った時代でした。

Cの時期: 内乱、小国分裂の後、ローマ帝国が支配し、ユダヤ教は温存され形骸化していた。イエスはこの時代を生きた。





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History of sickness and medical art 15: Ancient Israel 1

Jerusalem was destroyed in the sixth century B.C. and the peoples were transported to Babylon.

< Jerusalem was destroyed in the sixth century B.C. and the peoples were transported to Babylon. >

From now on, we look at the medical art of ancient Israel.

This time, we look at ancient Israel having the rare history.





 the ruins of a village in Jericho

< the ruins of a village in Jericho   >

What is rare?

This nation was sandwiched between the vast desert and the sea, furthermore between two ancient civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia.

World religion was not born of the both ancient civilizations, but Judaism and Christianity were born of this small nation.

Two ancient civilizations of China and India created each world religions.

Furthermore, the peoples lost the hometown and roamed around the world for 2000 years, and they again accomplished the founding of their nation in Palestine.

It was the Jewish nation, and Israel.                        









Levant's trade routes    

< Levant’s trade routes    >

What was there in this ground?

It was this hills part of Orient where human beings first settled down to grow crops and to keep animals.

The oldest place was Jericho in Palestine, and it dated back to 10000 years B.C.

Then, the shores of Palestine became the anchorages in where Egypt carries out maritime trade.

In its northern part, Phoenicia (Lebanon) became a base in order for Mesopotamia to go to the Mediterranean.

In this way, this Levant (shore of the eastern Mediterranean Sea) prospered in trade and became a place where many peoples come and go.

Some characters were created in Sinai Peninsula and Canaan at about the 15th century B.C. and it had derived from the hieroglyphic of Egypt.

It spread into Mesopotamia from Levant.

The most of today’s alphabet were derived from this character.












Assyria grew up to the huge empire 

< Assyria grew up to the huge empire  >

Though this small nation was bombarded with the both great nations that were antagonistic to each other, this nation was able to survive, because it was bounded by the vast desert and the ridge of the Great Rift Valley.

However, when the national power of Egypt declined, this nation received thorough destruction by Mesopotamia in the 8th century B.C., and Jewish Diaspora began.

Furthermore, in the first century, the Roman Empire conquered the Jewish revolt, and the Jew and the Christian broke up to the west.

The great achievement of Solomon Empire (B.C. 1000) completely was dissipated in this way.







power relationships of Levant in 830 B.C.: Israeli kingdom and Jewish kingdom were divided. There is Jericho at the north of Dead Sea.

< power relationships of Levant in 830 B.C.: Israeli kingdom and Jewish kingdom were divided. There is Jericho at the north of Dead Sea. >


What was left?

Palestine received repeated invasion, and the remained things became only ruins and Judaism.

From ancient times, the Jews played an active part in Orient by the culture and the language, and they found their way into Europe before long.

The Christianity that was displaced from Palestine found their way into Rome from Syria and Greece.

Jews who took a lead in Rome observed the doctrine rigidly, and it decided the outcome between Christian before long.

And the Old Testament and the New Testament became what communicate the history and the culture of ancient Israel, and it remained.










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History of sickness and medical art 14: It originated in ancient Egypt

A boy hold a mandragora in his hand

< A boy hold a mandragora in his hand. >


This time, I pursue three mysterious things: mandragora, a circumcision, and pork evasion.



This is a nightshade that was used as a painkiller in Egypt.

On the movie “Harry Potter”, a mandragora was grown as a miracle drug that break the magic spell.

In “Romeo and Juliet”, it appeared as a medicine that brought suspended animation.

Since this plant had high virulence, it brought about hallucination, and the rhizome resembled a human form, from ancient times, diverse legends was born.











A art work in the 15 century: a mandragora is visible to the upper left

< A art work in the 15 century: a mandragora is visible to the upper left >


Mandragora was regarded as the precious material of a magic medicine, a tonic, and an elixir of life.

But, since it was thought that the harvest was dangerous, they made a dog draw out it, as shown in the picture.


 “The mandrakes give forth fragrance. At our doors are all kinds of precious fruits, new and old, which I have stored up for you, my beloved.” the Song of Solomon7-14

It is written as the plant that has the effect of fertilizing in the Old Testament.






