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Egypt & the Pyramids => Egypt: Latest Discoveries => Topic started by: Bianca on June 01, 2007, 09:06:35 am



Title: EGYPTIANS, NOT GREEKS WERE TRUE FATHERS OF MEDICINE
Post by: Bianca on June 01, 2007, 09:06:35 am









                                 EGYPTIANS, NOT GREEKS WERE TRUE FATHERS OF MEDICINE


   



Scientists examining documents dating back 3,500 years say they have found proof that the origins of modern medicine lie in ancient Egypt and not with Hippocrates and the Greeks.

The research team from the KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology at The University of Manchester discovered the evidence in medical papyri written in 1,500BC – 1,000 years before Hippocrates was born.

"Classical scholars have always considered the ancient Greeks, particularly Hippocrates, as being the fathers of medicine but our findings suggest that the ancient Egyptians were practising a credible form of pharmacy and medicine much earlier," said Dr Jackie Campbell.

"When we compared the ancient remedies against modern pharmaceutical protocols and standards, we found the prescriptions in the ancient documents not only compared with pharmaceutical preparations of today but that many of the remedies had therapeutic merit."

(http://www.cofc.edu/~piccione/history370/physician72_small.gif)

The medical documents, which were first discovered in the mid-19th century, showed that ancient Egyptian physicians treated wounds with honey, resins and metals known to be antimicrobial.

The team also discovered prescriptions for laxatives of castor oil and colocynth and bulk laxatives of figs and bran. Other references show that colic was treated with hyoscyamus, which is still used today, and that cumin and coriander were used as intestinal carminatives.

Further evidence showed that musculo-skeletal disorders were treated with rubefacients to stimulate blood flow and poultices to warm and soothe. They used celery and saffron for rheumatism, which are currently topics of pharmaceutical research, and pomegranate was used to eradicate tapeworms, a remedy that remained in clinical use until 50 years ago.

"Many of the ancient remedies we discovered survived into the 20th century and, indeed, some remain in use today, albeit that the active component is now produced synthetically," said Dr Campbell.

"Other ingredients endure and acacia is still used in cough remedies while aloes forms a basis to soothe and heal skin conditions."

(http://www.pharmacy.wsu.edu/History/images/picture04.jpg)

Fellow researcher Dr Ryan Metcalfe is now developing genetic techniques to investigate the medicinal plants of ancient Egypt. He has designed his research to determine which modern species the ancient botanical samples are most related to.

"This may allow us to determine a likely point of origin for the plant while providing additional evidence for the trade routes, purposeful cultivation, trade centres or places of treatment," said Dr Metcalfe.

"The work is inextricably linked to state-of-the-art chemical analyses used by my colleague Judith Seath, who specialises in the essential oils and resins used by the ancient Egyptians."

Professor Rosalie David, Director of the KNH Centre, said: "These results are very significant and show that the ancient Egyptians were practising a credible form of pharmacy long before the Greeks.

"Our research is continuing on a genetic, chemical and comparative basis to compare the medicinal plants of ancient Egypt with modern species and to investigate similarities between the traditional remedies of North Africa with the remedies used by their ancestors of 1,500 BC."

Source: University of Manchester


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: Bianca on June 01, 2007, 09:29:36 am
                                                  E G Y P T I A N   M E D I C I N E



(http://www.blessedquietness.com/alhaj/papyrus.gif)
                                     PAPYRUS


First to use and record advanced medical practices

Decision of doctor went one of three ways: treat, struggle to treat, not treat.  3/49 were considered hopeless in Smith Papyrus.

Did not know of cellular biology, so did not know of antibiotics.

Women contributed to discovery and development of medicine.  Men wrote the ideas down.

Chimps self medicate (eat herbs for diseases, sickness)

Medicine, religion and magic were all used by the doctor.

Homer, circa 800 BCE (Odyssey) notes Es as being the best physicians in the world.

Es believed that the body was born healthy and got sick because of foreign agents.  Invisible agents were attributed to evil forces.
(http://www.thetruthaboutfoodandhealth.com/frequensea/rosemary/rosemary.jpg)
ROSMARINUS OFFICINALIS
 
Medicines used:
(http://castor oil, with figs and dates – laxatives
tannic acid – heal burns (from acacia nuts) http:
coriander – cooling, stimulant, carminative (expels gas from stomach or bowel); tea for stomach illness.
Alfalfa (Egyptian word meaning “father.”  It was the “father” of all restorative tonics; rich in vitamin A, D, E and K, and minerals).   Thought to have rid the body of inorganic mineral deposits.
Chamomiles –  matricaria chamomilla has anti-bacterial effect.  (Inhibits staph, streptococcus, leptospira and trichomonas.  Leptospira (carried by rats) enters skin through skin abrasions while person works in contaminated water.  Also it acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.  It has sedative qualities if taken internally.
Celery seed and stem: - anti-inflammatory, diuretic.
Garlic – workers went on strike to get provisions, an important one was garlic.  Determine pregnancy.
Juniper berries – stronger than some modern drugs as anti-inflammatory; alleviates headaches (reduces dilation)
Rosemary – antioxidant (preservative); moderate effect against pathogenic fungi (fungus which makes one sick)
Wormwood – vapor inhaled to prevent cough; reduces blood sugar, expels worms.
Yeast – applied to ulcers (external and internal) and swellings.
Cure for Diarrhea:

1/8th cup figs and grapes, bread dough, pit corn, fresh Earth, onion, and elderberry.

Cure for Indigestion:

Crush a hog's tooth and put it inside of four sugar cakes. Eat for four days.

Cure for Burns:

Create a mixture of milk of a woman who has borne a male child, gum, and, ram's hair. While administering this mixture say: Thy son Horus is burnt in the desert. Is there any water there?  There is no water. I have water in my mouth and a Nile between my thighs. I have come to extinguish the fire.

Cure for Lesions of the Skin:

After the scab has fallen off put on it: Scribe's excrement. Mix in fresh milk and apply as a poultice.

Cure for Cataracts:

Mix brain-of-tortoise with honey. Place on the eye and say:

There is a shouting in the southern sky in darkness, There is an uproar in the northern sky, The Hall of Pillars falls into the waters. The crew of the sun god bent their oars so that the heads at his side fall into the water, Who leads hither what he finds? I lead forth what I find. I lead forth your heads. I lift up your necks. I fasten what has been cut from you in its place. I lead you forth to drive away the god of Fevers and all possible deadly arts.

Commonly used herbs included, senna, honey, thyme, juniper, frankincense, cumin, colocynth (all for digestion); pomegranate root, henbane (for worms) as well as flax, oakgall, pine-tar, manna, bayberry, ammi, alkanet, Acanthus, aloe, caraway, cedar, coriander, cyprus, elderberry, fennel, garlic, wild lettuce, nasturtium, onion, peppermint, papyrus, poppy-plant, saffron, sycamore, watermelon, wheat and zizyphus-lotus.

Surgical tools:

knives
drill
saw
forceps or pincers
censer
hooks
bags tied with string
beaked vessel
vase with burning incense
Horus eyes
scales
pot with flowers of Upper and Lower Egypt
pot on pedestal
graduated cubit or papyrus
scroll without side knot (or a case holding reed scalpels)
shears
spoons
Edwin Smith Papyrus – 1700 BCE (infor evident in 2640 BCE).  5 meters long; 48 surgical cases (wounds to head, neck, shoulders, breast and chest)

[img]http://www.thestoneage.org/res/44.jpg)
SMITH PAPYRUS

Excerpt: "Take the water (humor) contained in pigs eyes, take true antimony, red lead, natural honey, of each 1 Ro (about 15 cc); pulverize it finely and combine it into one mass which should be injected into the ear of the patient and he will be cured immediately. Do and thou shalt see. Really excellent! Thou shalt recite as a spell: I have brought this which was applied to the seat of yonder and replaces the horrible suffering. Twice."  This cures Stupid Vision.

Ebers Papyrus (110 pages, 877 remedies); 10 meters long, 30 cm wide, internal medicine, plus diseases of the eye, skin, extremities, gynecology and some surgical diseases.

(http://www.teenwitch.com/herbs/pict/eber96AA.jpg)

SECTION OF EBER'S PAPYRUS


Imhotep and Hesyre (time of Zoser) ca. 2725 BCE
Temple schools (medical schools): interrogation (taking a history), inspection and palpation (feeling the affected or injured area)
Studied brain, pulse related to heart.  The brain was the seat of the body.  The heart provided blood vessels that were hollow.  They could not distinguish between blood vessels, nerves, tendons and channels.
medical history (questions to patient), examination and palpation and percussion.  (examined stool, urine, blood, sputum)
knew about aneurysms
knew about inguinal hernias. Cough! (heat application to reduce strangulated hernia)
had prescriptions, performed surgery.
Fertility was diagnosed by placing garlic in the **** for one night. If the next day the woman can taste or smell it in her mouth, she is fertile. This is based upon the connection between the genital parts and interior of the body. Such connection would be lost in a case of obstructed Fallopian tubes.  “To cause a woman to stop being pregnant, be it one, two or three years: part of acacia, colocynth, dates, finely ground in a hin [Hebrew measurment of liguid = circa 5 litres] of honey, fibers are moistened therewith, introduced into her ****”.
Pregnancy diagnosis: urine of pregnant woman: male child – urine germinates wheat, female- urine germinates barley.
delivery- sit on two bricks, arms on knees.  Ease delivery with burning resin or massaging the abdomen by saffron powder and beer.
Abortions – insert oil and fat.
Contraception – insert crocodile oil, acacia gum or honey, and natron. (acacia gum dissolved produses lactic acid makes known -spermicidal).
 Infants breast fed for three years.  If  not possible, cow’s milk.
suture with needle and thread.  Raw meat (first day) prevents bleeding, then astringent (biting or caustic liquid, closes pores) herbs, butter, honey (hygroscopic= absorbs water) promotes white blood cell growth, and bread (moldy = penicillin).
cancer existed in E times.
pus was removed with a knife.
 Piles and rectal prolapse were treated by medication, suppositories, laxatives and enema. For burns, a mixture of milk of a woman who has borne a male child, gum, and, ram’s hair was applied.
Urethral strictures were dilated using reeds. This was the earliest non-surgical intervention ever applied in history. In modern medicine, the first intervention was reported in the AD 1880’s by catgut balloons.
antiseptics – frankincense, date-wine, turpentine and acacia gum.
cauterization – hot fire-drill.
sedation – opiates.  Local anaesthesia – water mixed with vinaigre over Memphite stone.  This makes carbon dioxide, a known analgesic (relieves pain).
broken bones were set.  Possibly knew of screwing bones together.
reduce a dislocated joint. (Kocher’s technique today)
knew of sciatic pain (down leg from back)
knew of angina pectoris (heart attack)
cough (asthma?)– inhale honey, cream, milk, carob, colocynth and date kernels.  Technique for inhalation: “….. You should then bring 7 stones and heat them on fire. Take one of them, place parts of these drugs over it, cover it with a new jar with a pierced bottom. Introduce a tube of reed through this hole and put your mouth on this tube so that you swallow its fumes. The same with every stone … “.
joint pain (arthritis) – ointments containing fat, oil, bone marrow, gum, honey, flour, natron, onion, cumin, flax, frankincense or pine.  Today in E. flax seed (linseed) and sake or lizard fat is still used for this purpose.
knew brain was responsible for paralysis.  Had 12 headache prescriptions.
Migraines – fish (Siluris – electric catfish) in fat and oil.
trepanning (drilling holes in head for relief of pressure)
constipation – castor oil tree berries; chew and swallow with beer.  “Leaves of castor oil plant 1/4, dates of male palm 5/6, Cyprus grass 1/16, stalk of Puppy plant 1/16, Coriander 1/16, cold beer 1/2, keep moist, strain, and take for four days”.
diarrhea –green onion, gruel, oil, honey, wax, water, cook and take for 4 days.
night blindness – liver of ox, roasted and crushed. (Vitamin A)
cataracts – tortoise brain and honey.  First surgery Alexandria 31st Dynasty (Ptolomy)
dental abscess – drill holes to drain.  Treated pyorrhea, loose teeth, caries.
gold wire to secure a loose tooth.
extractions and artificial teeth
minerals used: sulfer, antimony and zinc, meats, 160 plants.
dosage – adjusted to patient’s age.
pyramid workers’ pay included : radish, garlic, onions.  These have antibiotic properties.
enema = learned from Ibis bird.
heart and mind were the same thing to an E.
knew of depression and hysteria.
alternatives: psychology, physiotherapy, heliotherapy,  hydrotherapy, mud and clay,
Three types of doctors:   sunu = physician;          priest of Sekment         (lioness-goddess, punishes sins) sau = magic physician           
specialists: eyes, teeth, mouth, stomach pains, uncertain diseases,  “Shepherd of the anus of the Pharaoh” (proctology)
Peseshet = old female physician, i.e., first (4th Dynasty)
peri-ankh = name of the medical schools: Abydos which Ramses IV visited frequently its library. At least four other houses of life were attached to temples at Bubastis, Edfu, Tel-el-Amarna and Kom-Ombo.
doctors had a code of ethics and probably swore an oath.
Cambyses, Persian king arrived in the 27th Dynasty (525 BCE).  Lost in Upper Egypt.  Returned during Festival of the Grains.  Rejoicing people he thought were making fun of him.  Destroyed schools and temples (peri-ankhs).  Successor, Darius, to win friendship, rebuilt them.
all citizens got medical care (medicare)
sick workers on the pyramids could claim pensions.
sick leaves were allowed.
sick people did not have to lift stones.
no fixed retirement age.
4 hours work in morning, break for meal and nap, 4 hours work late afternoon.  Avoid mid-day sun.
quarries and mines had doctors supplied.
first country in history to practice hair trimming to avoid insect infestation.  Still practiced in modern armies.
Kemet = Egypt in Egyptian.  Chemestry comes from it.



(http://hrsbstaff.ednet.ns.ca/waymac/images/Egypt/egypti12.jpg)

acacia tree

(http://hrsbstaff.ednet.ns.ca/waymac/images/Egypt/egypti21.jpg)

castor tree

(http://hrsbstaff.ednet.ns.ca/waymac/images/Egypt/egypti13.jpg) 

coriander

(http://hrsbstaff.ednet.ns.ca/waymac/images/Egypt/egypti15.gif)
Anubis - God of Healers and Embalmers


(http://hrsbstaff.ednet.ns.ca/waymac/images/Egypt/egypti14.jpg)

Smith Papyrus

(http://hrsbstaff.ednet.ns.ca/waymac/images/Egypt/egypti16.jpg)

delivering a baby
 
(http://hrsbstaff.ednet.ns.ca/waymac/images/Egypt/egypti17.jpg)

medical instruments

(http://hrsbstaff.ednet.ns.ca/waymac/images/Egypt/egypti18.jpg)

fractured forearm with splint

(http://hrsbstaff.ednet.ns.ca/waymac/images/Egypt/egypti19.jpg)

Imhotep, god of healing

(http://hrsbstaff.ednet.ns.ca/waymac/images/Egypt/egypti20.jpg)

Hesyre, oldest known physician

 
 
http://hrsbstaff.ednet.ns.ca/waymac/History%20A/A%20Term%202/1.%20Egypt/egyptian_medicine.htm


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: Bianca on June 01, 2007, 10:09:52 am



                        ANATOMICAL AND PHYSIOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE IN ANCIENT EGYPT





"I lead your head out, I set your neck up."

Papyrus “Ebers” 1)(Egyptian medical compendium)

To be able to portray aspects related to body-structure and movement, an artist needs either an understanding of anatomy or body awareness, or optimally, an appreciation of both. Body awareness was highly developed in ancient Egypt - but what was the situation with respect to understanding physiology?

Approximately a dozen papyrii within the field of ancient Egyptian medicine have survived and act today as our primary source. These texts were written between 2000 and 1200 B.C. Some templates of these writings do, however, go as far back as 2500 B.C.

(http://www.teenwitch.com/herbs/pict/rc0217-besjar.jpg)
OLDEST KNOWN APOTHECARY JAR
It contained traces of Ashish - The face is of the Pygmy God Bes
who became an Egyptian God of Medicine


Around 200 B.C., Flavius Clemens Alexandrinus, founder of a Christian school in Alexandria, reported six complete Egyptian medical books, in which the subject was systematically handled, one of which was “about the construction of the body”. According to Flavius, these six books were part of a series of 42 holy books, which have been ascribed to Thoth (Hermes Trismegistos). According to handed down tradition of the Egyptians, Thoth brought the art of writing, the subject of space as well as the art of healing to Egypt. Sadly, the 42 Hermetic Books have been lost.

The surviving medical texts are not textbooks as we understand them today but rather descriptions of cases and instructions for treatment. A few technical and philological commentaries exist regarding pathological terms describing the position or normal functioning of certain organs or parts of the body. The descriptions we find here about vessels and the role of various organs are partly correct, partly diffuse or speculative and some are wrong.

Whilst making this assessment, following points should, however, be considered: firstly, the Egyptian meaning is exceptionally difficult to translate. Secondly, some terms are ambiguous. One word is, for example, used for muscles as well as tendons, veins or nerves. Another word is used for both “body” and “flesh”. A final point being that it is not possible to distinguish to what extent the physical is fused with the spiritual in a symbolic or analogous manner.

In the papyrus “Ebers” - named after the man who obtained this text in Egypt 1873 - we find, for example, the heart referred to as the “seat of thinking”. This does not automatically imply that the Egyptians were here referring to intellectual thinking. Rather it is feasable that they were implying a spiritual function, a relationship between the spiritual and physical levels.

Leaving this difficulty of interpretation of terms, I want to outline now what is remarkable in the papyrii regarding anatomy and physio-logy of movement.

Distinctions between skin, flesh, bone, bone marrow, tendons and ligaments were made. 2) Interestingly, they also mentioned “skin of leather”-layers. Knowing the context, one must assume that this was a referral to layers of connective tissue. The sutures of the skull are described as “leatherlike”. The ancient Egyptians apparently knew that the sutures of children and adults are attached to each other by connective tissue and are not fully ossified. 3) The amount of vertebrae and the existence of the spinal canal were known to them, they mentioned seven cervical vertebrae, for example. 4)

Interestingly, a predominant model of interpretation in the medicine of ancient Egypt understood health as a streaming of the body’s liquids. This streaming was supposed to be aperient and responsible for supply. Health was only possible, if the fluids and substances could flow unrestrained throughout the body. This intuitive concept appears as quite modern. Since today’s research on connective tissue and its ground substance - responsible for the free flow of nutritional subtances, antibodies, information etc. - points in the same direction. 5)

Up to the present, it is still being discussed as to whether anatomical knowledge was gained during the embalming of corpses for mummification. Whilst this cannot be verified on the one hand (sufficient detailed anatomical knowledge in existing papyrii has not been found), we know on the other hand that male and female medical doctors were trained in facilities called the “House of Life”, where embalmers worked. With this fact in mind, it is hard to imagine that no knowledge was gained through studying corpses being opened prior to mummification. It is not known whether religious tabus forbade dissections as performed today.

