What Was the Medicine Like in Ancient Greece?

In Ancient Greece, medicine was an essential part of everyday life. The Greeks believed in the power of nature and the human body to heal itself, which led them to develop a unique approach to medicine that incorporated various techniques, including herbal remedies and physical therapies.

The Role of Greek Gods in Medicine
The ancient Greeks believed that the gods played a significant role in medicine. They believed that Apollo, the god of healing, was responsible for curing diseases and injuries. As a result, they built temples dedicated to Apollo where people could go for medical treatment.

Greek Medical Practitioners

Greek physicians were highly respected members of society. They were trained to diagnose and treat illnesses using a variety of techniques. Some of the most famous Greek physicians include Hippocrates and Galen.

Hippocrates: Father of Medicine

Hippocrates is considered the father of modern medicine. He believed that illnesses had natural causes and could be treated without divine intervention. He also developed the Hippocratic Oath, which is still taken by doctors today.

Galen: Anatomy Expert

Galen was a physician who lived during the Roman era but was heavily influenced by Greek medical practices. He was an expert in anatomy and performed dissections on animals to better understand how the human body worked.

Herbal Remedies
Herbal remedies were a common form of medicine in Ancient Greece. Plants like chamomile, garlic, and mint were used to treat various ailments such as headaches, stomachaches, and coughs. These herbs were often combined with other ingredients like honey or vinegar to create medicinal concoctions.

Physical Therapies
Physical therapies were also an essential part of Ancient Greek medicine. Massage therapy was commonly used to relieve muscle tension and pain. Exercise was also seen as a way to improve overall health and prevent illness.

  • Hydrotherapy: The Greeks believed that water had healing properties. Hydrotherapy involved using water to treat various illnesses, such as hot baths to relieve muscle pain and cold baths to reduce inflammation.
  • Aromatherapy: Aromatherapy involved using essential oils and fragrances to promote relaxation and healing.

The Legacy of Ancient Greek Medicine
The legacy of Ancient Greek medicine can be seen in modern medical practices today. The Hippocratic Oath is still taken by doctors, and many of the techniques developed by Greek physicians, such as massage therapy and herbal remedies, are still used to treat various ailments.


In conclusion, Ancient Greek medicine was a unique approach to healthcare that incorporated natural remedies and physical therapies. The Greeks believed in the power of nature and the human body to heal itself, which led them to develop a holistic approach to medicine that is still relevant today. Their legacy lives on in modern medical practices, making them an important part of medical history.