<- Home <- Arhive <- Vol. 28, Issue 4, December 2020

Rom J Leg Med28(4)474-479(2020)
© Romanian Society of Legal Medicine


O. D. Bardac, A. K. Lackner, S. Boroghină, A. Kozma,

Abstract: Hippocrates considered the disease to be the result of an imbalance among the four humors. Consequently, the treatment involved the restoration of humoral balance, achieved through: diet, purgation, emesis, hydration and therapeutic bleeding. Both in excess and vitiated blood had to be removed to restore the balance. Phlebotomy, as a method of therapeutic bleeding, was widely practiced until the end of the nineteenth century being strongly promoted by Galen. Today phlebotomy has extremely limited indications in scientific medicine. However, it still survives, in some places, through popular traditions and alternative medicine. An example, in Romanian folk medicine, is the cutting under the tongue. The procedure was taken over from the old healers of the villages and adapted to the needs of modern society. The modern healers transformed the cutting under the tongue into a panacea for all ailments. The aim of this paper is to analyze the spread of this empirical therapeutical procedure and to try to find out its origins by insisting on the links with the therapeutic principles promoted by Hippocrates and Galen. Ethical aspects related to the practice of under tongue cutting in modern society will also be discussed.
Keywords: Hippocrates, Galen, humoral theory, phlebotomy, under tongue cutting.

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