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Timeline of medicine and medical technology

Timeline of medicine and medical technology


Before 1500

  • c. 2698 to 2596 B.C - Legendary date of composition of Huangdi Neijing or Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine, which lays the framework for the basic theories of Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • c. 2600s BC - Imhotep wrote texts describing diagnosis and treatment of 200 diseases in 3rd dynasty Egypt.
  • c. 1500s BC - Saffron used as a medicine on the Aegean island of Thera in ancient Greece
  • c. 500 BC - Bian Que becomes the earliest physician known to use acupuncture and pulse diagnosis.
  • c. 500 BC¹ - Sushruta wrote Sushruta Samhita describing over 120 surgical instruments, 300 surgical procedures and classified human surgery in 8 categories. Performed cosmetic surgery
  • 420 BC - Hippocrates of Cos maintains that diseases have natural causes and puts forth the Hippocratic Oath, marking the birth of medicine in the west.
  • 300 BC - Charaka writes the Ayurvedic text Charaka Samhita which uses a rational approach to the causes and cure of disease and uses objective methods of clinical examination.
  • 280 BC - Herophilus studies the nervous system and distinguishes between sensory nerves and motor nerves
  • 250 BC - Erasistratus studies the brain and distinguishes between the cerebrum and cerebellum
  • 50-70 - Pedanius Dioscorides writes De Materia Medica - a precursor of modern pharmacopeias that was in use for almost 1600 years
  • 180 - Galen studies the connection between paralysis and severance of the spinal cord
  • 220 - Zhang Zhongjing publishes Shang Han Lun (On Cold Disease Damage), the oldest complete medical textbook in the world, focusing on diagnosis, treatment and prognosis.
  • 215-282 - Life of Huangfu Mi, who wrote the Zhenjiu Jiayijing (The ABC Compendium of Acupuncture), the first textbook focusing solely on acupuncture.
  • 750 - Madhav writes the Ayurvedic text Nidana where he lists diseases along with their causes, symptoms, and complications.
  • c. 830-870 - Hunayn ibn Ishaq translates Galen into Arabic
  • c. 1010 - Avicenna writesThe Book of Healing and The Canon of Medicine
  • 1242 - Ibn an-Nafis suggests that the right and left ventricles of the heart are separate and describes the lesser circulation of blood
  • 1249 - Roger Bacon writes about convex lens spectacles for treating long-sightedness
  • 1403 - concave lens spectacles to treat myopia
  • early 16th century: Paracelsus, an alchemist by trade, rejects occultism and pioneers the use of chemicals and minerals in medicine

1500 - 1800

  • 1543 - Andreas Vesalius publishes De Fabrica Corporis Humani which corrects Greek medical errors and revolutionizes medicine
  • 1546 - Girolamo Fracastoro proposes that epidemic diseases are caused by transferable seedlike entities
  • 1553 - Spanish physician Miguel Serveto describes the circulation of blood through the lungs and is accused of heresy by Catholics and Protestants alike; burned at the stake for heresy the same year at age 44
  • 1556 - Amato Lusitano describes venous valves in the Ázigos vein
  • 1559 - Realdo Colombo describes the circulation of blood through the lungs in detail
  • 1563 - Garcia de Orta founds tropical medicine with his treatise on Indian diseases and treatments
  • 1596 - Li Shizhen publishes Běncǎo Gāngmù or Compendium of Materia Medica, containing 1,892 distinct herbs and other materia medica. There are some 11,096 side prescriptions to treat common illness.
  • 1603 - Girolamo Fabrici studies leg veins and notices that they have valves which allow blood to flow only toward the heart
  • 1628 - William Harvey explains that the vein-artery system is a continuous loop and that the heart works like a pump to push blood in a one-way circuit through the body, in Exercitatio Anatomica de Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus
  • 1701 - Giacomo Pylarini gives the first smallpox innoculations in Europe. They were widely practised in the east before then.
  • 1747 - James Lind discovers that citrus fruits prevent scurvy
  • 1763 - Claudius Aymand performs the first successful appendectomy
  • 1785 - William Withering publishes "An Account of the Foxglove" the first systematic description of digitalis in treating dropsy
  • 1790s - Samuel Hahnemann rages against the prevalent practice of bloodletting as a universal cure and founds homeopathy
  • 1796 - Edward Jenner develops a smallpox vaccination method

1800 - Present and future


1. The date at which the Sushruta Samhita was compiled is uncertain.

  • A Tribute to Hinduism and other sources agree that Sushruta lived in the 5th century B.C., and so even the date 500 B.C. may be too early.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Timeline_of_medicine_and_medical_technology". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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