Episode 105

Maggots! Bloodletting! Graverobbers! Decapitated ducks! Cornflakes! This episode has it all! Join us on this wild ride through the history of Western Medicine as we look at the breakthroughs, setbacks, prejudices, and methodology behind it. 


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produced by Zack Jackson
music by Zack Jackson and Barton Willis 



This transcript was automatically generated by www.otter.ai, and as such contains errors (especially when multiple people are talking). As the AI learns our voices, the transcripts will improve. We hope it is helpful even with the errors.


Zack Jackson 00:04

You are listening to the down the wormhole podcast exploring the strange and fascinating relationship between science and religion. This week our hosts are


Kendra Holt-Moore 00:14

Kendra Holt-Moore, assistant professor of religion at Bethany College, and my most recent ailment was a concussion from a snowboarding fall,


Zack Jackson 00:28

Zack Jackson, UCC pasture and Reading, Pennsylvania, and my most recent ailment was COVID.


Rachael Jackson 00:36

Rachel Jackson, Rabbi Agoudas, Israel congregation Hendersonville, North Carolina, my most recent ailment is real, pretty bland, but irritating nonetheless. It's just a headache. But it was one of those headaches that I couldn't get rid of a headache for no reason. And I felt like oh my god, I'm just old, I now just get headaches.


Ian Binns 01:01

And Ben's Associate Professor of elementary science education at UNC Charlotte. And my most recent ailment is arthritis in my right hand, where this part is where the thumb comes down and connects to the wrist. It is definitely confirmed no longer early onset arthritis. So yeah, that was fun.



Why did you why did you ask her this question?


Ian Binns 01:29

For two reasons. One, because we just passed your birthday, Rachel. So celebration.


Rachael Jackson 01:38

Your old everything hurts. Just adding the parenthetical aside, Everybody Hurts from REM is an amazing song from 1992. And it's younger than


Ian Binns 01:50

I am interested. No, yeah, no, that was out before? No. When were you born again, Kendra. 1991. See, so



nothing hurt, then. I was fresh.


Ian Binns 02:05

The second reason that we're asking this question is because we're starting our new mini series, our next mini series on healing. So for today, I'm gonna give a just a very quick crash course, in kind of the history of healing from a science perspective. And I will let our listeners know that my background and understanding this is definitely more than the western science. So please, if anyone hears this and says, hey, you've left out some cultures, historical cultures that I do apologize for that. But as I said, this is gonna be very brief. So we could do several episodes just on the history of medicine. But so anyway, so I kind of wanted to just give some general, interesting things that have occurred over time. And then we wanted us to be able to get into a conversation about, like medical treatments, for different ailments, as well. But some of our understanding of the history of medicine goes all the way back to prehistoric times. And this is where I think it will come into play throughout our series as well, of how different cultures used to attribute different types of magic or religion to ailments, you know, maybe it was something to do with evil spirits or something like that. But you know, supernatural origin versus more of a natural origin of reason for different ailments. But one of the things that we know from the discovery of different prehistoric skulls is that they would actually drill a hole into the skull of the victim, because they believe that that the speculation is and then we actually see this occurred in more recent human history that it would release the disease. And so that was one thanks, you mean patient? Did I sit victim, you get saved. Because you know, if


Zack Jackson 03:54

you're going to your show, and your hands


Ian Binns 03:56

are gonna drill during prehistoric times, and you're gonna knock a hole into the person's skull, they may end up being the victim. Right? So, so yeah, there you go. And then now we were going to jump ahead to ancient Egypt, when we start actually seeing some evidence of written evidence of different types of treatments and medicine. One examples from the what was called the Smith Papyrus, written in 1600 BCE, right around there. But it was actually we believe it was a copy of a text from much earlier, so roughly 3000 BCE, but in that particular Papyrus, that's now I think, in New York. It contained 48 case studies. There was no theory for anything, but it was an observation and kind of a recording of what it is that they knew. So the case studies were all written, same way, the title, the examination, so what they're observing, and then the diagnosis, and then the treatment, and then they will have a glossary for terms. But again, they were still be speculation about what role Old Evil forces or spirits play in the cause of diseases. And then we're gonna jump ahead more to ancient Greece. And this is where many people may have heard of Hippocrates, of Coase Brahm, circa BCE, or for 20 BC, he was one of the first people who kind of focused on natural explanations trying to move away from supernatural explanations. And he was one of the people who came up with the idea of the four humors, which those are blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm. And if you are healthy, that means the four humors are in balance, if you were not healthy, that means something was off, one of the humors was off. And so this is where we start getting the idea of bloodletting. So for example, if someone had a fever, it was due to an abundance of blood. And so they would do bloodletting as a way to cure the fever. But still, at this time, and again, I'm skipping over a lot of people. They learned different things with anatomy, but they were only allowed to dissect animals, because at the time, it was illegal to dissect humans. At which time, still 420 BCE. So this is still the BCE era, ancient,


Zack Jackson 06:13

ancient really, that sounds more like a Christian hang up than agree. Yeah. Well, and actually to


Ian Binns 06:17

this, and trying to prepare for today's episode, I did see in some of the more ancient eastern cultures of like Hinduism, and from the early early stages of that, that they were also not allowed to cut into the human body and dissect human bodies either. So this is not just in that area. But yeah, you're right, because, Zack, as you just said, that we see that all the way up into the 1500s that they weren't supposed to be dissecting humans in in Europe, for example, but they did not necessarily figure out the reason or the causes of the different parts of the body that they were removing from the body. So when it came to anatomy, who the Egyptians from my from my understanding, or my off on that, which I find that's


Zack Jackson 07:01

fine, it depends. The the Ebers papyrus and again, all these papyrus papyrus papyrus Pappa Ria, I don't know if the plural is. The Papyrus is they are named after the the hippopotami Yes, sorry. They're all happy to discover they're all named there. No, not the Discover. They're named after the white guys who bought it at auction and then brought it back to their country. So, you know, all of Egyptian treasures are in Europe or America somewhere instead of where they belong. But anyway,


Ian Binns 07:35

yeah, the Smith Paul Bader is probably wasn't named for a guy named Smith all that back then.


