Over at the Talmud Blog there's a discussion about the medical advice offered by the Talmud.
I am reminded of a discussion in Lekutai Sichot (Vol. 23, pages 33-41) by the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson זי"ע, which sheds some light on some of the more general issues raised there. The central problem he seeks to address is that Maimonides included some (but certainly not all) of these Talmudic cures in his Mishnah Torah, codifying them as a part of Jewish Law, despite the fact that he only includes laws that are pertinent for all generations in that work (see Lechem Mishnah, Hilchot Talmud Torah 4:1, Sdei Chemed Vol. 9, Klolei Haposkim 5:11). At the same time he is clearly acknowledging that they are not eternally relevant by only including some Talmudic cures.
The Rebbe's explanation is essentially mystical: All aspects of Torah (including medical cures recorded therein) are essentially spiritual; even as the Torah speaks of physical objects, we must be aware that core of the issue actually refers back to the spiritual arch-types of those objects. In the words of the Shelah - R. Isaiah Horowitz, "The Torah speaks of the supernal realms and hints to the lower realms" (SheLaH, 13b and 161a). While this principle does not contradict the better known principle that "a verse cannot be divorced from its simple meaning" (TB Shabbat 63a), there can sometimes be a divide, a miscommunication, between the spiritual arch-type and its physical manifestation. As we know only to well, not always is the physical reality in synch with the spiritual ideal.
The Rebbe goes on to apply another essentially mystical idea to his reading of the Rambam: The Tumim (to the Shach's Tokfo Kohen, SK 124) writes of the authors of the Shulchan Aruch that "the spirit of Divinity radiated within them, that their words should conform to the Halacha, without the intention of the writer..." Here too, the Rebbe asserts that the Rambam was guided from on high to select those cures whose spiritual arch-types were indeed eternally relevant, if not necessarily eternally applicable in the physical realm.
In accordance with this principle, the Rebbe argues that in every aspect of Torah study we must always endeavour to achieve an awareness of the spiritual core of even the most (apparently) mundane aspect of Jewish law and practice, applying all aspect of the Torah not only in their all important practical form, but also in the inner service of the heart and mind.
If you take a look at this discussion, and the format in which the Rebbe presents the problems and his arguments, you can only wonder at the way in which the Rebbe - I think very characteristically - integrates the paradoxical elements of a profoundly mystical conception of Torah study, and the cool analysis of rigorous scholarly methodology.