important people in medicine in Britain



1.      Ancient Greek physician 5th century BCE

2.      ‘Humour’ comes from Greek word for fluid ‘Humon’

3.      Observed all the symptoms of his patients and recorded them. The theory of four humour fitted with what he saw.

4.      Believed in physical reason for illness which needed a physical cure.

5.      Most treatments based on diet, exercise, and rest but also used bleeding and purging to get rid of excess humours.

6.      Wrote the Hippocratic Oath where doctors swore to protect life and prevent harm.

7.      Studied symptoms, making notes, comparing cases and diagnosing and treating is the basis of the approach we use today


1.      Physician in Ancient Rome during 2nd century CE, physician of Roman emporer so had a lot of influence and had a lot of time for research.

2.      developed Hippocrates ideas further into the theory of opposites; having too much phlegm is linked to water and cold and so should be treated with something hot and dry like a hot chilli. A fever or an excess of blood could eat a cucumber which would cool the patient down when eaten

3.      theorized that blood was made in the liver as a product of what a person ate then flowed through the body prviding energy and was burned up during the day and remade at night.

4.      theorized that the circulatory system circulaye blood generated in the liver this blood was the distributed around the body.


Why was the theory of four humours and opposites so important?

No other scientific explanation for the cause of disease, it was detailed and covered an explanation for many illnesses- mental or physical- and made sense to the people at a time of very little knowledge.


Thomas Sydenham -1500-1700

1.      Doctor in London during the 1660s and 70s. Book Obserbationes Medicae-1676- outlines his theories and observations. English hippocrates

2.      Didn’t rely on medical books when diagnosing but observed patient and recorded symptoms in detail

3.      Idea- According to the theory of opposites disease is individual to each patient and personal to thwm cuase by many factors such as weather diet and patients nature (balance of humours) so treatments were different. Sydenham theorized that nature of patient had little to do with this and that disease was like plants and animals could be organized into different groups.

4.      He identified that measles and scarlet fever where different diseases

5.      Popularized the use of cinchona bark from peru for malaria which contains quinine and is still used to treat malaria today

6.      Laid the foundations for a scientific approach




1)      Studied medicine in Paris 1533, Paris was a Centre for humanist ideas about medicine, later became a lecturer in Padua.

2)      Book de Humani Corporis Fabrica, carried out large number of dissections thanks to the local magistrate who allowed him to use dead criminal bodies


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