Zack Jackson 07:40

Right now Pharaoh Smith. No, that's not really an Egyptian name. But the Ebers papyrus was in 1550 BCE, and it had a really detailed explanation of the heart and the entire circulatory system. It was a bit wrong in some of the ways in that they thought that the the heart pumps all fluids. So that includes urine and semen as well as as blood, but they understood the purpose of of the blood going through the muscles and the veins and the arteries and all of that they actually also had some psychiatric conditions that were tied up in conditions of the heart. And they mentioned like dementia and depression, which were problems of the heart because they would dissect people after they died and look at the quality of their ventricles and all of that. So they didn't know what the brain was. They thought that was garbage. But the heart was the center of


Ian Binns 08:37

all thank you for correcting me, Zack, I forgot about that Papyrus. Papyrus? popularized by Bob Yes, go ahead, Rachel.


Zack Jackson 08:46

Papyrus hippopotami


Rachael Jackson 08:47

I was just going to add that because things are because things are so ancient, we tend to forget that there was we say Egyptian. We're looking at 1000s and 1000s of years when we say Ancient Egypt, so 1500 BCE is kind of the middle right? Middle late kingdom, right? This is the these are the new kingdoms. Were this is not, these are not the ones that built those giant pyramids. That's 1000 years earlier that they did that. So I think when we when we talk about that we should do a little bit of justice and say, hey, it would sort of be like saying, hey, all Englanders life for all time, right? Well, that's just been 2000 years like it's at some point. So just to add to that piece and same thing with the the Greek piece or the ancient Greek has been around for a very long time. That's that's the history not the


Zack Jackson 09:45

speaking of the history piece to in about in the 1200s or so BCE, there was this mysterious Bronze Age collapse in which these massive societies, the ancient Egyptians, the Mycenaeans, all the the the Hittite They just they just collapsed. And we're not entirely sure why possibly the sea peoples possibly climate change, possibly a million other things, aliens, if you watch the History Channel, but all of these amazing societies, the Minoans, another one, they all just disappeared. And so you see later Greek society and later Egyptian society, then trying to make sense of the fact that there are these ancient ruins that are massive, and they just assume that ancient heroes built them, which is where a lot of the mythology comes from. But so like this sort of understanding of anatomy and health was probably somewhat lost in going into the period that now you're talking about where people aren't allowed to dissect. So we see them now because we found the papyrus, but they may not have had them


Ian Binns 10:46

as well. So Zach, you mentioned, you know, of that massive loss of civilization around that timeframe? And you mentioned your seafaring people to a man, are you talking about Atlantis there, buddy?


Zack Jackson 11:01

I am actually the Minoans. We're probably the source of the Atlantean myth as far as


Ian Binns 11:07

because wasn't Plato, one of the first ones to talk about it. Plato was the first one to write right about that we have documentation.


Zack Jackson 11:14

It's an Egyptian story that Plato heard and wrote about that there's this island nation that was super advanced in technology and in society, and then they angered Poseidon, right, and then they were wiped out by the sea for their iniquities. And so that lines up really nicely with the Minoan people who were on Crete, who at the time, I mean, we're talking 1500 BCE. Further back had like three storey buildings with hot and cold running water, and indoor plumbing. They had amazing art and architecture. They were they they were doing things that 1000s of years later, people hadn't discovered. And then they were just they were hit by this massive tsunami after the oh, what's that, that place in Greece that everyone goes on vacation with the beautiful blue waters of Santorini the volcano there exploded and caused caused dust it caused tsunamis and basically wiped out their society and in the Mycenaeans conquered them, and then the Bronze Age collapse. So we forgot all about them for 1000s of years, but they were probably the inspiration of Atlantis. It's not aliens, sorry. It's probably just Minoans. It's a bummer. Yeah, well, this has been Zach ruins mythology for you.


Kendra Holt-Moore 12:31

A new segment? I love that. Yeah, exactly.


Ian Binns 12:33

You could just splice this out and move it to the end. So let's get back to because I think while we're doing this to it's interesting, you all I am going to be focusing mostly on how we start to see more of a focus on natural phenomena, natural explanations and a scientific approach to medicine, that you still do see, you know, and like Apocrypha as being one of the individuals again from 420 BCE, trying to move away from Supernatural that even with the work of Hippocrates, that it did not drive out, like the rivals, you know, long that more traditional forms of healing up to that point, those those are traditional forms of healing belief and practice that those still existed. So it's not like when his work and and his contemporaries, you know, and then actually, there's speculation that Hippocrates was multiple people. It was not one. And so, just because of that, though, it did not drive out this the more traditional ways of belief and practices all say, so then I'm going to jump ahead roughly 500 years to Rome, and Galen. So Galen was a individuals from 129, to circa 200 CE. And he really started getting into this notion of we need to rely on the world of our senses. And but he still accepted the idea of the four humors that was originally proposed by Hippocrates. He recognized the arteries contain blood and not merely air, he also showed how the heart sets blood in motion, but he did not have an idea about the whole notion of circulation, blood circulation, but he was he did start figuring out that, you know, the heart did move things at least a little bit. We definitely see evidence with control experimentation with Galen key focus on on anatomy, but again, at the timeframe, dissection of humans was illegal. And so his work was focusing on animals, their section of animals, and it's his work. That actually kind of stayed when you think about Western culture and Western medicine, kind of was the prevailing view of how things were done until the 1500s. was actually the reason why I remember that so much is with that part, because his work was occurring rather right around the time of Ptolemy, when he talked about astronomy, and that stayed around for roughly the same Not a time till you know, Copernicus work. So it was kind of all those things started happening right around the same time. So now again, you know, my apologies for leaving out multiple cultures that I want to jump ahead again now to Medieval and Renaissance Europe. And so as I said galas, views kind of held strong until roughly the 1500s. And this is when we see Andreas alias, emerge. And yes, there were others before him, but he was one of the first ones to really get into dissection of humans. I think he had he was a person who had students who were grave robbers, because it was still illegal at the time. But he realized that we needed for anatomy, we needed a better understanding and body so he would have his students would become grave robbers and steal the bodies, and then they would do special dissections, you know, for like a show. I mean, there were many, many people watching, but they would have lookouts to make sure that they weren't doing anything, they wouldn't get caught.


