25 BC-50 AD: Celcus spearheads quest to define asthma

So the sort of would life be like for the asthmatic when Jesus and Caesar walked the natural order? From my investigations into this era I’d imagine the best counteractive might simply be to tough it out, as many of the recommended remedies appear to be like they’d be worse than the disease. Of course this was true of chiefly medicine prior to the 20th hundred.

Aurelius Cornelius Celsus was a voluminous writer. While

most of his works hold been lost to history, his of the healing art treaties

became one of the greatest in number read books during the Renaissance.

The aid century A.D. was a extremely “fruitful era of literature
and science of causes.” (1, pages xxi, xxii) It is according to this reason we have resources beneficial to help us learn what was known in all parts of asthma at that time and the remedies to banquet it. Among those most influential to medicament were Pliny the Elder (23-79 A.D.), Seneca the Younger (4 B.C.- 65 A.D.) and Aurelius Cornelius Celsus.  (25 B.C. to 45 A.D.)

We possess already delved into the philosophical writings of Seneca, and the works of Pliney will exist discussed in a future post.  Today I would like to gleam the light on Celsus, whose contributions to our mete asthma were quite significant.

Although, we mould be sure we are shining the guide by ~ on the right Celsus, for this mention was among the most popular of that time. The credit Celsus in 2nd century Rome was like to modern surnames such as Garcia, Rodriguez, Martinez, Smith, Williams, Jones, Hansen, Andersen, or Johnson. (5, pages 32-33)

Perhaps inasmuch as there were so many by the corresponding; of like kind name that we know so tiny about our Celsus, whos can have existence seen as we enter a quadrangle of one of the homes of some unknown Roman village, reclining back comfortably on a couch with the tablets assign firmly upon his knee. With a sty he writes about asthma today, a symptom he probably learned about during his of a philosopher studies. (5, pages 32-33)

Already in his repertoire were treaties attached philosophy, architecture, rhetoric, agriculture and war. He also wrote a book called “The True Word,” in that he attacked Christianity, the newest philosophy of his era.

Yet all those treaties would eventually exist lost to history. The only remaining treaties that we be seized of of his is his Treaties Medicina, of what one. he wrote about medicine and surgery. The in the ~ place eight books were on medicine, the first four of which treated internal diseases with diet and regimen. The fifth and sixth dealt through pharmacology, or the drugs used to feast diseases. The seventh and eighth dealt through surgery. (5, page 32-33)(3, boy-servant 74)

He was born Aurelius Cornelius Celsus in 25 A.D. to respectable parents in Greece. He was a follower of zeno, meaning he did not believe in each after life. He was also well well-informed, meaning that he was educated in total the knowledge of the day. His specialty became pharmaceutics, medicine, surgery, war, and architecture.  He wrote voluminously up~ all these subjects.

His writings were later described for the re~on that “diligent” and “attentive.” (2, pages 425-5) Yet in which case some say that his skills since a surgeon were “second to not any,” (1, page xvii) others suspect he may not hold practiced what he preached, that he was nor one nor the other a physician nor a surgeon. (2, pages 425-5)(7, page 5)

He rose above his peers ~ means of paying attention to all aspects of physic, rather than just one. For prompting, prior to his time medicine was divided into three regions: (9, page 33)

Dietetic: Curing ~ means of diet

Pharmaceutic:  Curing by remedial agent

Chirurgic: Curing by manual operations (knife, cupping, etc.)(5, serving-boy 33)

Celsus became the first to publish the importance of all three. (5, serving-boy 33)

Perhaps it was for this thinking principle that his medical writings were “ignored ~ dint of. Roman practitioners of his day, and his part is mentioned only four times by the medieval commentators,” said medical chronicler Fielding Hudson Garrison in his 1913 book “An introduction to the history of physic.” (3, page 74)
Not until 1478 would he earn his revenge. In this year his work, De Re Medicina, would become the primary medical treaties printed on the Gutenberg Printing Press. The treaties would afterwards pass ” through more separate editions than nearly any other scientific treaties,” said Garrison (3, page 74)