The methods that were applied in ancient Egypt during a medical examination reveal that they had considerable experience with respect to healthy or pathological physiology. When an ill person was examined, palpation was included, the pulse was taken, odour was noted and other tests were undertaken related to functions of the body.

The following examples are from the papyrus “Edwin Smith” (Old Kingdom) 6): In one case where a dislocation of a cervical vertebra was suspected, the doctor asked the patient to look down at his chest and at his shoulders. The reaction of the patient determined the diagnosis. If the patient was able to move his head to the left and right as well as downwards, even if painful, a strain was diagnosed. If the patient was unable to move the head, a bony dysfunction was diagnosed.

The same functional test was carried out for head injuries causing a stiffness of the neck. The doctor asked the patient to raise his face to find out whether s/he was able to extend the neck, e.g. to bend the neck backwards, and to open his mouth in order to discover whether this was painful.

Sometimes a patient was asked to walk several steps so that observations could be made. In one case of a man with a fractured skull, a doctor recorded that the patient dragged his foot on the same side as his head injury, which indeed is typical for this condition.

In a case where a spinal injury was suspected the doctor asked the patient: “Extend both legs and bend them again.” We know that, if this kind of injury is present, the patient immediately bends the legs when he tries to extend them, because of the pain incurred in the injured vertebra. We find evidence that the doctors knew that the extremities of a patient are without feeling if a cervical vertebra has been dislocated and that in such cases the **** is erect and secretes sperm or urine.

(http://www.ancient-egypt.de/assets/images/Abb.0063-Einrenken_der_Schulter.jpg)
 
Fig. 1 Setting of the shoulder after a work accident (New Kingdom)

Broken bones were realigned and joints which had been dislocated put back into joint (Fig. 1). As an example of the latter, I would like to quote an instruction found in the papyrus Edwin Smith: “If you examine a man with a shifted lower jaw (= luxation, HGB) and you find his mouth open, so that he is unable to close his mouth, then you should put the forefingers on the ends of the lower jaw inside of his mouth and put your thumb under his chin. Then let the dislocated joints fall together to come to their appropriate place again.” 7) In this way, the adjusting maipulation of the jaw was accomplished.

Surgery, even skull openings, took place as early as during the first dynasties. 8)

We find frequent mention of massages in the medical papyrii, in particular for patients with rheumatism, stiff neck muscles 9) or tense muscles around the jaw.

The ancient Egyptians must have had a knowledge of subtle functions of the body. We may conclude this from the frequent portrayal of right-angled joint positions in figurative art. Johannes Ludwig Schmitt (M.D.), a leading German specialist on respiration is quoted here on this aspect: “This special posture indicates an increase in tonicity and of the stimulating effect on breathing. This is initiated via the impulses for the control of breathing caused by a joint position via receptors which respond to mechanical impulses.” 10)

The Egyptians apparently were also aware of the connection be-tween the tonus of the pelvic floor and the position of the uterus. As we know, the tonus of the pelvic floor muscles decreases when giving birth letting the uterus sink (Fig. 2). In the Ebers papyrus we find the recommendation for women after giving birth for the application of steam infusions of a certain substance to restore a healthy tonicity so that the uterus “shall return to its own place”. 11)

(http://www.ancient-egypt.de/assets/images/Abb.0064-Geburtsdarstellung.jpg)
 
Fig. 2 A woman giving birth (1350 B.C.)

Summarizing, the medical papyrii alone do not allow us to conclude that the Egyptians had an extensive rational and intellectual knowledge about body-structure as we have today.

Here we must, however, remember that the medical literature that has survived represents only a fraction of its original size. The lost Hermetic books I mentioned above and the works of the medical healer Imhotep have never been found. Interestingly, both the ancient Greek doctor Hippocrates and the Roman scholar Galen reported having seen Imhotep’s works in a temple in Memphis, Egypt. 12) A further example of works from this sphere of knowledge are the anatomy books of Pharao Sachti from the first dynasty which were mentioned by the priest Manetho who lived in the third century B.C. Manetho also refers to Sachti as having been a great healer. 13)

Another source of hesitancy when we regard the sources of our present information must be the fact that a great deal of medical knowledge in this culture was transmitted exclusively by word of mouth as part of the secret teachings. Doctors were usually also priests and the priesthood had a hierarchical structure. At the head was a small circle of initiated persons, who passed on their knowledge only to other initiated persons. This method was especially true for those parts of the knowledge which were only comprehensible to people with an advanced consciousness. The surviving papyrii probably represent practical instructions for “ordinary” doctors, whose state of consciousness was similar to the average consciousness of the people.

Thinking “scientifically” in today’s sense was not substantial for the growth of knowledge in ancient Egypt. Spiritual higher sight and intuition as well as practical experience played a far greater role in the art of healing than the occasional rudiments of empirical science (as familiar to us), which was also practised. 14) It is not without reason that the Egyptians repeatedly pointed out that their knowledge had a primordial and divine origin. 15)

In order to comprehend the kind of knowledge of the ancient Egyptians and how it found its way into their art, it is necessary to try to understand the prevelant consciousness and perception in ancient Egypt. This shall be done in the following chapters.

       Notes

Translation by H. Joachim, Berlin 1978, p. 88 (back to the text)
Cartilage and bone are not exactly conceptually distinguished. (back to the text)
Only at the end of the 19th century, the American M.D. and osteopath William Sutherland rediscovered this. To this day, the large majority of the orthodox medical practitioners still assume that the skull is completely ossified in adults. (back to the text)
H. Grapow, Über die anatomischen Kenntnisse der alten Ägypter, Leipzig 1935 (back to the text)
See among others: Pischinger, Alfred: Matrix & Matrix Regulation. Basis for a Holistic Theory in Medicine, 1991 (back to the text)
This papyrus from the time between 2500 and 2000 B.C. was a real textbook of surgery and of medicine for the bones. Quoted from: Henry E. Sigerist, Der Arzt in der ägyptischen Kultur, Zurich 1963, pp. 99-100 (back to the text)
Papyrus Edwin Smith, translated by Wolfgang Westendorf, Stuttgart 1966 (back to the text)
Dr. W.M. Pahl of the Institute for Anthropology and Human Genetics (Department Radiology of the university of Tübingen, Germany) made a radiography of a skull in Assuan and discovered: “The lesion in the frontal region is through-shaped and smoothly defined. The internal table is intact. According to differential diagnosis, is to be assumed that the cause of the defect is either pathological (for example of inflammatory genesis) or, more probably, an intentional surgical operation... In the latter case, the operation would have been performed intra vitam. The patient survived the procedure.” See also: E. Brunner-Traut, Die alten Ägypter, Stuttgart 1981, p. 160 (back to the text)
H. Grapow, Kranker, Krankheiten und Arzt in Ägypten, Berlin 1956, pp. 84, 118 and 130 (back to the text)
Johannes Ludwig Schmitt, Atemheilkunst, Bern 1981, p. 529 and pp. 580 (back to the text)
Papyrus Ebers, translated by H. Joachim, Berlin 1973, p. 171 A chair without seat disk was used for this, under which the essences were heated up in a small pan on glowing coals. From there the steam ascended to the pelvic floor. (back to the text)
E. Brunner-Traut, Die alten Ägypter, Stuttgart 1974, p. 145 (back to the text)
Joachim Spiegel, Das Werden der altägyptischen Hochkultur, Heidelberg 1953, pp. 291 (back to the text)
These conditions have been unsufficiently considered in the fields of egyptology and of history of medical science. Most of their representatives persistently ignore that the present predominant materialistic kind of science is only one of several variations of past and present kinds of science. Therefore the majority of school scientists are only interested in such fragments of past time ideas which are congruent with the premises of modern Western science. Logically those fragments are judged by standards of modern school medicine and interpreted prejudiced according to the own ideology of science. A typical example is the statement of Julia Budka: “Mentally ill people…were called ‘people being in a god’s hand’, what clarifies, how many difficulties one (the ancient Egyptians, HGB) had to find natural causes (for mental deseases, HGB).” (Julia Budka, Heilkunst und Zauberei - Medizin im alten Ägypten, in: Kemet 4/2000) In this statement it is not even taken into consideration, that perhaps in ancient Egypt (like in many other spiritually oriented cultures too) “mental desease” was regarded to be an altered state of consciousness, different from normal, but not necessary “diseased”.
See also:

Paul Feyerabend, Wider den Methodenzwang, ibid, esp. pp. 55-70 and 238-284

S. Morenz, Die Begegnung Europas mit Ägypten, Zurich 1969, p. 211

H. Grapow, Kranker, Krankheiten und Arzt, Berlin 1956, p. 96 and 133

Sigismund von Gleich, Vom Weltentraum zum Erdenleben. Babylonien und Ägypten, Stuttgart 1938, pp. 70 (back to the text)

Rudolf Steiner said that the initiated of ancient Egypt had a “cosmic knowledge about the organs” and that they had knowledge of the nervous system. He is even convinced that in a certain sense the wise priests of those times were superior to today’s doctors. This assessment will become more understandable when we discuss the Egyptian state of consciousness in the next chapter. This consciousness was the foundation of spiritual ways of healing (for example the healing sleep inside a temple), or homoeopathic like healing (remedies using the principle of similarity) and other modalities of medicine. See: Rudolf Steiner, Ägyptische Mythen und Mysterien, Dornach 1978


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: Bianca on June 01, 2007, 11:00:05 am
FROM:


THE COPTIC MEDICAL SOCIETY (uk)

                                                   

                                             F O R   E V E R Y   M A L A D Y   A   C U R E
 
 


 
 (http://tbn0.google.com/images?q=tbn:C-0se0MtZl0B5M:http://www.copticmedical.com/images/imhotep.jpg)AMENHOTEP - God of Medicine
 
 Of all the branches of science pursued in ancient Egypt, none achieved such popularity as medicine as it was based on an integrated scientific methodology and a system of medical schools. Under this system, the first of its kind in human history, the first school of medicine dated back to the first Dynasty followed by other reputed schools such as Per Bastet in the New Kingdom and at Abydos and Sais in the late period.

The first civilization known to have had an extensive study of medicine and to leave written records of its practices and procedures was that of ancient Egypt. The oldest extant Egyptian medical texts are six papyri from the period between 2000 B.C. and 1500 B.C.: the Kahun Medical Papyrus, the Ramesseum IV and Ramesseum V Papyri, the Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus, The Ebers Medical Papyrus and the Hearst Medical Papyrus. These texts, most of them based on older texts dating possibly from 3000 B.C., are comparatively free of the magician's approach to treating illness. Egyptian medicine influenced the medicine of neighbouring cultures, including the culture of ancient Greece. From Greece, its influence spread onward, thereby affecting Western civilization significantly.

Medical Training
Physicians learnt their profession at schools called Houses of Life. They were no doubt given some practical experience, but chiefly they had to study what was already written. They used to administer their treatments in accordance with a written law composed by earlier famous physicians. Medical texts were used not only as a fount of professional knowledge but also as a safeguard against possible failure.

Categories of Physicians


Medical papyrus.
Wellcome Library, London
 

Priests were the first to practice medicine as some doctors belonged to the priesthood. Some again were counted among the scribes, as shown in such titles as "chief doctor and scribe of the word of God. Many enjoyed ecclesiastical as well as lay titles. Like other professions, doctors had their own hierarchy. Besides ordinary doctors there were senior doctors, inspectors, overseers and masters of physicians and the Chief of Physicians of the South and the North, a kind of minister of health. Royal and palace doctors had special hierarchy and titles. There was even a degree of specialization quite remarkable for the time. Each physician used to treat one disease, and no more. There were plenty of physicians everywhere. Some were eye-doctors, some dealt with the head, others with teeth or the abdomen, and some with hidden maladies. Only members of the high strata of society were allowed to learn and practice this honourable profession. Moreover, a physician had to learn the science of drugs especially botany. Ancient Egyptians held physicians in so much high esteem that they raised Emote, the great physician (2700 BC) after his death to a sacred status as the god of medicine.

Historical Glimpse
According to the ancient historian Billing, Egyptians used to examine bodies of the dead to know the cause of death. This should not look strange for such people, traditionally accustomed, as they were, to thorough pursuit of knowledge. According to the American historian Breasted, an authority on ancient Egyptian history, ancient Egyptian surgeons were highly skilled as shown in inscriptions. Clean wounds were treated by stitching and adhesive bandages. Other wounds were treated by approximating edges on the first day then with honey and astringent herbs. Moreover, fractures were successfully treated with splints. They used many methods to diagnose pregnancy and to know the gender of embryo before birth. They were the first to use Arabian gum in birth control. They were the first to use delivery stool, with special attention to paediatrics and the patient nutrition. It also appears that for some people, at least, there was a system of free medical aid. Ancient Egyptian chemists equally excelled in preparing and extracting drugs from mineral, botanical and, animal substances. However ancient Egyptian pharmacopoeia was mainly based on herbs especially vegetables and other foods. Drugs were used in pills and ointment form and drops. Dressings and deodorant preparations were also used. This is clearly shown in the Ebers papyrus which includes names of medical herbs of great  medical benefit.

Diagnosis Methods


(http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/images/sized/Magic_m.jpg)
PTAH HOLDING ANKH AND DJED (Magic)
 

It is both interesting and surprising to know that the diagnosis methods currently used in the medical profession are no much different than those used by ancient Egyptian physicians several centuries ago.
According to the Berlin Papyrus No. 154, an ancient report reads as follows:

The patient suffers a great epigastric pain. He feels a heavy, hot and inflamed body. He complains of being unable to tolerate his clothes and feels they do not warm him. He feels thirsty during the night. His saliva has the taste of unripe fruits. His muscles pain him as if he walked for a long distance.

Conception of Human Body
The Egyptians conception of the human body, then, was as a network of interconnecting channels and analogous to the branches of the Nile and the artificial canals of their own country. Notions of physiology and disease were all anchored in the concept of the heart as the centre of the organism. The heart was one's partner: it spoke to a person in his or her solitude. It was at the same time the engine of all the bodily functions, not only of one cardinal function, the circulation, as modern science revealed. From the heart proceeded channels (metu) linking all parts of the body together. These channels, the Egyptians believed, conveyed not only the blood, but also air (reaching the heart from the nose, they thought), tears, saliva, mucus, sperm, urine, nutriment and feces, as well as harmful substances conceived to be the agents of pain and illness. Not only blood vessels were considered as metu, but also the respiratory tract, tear duct, ducts of various glands, spermatic duct, the muscles, tendons and ligaments.


(http://www.homestead.com/wysinger/files/BE041106.jpg)
GODDESS SEKHMET 
 
As early as the 3rd Dynasty, there were already individuals corresponding roughly to the modern concept of a doctor. There were also surgeons who were known as the "Priests of Sekhmet", as well as the ancient equivalent of dental and veterinary practitioners.
The somewhat destructive and powerful lion headed goddess of war, Sekhmet was also considered to be the supreme deity of healing. The Priests of Sekhmet were the specialists of the day in medicine and surgery. A number of medical papyri survive today and these have provided us with a wealth of information concerning the Egyptians knowledge of medicine, anatomy and physiology.

The Ebers medical papyrus
Originally over twenty metres long, the Ebers Papyrus consisted of a list of some 876 prescriptions and remedies for ailments such as wounds, stomach complaints, gynaecological problems and skin irritations. Prescriptions were made up in proportions according to fractions which were based on parts of the eye of Horus, ranging from 1/64 to 1/2.
The Ebers Papyrus is primarily an internal medical reference, although anatomical and physiological references are also included. 877 recipes and 400 different drugs were described, although for some unknown reason the scribe who wrote it did not finish the papyrus, and ended in mid sentence.


The Edwin Smith medical papyrus c.1600 BC
Thought to be the work of a doctor associated with a pyramid building workforce, this five metre papyrus deals mainly with problems such as broken bones, dislocations and crushings. Each of the 48 cases documented are divided into categories: "an ailment which I will treat", "an ailment with which I will contend" and "an ailment not to be treated".
The symptoms of each of the documented cases are described in the papyrus, and where possible a remedy or cure is prescribed. The doctor writing the papyrus was aware of the circulation of blood throughout the body and clearly recognised that the condition of the heart could be judged by the patient's pulse. This papyrus includes a vast experience in fractures that can only be acquired at a site where accidents were extremely numerous, for instance, as during the building of the pyramids.


The Kahun medical papyrus c.1900 BC
The oldest yet discovered, and dating from the reign of Amenemhat III, the Kahun Medical Papyrus describes methods of diagnosing pregnancy and the sex of the unborn, toothache during pregnancy, diseases and various ailments of women, and is particularly concerned with the womb and determination of fertility.
Methods of contraception are also given, such as the rather unpleasant consumption of "excrement of crocodile mixed with sour milk", together with remedies for urinary problems, problems in the abdomen and kidneys, and aching limbs with pain in the sockets of the eyes.

Other medical papyri

The Hearst Medical Papyrus The Hearst Medical Papyrus dates to the first half of the second millennium BC. It contains, in hieratic Egyptian writing (a cursive form of hieroglyphic writing), eighteen columns with medical prescriptions. The ailments for which cures are offered range from "a tooth which falls out" (Col. I, l. 7) and "remedy for treatment of the lung" (Col. IV, l. 8) to bites by human beings (Col. II, ll. 6–7), and pigs and hippopotami (Col. XVI, ll. 5–7). 
The Berlin Papyrus:
 This contains the earliest known pregnancy test of "barley and emmer". " ... The woman must moisten it with urine every day ... if both grow, she will give birth. If the barley grows it means a male child. If the emmer grows it will mean a female child. If neither grows, she will not give birth."
 
The Ramesseum Papyri They contain sections on diseases of the eyes, gynaecology, diseases of children, muscles and tendons.
The Brooklyn Papyrus:
 Deals at great length with snakebites. It speaks about remedies to drive out poison from snakes, scorpions and tarantulas.
 
The Chester Beatty VI Papyrus:
 Concerned only with the diseases and ailments of the anus and rectum.
 
The London Papyrus:
 One of the best examples of the Egyptian approach to healing, consisting of a combination of magical spells, rituals and practical prescriptions, all of which would have been considered equally essential to the recovery of the patient.
 