Zack Jackson 15:58

Do you put them back? I don't know that after you're done? No.



I would hope so. Yeah,


Ian Binns 16:03

you think so?


Rachael Jackson 16:04

I would think so. Not just think so.


Ian Binns 16:08

Yeah. Then apparently he was a very skilled Dissector. And he felt like you know, it was they had to move away from Galen and his views. And don't forget, you know, I said, you know, we're jumping time. This was 1400 years later. So Galen, his views held strong for a long time. But he did a lot of dissection of humans. And his scientific observations and methods, with these facilities show that Galen can no longer be regarded as the final authority. And so that's when we start to see and again, this is also aligned with the time of the Renaissance. That's when we start seeing movement away from more ancient understandings when it comes to science, to medicine, for example, he believed in the importance of empirical knowledge, independent observation and experimentation. So this alias is really into those types of things. I don't know if he was ever caught. I have to look into that one. Yeah,


Zack Jackson 17:04

well, now he Oh, yeah. You blew his cover, man.


Ian Binns 17:07

Sorry, sorry, everybody. But what's interesting is even when that was occurring, we were also still seeing some people who were holding on to the idea that, you know, while experimentation is important that we still need to Paracelsus was one of them. I think I'm saying that correct. He presents the idea that humans are the ultimate ends of God's creation. So the ultimate form he held on is something called a chemical philosophy, which is a Christian philosophy. But it was not very widely accepted at the time, because as I've already said, this is the time of the Renaissance. So we're trying to move away from those types of explanations. And so he was still around, but he was trying to blend the two, between experimentation, but also to hold into the importance of God and humans kind of being the ultimate form. And then the next person I want to talk about before we start really going into different types of ailments stuff, just because of, as I said, the history as William Harvey, he was 15, seven 816 57. So he advanced medicine even further, because of careful observation, experimentation, he really focused on collecting more evidence. And this is when we really start to see what we now think of as experimentations. So, you know, control experimentation manipulate in nature, so he can see something that normally would not be seen, he came up with the theory of the circulation of blood of blood. So we started trying to have a better understanding how blood circulated throughout the body. And again, you know, he still was someone who did believe in the impact of a designer, but he really focused on the more natural explanations.


Zack Jackson 18:46

It's interesting that you say that he he discovered the circulation of the blood when we just said that 3000 years earlier, the Egyptians knew about the circuit. Oh, you're right.


Ian Binns 18:56

Yeah. Yeah, and plumbing, and plumbing,



plumbing, our own and in the world, but it


Ian Binns 19:05

is fascinating historical texts still hold us like William Harvey is one of the people who really did that.


Zack Jackson 19:11

Well, God forbid, they credited an African for exactly discovering yessing.


Ian Binns 19:17

And so just because of, you know, because I really want us to get into conversations around like different types of treatments we see throughout history for different ailments. You know, this was the time of the Renaissance. When you start moving past that. I mean, you as we've seen, we've discussed throughout on this show, in the past about the history of science and how scientific advancements just took off during this timeframe. Incredibly fast, right. And it was the same for medical medical advancements, too. And so we continue to see lots of different changes over time to the point where we are to our today, but what I really want to focus on unless someone wants to talk more about other history is getting into these treatments that we see throughout history. If we can


Zack Jackson 19:59

Yeah, That's absolutely yeah, you're chomping at the bit over there. You want to talk about about some some trees.


Ian Binns 20:05

So because one of my hat, like asthma, so asthma used to be treated, it was treated by smoking.


Zack Jackson 20:16

Oh, yes, smoking pipe of


Ian Binns 20:19

tobacco or cigar has the power of relieving a fit of asthma, especially in those not accustomed to it,


Zack Jackson 20:26

which I thought was really amazing custom to tobacco.


Ian Binns 20:29

That was this. That was the argument being presented is amazing. Yeah. There's an when when ish was this it was more like the 1800s.



Oh, recent.


Zack Jackson 20:40

Yeah. Well, counterpoint. No, that is not don't don't smoke, if you have so please


Ian Binns 20:47

understand that these are old, not accurate. There's a another thing with the whole idea of smoking. Yeah. For Your Health. This is. Back in the late 19th, early 20th century, I found a site talks about these different types of treatments out there smoking, for your health, asthma cigarettes. Yeah. So and they were this is an advertisement, not recommended for children under six. That was nice. But they were actually called asthma cigarettes. And they effectively treat asthma hay fever, foul breath, all diseases of throat, head colds, canker sores, bronchial irritations. So yeah, so that was a good thing.


