- Time Period: 440 B.C. to Today
To be fair, we do still use bloodletting today in modern medical treatments. However, the most common use is for rare diseases like hemochromatosis and polycythemia in the developed world. It’s also used as alternative medicine in less developed nations as bloodletting is able to starve bacterial pathogens of iron. That slows bacterial growth and could help with infections. Of course, this makes sense as your immune system ends infection. Antibiotics only target infection symptoms. However, bloodletting is one of the old medical treatments that has been done for thousands of years now.
It goes back to Ancient Greece and Egypt. The infamous Greek physician Hippocrates believed the body was made up of four humors: blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm. The idea was that the body needed to be in balance, so if you were sick then naturally the body must be out of line. You needed to them reduce something from one of the humors, and blood was often the easiest to remove for obvious reasons. That led to bloodletting being used to treat pretty much everything early on. The reason Hippocrates likely believed in it so much is that this could be effective for some stuff but not for everything.