Living in the 21st century has its perks: clean water, a civilised society, advanced technology, and many others that have made our lives much easier. But most of us tend to forget how far we’ve gotten, especially when it comes to keeping our health in check. Nowadays, you’ll be able to get rid of a toothache without much pain or suffering by just going to the dentist, unlike how they used to do it in the dark ages (drinking opium syrup, yikes.) Today, we’ll be taking a trip down medical memory lane, and look at the weirdest health treatments that were used in the past.
Treating Asthma with Cigarettes
Yes, at one point, people would use cigarettes to treat asthma. Today, asthma attacks can be treated through the use of inhalers that deliver bronchodilator, which relaxes and opens up the airways to your lungs to make breathing easier. This unlikely pairing is definitely shocking, however, asthma cigarettes are actually very different from modern tobacco cigarettes. They actually contain a number of toxic ingredients such stramonium, belladonna, and tobacco. Yet despite the development of bronchodilating medications, asthma cigarettes were still used up until the 1990s.
Python Bile For Treating Genital Ulcers
Some ancient medical treatments are odd, some gross, some are just straight up unbelievable, and this is one of them. Animal bile was once used to treat a number of ailments, but among the oddest, was applying python bile externally to treat ulcers on genitals. The real question is: did they actually have the snake bite the patient? Because OUCH!
Cocaine for Depression
Aside from his many contributions to psychology, did you know that Sigmund Freud used to prescribe cocaine to his patients to treat depression? He initially researched cocaine by experimenting on himself, but he would soon give cocaine to his friends, colleagues, siblings, and even his fiancée, Martha. However, he wasn’t the only one in the 19th century to prescribe cocaine to patients, as many medical practitioners used it to treat migraines and toothaches as well.
For years, medical practitioners believed that sickness was the result of having “bad blood”, and to get rid of it meant withdrawing blood, or what they believed to be “impure fluids”, by using leaches, or metallic instruments to cut a vein or artery. This practice was most popular in ancient Greece, Egypt and Europe, and it was prescribed as a treatment for everything from a sore throat to the plague. It eventually fell out of favor after they finally realized that it might be doing more harm than good.
Treating Syphilis With Mercury
Mercury was widely used as a treatment for many ailments from the 16th to the 20th century. It used to be the primary treatment for syphilis, since they claimed that heavy metal treatment was successful in fighting off infection. But as we all know, mercury is incredibly toxic, so patients often died from liver or kidney poisoning due to the damage caused by mercury poisoning. Though people were aware of the dangers of mercury in the 18th century, they still continued to use it to treat syphilis – just in smaller amounts.
Back in the day, medical treatments were more of an art form rather than a science. Many physicians believed that consuming human flesh, blood, or bone could cure a number of sicknesses since they were thought to have magical properties. People were convinced that by eating the remains of a person, you would also be ingesting a part of their spirit, which can result in longer vitality and better wellbeing. Sounds terrifying. WE KNOW! So let’s just take a moment to appreciate the fact that we’ll never have to eat or be eaten by another human being.
Dead Mouse For Treating Toothaches
Toothaches can be a pain to deal with, and they can put us in a bad mood for days! So it’s unsurprising to see the lengths people would go through to stop the pain – even if it means putting a dead mouse in their mouths. In ancient Egypt, they used dead mice to ease toothache pain. Some would mash up the mouse to create a paste mixed with other ingredients and apply it directly to the spot. But that’s not all – in 16th century England, the mouse was also one of the remedies for warts. They would cut the mouse in half and apply it directly to the spot. Going to the dentist definitely sounds like a great option right now.