Zack Jackson 21:30

Well, so when you're talking 19th, and 20th century, and these are like some crazy, wacky solutions for things like when they would give cocaine to children for their cough, and all of that. That's not entirely like saying that the ancient Romans used electric eels to cure hemorrhoids. Which, which is real? Well, when we're in the 19th and 20th centuries, a lot of these are the companies understood the awful things that their, their their products did to people, but they made marketing false advertisements to sell these addictive things to people. You know, the Bayer Corporation knew all about the addictive qualities of cocaine and still pushed it as a as a simple pain reliever, because they could get people addicted to it. And like those sorts of predatory capitalism has existed for the past couple of 100 years with with pharmaceuticals, and we are paying that price now with the opioid epidemic. So when the smoking industry in the 1800s, they didn't understand that it gave cancer, obviously, but they knew it wasn't good. Yeah, no, those advertisements are intentionally misleading, because there was no oversight.


Ian Binns 22:49

Well, and earlier, I referred to bloodletting. And, you know, was talking about, you know, ancient, ancient Greece, you know, and for 400 BCE, bloodletting did not just end then, bloodletting was something that was continued for a very long time, for centuries. And


Rachael Jackson 23:06

right, and I believe, and I have not fact check this. So someone else has please correct me or collaborate, whichever it might be. I said, No, we're doing stuff about presidents. And a little factoid that I heard was that George Washington got a fever, just like you're saying in and at that time. It's George Washington, early, early 19th century, and he got a fever. And so they decided to do bloodletting. And they did bloodletting twice on him. So much, so that he died. Oh, good. I have not, I have not double checked that fact. But I also haven't seen anything to contradict it. So yeah, take that with a grain of salt as it may. But that was, it was all the way up until George Washington is when they were really still using this as a technique to cure people from things like fevers, which are very, very dangerous, but unless you have something to just take down the fever, you're either gonna live it or you're like, or you're not.


Zack Jackson 24:12

Yeah, the Constitution Center. Constitution. center.org says that that process of bloodletting probably let about 40% of his blood supply, right. So you can't really make it through a sickness with 40% of your blood supply.


Rachael Jackson 24:28

Right. So imagine I mean, think about when you donate blood do the three of you donate blood any on a regular or at all ever works. I


Ian Binns 24:37

grew up in Europe. Right? Yeah, Mad Cow Disease just because people don't know.


Rachael Jackson 24:43

Yeah. Yeah. Zack, do you ever


Zack Jackson 24:48

know I don't I don't I mostly have issues with needles. Yeah, exactly. What me not to


Rachael Jackson 24:53

Yeah, don't do that. better for everybody that you don't go to the hospital for donating blood.


Kendra Holt-Moore 24:58

Drive was can So I think because of a COVID related thing, but I would like to, but I haven't.


Rachael Jackson 25:06

Yeah, yeah, it's one of those like really simple, really useful things that if a person is healthy and no guilt, no judgment. For anyone that does or doesn't, you can do it every 56 days, and they take about a leader. And generally speaking, people, adults have five to six leaders. And they say, Okay, you're gonna feel queasy, don't do any weightlifting, don't do anything strenuous for a minimum of 24 hours. Like, you've got to just take it real easy, and you have to be healthy when you donate, because your body needs every blood cell that it has when it's healthy, or when it's sick. And when it's healthy. Yeah, we've got an extra 20%. So let's give it away. But if you take more than that, you're not going to survive very well. And then if you take more than that, and you're sick, your body has no ability to fight off the diseases, right? We talk about blood cells all the time, and the white blood cell counts and red blood cells. And how do we think we were just talking about the circulation system? Right, the circulatory? How do you think all of those good anti me when your immune system actually gets to these infections through your bloodstream? And if you don't have a good flowing bloodstream? Right, if this is August, after a rough summer, it's not happening.


Zack Jackson 26:29

So I know that in modern medicine, they still do use leeches, there are medical legions, and they're usually used to drain excess blood or like, you know, pooling of blood and hematoma hematomas. Is that the thing? Because it's, it's sanitary. And it's easier. And if people are willing to have a leech on him for a while, then it's great. But like, historically, bloodletting has been around for very


Ian Binns 26:56

long, 1000s and 1000s. Like,


Zack Jackson 27:00

it must have worked at least a little bit, or else they wouldn't have kept doing it. Right.


Rachael Jackson 27:06

But don't you think correlation and causation comes into play here. But people get people get better, regardless of what we tried to do them. And so just because someone got better doesn't mean that what we did to them made them better? Well, so


Zack Jackson 27:23

like, there's an old remedy, in which if you got bit by a snake, you would take a duck and put its butt on the wound, and then cut its head off. And then while the bite is on the wound, and the thought was that it would suck out the poison,


Ian Binns 27:37

the dung Would Suck out the poison.


Zack Jackson 27:40

Yes, yes. Yes. Everyone knows this wanted


Ian Binns 27:42

to make that claim. I'm quite excited about that.


Zack Jackson 27:47

Like that. That didn't stick. Yeah. But like draining people have their a painful procedure that is gross, and makes me feel queasy thinking about that stuck around for 1000s of years where like, is there any kind of medical benefit? Like even in obviously not in Washington's case, like if you have an infection, don't get rid of your blood? But like, what that stimulates SIBO antibodies to then like go to the wound, or like adrenaline to help boost the system? What? Are any of you familiar with any positives of blood lead? I