A circumcision of Christ in a picture of the 17th century 

< A circumcision of Christ in a picture of the 17th century >



The circumcision was required for Judaist.

However, the history was old and it has been already drawn on an Egyptian mural in 2300 years B.C.







Three flamens are doing two boys a ceremony of a circumcision. 

< Three flamens are doing two boys a ceremony of a circumcision. >


In many parts of the world from time immemorial, the circumcision was carried out as a rite of passage to a young man, and it doubled as hygiene.

In Egypt, it was common for the lower class from old times, after 1 millennium B.C., the flamens were obliged to carry out it.

In Judaism, this was caught strictly, and it was preached in Genesis that boys have to perform it on the eighth day after being born.

Although this was taken over to Islam, St. Paul exempted the pagan from it, and Christianity became a better position to spread.







Set: the head was expressed in a pig or jackals.

< Set: the head was expressed in a pig or jackals. >

 Evasion of pork

Although pig began to be bred all over the world from old times, since it was not suitable for pasturage, it was restricted to the settlement farmland.

In Egypt, it was often eaten in Nile Delta which agriculture was prosperous in, but was rare in the upstream of Nile.

Some King dedicated several thousand pigs to a shrine.

After Egypt was unified by a King of the upstream, Osiris of its guardian deity gradually became an important God.

Set that was expressed with the head of a pig opposed Osiris.









Set: the head was expressed in a pig or jackals.

< Horus in Horus shrine defeats the enemy of father on Set that was expressed with a pig. >


After one millennium B.C., the flamens were prohibited from eating pork, and the nobles begun to evade it.

On the other hand, Israel was also hostile to Ball that was a God of agriculture in Phoenicia.

It led to edible prohibition of pork in Leviticus of the Old Testament

The reason for the prohibition was that the appearance was ugly, gives off a bad smell, was dirty, an animal for meat, and a sacrifice beast of paganism.

This commandment was taken over to Islam of nomadic herders.











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History of sickness and medical art 13: Ancient Egypt 3

A spice store in Egypt: The drug knowledge from the ancient times is helpful 

< A spice store in Egypt: The drug knowledge from the ancient times is helpful >


 A beer production in Ancient Egypt  

< A beer production in Ancient Egypt  >



At first, the pharmacist of Ancient Egypt was of lower status compared with other ancient civilization and the cleric and the doctor concurrently served as the pharmacist.

But they afterward acquired the special status.

Oil and fats, water, milk, wine, and beer were used as the base for making the ointment.

The raw materials of drug were variously a plant, an animal, the mineral (iron, lead, antimony) etc.

The spice of Crete, China, and Arabia of the distant place were used actively.

Although there were about 900 kinds of medicines, the efficacy of most things is accepted like Senna, Castor oil, Thyme, and Celandine.

Because an efficacy of it was strong, mandragora of painkiller and henbane of anesthetic were dangerous.

The yeast fungus of the beer was used for an enteric disease, or an ulcer of the leg.

Similarly, the mold fungus of the bread was used as an antibiotic.

There were castor oil of laxative, enema of bile of ox, eyewash, and fumigant, too.

However, there were also doubtful curative things, such as fresh dew, mud of Nile, and dirt of a patient’s nail.

Probably, the mental curative effect was better than actual efficacy.



薬 剤












a dwelling site of the construction worker of a royal tomb: in Deir el-Medina, about the 13th century B.C. 

< a dwelling site of the construction worker of a royal tomb: in Deir el-Medina, about the 13th century B.C. >



Handling of excrement and garbage of common people was unsanitary, but there were a restroom and a bathroom in rich house.

As religious precepts, even petty people had the custom of tooth-brushing every day.

Moreover, people were forbidden from eating pork and head of animal, and daily regimen, such as a meal and a nap, was defined.



衛 生





Hesy-ra:he was a doctor of dentistry and internal medicine, and also an important vassal in the 27th century BC. 

< Hesy-ra:he was a doctor of dentistry and internal medicine, and also an important vassal in the 27th century BC. >



The heart was a place in which a soul, and a rational mind and an emotion dwelt, and was considered to be a place where the will of God was transmitted.

