Inca Medicine

We know few things about inca medicine thanks to the more complete historical manuscript, wrote by an man born in Peru in 1550, his name was Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala, best known as Huaman Poma; He wrote the most complete information about the medicine practice during the inca civilization; The original manuscript has been kept in the Danish Royal Library since 1660, though it only came into public view in 1908, when it was discovered by the German scholar Richard Pietschmann.
Thanks to Huaman Poma we know that the inca medicine was a complex mix of different medical specialties and treatments; The incas believe that all sicknesses were provoke by the action of supernatural forces; On top of this, the incas believe that lies, sins against the gods or breaking inca laws were enough reasons to get sick; The remedies were combinations of herbs and minerals, always accompanied with prayers and magic spells.

The inca doctors were capable to treat successfully sicknesses in the immune system, by increasing the production of white blood cells or leukocytes, which naturally stop the progress of some diseases; They knew how to treat the urinary track and respiratory disorders, like cough or bronchitics; They knew how to restore the proper functioning of the gastrointestinal system and even sexual performance problems; Just to mention few.
The inca medicine had three types of doctors; The first type or doctor was call Watukk, his job was to find out the origin of the sickness, by an interpretive process of the inca daily life of the sick person; The watukk track the overall somatic, emotional and pathology stage of the patient; He was full responsible of the right diagnosis of the patience.

The Hanpeq is the second type of doctor; He was responsible to apply his medical knowledge about the disease, blending and linking the properties of the herbs and minerals to cure the patient, putting special attention in the right application of the remedy and post treatment; The Hanpeq is what we call today a Shaman, who is a religious, mystical and natural medicine doctor.

The last type of doctor of the inca medicine is the Paqo; His job was strictly focus on the treatment of the soul, the incas believe that the soul was located in the heart; The paqo sync the health of the spirit with the body, his main objective was to prevent and treat the adverse reactions of the inca remedies in the body, to affect the less possible the living conditions of the patient.
The inca medicine was so complex that classify and treat sadness, melancholy, mentally illnesses, severe afflictions of behavior, anger, cowardice, regret, anxiety, grief, pathological fear, dementia, severe psychotic disorders like madness, insanity, idiocy and hysteria; Just to mention a few of them.

The inca medicine had a remarkable 80 to 90 percent of survival rate in their skull surgeries procedures; Amazing considering the materials and medicine knowledge of that time, the wounds sewing procedures were absolutely perfect with very few cases of infection; We have very few manuscripts that describe how the incas doctors work, the sad reality is that most of this knowledge is lost in the past.
The history of the incas explain that been a doctor, was a job teach from father to son and if the apprentice was capable enough, he was send to train in the inca school of medicine of Cuzco; Where the advance techniques and knowledge of the inca medicine was teach by the Amautas, who were people that dedicate their entire lives to search for answers; The amautas were the holders of the knowledge and wisdom of the kingdom.

The inca medical school could last within three years up to five years, depending on the skills of the student; It was a strict education in herbs and mineral properties, how to use them, quantities of remedies, diagnoses of illnesses, they teach the students how to recognize the known sicknesses and how they should be treated; After the student finish the medical school, he had to spend many years of practice before been consider a doctor.

The doctors were in constant search for new herbs and minerals, trying new remedies and improving old ones; The search for answers is the reason of such great medical development; The healing power of the inca medicine was absolutely extraordinary, plus the religious and magical spells, that were part of the treatment, help the patience to believe that he is cure, fact that free endorphins in the blood stream, helping the self healing of the body.

Source:New Wonder

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