Medicine history in France relies on how the medical field and medical institutions in France have evolved over the centuries.
In France, early medicine was characterized by the Catholic Church and governed by it. Medicine and education were one of the church's many charitable endeavors.
New ideas took hold in the world of medicine during the French Revolution era, and medicine became more scientific, and hospitals became more medical.
Paris Medicine is a concept that describes the series of medical changes and treatment provided at a hospital that occurred during the French Revolution era.
Ideas of the Enlightenment and Scientific Revolution have been introduced into the medical field.
During the Medieval ages, in France and England, hospitals began to appear in large numbers. The eruption of French ideals has led most of the medieval monasteries to establish a medical facility ( hospitium )or hospice for pilgrims following the French Norman invasion into England.
This hospital eventually developed into what we now see as a hospital, with different monks and lay helpers providing medical care to sick pilgrims and victims of the numerous plagues and chronic diseases that afflicted Western Europe in the Middle Ages.
Benjamin Gordon points to the fact that the hospital, as we know it, is a French invention, but originally designed to isolate lepers and plague victims, and only subsequently undergoes modifications to serve the pilgrim.
Born in 1510, French Army doctor Ambroise Paré adapted the ancient Greek practice of binding off blood vessels.
The typical procedure following amputation was to sew up the open end of the amputated appendage to halt hemorrhaging.
The methods employed were heating oil, water, or metal, applying them to the wound to seal off the blood vessels, was done.
Paré also suspected of dressing wounds with clean bandages and lotions, including one made up of eggs, rose oil, and turpentine.
He was the first person to manufacture artificial hands and extremities for amputated patients.
Prosthetic hand designed by French surgeon Ambroise Paré (1510-1590)
In the 1530s the French explorer Cartier arrived in the St Lawrence Valley. From then on, Canada remained French until England took over, in 1760. To the south, this land, this New France, developed much slower than New England or New Spain.
In New Spain, medicine came first. As early as 1579, the University of Mexico held a medical school. They graduated from some sort of ivory-tower medical scholar long before French or English settlers came. Not until after the Revolution did Harvard establish a medical school. It was 1820 before they had one in Canada.
That may have given the North an early advantage in the long run. New Spain had a hold on Medieval Europe's fixed academic medicine, but the French and the English were on their own. Thereby they paid better attention to indigenous medicine, and new medical practices evolved.
In the 18th century, French medicine changed rapidly. Modern clinical science was born; observations of the actions of diseases and medicines began to be made on living bodies as well as on medieval traditions, which remained important. In this intellectual environment, one can find the collection of Antoine Simon Le Page du Pratz of simple medicines of the natives of Louisiana and his observation of their remedies.
His comparisons between wild medicine and French medicine from the first quarter of the 18th century tell us more about the scientific spirit of the century than about the progress of medicine in the metropolis.
Consequently, as du Pratz says in his treatise "Histoire de la Louisiane," he began to collect and send to France plants of more than three hundred "simples" at the request of the Commissioner-Ordonnateur La Chaise, together with a memoir of their virtues to be established by the Compagnie des Indes in a botanical garden.
Taking light of the French medical theory and practice of the day, we will be addressing some remedies.
From the remarkable clinical innovation which would make France the leading center for biomedical advances by the end of the century, the practical medicine of early eighteenth-century France was not yet identified.
Instead, it consisted of a manuscript of theory and practice of the classical, medieval, and renaissance. The galenic humoral theory was at its foundation, over 1500 years old by then:
The body's main substances were the four humours, blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile. Sound health depended on these touches of humor being able to balance correctly. Their harmonious relationship was disturbed by corruption and thus caused illness.
Treatment consisted obviously of eradicating the body of corruption and adjusting the humour to its correct equilibrium. Bleeding, blistering, sweating, vomiting, and purging were the logical means to cleanse the body and thereby restore health.
Another medical historian, John Duffy, is eager to argue that Indian herbal remedies, so central to Du Pratz's discussions, were quite useless or of importance in the colony, which Duffy maintains was strongly influenced by the traditional practice of French medical schools.
Duffy presents Du Pratz as an educated layperson rather than a qualified researcher, concerned in his work to play the modern trend for herborizing and uncritically admiring all the actions of the noble savage.