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: Bianca on June 01, 2007, 11:05:49 am


                                                      A L E X A N D R I A



The Medical Tradition of a Great City
 

 

 

By Rachad Mounir Shoucri
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
 
 “For in that land (Egypt) the fruitful earth bears drugs in plenty, some good and some dangerous; and there every man is a physician and acquainted with such lore beyond all mankind.” (Homer, 8th century BC) “… As for Isis, the Egyptians say that she was the discoverer of many health giving drugs and was greatly versed in the science of healing;…In proof of this, as they say, they advance not legends, as the Greeks do, but manifests facts; for practically the entire inhabited world is their witness, in that it eagerly contributes to the honours of Isis because she manifests herself in healings.” (Diodorus of Sycily, 1st century BC)

“…studies in the art of healing,
whose help is often required in this
life of ours, which is neither frugal
nor sober, are so enriched from day
to day, that although a physician’s
work itself indicates it, yet in place
of every testimony it is enough to
commend his knowledge of the art,
if he has said that he was trained at
Alexandria”.
Ammianus Marcellinus
4th century AD


 
The Egyptian Background of The Medical School of Alexandria

 
The Egyptian physician Imhotep had a special cult as patron saint of medicine during the Greco-Roman period,
the Greeks identified him with Asclepius. It is suggested that statues of the eminent
personalities of ancient Egypt be placed in all libraries in Egypt.
 
  Clement of Alexandria describes the procession of the priests holding the 42 books of knowledge attributed to Thoth/ Hermes, the books containing the hymns to the gods, the hymns to the king, 4 books of astronomy, 10 books relating to the ceremonies of worship, 10 books

(http://www.teenwitch.com/herbs/pict/physician.jpg)
EGYPT - Physician HesiRe - circa 2650BC

Concerning the gods and the education of the priests; 36 books which were learnt by the priests and 6 books contained treatises on medicine covering anatomy, medicine, surgery, ophthalmology, gynaecology, and therapeutics. The fact that these books were known in Alexandria in the 2nd century AD reflects the rich background of Egyptian knowledge on which the scientific tradition of Alexandria grew up during the Ptolemaic period. One of the glories of ancient Egypt was medicine.

Two important papyri on ancient Egyptian medicine discovered c.1863 AD at Luxor are the Edwin Smith papyrus and the Ebers papyrus; both go back to c. 1550 BC. The Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus was published  by J.H. Breasted (Chicago 1930)
 it is believed that its original source goes back to 3000 BC. The papyrus, describing 48 types of injury and disease, indicates awareness of the pulse, its relation to the heart, and possibly the movement of blood. It is the earliest known reference to the heart and circulation. The Ebers Papyrus contains 110 pages and is the best preserved of the medical papyri of ancient Egypt. Both papyri give a clear idea of the development of rational medical thinking in ancient Egypt. Early Greek writers like Homer (8th century BC) ascribe the invention of the medical art to the Egyptians. Egyptian physicians established a high ethical code that passed down to us in the Hippocratic Oath. Textual parallels between the Hippocratic medicine and some Egyptian medical papyri have been established. According to J.B. de C.M. Saunders (The Transitions from Ancient Egyptian to Greek Medicine): “Of much greater importance to us is the recognition that many of the statements on pregnancy to be found in the ‘Hippocratic Collection’ and entitled ‘On Diseases of Women’ and ‘On Sterility’ are directly derived from Egyptian sources. One of the most extraordinary examples is the almost word-for-word correspondence which exists between a passage in the Hippocratic work ‘On Sterility’ and one found in both Papyrus Carlsberg VIII and papyrus Kuhn…” According to Herodotus (5th century BC) each doctor in Egypt was “… responsible for the treatment of only one disease… some specializing in diseases of the eyes, others of the head, others of the teeth, others of the stomach, and so on…”. The renown of the Egyptian medicine in the 6th century BC was such that it was often the custom to choose the chief physician of the imperial court in Persia from Egypt.


(http://www.ispub.com/xml/journals/ijh/vol5n1/islam-fig9.jpg)

SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS found in the Temple of Kom Ombo




MEDICINE AT ALEXANDRIA


   A papyrus of the 2nd century BC shows that the Egyptian physicians taught medicine at Alexandria. Egyptian embalmers were at work at Alexandria and they were knownfor their excellent knowledge of anatomy. The Egyptian medical tradition that dissection of the body is an essential prerequisite for practice passed from Alexandria to Rome. The physician Rufus of Ephesus (2nd century AD) who visited Egypt wrote that the Egyptian physicians named the sutures of the skull although they understood Greek poorly.

The Younger (Letters, 10.6), a member of the Roman nobility, wrote to the Emperor Trajan (98-117 AD) for “… making Harpocras my physician a citizen of Rome… I was informed by those who are better skilled in these affairs than I pretend to be, that as he is an Egyptian (from Memphis), I ought first to have obtained for him the freedom of Alexandria, before he was made free of Rome. I confess, indeed, as I was  ignorant of any difference in this case between Egyptians  and other aliens… it is an ignorance I cannot  regret, since it affords me an opportunity of receiving from you a double obligation in favour of the same  person”.

  And so Harpocras was made citizen of Alexandria and Rome. Note that the Egyptians did not have the right enjoyed by other aliens to become citizens  of Rome; they did not even have this right in the cities of Egypt!!
Eudemus of Alexandria (240 BCE)
He was an anatomist who studied the nervous system, human osteology, female sex organs, and experimented in embryological studies.
  Galen (2nd century AD) is the best example of what the excellence of the Egyptian medical tradition of Alexandria can produce. He studied medicine in Alexandria and left many works including his books on anatomy that were originally fifteen in number. He has preserved for us many aspects of the Egyptian medical tradition. According to C.M. Saunders: “…The Egyptian opinion on the superfluities and their putrefaction was absorbed by the Greeks and modified to form an integral part of almost all their later theories.
 Even Galen in his elaboration of the humeral doctrine… used the concept to explain the fevers”. 
  Palladius (Lausiac History, 4th century AD) mentions  his encounter in Alexandria with Saint Isidore  the Physician “… a wonderful man, distinguished in  every respect, both as regards character and knowledge…  hospitaller of the Church of Alexandria”, and  with “… the most holy Macarius, the priest and superintendent  of the hospital for cripples… the hospital  had women on the first floor and men on the ground floor”. Egyptian scientists and physicians were active in the 6th century AD, like Sergius and Harun the Priest who was the chief physician at Alexandria and editor-in-chief of a periodical medical publication. When the Arabs invaded Egypt in 639 AD, a school of medicine was still active at  Alexandria where the Syriac language was used, and indication that many students from the East-Mediterranean countries where studying medicine at Alexandria until the 7th century.
 Finally it is worth to mention that the Egyptian pharmacopoeia based on herbal medicine was used by all the people of the Antiquity, the middle Ages until the 18th century, and is being rediscovered in modern times.

•Published in Watani International newspapers 18 August 2002
 
 The Medical Tradition of a Great City
 

 

 

By Rachad Mounir Shoucri
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
 
 “For in that land (Egypt) the fruitful earth bears drugs in plenty, some good and some dangerous; and there every man is a physician and acquainted with such lore beyond all mankind.” (Homer, 8th century BC) “… As for Isis, the Egyptians say that she was the discoverer of many health giving drugs and was greatly versed in the science of healing;…In proof of this, as they say, they advance not legends, as the Greeks do, but manifests facts; for practically the entire inhabited world is their witness, in that it eagerly contributes to the honours of Isis because she manifests herself in healings.” (Diodorus of Sycily, 1st century BC)

“…studies in the art of healing,
whose help is often required in this
life of ours, which is neither frugal
nor sober, are so enriched from day
to day, that although a physician’s
work itself indicates it, yet in place
of every testimony it is enough to
commend his knowledge of the art,
if he has said that he was trained at
Alexandria”.
Ammianus Marcellinus
4th century AD


 
The Egyptian Background of The Medical School of Alexandria

 
The Egyptian physician Imhotep had a special cult as patron saint of medicine during the Greco-Roman period,
the Greeks identified him with Asclepius. It is suggested that statues of the eminent
personalities of ancient Egypt be placed in all libraries in Egypt.
 
  Clement of Alexandria describes the procession of the priests holding the 42 books of knowledge attributed to Thoth/ Hermes, the books containing the hymns to the gods, the hymns to the king, 4 books of astronomy, 10 books relating to the ceremonies of worship, 10 books

 concerning the gods and the education of the priests; 36 books which were learnt by the priests and 6 books contained treatises on medicine covering anatomy, medicine, surgery, ophthalmology, gynaecology, and therapeutics. The fact that these books were known in Alexandria in the 2nd century AD reflects the rich background of Egyptian knowledge on which the scientific tradition of Alexandria grew up during the Ptolemaic period. One of the glories of ancient Egypt was medicine.

Two important papyri on ancient Egyptian medicine discovered c.1863 AD at Luxor are the Edwin Smith papyrus and the Ebers papyrus; both go back to c. 1550 BC. The Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus was published  by J.H. Breasted (Chicago 1930)
 it is believed that its original source goes back to 3000 BC. The papyrus, describing 48 types of injury and disease, indicates awareness of the pulse, its relation to the heart, and possibly the movement of blood. It is the earliest known reference to the heart and circulation. The Ebers Papyrus contains 110 pages and is the best preserved of the medical papyri of ancient Egypt. Both papyri give a clear idea of the development of rational medical thinking in ancient Egypt. Early Greek writers like Homer (8th century BC) ascribe the invention of the medical art to the Egyptians. Egyptian physicians established a high ethical code that passed down to us in the Hippocratic Oath. Textual parallels between the Hippocratic medicine and some Egyptian medical papyri have been established. According to J.B. de C.M. Saunders (The Transitions from Ancient Egyptian to Greek Medicine): “Of much greater importance to us is the recognition that many of the statements on pregnancy to be found in the ‘Hippocratic Collection’ and entitled ‘On Diseases of Women’ and ‘On Sterility’ are directly derived from Egyptian sources. One of the most extraordinary examples is the almost word-for-word correspondence which exists between a passage in the Hippocratic work ‘On Sterility’ and one found in both Papyrus Carlsberg VIII and papyrus Kuhn…” According to Herodotus (5th century BC) each doctor in Egypt was “… responsible for the treatment of only one disease… some specializing in diseases of the eyes, others of the head, others of the teeth, others of the stomach, and so on…”. The renown of the Egyptian medicine in the 6th century BC was such that it was often the custom to choose the chief physician of the imperial court in Persia from Egypt.

Medicine at Alexandria

   A papyrus of the 2nd century BC shows that the Egyptian physicians taught medicine at Alexandria. Egyptian embalmers were at work at Alexandria and they were knownfor their excellent knowledge of anatomy. The Egyptian medical tradition that dissection of the body is an essential prerequisite for practice passed from Alexandria to Rome. The physician Rufus of Ephesus (2nd century AD) who visited Egypt wrote that the Egyptian physicians named the sutures of the skull although they understood Greek poorly.

The Younger (Letters, 10.6), a member of the Roman nobility, wrote to the Emperor Trajan (98-117 AD) for “… making Harpocras my physician a citizen of Rome… I was informed by those who are better skilled in these affairs than I pretend to be, that as he is an Egyptian (from Memphis), I ought first to have obtained for him the freedom of Alexandria, before he was made free of Rome. I confess, indeed, as I was  ignorant of any difference in this case between Egyptians  and other aliens… it is an ignorance I cannot  regret, since it affords me an opportunity of receiving from you a double obligation in favour of the same  person”.

  And so Harpocras was made citizen of Alexandria and Rome. Note that the Egyptians did not have the right enjoyed by other aliens to become citizens  of Rome; they did not even have this right in the cities of Egypt!!
Eudemus of Alexandria (240 BCE)
He was an anatomist who studied the nervous system, human osteology, female sex organs, and experimented in embryological studies.
  Galen (2nd century AD) is the best example of what the excellence of the Egyptian medical tradition of Alexandria can produce. He studied medicine in Alexandria and left many works including his books on anatomy that were originally fifteen in number. He has preserved for us many aspects of the Egyptian medical tradition. According to C.M. Saunders: “…The Egyptian opinion on the superfluities and their putrefaction was absorbed by the Greeks and modified to form an integral part of almost all their later theories.
 Even Galen in his elaboration of the humeral doctrine… used the concept to explain the fevers”. 
  Palladius (Lausiac History, 4th century AD) mentions  his encounter in Alexandria with Saint Isidore  the Physician “… a wonderful man, distinguished in  every respect, both as regards character and knowledge…  hospitaller of the Church of Alexandria”, and  with “… the most holy Macarius, the priest and superintendent  of the hospital for cripples… the hospital  had women on the first floor and men on the ground floor”. Egyptian scientists and physicians were active in the 6th century AD, like Sergius and Harun the Priest who was the chief physician at Alexandria and editor-in-chief of a periodical medical publication. When the Arabs invaded Egypt in 639 AD, a school of medicine was still active at  Alexandria where the Syriac language was used, and indication that many students from the East-Mediterranean countries where studying medicine at Alexandria until the 7th century.
 Finally it is worth to mention that the Egyptian pharmacopoeia based on herbal medicine was used by all the people of the Antiquity, the middle Ages until the 18th century, and is being rediscovered in modern times.

•Published in Watani International newspapers 18 August 2002


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: Bianca on June 01, 2007, 11:41:39 am


ANCIENT EGYPT

The History, People and Culture of the Nile Valley
 
 

  Ancient Egyptian Medicine

Surviving medical texts, such as the Edwin Smith and Ebers Papyri, show the high level of medical practice that the ancient Egyptian physicians attained. George M. Burden M.D. looks at some unexpectedly modern-sounding case histories and finds that treatments surprisingly similar to modern ones are documented.

In ancient Egypt, a clever pharaoh could earn kudos by dispatching one of his top medical specialists to help a neighbouring monarch, often having been requested to do so specifically, such was the reputation of the ancient medics. Of course this sometimes backfired. Herodotus reports in his Histories that an eye specialist sent to the court of the Persian king Cambyses became so annoyed with his pharaoh for separating him from his family, that he incited the Persian monarch to invade Egypt successfully. In another case, Herodotus tells how the Persian king Darius was about to execute all his Egyptian doctors for mishandling his injured ankle. The Greek doctor who successfully treated Darius implored the king to spare his colleagues, to which he agreed. Perhaps we can attribute the recorded ninety-four year long reign of Pharaoh Pepy II at least partly to the ministrations of his doctors. He is still on record as the longest ruling monarch in history beating others such as Queen Victoria, Louis XIV of France and Franz Josef of Austria by many years.

On a recent trip to Egypt I had the opportunity to see and photograph various medically-related subjects, ranging from artistic depictions of surgery and surgical instruments to sculptures and paintings showing actual pathology. Perhaps the most ancient existing depictions of surgery are found in the Old Kingdom tomb of Ankh-Ma-Hor at Saqqara. Over four thousand years old, these reliefs depict surgical procedures on the toes and circumcision. At the temple of Kom Ombo, in Lower Egypt, I came across a carved wall depicting an array of surgical instruments that would not look out of place in a surgical theatre today. This included a variety of scalpels, curettes, forceps and dilators, as well as scissors and medicine bottles. The Coptic Museum in Cairo has an actual display of bronze medical instruments of all types dating from the days of Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt.

There is no shortage of depictions of pathology in pharaonic Egyptian art. I discovered several representations of achondroplastic dwarfism, including the famous sculpture of the dwarf Seneb and his family in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Seneb became an affluent and respected member of his society, indicating that his condition did not present an insurmountable barrier to advancement, even in ancient Egypt. I also found dwarves depicted making jewellery on the walls of the Old Kingdom tomb of Mereruka at Saqqara. They were reputed to be quite skilled at this craft, due to their tiny hands.

(http://www.ancientegyptmagazine.com/images/33medicine1.jpg)

HESIRA

The first known image of a doctor? Wooden relief of Hesira, dating to the Third Dynasty, and found at Saqqara. Hesira was a scribe, possibly at the time of Djoser, but is also described as a doctor and dentist. The panel is now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo.
Photo: RP.


Visiting the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, in the Amarna room one could be forgiven for thinking that theories of extra-terrestrial influences on ancient Egypt might actually be based on fact. The Eighteenth Dynasty pharaoh Akhenaten is depicted as having a bizarre elongated feminine body shape with a narrow face and long tapering digits. His six daughters were sculpted with oddly elongated heads. Today it is generally believed this was simply a new artistic/religious convention. In the past others have speculated that Akhenaten may have suffered from Marfan’s Syndrome, a hereditary condition associated with a body shape remarkably similar to Akhenaten’s, as depicted in his statuary.

Additionally, I found examples of art works that may represent microfilariasis, a parasitic infestation that can block the lymphatic system. The result is huge distention of parts of the body, usually the legs, known as elephantiasis. A possible example of this disease is shown in a painted relief from a chapel of Queen Hatshepsut’s temple, which documents her trade expedition to Punt (probably present-day Somalia). The Queen of Punt is shown as having a massive lower body, which some speculate could be due to microfilariasis.

Another example of disease found in the Egyptian Museum is a small figurine depicting an individual with a marked kyphosis, or forward curvature of the spine. The male figure appears too young to be suffering from osteoporosis, the softening of the bones that usually occurs in old age. Perhaps this is a congenital kyphosis, or perhaps it is due to pathological bone fracture from untreated infection, such as tuberculosis. He does not seem to have enough of a twist to his spine to warrant the diagnosis of adolescent kypho-scoliosis, a developmental disorder where the spine gradually grows in the form of an S-shaped curve in adolescence.

Probable cases of polio are also depicted on reliefs from many eras, where we see men leaning on sticks with what appear to be shrunken, atrophic limbs. Examination of the royal mummy Siptah also reveals characteristics of this wasting viral disease.

Crusted lesions on the faces and upper bodies of the mummies of Rameses V and Amenhotep II are felt to represent smallpox, a viral infection that has plagued mankind for millennia.

The ancient Egyptians had a lively interest and acquaintance with medicine and pathology. Many believe they laid the foundations for modern medical practice. Even today physicians and pharmacists still use the R/ symbol. This figure, which looks like a capital "R" with a line through the oblique portion of the letter forming an "x", has prefaced most prescriptions for centuries. Few of today’s medical personnel realize that they are in fact asking the blessing of the god Horus, whose eye it represents.

One physician who would have recognized the significance of the Eye of Horus was the author of the Edwin Smith Papyrus. It is the oldest surgical text in the world, most likely written during the third millennium BC, and it is composed of forty-eight concise orthopedic and neurosurgical cases. The injuries described may have been taken from casualties ensuing during the construction of the pyramids. Egyptologist Edwin Smith purchased the papyrus in 1862 after it was discovered between the legs of a mummy from the Upper Egyptian necropolis of Thebes. No doubt a prized possession of the deceased owner, this version was transcribed during the seventeenth century BC with a "modern" commentary after each case.

The papyrus was translated by Professor J. Breasted in 1930 with the help of a physician colleague and the now famous text finally ended up in the collection of the New York Academy of Sciences. Any modern physician will find the unknown author’s format quite familiar, with sections devoted to history and physical examination, followed by a diagnosis, prognosis and treatment plan. Though ancient Egypt’s priests often had medical training, there is no evidence in this text of the prayers and amulets that often were used by this class. Instead our anonymous surgeon laid out elegant and simple diagnostic and treatment programs some paralleling those of modern medicine almost exactly.

