The practice of bloodletting, or phlebotomy, dates back to antiquity. The followers of Hippocrates in the fifth century B.C. strongly believed in bleeding patients, and it is likely that this was done in Egyptian times and probably even before that. Early civilizations may have been inspired by seeing bats remove blood from animals, hippos scratching on trees until they bled, and other animals scratching at diseased body parts for relief. Additionally, there were many human examples of bleeding such as spontaneous nosebleeds and menstruation that had to be explained. It is perhaps these signs in nature that led early civilizations to put it all together: bleeding must have some beneficial value!
From these simple observations came increasingly complex theories as to why bloodletting was necessary and how it worked. An early theory was that there were four main bodily humors: blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile. An imbalance in these humors was postulated as the need for bloodletting, purging, vomiting, etc. Virtually every known medical condition at one time or another was treated by these methods. Bloodletting was used to treat everything from fever and madness to anemia and debility. As one can imagine, treating an anemic patient by removing even more blood was not the best of ideas. The popular belief that George Washington was bled to death proves that even "nobility" was not spared.
This Cased set contains the instruments for "dry cupping" was used. This technique entailed creating suction in a cup placed over the skin without cutting the skin. Often a wad of burning material or the end of a heat lamp was placed in the cup to heat it. The cup was placed on the skin and a suction was created as it cooled. The skin then became engorged, presumably with evil humors that could improve health by coming to the surface.
Complete with the original brass spring loaded scarificator marked on one side: “Edward Wade” on the other “Landy Boro.”. The base contains 12 sharp blades which would have originally swung and lanced the patient at the same time. Spring is still strong, safety sear will not engage. This device featured a thumbscrew on top to adjust the blade gauge for bloodletting. Wonderful, cased set!
Inventory Number: MED 168