Medicine in the Middle Ages – quackery?
There’s nothing wrong with asking the question first. Claims still circulate today that medicine in the Middle Ages was bad and that people in the Middle Ages didn’t live as long because of diseases.
That was also true for some diseases. However, one should keep in mind what strong medication is necessary to treat them and the knowledge about bacteria and viruses that lead to diseases only became known in the 19th century with the discovery of Robert Koch.
Also the issue of hygiene itself: no, people didn’t throw everything on the street and no, they didn’t get rid of themselves in every corner of the city. Only briefly: There were bathhouses for bathing, outhouses and the associated waste pits. And there was also a garbage disposal. Maybe not in the way we are used to today. But one thing is certain: the people of the Middle Ages were cleaner than is attributed to them today.
The medical understanding of the Middle Ages goes back to ancient sources. So also the understanding of humoral pathology (also 4 humors teaching). These have certainly been developed further, through new discoveries and also through the introduction of medicinal substances. Up to Paracelsus, humoral pathology was largely used in medicine. With Paracelsus, a new medical current emerged, the development of which promoted and developed the understanding of chemistry-based medication.
In short, the history of medicine is far-reaching and extensive, so that today we cannot quite grasp what the effects of written prescriptions could have been. However, one thing is certain: the drugs can have a good effect, since individual ingredients have been very well researched today. Therefore, judging only by prescriptions, medicine in the Middle Ages is quackery.
At the end I would like to add one more point: Medieval medicine is not to be found in the field of homeopathy, but in phytopharmacy. Homeopathy was developed in the 18th century. Homeopathy should be viewed with skepticism, since there has been no plausible evidence of its effectiveness.