For example in case 12, "A Break in the Nasal Bones", treatment is described as follows: "Thou shouldst force it to fall in, so it is lying in place, and clean out for him the interior of both his nostrils with two swabs of linen until every worm [clot] of blood which coagulates in the inside of his two nostrils comes forth. Now afterward thou shouldst place two plugs of linen saturated with greases and put into his nostrils. Thou shouldst place for him two stiff rolls of linen, bound on. Thou shouldst treat him afterward with grease, honey and lint every day until he recovers." In other words the nose is set, clot evacuated and splints of stiffened linen are applied. Non-stick grease soaked dressings are used to pack the nose. This is much the same approach a modern otolaryngologist would use.

In case 35, "A Fracture of the Clavicle", treatment of a patient is described in this way: "Thou shouldst place him prostrate on his back, with something folded between his two shoulder blades; thou shouldst spread out his two shoulders in order to stretch apart his collar bone until the break falls into place. Thou shouldst make for him two splints of linen, and thou shouldst apply one of them both on the inside of his upper arm. Thou shouldst bind it …" In other words draw the shoulder blades back and fit the patient with a "figure of eight" splint, exactly what a modern orthopedics text would advise.

The twenty-first century (AD) intern confronted with a dislocated jaw need look no further than case 25 of the Edwin Smith Papyrus. "If thou examinest a man having a dislocation in his mandible, shouldst thou find this mouth open and his mouth cannot close for him, thou shouldst put thy thumbs upon the ends of the two rami of the mandible in the inside of his mouth and thy two claws [meaning two groups of fingers] under his chin, and thou shouldst cause them to fall back so they rest in their places." This is exactly the technique I learned in the Emergency Room!

(http://www.ancientegyptmagazine.com/images/33medicine2.jpg)

The head of the mummy of Rameses V, which might exhibit the signs of smallpox.
Photo from Elliot Smith The Royal Mummies.



In many cases the treatment was beyond the capability of the time and the surgeon simply states that this is "… an ailment not to be treated", i.e. with a very poor prognosis. Nevertheless he meticulously describes the physical findings of such injuries as in case 31, "Dislocation of a Cervical Vertebra", where he writes if "… thou find him unconscious of his two arms and his two legs on account of it, while his phallus is erected … and urine dribbles from his member without him knowing it … ; it is a dislocation of a vertebra of the neck extending to his back-bone …" This is the world’s first known description of quadriplegia.

In case 6, "A Gaping Wound in the Head With Compound Comminuted Fracture of the Skull and Rupture of the Meningeal Membranes", we get the first description the brain and its gyri, and the meninges. "If thou examinest a man having a gaping wound in his head, penetrating to the bone, smashing his skull, and rending open the brain … , thou shouldst palpate that smash which is in his skull like those corrugations [i.e. gyri] which form in molten copper, and something therein throbbing a fluttering under the fingers …" The pulsation of the brain is described and later the author observes that its absence is a very serious sign (which indeed it is, representing serious brain compression).

In case 8, "Compound Comminuted Fracture of the Skull Displaying No Visible External Injury", the ancient surgeon articulately describes hemiplegia (paralysis on one side of the body) secondary to a head injury: "Shouldst thou find that there is a swelling protruding … while his eye is askew because of it [conjugate deviation of the eyes], on the side of him having that injury which is in his skull; and he walks shuffling with his sole on the side of him having that injury which is in his skull ...", the author further states, "thou shouldst account him one whom something entering from outside has smitten …" It appears here that he may be trying to differentiate hemiplegia caused by an "outside" injury as opposed to similar findings that may occur from an "inside" cause such as a stroke.

In other parts of the text the ancient surgeon describes suturing lacerations, and treatment of infection and wounds with nonstick dressings and hyperosmotic agents (animal grease and honey respectively). In case 39 it is suggested that an abscess that "… arises in his breast dries up as soon as it opens of itself." In other words, as my old surgery professor said, "Pus under pressure should be punctured." The text appears to differentiate between breast tumors and infections, describing the former in case 45, "Bulging Tumors on the Breast", as "… very cool, there being no fever at all therein when thy hand touches them; they have no granulation, they form no fluid, they do not generate secretions of fluid, and they are bulging to thy hand." Is this the first description of a breast cancer?

The Edwin Smith Papyrus is only one of a number of remarkable Egyptian medical texts discovered. Almost as famous is the the Ebers Papyrus, also first purchased by Edwin Smith and subsequently sold to Egyptologist George Ebers, after whom it is named. It is one hundred and ten pages in length, the longest discovered. It is to family doctors what the Smith Papyrus is to surgeons. In addition to a surgical section, it contains descriptions of the heart and its vessels, and discussions of various diseases such as those of the stomach, anus, teeth, ear nose and throat, and skin. Skin diseases are divided into ulcerative, irritative and exfoliative.

A section on pharmacy includes various treatments including the use of castor oil as a laxative. There’s even a section on medical philosophy.

Another text, the Kahun Gynecological Papyrus, deals with diseases of women and dates from the nineteenth century BC. It contains sections on topics such as contraception and the diagnosis of pregnancy.

It’s easy to see why the Egyptians were revered in the ancient world for their medical knowledge. It boggles the mind to think that these texts pre-date the Roman Empire by as many millennia as Rome pre-dates us. To Egyptians, even Hippocrates was a mere upstart.

The ancient Egyptian physicians at their best show a logical and suprisingly up-to-date approach to the diagnosis, classification and treatment of disease. Perhaps "modern" medical thought is not as modern as we once thought.

George Burden

Dr Burden is a family physician who has practised in the Atlantic Canadian town of Elmsdale for over twenty-five years. He is also Chairman of the Quebec/Atlantic Canada branch of the Explorers’ Club, an avid freelance travel and adventure journalist and co-author of the book Amazing Medical Stories.


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: Bianca on June 01, 2007, 01:16:23 pm
                                      A N   ' O L D '   R E M E D Y   
 


(http://www.chanvre-info.ch/info/images/cannabis_sativa1.jpg)
 
 Cannabis seeds were used for food in China by 6000 B.C.E. and for textiles in China by 4000 B.C.E.

    Hemp was used for rope and sails as well as fine linens in ancient Egypt. Hemp rope was found in the eighteenth-dynasty tomb of Akhenaten (Amenophis IV) at El Amarna, including a three ply hemp cord in the hole of a stone and a large mat bound with hemp cords.

    In the third century C.E. the Roman emperor Aurelian imposed a tax on Egyptian cannabis.

    Cannabis was first documented in Kemet (ancient Egyt) around 2000 B.C.E. to treat sore eyes and cataracts. According to Diodorus Siculus (a Sicilian Greek historian who lived from 90 to 21 B.C.E.) Egyptian women used cannabis as a medication to relieve sorrow and bad humour.

    Cannabis is mentioned as a medication in the following ancient Egyptian medical texts: Ramesseum III Papyrus (1700 B.C.E.), Eber’s Papyrus (1600 B.C.E.), the Berlin Papyrus (1300 B.C.E.), and the Chester Beatty VI Papyrus (1300 B.C.E.). The Eber’s Papyrus is the oldest known complete medical textbook in existence. Most scholars believe that it is copy of a much earlier text, probably from around 3100 B.C.E.

 
Section of Eber’s Papyrus, Formula No. 821
Location Plate #96, Lines 7-8
 
Text in Demotic script

    Formula No. 821. Translation: “Cannabis is pounded [ground] in honey and administered into her ****. This is a contraction.” The 1907 Merck Index (page 132) lists emulsions of cannabis seeds to treat the effects of gonorrhea. The 1909 King’s American Dispensatory lists hemp seed infusion for use in after-pains and in the bearing down sensation accompanying prolapsus uteri. The 1927 U.S. Dispensatory lists hemp seed oil for inflammations of the mucous membrane.

 
Section of Eber’s Papyrus, Formula No. 618
Location Plate #78, Lines 10-11
 
text in Demotic script

    Formula No. 618 translation: “Remedy for toe-nail (or fingernail). Ingredients honey, ochre cannabis, and [other ingredients which have not yet been translated]”


    Also in the Eber’s Papyrus, a mixture of cannabis and carob was used as an enema or combined with other ingredients for use as a poultice.

    The Ramses III Papyrus provides a prescription for cannabis use in the treatment of glaucoma: “A treatment for the eyes: celery, cannabis is ground and left in the dew overnight. Both eyes of the patient are to be washed with it in the morning.”

(http://www.delange.org/Egyptian_Museum/Ramses2.jpg)
Mummy of Ramses II - the most virile and long-lived Pharaoh

 Cannabis pollen was found on the mummy of Ramses II (nineteenth dynasty). Initially scholars debated as to whether the cannabis pollen was ancient or modern contamination. Additional research showed cannabis pollen in all known royal mummies. No known ancient Egyptian mummies were wrapped in hemp cloth.

    The intoxicating properties of cannabis were virtually unknown among Europeans until the eighteenth century (1700s) when travellers to Egypt discovered the drug. European witches knew of cannabis from antiquity, when cannabis was one of the most commonly used medications among Celts and Norse.

    The Smoke Eaters at the temple at Thebes used cannabis incense for mortality rituals.

(http://www.teenwitch.com/herbs/pict/SeshatLuxorfulloptim.jpg)
 
The ancient Egyptian goddess Seshat (above in her role as the Goddess who measures) is depicted with a hemp leaf in her head dress. Pharaoh Tuthmosis III (1479 to 1425 B.C.E.) called her Sefkhet-Abwy (She of the seven points). Hemp was used to make measuring cords. Seshat was the goddess of libraries, knowledge, and geomancy, among other things. Spell 10 of the Coffin text states “Seshat opens the door of heaven for you”.


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: Bianca on June 01, 2007, 02:31:39 pm
                                                   R E F L E X O L O G Y




(http://www.foot-reflexologist.com/images/egpyt2%20page%201.GIF)



  Reflexology treatment is a holistic therapy that works on the whole body rather than the condition or disease. It works on the principle that there are reflexes in both the hands and feet that are associated or connected to all the various systems, organs and glands in the body. The body is made up of 10 zones and the skillful application of therapy to a single zone will influence all parts of the body within that zone. Reflexology originates from the ancient Egyptians and works on the same principle as acupuncture, although using the hands as tools and not needles. As well as being an effective therapy for many disorders, reflexology is an immensely relaxing experience. Reflexology as a gentle treatment that can be used to treat many common conditions such as: sciatica, sinusitis, arthritis, insomnia, head aches, odema, tinnitus, shingles, p.m.s., vertigo, muscular & sports injuries, migraine.

2330 BC—The first findings of reflexology date back to 2330 BC, over 5,000 years ago. A wall painting was found in the tomb of Ankhmahor (the highest official after the king) at Saqqara near Cairo. One man had his hands on the other man's foot. And the translation read: “Don't hurt me!”. The Egyptian physician replied, “I shall so you will praise me”.
60 BC—Cleopatra is said to have worked on Mark Anthony's feet in 60 BC.



(http://www.halcyontherapies.com/images/egyptian.jpg)

Reflexology is a healing method for which the origins are said to date back as far as the sixth dynasty, Egypt 2500BC, the evidence for which is shown by a painting found in the tomb of an ancient Physician, Ankhmahor. The inscription reads, "Don't hurt me". The reply "I shall act so you praise me".

 
This natural healing art is based on the principle that the body is mapped out on the hands and feet in the form of pressure points or 'reflexes'. It works alongside conventional medicine in some cases to help alleviate stress related problems such as migraine, premenstrual syndrome, asthma, digestive disorders, skin conditions such as eczema and acne, irritable bowel syndrome and chronic pain from conditions such as sciatica and arthritis. It is also sometimes used for neurological symptoms such those seen in multiple sclerosis. Reflexology is a safe, gentle and effective form of medicine. It is holistic in its approach and takes a broader view of illness, helping individuals of all ages with a wide range of ailments.

How does it work?
There are over 7,000 nerve endings in the feet. By manipulating these reflex points, on the feet or hands, the neural pathways are cleared of energy blockages. The corresponding organs, glands or muscles receive an enhanced supply of blood and oxygen-rich nutrients, meaning they can work at maximum efficiency. The effects of this are:

Bringing the whole body back into homeostasis or 'balance' (especially with hormonal imbalances)
Inducing deep relaxation whilst subtly boosting energy levels
Boosting the immune system which can is normally weakened by constant stress

Stimulating circulation, removing toxins

Stabilising breathing patterns (also for improved sleep)
 
As approximately 75% of today's diseases can be attributed to stress, the calming effects of Reflexology allow the exhibition and then dispersal of symptoms such as gastro intestinal upset, palpitations and cardiovascular problems which may be the result of tension of nerve plexus' supplying the vital organs.

(http://clendening.kumc.edu/dc/rm/a_105p.jpg)

Tomb of a physician called Sesi who obviously
employed the technique that we today call
Reflexology


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: Bianca on June 01, 2007, 04:01:22 pm




(http://www.pharmacy.wsu.edu/History/images/picture04.jpg)




DAYS OF THE PAPYRUS EBERS



Though Egyptian medicine dates from about 2900 B.C., best known and most important pharmaceutical record is the "Papyrus Ebers" (1500 B.C.), a collection of 800 prescriptions, mentioning 700 drugs. Pharmacy in ancient Egypt was conducted by two or more echelons: gatherers and preparers of drugs, and "chiefs of fabrication," or head pharmacists. They are thought to have worked in the "House of Life." In a setting such as this, the "Papyrus Ebers" might have been dictated to a scribe by a head pharmacist as he directed compounding activities in the drug room.


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: Bianca on June 01, 2007, 04:11:23 pm




JUST WHAT THE DOCTOR ORDERED IN ANCIENT EGYPT




By Ilene Springer

The place: Thebes. The time: Two thousand BC. You�re an Egyptian scribe, on assignment for an important vizier, preparing to take account of various supplies that have just come down (up) the Nile. And what do you have? A terrible, throbbing toothache. What�s the answer? Mashed garlic in a solution of equal parts of vinegar and water.

Or you�re an Egyptian wife preparing for a big banquet at your home. All is ready: the cooked geese, the fresh mango, the newly plucked lotus blossoms out of the pond. And what do you have? The start of a scratchy sore throat. What�s the answer? A rinse or gargle with garlic and water/vinegar.

Garlic was an important healing agent to the ancient Egyptians just as it still is today to the modern Coptic Egyptians and to people in all Mediterranean countries. In fact, you could think of garlic as the aspirin of the ancient Egypt.

Medical advances in ancient times

The Egyptians can claim credit for yet another achievement that influences us today: one of the first populations to have practicing physicians. Doctors in Egypt usually went through years of hard training at temple schools in the Various arts of interrogating the patient, inspection or examination, palpation and treatment.

(http://www.touregypt.net/magazine/mag05012001/doctor11.jpg)

We cannot talk about ancient Egyptian medicine without speaking of the world�s earliest recorded physician, Imhotep, the prime minister of Zoser�s reign (founder of the Third Dynasty) and also chief architect of the first pyramid at Saqqara. He was renown as a great healer, and centuries after his death he was worshipped as a god of medicine. Today, a statue of Imhotep stands in the Hall of Immortals at the International College of Surgeons in Chicago. Peseshet was the first known female physician in the world, practicing during the Fourth Dynasty. Says Sameh M. Arab, MD, Associate Professor of Cardiology, Alexandria University in Egypt, "Peseshet was titled Lady Overseer of the Lady Physicians and supervised a corps of ladies who were qualified physicians, not midwives. She graduated midwives at the periankh (medical school) of Sais."

(http://www.touregypt.net/magazine/mag05012001/doctor12.jpg)

Dr. Sameh M. Arab, M.D.

The Egyptians started practicing medicine very early, around 4000 BC, during what is known as the Badarian times--before Egypt was a united nation. For example, evidence from this time period suggests that the green eye paint, malachite, was used to prevent a certain parasitic eye disease.

Egyptian medical practitioners knew a lot about the human body without the modern advantages of X-rays and CAT scans. Their knowledge came primarily through the process of mummification in which they removed and examined different parts of the body after death. They knew about the various fluids of the brain, the exact location of the heart and that the arteries were hollow and that blood circulated throughout the body.

But the Egyptian physicians were also excellent observers of their patients. They knew by the way an individual moved if he was suffering from a dislocated vertebrae. They knew that the urine of a pregnant woman germinated certain grains more rapidly than urine from a non-pregnant woman, according to Dr. Arab.

There were also specialists. There is archaeological evidence of an early dentist�s skill from the Fourth Dynasty. The mandible of the poor suffering patient was found in which a modern day-like process was used to drain an abscess under the first molar. From tombstones, we also learn about physicians who call themselves palace eye physician, palace stomach bowel physician and even guardian of the anus, according to Professor Hamed A. Ead of the University of Cairo, Giza. There were also physicians who dealt with the medical conditions of women�s fertility, pregnancy and contraception.

Written proof

The main sources for our knowledge of ancient Egyptian medicine comes primarily from seven papyri that date from the Twelfth Dynasty to the Twentieth (2000 to 1090 BC). But these archives themselves reveal a much earlier practice of medicine back to the Old Kingdom.

The most famous of the papyri are the Smith Papyrus and the Elders, named after their discoverers and interpreters. The Elbers roll is over 20 meters long and 30 centimeters high. It contains 877 recipes concerning a whole host of diseases and symptoms, including that of the eye, skin, head and face; surgical procedures; diseases of women and even comments on housekeeping. Spells are recommended in only twelve cases and in the remainder, the therapy seems quite appropriate to the condition. The Elbers Papyrus is virtually a medical treatise on all known medical interventions at the time, one of the earliest ever written, over 36 centuries ago!

The Edwin Smith Papyrus much shorter and is actually a copy of a much older document dating back to probably the Old Kingdom. The most important part is the ancient author�s addition of a whole series of glossaries which explain obsolete terms used when the papyrus was first written. The Smith Papyrus also discusses actual cases dealing with wounds, each concentrated in different regions of the body---the head, throat and neck, sternum, and spinal column.

The �office visit� in ancient Egypt

Let�s say you�re a citizen of ancient Egypt and suffering from cystitis, a recurring, very painful type of urinary tract condition. What happens with the doctor? Probably the doctor would make a home visit if you could afford it. The first thing he might do is examine your pulse, although it was never really clear what information the ancient Egyptians learned from this procedure.

(http://www.touregypt.net/magazine/mag05012001/doctor3.jpg)

A Relief of What is Thought to be Surgical Instruments

Then your physician would interrogate you, according to the Smith Papyrus, finding out about your general condition and symptoms, just as doctors do today, but probably a bit longer than the restricted fifteen minutes. The doctor might ask you if you had any enemies or did anything recently to incur anyone�s wrath. If you thought so, he might chant a spell to help rid the entity that was causing your cystitis. Or give you an amulet or healing charm to wear.

