As more people began to live in Medieval villages, their health got worse. People were sick all the time! There wasn't much medical knowledge, and there were no such things as doctors until years later! Barbers did most of the surgery and gave medication. Antibiotics weren't discovered until the 1800s, and it was really, really, really hard to cure a disease without them.
People made up stories and myths about health. Many people thought that disease was spread from bad body odors. Still more people thought that diseases came from sins of the soul. Weird, huh?
The body was thought to be a part of the universe, with four body fluids: fire was yellow bile or choler, water was phlegm, air was blood, and earth was black bile. Too much of one fluid was supposed to be bad for you.
Medical treatments were almost always given to rich people, but they weren't that good! Most medicines could cause many illnesses, or even death! And something as normal as sneezing or coughing was supposed to be a sign that you were in great health!
Even though barbers did do most of the surgery, if a barber wasn't available, someone with no experience might give medication! This often led to awful sickness or even death! Scary! Surgery was preformed as a last resort. Nobody wanted to risk anybody's life, but none the less, it happened anyway.
There were various treatments which could be anything from taking medicine, to taking a hot bath, or even cutting off the painful body part! If a knight was badly cut in battle, barbers would melt the skin back together. Ouch!
Surgery was most successful with breast cancer, fistula, and gangrene. The most common type of surgery was called bloodletting, and that was meant to balance the fluids in the body. Before doing the actual surgery, patients would have to drink some sort of sleeping potion. They were mostly made of: lettuce, gall from a castrated boar, briony, opium, henbane, and hemlock juice. Hemlock juice could have caused death! Guess you're pretty glad that you didn't live in Medieval Times!