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What is tuberculosis? History of diseases

By |2018-04-18T18:18:04+00:00September 7th, 2017|Science, West Asia|

A child with tuberculosis Tuberculosis is a lung disease caused by germs. Today we can usually cure it with antibiotics. But in antiquity there was no cure. Many people died of tuberculosis. One kind of tuberculosis seems to have infected people since the Paleolithic. It came to North America and South America with the first people, about 13,000 BC. This tuberculosis [...]

What is opium? World history of medicine and drugs

By |2017-09-07T09:33:48+00:00September 7th, 2017|Central Asia, Science|

Opium poppy flower Opium comes from a kind of poppy flower. It evolved around 100 million years ago in West Asia and Central Asia. People probably realized as soon as they got to West Asia, about 60,000 years ago, that you could use opium as a medicine. By 6000 BC, in the Stone Age, West Asian farmers were already growing opium in their [...]

Ancient diseases and doctors – History of medicine

By |2017-09-06T17:47:19+00:00September 6th, 2017|Egypt, Science|

Greek doctor letting blood out of a patient because he believes in the four humors Ancient doctors tried to cure everyone who was sick, but they did better with some diseases than with others. Let's look at some common diseases and see what Egyptian, Roman, or Islamic doctors were able to do about them: 1) the common cold virus: [...]

Al Razi – Medieval Islamic science

By |2018-04-24T08:21:22+00:00July 27th, 2017|Islam, Science|

A manuscript copy of Al Razi's writing (from 1094 AD) Al Razi was born in Iran, in the Samanid kingdom, in 865 AD, when Iran was part of the Abbasid Empire. The Samanids were traders who encouraged education and the arts, and many scientists and artists lived in their kingdom. Al Razi seems to have started out as [...]

History of Indian medicine

By |2018-04-18T23:56:04+00:00July 22nd, 2017|India, Science|

Indian medicine: the Atharva Veda manuscript: an Indian medical book Early Indian medicine Medicine got an early start in India. Even in the Stone Age, about 5000 BC, dentists at Mehrgahr were drilling people's teeth. They tried to fix people's cavities. That's in the Indus River Valley (now in Pakistan). The Atharva Veda About 1000 BC, doctors in [...]

Ancient Greek medicine – Asclepius to Hippocrates

By |2018-04-23T14:03:47+00:00July 18th, 2017|Greeks, Science|

Sacrificing a sheep to Asclepius Disease was a very serious problem for the Greeks, as for all other people in the ancient and medieval worlds. One out of three babies died before they were a year old. Half of all children died before they were ten. And even most people who grew up died in [...]

Qianlong Emperor – Qing Dynasty China

By |2018-05-17T11:25:12+00:00June 4th, 2017|China, History|

Qianlong Emperor wearing his armor (ca. 1750 AD) Qing Dynasty in the 1700s AD The Qing Dynasty continued to rule strongly until near the end of the 1700s AD. In 1735, the Yongsheng Emperor died and his son, the 24-year-old Qianlong Emperor, took power. Like his father and grandfather, the Qianlong Emperor kept [...]

Opium Wars – History of China (1800s)

By |2018-05-17T13:34:33+00:00June 4th, 2017|China, History|

Opium Wars: Men smoking opium in China (late 1800s) Walpole and the Opium Wars In the late 1700s AD, the British prime minister Robert Walpole wanted to try to get more control of China. The British Empire was taking over India and Africa and Australia and they wanted China too. (More about Robert [...]

Silk Road and Silver – Chinese economy

By |2018-04-18T09:54:05+00:00June 4th, 2017|China, Economy|

Farmers reaping millet or wheat Just like in earlier times, most men and women in Qing Dynasty China were farmers, who spent most of their time planting seeds, weeding, and harvesting. Mostly they grew rice (in southern China) and wheat and millet (in northern China). Even today, almost three out of four people in [...]

How flowers reproduce – Plant Biology

By |2018-04-13T17:05:54+00:00May 30th, 2017|Biology|

Black-eyed Susan (the black in the middle is the seeds) The earliest flowers probably developed about 130 million years ago, in the Cretaceous period, as a way to attract newly evolved flying insects - mainly bees - and get them to help spread the plant's pollen far away from where the plant was [...]