Then the doctor would examine you with a lot of hands-on observation, probing here, palpating there. He might ask for an urine sample to look at or test when he left your bedside. Finally, he would pronounce what he thought was wrong with you and what your treatment should be. In your case, it would not be surprising if the doctor ordered you to take the herb coriander, still used today for medicinal purposes by the Egyptian Copts. You would be instructed to make the leaves into a tea, which was known to soothe a variety of stomach and urinary ailments, including cystitis. Coriander seeds, in fact, were discovered in the tomb of Tutankhamun and in other ancient burial sites.

The ancient Egyptians were the prototype of the holistic health practitioner. They treated the whole person: physically, mentally, spiritually and even socially. Many of the medicinal herbs we use today were first used by the ancient Egyptians. Much of our knowledge of anatomy was handed down to us by these ancient healers from their experience with mummification. And the doctor back in ancient Egypt, although lacking in our high tech medical equipment, seemed to recognize a very important thing we may have forgotten: how important it is to listen to your patient.

###

Ilene Springer writes on ancient life in Egypt and Israel. She is a student of museum studies at Harvard University.



SOURCES:

On the Web:

http://www.levity.com/alchemy/islam22.html

http://www.arabworldbooks.com/articles8.html
 
Ancient Egyptian Medicine by John F. Nunn


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: Bianca on June 02, 2007, 08:10:09 am



(http://www.crystalinks.com/mummytoe.jpg)



December 22, 2000 - BBC

The discovery of a false toe attached to the foot of an mummy provides more evidence of the sophistication of ancient Egyptian medicine. The well-crafted wooden toe was discovered by a team investigating remains found in a burial chamber believed to be in the ancient city of Thebes. Pottery fragments found in the chamber dated the find at approximately the 21st or 22nd Egyptian dynasty, or between 1065BC and 740BC.

They found that the woman, aged between 50 and 55 at death had lost the big toe on the right foot - probably by amputation - during life, as soft tissue and skin had regrown over the wound. In addition, a wooden prosthetic toe - perfectly shaped to match the lost toe, even to the point of having a nail - had been created and attached to the foot with textile laces.

The regrowth of tissue, allied with definite scuff marks on the base of the wooden toe, seem to indicate a functional role rather than simply an effort by embalmers to make the body appear complete in readiness for the afterlife. Examination of the rest of the body suggest that this may well be one of the earliest examples of someone suffering diabetic complications. The woman had suffered significant hardening of the arteries, but not just the large arteries, but also the tiny vessels supplying the extremities. Although they cannot prove this, the researchers suggest that the toe may have had to be amputated after the blood supply was cut, and gangrene set in.


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: Bianca on June 02, 2007, 12:39:01 pm


                                    SIGERIST'S "THE BEGINNINGS OF MEDICINE


It was the medical men who decided what illness was and what it was not, as well as he decided which illness was "curable" and which was not.

Hence the production of illness and the selection of the "illness-begotten goods" [Krankengut] – Background: power.

Treatment of the ill one by a magician – medical man = the origin of racism and its first manifestation. In the main, the magician – medical man and the tribal chief and headman are one and the same person.

The one makes the other ill, or causes him to fall ill (by the means of magic): the only one who is the "master" of magic and spells is the medical man. In order to avoid being suspected (of having "produced" illness), it was necessary that he "explained" the magic: separation of "cause and effect".

Therefore:
          1.) "Magic is caused" by a human being, and
          2.) its "effects" consist in the change (illness) of another human being by the magic spell casted on it.

In this way, the magician managed to kill three birds with one stone: i.e. to treat the one who was suffering from the spell cast on him, to treat the other who was said to have cast the spell, while he himself was  sitting pretty.  In the end, this leads to the conclusion that people were (and are still) convinced that one could (and can) get rid of one’s illness if one could burden someone else with it, hence the magician’s prominent position!

The determining moments of what is being diagnosed by the shaman as illness are the spirits and the ill ones. That is something lifeless, dead, and immaterial which is believed to produce effects on the alive.

lllness is beheld as punishment. One is being punished by illness if one is violating a "taboo". These are the prerequisites needed for the medicine man to enter in action in order to find out the "reasons" of the punishment and, according to his findings, either to eliminate illness (by transfering it to an object) or to let die the ill one. The "best" thing to do for the ill one is to confess and to make a sacrifice.

Escaping from epidemic diseases, abandonment of the infected or, in the case of settled tribes, killing of those affected by it in order to eliminate illness by eliminating the ill one. This includes the killing of old people and of the weak, of cripples, partly out of "compassion" with the ill one.

EGYPT
 
Everythere and for all time, labor is being considered one of the main determining factors of illness and "health" (labor which has as its object: labor, e.g. cloning workers, in German: Arbeit der Arbeit).

 Magical-religious medicine was the medicine of the poor, whereas "scientific" medicine was mainly at the disposal of the rich (rare drugs cost a lot of "money"). Only the sons of wealthy families became doctors. Sakhmet, the lioness-headed goddess, mistress of the plague, was (most probably) the patroness of the surgeons.

(http://www.thylazine.org/archives/thyla8/Egypt13a.jpg)
KOM OMBO Temple - A Place of Healing and Medical Knowledge


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: Bianca on June 02, 2007, 12:54:36 pm




(http://www.melitatrips.com/gallery/egypt_2006/hider/images/0403-7-Medical.jpg)

MEDICAL HIEROGLYPHS AT KOM OMBO


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: Bianca on June 02, 2007, 01:06:12 pm
 



                                      THE WHITE WILLOW - A HEALING JOURNEY



by Andrea Gauster for BIOL2553

Found growing along streams, rivers, and in other wet milieus of Europe, Asia, and North America (Ferry, 2001), the white willow (Salix alba) is the oldest known (Wurges and Frey, 2005) and quite possibly one of the most influential medicinal and therapeutic plants in history (Jeffreys, 2004). Also referred to as the European willow or bay willow, the white willow can reach 11-25 m (35-75 ft) in height (Wurges and Frey, 2005) and its use as an analgesic has been recorded as far back as 3000 BC (Jeffreys, 2004). The white willow is part of the Salicaceae family (Simpson and Ogorzaly, 2001) and is one of over 300 known willow species (Wurges and Frey, 2005). Often credited for its implication in the drug Aspirin, the recorded history of Salix alba dates back to the Pharaohs whose medical scripts were discovered in 1862 as the product of one man’s passion for Egyptian culture and two grave robber’s fervor for money (Jeffreys, 2004).

(http://www.macalu.it/verde/pagine/salice.gif)
(http://www.mt.nrcs.usda.gov/technical/ecs/forestry/images/willow.jpg)

Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt in the late 1700’s caused new world scholars and laymen alike to become enthralled with the Pharaohs and tombs of this prehistoric empire and Edwin Smith, an American expatriate, was no exception (Jeffreys, 2004). Smith arrived in Egypt in 1853 armed with an international education, a profound knowledge of Egyptian antiquity, and the ability to read hieratic texts (Jeffreys, 2004). It was his 12£ purchase of two papyri from a pair of tomb raiders in 1862 that revealed the medical ailments and procedures practiced by the ancient peoples of Egypt; many of which included the use of S. alba (Jeffreys, 2004).

Allegedly stolen from a tomb located in the prestigious ruins of Thebes, the papyri date back to 1534 BC, and are rewritten copies of medical scrolls from over a thousand years earlier (Jeffreys, 2004). Evidently, the Egyptians were aware of the therapeutic properties of white willow (Wurges and Frey, 2005) and used to prepare an all purpose tonic by mixing the bark of S. alba with beer, figs, dates and various other compounds (Jeffreys, 2004). The use of white willow by the Roman, Greek, Persian, and Ptolemaic civilizations (Wurges and Frey, 2005) a thousand years after the burial of the scrolls is likely explained by the great influence of the Egyptian empire on other cultures (Jeffreys, 2004). Hippocrates used the bark to relieve fever and pain (Wurges and Frey, 2005) while Celsus used its leaf extracts to relieve the common signs of inflammation in 30 AD Rome (Jeffreys, 2004). Dioscorides included the white willows ailing powers in his De Materia Medica (Jeffreys, 2004) and used a concoction of soaked leaves to relieve aching body parts (Simpson and Ogorzaly, 2001). Salix alba was also used as an analgesic by Claudius Galen who treated the Greek gladiators and the emperor Marcus Aurelius circa 200 AD (Jeffreys, 2004). The use of white willow and much accumulated medical insight was lost however in the vicious times that followed (Jeffreys, 2004). Other cultures continued to find uses for the tree (Jeffreys, 2004) as described in prehistoric pharmacopoeias of the physicians of China in 500BC, and it’s use much later by the Cherokee, Blackfoot, Iroquois and Eskimo tribes in therapeutic teas (Wurges and Frey, 2005). White willow’s true potential however, was not revived until the eighteenth century (Jeffreys, 2004).

With malaria prevailing in Europe, it may seem intuitive that when Reverend Edward Stone noticed the bitter taste of white willow bark in 1758, he associated the tree with the healing properties of Cinchona which had a similar flavour and was used to cure this disease (Jeffreys, 2004). Cinchona however, did not grow well in Europe, and it’s affiliation with the Roman Catholic Church as well as it’s cost, made it a socially deplorable treatment (Jeffreys, 2004). Stone collected S. alba bark, dried it, and used it to treat those with malaria (Jeffreys, 2004). His discovery became published five years later but it was after the Enlightenment that it reclaimed importance (Jeffreys, 2004) when industrialization, medical advancements, and warfare revolutionized mankind’s capability and determination (Kendall et al. 2004) to develop a much needed cure for various maladies (Jeffreys, 2004).

It is unknown whether Stone’s publication was read by 19th century European scientists attempting to isolate the active ingredient of white willow (Jeffreys, 2004). Following the successful isolation of various alkaloids such as quinine, opium, and caffeine however, the race was on to identify the healing compound in S. alba which, was now known to relieve headache, fever, and various pains (Jeffreys, 2004). Between 1828 and 1838 the active ingredient of white willow, salicin, was isolated independently by Joseph Buchner of the University of Munich, Henri Leroux of France, and Raffaele Piria of Italy; the latter developing the more potent acidic form salicylic acid (Jeffreys, 2004). Salicylates became widely used for food preservation on long voyages (Samter, 2000) but it became evident that their ingestion was highly irritating to the gastrointestinal tract (Simpson and Ogorzaly, 2001). This set the stage for the development of acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) commonly known as Aspirin or, in chemical terms, 2-(acetyloxy)-benzoic acid (Samter, 2000).

It was the illustrious French chemist Charles Gerhardt who discerned that the plant derived salicylic acid was composed of a benzene ring with an attached hydroxyl group and carboxyl group, the former of which is responsible for upsetting the stomach (Jeffreys, 2004). By replacing the hydroxyl with an acetyl group, which is less intrusive on the digestive tract, Gerhardt became the first to produce ASA in 1853 (Jeffreys, 2004). His product was impure, however, and the process lengthy (Jeffreys, 2004).

Salicylic acid Acetalsalicylic acid
 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salicylic_acid http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspirin

The synthesis of ASA was improved over the years by various European chemists who, lacking funding, industrial expertise, and proof that ASA was medicinally useful, could not make the compound a success (Jeffreys, 2004). It took the expansion of the already established Friedrich Bayer & Company of Germany and the ambitious minds of Dr. Arthur Eichengruen and Dr. Felix Hoffman to finally synthesize ASA in 1897 (Jeffreys, 2004) and make it commercially available in 1899 (Jeffreys, 2004). They did this by heating salicylic acid with aceticanhydride (Samter, 2000). Whether Hoffman read Gerhardt’s ASA synthesis in Annalen der Chemie und Pharmacie published over 30 years earlier is unknown, not surprisingly however, Bayer Aspirin ignores this possibility and states that the “birth of acetylsalicylic acid” occurred in 1897.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspirin

No longer required to manufacture ASA which is now made synthetically (Simpson and Ogorzaly, 2001), white willow is still used by homeopathic doctors and herbalists who assert that it may have less side effects than the acetylated form (Wurges and Frey, 2005). The bark is collected in the spring from young willow branches; it is dried and then marketed in pill, tea, or powder forms which typically contain 200-250 mg of S. alba per dose to be taken every 4 hours to relieve pain and inflammation (Wurges and Frey, 2005). Upon ingestion, salicin is converted to salicylic acid in the liver and intestine (Wurges and Frey, 2005) which is responsible for lowering prostaglandin levels (Samter, 2000) and therefore, for white willows antipyretic and anti-inflammatory properties (Mills and Bone, 2000). S. alba thus remains an effective treatment for the relief of arthritis, headaches, back pains, bursitis, menstrual cramps, influenza and a variety of other painful conditions and is an approved treatment in Germany, France, and Britain (Wurges and Frey, 2005). The presence of an acetyl group in ASA is responsible for its antiplatelet properties (Mills and Bone, 2000). For this reason white willow is not effective in the prevention of cardiovascular disease (Mills and Bone, 2000) which is aspirin’s more recent claim to fame. Taken in high doses, S. alba may irritate the stomach causing bleeding, diarrhea, nausea, or ringing in the ears (Wurges and Frey, 2005). Given to children fighting a viral disease it may also lead to the development Reye’s syndrome; a rare but possibly fatal condition (Wurges and Frey, 2005) associated with acute encephalopathy, or swelling of the brain (Samter, 2000).

Studies suggest that ASA may retard cataract development (Samter, 2000) and even protect against various cancers via the blockage of COX enzymes (Harris et al. 2006). Botanists argue that the presence of salicin in white willow helps fight off infection by inducing apoptosis and also deters predators from attacking the tree (Jeffreys, 2004). Regardless the reason, history has revealed that the presence of this compound in S. alba has been medically influential for millennia and has played an indispensable role in developing a drug whose benefits are continually being discovered; a romantic story for such a common tree.

Literature Cited:

Bayer Aspirin. 2006. The world of aspirin. Available form http://www.aspirin.com/world_of_aspirin_en.html [cited 23 March 2006]


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: Bianca on June 02, 2007, 05:25:43 pm




MEDICINE IN ANCIENT EGYPT




Historically, many Egyptologists focused primarily on the very visible aspects of ancient Egyptian society, such as the pyramids, much to the bain of those interested in more than just monumental architecture. From the beginning of the scholarly study of Egypt's past there have been few scholars who recognized the importance of the process of disease and health on a population. With the turn of the century, new archaeological discoveries, increased knowledge of Egyptian language and writing, and the advent of more sophisticated medical techniques, new life was breathed into the study of disease and health in the ancient Nile Valley. It was this period that saw the academic study of Egyptian disease segregated into three distinct categories.

The first is the study of medical Papyri. Early on it was recognized that the textual material of the Dynastic Period pertaining to the recognition and treatment of disease was extremely important for understanding both the state of health as well as the concept of disease in ancient Egypt. The second is the study of the artistic representation of disease in the Nile Valley. The Egyptian's predilection to portrayl life in a relatively realistic manner offers an excellent opportunity for the study of disease. The third, and perhaps most obvious, is the study of human remains, both skeletal and soft tissue, of ancient Egyptians. With the advent of increasingly sophisticated medical techniques at the beginning of the 20th century, as well as those complex medical techniques in use today, the analysis of Egypt's veritable wealth of human remains provided a tremendous boost to the study of the state of disease and health in the ancient Nile Valley.



Medical Papyri


The Edwin Smith Papyrus

The Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus is, without a doubt, one if the most important documents pertaining to medicine in the ancient Nile Valley. Placed on sale by Mustafa Agha in 1862, the papyrus was purchased by Edwin Smith. An American residing in Cairo, Smith has been described as an adventurer, a money lender, and a dealer of antiquities.(Dawson and Uphill: 1972). Smith has also been reputed as advising upon, and even practicing, the forgery of antiquities.(Nunn 1996:26) Whatever his personal composition, it is to his credit that he immediately recognized the text for what it was and later carried out a tentative translation. Upon his death in 1906, his daughter donated the papyrus in its entirety to the New York Historical Society. The papyrus now resides in the collections of the New York Academy of Sciences.

In 1930, James Henry Breasted, director of the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago, published the papyri with facsimile, transcription, English translation, commentary, and introduction. The volume was accompanied by medical notes prepared by Dr. Arno B. Luckhardt. To date, the Breasted translation is the only one if its kind.

The Edwin Smith papyrus is second in length only to the Ebers papyrus, comprising seventeen pages (377 lines) on the recto and five pages (92 lines) on the verso. Both the recto and the verso are written with the same hand in a style of Middle Egyptian dating.



The Ebers Papyrus
Like the Edwin Smith Papyrus, the Ebers Papyrus was purchased in Luxor by Edwin Smith in 1862. It is unclear from whom the papyrus was purchased, but it was said to have been found between the legs of a mummy in the Assassif district of the Theben necropolis.

The papyrus remained in the collection of Edwin Smith until at least 1869 when there appeared, in the catalog of an antiquities dealer, and advertisement for "a large medical papyrus in the possession of Edwin Smith, an American farmer of Luxor."(Breasted 1930) The Papyrus was purchased in 1872 by the Egyptologist George Ebers, for who it is named. In 1875, Ebers published a facsimile with an English-Latin vocabulary and introduction.

The Ebers Papyrus comprises 110 pages, and is by far the most lengthy of the medical papyri. It is dated by a passage on the verso to the 9th year of the reign of Amenhotep I (c. 1534 B.C.E.), a date which is close to the extant copy of the Edwin Smith Papyrus. However, one portion of the papyrus suggests a much earlier origin. Paragraph 856a states that : "the book of driving wekhedu from all the limbs of a man was found in writings under the two feet of Anubis in Letopolis and was brought to the majesty of the king of Upper and Lower Egypt Den."(Nunn 1996: 31) The reference to the Lower Egyptian Den is a historic anachronism which suggesting an origin closer to the First Dynasty (c. 3000 B.C.E.)

Unlike the Edwin Smith Papyrus, the Ebers Papyrus consists of a collection of a myriad of different medical texts in a rather haphazard order, a fact which explains the presence of the above mentioned excerpt. The structure of the papyrus is organized by paragraph, each of which are arranged into blocks addressing specific medical ailments.

Paragraphs 1-3 contain magical spells designed to protect from supernatural intervention on diagnosis and treatment. They are immediately followed by a large section on diseases of the stomach (khet), with a concentration on intestinal parasites in paragraphs 50-85.(Bryan 1930:50) Skin diseases, with the remedies prescribed placed in the three categories of irritative, exfoliative, and ulcerative, are featured in paragraphs 90-95 and 104-118. Diseases of the anus, included in a section of the digestive section, are covered in paragraphs 132-164.(Ibid. 50) Up to paragraph 187, the papyrus follows a relatively standardized format of listing prescriptions which are to relieve medical ailments. However, the diseases themselves are often more difficult to translate. Sometimes they take the form of recognizable symptoms such as an obstruction, but often may be a specific disease term such as wekhedu or aaa, the meaning of both of which remain quite obscure.

