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the body through which skewers may be driven with safety. Some of these so-called "safe" places are actually through the abdomen and lungs!
It is strange in a country like China, for instance, where critical examinations attend each step of a literary degree, that no test of any sort is demanded from those who practice medicine. There are no doctors in our sense of the word-men who have studied the science and received the imprimatur of some examining body. Many of the native doctors are those who have failed in the literary examinations, or who have been unfortunate in business.
They divide diseases into "outside," or surgical, and "inside," or medical cases. A doctor's sign often bears the legend, "Outside and inside diseases cured." Their knowledge of anatomy is still practically nil. No dissections are permitted in the Empire. A copper model with imaginary organs in imaginary places is sometimes used for instruction. They are wholly innocent of any such fine distinctions as the differences between veins, arteries, nerves and tendons. The trachea is two inches wide and one foot long. The liver has seven lobes and is the motor centre for the eyes and also contains the soul. The larynx goes through the lungs directly to the heart. The centre of the thorax is the seat from which joy and delight emanate. No Harvey has yet arisen to teach the Chinese the laws of the circulation of the blood. Authors vary a good deal in their views. Some "represent tubes issuing from the fingers and toes and running up the limbs into the trunk, where they are lost or reach the heart, lungs, or some other organ as well as they can, wandering over most parts of the body in their course." The Chinese know nothing of the nervous system, its functions or its diseases. The position of the heart is stated to be midway between the crown of the head and the sole of the foot-" it must be there," is the logical explanation, " for it's the centre of the being."
The pharmacopoeia of these lands is remarkable. Both in Persia and China remedies are divided into hot and cold. When refrigerants have failed for a long time they will say: "Perhaps the patient has had too much of it;
we will change the treatment and try something hot." One last resource remains to the Persian physician to save his own reputation-to recommend the patient to try a forty days' course of a decoction made from a certain root. The victim must take it forty days consecutively, three times a day, about half a pint at a time, after food, and never once lose his or her temper, or it will be of no avail. The fortieth day the patient returns probably worse than before, or complains of feeling certainly nɔne the better, and at once the physician says, ' But have you lost your temper?' Of course, he or she has, and then it is not the physician's fault but the patient's."
A favorite remedy in Korea for anæmia is a jelly made from the bones of a man recently killed. A criminal execution is largely attended by native practitioners to obtain this valuable ingredient. (The author has sometimes wondered if this betokened a sort of lucky foresight into our modern treatment of some anæmias by administration of bone-marrow!)
For catarrhs chips from coffins which have been let down into the grave are boiled and said to possess great virtue.
A medical missionary recently told a story of a man who had come to him with dyspepsia. He had been ordered to take stone ground up in a paste with water. During two years he had taken each day a cupful and had consumed half a millstone, about sixty pounds in weight. Finding himself no better, he was ordered cinnamon bark and had ingested forty pounds of it. It seems to us a great tribute to the man's constitution to be able to record that ten days of more appropriate treatment resulted in his complete recovery in spite of the heroic measures previously employed!
According to Dr. Wells Williams some of the agents administered are at once archaic and archeological. They include snake skins, fossil bones, rhinoceros or hart's horn shavings, silk worm and human secretions, asbestos, moths and oyster shells. But this list is nothing to one that was recorded in a recent Chinese medical missionary journal: "Flies are of great use to man, for their heads when pounded and used as a pomade form an infallible
hair restorer for the head, beard and eyebrows. Bats are harmless animals and of great value in medicine. Their flesh, applied as a poultice, is a sovereign cure for the stings of scorpions; roasted and eaten, they dry up the excess of saliva in infants. There is nothing better for that dangerous disease, lethargy, than to put fleas into the patient's ears." Speaking of bedbugs, "certain devout and religious people have been known to put those animals in their beds, that they might be more wakeful to contemplate divine things. One purpose of their creation was, doubtless, to keep us from pride, but the main object of the creation of bugs was the benefit of the sick. They are of remarkable efficacy in the hysteria of females, if one puts them in the patient's nose.
Seven bugs taken in barley water are of great value in quartan ague and for the bites of scorpions." The writer who quotes the above adds, "Heaven has certainly been bountiful to China and well stocked Nature's Dispensary."
