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Medieval Medical Treatments

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire during the Middle Ages (5 ap to 10 ap century), Western Europe was captivated a series of violent conflicts with the barbarians who brought the destruction of public infrastructure, including libraries and schools.

Equally as destructive were the waves of plague that ravaged the European continent, leveling a dark toll on life and morality. The effect on humanity stimulated an urgent need to medieval medical treatments.

During these centuries, the Greco-Roman medicine, the basis of medicine since the time of Galen, the Greek physician and philosopher, remained stagnant and was almost lost to the Western world. Only those works preserved and protected by monks in Christian monasteries remained.

Often these works were copied and hidden along the cloisters scattered alongside other protected volumes. As an accessory for your sacred mission, the monks perform medical work forward, but they were so focused on scientific progress as doctors-philosophers of the past. Thus, the work and writings of the monks reflect the more practical aspects of medicine, such as maintenance of infirmaries and herb gardens.

The birth of medieval medical treatments

During the Middle Ages (11 th century to 13 ap ), ill health, injury , infections and malnutrition were still a common part of life. Injuries, diseases and pests were too familiar – and feared, because almost always ended in suffering and death. No little is known about the causes and most were medieval medical treatments or palliative (at best).

What existed was little experience often limited to a few local healers or what folk remedies had survived the oral history passed down through the ages. However, these popular practices had not yet been studied, compared and consolidated into a singular practice.

medieval medical treatments monastary

Monastic development of medieval medical treatments

While folk medicine had evolved cultures together throughout history, it was not until the Catholic Church and the advent of the monastery provided that the means (and need) to centralize the study and practice of medicine in conjunction with the fundamental spiritual and theological work for monastic mission.

monasteries were remote and self-sufficient, by design. The need to treat their fellow monks tilled flourish experience to become a valuable resource for the suffering and wounds of the surrounding communities, pushing the monasteries in the forefront of social medicine.

The monks and nuns as the practice of medicine

As such, it would add information from surrounding communities, as well as shared knowledge base within the Church. Through this concentration of resources and knowledge, monks and nuns they became the most studied and practiced physicians of this period.

The diffusion of innovation in medieval medical treatments

Eventually monasteries their infirmaries would expand to serve the needs of the community, travelers, pilgrims, and others under the care of the religious order . This meant that medicines and popular methods gathered from the other side of the monastic network could be practiced and improved, as documented for future study.

As these practices grew, innovations in herbal medicine, culture and pharmacopoeia begin to flourish beyond the walls of monasteries. Simultaneously, in other parts of the world, herbal treatments had been traced and tested.

medieval medical treatments travel trade

Travel and Trade

Through travel and trade, new medical practices spread to powerful places . innovative treatments developed in the Far East traveled to practitioners in Europe, training practices such as German traditional herbal medicine . Similarly, monks and nuns who practice medicine in Europe influenced the Far East practices such as Ayurveda.

spiritual repository of medieval medical treatments

If the practice of medicine had not been unified within the altruistic spiritual mission of the Church, the survival of over a thousand years of medical treatments medieval may have been lost.

Related Post:  Monastic Medicine

holistic approach to medieval medical treatment

This set of knowledge, protected and accumulated through the study and practice of Monastic Medicine was handled both the physical and spiritual in mind. One person was merely a body to be cured, but rather a whole person whose spiritual welfare was intrinsically linked to their physical well-being.

medieval medical treatments wall cover

The notion of medicine as a practice of body mind spirit is a defining quality a medieval medical treatment, but would not remain intact. Monastic medicine, at least in the form of organized study and practice of the pubis, would come to an end.

The effects of a restructuring Church

The idea that had protected and propagated medieval medical treatments, eventually came under stress. A growing schism within the government of the Church with respect to the fundamental mission of his monks and canyons would force a reckoning.

This culminated in a decree that not only diverge from medicine religion in the public sphere, but also start the tectonic thrust of discord between science and religion, body and spirit, and the natural and the supernatural. Replicas of which continue today.

Church forbids the medieval medical treatments

At the Council of Clermont in 1130, the Church took its first steps to divorce medieval practice of medical treatments. The monks were supposed to avoid all forms of secular study, including medicine and law.