Paragraphs 188-207 comprise "the book of the stomach," and show a marked change in style to something which is closer to the Edwin Smith Papyrus.(Ibid.: 32) Only paragraph 188 has a title, though all of the paragraphs include the phrase: "if you examine a man with a…," a characteristic which denotes its similarity to the Edwin Smith Papyrus. From this point, a declaration of the diagnosis, but no prognosis. After paragraph 207, the text reverts to its original style, with a short treatise on the heart (Paragraphs 208-241).

Paragraphs 242-247 contains remedies which are reputed to have been made and used personally by various gods. Only in paragraph 247, contained within the above mentioned section and relating to Isis' creation of a remedy for an illness in Ra's head, is a specific diagnosis mentioned. (Bryan 1930:45)

The following section continues with diseases of the head, but without reference to use of remedies by the gods. Paragraph 250 continues a famous passage concerning the treatment of migraines. The sequence is interrupted in paragraph 251 with the focus placed on a drug rather than an illness. Most likely an extract from pharmacopoeia, the paragraph begins: "Knowledge of what is made from degem (most likely a ricinous plant yielding a form of castor oil), as something found in ancient writings and as something useful to man."(Nunn 1996: 33)

Paragraphs 261-283 are concerned with the regular flow of urine and are followed by remedies "to cause the heart to receive bread."(Bryan 1930:80). Paragraphs 305-335 contain remedies for various forms of coughs as well as the genew disease.

The remainder of the text goes on to discuss medical conditions concerning hair (paragraphs 437-476), traumatic injuries such as burns and flesh wounds (paragraphs 482-529), and diseases of the extremities such as toes, fingers, and legs. Paragraphs 627-696 are concerned with the relaxation or strengthening of the metu. The exact meaning of metu is confusing and could be alternatively translated as either mean hollow vessels or muscles tissue.(Ibid.:52) The papyrus continues by featuring diseases of the tongue (paragraphs 697-704), dermatological conditions (paragraphs 708-721), dental conditions (paragraphs 739-750), diseases of the ear, nose, and throat (paragraphs 761-781), and gynecological conditions (paragraphs 783-839)


Kahun Gynecological Papyrus

The Kahun Papyrus was discovered by Flinders Petrie in April of 1889 at the Fayum site of Lahun. The town itself flourished during the Middle Kingdom, principally under the reign of Amenenhat II and his immediate successor. The papyrus is dated to this period by a note on the recto which states the date as being the 29th year of the reign of Amenenhat III (c. 1825 B.C.E.). The text was published in facsimile, with hieroglyphic transcription and translation into English, by Griffith in 1898, and is now housed in the University College London.

The gynecological text can be divided into thirty-four paragraphs, of which the first seventeen have a common format.(Nunn 1996: 34) The first seventeen start with a title and are followed by a brief description of the symptoms, usually, though not always, having to do with the reproductive organs.

The second section begins on the third page, and comprises eight paragraphs which, because of both the state of the extant copy and the language, are almost unintelligible. Despite this, there are several paragraphs that have a sufficiently clear level of language as well as being intact which can be understood. Paragraph 19 is concerned with the recognition of who will give birth; paragraph 20 is concerned with the fumigation procedure which causes conception to occur; and paragraphs 20-22 are concerned with contraception. Among those materials prescribed for contraception are crocodile dung, 45ml of honey, and sour milk.(Ibid:35)

The third section (paragraphs 26-32) is concerned with the testing for pregnancy. Other methods include the placing of an onion bulb deep in the patients flesh, with the positive outcome being determined by the odor appearing to the patients nose.

The fourth and final section contains two paragraphs which do not fall into any of the previous categories. The first prescribes treatment for toothaches during pregnancy. The second describes what appears to be a fistula between bladder and **** with incontinence of urine "in an irksome place."(Ibid. 35)


The Investigation of Disease Patterns Through Human Remains and Artistic Representations


Parasitic Diseases

Schistosomiasis (bilharziasis)

Of the three main species of the platyhelminth worm Schistosoma, the most important for Egypt are S. mansoni and S. haematobium. There is a complex life cycle alternating between two hosts, humans and the fresh water snail of the genus Bulinus. The infection is caught by humans who come into contact with the free swimming worm which the snail releases in the water. The worm penetrates the intact skin and enters the veins of the human host. The main symptom of the presence of the parasite is haematuria which results in serious anemia, loss of appetite, urinary infection, and loss of resistance to other diseases. There may also be interference with liver functions.

One of the finest archaeological examples for the existence of schistosomiasis in ancient Egypt was the discovery of calcified ova in the unembalmed 21st Dynasty mummy of Nakht. Upon medical examination, the mummy not only exhibited a preserved tapeworm, but also ova of the Schistosoma haematobium and displayed changes in the liver resulting from a schistosomal infection.(Millat et al. 1980:79)


Bacterial and Viral Infections

Tuberculosis (Mycobacterium tuberculosis)

Ruffer (1910) reported the presence of tuberculosis of the spine in Nesparehan, a priest of Amun of the 21st Dynasty. This shows the typical features of Pott's disease with collapse of thoracic vertebra, producing the angular kyphosis (hump-back). A well known complication of Pott's disease is the tuberculous suppuration moving downward under the psoas major muscle, towards the right iliac fossa, forming a very large psoas abscess.(Nunn 1996:64)

Ruffer's report has remained the best authenticated case of spinal tuberculosis from ancient Egypt. All known possible cases, ranging from the Predynastic to 21st Dynasty were reviewed by Morse, Brockwell, and Ucko (1964) as well as by Buikstra, Baker, and Cook.(1993) These included Predynastic specimens collected at Naqada by Petrie and Quibell in 1895 as well as nine Nubian Specimens from the Royal College of Surgeons of England. Both reviewers were in agreement that there was very little doubt that tuberculosis was the cause of pathology in most, but not all, cases. In some cases, it was not possible to exclude compression fractures, osteomyelitis, or bone cysts as causes of death.

The numerous artistic representation of hump-backed individuals are provocative but not conclusive. The three earliest examples are undoubtedly of Predynastic origin. The first is a ceramic figurine reported to have been found by Bedu in the Aswan district. It represents an emaciated human with angular kyphosis of the thoracic spine crouching in a clay vessel.(Schrumph-Pierron 1933) The second possible Predynastic representation with spinal deformity indicative of tuberculosis is a small standing ivory likeness of a human with arms down at the sides of the body bent at the elbows. The head is modeled with facial features carefully indicated. The figure is shown with a protrusion of the back and on the chest.(Morse 1967: 261) The last Predynastic example is a wooden statue contained within the Brussels Museum. Described as a bearded male with intricate facial features, the figure has a large rounded hunch-back and an angular projection of the sternum.(Jonckheere 1948: 25)

As well, there are several historic Egyptian representations which indicate the possibility of tuberculosis deformity. One of the most suggestive, located in and Old Kingdom 4th Dynasty tomb, is of a bas relief serving girl who exhibits localized angular kyphosis. A second provocative example has its origin in the Middle Kingdom. A tomb painting at Beni Hasan, the representation shows a gardener with a localized angular deformity of the cervical-thoracic spine.(Morse 1967: 263)


Poliomyelitis

A viral infection of the anterior horn cells of the spinal chord, the presence of poliomyelitis can only be detected in those who survive its acute stage. Mitchell (Sandison 1980:32) noted the shortening of the left leg, which he interpreted as poliomyelitis, in the an early Egyptian mummy from Deshasheh. The club foot of the Pharaoh Siptah as well as deformities in the 12th Dynasty mummy of Khnumu-Nekht are probably the most attributable cases of poliomyelitis.

An 18th or 19th Dynasty funerary staele shows the doorkeeper Roma with a grossly wasted and shortened leg accompanied by an equinus deformity of the foot. The exact nature of this deformity, however, is debated in the medical community. Some favor the view that this is a case of poliomyelitis contracted in childhood before the completion of skeletal growth. The equinus deformity, then, would be a compensation allowing Roma to walk on the shortened leg. Alternatively, the deformity could be the result of a specific variety of club foot with a secondary wasting and shortening of the leg.(Nunn 1996: 77)


Deformities

Dwarfism

Dasen (1993) lists 207 known representations of dwarfism. Of the types described, the majority are achondroplastic, a form resulting in a head and trunk of normal size with shortened limbs. The statue of Seneb is perhaps the most classic example. A tomb statue of the dwarf Seneb and his family, all of normal size, goes a long way to indicate that dwarfs were accepted members in Egyptian society. Other examples called attention to by Ruffer (1911) include the 5th Dynasty statuette of Chnoum-hotep from Saqqara, a Predynastic drawing of the "dwarf Zer" from Abydos, and a 5th Dynasty drawing of a dwarf from the tomb of Deshasheh.

Skeletal evidence, while not supporting the social status of dwarfs in Egyptian society, does corroborate the presence of the deformity. Jones (Brothwell 1967:432) described a fragmentary Predynastic skeleton from the cemetery at Badari with a normal shaped cranium both in size in shape. In contrast to this, however, the radii and ulna are short and robust, a characteristic of achondroplasia. A second case outlined by Jones (Ibid.:432) consisted of a Predynastic femur and tibia, both with typical short shafts and relatively large articular ends.




Cited References

Breasted, J.H.

The Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus (University of Chicago Press: University of Chicago, 1930)

Brothwell, D.

"Major Congenital Anomalies of the Skeleton," in Diseases in Antiquity: A Survey of Disease, Injuries, and Surgery in Early Populations (eds.) A.T. Sandison and D. Brothwell (Charles C. Thomas: Springfield, 1967)


Bryan, P.W.

The Papyrus Ebers (Geoffrey Bles: London, 1930)


Buikstra, J.E.; Baker, B.J.; Cook, D.C.

"What Disease Plagues the Ancient Egyptians? A Century of Controversy Considered," In Biological Anthropology and the Study of Ancient Egypt (eds.) W,V. Davies and R. Walter (British Museum Press: London, 1993)


Dasen, V.

Dwarfs in Ancient Egypt and Greece (Clarendon Press: Oxford, 1993)


Dawson, W.R. and E.P. Uphill

Who Was Who in Egyptology (Egyptian Exploration Society: London, 1993)


Jonckheere, F.

"Le Bossu des Mussées Royaux D'Art et D'Histoire de Bruxelles," Chronique D'Égypt (45) 25, 1958.


Millet, N.; Hart, G.; Reyman, T.; Zimerman, A.; Lewein, P.

"ROM I: Mummification for the Common People," in Mummies, Disease, and Ancient Cultures (eds.) Aiden and Eve Cockburn (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1980)


Morse, D.

"Tuberculosis," in Diseases in Antiquity: A Survey of Diseases, Injuries, and Surgery in Early Populations (eds.) A.T. Sandison and D. Brothwell (Charles Thomas: Springfield, 1967)


Morse, D.; Brothwell, D.; Ucko, P.J.

"Tuberculosis in Ancient Egypt," in American Review of Respiratory Diseases (90), 1964)


Nunn, J.F.

Ancient Egyptian Medicine (University of Oklahoma Press: Norman, 1996)


Ruffer, M.A.

"Potts'che Krankheit an Einer Ägyptischer Mumie aus der Zeiy der 21 Dynastie," in Zur Historischen Biologie der Krankheiserreger (3), 1910


"On Dwarfs and Other Deformed Persons," Bulletin de Societé D'Archéologie D'Alexandrie (13)1, 1911


Sandison, A.T.

"Diseases in Ancient Egypt," in Mummies, Disease, and Ancient Cultures (eds.) Aiden and Eve Cockburn (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1980)


Schrumph-Pierron, B.

"La Mal de Pott en Égypt 4000 Ans Avant Notre Ére," Aesculpe (23)1933


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: Bianca on June 02, 2007, 05:45:19 pm
M E D I C I N E   I N   A N C I E N T   E G Y P T



(http://www.hermes3.net/images/Rain/Anubis2bg.jpg)

A Miscellany of Healing Prescriptives of the Ancient Egyptians

(All of these recipes are authentic and were taken from the Papyrus Ebers.)

Disclaimer: MSU is not responsible for any problems resulting from the use of these recipes.
 
Cure for Diarrhea: (http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/f/figcom12-s.jpg)1/8th cup figs and grapes, bread dough, pit corn, fresh Earth, onion, and elderberry.
 
Cure for Indigestion:

Crush a hog's tooth and put it inside of four sugar cakes. Eat for four days.
 
Cure for Burns:

Create a mixture of milk of a woman who has borne a male child, gum, and, ram's hair. While administering this mixture say: Thy son Horus is burnt in the desert. Is there any water there?There is no water. I have water in my mouth and a Nile between my thighs. I have come to extinguish the fire.
 
Cure for Lesions of the Skin:
After the scab has fallen off put on it: Scribe's excrement. Mix in fresh milk and apply as a poultice.
 
Cure for Cataracts:
Mix brain-of-tortoise with honey. Place on the eye and say:

There is a shouting in the southern sky in darkness, There is an uproar in the northern sky, The Hall of Pillars falls into the waters. The crew of the sun god bent their oars so that the heads at his side fall into the water, Who leads hither what he finds? I lead forth what I find. I lead forth your heads. I lift up your necks. I fasten what has been cut from you in its place. I lead you forth to drive away the god of Fevers and all possible deadly arts.
 
Reference Used:
Brier, Bob. Ancient Egyptian Magic. Quill Press: New York, 1981.
The Egyptians were advanced medical practitioners for their time. They were masters of human anatomy and healing mostly due to the extensive mummification ceremonies. This involved removing most of the internal organs including the brain, lungs, pancreas, liver, spleen, heart and intestine. The Egyptians had (and this is an understatement) a basic knowledge of organ functions within the human body (save for the brain and heart which they thought had opposite functions). This knowledge of anatomy, as well as (in the later dynasties) the later crossover of knowledge between the Greeks and other culture areas, led to an extensive knowledge of the functioning of the organs, and branched into many other medical practices. Further, it was not uncommon in both early and later dynasties for scholars from ancient Greece and other parts of the Mediterranean to study the medical practitioners of Ancient Egypt. Of the most notable of these traveling scholars was, Herodotus and Pliny, both Greek scholars, whose contribution to the ancient and modern medical records, reached from the time of Ancient Egypt and into the modern era.
(http://www.stoneimpressions.com/images/edibledelights/FR205_Green_Grapes_Accent_300.jpg)The practices of Egyptian medical practitioners ranged from embalming to faith healing to surgery and autopsy. The use of autopsy came through the extensive embalming practices of the Egyptians, as it was not unlikely for an embalmer to examine the body for a cause of the illness which caused death. The use of surgery also evolved from a knowledge of the basic anatomy and embalming practices of the Egyptians. From such careful observations made by the early medical practitioners of Egypt, healing practices began to center upon both the religious rituals and the lives of the ancient Egyptians.
(http://www.healthsystem.virginia.edu/internet/library/historical/rare_books/herbalism/assets/garlic.jpg)
The prescription for a healthy life, (which was almost always given by a member of the priestly caste) meant that an individual undertook the stringent and regular purification rituals (which included much bathing, and often times shaving one's head and body hair), and maintained their dietary restrictions against raw fish and other animals considered unclean to eat. Also, and in addition to a purified lifestyle, it was not uncommon for the Egyptians to undergo dream analysis to find a cure or cause for illness, as well as to ask for a priest to aid them with magic. This obviously portrays that religious magical rites and purificatory rites were intertwined in the healing process as well as in creating a proper lifestyle.



Anubis god of healers and embalmers.
 
Though Egyptian medical practices by no means could rival that of the present day physicians, Egyptian healers engaged in surgery, prescriptive, and many other healing practices still found today. Among the curatives used by the Egyptians were all types of plant (herbs and other plants), animal (all parts nearly) and mineral compounds. The use of these compounds led to an extensive compendium of curative recipes, some still available today. For example, yeast was recognized for its healing qualities and was applied to leg ulcers and swellings. Yeast's were also taken internally for digestive disorders and were an effective cure for ulcers.

Though the Egyptians were effective healers, they did not have a clear knowledge of cellular biology or of germ theory, so it would be inappropriate to attribute the use of Yeast's as an antibiotic; as the curative effects behind the use of antibiotics were not known until well into modern times. Yet one must admire the ingenuity of the Egyptians, which undoubtedly has it's place within the compendium of human medical history. The largest of these medicinal compendiums was compiled by Hermes (a healer of Greek origin who studied in Egypt), and consisted of six books. The first of these six books was directly related to anatomy, the rest served as a book of physic, and as apothecaries. Though Hermes was not the first to compile much of the information about Egyptian medical practices, beginning early on with the pharaoh Athothes (the second king of Egypt), the Egyptians are credited with being the first to use and record advanced medical practices.
(http://www.riverview-artists.com/Bonnie/images2/Onions%20and%20Garlic.jpg)For more information check out this site:

Medicine in Ancient Egypt


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: Bianca on June 02, 2007, 05:51:50 pm
 
 
                                                MEDICATION IN ANCIENT EGYPT

 
Some medicinal plants used by Egyptians:
(http://www.encore-editions.com/dvr/fwrsandfruit/thumbs/thm_Pomegranate_-_Grenadier_Punica_119.jpg)
 (http://www.herbs2000.com/images/herbs_fennel.jpg)Ancient Egyptians were as equally familiar with pharmacy as they were with medicine. They conceived health and sickness as an unceasing fight between good and evil. According to historical records, ancient Egyptians involved in the medical and pharmaceutical profession used to recite certain incantations while preparing or administering medications. Ancient Egyptians were also familiar with drug preparation from plants and herbs such as cumin, fennel, caraway, castor, aloe, safflower, glue, pomegranates botanical, mineral substances and linseed oil.

Other drugs were made of mineral substances such as copper salts, plain salt and lead. Eggs, liver, hairs, milk, animal horns and fat, honey and wax were also used in this connection.
(http://www.herbs2000.com/images/herbs_safflower.jpg)
The Egyptians were fully aware that accurate diagnosis of diseases and their symptoms was fundamental for effective treatment.

An ancient papyrus says, ""If you find some one suffering from constipation, a pale face and a rapidly palpitating heart and, upon examination, you observe high temperature and flatulence, these could be symptoms of ulcer caused by eating some hot spicy food. Then prepare medicine empties and cleanses his stomach. Soak some sweet ale with some flour for one night and let the patient have this syrup four days.
(http://www.sandmountainherbs.com/images/castorbean2.jpg)Prescription No. 201, contained in Ebers papyrus talks about castor saying, "" Soak some castor roots in water until they dissolve, and then apply the solution to the head of a patient who has a headache and he will immediately recover. If a patient complains of maldigestion (dyspepsia), let him chew some castor fruits together with ale. To help a woman’s hair grow, grind and knead castor fruits until they into a lump, soak it in oil and then apply it to her head."