It was believed that one “pipe” that went around the whole body from heart carried blood, air and all body fluid.

But the circulation was not known.

It was thought that the sickness was because the “pipe” clogged, or a bad food entered the body from the “pipe.”

The method of urging defecation was one of the medical treatments, in order to remove “the polluted body fluid.”

The word “brain” was used first and they understood that paralysis vary according to bruised parts of the head.

About the damage that was looked from outside like an injury or a fracture, many of the causes of it were clear.

However, about the internal disease, the doctor was often at a loss, and irrational existence was considered to be a cause of it.

Usually, it was thought a diabolic act having hostility, or an epidemic disease that God sent as the wrath for the evildoing.

And it also was thought that it happened by the result of the wicked eyes of a jealous neighbor.



認 識











The Dwarf Seneb And His Family: his wife's love will be felt. about the 26th century BC.

< The Dwarf Seneb And His Family: his wife’s love will be felt. about the 26th century BC. >



Making full use of medicine and magic, medical treatment was performed broadly.

The surgery was highly progressing compared with other ancient civilization.

It may be said that the total medicine was rational and empirical, however, it declined remarkably after Rome imperial government.

It was fortunate that ancient Greece medicine was able to start from ancient Egyptian medicine.

Of course, adjacent Israel benefited.













Categories: history+evolution, <english language, <japanese language, Series: History of sickness and medical art | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

History of sickness and medical art 12 : Ancient Egypt 2

a mural painting of a doctor's grave in about 2200 BC. Massage of hand and foot. 

< a mural painting of a doctor’s grave in about 2200 BC. Massage of hand and foot. >


This time, I write about sickness and medical art of Ancient Egypt.




A picture of Job in the Old Testament at the 9-century in Roma. Job was suffered from a skin disease. 

< A picture of Job in the Old Testament at the 9-century in Roma. Job was suffered from a skin disease. >



Although they knew about 200 kinds of sicknesses, there is no sick description in connection with entrails like lung or liver, etc.

Probably, it was beyond their understanding.

As for medical disease, clear things were only constipation, the inflammation of the rectum, cystitis, and the bloody urine by blood fluke.

However, the description about external lesion and external injury is clear.

Frequent sicknesses are bronchial asthma, erysipelas, gonorrhea, scurvy, epilepsy, polio, and parasitic disease。

Hansen’s disease and smallpox often attacked people.

It seems that the skin disease that Job was suffered from by a mischief of God was Hansen’s disease.

From mummies of the past kings such as Ramses, the remains of an artery disease or an infectious disease of their face were seen.

A lot of mummies of the commoner have pneumoconiosis caused by the dust storm of the desert, and diseases due to the parasitic worm.

Arteriosclerosis was seen in 20% of adults.














Medical treatment

Prescriptions of the medical disease were 700 kinds and were categorized according to entrails.

As for surgery, treatment of fracture, extraction of calculus, operation of eyes, and removal of external tumor have been performed.

A trepanning of skull, treatment of cavity, and also making a false tooth were performed.

Surgical instruments such as many pins, scissors, and knife were pictured in the mural painting of ruins.

Steam from tar fragments, coriander, powder of carob, and opium were also used for anesthesia.










Horus : It has a head of falcon and is a God of the sky and the sun.

A charm of Horus's eye

< Horus : It has a head of falcon and is a God of the sky and the sun.

A charm of Horus’s eye >


When rational medical arts could not cure it, people relied on magician who was always nearby.

The reason to use feces, urine, and the blood for prescription is because people thought that the demon that is the cause of the disease avoids it and runs away.

In addition, the people demanded help from Amen-Ra, Toto, Horus, Isis of Gods and gave prayer.

Getting on a charm became common, it of Horus’ eyes that protected from snake, scorpion, or crocodile were the most common.


The medical treatment was provided at the sanitarium of shrines too.

Patients were isolated in small rooms, and offered prayer.

In addition, while sleeping, they were given the grace in dreams, and were cured.   

Also they took a ritual bath in the shrine.

This resembles the medical treatment of Asklepios’s shrine that prospered in Greece.


Next time, I write down drugs etc. of ancient Egypt.

















Categories: culture+society, history+evolution, science, Series: History of sickness and medical art | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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