This was partly due to the performance it was a medical treaties, if it were not that more due to the fact of the progression it was written. “It was owed largely to the purity and accuracy of his literary style, his cultivated Latinity assured him the title of ‘Cicero medicorum,'” before-mentioned Garrison. (3, page 74)
Medical annalist Thomas Lindsley Bradford, in his 1898 main division “Quiz questions on the record of medicine said that his healing treaties was a “test of Latin acquirements, and of a liberal education, instead of if the student was familiar with Celsus he received the purest Latin of the Augustinian Age.” (5, boy-servant 33)

Along with his writings forward medicine and surgery, he also described the narrative of medicine, giving descriptions of extremely 72 medical authors, although all be delivered of been lost except for the works of Hippocrates. He besides provides us with the most express account of medicine at the time of Jesus, describing the one and the other the Dogmatic and the Empiric Schools of medicament. (3, page 74)(5, page 33)

Celsus defended the form that anatomy was important in remedy, so he was definitely not an Empiric who did not support the notion that anatomy was important to healing art. Despite this, “his knowledge of bony structure was somewhat superficial.” (5, page 33)  Some speech he more fittingly belonged to the eclectic school, or a combination of dogmatic and empiric. (7, page 6)

Regardless of by what mode he was perceived in the above, Celsus remains an important figure in our story of asthma. It is thanks to him that we learn what physicians knew about asthma during the time of Jesus.

As a medical writer Celsus emulated Hippocrates, and qualities of his books are word for word transcriptions from the “Hippocratic Corpus.”  In circumstance, Celsus did this so often that common later author, Nicholas Mondaris, referred to him while the “Ape of Hippocrates” or the “Latin Hippocrates.” (1, pages 259-61)(7, boy-servant 5)

The Treaties on Medicine written through Celsus would become the first
medical treaties printed forward the Gutenberg Printing Press.
 It would walk on to pass through more editions than
any other scientific treaties.  

Yet he incorporated into his treaties the latest discernment of his day, plus some of his hold ideas. This is clearly evident in his writings without ceasing asthma.
When asthma was first defined ~ the agency of Hippocrates in 400 B.C., it was frequently difficult to distinguish between the causes of dyspnea, and thence they were grouped under the umbrella period of time asthma. Thus, all that caused dyspnea were referred to being of the kind which asthma.
Celsus, on the other pointer, believed asthma was more than fair dyspnea, and for this reason he by stipulation us with our first description of asthma being of the cl~s who more than simply a blanket confine.

Celsus wrote the following:

Est etiam circa fauces malum, quod apud Gracos aliud aliudque nomen habet. Orane in difflcultate spirandi consistit; sed haec dum modica est, neque ex toto strangulat, appellator. Cum vehementior est, ut spirare aeger sine sono et anhelatione non possit; cum accessit id quoque, ne nisi recta cervice spiritus trahatur. (4, boy-servant 10) By the above, which is taken from John Charles Thorowgood 1890 book “Asthma and Chronic Bronchitis,” we learn that Celsus believed there were three thoracic disorders that resulted in hard row to hoe of breathing, and they varied ~ means of their “degree of violence”:

Dyspnea:  Moderate, unsuffocative breathing on the outside of a wheeze; it’s chronic

Asthma:  Vehement longing that is sonorous and wheezing; it’s smart

Orthopnea:  Breathing only takes charge in an erect position; it’s sage (1, pages 259-61) (4, serving-boy 10)

By the order above, Celsus implies that asthma is the “purpose” level of difficulty of breathing, by dyspnea being less severe than asthma, and orthopnea actuality more severe than asthma. (4, boy-servant 10)

He was also the in the ~ place to describe asthma as a peculiar condition involving constriction of the carriage passages in the lungs, and he was also the first to describe a breathe audibly. He described an attack of asthma this passage:

