Management of childhood diseases in the Byzantine period: I – analgesia

Here we present the ‘Abstract‘ of the corresponding paper by Ramoutsaki I, Dimitriou H, Kalmanti M.


Evidence on the use of pain relievers for medical purposes in childhood was traced in medical treatises during Byzantine times (4th to 15th century ad). The texts of Aetius, Paulus Aeginitis, Orivasios and others strongly reveal influences from ancient Greek medicine. Greek physicians of the times, who helped the medical thinking of antiquity to stay alive, used opium with mandragoras, hyoscyamos and other sedative herbs to produce a kind of anesthetic state and to relieve pain. However, in children’s cases they chose to selectively use substances in more standardized quantities, mainly in mixtures. Less aggressive methods such as warm baths, or appropriate food were highly respected by them and recommended for the treatment of sick children.



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