ONE OF JESUS’ MOST INTRIGUING medical cases was this:
“A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. She had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years she had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse” (Mark 5:25–26, NLT).
She touched Jesus’ robe, and the bleeding stopped.
This woman may have suffered from menorrhagia, a disease that produces excessive or prolonged menstrual bleeding.
Normally, a menstrual period lasts four to five days, occurring every 21 to 35 days and producing about two or three tablespoons of blood.
A woman with menorrhagia, however, can soak a pad or tampon for several consecutive hours, losing six tablespoons (about a third of a cup) or more of blood.
Roman medical books written in the first century show exactly how this woman could have gone broke trying to find a cure.
There were scores of treatments.
Here are just a few from various books in Pliny’s Natural History collection. [Pliny was a Roman science writer in the first century.]
- the red seed or the root of paemonia, a flowering plant
- the clymenus plant, perhaps honeysuckle, described as especially effective in stopping a uterus from bleeding
- lysimachia, a flowering plant in the primrose family, taken in a drink or applied topically
- seeds from hemlock pine trees (not poison hemlock), pounded and mixed with water
- polyp, a type of sea creature such as the Portuguese man-of-war jellyfish—smash the creature and apply it topically
- ashes or the dried blood of a burned frog applied topically
- stomach contents of a deer, mixed with vinegar and applied topically
- stomach contents of a rabbit or ashes of a rabbit’s fur applied topically
- ashes of donkey excrement—especially of a male donkey—mixed with vinegar and applied with wool
- ashes of a horse’s head or thigh mixed with vinegar and applied topically.
Pliny’s list of cures goes on and on—with more than enough treatments to bleed a patient of her life’s savings.
Excerpt from Steve’s new release: Understanding Jesus: A Guide to His Life and Times.
A free Kindle download of this book is scheduled for one day only: Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2013. Think of it as the publisher’s marketing team blowing you a kiss.