Dozens of Drugs for Each Disease

During the Modern Kingdom, medical prescriptions were so varied that dozens of them were available for certain diseases. A physician has to choose the most effective medication, based on prescribed criteria.. Some drugs were rapid-acting, while others were slow-acting. Some drugs were exclusively applicable during specific seasons. For example, there was an eye medication that was exclusively used during the first two months of winter; another during the third and fourth months, while a third was applicable all the year round.

Medications for All Age Groups (http://www.montosogardens.com/areca_catechu.gif)
In deciding a specific drug for a patient, a physician normally had to take into account the age of the patient. For treating patients suffering from retention of urine, an adult was given a mixture of water, ale sediments, green dates and some other vegetables, while a child was given an old piece of papyrus soaked in oil applied as a hot band around his stomach. While preparing drugs, chemists had to take into consideration patient’s age. Ancient Egyptian physician noted that "" If the young patient is mature enough, he can take tablets, but if he is still in diapers (an infant), tablets should be dissolved into wet nurse’s milk"

After preparing a drug, a chemist had to test its quality. Oftentimes, he would jot down some annotations on the margin of a medical recipe, such as " This is good", I’ve seen and often made it" and " And look! This is a real drug, made as a result of examining Oon- Nefri Temple manuscripts’. Some drugs derived their fame from the fact that it cured a reputed figure of the time. For example, a specific eye ointment was highly popular with ancient Egyptians, simply because it cured one of their kings.
(http://www.pern.nl/images/herbarium/aloe.jpg)Godly Medications
Certain drugs were particularly popular as a universal remedy for all diseases, because they were thought to be made by deities. Of these, they believed that god of the sun Ra’, who in his old age suffered from several diseases, made drugs to cure all men.

The truth is that ancient Egyptian priests and doctors originally made those drugs. One of these was composed of honey, wax and a collection of 14 botanical substances mixed together in equal measures. Of this mixture an adhesive plaster that cured all bodily maladies was made. However, in recognition of the effectiveness of these drugs and in honor of the deities, Egyptian physicians attributed them to the gods.

Medical prescriptions were written with high skill and erudition. A prescription usually began with a description of the medicine, e.g., " Medicine to discharge blood out of wounds", followed by ingredients and measures used in addition to method of preparation and usage.
(http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/diet7.jpg)In prescribing a drug, an ancient Egyptian physician sought carefully to get it into the patient’s body in different forms such as tablets, ointment or by inhaling.

Household Drugs (pesticides)

It is interesting to note that ancient Egyptian chemists invented some other drugs, commonly known as household drugs, meant to eliminate domestic pests. A popular recipe for pest control was to spray the house with nitron water and firewood coal, mixed with ground " pipit " plant. Goose fat was used to protect against fly bites and fresh oil to cure mosquito bites. Other interesting recipes were made to control reptiles and rodents. For example, a dried fish or a piece of nitron placed at the entrance of a serpent’s hole, will keep it inside. A piece of cat fat spread around the house will keep rats away.

www.tour Egypt.com


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: Bianca on June 02, 2007, 06:42:36 pm

                                            C U R E S   F O R   T H E   P H A R A O H


The Sakakini Palace in Cairo is currently undergoing restoration prior to being turned into a medical museum. Jill Kamil traces Egypt's medical heritage.

(http://photos4.flickr.com/4894962_011517693d.jpg)The idea of turning the palatial home of a pasha into a Medical Museum was initiated when a grandson of the original owner, himself a doctor, donated his inherited share of the Sakakini Palace to the Ministry of Health. Following lengthy deliberations it was decided to convert it into a museum devoted to the development of medicine from the time of the pharaohs through to the present day. This project is now underway and a book by one of Egypt's most distinguished physicians, Nabil I Ebeid, goes a long way towards explaining what can be expected. Egyptian Medicine in the Days of the Pharaohs, published five years ago by the General Egyptian Book Organisation, is a valuable compendium. A comprehensive yet concise study of pharaonic medicine, it reveals the art of healing in early times and the high levels of perfection it reached. As we shall see, it concerns much more than just mummies.

(http://photos4.flickr.com/4894961_89d472088b.jpg) A beautiful feature of the Palace

The ancient Egyptians, who embalmed their dead so carefully, must have had a profound knowledge of anatomy. This is evidenced in tomb reliefs that show surgeons at work on patients and in famous learned medical texts such as the Ebers and Edwin Smith papyri. These facts, though, do not provide enough information for a synopsis of medical practice in ancient times. Fortunately, Ebeid's book fills in some of the gaps. "We know that the Egyptians were brilliant mathematicians, and were no less advanced in chemistry. It was their knowledge of chemistry that enabled them to discover the materials they needed for embalming, as well as for producing medicines and drugs," writes Ebeid, who is internationally acclaimed for his work in industrial medicine, in the preface to his book. "Technical skills, intellectual capacities, and social values must be passed from generation to generation."

He categorises an assortment of medical problems and diseases, the skills of Egyptian healers, the medical care of workers and other related medical subjects. From this 490-page publication I have learnt more about ancient health hazards, diseases, operations and the treatment of wounds than I had ever known before. I have learnt about ancient Egyptian attitudes towards the disabled and the active manner in which they participated in society. I had, of course, seen statues and reliefs of the handicapped, including dwarfs, but I had no idea that these handicaps had been categorised.

Latching onto Ebeid's study, I was reminded of what I had seen earlier. I embarked on a tour of ancient sites and, less far afield, the Egyptian Museum. I saw handicapped individuals working as farmers in Old Kingdom tombs, dwarfs employed in the pharaoh's laundry and even, in the temple of Edfu, carvings of medical tools.

Ebeid's research takes him beyond the translation of medical papyri -- of which there are many more than I realised -- to other literary, political, religious and secular works such as paintings and sculpture "which, by accident or design provide insight into health and healing in ancient Egypt". He cites studies made by the ancient Egyptians themselves.

The medical papyri, of which there are more than a score, are clear indication of the advances in the medical field from early times. Some of the texts dating from the Middle and New Kingdoms (from about 2000 BC) were copies, sometimes third and fourth hand, of earlier texts; archaic grammar and obsolete words point to their antiquity as well as certain references to earlier periods. The Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus, believed to be the earliest, was studied by scholars in the 19th and 20th centuries. The text deals with 48 carefully arranged surgical cases of wounds and fractures, detailing a dispassionate examination of the patient and prescribing cures. No ailment was ascribed to the activity of a demonic power, and there was very little magic -- although belief in the potency of spells or exorcisms doubtless supplemented the treatment. Ancient Egyptian medical practitioners were not witch doctors who gave incantations. They were physicians who prescribed healing remedies and conducted operations. Although some of these prescriptions might be considered somewhat fanciful -- such as the extract of a hair of a black cat to prevent greying -- others were famous for their efficacy, as Ebeid's book makes clear.

There is no doubt that there was a firmly established medical tradition at an early date. When Weshptah, builder and friend of the fifth Dynasty Pharaoh Neferirkare, suffered a stroke in the pharaoh's presence, the ruler showed great solicitude for his stricken friend and ordered his officials to consult medical documents for a remedy to help his vizier regain consciousness. Doctors were well paid for their services; in one case the reward was "a false door of limestone for that tomb of mine in the necropolis".

We know from mummified bodies that dental surgery was practised from early times; some have teeth extracted, and an Old Kingdom mummy of a man shows two holes beneath a molar of the lower jaw, apparently drilled for draining an abscess. The discovery in a grave at Giza of a body with several teeth wired together suggests that dental treatment was already well advanced in the Old Kingdom. Sesa's tomb at Saqqara (known as the "doctor's tomb") shows the manipulation of joints, while the "physician's tomb", that of Ankhmahor (also at Saqqara), shows an operation on a man's toe and the circumcision of a youth. Ebeid points out that this was practised on boys between six and 12 years old, and adds: "all criteria indicate that female circumcision was never practiced in ancient Egypt."

Ancient Egyptians delighted in the birth of a child and babies were probably breast-fed into the subsequent pregnancy. The Kahun and Ebers papyri outline the treatment of gynaecological problems and recommend a birthing-stool for delivery either in a squatting or kneeling position. They also describe how to induce labour if necessary, cut the umbilical cord and care for the new-born child.

Cancer, it appears, is not a disease of modern civilisation. There is a paucity of evidence of its incidence in ancient Egypt; nevertheless, some indication of tumours does exist from early times right through to the Ptolemaic period. Ebeid points out in his chapter on surgery that the ancient Egyptians used the scalpel, "and a heated knife or cautery for extirpating the tumours, taking care so as not to bleed afterwards". He quotes Ebers Papyrus 872 which reads: "This [i.e. tumour] is a swelling of vessels, a disease that I treat... then you must perform for it a knife-treatment, it (the knife) is heated in the fire...".
(http://www.pafsaonline.org/photos/Fig%2010%20%20panarab%20anesthesia%20journal6_small.JPG)SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS

On antiseptics Ebeid informs us that "wine was used in embalming as a disinfectant and preservative... Frankincense and date-wine were prescribed as anti- pruritics, astringents and antiseptics in local applications." As for surgical instruments, the Edwin Smith Papyrus contains a list of surgical instruments including scalpels, scissors, needles, forceps, hooks, pincers, as well as bandages, swabs and adhesive plaster. The first evidence of surgical stitching is also found in Egypt.

The medical practices of ancient Egypt have been somewhat undermined by claims made by classical scholars. There are continued assertions that there is no clear evidence that the ancient Egyptians practised surgery, amputated limbs, operated on skulls, performed eye surgery, or used knives to cure ailments such as hernias.

However, in Egyptian Medicine in the Days of the Pharaohs Ebeid makes a point of quoting scholars who maintain that the ancient Egyptians did indeed carry out surgical operations. He argues that "a mere glance at mummification shows how neatly the left side is sutured, and how [the ancient Egyptians] drew the brain through the nostrils, or how they evacuated it through the foramen magnum... at the end of the twentieth century surgeons apply the same technique in removing a pituitary adenoma through the nostrils."

He quotes an article by J T Rowling published in Science in Egyptology entitled "Some speculations on the rise and decline of surgery in dynastic Egypt". In it, Rowling discusses how surgery reached its zenith in the Old Kingdom, became a "doubtful expedient" in the Middle Kingdom ("we have no evidence that such operations as those for repair of herniae or tubeculous nodes in the neck mentioned in the Ebers Papyrus were ever performed after the Middle Kingdom"), and a "hallowed tradition" in the New Kingdom.

Ebeid also refers to the many cases of the distinguished Egyptologist W P Pahl "which demonstrate trepanation" and adds that cases of operative surgery may have been performed but not recorded in available papyri. He states that circumcision is "sure evidence of surgical intervention".

As to whether surgical operations were performed in ancient Egypt, Ebeid, quoting Dr Paul Ghaliongui, refers to the names and procedures given to surgical instruments in Ebers Papyrus 875: a tumour being removed "with a ds knife and seized with a hnw -instrument (forceps)... thou shalt remove it with [a] ds knife without taking away those enclosures (the fibrous capsule)". He comments that these names are not synonyms, and the second knife in that operation is given a name different from that of the first. "Ghaliongui suggests that it is a curette," he writes, but H H Grapow translates "and seized with a hnw -instrument" as "thou shalt dress it with hnw -ointment". Which all goes to show how confusing it is for the non-professional.

American researchers at Brigham Young University recently discovered a screw 23cms long fixed into a 2,600- year-old mummy, joining the thigh and calf bones. This suggests one of two things: "either the person suffered from fracture during his life, or it occurred during embalming and the relatives wanted him to meet God with physical integrity."

Ebeid concedes that his book is a trial to explore medical science by reviewing the papyri and other sources of information, and writes that he hopes other scholars will fill gaps in our knowledge of related problems, such as the effect of work and the environment on the health of ancient Egyptians, wartime medicine and the prevalence of addiction.

In Egyptian Medicine in the Days of the Pharaohs Ebeid explores new horizons in the study of health and health care in ancient Egyptian life. Let us hope the opening of the new Medical Museum in the Sakakini Palace will provide the impetus for further research and study.


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: Bianca on June 02, 2007, 06:49:25 pm


                                             ANCIENT EGYPTIAN MEDICINE AND EGYPTIAN SCIENCE

 
.   
Achievements 2700 BC. - world's earliest known surgery,
1700 BC- Earliest evidence of diagnostic medicine in Egypt
Ptolemaic Period - The Alexandria University famous for medicine, Herophilus and Erasistratus were permitted to dissect living criminals
(http://www.crystalinks.com/alexandriauniversity.jpg)
Recently discovered "Auditorium" - Ancient Alexandria Library
 
Medical Knowledge - The Egyptians were advanced medical practitioners for their time, they are credited with being the first to use and record advanced medical practices, they based their knowledge from careful and astute observations, as well as trial and error. This led to the advancement of medical science worldwide. Scholarship fell into the religious sphere, and clerics were more interested in curing the soul than the body. No new medical research was conducted, and no new practices were created.

Autopsy and Surgery - The use of autopsy and surgery came through the extensive embalming practices ,this involved removing most of the internal organs including the brain, lungs, pancreas, liver, spleen, heart and intestine. Physicians followed the church approved classical techniques developed by Galen.

Medical documents 1) The Ebers Papyrus dated 1550 BC, is the oldest known medical scroll, and contains 700 magical formulas and folk remedies
2) The Edwin Smith Papyrus which deals extensively with bone surgery
 Mere reproductions of classical Greek and Roman texts hand copied by monks
Prescriptions 1) Honey and milk were routinely prescribed by physicians for the treatment of the respiratory system, and throat irritations.
2) Herbal Remedies among them all types of plants, herbs , animal parts and mineral compounds. The use of these compounds led to an extensive compendium of curative recipes, some still available today.
3) Head injuries were very often successfully treated by trepanning, this procedure involves the opening of an area of the skull in order to relieve pressure
4) Yeast was applied to leg ulcers and swellings. Yeast's were also taken internally for digestive disorders and were an effective cure for ulcers.
5) The dung of the crocodile was used in preventing conception
6) Ashoma, a disease of the eye, was cured using an animal liver, to this day extracts of liver are used to treat this and modern doctors discovered its effectiveness in treating certain forms of cataracts.

 Many theologians considered disease and injury to be the result of supernatural intervention and insisted that cures were only possible through prayer. - Contemporary European Medicine.

Dentists - Dentists used gold wire as a means to bind a loose tooth to a neighboring tooth that was sound. Patients would have their jaw bone drilled in order to drain an abscessed tooth or teeth. Teeth were filled using a type of mineral cement, and gum disease were also treated by using myrrh and other antiseptic herbs. teeth-pullers.

Doctors -  Egyptian Doctors had a basic knowledge of organ functions within the human body, except for the brain and heart which they thought had opposite functions. bone-setters, oculists, and midwives.
(http://www.africamaat.com/IMG/jpg/sekhmet.jpg)Hospitals - Healing sanctuaries and temples of Sekhmet were built, these would allow for physician and priests to treat the patients. Large hospitals built and run by monastic orders. Although little was done to cure the patients, they were usually well fed and comforted by a religious nursing staff.

The practices of  physicians included faith healing, the prescription for a healthy life, which was always given by a member of the priestly caste, meant that an individual undertook the stringent and regular purification rituals ,which included  regular baths in natron and other herbs,  the complete removal of all body hair including that on the head and genital area was required for issues requiring strictest purity, and maintained their dietary restrictions against raw fish and other animals considered unclean to eat. Also, and in addition to a purified lifestyle, it was not uncommon for the Egyptians to undergo dream analysis to find a cure or cause for illness, as well as to ask for a priest to aid them with magic.

 Magic was not always a part of the curing arts, it is an erroneous belief among the lay public that Egyptians necessarily thought that all or most illnesses or injury was the work of hostile powers. Physicians had a scientific mind, they studied practical clinical cases and documented them extensively. However, some of the more superstitious emphasis with regards to medicine, seems to have been a late development in Egypt's history, for initially in early  medical papyri, there is no mention of magical incantations or spells. At later periods spells or incantations were written on small papyri and worn about the neck to protect the wearer. A supernatural type of  spirit or a dead person, would be blamed for illnesses or injuries. Letters to the dead imploring them to cease their curses on the living were common.
(http://80.65.232.176/Photos/00/00/08/06/ME0000080634_2.JPG)The Egyptian physicians and priests were aware  they could not treat every injury or disease. When faced with such cases, it was often that the following passage would be written: "An affliction for which nothing can be done". No doctor, not even ones in antiquity could have been happy about facing such cases. In the Edwin Smith Surgical papyrus there are 58 cases, only 16 of which were deemed to be without treatment, leaving 42 detailed accounts as to diagnosis and treatment, most of which are of a purely surgical nature.

 Scholars from ancient Greece studied the medical practitioners of Egypt,  the most notable being Herodotus and Pliny, whose contribution to the ancient and modern medical records, reached from the time of Egypt into the modern era. The practices of Egyptian medicine was acknowledged by both Hippocrates and Galan as having contributed in large part to their own information and knowledge from Egyptian works they had studied at the temple of Amenhotep in Memphis. The largest medicinal compendium was compiled by Hermes, a healer of Greek origin who studied in Egypt, and consisted of six books. The first of these six books was directly related to anatomy, the rest served as a book of physic, and as apothecaries.


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: Bianca on June 02, 2007, 09:29:05 pm
 
ANCIENT SYMBOLS IN MODERN MEDICINE: BUT WHY?




Does the ancient symbolism employed by the institutions that control modern medicine reflect the influence of secret societies such as the Freemasons? In order to fully understand the esoteric significance of modern medical symbolism, such as the cross, or Ankh, or the serpents and staff of Moses, or the winged staff of Hermes, it is helpful to begin by understanding that all doctors swear to pagan gods.

   The Hippocratic Oath, which is sworn by all doctors, begins with the invocation: "I swear by Apollo the Physician. By Aesculapius, Hygela and Panacea, and I take to witness all the gods and goddesses..." Dr. Robert Orr showed in 1993 that 100% of American medical schools administer some form of the Hippocratic Oath to graduates.

(http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/hippocrates.gif)



                                                    H I P P O C R A T I C   O A T H   

Classical Version

“ I swear by Apollo Physician and Asclepius and Hygieia and Panaceia and all the gods and goddesses, making them my witnesses, that I will fulfill according to my ability and judgment this oath and this covenant:
To hold him who has taught me this art as equal to my parents and to live my life in partnership with him, and if he is in need of money to give him a share of mine, and to regard his offspring as equal to my brothers in male lineage and to teach them this art - if they desire to learn it - without fee and covenant; to give a share of precepts and oral instruction and all the other learning to my sons and to the sons of him who has instructed me and to pupils who have signed the covenant and have taken an oath according to the medical law, but no one else.