In Korea the bones of a tiger are considered a specific for cowardice. A strong tiger-bone soup will make a hero of the most arrant coward. They argue thus: "The tiger is very strong; his bones are the strongest part of him, therefore a soup of the bones must be wonderfully strengthening." For those who cannot afford such an expensive luxury, they may yet obtain some of the strength and courage of that ferocious beast by swallowing a decoction of his mustache hairs, which are retailed at the ridiculously low figure of one hundred cash-i.e., to 6 cents per hair!
Ophthalmia and other eye diseases are extremely common in almost all these lands. The author during a trip to Palestine once noticed no fewer than ten different diseases of the eye in the course of a half hour's stroll through the bazars of Jerusalem. Thousands become sightless every year through the lack of the simplest lotions and ointments. In China there are estimated to be no fewer than 500,000 blind, and in India the number is stated to be 458,000. Ophthalmia is still treated in many places by a lotion of boiled monkey's feet, pork and alcohol, and notwithstanding such original treatment no cures
are reported. A missionary in India describes the case of a child who was brought to her for eye treatment: "The poor mother said, 'I have been so careful; I have put the country medicine in each day.' We asked what it was, and this was the answer: 'A donkey's tooth ground up with charcoal, and the powder put into the child's eyes.' And for two whole months the mother had patiently applied this."
Their knowledge of pathology is such that resinous plasters or dabs of tar are put on whenever pus appears. If the suppuration burrows its way through, more plaster is applied. The ruling principle is to keep it in.
Some of these practices would be merely ludicrous if it were not for the terrible suffering entailed by such absurd treatment. A physician of the Celestial Empire does not hesitate to thrust a long, uncleanly needle into a patient's stomach or liver who comes to him suffering with dyspepsia. Add to this the custom of blistering the wounds thus caused, and the extreme danger of the procedure will be realized.
Of course there must be here and there exceptions, where the treatment prescribed is at least harmless and occasionally beneficial. There is, however, no scientific study of the subject, and there are none of the instruments of precision for diagnosis which to-day are the property of the whole profession in our more favored. countries. The stethoscope, clinical thermometer, microscope and staining agents are of course quite unknown.
Mrs. Isabella Bird-Bishop, the celebrated Superstition. Asiatic traveler, says that back of almost all Asiatic religions is the belief in demons. Demonism underlies the Indian religions; it is paramount in Afghanistan and in much of Arabia, and is the bedrock on which the Taoism of China is built. If this be true of Asia, it is no less true of large parts of Africa. The demons need to be exorcised in cases of sickness. The first question is not, as with us, what is the cause of this sickness, but rather, who is the cause. In Africa, the medicine man is called in to know who has bewitched the sick one. He has a string of shells, and by throwing these in the air and watching how they fall he pretends
to know the exact man, or his spirit should he be dead. It is vain for the selected one to protest his innocence. "If a man has an apoplectic stroke, this is not due to the rupture of a blood vessel in his brain or to any other of the natural causes of this condition, but some enemy has cast a spell over him or perhaps his father's ghost is angry with him."
It is the natural result of such belief in witchcraft that charms and spells should play an important part in the treatment of disease. Clairvoyance, miraculous interpositions and supernatural appearances are commonplaces in the systems of belief in many parts of the heathen world, and are constantly resorted to in times of sickness. Fortune tellers and astrologers are protected by law in China. In the recent Chinese war some interesting examples occurred of the superstitious darkness which still hangs as a pall upon even the comparatively intelligent. A general whose arm was shattered by a ball, thinking the daily dressing in Western style was too slow a method, called in a fortune teller. Prayers were written in the picturesque Chinese characters upon red paper. This was burnt and the ashes administered as medicine. During four days the wound was left unattended and the general died from blood poisoning.
In Persia during an epidemic of cholera, thousands of prayers were printed and posted above the doors of the houses. They were of various kinds; some in Arabic gave detailed directions from the Angel Gabriel that whosoever should write out this prayer and "keep it about his person shall be safe, and whoever reads it once a day for seven days, shall be exempt. And whoever shall write it and put it in a cup of water, and shall drink of that water, the disease of cholera shall not reach him." A traveler in India passing through a village noticed that decapitated dogs had been put up in trees at the various entrances to the village. Those horrible sights were so placed that from whichever side the Cholera Goddess inight approach, she might be turned back in disgust.
In China and India gongs are beaten and firecrackers ignited to frighten away the evil spirits which are supposed to be the cause of the sickness. Such a scene is