In the sixth century, the eminent Greek physician Alexander of Tralles (525-605 BC) attributed the cause of headaches to an overflowing of bilious moods which he treated with emetics (substances for inducing vomiting), purgatives, laxatives, besides prohibiting greasy foods.7
Other methods of pain relief were used in the ninth and tenth centuries, e.g., Al-Zahrawi or Abu'l Oasim, born in Spain in 936 AD who treated pain by pressing a hot iron on the sore spot, or putting garlic on temples after skin incision.13,15 The British wore pieces of swallow's nest on the forehead or drank elderberry juice (plant genus Sambucus) or ate goat manure.12
In the Middle Ages, from the eleventh to the fifteenth century, some Europeans, to relieve their pain, applied opium on the head with a vinegar solution that would open the pores for absorption of the drug. This treatment was used by the German nun Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179), who suffered from migraine with aura.12
In South America, from the thirteenth to sixteenth century, there were the Incan (now Peru) and Aztec (now Mexico) civilizations, people of a pre-Columbian Andean culture that used religion, magic and plants, mainly coca leaves (Erythroxylon coca) and mandrake (Mandragora officinarum) to control the pain.2
In the sixteenth century, during the year 1560, the French diplomat Jean Nicot (1530-1600) was ambassador to Portugal and from there he brought to France the first seedlings of tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum). He enjoyed snuffing ground tobacco, called snuff, to relieve his headaches. In 1560, he indicated its use to the French Queen Catherine de Medici (1519-1589), who suffered from terrible headaches.16
During the eighteenth century and well into the Modern Age, patients with migraine, epilepsy or other neurological disorders were often subjected to interventions to remove the "stone of madness".17-18
In that same century, the remarkable neurologist Samuel Auguste Tissot (1728-1797) who lived in Switzerland and used the knowledge from Hippocrates, also recommended bloodletting for the treatment of migraine attacks. This procedure often caused the death of the paciente.9
In the past, migraine was treated only during the attacks with the knowledge and culture of each civilization. However, the use of medicinal herbs has contributed to the emergence of the first analgesic drugs such as acetylsalicylic acid and dipyrone.
1.Bayer Health Care. História da dor. Disponível em: <http:// www.aspirina.com.br/aspirina-saude/historia-dor/historia- dor.php> Acesso em: 09 dez. 2010.
2.Headache Classification Subcommittee of the International Headache Society. The International Classification of Headache Disorders. Cephalalgia 2004;24(Suppl 1):1-160.
3.Chahade WH, Giorgi RND, Szajubok JCM. Antiinflamatórios não hormonais. Einstein 2008;6(Supl 1):S166-S74.
4.Carvalho WA, Carvalho RDS, Rios-Santos F. Analgésicos inibidores específicos da cicloxigenase 2: avanços terapêuticos. Rev Bras Anestesiol. 2004;54(3):448-64.
5.Alvarez WC. Was there sick headache in 3000 BC? Gastroenterology. 1945;5:524.
6.Brasiliense LB, Safavi-Abbasi S, Crawford NR, Spetzler RF, Theodore N. The legacy of Hephaestus: the first craniotomy. Neurosurgery. 2010;67(4):881-4.
7.Magiorkinis E, Diamantis A, Mitsikostas DD, Androutsos G. Headaches in antiquity and during the early scientific era. J Neurol. 2009;256(8):1215-20.
8.Rapoport A, Edmeads J. Migraine: The evolution of our knowledge. Arch Neurol. 2000;57(8):1221-3.
9.Healthcare España. A enxaqueca na história. Disponível em: <http://www.migracalm.net/pt/historia.html> Acesso em: 02 dez. 2010.
10.Baptista CMM, Bordini CA, Speciali JG. Cefaleia no Egito antigo. Migrâneas Cefaleias. 2003;6(2):53-5.
11.Karenberg A, Leitz C. Headache in magical and medical papyri of ancient Egypt. Cephalalgia. 2001;21(9):911-6.
12.Cristianini MC. Linha do tempo. Disponível em: <http:// historia.abril.com.br/ciencia/dor-cabeca-eterna-435737. shtml> Acesso em: 29 nov. 2010.
13.Raffaelli Jr. E, Silva-Néto RP, Roesler CP. Dor de cabeça: um guia para entender as dores de cabeça e seus tratamentos. 5ª ed., Rio de Janeiro: Prestígio Editorial, 2005, 118 p.
14.Koehler PJ, van de Wiel TW. Arateus on migraine and headache. J Hist Neurosci. 2001;10(3):253-61.
15.Cauás M, Lima MC, Lago CAP, Ponzi EAC, Oliveira DA, Valença MM. Migrânea e Cefaleia do tipo tensional: alguns aspectos históricos. Headache Medicine. 2010;1(1):29-33.
16.Haas LF. Jean Nicot 1530-1600. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 1992;55(6):430
17.Hartman JJ, White SM, Ravin JG, Hodge GP. The stone of madness. Am Imago. 1976;33(3):266-95
18.Ravin JG, Hodge GP, Hartman JJ. Stone of madness. Mich Med. 1974;73(12):185-8.
Dr. Raimundo Pereira da Silva Neto Neurology and Headache Center of Piauí Rua São Pedro, 2071 Centro Ed. Raimundo Martins Salas 303/304 64001-260 Teresina, PI, Brazil
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Headache Medicine, v.2, n.2, p.66-69, Apr./May/Jun. 2011