People have always cared for each other in times of sickness and injury. While we cannot know what our prehistoric ancestors knew about healing and medicine, many skeletons have been found with debilitating injuries like broken legs. These wounds show signs of recovery, and since their victims were not in a fit state to care for themselves, they must have been looked after by the rest of their group.

Their arduous lifestyle left them vulnerable to diseases like Osteoarthritis and rickets. Healing herbs were a common form of medicine, though it is challenging to know which ones were used as herbs rot quickly. However, traces of herbs like yarrow, rosemary, and mallow have been found in prehistoric dig sites in nations like Iraq. As these were illiterate societies, knowledge of these remedies would have been passed down orally from generation to generation.

While our understanding of our ancestors’ medical knowledge may be limited, we can gather that they had a good grasp of the human body’s structure. Prehistoric burials often feature bones removed and stripped of flesh, a task that demanded knowledge of the human body’s structure. While their medical knowledge may have been limited, our ancestors stove to heal and care for each other, much as we do today.

Artist: Kätrin Beljaev

A women caring for a man inside their home

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Credit: Kätrin Beljaev and Open Past

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