State of Medicine among the Burmese

E. A. Parkes
1851 BMJ (Clinical Research Edition)  
EvERY one engaged in the practice of medicine, all who have experienced the difficulties which encompass the treatment of the majority of diseases, must have felt a desire to know something of the state of medicine among other nations, and particularly among those who are removedl from the influence of European literature and civrilisation. We naturally wish to know what is thought of a disease by those who are not learned in our pathology, nor trainedl in our methods; we wish to note the
more » ... h to note the success of the treatment which has not been dictated by the traditions of our schools, and which may possibly not be in accordance with our theoretical exmplanations. And, apart from this natural curilosity, the imagination always; conceives that, among the people inhabiting the central regions of the earth, among whom civrilisation first arose, there may yet linger some trace-s of that antique and sublime philosophy, which gave its faith and its religion to Egypt, its poetry and its philosophy to Greece. In this hope, the medical science of the Hindus has of late years been fully studied; and if it has not been found to justify all the expectations *vhich were entertained respecting it, still full justice has not, as I conceive, been done either to its philosophy or to its practical application. Not to its philosophy, because the mid of the European, energetic, practical, rapid in induction, and trained for some centuries in the employment of a rigid and logical method of thought, cannot appreciate the minute, subtle, half-mystical intellect of the Hindu; an intellect, perhaps never grand, colossal, and imposing, but peculiarly pliant, rapid, penetrating, and acute. Not to its practice, because the European has perhaps not sufficiently estiated the influence which climate and locality, peculiarities in living, and modes of existence have upon diseases. And the standard by which the op'inions of the Hindu physicians, and, to go dow-n to a later date, of the Arabians, and particularly of Avricenna, have been iudgzed, has been exrclusively European:-as if locality and modes of life, which from one pruitilve type can effect so wonderful an alt;eration in the man's external traits, which can originatethe projecting lower jaw, wide nostrils, dark skin, and woolly hair of the Negro; the long dark hair, the square head, and narrow oblique eye of the TartGar; or the regular oval face, straight nose., and light skin of the Asianl variety, would not also exert an immense influence in altering, to a certain extent, the tpe of a disease, and in appreciably influencing the reaction of the body on a morbid poison. I do not wish at the present time, howvever, to enter into this subject. The remarks I am about to makie, ref.er, not to the Hindus, but to a single nation of that great Mongolian race, wvhose several va-st empires lie on the outskirt-s of British Hindustan, and with w^hom England is gradually, but surely, coming in contact. " STATE OF MEDICINE AMON'G THE BURMESE.
doi:10.1136/bmj.s2-3.29.407 fatcat:gi4ygtg33jeuhc7gaqxplsc5ve