History of medicine

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All human societies have medical beliefs that provide explanations for birth, death, and disease. Throughout history, illness has been attributed to witchcraft, demons, adverse astral influence, or the will of the gods. These ideas still retain some power, with faith healing and shrines still used in some places, although the rise of scientific medicine over the past millennium has altered or replaced mysticism in most cases.

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Prehistoric medicine

Although there is no record to establish when plants were first used for medicinal purposes (herbalism), the use of plants as healing agents is an ancient practice. Over time through emulation of the behavior of fauna a medicinal knowledge base developed and was passed between generations. As tribal culture specialized specific castes, Shamans and apothecaries performed the 'niche occupation' of healing.

Antiquity

Egypt

Ancient Egypt developed a large, varied and fruitful medical tradition. Herodotus described the Egyptians as "the healthiest of all men, next to the Libyans",[1] due to the dry climate and the notable public health system that they possessed. According to him, "[t]he practice of medicine is so specialized among them that each physician is a healer of one disease and no more." Although Egyptian medicine, to a good extent, dealt with the supernatural,[2] it eventually developed a practical use in the fields of anatomy, public health, and clinical diagnostics.

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