Medical Treatments from the Past that Never Worked

/ Medical History

The medical industry works in a rather funny manner. Today what is a cure might just be proven to be a hoax in the future. Centuries ago, when hardly any machinery existed, doctors had eerie ways of diagnosing, examining and treating patients. Some of these strange medical treatments are just decades old and truly boggle our mind.

Here are Hakeem’s top picks when it comes to uncanny recommendations from docs in the past:

1.      Trepanation

The name sounds well thought of, doesn’t it? Well, it refers to a centuries-old practice where holes were drilled in the skull in order to cure the person of an illness. Reportedly, people believed that it eliminated symptoms of epilepsy, headaches, and blot clots. Oh, and no anesthesia was given. Thankfully today, experienced surgeons in Dubai exist, who can perform complex surgeries and to treat mental disorders, you rather book an appointment with a psychologist than roaming with a hole in your skull.

Read: Top 10 General Surgeons in Dubai

2.      Corpse medicine

We’re used to taking pills and syrups, right? We can complain of the overly sweet or sour flavor but that’s it. A long time ago, for headaches and the common cold, doctors prescribed cannibalistic medicines. A dead person’s ashes and crushed remains of the human bones were used. Today, migraines can be treated with tablets, shots and nasal sprays but earlier, human flesh was churned. Gross!

Image of a corpse with a name tag attached.
Imagine eating a preserved corpse? No, thank you! 

3.      Heroin

We all know that it’s addictive, it’s substance abuse and that it’s plain bad. But the doctors of the past thought otherwise. Heroin was readily available and was there to cure the flu and a sore throat. Mothers fed it to their children! Thankfully, when people started to act out and more researches came into place, the product was banned worldwide in 1913.

4.      The alive womb

You may find it to be funny now but Greek doctors were sure of the fact that a woman’s womb had a brain of its own and if not controlled, could detach itself and wander off. The only way to stop it from happening was to make women have child after child. These days thankfully, we believe in family planning and state of the art medical facilities in Dubai allow healthy births.

American woman with many kids.
Yes, there is something as too many kids. 

5.      Fungus and wounds

Appreciate the fact that bandages exist for wounds and oral infections can be treated today because some time back, moldy bread was applied to the infectious area to treat it. This practice was spread out in China, Greece and Serbia.

6.      Hemiglossectomy

Around the 1800s, the doctors preferred cutting off a piece of the patient’s tongue to cure their stammering problem. Sometimes it was a chunk, other times when the patient had oral cancer, half the tongue could be removed too. Don’t be scared, because in 2020 if you stutter, speech therapy is a great option to opt for.

7.      Crocodile birth control

If you’re a sexually active male in today’s era to prevent your partner from getting pregnant, you probably use a condom. Rewind life years back, and you’d have been using crocodile dung as a contraceptive to block the sperm. This weird happening originated in Egypt and fortunately isn’t prevalent these days.

Image of a baby crocodile.

Read: Future Treatments for Erectile Dysfunction

Phew! What a relief to be born in a time of rapidly advancing technology and tested treatments!


Hello, I'm Ayesha and I would love to hear your feedback. P.S If you want to be featured on the Hakeem website, send me an email at [email protected]!

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Medical Treatments from the Past that Never Worked
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