While some private studies continue, which had banned the practice of this kind in the public domain. As a result, the medicine was cast as a purely secular activity -. And the division, antagonistic bites faith against science began its inevitable, apparently perpetual shock

medieval medical treatments hildegard

Hildegard of Bingen, kinds of medical treatment in the city of

This decree was secured at the time of Hildegard of Bingen . She was scarce in the company while seeking to advance their ideas intertwined relationships between divinity, the body and the natural world.

few enlightened clerics held the position or power to promote the idea that humans could (and should) move beyond reflexive acceptance of the disease as the “will of God”; which not only seek relief or miraculous intervention of the shrines of saints, but also to seek that relief from the generosity of nature.

This line of thought was precariously close to blasphemy and would indeed land Hildegard in disciplinary point look, but not before his work left a lasting mark.

The formal division of secular activities of the Church

The division was executed 100 years later (in 1233, by Pope Gregory IX), during the Inquisition. The Church wanted to focus on its core competencies: spirituality and doctrine of the Church. Tangential issues such as medicine and law were seen as distractions from the core mission.

The influence of the influence

There was also a growing concern about the perversion of reason between these areas purely human practice due to the high demand for medicine feeding in captivity and even coveted knowledge and skills.

Something we can now see through the long lens of history as a harbinger of what we now face: the reason for the financial gain that has usurped arguably altruism in modern


medical treatments medieval perverted by corruption

we are not here to tell you that everything would have been better if left in the hands of the Church or monastic medicine out all the answers. Like most human institutions, the Church was riddled with corruption, regardless of where and how medicine was conferred.

The reform teased out the depth of that corruption, many years later, but it is hard to imagine that the monks and nuns who had been treating the sick during the Middle Ages were independently corrupt in ways that they differed any other function within the hierarchy of the Church.

Related Post:  Monastic Medicine

Intention Altruistic Behind original medieval medical treatments

We would like to believe that those monks and nuns who treated the sick and the sick were generally unselfish, and dedicated to the betterment of man as we like to believe our own doctors and healers have this ideal to be paramount.

Perhaps their motivations were a bit selfish insofar help others improved their chances of salvation, but it certainly did not have unexpected economic gains. For centuries, however, including the problem of financial reasons they were coming in sight.

economic forces behind the modern


As with many social problems, it is a problem of incentives. In other words, you tend to get what encourages. Social medicine is supposed to create equal access to health care, but at the expense of innovation.

medieval medical treatments economics medicine

medicine free market is supposed to produce technological advances bleeding edge but mixed results on access to such advances. Makes you wonder if there is no alternative, beyond the options of socialized medicine versus capitalist.

trappings of modern


Viewing our system separate modern health of our individual experience it reveals a market of services in which a patient is really a client. Modern medical industry is an uncomfortable marriage of public risk and private profit which is supported by regulatory and legislative bodies are required to maintain the financial powers wielded by those who would be regulated.

Medicine as a case study on profitability

As with any business, the best customers are repeat customers. Similarly, the best products are those that replicate at low prices, and deliver at very high prices (very often).

modern pharmaceutical companies are the solution to this formula, in tandem with a market “customers” who are conditioned to expect treatments that bring temporary symptomatic relief to any number of chronic conditions, avoidable. The root causes of the disease, prevention of chronic diseases of lifestyle are secondary concerns -. At best

need to treat the symptoms

Most doctors still have altruistic ideals, but often fall into the many traps of our system of medicine-as-a- deal. Financial and legal personal risk, the power of the pharmaceutical and insurance industries to establish and implement care protocols, and the regulatory environment changing too often force providers to choose between financial viability and patient care.

days of the family doctor that provide community-based medicine are gone. Most people now experience medicine as compartmentalized, intermittent care channels most often are triggered when health is already compromised, resulting in the common practice of treating the symptoms.

A holistic approach

The modern medical system is simply not conducive to a longitudinal integrated approach, personal and welfare but instead plays directly into problems reasons, such as prescription drugs around.

medieval medical treatments

So what can we do? We can recognize the limitations of the current system and rethink our expectations accordingly. We can take responsibility for our health by empowering ourselves to live a life in which our health is not a function of pharmaceutical intervention, but rather the culmination of choices we make every day.

Progress does not apply to all

we find those elements of the past that have been pushed aside in the name of progress while embracing – through informed decisions, the benefits of medicine modern that best serve our individual needs


and we can gather the body and soul, to reconnect with the generosity of the natural world, and invite the divine energy back into our lives.

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