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09.11.2018 | Orthopaedic Heritage

Pharmacies for pain and trauma in ancient Greece

Zeitschrift:
International Orthopaedics
Autoren:
Andreas F. Mavrogenis, Theodosis Saranteas, Konstantinos Markatos, Antonia Kotsiou, Christina Tesseromatis

Abstract

Purpose

To summarize pharmacies for pain and trauma in ancient Greece, to present several pharmaceutical/therapeutical methods reported in myths and ancient texts, and to theorize on the medical explanation upon which these pharmacies were used.

Method

A thorough literature search was undertaken in PubMed and Google Scholar as well as in physical books in libraries to summarize the pharmacies and pain practices used for trauma in ancient Greece.

Results

Archeological findings and historical texts have revealed that humans have always suffered from diseases and trauma that were initially managed and healed by priests and magicians. In early Greek antiquity, the term pharmacy was related to herbal inquiries, with the occupants called charmers and pharmacists. Additionally, apart from therapeutic methods, ancient Greeks acknowledged the importance of pain therapy and had invented certain remedies for both acute and chronic pain management. With observations and obtaining experience, they used plants, herbs, metals and soil as a therapeutic method, regardless of the cultural level of the population. They achieved sedation and central and peripheral analgesia with opium and cold, as well as relaxation of smooth muscle fibers and limiting secretions with atropina.

Conclusion

History showed a lot of experience obtained from empirical testing of pain treatment in ancient people. Experience and reasoning constructed an explanatory account of diseases, therapies and health and have provided for the epistemology of medicine.

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