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Ancient Civilizations: Herbal Influences


How did the ancient Romans, Egyptians, and Arabs treat their sick and injured? How different were their practices from the way we know today? When studying the past in regards to various treatments and remedies, there is a wealth of information that sheds light on some of the views of health that existed from years long ago.

 

The Egyptians Way of Herbal Healing

 

When tracing herbal remedy details, there is evidence highlighting some of the herbal remedies from the past. In about 1700 BC, notations revealed a variety of common herbs used throughout the years to treat a wide-range of ailments. For about 4,000 years, garlic and juniper remained prominent in the way of treating individuals. When Rameses III was in charge, hemp was used as a way to ease eye problems, which today, is seen as a prescription option. To sooth a crying babe, poppy extracts were given to them, bringing results of quietness.

 

Roman Remedies

 

The ancient Roman view of healing looked at the human body as if it were a machine that needed to be well oiled and repaired on a constant basis. They discarded the view that Hippocrates held (that most diseases would work themselves out) and turned towards the production of various medicines. This soon became quite a profitable business, including a variety of expensive and highly regarded herbal concoctions.

 

A court physician by the name of Claudius Galenus, had a reputation for serving Emperor Marcus Aurelius. He opposed many of the current views (at that time) regarding medicine and treatment. He spent his time reworking some of the previous ideas that Hippocrates promoted. He was responsible for creating a series of theories that were called “humors.”

 

These books eventually made their way as being regarded as the standard medical texts that the Romans would embrace. They were not the only ones to find use in these theories. In later years, the Arab and medieval world also found use in the books. Physicians within these ethnic groups continued to use the ideas for a while and today can still be seen within the Unami way of medicine.

 

Exploring Islamic Influences

 

During the 5th century, the fall of the Roman Empire took place and with it various perceptions of medicine arose. Some of the views of medicine that dominated the way of thinking during this time included Galenical medicine. It was the Arabs that also accepted these studies, combining their folk ways and remnants of the Egyptian way with the Classical versions of Roman medicine.

 

Herbal ideas were accompanied by additional practices and traditions to challenge and influence current thoughts. During the time, an important piece of literature emerged. It was called the Canon of Medicine and it was influenced by the Galenical principles. When the 12th century rolled around, this text was translated into Latin and found its way tot the West.