Medical History

Historical aspects

The word “colon” dates back to the 16th century in English and comes from the Greek “kolon,” which means “food or meat,” but also means “the large intestine.”  Why it was associated with the word food or meat is unknown and odd, since one would imagine that in the observations of our ancestors, its malodorous contents would be very unlike the food and meat eaten by these people.

It is very likely that the cultures that sacrificed animals at religious events were highly conscious of the intestinal tract.  4000-5000 years ago the Babylonians were sacrificing sheep whose liver they believed held godly powers.  The liver was used to predict the future.  It would seem reasonable to assume that the colon was recognized during sacrifice as well, although references of their knowledge of the colon are not readily available. Aristotle who lived in the 4th century BC was able to identify and distinguish the jejunum, colon, cecum, sigmoid and rectum.  During that same time, Diocles of Carystos  in Greece wrote the first book on anatomy and described the ileocecal valve.  In about.100 A.D. Marinos a Roman identified the mesenteric nodes, while at about the same time Aretaeus of Cappadocia suggested that digestion took place not only in the stomach but also in the intestine.  Aretaeus also understood the function and responsibilities of the portal vein.  In the latter part of the 15th century da Carpi Berengario of Modena was the first anatomist to describe the vermiform appendix.  Early in the 16th century Andreas Vesalius wrote a series of texts published as seven books under the title “Fabrica”.  The contents of Book 5 included the abdominal viscera in which he described the vermiform appendix.  Da Vinci also understood and drew the large bowel, identified the appendix and called it an “auricle”, and recognized the haustrations.  He thought that movement of contents of the GI system related to diaphragmatic movements and anterior abdominal wall movement.

Colonic cleansing was a practice in the early 1900’s Also practice of cleansing has been philosophy of  witchdoctors