The Strangest Methods for Treating Illnesses in the Past
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The Strangest Methods for Treating Illnesses in the Past

Antonia R.Antonia R.

In our modern-day world, with all of the new technology around us, it is difficult to imagine the strange treatment methods that people in the past once used. Some of them are primitive, cruel and quite horrifying.

For example, the ancient Egyptians used to make a paste from a dead mouse to cure their toothache.

In the beginning of the 19th century in Europe, it was a common practice to cut off half the tongue of a severely ill person. It's no surprise then that most patients died after this cruel operation.

However, not all treatment methods were so pointless. For example, the enema emerged during the Middle Ages, when people believed that all kinds of illnesses could be cured after such a procedure.

Throughout those centuries, doctors stuck all kinds of objects in the rectum of a sick person. Today, the enema is only used against severe constipation and has a proven beneficial effect.

Even back in ancient times, people realized that they could judge the health of a person based on their urine. Of course, in the past they did not have the technology of modern laboratories and the ancient healers had to smell and even taste the liquid, in order to diagnose the sick person.


In antiquity, healers dared not even think about starting the treatment of a sick person without giving them a full horoscope. It is believed that the position and the aspects of certain planets can reveal the vulnerable areas and method of treatment for a person.

Snails were also used in the medicine of the past. In the beginning of the 18th century, healers would crush the shell animals in order to treat coughs and ear pain.

It might be hard to believe, but arsenic and even heroin were used for healing purposes. In the beginning of the 20th century, heroin was considered to be a safer alternative to morphine. A heroin-based medicine was even created to treat coughs in children.

In 1927, Julius Wagner-Jauregg won a Nobel Prize for his discovery that malaria inoculation successfully cured syphilis. According to the find, malaria raises body temperature in order to kill the bacteria that cause syphilis.

After millions died from malariotherapy, it was banned.