History of Medical Practice in Nova Scotia

Medical Practice in Nova Scotia

Indigenous People:

The Mi’kmaq are indigenous to Nova Scotia. Their history can be traced to more than 10,000 years ago. The Indigenous people used natural remedies to treat illnesses.

L’nui-npisun (Mi'kmaq Medicine) used plants. For example, Salix discolor (pussy willow) is a plant that contains salicin, a prodrug for salicylic acid. The antipyretic and anti-inflammatory properties were used to treat fevers and pains.


17th Century:

In the 17th century, the Europeans established their first agricultural settlements in Nova Scotia. They brought their medical practices from their origins in France. These practices were limited to bleeding techniques and natural compounds.

18th Century:

In 1749, the British took control of Halifax and established it as a military town. British military surgeons performed all medical care in Halifax at this time.

19th Century:

The Nova Scotia medical practice became regulated in the 19th century, with the first Medical Act passed in 1828. The Provincial Medical Board was established in 1872, requiring all physicians and surgeons to be registered. The board also was responsible for educational standards and held professional entry examinations.

Dr. Maria Louisa Angwin

Dr. Maria Louisa Angwin (1849-1898) was Nova Scotia’s first female doctor. She was licensed as a doctor in Nova Scotia in 1884.

20th Century:

In the 20th century, revisions to the Medical Act established the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia, which regulates the practice of medicine.

Common Household remedies in the early twentieth century remained reliant on natural sources.

Common Household remedies