15 Most Bizarre Treatments Ever

Medical history, a fusion of science, culture, belief, and desperation, chronicles humanity's ceaseless pursuit of wellness and pain relief. It showcases fascinating past treatments, underlining medical science's immense evolution.


Bloodletting, or phlebotomy, was a medical procedure of withdrawing blood to remove toxins causing illness. Often, it caused more harm than good, leading to many deaths.


Trepanation was a surgical practice in which a hole was drilled into the skull to dispel illness-causing pressure or evil spirits, observed in societies from Incas to Europeans.


Lobotomy, a procedure severing connections in the brain's prefrontal cortex, was once used for anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia. It often led to severe side effects and vegetative states.

Snake Oil

In the 1800s, snake oil was a popular cure-all—made from herbs and minerals, claimed to cure everything, even cancer. In truth, it had no medicinal value and was often harmful.

Electric Shock Therapy

Electric shock therapy was used in the 1930s for mental illness, causing convulsions and memory loss. This harmful treatment was later abandoned.


Treacle, a syrup from molasses, was thought to have healing properties and was used as a remedy for the Bubonic Plague and Black Death, with no evidence of effectiveness.

Fart Therapy

Ancient Chinese doctors used fart therapy, believing illnesses were caused by excess "bad air" in the body. Patients inhaled farts of healthy people for cure.

Vin Mariani

In the late 1800s, Vin Mariani, a tonic from Bordeaux wine and coca leaves, was marketed as a cure for illnesses but led to addiction and health problems.


Leeches were once used to remove blood, thought to restore balance and treat ailments, but lacked therapeutic value.

Moldy Bread

In the 1900s, Dr. Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin from mold on a discarded petri dish, replacing the use of moldy bread for wounds.

Urine Therapy

Urine therapy, where urine is ingested or applied topically, is ancient but modern medicine debunks it as ineffective and potentially harmful.


Despite its toxicity, mercury was used in early 1900s medicine, treating ailments like syphilis but causing severe health issues and even death.

Malaria Therapy

Early 20th-century doctors found malaria could treat diseases like syphilis. Patients were purposely infected with malaria, then treated with quinine, though the method was risky.

Radioactive Water

In the early 20th century, radioactive water was falsely believed to have healing properties, even curing cancer. This was abandoned after radiation's harmful effects were discovered.


19th-century hydrotherapy involved long cold water immersions, aimed to treat mental illness and ailments but often leading to hypothermia and death.

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