He claims that because colonial officials have made constant demands for medicines and medicinal plants to be transported from France, the comparatively numerous Louisiana surgeons and apothecaries used by the Crown, the concessions, and the Indies Company must not, in reality, have used native plants and therapies.
Du Pratz had a wide range of skillful persons. The French surgeon on contract to his concession at least at the beginning of his work in Louisiana, although he declined special skills, had to be competent in dealing with everyday afflictions. Du Pratz also mentions therapy sessions with several other French surgeons and physicians (apparently in New Orleans), one of whom had 12 years of the Parisian experience.
It appears that Du Pratz also had a particularly useful set of Indian informants, particularly his young female servant (or slave) from the Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana.
This young woman was familiar with the Natchez language and culture described in such detail by Du Pratz, and undoubtedly taught him most of what he knew about it.
His neighbors and friends from the Natchez tribe, seem to have found his friendship valuable and treated him as an honored guest in their country, offering him volunteer support for everything, including medical problems.
In observing novelties, both human and natural, most commentators have praised Du Pratz's spirit of curiosity and open-mindedness; indeed, his publication of much of the History material in the Journal Oeconomique shows that he was at least a minor participant in the Enlightenment's metropolitan intellectual ferment.
Accordingly, Du Pratz's observations can be divided into three categories: French and Indian cures by Indian doctors; reports of the significant herbal constituents of the native pharmacopeia with various statements on efficacy and use; and African treatments by an African doctor.
The eighteenth-century comprehensive nosologies, or classifications of illness, were yet to come; at this stage, the traditional handbooks recognized only abstract physical conditions identifiable by symptoms arising in groups or syndromes.
The systematic nosologies, or classifications of illness, of the eighteenth century Among the early classifications that represented this now strange thought was that of Linnaeus, who described fevers, pains, mental disorders, paralysis, seizures, stoppages, watery evacuations, deformities, and external lesions as significant classes.
Anyone who has read Du Pratz's History will surely recognize from the brief outline that his views on health and disease did not corroborate these standard European precepts. As Duffy observed, it happens that Indian medical practices were not so divergent from European ones, with the exception of the European surgery practice.
However, overall, Indian doctors appear to have favored committing and sweating for maintenance purification, while Europeans seem to prefer bleeding. Yet, Europeans had started to use mineral substances more frequently and were well on their way to the excesses of so-called "heroic medicine," with its violent bleedings and purgations enthusiastically dosing patients into the grave.
Reason enough for anybody to look for a milder symptomatic treatment regime.
Yet the reason Du Pratz prefers native treatment is not simple.
In the case of his "sciatica," both French and Indian treatments were similar: bloodletting followed by the use of cooling substances-in one example by immersion in baths, in the other by the application of a herbal compress.
The significant advantages of Indian treatments were they could be done on the spot, using ready-to-hand minerals.
And in a short time, they had exerted their influence.
The situation is more straightforward in the case of Du Pratz's "fistule lacrymale": cautery versus immersion in the herbal infusion.
' Lacrymal fistula ' is one of the conditions illustrated in the Encyclopedia's ' Chirurgie ' section, together with an extremely alarming range of surgical instruments, suggesting that it was both frequent and usually surgically treated
Although the Histoire does not include a lengthy memoir, Du Pratz says that he wrote about the three hundred simple ones sent to France, it makes comments on the medicinal properties of some twenty of the botanical species described in the book section on natural history.
A list of the plants categorized by the complaints for which the plants awarded cures: it approximates a summary of typical health problems and treatments in the colony, reflecting the practical interest of the Louisiana medicine consideration of Du Pratz:
Also known as American storax, hazel pine, bilsted, redgum,satin-walnut, star-leaved gum, alligator wood, or simply sweetgum, is a deciduous tree in the genus Liquidambar native to warm temperate areas of eastern North America and tropical montane regions of Mexico and Central America.
Magnolia seeds mature and start falling to the ground in the fall; however, if they were to germinate right away, the seedlings might not survive cold winter temperatures.
Persimmon is the edible fruit of a number of species of trees in the genus Diospyros. The most widely cultivated of these is the Asian or Japanese persimmon, Diospyros kaki. Diospyros is in the family Ebenaceae, and a number of non-persimmon species of the genus are grown for ebony timber.
