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Ancient Medicine- Incan- Wk3

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Sabrina Anand

on 2 November 2013

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Transcript of Ancient Medicine- Incan- Wk3

Ancient Medicine- Incan
Inca Medicine is a complicated mix of many practices and beliefs.
They believed that sicknesses were the work supernatural forces.
Also if an Inca broke the law, sinned against any god or lied, it was enough reason to become sick.
Their religion and healthcare were very closely intertwined, as Inca priests were also doctors, and the cures they used were often more magic than medicine since they used charms, chants and spells.
Still, to cure someone, they used herbs and minerals with prayers and magic spells.
Yet the Inca doctor's were more advanced than the Europeans at the time.
The Inca civilization had an extent supply of knowledge about how to treat many sicknesses.
They knew how to cure, among others urinary track and respiratory disorders, such as the cough and bronchitis, and how to treat sicknesses in the immune system by increasing the amount of white blood cells or leucocytes.
Also they were able to alleviate dysentery, ulcers, eye problems, lice and toothaches.
Inca Medicine
To cure all these diseases the Inca had many remedies, anesthetics and anti-biotic.
Many of these were medicinal plants, since the Inca knew the medicinal properties.
For example, chewing coca leaves could be used as painkillers and also to lessen hunger as the Chasqui messengers did.
Yet, according to research, the Inca were not addicted to coca leaves, using wild tobacco, drinking chicha, hypnosis and drinking maze beer.
There were also natural antiseptics such as balsam and saponins; they were plants that had soap-like characteristics.
The Inca's also managed to accomplish blood transfusion.
The success rate was quite high since many of the Inca were from the same blood group.
There were many methods that the Inca used to treat wounds.
They would us boiled bark from a pepper tree while it was still warm, and then place on the wound.
Also they would burn the wounds to prevent any infection.
Incan Remedies
Blood Transfusions and Wound Care
A major accomplishment of the Inca was performing surgery.
The Inca surgeons managed to often and successfully take away small pieces of the patient's hand to treat a head injury.
They could remove crushed or diseased limbs, and perform brain surgery.
The operation on the brain is called trepanation and has been carried out since AD 100.
Today there is even a similar procedure that relieves pressure in the skull.
Yet over the years the surgery was standardized and perfected, and in the 1400's, the survival rate was around 90%and there were low infection levels.
The surgeons were quite skilled, as they knew detailed information about cranial anatomy, not to cut parts of the skull where brain injury, bleeding or infections were more likely.
Surgery cont.
There were different people involved in the Inca healthcare.
There were different types of doctors, and one of them was the Watukk.
Their job was to find out the origin of the sickness, to diagnose the patient and to examine the person's life...
Then there was also the Hampeq, who applied their knowledge about disease and then cured the patient using herbs and minerals.
They were like a shaman, being very religious, mystical and using natural medicine.
The Paqo was in charge of the treatment of the soul- the Inca believed the soul was in the heart- and of the spirit, making sure it was healthy.
Villages had their own Sancoyoc or surgeon priest who would take care of broken limbs, open wounds, and pull out teeth.
There were also suppliers of medicine.
Becoming a doctor was not an easy journey.
First of all it was passed from father to son.
Then that son was off to the Inca School of Medicine of Cuzco where he would learn about herbs and mineral properties, how to recognize known sicknesses and how to treat them.
It would take an Inca many years of practice before he was considered a doctor.
To become a doctor...
Ancient America was home to thousands of different cultures.
People lived in the far north, near the North Pole, all the way down to the southernmost tip of South America.
Some ancient Americans were hunter-gatherers.
Others were farmers or city dwellers.
In modern times, we sometimes use the term Indian to refer to all these people. But each group had its own name.
Ancient Americas
Like other ancient peoples, ancient Americans used some commonsense methods for maintaining good health.
Many groups built saunas, or sweat houses. In these small huts, people built fires and heated rocks.
They splashed water on the hot rocks to create steam.
Ancient Americas cont.
Each ancient American group used its own plant remedies.
The ingredients depended on what grew in the region.
Alder trees are common in North America.
The Penobscot Indians, who lived in modern-day Maine, drank alder bark tea for stomach cramps.
The Potawatomi Indians of the Great Lakes region rubbed alder bark juice on their skin to relieve itching.
The nearby Menominee Indians used alder berries to treat fever and diarrhea.
The American Medicine Cabinet
Sassafras trees, which grow in eastern North America, provided more medicines.
Ancient North Americans used sassafras root to treat fevers, sassafras leaves for bruises, and sassafras berries for pain.
Many American groups used balsam to treat colds, cough, and asthma.
Some groups used cedar bark for headaches and muscle aches.
Slippery elm trees provided a remedy for digestive problems.
Goldenseal root was good for sore eyes.
Witch hazel trees offered remedies for bruises, sprains, and skin problems.
The American Medicine Cabinet cont.
Beside plant remedies, ancient American healers used a number of other treatments.
Bloodletting, also called bleeding, was a common practice in the ancient Americas and elsewhere.
The Healer's Art
The Healer's Art cont.
Cautery was also widespread in the ancient world.
Healers burned wounds to stop their bleeding.
Some Indian groups used cautery to treat stomach.
Indian healers were skilled when it came to setting broken bones.
They packed cloth or wet clay around a broken limb before applying a splint.
This extra padding helped support the broken bone as it healed.
The Ojibwa people of Minnesota and Wisconsin used cedar wood to make splints.
The Pima Indians of modern-day Arizona made splints from the ribs of giant cactuses.
In many ancient American societies, disease and medicine were intertwined with the spirit world.
People thought that witches, spirits, and ghosts could cause illness and other misfortunes.
So ancient American healers had to be skilled in several ways.
They had to know how to use plants remedies and other medicines.
But they also had to communicate with spirits to cure or prevent illness.
Magic Medicine
Often shamans used magic spells to remove the spirits.
But sometimes they sucked the spirits from the patient directly using a hollow animal bone, a stone, or a stick.
At least, people believed the shaman was sucking out evil spirits.
In reality, he or she sucked infected blood, snake venom, or pus from the patient's body.
Sucking out the poison or infection often helped the sick person recover.
Magic Medicine cont.
Ancient American healers used a number of tools in their work.
They used smooth stones to grind up plants to make medicine.
These tools were made from hollow bones and animal bladders.
Some equipment had more to do with magic than hands-on medicine.

