Origin Of Medicine

There is no actual record of history when the use of plants for medicinal purposes first started, although the first generally accepted use of plants as healing agents were depicted in the cave paintings discovered in the Lascaux caves in France, which have been Radiocarbon dated to between 13,000 - 25,000 B.CE. Over time and with trial and error, a small base of medicinal knowledge was acquired within early tribal communities. As this knowledge base expanded over the generations, tribal culture developed into focused areas. These dedicated jobs became what are now known as healers or Shaman.

The Mutazilite doctor and philosopher Ibn Sina was another influential figure. The Canon of Medicine, written by him, sometimes considered the most famous book in the history of medicine, remained a standard text in Europe up until its Age of Enlightenment and the renewal of the Islamic tradition of scientific medicine. Ibn Nafis worked on and described human blood circulation. This discovery would be rediscovered or perhaps merely demonstrated, by William Harvey in 1628, who generally receives the credit in Western medicinal history.

Medicine was revolutionized in the 18th century and beyond by advances in chemistry and laboratory equipment and techniques, old ideas of infectious disease epidemiology were replaced with bacteriology. Ignaz Semmelweis in 1847 dramatically reduced the death rate of new mothers from child bed fever by the simple try out of requiring physicians to wash their hands before attending to women in childbirth. His finding predated the germ theory of disease. However, his discoveries were not appreciated by his contemporary researchers and came into use only with discoveries of British surgeon Joseph Lister, who in 1865 proved the principles of antiseptic.

His work is based on the very important discoveries made by French biologist Louis Pasteur who was able to link some microorganisms with ailments. This brought a revolution in medicinal science. He also devised one of the most important methods in preventive medicine, when in 1880 he created the vaccine against rabies. Pasteur also invented the process of pasteurization to help prevent the spread of disease through milk and other foods, whom the medicine is named after. Also Pasteur was an individual worker, an unlike his contemporary Robert Koch, regardless, Pasteur was a man who thought laterally and his vaccination for Rabies, was certainly a milestone, but no one still understood in the 1880s the mechanisms for such immunity.

The role of womankind was increasingly founded by the likes of Elizabeth Blackwell, Florence Nightingale, Elizabeth Garret, etc. They showed a previously a male dominated profession, the elemental role of nursing in lessening the exasperation of patient mortality, resulting from lack of hygiene and nutrition. Robert Koch is considered one of the inventors of bacteriology. He is famous for the eminent discovery of the tubercle bacillus (1883) and for his development of Koch's postulates. It was not until the 20th century that there was a true breakthrough in medicine, with great advances in surgery and pharmacology. However, this was overshadowed by the remarkable mass production of penicillium antibiotic, which was a result of public and government pressure that prevented the deaths of thousands of people.