The symptoms common to these are, that up~ the body account of the constriction of the respiratory voyage, the breath is emitted with a sibilous conversation (whistle or wheeze), there is disquiet in the chest and precordia (outer the heart), sometimes also in the protuberance; and that sometimes departs, sometimes returns; in addition to these a slight cough accedes. (1, pages 260)

His remedies because of asthma included any of the following:

Blood letting (low remedy for just about any infirmity)

Milk (to relax the bowels)

Purging of the viscera with enemas (clysters) or injections whether or not necessary

Hydromel (honey diluted in furnish with ~)

Head must be kept high in raised plot

Thorax relieved by fomentations (warm, dank medicinal compress)

Thorax relieved by irascible cataplasms (a heated medical dressing, one and the other dry or moist)

Malagma (lotion or mend) or iris ointment after fomentations and cataplasms (these act as emollients to soften skin to travel over chest movements easier)

Hydromel as a drink (olio of water and honey)

Bruised root of capers has been boiled

Nitre or of a ~ color cresses fried, bruised, then mixed up through honey and given as electuary (spoken, by mouth)

Honey, galbanum, and turpentine resin boiled arm in arm and, when they are coalesced to the bigness of a bean, dissolved under the tong daily

Impure sulfur or southernwood triturated arm in arm in a glass of wine and sipped make ~

Fox’s liver dried, hardened and pounded into a dust and sprinkled on a drink (such as wine)

Eating the fresh, roasted lungs of a fox (nevertheless you can’t cook it by iron utensils)

Gruels (watery porridge) and mild food

Light austere wine

Sometimes a cast up (Emetics)

Anything that promotes urine (diuretics issue you pee, but they probably believed they were replete of poisons that caused the humors to exist imbalanced)

Gentle walking (nothing more) 

Massage (he referred to it because friction; it’s done to trouble poisons around the body to weighing the humors and to make aspiration easier) (1, pages 259-61)

While more of these were later proven to be favored with medical significance, most were simply lenitive, and some were downright barbaric.  Still, his ideas were well-versed and followed for many years rear his death.

We asthmatics should have ~ing thankful to Celsus for spearheading — even if he didn’t know it at the time — a 3,000 year effort to define asthma as a indisposition of its own. You can decide toward yourself if you’d have been satisfied with his remedies for your asthma,  or on the supposition that you would rather have just stayed home and suffered.


Celsus, Aurelius Cornelius, “De Medicina,” translated ~ means of L. Targa, London, pages xiiv-xxiii, “The Life of Cornelius Aurelius Celsus,” ~ the agency of J. Rhodius and translated from Almeloveen’s Lugduni Batavorum

Parr, Bartholomew Par, M.D., “The London Medical Dictionary,” 1809, London, Vol. 1, pages 425-5

Garrison, Fielding Hudson, “An introductory treatise to the history of medicine: with medical chronology, Bibliographic data and proof questions,” 1913, Philadelphia and London, W.B. Saunders association

Thorowgood, John C., “Asthma and Chronic Bronchitis: A New Edition of Notes steady Asthma and Bronchial Asthma,” 1894, London, Bailliere, Tyndall, & Cox

Bradford, Thomas Lindsley, clerk, Robert Ray Roth, editor, “Quiz questions in successi~ the history of medicine from the lectures of Thomas Lindley Bradford M.D.,” 1898, Philadelphia, Hohn Joseph McVey

Celcus, Aurelius Cornelius, “The Eight Books of without interrupti~ Medicine of Aurelius Cornelius Celsus through a Literal and Interlineal Translation without ceasing the Principles on the Hamiltonian System Adapted as far as concerns Students in Medicine,” volume II, 1830, London 

Bell, John, conductor , “Retrospection in Medicine,” The Eclectic Journal of Medicine, November, 1836, bulk 1, number 1, Philadelphia, Haswell, Barrington, and Haswell

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