Morus, a genus of flowering plants in the family Moraceae, comprises 10–16 species of deciduous trees commonly known as mulberries, growing wild and under cultivation in many temperate world regions.
The closely related genus Broussonetia is also commonly known as mulberry, notably the paper mulberry, Broussonetia papyrifera
Rhus glabra, the smooth sumac, is a species of sumac in the family Anacardiaceae, native to North America, from southern Quebec west to southern British Columbia in Canada, and south to northern Florida and Arizona in the United States and Tamaulipas in northeastern Mexico.
Smilax ornata is a perennial trailing vine with prickly stems that is native to Mexico and Central America. Common names include sarsaparilla, Honduran sarsaparilla, and Jamaican sarsaparilla.
Smilax china is a climbing plant species in the genus Smilax. It is native to China, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, and Assam. Common names for the plant include China root.
For centuries the resin, known as storax, has been used to treat common ailments such as skin problems, coughs and ulcers. More recently, storax proved to be a strong antimicrobial agent even against multidrug-resistant bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, which is resistant to methicillin. In addition to the sap, the sweetgum leaves, bark, and seeds also exhibit beneficial compounds such as shikimic acid, a precursor to oseltamivir phosphate production
Maple syrup is a syrup usually made from the xylem sap of sugar maple, red maple, or black maple trees, although it can also be made from other maple species.
Ilex vomitoria, commonly known as yaupon or yaupon holly, is a species of holly that is native to southeastern North America. The word yaupon was derived from its Catawban name, yopún, which is a diminutive form of the word yop, meaning "tree". Another common name, cassina, was borrowed from Timucua.
Populus section Aigeiros is a category of three species of the genus Populus, the poplars.
Like some other species in the Populus genus, they are commonly known as cottonwoods. The species is native to North America, Europe and western Asia. In the past, as many as six species have been identified, but recent trends have been to accept only three species, treating the others as subspecies of P. deltoides.
Glechoma hederacea is an aromatic, perennial, evergreen creeper of the mint family Lamiaceae. It is commonly known as ground-ivy, gill-over-the-ground,
Prickly ash (Zanthoxylum) is an evergreen tree that grows around the world. Its name comes from the half-inch (1.2-cm) spines that cover its bark. Incredibly versatile, this species has been used for everything from alternative medicine to cooking — and even bonsai tree art.
Some people are taking Ground ivy by mouth for mild lung problems, coughs and inflammation of the lungs (bronchitis). For arthritis and other joint pain, they also take it by mouth, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), stomach problems, diarrhoea, haemorrhoids, bladder infections, bladder stones, and kidney stones. Some women take it for problems with the menstruation (period).
Elder Elderberry is one of the medicinal plants used most in the world.Today, elderberry is most often taken as an effective alternative to treat symptoms of cold and flu. The most common type is Sambucus nigra, also known as the European elderberry or black elder.
Button snakeroot This plant was medicinally used by native Americans and explorers. An infusion of toothaches was kept in the mouth and taken for kidney and neuralgia disorders, as well as a decoction used to prevent cough from inflammation. Root infusion has been used as a treatment for snakebite, and the stem and leaves have been chewed for nose-bleeds.
These are remedies for fundamentally strong bodies that are exposed to dietary problems (antidiarrhea, stomach soothers, possibly hemorrhoid cure), accidents involving hard work, and sometimes risky conflicts (wound dressings, antivenin), and relatively routine pain (toothache, headache, female disorders).
Besides, febrifuges are continually being requested for the therapy of malaria and other fevers and sudorifics for sweating treatments that have supplemented nearly all systemic diseases.
In the native pharmacopeia, there may have been far more and more nuanced cures, but these remedies were the ones that the French needed; it would be a mistake to think that the list is exhaustive.
The efficacy of these remedies was rationalized by Du Pratz himself based on ancient principles of resemblance: cottonwood root is therefore useful for wounds and red; three-leaved liana is suitable for female disorders, and its fruit resembles the cowrie shells of Guyana (often observed to resemble female genitalia); button snakeroot is an antivenin for rattlesnake bite and the seeds rattle like that snake inside its dried seed pod.
According to modern studies of native healing practices in North America, this principle of resemblance was indeed crucial to them, so we can not be sure whether or not these resemblances were explained to Du Pratz, or whether he observed them and drew his conclusions.