Kendra Holt-Moore 28:28

not? I'm not answering this question to like, describe physiological processes, but the placebo effect is extremely powerful. Like in just the study of medicine, like contemporary researchers, there are some who have done a lot of really interesting work on placebo effects. And obviously, like, we don't have the same kind of data to, like, you know, like double, double blind study results of placebo effects for like, ancient practices, ancient cultures, but I think, you know, cross culturally, all human societies, we all do things that, you know, as Rachel said, we can't really like tie a causation thread between those practices and healing in a definitive way, but a lot of what we do, we do for like cultural or, you know, comfort reasons. And even that is like different than placebo, which, in a lot of cases, like the placebo effect does actually change. Like it does lead to physiological changes. And it's kind of like weird and mysterious, but I think that I think that's not something to take for granted or under appreciate. Because, you know, I think even like early psychological studies showing, you know, if you're in a situation shift where you're around like comforting, familiar people and a comforting, familiar environment, you just fare better. Like even if we're not talking about injury, you fare better in terms of your, like mental health, mental well being, which translates to sometimes like physical well being. And that, you know, those are, those are things that are, I think, often considered, like, non essential pieces of the healing process. But, but yet, we we all, you know, like there are studies to show that people care about a doctor's bedside manner. People care about having, you know, chaplains come into hospital settings to, to support people and that that, that does facilitate something real in terms of healing. But it's it's just not, there's not like a clear, like, hard scientific way of describing that necessarily, but I that it's not to say that it's like not important also.


Rachael Jackson 31:04

Yeah, I would, I would add that, you know, you were just talking to Kendra about hospitals. But also previous to that you were saying, in places where people are surrounded and around things that they're comfortable with, the best healing happens when you're not in a hospital. Right. Hospital is no place for a sick person. I mean, and I mean, that my dad, my dad, was now a doctor said that, to me, it's like, that makes perfect sense. Because to really, unless you're really sick, and you can't be at home, being at home is your best chance of getting better. And I'm using that word intentionally, right, getting closer to a cure and your sense of normal, faster than being in a hospital, and that hospitals are there for the very, very sick people who cannot be at home for whatever reason. So it's one of those other reasons like stay away from a hospital. Also, they just have a lot of germs still stay away from a hospital. Unless, again, you have no other alternative. And so, you know, to answer Zach's question there too, I think the idea of Zack, you were kind of recoiling from the achiness of leeches. And I wonder, are the bloodletting perspective? I wonder if part of the causation and the correlation might be, you're now treating a person differently. You're giving them advantages. Maybe you're giving them more soup, maybe you're giving them more fluids? Maybe you're treating them differently, because Oh, it's so serious that we have to call a doctor in or whoever, whatever their title was, whoever was giving the leeches, the priests perhaps, right, that now they're so different that their everydayness is being being treated differently. You give them the extra blanket, you give them the soup, you take them outside, like whatever it is, that that's really what's happening. And so yes, the leeches are helping but only as a secondary issue.


Zack Jackson 33:08

That reminds me of the correlation causation argument around the increased health of religious people. We've heard that those numbers thrown around a lot that people who regularly are connected to religious communities are healthier live longer than people that don't. Right. Yeah. And the argument from the religious perspective is that well, faithful people have God, and God heals you. And prayer works. And so prayer prayer for people are healthy people. When the opposite argument is then yeah, the opposite argument is that, well, you're connected to a religious community, you've got people that care for you, you've got people that come by There's comfort, there's there's connection, there's soup delivered to your door every day. And those intangibles are what caused the the health and the healing. Yeah,


Kendra Holt-Moore 33:58

and the direction of the correlation is not always clear, if you're looking at like study results. So if you're healthy and able bodied, to like get to your church, or synagogue or whatever, then you can, you can do that. But you were already healthy from the starting point. Whereas if you're like chronically ill and unable to get out of bed, then maybe you don't go to a religious service, because you're not able to but the starting point, the kind of direction of behavior was influenced by the status of your health rather than, like the status of your religiosity. And that that whole like body of literature is like, really, really vast. And it is really interesting, but it's a good, good examples to bring up when we're talking about correlation.


Ian Binns 34:48

Yeah. But Zack, you asked earlier about, you know, why did bloodletting last for so long? I mean, there is, you know, I just started remembering that there are certain Um, chronic diseases, blood diseases that people will have, or blood cancers that will have where it will produce too much either iron and their blood or too much red blood cells. And the way they do that, the way that one of the treatments for that is a phlebotomy and so, which is the removal of amount, a specific amount of blood, it's more than just going in and doing a donation, for example. And so I and that is done for medical purposes, like my dad used to have to do that, because of a blood disease that he had. And so, I saw I started very quickly looking at what is the difference between bloodletting and phlebotomy? And some of this is just saying that bloodletting was a therapeutic practice that started in antiquity, but that there still flub a lot. Phlebotomy is another way of saying bloodletting



is, when you go rolled, it's phlebotomist. Correct? It's the person that takes


Ian Binns 36:01

control now than it used to be. Right. Yeah.



Or at least, we think it's


Ian Binns 36:07



Zack Jackson 36:08

Yeah. So one of the things I wanted, so I want to be cautious about to when we talk about old, older treatments, you know, the cutting off the duck's head and how ridiculous it is, or the how they used to use urine to whiten their teeth. You know, stuff, stuff like that, where we can easily look back at those folksy unintelligent people and say, My goodness, aren't we so intelligent? Today, we have science and science has given us all the answers. And those of you who might be listening at home or have people in your lives, who you've talked to about sorts of things, well, then, you know, get kind of, rightly upset at the sort of hubris of that, that there's there's medicine, and then there's alternative medicine, and alternative medicine is based just on placebo and fantasies and dreams. And real medicine is based on science and truth. And I think Modern medicine is wonderful. And it has given us so much more trust in the process and understanding the why of things work. But that a lot of what we have in modern medicine is based on traditional medicine. You know, the ancient Ancient Egyptians knew that if you had pain, or inflammation or fever that you could chew on birch bark, and it would reduce those things. And it wasn't until much later that that's how we got aspirin now, or I think of penicillin just comes from what mold. And how many of like indigenous cultures will watch the way that nature interacts with itself. And then we'll gain lessons from that, you know, watching what this animal eats when they eat it. And then using that and applying that and finding that those things work. And only much, much, much, much later do we discover the scientific rationale for it. And we're seeing sort of a resurgence in the past couple of decades of people taking indigenous medicines seriously and looking for like the whys of why these things have stuck around for so long. And lots of times discovering that there is there is wisdom behind these traditions. And the whole colonial Western mindset of it's our way, or it's just fantasy is not all that helpful.


