Medicine and pharmacy in Prehistory

Since the beginning of time, human beings have tried to explain reality and the most transcendental facts of it, such as life, death or illness. Pre-technical medicine is that practiced from prehistoric times to the 5th century BC in which, along with therapeutic practices, magical practices appeared, totally interrelated with each other, so that during the healing act, the healer acted from his double condition of doctor and magician Kambo Stick.

One of the main characters that appear when man becomes sedentary is that of the healer, thus giving birth to the role of “shaman”, who was not a doctor or a pharmacist, but a person capable of diagnosing, predicting and preparing medicine and treatment. rite for its administration . It was not until the appearance of the Greek doctors of the 5th century BC. C. when a change of mentality is clearly demonstrated regarding the fight against the disease, facing it through knowledge of its nature, and the subsequent study of the remedy.

In Prehistory there is evidence of therapeutic practices , such as the reduction of fractures; medicinal practices, such as the ingestion of herbs in mimetic action (or attitude) with animals, or some dietary practices. In the Neolithic, therapeutic activity was based on empiricism , using remedies without a scientific basis and in a haphazard manner, and on magic, as an activity to liberate immaterial forces.

The disease was considered as a presence temporarily incorporated into the individual, but independent of him . The appearance of diseases was interpreted as a random process (for example, some trauma or injury caused while hunting), or as a transgression of the moral law, where a magical interpretation is made of the symptoms suffered by the individual. In this sense, soul loss or spirit possession are common reasons why a person is believed to become ill.

Regarding the use of curative elements, the pharmacology of the time had only an instrumental value , such as being able to contact a higher entity, and was characterized by an instinctive-empirical function, with the development of primitive formulas from plants or other natural elements.

Research with Spanish participation, as published by El Mundo, has just revealed that the intellectual abilities of Neanderthals were so sophisticated that they ingested medicinal plants, of which they knew their healing qualities. The teeth have made it possible to find the first molecular proof that one of the individuals of this species took two types of medicinal plants: alkylea and chamomile. Therefore, the study suggests that even in those times, Neanderthals could ingest medicinal plants, such as chamomile, so popular among humans today.

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