Have you ever wondered what doctors would do in the past to treat patients? Read on to find a compilation of bizarre medical treatments that have been done through the ages.

Want to whiten your teeth? Urine is the way to go! Urotherapy has been widely used in many different cultures for a wide array of medical and cosmetic procedures. Ancient Romans didn’t use Listerine to wash their mouth, they just used urine from animals and humans! It’s cheap, eco-friendly and has a high availability. White teeth were greatly appreciated in ancient Roman civilization. When a person had exceptionally white teeth, it was a common phrase to say that the person was ‘full of piss’. Urine contains ammonia which is an ingredient that is used in a lot of cleaning products, creating the teeth-whitening effect. Urine was also used to soften the skin. Urine contains urea which is a natural exfoliant that softens skin and breaks down the top layer of skin cells, so our ancestors knew what they were doing. Not too sure about the smell though, but it’s a great motivation to practice social distancing.

Female hysteria was a common medical disorder. The symptoms included loss of appetite for food or sex, insomnia and anxiety among other things. A common treatment that doctors used were vibrators. Once vibrators started being used in erotic movies, this therapy became less popular.

Lobotomy is a surgery that severs the prefrontal cortex with the rest of the brain. It was used to treat mental disorders in the early 20th century due to the rise of patients in mental hospitals. Rosemary Kennedy, John F. Kennedy’s sister underwent a lobotomy to treat her seizures and mood swings. The prefrontal cortex is also the area of your brain associated with a person’s personality and intellect. By cutting off the prefrontal cortex, a patient’s mental disorder was treated, along with their entire personality, if they even survived the operation. It quickly lost popularity due to these unfavourable results.

Snail slime was used in the medieval times to treat burns. Hippocrates would prescribe crushed snail and sour milk to clear up skin inflammation. Nowadays, with the rise of K-beauty, snail slime has made a comeback and is used on the face to make it look smooth and beautiful.

Mercury was commonly used in Egypt, China and ancient Greece to treat wounds and syphilis. It was even used in dental fillings all over the world until the late 2000s. An ancient Chinese emperor even used mercury in his quest to immortality. Ironically, he died due to mercury poisoning. Nowadays we know that mercury is poisonous and have stopped using it.

After reading all these wonderful products and medical procedures that humans have come up with in the past, you must be glad that nobody washes their mouth with urine or cuts away their personality. But there are still a lot of interesting treatments used in the present day. An example of this is faecal microbiota transplantation, or in layman’s terms: Poop therapy! Faeces are transplanted from a healthy donor into the gastrointestinal tract to treat C. difficile colitis. An illness caused by antibiotics that kill off too many ‘good bacteria’ in the digestive tract. If you want to be a poop donor, an organisation in Boston called ‘Poop with Purpose’ collects stool and you can earn up to $1,500 per month! They really took the saying ‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ to a whole other level.

If you’re interested in learning more about bizarre medical treatments and unexplained illnesses, you can listen to a podcast called Medical Mysteries by Parcast Network.

Have a nice day and see you in the next article!

Saumya Mohan


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