Rachael Jackson 38:36

Thank you for that perspective, I think we do need to, you know, recognize our own bias. And also recognize, you know, as we're sort of talking about the with the tobacco industry, that there's a lot of push with marketing, and there's a lot of issues in those ways that we're all very susceptible to that came out of this trusting of the scientific process. And just because it's old, doesn't mean it is old and unscientific doesn't mean that it's not also helpful. Right. So putting that caveat also,


Zack Jackson 39:10

sometimes they are awful. Do the old things, you know, like we if you have syphilis at home, do not inject mercury into your urethra, because that does not work. Right, despite the fact that Blackbeard did it. And



well, and I think too, are there other are there other? Oh, sorry. Yeah. Well,


Ian Binns 39:31

just real quick, you know, you talk about this, and I think this will be, you know, what you're just discussing, Zach, you know, and wanting to be respectful. And one of the people I hope to get on the show sometime is David distinto, who wrote the book, how God works. And in this particular book, I mean, he is talking in some situations about healing, you know, and says early on, I'm not finished yet but you know, it's says I realized that the surprise of my colleagues and I felt when we saw evidence of religions benefits was a sign of our hubris. Born of a common notion among scientists, all of religion was superstition, and therefore could have little practical benefit is that learned and as this book shows, spiritual leaders often understood in ways that we can now scientifically confirm how to help people live better lives. And so that he is someone I really, you know, reach out to him see if we can get him on the show, because I think that's some interesting research he's done to show. You know, what is it we're learning now? And how it's applicable to helping others but another one I wanted to bring up was the notion of maggot therapy.



Oh, yes, yeah. Which I've done a little bit


Ian Binns 40:47

here, but if you know more, please, but


Zack Jackson 40:51

which I now say it Rachel hates bugs.



I do leeches all day long. But maggots.


Zack Jackson 40:59

I got this don't talk about


Ian Binns 41:01

this great book called strange science, wonderful. All these cool things in here, but one of them is pages on maggot therapy. And it says it sounds like something from a horror film fat cream colored maggots eating their way through infected sores and wounds. It's not its medicine. Rachel, says Rachel right there. Since it's so sad since ancient times, doctors have used Magus to prevent wounds from getting infected, and the 1940s Antibiotics replace maggots. But bacteria adapted and started to become resistant to antibiotics. And now we get the return of the maggots. Maggots work by secreting digestive enzymes that feed on dead tissue. Those enzymes also killed bacteria and a wound and speed up healing. Doctors are placed between 203 100 maggots on a wound then cover it maggots and all with mesh beneath the mesh the maggots feed for 48 to 72 hours. When they're done, the doctors remove them. wounds that haven't healed for months even years often respond quickly to maggot medicine. And I really am hopeful this is a video clip we need to share of the wonderful reactions we're seeing from both Rachel and Kendra


Rachael Jackson 42:25

I'm just gonna be real public about this. If I'm ever in a situation where I'd not have a wound that heals and the only thing that could cure me is Maga therapy. Just put me out of my misery. Just don't


Zack Jackson 42:38

just go to


Rachael Jackson 42:42

the blog, the blog and I'm like, kill the maggots like don't even just all amputate or that's I respect people that go through that so much. I'm not one of them. I think that never having that issue.


Kendra Holt-Moore 42:54

You can put the maggots on me but then also punch me in the face and knock me out.



Alright, so I'll be dead and Kendra will be unconscious. Yeah. And South could be loving every minute.


Zack Jackson 43:09

As well of bugs. Sorry. Yeah.



All right, Ian, where are you? Where do you fall on this this highly nutritious


Zack Jackson 43:14

to after they're done? Yeah, he's just you can just kill them and dry them and then eat them and then you get all your personal flesh. Then you get the nutrients back. Well should you



cook in your body,


Zack Jackson 43:34

because they know either way you deal with with insects. You take the insects you suffocate them in a box of carbon dioxide so you don't squish them or anything. Then you take them out and you dehydrate them and then you crush them into a powder and add that into your food. That's the best


Ian Binns 43:50

way to by any chance interview all seasons we're talking about maggots.


Zack Jackson 43:55

Can we continue for the rest of the episode? Rachel?


Ian Binns 44:00

Yes, that's another video clip needs to be shared of Rachel doing the gagging reflex each time I talk about maggots. She's like well


Kendra Holt-Moore 44:09

I feel bad for Rachel.



Like I don't I'm not queasy, but now I guess I


Ian Binns 44:15

will. So let's let's get into another discussion. Then. Kellogg's cornflakes. Now I'd found a very


Kendra Holt-Moore 44:21

good transition away from dear listener.


Zack Jackson 44:27

Now that's a segue


Ian Binns 44:28

dear listener. So when I mentioned Kellogg's cornflakes prior to recording, both Rachael and Kendra have perked up and seemed to know more information about this than I did. And so I will only share the very little bit of information I have but please reach and Kindle Kendra jump in and tell us what you know about the Kellogg's cornflakes but from what I have read is that Jay is Kellogg one of the people who developed Kellogg's cornflakes he was a medical doctor and health activist and he created the cornflakes. He was one of the people who created any hope that they would prevent sexual urges or more specifically to inhibit the urge to masturbate. And so Rachel, Kendra, you reacted earlier what what did you know? Because this took me by complete surprise because it didn't work. So


Kendra Holt-Moore 45:14

I was gonna say, Rachel, you go because I have to go it's like noon. I don't really have that much to add, either. I just I know that that is a statement.


