Medicine

Malaria at Decline of Rome Signaled in Child Cemetery
This article was interesting in the sense it gave us another reason to believe that 1) malaria was a epidemic
disease in the past, 2) why Attila the Hun did not continue his invasion of Italy and 3) the decline of the
Great Roman Empire.
To me, it was a horrifying and poignant experience to dig up a grave of infants (49 so far and the
excavations are still continuing). Dr. Jose Ribeiro, an entomologist at Arizona concluded from the bones\'
analysis that the skeletons exhibited a condition known as porotic hyperostosis that were likely to be
associated with an infectious disease such as malaria. This was not surprising since the marshes around
Rome at that time were swampy and great breeding grounds for mosquitoes. In fact, the word "malaria"
came from the Italian for "bad air".
The multiple infant burials also revealed that the Romans practiced witchcraft and superstitious belief
because buried in the graves were decapitated puppy skeletons, and raven\'s claws. Basically, there were
two levels to the graves; the lower level generally had one skeleton but the higher level contained mass
graves each with five or six infants indicating the death rates might have escalated to uncontrollable rates
due to an epidemic.
It was even rumored that Attila the Hun stopped short of conquering Rome in AD 452 because the then
Pope Leo 1 told him of the unexplained deaths and sicknesses in the land.
Iraq Temple May Hold Key to Medicine
The discovery of the ancient Babylonian goddess of healing at Nippur, the ancient Mesopotamia religious
center by the University of Chicago team was a big step towards the understanding of ancient medical
practices. The site dated back to 1200 B.C. but there were layers of structures below the site that could
indicate the site was previously occupied to the time as far back as the Sumerians which was some 5,000
years ago. The temple occupied an area of about a football field. It was believed that the sick would bring
their own small figurines that would tell the Goddess, Gula, where they hurt and rituals would be
performed but precisely how these rituals were performed were still a myth. However, there were also
cuneiform texts that tell us the Babylons used herbal treatments and archaeologists were trying to
understand how these treatments could be associated with the rituals. Many historians believed that the
Babylonians along with the Egyptians were among the first to devel!
op a systematic practice of medicine. From cuneiform texts, it was revealed that their treatments included
eye infections, diarrhea or constipation and hair restoration.
It was really fascinating to learn that the ancient people were so vain and advanced to create their own
tonics for such modern day ailments. Another interesting find was that the dog was a symbolic figure in the
temple. Usually, the ancient people would worship the stars, the sun and the moon but here in Babylon the
dog was heroic and sacred because "the dog would lick the wounds of the sick."
Ancient Chinese Herbal Remedy Found to Curb Desire for Alcohol
Modern Chinese and recently the West used the root of kudzu vine to treat alcohol but it was written in
ancient Chinese texts that the Chinese used kudzu as early as 1200 B.C. and in AD 600, kudzu was listed as
an anti-drunkenness drug. To me, this is just an initial step towards realizing that the ancient had many
brilliant medical treatment especially in herbal medicine as the ancient civilization was always near to the
rainforests. As more discoveries are made, I believe that there will be more useful find that could lead
present day doctors to concoct natural herbal medicine to treat ailments such as cancer and AIDS without
any chemical side effects.
When I read this article, it dawns on me to co-relate on the video we saw in class about Chinese traditional
medicine and the importance of balancing the "qi" in our bodies to maintain health. It is especially
interesting to me to see the Chinese used scorpions, lizards, etc. to concoct medicines to treat asthma, and
other ailments. The old man in the park was so strong and energetic that he could use "qi" to tumble a row