A history of Scottish medicine: themes and influences by Helen Dingwall

By Helen Dingwall

Together with advancements in drugs, surgical procedure, and substitute medication with regards to the altering fiscal and social history, the writer bargains a brand new synthesis of medication and society in Scotland.

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8 It may be said that ‘orthodox’ medicine in this period was ‘church medicine’. Churchmen were not trained specifically in medicine, but they did have access to the available medical literature, and as part of their holistic responsibilities, treated the sick who were within range of their foundations. The sick were treated because it was 42 A HISTORY OF SCOTTISH MEDICINE part of the Christian ethos to offer sustenance and support to the weaker members of society. Monasteries had herb gardens which supplied produce for food but also for the preparation of medical potions.

1 In the early centuries AD, there cannot really be ascribed a distinctively Scottish aspect to medicine. Any medical treatment was, for the most part, given and received in a very restricted sphere, of tribe or people, of locality, of tradition, of folklore, of herbs and plants common to the area, in other words, medicine was local, traditional, oral and lay, and not separate from other belief systems, though in areas which had been touched by other worlds, such as those dominated by the Romans, a further influence was brought to bear.

27; Hamilton, Healers, 1–2. , A History of the Practice of Trepanning the Skull; and the After-treatment: With Observations upon a New Method of Cure (Birmingham, 1785). 4. Comrie, History, i, 33–5, illustrates Roman surgical instruments. See also Hamilton, Healers, 2–3; Porter, Greatest Benefit, 69–82; Simpson, J. , Archaeological Essays (Edinburgh, 1872) contains a section on Roman medicine. 5. , ‘The opium poppy in Hellenistic and Roman medicine’, in Porter, R. and Teich, M. (eds), Drugs and Narcotics in History (Cambridge, 1995), 4–23.

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