Ian Binns 45:26

Do we not want to then talk about the very last one about hysteria before Kendra leaves?


Rachael Jackson 45:29

We can keep talking about it. I think she's she's got it. Yeah, I


Kendra Holt-Moore 45:32

mean, I'm gonna say Good. Might have to, like 30 seconds thing


Ian Binns 45:35

for anyone to tell us about hysteria. Kendra. Wow.


Zack Jackson 45:36

Don't eat cornflakes. Just stick with Cheerios. Cheerios make you horny. So you know that's


Ian Binns 45:44

the science apparently


Kendra Holt-Moore 45:45

bowl of cereal if you feel nothing.


Zack Jackson 45:50

Just cereal? If you want to feel nothing at all.


Kendra Holt-Moore 45:55

Land bland, bland cereal for a bland, bland sex life. That's Sorry. All right, see you later.



Cool. J cereal.


Zack Jackson 46:09

So what kind of what kind of like sexy breakfast? Was he trying to?


Ian Binns 46:13

I don't know. Rachel, can you help us out?


Rachael Jackson 46:16

So I think I'm in the same same boat of it was a factoid that I very much knew and held on to. But beyond that, I don't have a whole lot of information. I mean, the idea is, you know, everyone has breakfast. And so to prevent those urges in the morning, which and also just let's just clarify something here. When they say masturbation, they really mean men. Yeah, I'm sorry. Nobody, nobody. Yeah. Right. And so basically throughout time, and this was a religious issue. And so it wasn't a doctor issue. It was a religious issue of male masturbation is against God, going all the way back to some genesis of Don't spill your seed and, and Leviticus and stuff like that. But it's bad idea to spill your seed and that got translated into don't masturbate. And so as a religious idea, and if you look at men, generally speaking, I think we were talking about this maybe a couple of weeks ago to in the morning, men generally have more of how to say this, erect penises based on what was going on in the evenings, and the dreams and their inability to regulate their own erections. And so if that's the first thing you do in the morning to stop that have cold, dry cereal. Well, something that's bland,


Zack Jackson 47:56

and I will, let's also say, Kellogg, as a human, Mr. Kellogg himself was a bit of an anti sex fanatic, that the man was married, and still never had sex, and wrote books about how he and his wife never had sex. And they lived in separate bedrooms, and they adopted their children. And that sex pollutes the body. And it's the worst thing in the world. And so, like, this guy was afraid of his body, right? And again, not want anyone else's body. Yeah, he


Rachael Jackson 48:28

did this in a religious context. He didn't do it just because he was asexual and thought everyone else shouldn't be too. Yeah, I'm not a sexual anti-sex. So


Ian Binns 48:37

I will say this. And so I did look it up. And so and, you know, this is now I'm getting this from Snopes. And you know, there could be good or bad things getting things. So but according to snopes.com, so the claim, what is the you know, the Kellogg's cornflakes were originally created an effort to discourage American consumers from masturbating. And as you said, Rachel, it's male, actually, so it should say that the rating is mostly false. And so what this they're saying what is true is that the creation of cornflakes was part of JH Kellogg's broader advocacy for a plain bland diet without referring to cornflakes in particular, Kellogg elsewhere recommended a plain bland diet as one of several methods to discourage masturbation. So can I guess that was a people just put that together?


Zack Jackson 49:34

Can I just read a little quote from one of his books, please do other way. So he talks about onanism, which Rachel alluded to is a story of Odin from where we're in Scripture, are we? That is that is where he's supposed to consummate this.



So this is the story of this is in Genesis in Judah Genesis. Yeah. This is


Zack Jackson 50:01

and where he's supposed to impregnate his brother's widow, and then spills the seed on the ground because


Rachael Jackson 50:08

he doesn't want to because he wants the child to be his own and not be his brother's his dead brother's wife's son, and therefore all the dead brother's property goes to him and he doesn't then have a son. So instead of doing that, they just like,


Zack Jackson 50:26

so then God knocks him out. Right, so, so he talks about onanism. So when he talks about onanism, he's talking about masturbation. He says neither plague nor war nor smallpox have produced results so disastrous to humanity as the pernicious habit of onanism. Such a victim dies literally by his own hand. Yeah, such a victim dies literally by his own answer. You must have been so happy with that line. Can you imagine him writing that out? And he's like, Oh, this is a killer. This is good. This is good. This is good. He dies by his own hand. Oh, I gotta show this to someone.


Rachael Jackson 51:04

Yeah. Also, let's just add to who this person was. He spent 30 years of his life dedicated to promoting eugenics.


Ian Binns 51:15

Yes, he did. So near the end of his life,


Rachael Jackson 51:18

whether or not there was the direct cornflakes is for masturbation, it was promoted by a person who was anti sexual and pro eugenic to donate. You know, that's the history


Zack Jackson 51:33

of cornflakes. Yeah. Meanwhile, recent research has found that for most people, sex is actually super healthy. For a person's like continued health and well, being mentally, physically, emotionally, releases all kinds of amazing hormones and good things into your body. And like a lot of religions throughout history have have have recognized that have seen, like Judaism, spiritual ecstasy, like orgasm is like spiritual ecstasy. That's like the moment of connection to the divine. This breaking forth between the natural and the the supernatural. And this thin place and spirituality have, like, celebrated that. And I think we're coming back around to that. That's a good thing. Right? Oh, Christianity is still lagging far, far, far behind. Thank you some combination of Plato and Augustine, but we're getting there. You know,


Rachael Jackson 52:37

maybe it's kind of like Plumbing. Right? They had an ancient Egypt, and then it took like, one or 2000 years to come back. Yeah.


