Who Was The First Doctor Ever?

The first historically recorded doctor ever was Hippocrates (460 – 370 BCE). What do you think – would the first-ever doctor be able to cure the first global pandemic ever?

In the ancient world, doctors were a rare profession. Oftentimes, people referred to them as “medicine men”.

Generally speaking, the professional description “Doctor” was in use for many centuries before there were universities, or degrees. It was used to refer to an especially learned person, one who was authorized and qualified to teach a particular subject.

who was the first doctor ever - a statue of a man with a beard
Image of Hippocrates, the first doctor ever
Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=164808

What Was Hippocrates Contribution to Modern Medicine?

Furthermore, commonly you can find the word “physician” referring to an ancient doctor.

Similarly, there was a general lack of any structure of the medicinal form.

Therefore, Hippocrates developed his own way of classifying illnesses in 4 categories:

  • acute,
  • chronic,
  • endemic
  • and epidemic.

Another major contribution of the first doctor ever is the Hippocratic Oath. Consequently, Hippocrates laid the foundations of modern medicine.

In light of his accomplishment, Hippocrates’ oath is used by contemporary physicians who swear to protect human life.

Cross-shaped Byzantine translation of Hippocrates Oath - who was the first doctor ever
A 12th-century Byzantine translation of Hippocrates Oath.
By manuscript: Unknown scan used in the book: Foto de la Biblioteca Vaticanascan from the book: User: Rmrfstar – page 27 of Surgery: An Illustrated History by Ira M. Rutkow, M.D. published in 1993: ISBN 0801660785., Public Domain

It goes without saying, Hippocrates is considered to be the father of modern medicine.

On the other hand, there have been quite a few “doctors” before his time. Having said that, some might say that Hippocrates was not the first doctor ever.

Was Hippocrates the First Doctor Ever?

Some research shows that the first proof of medicine practice dates back to prehistoric times.

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Hence, it was the period when ancient humans started applying herbs to heal their wounds.

ancient men surrounding hippocrates and giving him presents
Image shows an illustration of Hippocrates refusing the presents.
By Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson, Public Domain.

After that, it marked the beginning of Herbalism which is considered to be the founding block of medicine.

Early medicine continued to evolve as humankind became more aware of their environment.

Compared to today’s lifespan, the average age expectancy of ancient humans was significantly lower.

It comes as no surprise that on average, an adult Neanderthal lived to the age of 35.

Were Neanderthals the First Doctors Ever?

Moreover, believe it or not, Neanderthals were the first human (sub)species who applied basic medical practices.

Primitive but resourceful, Neanderthals used elements from their environment to cure their wounds.

In conclusion, even though Neanderthals lacked in finesse, Neanderthals treated their wounds in a resourceful manner.

Comparatively one of the most common elements used to heal wounds were clay and grass. Identically, this comes as a no surprise because those elements were in abundance.

In conclusion, one might say that Neanderthals were the first “doctors” ever.

Less Known Facts about Hippocrates

The best-known health care physician Hippocrates (Greek, Hippos) was born in Thrace about 450 BC. Hippocrates has been hailed as the father of medicine and perhaps the founder of medicine itself.

His teachings and practices would continue to influence the healing of our modern world.

Hippocrates was a scientist, and mathematician, but was born into a tribe of medicine men and dedicated his life to the study of the body.

The early part of his life was spent trying to perfect the art of planting. He often worked long hours and by the time he was ready to work in the field, it was dark and cold outside. He lived on mushrooms and wild oats and preferred dwell near water.

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Even so, when he went out into the fields, he had to be able to tell which plants were good for the body and which were not.

Hippocrates worked with animals throughout his life. He also was well versed in the use of plants. He developed many new plant extracts to help with illnesses, for example.

His efforts helped prevent many horrible diseases and helped preserve the lives of many loved ones.

Hippocrates helped even more by educating the people of his time that illnesses could be prevented and also taught the benefit of nutrition.

Final Thoughts on Hippocrates

Hippocrates was very critical of many of the practices and philosophies of ancient times. He became the opponent of unbalanced eating too much.

In ancient times, food was also considered a great part of life. The common belief was that there was something called phlegm, and every man was born with it in his stomach. Hippocrates suggested that when there was too much phlegm, it could cause sickness.

He also believed that another part of a man’s life was his mind. He believed that a man should eat wisely so that his mind would be refreshed and strong. He also said that physical and mental activities were linked.

The main objective of all physical and mental activities was to restore the balance in the body. This may have had to do with the philosophy of St. Francis of Assisi, who thought that if the body is healthy, then the mind will be able to run freely.

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He also advised his followers that the reason they were ill was that they did not understand what their illness was; and that if they understood what their illness was, they could understand how to cure it.

Hippocrates taught that people who understood their sickness could understand what caused it. In this way, Hippocrates gained an enormous following and enjoyed immense success.

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