Introduction to Traditional Western Medicine
Greek Medicine, Galenic Medicine
Greek (Galenic) or Traditional Western Medicine is based on the 4 Elements and 4 Humors, Bile, Phlegm, Blood and Melancholy. While the Greeks systematized Humoral Medicine, it has roots in Ancient Egypt, Babylonia and Mesopotamia, thus having indirect roots to the oldest known medicine systems on the planet.
It was constantly influenced by the far east, both in Theory and Materia Medica. Medicines of the far east were known and used by Ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians showing ancient trade between east and west.
Some of its main proponents were Hippocrates (460-379BC), Celsus (approx. 25BC–50AD), Galen (131-210AD), and later, Avicenna (980-1037AD). It can be seen that ancient Greek writers such as Hippocrates and Galen were applying rationality and separating theoretical medicine from superstition to what was already a well established body of knowledge. It is well known that in the centuries before the time of Christ, Green Philosophers and Physicians would often go to study in Egyptian Mystery Schools. This inevitably influenced many areas of Greek Philosophy and Science including Medicine.
The Western Tradition had another enormous uplifting around 900–1000 CE. Arab and Persians translated, studied and elevated the writings of the Ancient Greeks in various sciences. Avicenna was an Islamic Physician who revolutionized Greek medicine having the most significant impact in 1000 years, He combined knowledge from the Ancient Greeks with Indian and his own Persian Tradition. This was written in his Canon of Medicine which became a foundation for teaching medicine for almost 900 years throughout Europe and the Middle East. His writings are still seminal in Unani medicine today.
Two other highly influential writers and physicians were Mesue (Yahyā ibn Masawaih al-Mardini, died 1015, aged 90) and Nicholas Myrepsus (13th century, Constantinople). Their Antidotaris, or collections of formulas formed the basis for the early London and European Pharmacopoeias.
Yes, the majority of the most used formulas used in Traditional European Medicine over the past 1000 years were inventions of Middle Eastern writers. And these same formulas are widely used today in Unani medicine throughout the Muslim world, proving that these formulas long forgotten by Westerners are still relevant today.
Therapies used include Dietotherapy, Herbal Medicine, Bloodletting, Cupping, Massage, Purging, Vomiting, Bathing etc.
Materia Medica (PRO)
Western Classification of the Materia Medica
Glossary of Western Herb Names
Glossary of Western Medical Terms
Medicines of Hippocrates
Medicines of Ancient Egypt
Western Herb Names for TCM Practitioners
Brief Introduction to the Western Materia Medica
115 Herbs Common to Western Medicine and TCM
Innate Heat and Radical Moisture: the Yin and Yang of the Western Tradition
Chinese Medicines used in the West before TCM
Synopsis of the Primary Formulas of the Western Tradition