The history of medicine is filled with wild stories of bizarre healing methods and medical treatments that revolve around pain and death. Despite the goodwill and honest attempts of many doctors and scientists throughout the years to find the most humane treatment and healing process for human pain and disease the results have been extremely painful and harmful, in some cases even worse than the initial health problem. Here are 25 examples of some of the craziest medical treatments in history. Let’s just say that it’s good to live in modern times.
Scorpions Used to Cure Sexual Diseases
Most of us usually get jittery at the mere thought of being in the same room with a scorpion, but in many villages in the Lopburi province near Bangkok people use wine fermented with scorpions to cure conditions like sexual impotence. According to local traditions it is believed that scorpions help in the treatment of a number of diseases, usually sexual ones, and they are particularly popular among the male population. Admittedly, the worse part about this one is that there are people who still believe and practice such medical treatments in 2014.
Smoking Could Supposedly Heal Asthma
Okay, so do you want to hear something funny? Way before all these anti-smoking ads on television and the great anti-tobacco crusade there were tons of pro-smoking ads. It might sound totally absurd but back in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth the inhalation of fumes from burning tobacco was considered one of the most ideal treatments for asthma, without any successful results of course. When scientists finally discovered the catastrophic effects of nicotine to the human organism the treatment went down as one of the most ludicrous ever.
Mummy Powder Was the Aspirin of the Arabic World
Back in the twelfth century, Arabs had conquered most of North Africa, including Egypt, and it was then that they began grinding up mummies so they could use the powder for medical reasons. They used the powder either internally or externally, and its usage was so frequent and general that it could be applied for anything from a regular headache to more serious conditions such as stomach ulcers and muscle pain.
Ecstasy Was Suggested for Manic-Depressive Patients
During the late ‘60s and early ‘70s the motto “Sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll” had such a profound impact on Western society that even those empirically minded people we call scientists got swept up in the new cultural trend. There’s no other explanation as to why some decorated psychiatrists were suggesting the use of ecstasy—a drug that literally cost the lives of thousands of young men and women, especially in the ‘90s—for psychotherapy.
Sheep Liver Was Antiquity’s Equivalent of X-rays in Mesopotamia
Who needs blood tests, CT scans, X-rays, and other such “nonsense” when a sheep’s liver can tell you all you need to know about your patient’s condition? In Mesopotamia, a few thousand years ago, the liver was considered the ultimate source of life and local practitioners believed that a sacrificed sheep’s liver could show them what their patient suffered from. Based on this belief they decided the “proper” method to treat their clients.