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46 Cards in this Set

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What was The Theory of the Four Humours?

Theory stated the Earth was made up of four basic elements:

fire water earthair

The four humours were:


phlegm - the watery a substance coughed up, sneezed out or expelled in tears.

black bile - refers to clotted blood visible in excrement or vomit.

choler - aka “yellow bile”, appeared in pus or vomit.


What was the belief associated with The Four Humours?

They all Humours must be equal, if they became unbalanced you became ill.


*rotate phone*

What was the Theory Of Opposites?

A theory built upon the Theory of the Four Humours, in which if you had too much phlegm, then you needed something hot and dry to balance out the Humours once again.

What was miasma?

Bad air” that was believed to be filled with harmful fumes. Smells and Vapour were miasmata.

Galen and Hippocrates studied Miasma and they said that swamps, corpses, and other rotting matter could transmit disease.

What was a Barber Surgeon?

Barbers that cut hair and also carried out medical procedures like small surgeries, pulling out teeth and bleeding patients.

What was Vivisection?

Criminals that’s were sentenced to death, they had their bodies cut open, dissected and examined

What were Urine Charts?

A chart used to aid patient’s diagnosis based upon samples of their urine.

What influences ideas about the cause of disease in the Middle Ages?

The use of Astrology was more widespread; however it didn’t expand upon Galen’s original theories. On the whole they stayed the same.

How did Individuals and The Church influence ideas on causes of disease in the Middle Ages?

The Church didn’t like change as it wanted to maintain the status quo.

The Church controlled what books were copied and distributed and thus controlled medical learning.

Hippocrates and Galen were important throughout the Middle Ages. Their books had been persevered by Arabic scholars and Latin translations were available.

How did Science and Technology effect ideas about causes of disease in the Middle Ages?

Lack of Scientific knowledge meant that new knowledge was limited. Tried to make new discoveries match the old theories.

How did Attitudes In Society effect ideas about Causes of Disease in the Middle Ages?

Had a strong belief in God & didn’t want to risk going to hell for being critical of the Church.

What were some Religious and Supernatural Treatments in the Middle Ages?

Healing Prayers and Incantations (Spells).

Paying for a special mass to be said.


Pilgrimages to the tombs of people noted for their healing powers.

Herbal Remedies.

How did Astrology aid Treatment and Prevention in the Middle Ages?

Treatments varies depending on the horoscope of the patient, the alignment of the planets was checked at every stage of the treatment prescribed: herb gathering, bleeding, purging, operations and even cutting hair and nails.

What were the 3 ways of Blood-Letting?

Cutting a Vein - Cutting a Vein with a sharp instrument, usually near the elbow as it was easy to access.

Leeches - Freshwater leeches were collected, washed and kept hungry for a day before placed on the skin. Bleeding might continue for up to 10 hours after the leech was full.

Cupping - The skin was pierced with a knife or a pin or even scratched with fingernails until it was bleeding. Then a heated cup was placed over the cuts to create a vacuum, which drew the blood to the surface.

What was Purging?

Cleansing the patients insides by either:

•Giving then something to make the vomit (an emetic)

•Or a laxative to make them defecate.

How did Remedies aid Treatment and Prevention in the Middle Ages?

Sniffed, Drank or Bathed in Herbal Remedies.

Common Remedies Included:

Theriaca - A spice based mixture that could contain up to 70 ingredients. Used to treat snake bites and poisons.

Blanc Mangier - Made from Chicken and Almonds, was used to aid Invalids (Mental and Physical disease and some injuries).

What was prescribed to help dissolve blockages in the Humours?

Warm Baths & Herbal Remedies

How did The Church help prevent disease in the Middle Ages?

Most believed a sin free life would prevent disease. Regular prayers, confessions and offering tithes to the Church worked to ensure sins were forgiven.

What intrsuctions about Hygiene helped to prevent disease?

Worked on by Galen, Hippocrates and Avicenna.

In the Middle Ages, what was believed about one’s Diet in the prevention of disease?

What and when you ate were both considered very important in preventing an imbalance of the Humours.

In the Middle Ages, how did they Purify Air?

Spreading sweet herbs (such as lavender. They also tried to keep towns clean by not letting rotting animals lie around, they also cleaned public toilets.

Why did most people in the Middle Ages get treated by a Women in their family?

Asking for medical advice costed a lot, and treatments weren’t guaranteed, most people weren’t willing to spend the money even if they had it.

What were Medieval Medics’?

Most people were treated at home by a female family member.

Women did most of the treatment at home, caring for the sick and mixing remedies themselves.

Why did most people in the Middle Ages get treated by a Women in their family?

Asking for medical advice costed a lot, and treatments weren’t guaranteed, most people weren’t willing to spend the money even if they had it.

What were Physicians?

During the Middle Ages, doctors were known as Physicians. The word doctor didn’t become common until the 17th century.

What was the role of Physicians?

To diagnose illness and recommended a course of treatment. They rarely got involved with treating the patients themselves.

What were the three stages of a Physician Consultation?

1)The Physician would look at a sample of the patient’s urine, faeces and blood.

2)He could consult the astrological charts under which the patient was born at the time they fell sick.

3)Then he could use the Humoural Tendencies of the patient to create a course of treatment.

Who carried out the treatment recommended by Physicians?

The less trained and lower paid professionals, for example Barber Surgeons.

Who carried out the treatment recommended by Physicians?

The less trained and lower paid professionals, for example Barber Surgeons.

Why were Physicians so expensive in the Middle Ages?

There wasn’t very many of them, mainly sure to the extensive training.

What did Apothecaries do?

They mainly mixed herbal remedies as they had good knowledge of the healing power of herbs and plants thanks to studying books like Materia Medica, or information passed down through their families.

Why did people see Apothcaries more the Physicians?

Apothcaries were comparatively cheap to Physicians.

Why were the Apothecaries disliked by Physicians and the Church?

They were running the Physicians out of business and the Church did not agree with the Supernatural side of their treatment.

What were hospitals like in the Middle Ages?

There were an estimated 1,100 hospitals ranging in sizes. However many hospitals didn’t treat the sick, instead they offered hospitality. 30% of hospitals were funded by the Church and the rest were funded by endowment.

What was Endowment?

When a wealthy person left money in their will for the funding of a hospital.

In the Middle Ages, where were the majority of people treated?

At home. Women cared for their family, prepare meals, grew herbs and mixed herbal remedies. Women also ensured the patient was clean, warm and well-fed. This made the patient more comfortable.

When was the Black Death?


What were the causes of the Black Death?

Thought to be supernatural - either alignment of the plants, a punishment from God or Miasma.

How did they treat the Black Death?

Prayer, Strong-Smelling herbs and Herbal Remedies.

In the beginning of the Black Death how did Physicians attempt to treat the Black Death?

Bleeding and Purging, this made patients worse.

Why did they focus on trying to prevention of the Black Death rather than treatment of it?

Once you caught the Black Death, it was very likely that you would die.

How did people try to prevent catching the Black Death?

They avoided infected family members and left infected areas. Town authorities and local governments tried to quarantine people.

What changed in Medical Practice from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance?

The Theory of the Four Humours couldn’t be used to explain certain diseases anymore. Many scientists want to better understand the world around them.

What new ideas were there about causes of disease in the Renaissance?

Seeds in the air.

How was the Theory of the Four Humours used in the 17th Century?

They no longer believed that humoural imbalance caused disease but they still referred to it when diagnosing disease.

Who was Thomas Sydenham and what did he do?

He was a doctor in London. He refused to rely on medical books. He closely observed symptoms and treatments, this way he could observe side effects.