Therapeutic methods used for otolaryngological problems during the Byzantine period

Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2002 Jun;111(6):553-7. doi: 10.1177/000348940211100612.


Evidence of herbal, animal, and chemical substances from the natural world used in medicines for otolaryngological problems, including opium, hyoscyamus, barley, honey, dried beans and peas, olives, fruits, Agaricus, castoreum, cassia, and afronitron, was traced in the Byzantine medical treatises, mainly from the 4th century AD to the 15th century AD. The texts of Antyllus, Orivasios of Pergamos, Aetios of Amida, Alexander of Tralles, Paul Aeginitis, Leon Iatrosophistis, Theophanis Nonnos, Nickolaos Myrepsos, Michael Psellos, and others strongly suggest the influence of ancient Greek and Roman medicine, but at the same time stress original medical thought. The main otolaryngological problems encountered in that period were loss of hearing, purulent otitis, rupture of the tympanic membrane, pharyngitis, laryngitis, rhinitis, acute tonsillitis, seasickness, vertigo, fracture of the nose, and cancers of the ear, larynx, nose, and oral cavity. The tradition stating that remedies were the final products of substance combinations, started in the classical period (5th and 4th centuries BC), is presented clearly and in detail in Byzantine prescriptions related to otolaryngology.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Byzantium
  • Herbal Medicine*
  • History, Ancient*
  • Humans
  • Otolaryngology / history
  • Otorhinolaryngologic Diseases / history*
  • Otorhinolaryngologic Diseases / therapy
  • Plant Preparations / history*


  • Plant Preparations