Zack Jackson 52:48

Yeah. Yeah. So


Rachael Jackson 52:49

you know, your plumbing. Yeah. Not quite, not quite that way. But no, my Jewish comment, my Jewish comment was that Judaism sees, and by Judaism, big broad stroke brush using right here, normative ancient orthodoxy style, Judaism saw sex only within a marital heterosexual concept. But inside those boundaries, yay, more of it. Also, it's a double mitzvah, it's a doubly good thing to do on Shabbat, the day that we're supposed to be the highest connected to God. And this was one of the ways to be even more connected to the Divine was through sex with your spouse. And I was thinking, as you're talking about Kellogg to how they didn't have sex, even though they were married. One of the things in an ancient Catawba marriage document, given it to the wife was written that if the husband doesn't fulfill his side of the contract, because, well, he doesn't or he's dead, then she gets XY and Z things, you know, 50 chickens, a sheep or whatever. Depends on what she's worth old widows and or excuse me, old, divorcees are worth nothing. But beyond that. One of the stipulations in there is how often they have to have sex, how often the husband must provide sex to his wife, not the other way around. And it listed how frequent so a day trader was like, once a week at a minimum, right, but a merchant, every three to say they had a donkey driver that was once a month and then a camel driver was once every three months because they recognize that if your camel driver, you're you're gone for a very long time, so don't punish them. And then they had like, and then because these are scholars writing this and I don't know what their problem was, they just want to have sex with each other instead of their wives. They said, Oh, like every seven years. Is all your seven years. Yeah, like it was ridiculous, how often or how not often they had To have sex so that they could go to the go to their rabbi's house and study with him for years on end, and then just come back once every few years have sex with the wife and then go again. So yeah, so having, like having sex in the religious concept again, and that very narrow first understanding of sis heterosexual marriages, has kind of made sex positive in Judea. Yeah. Yeah.


Ian Binns 55:30

So I know because you know, we are approaching the hour. But I do want to at least because, you know, we talked about before recording. And it's a chance for me to get all my giggles out around this idea of hysteria. Your giggles out most of my giggles. But this was something that I do remember hearing about, you know, at one point about female hysteria. And there's different articles that I have found that talk about, you know, because even there were films about it, or there was a film about it, and play. And so the idea was that, and thankfully, I'm gonna keep fumbling this. But Rachel introduced us to a really cool person, I want to do a shout out for sigh babe on Facebook. does some really interesting stuff. I'm really excited about Reading more about her. But what's interesting is that the argument is, is that hold on, let me pull my thing up, and just be easier. It was believed or this is the argument that in the Victorian era, doctors treated women diagnosed with hysteria, which is no longer a diagnosis, by the way, by genital stimulation to induce an orgasm. This hysteria was supposed to be a buildup of fluid in the woman's womb. And doctors assumed that since men and Jackie lated, and felt better that it stood to reason this would work for when women. Apparently, you know, there was multiple, you know, ideas of what was it that the different symptoms that people would have, obviously, if they were experiencing hysteria, and so this was the way to go was this manual massage. But a text came out in 1999. From and I believe that toss are doing more research for this this episode. A historian wrote this book that came out in 1989. And in that she argued that this was the reason why the vibrator was invented, was to make it so that it was easier for the doctors having to treat women for hysteria. I'm just saying that Oh, nice. But you know. So, yeah, and found out that that actually is not accurate. A more recent paper from last couple years has come out showing that this is actually inaccurate, that there is no evidence whatsoever suggests that women are treated for hysteria, by doctors bringing them to orgasm in their offices. So, or that this was the reason why vibrators were invented. But again, a medical treatment. That was something that took off based on one historians perspective, and or book, and then others kind of pushed back on it was fascinating. And we can share these in show notes or something. But in Reading about this particular ailment, and this suppose a treatment Amad. Yes. And suppose the treatment, there was interesting to read about how this particular historian of technology kind of has backpedal a little bit. And so well, no, I didn't mean I meant it more as a hypothesis, not a yes, this is the way it was. But then, you know, when you actually look at the writing shows, that's not actually how it was presented in the text itself. But it still took off, right? Because it was, I mean, when you think about it, this sounds kind of funny. And so it took off, people listen to it and


Rachael Jackson 59:13

right, because also, you know, God forbid, somebody creates something for women's pleasure, simply for women's pleasure,


Ian Binns 59:21

right? And that's actually there's no reason at the very beginning. It's a disturbing insight, implying that vibrators succeeded not because they advance you know, pleasure, but because they saved labor for male physicians.


Rachael Jackson 59:35

Right? So again, yeah, simply for women that has nothing to do with the man right gets co opted into a story of oh, those poor men, just poor, poor doctors, or in a really awful way of the abuse, the potential abuse of Doc Just taking advantage of their women patience, and showing that it's okay. None of this is ever okay.


Ian Binns 1:00:11

But even there, I mean, you can easily go online and find



trying to find their, you know, articles


Ian Binns 1:00:18

to support that this will that it was used for this as as recent 2019. Right. Yeah.


Rachael Jackson 1:00:28

So no, no your sources correct. And use some good thinking. And if you're going to Google things, feel free to use private browsing. Yes.


Zack Jackson 1:00:39

And if your interest the scientific method, you know, and you're feeling a little hysterical, just want to try it out. See if it works for you. That's in your hypothesis. Thank you. Science is just messing around and taking notes right so.



Wash your hands first.


Ian Binns 1:01:05

And after. Okay, that's all I got.


Zack Jackson 1:01:13

Thank you, doctor. Doctor, doctor.


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