English IV – Per. 3
20 October 2010
Impact of Medieval Medicine
Imagine when a friend gets sick or catches a “bug”, they may have two different reactions to it. The first is the realistic approach, which re-visits their recent actions and pinpoints the cause of the symptoms. The other is the non-realistic, which tends to blame supernatural causes. People during the medieval times almost always blamed the supernatural as the cause of these diseases. There were also many limitations in the amount of scientific advancement because of the church. In modern days, we may take for granted the achievements that have been made over the centuries, but these break-troughs could not have been realized, without the foundation and work of scientists during the medieval time. Medieval medicine affected all parts of life in those times, from scientific to social, and in positive and negative ways.
Medieval medicine had too many influences from the church which therefore hindered its progress. Most of the treatments and beliefs in folk medicine were mystical or magical, and had its basis in sources that were not agreed upon in the Christian faith. Remedies included spells and incantations, but later these had to be replaced with Christian prayers or devotions. The church taught that diseases or ailments were sent by God as a punishment for wrong doing, so many people resisted the explanations of illness. Therefore advancement in medicine was generally frowned upon. The main setback was that, “scholarship fell into the religious sphere, and clerics were more interested in curing the soul than the body.” (Terry 1)
As sanitation and hygiene worsened with the increasing population in England and other parts of Europe, diseases were rampant. “Medieval Europe did not have an adequate health system.” (Odunsi 5) Edward the III complained to the Lord Mayor of London: "Cause the human faeces and other filth lying in the streets and lanes in the city to be...