American healers often played drums and rattles to communicate with the spirit world.
They sometimes wore scary masks and costumes to frighten away evil spirits.
Some ancient American healers carried a medicine bundle made of animal skins.
The bundle held charms and magical objects, such as deer tails and snake bones.
Magic Medicine cont.
Incan Healthcare
Incan Healthcare cont.
A Hampi Camayoc was a keeper of authorized remedies and a state chemist.
A Callahuaya would supply medicinal plants, amulets and lucky charms.
Sitting and sweating inside a sauna refreshed people both physically and mentally.
Ancient Americans also used massage to treat aches and pains.
Healers cut patients in an area of pain or illness and let some of their blood flow out.
The point was to heal a patient by removing "bad blood."
When someone got sick, ancient Americans often assumed that evil spirits were to blame.
It was the job of the shaman to withdraw those spirits.
The circulatory system of the human body is actually two systems:
a pulmonary circulation extending from the heart to the lungs and back to the heart; and
a systemic circulation, extending from the heart to all other parts of the body then back to the heart.

Have a Heart
Your Heart is a remarkable muscle.
It contracts day and night, more than 2 1/2 billion times during a lifetime without stopping.
A healthy heart can pump more than 10 gallons of blood a minute through 60,000 miles of blood vessels!
A round trip through this circulatory system takes less than half a minute.
Your heart has four chambers.
The two top chambers are called atria; the bottom chambers, which are larger than the atria, are called ventricles.
The right atrium (singular for atria) gets blood from the body through the superior and inferior vena cava.
The right atrium then pumps the blood through another valve into the right ventricle, which pumps the blood through another valve into the pulmonary artery.
Have a Heart cont.
The pulmonary artery divides into two arteries and delivers blood to the lungs.
In the lungs, the blood picks up oxygen and gets rid of waste gases.
Have a Heart cont.
From the lungs, blood travels through the pulmonary veins to the left atrium.
The left atrium pumps the blood through a valve into the left ventricle, which pumps the blood through another valve into the aorta.
The aorta delivers the blood to the rest of the body.

When you listen to your heart beat through a stethoscope you can hear a "lub-dub" sound.
The first sound is your atria pumping blood into your ventricles.
The second sound is the pumping of your ventricles.
By placing the stethoscope at different places on your chest, a doctor can hear the sounds of your heart valves as well.
Have a Heart cont.
The heart has its own blood supply from a set of arteries called the coronary arteries.
These arteries may become narrower as a person becomes older, especially if he or she eats fatty food and doesn't exercise.
Fats can build up on the walls of coronary arteries and may eventually close them off completely.
This may also happen in other arteries of the body. When an artery becomes blocked, oxygen and other nutrients can't reach the cells and they may die.
When this happens in the heart, it's called a heart attack.
The lymphatic system is a series of vessels, structures, and organs that collect fluid throughout the body and return it to the main circulation for redistribution.
The system also contains cells known as lymphocytes, which function in the immune process.
Lymphatic System
Although you may think bone is solid, it isn't.
Many bones have holes, bones contain blood vessels.
There are veins in the skull, which lie just beneath its hard covering.
The reason that bones have blood vessels is that bone is a living tissue and needs good blood supply to nourish it.
Lymph node is large tissue masses in the lymph vessels that help remove dead cells and foreign material.
Disease-fighting white blood cells also gather in lymph nodes.
These cells are called lymphocytes, and they tend to gather in groups to fight infection.
When you bang your arm or leg and it swells up, the swelling is caused by the lymph rushing to the injured area to do its work.
Lymph also carries the fluid and proteins that can escape from blood back to the circulatory system.
The circulatory system includes the heart, veins, and arteries that carry blood through the body.
Tubes that carry lymph are called lymph vessels.
Disease Fighters cont.
Disease Fighters cont.
When you cut yourself, germs can get into your blood.
But don’t worry-your lymph nodes protect you.
Your lymphocytes and other white blood cells travel throughout your body to hunt down and destroy germs.
One kind of lymphocyte releases poisons which are harmless to you but deadly to germs.
Other kind of lymphocytes gobbles up germs like gumdrops, or hunts down and kills cancer cells.
During an infection, such as the mumps, the lymph nodes can fill with lymphocytes and swell.
This is mistakenly called “swollen glands.”
In order to work effectively, blood has a powerful friend in lymph (limf).
Lymph is a watery fluid that acts as a servant to the cells of the body and blood.
It carries oxygen and nutrients from blood vessels to the cells and carries wastes from the cells back to the blood.
The most skillful of surgeons traveled with the army or treated nobles from large cities.
These doctors were always looking for new remedies and improving old cures, which resulted in great medical development.
Over the years, remains have shown researchers that the oldest skulls had no healing bone, so the operation was probably fatal.
To just close the wound they would use the jaws from large ants as a clasp to seal the wound.
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