Oldest Medical System in the World

Oldest Medical System in the World

The world has seen various medical systems come and go throughout the course of history. From associating bile with the passing of seasons to the most refined forms of medicine that we see today, medical systems have evolved and will continue to evolve. 

Still, tracing medical systems can be difficult with the archive of knowledge that we have to draw from, but we’ll try. In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at some of the oldest medical systems in the world, so let’s dive in. 

5. Naturopathy

Founder: Benedict Lust and Sebastian Kneipp
Type of medical system: Alternative medicine
Year of opening: 1880

NaturopathyPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

Naturopathy is based on the ideology of natural healing. This means that its practitioners advocate for the consumption of natural products, as opposed to medicines produced by pharmaceutical companies, or medicines manufactured based on scientific study. 

Naturopath practitioners tend to focus on holistic methods of healing, often encouraging their patients to avoid regular medication and surgery. They often dissaude their patients from getting vaccinated and taking antibiotics as well. 

Did you know? 

Naturopathy is illegal in a few states in the United States of America, and it is also regulated in other states.

4. Homeopathy

Founder: Samuel Hahnemann
Type of medical system: Alternative medicine
Year of opening: 1796

HomeopathyPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

Homeopathy is one of the most commonly used forms of alternative medicine in the modern world, though it was first conceived by Samuel Hahnemann in the late 1790s. This medical system was founded on the basis of a theory. This theory states that substances that often cause symptoms of a particular disease in people that are healthy can also help cure the same symptoms in sick people. 

Homeopathic medicines aren’t referred to as medicines, but rather, are called remedies. These remedies are created using a process called homeopathic dilution. The chosen substances used for a cure are diluted to such a degree that the final product is completely different from the diluent. 

Did you know?

Homeopathy is not considered to be a proper form of medicine, with research showing that its methods of treatment don’t have any effect on any diseases.

3. Traditional Chinese Medicine

Founder: Huang Ti and Shen Nung
Type of medical system: Complementary or alternative medicine
Year of opening: 1600 BC‒1046 BC

Traditional Chinese MedicinePhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM, is one of the oldest medical systems in the entire world. Although many believe that its treatments aren’t founded on the basis of logic or proper science, many continue to seek out its methods and treatments all over the world. It was founded by Huang Ti and Shen Nung, though some researchers believe otherwise. 

It includes a wide range of treatment practices and philosophies. TCM believes in the combination of diet, exercise, folk literati, and various herbal remedies. TCM also views diseases as a form of disharmony between the body and its environment. Therefore, when attempting to diagnose a disease in TCM, it attempts to trace a pattern of disharmony to locate where it occurs in the body, as well as how to treat it. 

Did you know? 

Traditional Chinese Medicine commonly uses plants and elements of plants to treat a myriad of diseases.

2. Acupuncture

Founder: Chinese Emperor Huangdi
Type of medical system: Complementary or alternative medicine
Year of opening: 100 BCE

AcupuncturePhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

Acupuncture is another well-known type of medical system that is used in the world today, with some doctors arguing that it is sometimes better than conventional medical care. It stems from Traditional Chinese Medicine. Although it is commonly used to help treat pain, it is also used in a variety of other medical conditions as well. During an acupuncture treatment, a set of 5 to 20 needles are inserted into various points of the body. 

Traditional Chinese Medicine believes in the concept of qi that flows through various pathways in the human body, and these pathways intersect at various points in the body. Therefore, acupuncture practitioners believe that inserting needles at these precise intersections help restore the body back to its natural rhythm. 

Did you know? 

The acupuncture market is worth billions of dollars, with research estimating that it reached a global value of $55 billion in 2023.

1. Ayurveda

Founder: B. Charaka
Type of medical system: Alternative medicine
Year of opening: 4th Century BCE

AyurvedaPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

Based on our research, Ayurveda is the oldest medical system in the world. Its history stems from India, where is it still practiced widely all over the country. Ayurvedic therapies include a wide range of treatments, including laxatives, oils, special diets, yoga, enemas, and different kinds of herbals medicines. 

While much of the Ayurvedic practice is considered to be pseudoscientific, historians have discovered that ancient Ayurvedic texts include surgical instructions for kidney stone removals, rhinoplasty, and sutures. 

Did you know? 

The early texts explain that Ayurvedic medicine is divided into eight components. These include general medicine, surgical techniques, tonics and rejuvenation, and aphordisiacs.


Although modern medicine is widely practiced all over the world, and is generally considered to be the world’s primary medical system, there are several others that we’ve chosen to examine in this article. All of the medical systems mentioned above were founded based on ancient texts from various cultures and their beliefs. If you’re interested in trying out an alternative medical system, we encourage you to do some research first so that it doesn’t impact your health! 

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