1300 - Was the first documented use of the term placebo. At that time it was used to refer to hired mourners at funerals that would initiate their wailings with "Placebo Domino in regione vivorum" which would translate to "I shall please the lord in the land of the living".
1628 - When an English scholar at Oxford University named Robert Burton, wrote "An empiric often times, and a silly chirurgeon, doth more strange cures than a rational physician...because the patient puts his confidence in him," with this he indicated that at least by the Renaissance times physicians consistently acknowledged the power of imagination and expectation in regards to being able to affect bodily states.
1748 - In 1748, Louis XVI appointed Benjamin Franklin as the american ambassador to France, so he could organize what is considered the first Placebo-controlled experiment. The king wanted to debunk a practice that had become very popular and was known as 'Mesmerism.' Franz Anton Mesmer claimed to have discovered an invisible magnetic force that flowed through all living beings, he argued that unblocking it could heal many ailments. In the trials testing his claims, various objects were either "magnetized" with Mesmer's invisible force, or left untreated. Participants to the trials were put in front of these objects and if they responded to an untreated object, or didn't respond to a treated object, researchers could rule out the claim. This lead to Mesmer being denounced as a fraud and placebos and lies became intertwined. ...[Continue reading on Placebo Archive]