Tag Archives: Mariel Tishma

Body and soul, balance and the Sibyl of the Rhine: the life and medicine of Saint Hildegard of Bingen

Mariel Tishma Chicago, Illinois, United States   Hildegard von Bingen receives divine inspiration and passes it on to her writer. Miniature from the Rupertsberger Codex des Liber Scivias. Via Wikimedia St. Hildegard of Bingen wrote two medical texts, three books of visions and prophecies, one of the first mystery plays, songs, musical compositions, and letters. […]

Frankincense and myrrh: medicinal resin worth more than gold

Mariel Tishma Chicago, IL, United States   Incense. Frankincense on coal. Photo: birdy. 2007. CC BY-SA 3.0. Via Wikimedia. Boswellia and Commiphora trees are scraggly, sharp, and unfriendly. Growing close to the ground in the arid desert, they have short trunks and fanning branches, sometimes looking more like shrubs than trees. But despite their unlikely […]

The global journey of variolation

Mariel Tishma Chicago, Illinois, United States   A human hand with smallpox pustules. Colored etching by W.T. Strutt. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Humanity has eliminated only one infectious disease—smallpox. Smallpox is a very old disease and efforts to prevent it are almost as old. They included a technique called variolation, also […]

Women in the medical profession: the trial of Jacoba Felicie de Almania

Mariel Tishma Chicago, Illinois, United States   A meeting of doctors at the university of Paris. From the “Chants royaux” manuscript, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris. BNF, Français 1537, fol. 27v. Source In November 1322 a group of folk healers and empirics were put on trial by the Faculty of Medicine from the University of Paris. Their […]

A surgeon and a gentleman: the life of James Barry

Mariel Tishma Chicago, Illinois, United States   Dr. James Barry with John, a servant, and his dog, Psyche. Unknown Artist. c1850.   “Do not consider whether what I say is a young man speaking, but whether my discussion with you is that of a man of understanding.”1 – Dedication of the thesis of James Barry In November of 1809, […]

The history and mystery of cupping

Mariel Tishma Chicago, Illinois, United States   Peasant Spa of Krapinske Toplice, Yugoslavia. Where ancient method of cupping using cow horns is practised. Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY Maybe your chest hurts from coughing, or maybe your muscles ache. Maybe you feel sluggish and anxious, worn out, and not sure why. There is a treatment, some […]

African American medical pioneers

Mariel Tishma Chicago, Illinois, United States   The road for African Americans in the medical professions has not been easy. Enslaved Africans received no education.1 During the first half of the nineteenth-century medical schools in the North would admit only a very small number of black students. Even after the Civil War, African Americans continued […]

“Rich man, poor man”: a history of lead poisoning

Mariel Tishma Chicago, Illinois, United States   Comfort in the Gout. Thomas Rowlandson. 1802. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The history of lead poisoning is the history of human industry. For unmarked time, lead has been around causing abdominal pain, constipation, nausea, and irritability, as well as conditions like heart disease, kidney disease, reduced fertility, […]

“Some little show of nail”: the health of Anne Boleyn

Mariel Tishma Chicago, Illinois, United States   Anne Boleyn. Unknown English artist. Late 16th century, based on a work of circa 1533-1536. National Portrait Gallery. Of all the wives of England’s King Henry VIII, the most well known is Anne Boleyn. She is the woman who, one way or another, caused the split between Henry […]

More than “toil and trouble”: Macbeth and medicine

Mariel Tishma Chicago, Illinois, United States   The Witches. Hans Baldung (called Hans Baldung Grien). 1510. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The image of a woman – a witch — working over a bubbling cauldron filled with stomach-turning substances is a staple of both horror and more family friendly media. One such example is Shakespeare’s […]