The history of other nations offers nothing peculiarly remarkable, in a medical point of view. All that can be affirmed of each one of them is, that just as far as we can go back in their annals, we always find some vestiges of Medicine. Thus, Hippocrates mentions certain medical practices, in use among the Scythians. We have stated before the practice of the Portuguese and Babylonians, of exposing the sick before the doors of the houses, in order that passers-by might give them their advice. In short, we also know, that in Gaul and in the Britannic isles, the Druids were at the same time priests, legislators and physicians, and that their women shared with them their offices and prerogatives.
In the New World, the same phenomena are produced among a people, who have had no species of communication with the inhabitants of the Old World. Antonio de Solis states, that Montezuma, emperor of Mexico, possessed gardens, where great numbers of plants were cultivated, whose properties were well-known to the physicians of the country, who employed them with success. Cortez having been attacked with a grave disease, assembled a council of the most skillful native physicians, who employed various remedies, and in a short time restored the eminent patient to health. In the island of St. Domingo, the priests named butios, were both physicians and apothecaries. Among the Apalachicolas, a tribe in Florida, the sacrificers to the sun, practiced Medicine, to the exclusion of other castes. Finally, now that all parts of the globe have been explored, we are able to repeat with assurance, that sentence of the elder Pliny, which says, "no nation has existed, entirely destitute of Medicine, though some may be found, that have had no men, especially occupied as physicians."
from History of Medicine by P. V. Renouard.
- Hits: 884