I will apply dietetic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice.

I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art.

I will not use the knife, not even on sufferers from stone, but will withdraw in favor of such men as are engaged in this work.

Whatever houses I may visit, I will come for the benefit of the sick, remaining free of all intentional injustice, of all mischief and in particular of sexual relations with both female and male persons, be they free or slaves.

What I may see or hear in the course of the treatment or even outside of the treatment in regard to the life of men, which on no account one must spread abroad, I will keep to myself, holding such things shameful to be spoken about.

If I fulfill this oath and do not violate it, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and art, being honored with fame among all men for all time to come; if I transgress it and swear falsely, may the opposite of all this be my lot."
 


   Dr James Appleyard, Chairman of the World Medical Association's medical ethics committee, supports the modern use of the ancient Hippocratic oath as "the continuation of a statement of fundamental ethical principles that could be affirmed at graduation by doctors worldwide".


(http://aquarianmysteries.com/medical.bmp)
   The World Medical Association's logo features a serpent wrapped around a staff, the symbol of the ancient Greek god Asklepios. Aesculapius, worshipped by the Greeks as the god of healing, who originated in ancient Egypt as Imhotep, high-priest, sage and minister to the pharaoh, Zoser. It is significant that this symbol is reminiscent of the Staff of Moses.The World Health Organisation's logoalso contains the ancient religious symbol of the serpent and staff, which is superimposed over the United Nations emblem.

   In fact, the medical establishment is steeped in ancient religious symbolism. The British Columbia Medical Association coat of arms includes the Rod of Aesculapius, a golden griffin where the substance represents alchemy, a medieval knight's helmet, and an ancient Egyptian Ankh (Crux Ansata or Handled Cross). The Insider approves of
(http://www.landoe.com/images/ankh.jpg)
their official motto: "Always seek the truth." Paramedics also use the symbol of staff and serpent in the internationally recognised paramedic symbol, also called The Star of Life. The resemblence between this sign and the early Christian symbol of the Pax Christi (Chi-Rho), a cross-like monogram for Christ in ancient Greek, may be significant.

   The Wellcome Trust, a major medical charity, employs the winged staff and snakes of Hermes as their official logo, and for no apparent reason there is a huge image of the ancient Egyptian religious symbols of the Udjat eye of Horus and the Winged Disc of Ra, etched into the glass above their entrance opposite Euston train station in the West End of London. The winged sun disc is an ancient symbol for the sun god, Ra. Well known examples of the winged solar disc symbol can be found in ancient Egyptian temples, for instance over the entrance to the Solar Temple of Amen-Ra at Karnak, or or over the Temple doorway in Medinet Habu on the West bank of Luxor.
(http://content.answers.com/main/content/wp/en/thumb/f/fd/100px-Royal_Soc_of_Med.gif)   The Royal Society of Medicine coat of arms features the serpent of Moses on a Tau cross, and flowers which resemble the stylised Lotus frequently depicted in ancient Egyptian art. In this discussion about secret societies and the modern of ancient symbols it is pertinent that The Royal Society - the foremost scientific institution in the U.K., was founded by a prominent Freemason, Sir Robert Moray.
(http://www.summum.us/images/gif/FreemasonrySymbol.gif)   John Robinson explains in his popular book on Freemasonry: "When Freemasonry came public in 1717 ... it appeared that the Royal Society was virtually a Masonic subsidiary, with almost every member and every founding member of the Royal Society a Freemason." An article in the leading Masonic magazine, Freemasonry Today, echoes this and mentions that "many masons were also members of the Royal Society". The Royal Society remains associated with British Freemasonry today.

   The Red Cross was first associated with human welfare and medical help during the medieval crusades, when European Knights travelled overseas to help pilgrims and foreigners alike, such as the Knights of St John, the Knights Hospitaller, and the Knights Templar[17] which was the first organisation to officially adopt the red cross symbol.

   The Knights Templar has been operating in secret for centuries, and traditions and inner mysteries are connected with those of the secret society of Freemasons.


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: Bianca on June 03, 2007, 10:01:48 pm
 
 










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MEDICINE AND MAGIC IN ANCIENT EGYPT

By Connie Vines


     
 

 
In ancient times the Egyptian doctor was also a priest and sometimes a magician...

"Thou are not above me--I am Amon, I am Anhor, the beautiful slayer. I am the prince, the lord of the sword. rise not thyself--I am Mont."

Do you believe this chant will terrify crocodiles? Of course you don't. But the people of ancient Eqypt did. Magic, however, was only used when the physician dealt with the unknown. Medical science actually began in ancient Egypt.

The Eqyptians studied human anatomy and treated illness and accidents. Splints and casts were used for healing fractures. Open wounds were closed with sutures, clamps and a kind of adhesive plaster. These treatments were verified by a papyrus on surgery that was discovered by a historian. After examining several mummies, this historian also discovered that their broken bones had healed without complications and that minor dental work had been performed.

Considering that ancient civilizations were hampered by superstitions and limited technology, the Egyptians amassed a great amount of knowledge about plants. They utilized more than one-third of the plants now known for the exact same purpose.

An example is a hieroglyphic scroll called the Ebers Papyrus. One of its perscriptions was for soothing a crying child: "Take the pods of the poppy plant and add fly dirt that is on the wall.. Strain," Except for the fly dirt, this prescription calls for the same preparation pediatricians give colicky babies today.

The Nile people also devised a remedy for night blindness--roasted ox liver--quite reasonable since liver contains vision-aiding vitamin A. Onions were eaten to prevent scurvy, a disease caused by lack of vitamin C. The ancient Egyptains even pressed moldy bread into badly infected wounds; they also swallowed moldy bread for internal illness--thus anticipating penicillin and other 20th century antibiotics. Nile mud, which was often mixed into medicine, contains the antibiotic Aureomycin.

In ancient times the Egyptian doctor was also a priest and sometimes a magician. Part of his job was to make cosmetics to color hair and improve the skin. People would also ask his help in ridding their household of pests.

During this time the average person believed that pain, suffering, and misfortune were the work of spirits, so there was much concern about witchcraft and curses. Often the doctor would perscribe an amulet for his patient. Amulets in the shapes of gods for protection, scarab beetles, the Anhk (symbol of life), and the Eye of Horus. The Eye of Horus was the most common and is seen even today in Egyptian art and jewelry. This amulet was worn to bring the blessings of good health and safety.
                               
(http://www.jefferson.edu/headache/fellow/images/egypt.jpg)
Headache remedy using a clay
crocodile and prayers.

Perhaps you don't think that this practice could be called proper medicine. But these symbols might well have been beneficial because the wearer believed that he was protected and would get well.

Today, we know that a positive attitude is extremely important in getting well. And in their ancient way these charms are in line with today's psychiatry, since they dealt with the mind. The same is true of the use of placebos, pills containing no medicine, in modern medicine. They are prescribed when a doctor believes that the mind has caused the illness. The patient is really cured by his belief, not by the medicine.

One lasting contribution to medicine was made by the ancient Egyptain doctor. They were the first to recognize the importance of the pulse, which they called the "voice of the heart," and to use it as part of their treatment.�


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: Bianca on July 03, 2007, 09:30:15 am


Ancient Egyptian Medicine



Surviving medical texts, such as the Edwin Smith and Ebers Papyri, show the high level of medical practice that the ancient Egyptian physicians attained. George M. Burden M.D. looks at some unexpectedly modern-sounding case histories and finds that treatments surprisingly similar to modern ones are documented.

In ancient Egypt, a clever pharaoh could earn kudos by dispatching one of his top medical specialists to help a neighbouring monarch, often having been requested to do so specifically, such was the reputation of the ancient medics. Of course this sometimes backfired. Herodotus reports in his Histories that an eye specialist sent to the court of the Persian king Cambyses became so annoyed with his pharaoh for separating him from his family, that he incited the Persian monarch to invade Egypt successfully. In another case, Herodotus tells how the Persian king Darius was about to execute all his Egyptian doctors for mishandling his injured ankle. The Greek doctor who successfully treated Darius implored the king to spare his colleagues, to which he agreed. Perhaps we can attribute the recorded ninety-four year long reign of Pharaoh Pepy II at least partly to the ministrations of his doctors. He is still on record as the longest ruling monarch in history beating others such as Queen Victoria, Louis XIV of France and Franz Josef of Austria by many years.

On a recent trip to Egypt I had the opportunity to see and photograph various medically-related subjects, ranging from artistic depictions of surgery and surgical instruments to sculptures and paintings showing actual pathology. Perhaps the most ancient existing depictions of surgery are found in the Old Kingdom tomb of Ankh-Ma-Hor at Saqqara. Over four thousand years old, these reliefs depict surgical procedures on the toes and circumcision. At the temple of Kom Ombo, in Lower Egypt, I came across a carved wall depicting an array of surgical instruments that would not look out of place in a surgical theatre today. This included a variety of scalpels, curettes, forceps and dilators, as well as scissors and medicine bottles. The Coptic Museum in Cairo has an actual display of bronze medical instruments of all types dating from the days of Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt.

There is no shortage of depictions of pathology in pharaonic Egyptian art. I discovered several representations of achondroplastic dwarfism, including the famous sculpture of the dwarf Seneb and his family in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Seneb became an affluent and respected member of his society, indicating that his condition did not present an insurmountable barrier to advancement, even in ancient Egypt. I also found dwarves depicted making jewellery on the walls of the Old Kingdom tomb of Mereruka at Saqqara. They were reputed to be quite skilled at this craft, due to their tiny hands.

                              (http://www.ancientegyptmagazine.com/images/33medicine1.jpg)


The first known image of a doctor? Wooden relief of Hesira, dating to the Third Dynasty, and found at Saqqara. Hesira was a scribe, possibly at the time of Djoser, but is also described as a doctor and dentist. The panel is now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo.
Photo: RP.

Visiting the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, in the Amarna room one could be forgiven for thinking that theories of extra-terrestrial influences on ancient Egypt might actually be based on fact. The Eighteenth Dynasty pharaoh Akhenaten is depicted as having a bizarre elongated feminine body shape with a narrow face and long tapering digits. His six daughters were sculpted with oddly elongated heads. Today it is generally believed this was simply a new artistic/religious convention. In the past others have speculated that Akhenaten may have suffered from Marfan’s Syndrome, a hereditary condition associated with a body shape remarkably similar to Akhenaten’s, as depicted in his statuary.

Additionally, I found examples of art works that may represent microfilariasis, a parasitic infestation that can block the lymphatic system. The result is huge distention of parts of the body, usually the legs, known as elephantiasis. A possible example of this disease is shown in a painted relief from a chapel of Queen Hatshepsut’s temple, which documents her trade expedition to Punt (probably present-day Somalia). The Queen of Punt is shown as having a massive lower body, which some speculate could be due to microfilariasis.

Another example of disease found in the Egyptian Museum is a small figurine depicting an individual with a marked kyphosis, or forward curvature of the spine. The male figure appears too young to be suffering from osteoporosis, the softening of the bones that usually occurs in old age. Perhaps this is a congenital kyphosis, or perhaps it is due to pathological bone fracture from untreated infection, such as tuberculosis. He does not seem to have enough of a twist to his spine to warrant the diagnosis of adolescent kypho-scoliosis, a developmental disorder where the spine gradually grows in the form of an S-shaped curve in adolescence.

Probable cases of polio are also depicted on reliefs from many eras, where we see men leaning on sticks with what appear to be shrunken, atrophic limbs. Examination of the royal mummy Siptah also reveals characteristics of this wasting viral disease.

Crusted lesions on the faces and upper bodies of the mummies of Rameses V and Amenhotep II are felt to represent smallpox, a viral infection that has plagued mankind for millennia.

The ancient Egyptians had a lively interest and acquaintance with medicine and pathology. Many believe they laid the foundations for modern medical practice. Even today physicians and pharmacists still use the R/ symbol. This figure, which looks like a capital "R" with a line through the oblique portion of the letter forming an "x", has prefaced most prescriptions for centuries. Few of today’s medical personnel realize that they are in fact asking the blessing of the god Horus, whose eye it represents.

One physician who would have recognized the significance of the Eye of Horus was the author of the Edwin Smith Papyrus. It is the oldest surgical text in the world, most likely written during the third millennium BC, and it is composed of forty-eight concise orthopedic and neurosurgical cases. The injuries described may have been taken from casualties ensuing during the construction of the pyramids. Egyptologist Edwin Smith purchased the papyrus in 1862 after it was discovered between the legs of a mummy from the Upper Egyptian necropolis of Thebes. No doubt a prized possession of the deceased owner, this version was transcribed during the seventeenth century BC with a "modern" commentary after each case.

The papyrus was translated by Professor J. Breasted in 1930 with the help of a physician colleague and the now famous text finally ended up in the collection of the New York Academy of Sciences. Any modern physician will find the unknown author’s format quite familiar, with sections devoted to history and physical examination, followed by a diagnosis, prognosis and treatment plan. Though ancient Egypt’s priests often had medical training, there is no evidence in this text of the prayers and amulets that often were used by this class. Instead our anonymous surgeon laid out elegant and simple diagnostic and treatment programs some paralleling those of modern medicine almost exactly.

For example in case 12, "A Break in the Nasal Bones", treatment is described as follows: "Thou shouldst force it to fall in, so it is lying in place, and clean out for him the interior of both his nostrils with two swabs of linen until every worm [clot] of blood which coagulates in the inside of his two nostrils comes forth. Now afterward thou shouldst place two plugs of linen saturated with greases and put into his nostrils. Thou shouldst place for him two stiff rolls of linen, bound on. Thou shouldst treat him afterward with grease, honey and lint every day until he recovers." In other words the nose is set, clot evacuated and splints of stiffened linen are applied. Non-stick grease soaked dressings are used to pack the nose. This is much the same approach a modern otolaryngologist would use.

In case 35, "A Fracture of the Clavicle", treatment of a patient is described in this way: "Thou shouldst place him prostrate on his back, with something folded between his two shoulder blades; thou shouldst spread out his two shoulders in order to stretch apart his collar bone until the break falls into place. Thou shouldst make for him two splints of linen, and thou shouldst apply one of them both on the inside of his upper arm. Thou shouldst bind it …" In other words draw the shoulder blades back and fit the patient with a "figure of eight" splint, exactly what a modern orthopedics text would advise.

The twenty-first century (AD) intern confronted with a dislocated jaw need look no further than case 25 of the Edwin Smith Papyrus. "If thou examinest a man having a dislocation in his mandible, shouldst thou find this mouth open and his mouth cannot close for him, thou shouldst put thy thumbs upon the ends of the two rami of the mandible in the inside of his mouth and thy two claws [meaning two groups of fingers] under his chin, and thou shouldst cause them to fall back so they rest in their places." This is exactly the technique I learned in the Emergency Room!

                              (http://www.ancientegyptmagazine.com/images/33medicine2.jpg)

The head of the mummy of Rameses V, which might exhibit the signs of smallpox.
Photo from Elliot Smith The Royal Mummies.

In many cases the treatment was beyond the capability of the time and the surgeon simply states that this is "… an ailment not to be treated", i.e. with a very poor prognosis. Nevertheless he meticulously describes the physical findings of such injuries as in case 31, "Dislocation of a Cervical Vertebra", where he writes if "… thou find him unconscious of his two arms and his two legs on account of it, while his phallus is erected … and urine dribbles from his member without him knowing it … ; it is a dislocation of a vertebra of the neck extending to his back-bone …" This is the world’s first known description of quadriplegia.

In case 6, "A Gaping Wound in the Head With Compound Comminuted Fracture of the Skull and Rupture of the Meningeal Membranes", we get the first description the brain and its gyri, and the meninges. "If thou examinest a man having a gaping wound in his head, penetrating to the bone, smashing his skull, and rending open the brain … , thou shouldst palpate that smash which is in his skull like those corrugations [i.e. gyri] which form in molten copper, and something therein throbbing a fluttering under the fingers …" The pulsation of the brain is described and later the author observes that its absence is a very serious sign (which indeed it is, representing serious brain compression).

In case 8, "Compound Comminuted Fracture of the Skull Displaying No Visible External Injury", the ancient surgeon articulately describes hemiplegia (paralysis on one side of the body) secondary to a head injury: "Shouldst thou find that there is a swelling protruding … while his eye is askew because of it [conjugate deviation of the eyes], on the side of him having that injury which is in his skull; and he walks shuffling with his sole on the side of him having that injury which is in his skull ...", the author further states, "thou shouldst account him one whom something entering from outside has smitten …" It appears here that he may be trying to differentiate hemiplegia caused by an "outside" injury as opposed to similar findings that may occur from an "inside" cause such as a stroke.

In other parts of the text the ancient surgeon describes suturing lacerations, and treatment of infection and wounds with nonstick dressings and hyperosmotic agents (animal grease and honey respectively). In case 39 it is suggested that an abscess that "… arises in his breast dries up as soon as it opens of itself." In other words, as my old surgery professor said, "Pus under pressure should be punctured." The text appears to differentiate between breast tumors and infections, describing the former in case 45, "Bulging Tumors on the Breast", as "… very cool, there being no fever at all therein when thy hand touches them; they have no granulation, they form no fluid, they do not generate secretions of fluid, and they are bulging to thy hand." Is this the first description of a breast cancer?

The Edwin Smith Papyrus is only one of a number of remarkable Egyptian medical texts discovered. Almost as famous is the the Ebers Papyrus, also first purchased by Edwin Smith and subsequently sold to Egyptologist George Ebers, after whom it is named. It is one hundred and ten pages in length, the longest discovered. It is to family doctors what the Smith Papyrus is to surgeons. In addition to a surgical section, it contains descriptions of the heart and its vessels, and discussions of various diseases such as those of the stomach, anus, teeth, ear nose and throat, and skin. Skin diseases are divided into ulcerative, irritative and exfoliative.

A section on pharmacy includes various treatments including the use of castor oil as a laxative. There’s even a section on medical philosophy.

Another text, the Kahun Gynecological Papyrus, deals with diseases of women and dates from the nineteenth century BC. It contains sections on topics such as contraception and the diagnosis of pregnancy.

It’s easy to see why the Egyptians were revered in the ancient world for their medical knowledge. It boggles the mind to think that these texts pre-date the Roman Empire by as many millennia as Rome pre-dates us. To Egyptians, even Hippocrates was a mere upstart.

The ancient Egyptian physicians at their best show a logical and suprisingly up-to-date approach to the diagnosis, classification and treatment of disease. Perhaps "modern" medical thought is not as modern as we once thought.





George Burden

Dr Burden is a family physician who has practised in the Atlantic Canadian town of Elmsdale for over twenty-five years. He is also Chairman of the Quebec/Atlantic Canada branch of the Explorers’ Club, an avid freelance travel and adventure journalist and co-author of the book Amazing Medical Stories.

 Ancient Egypt Magazine -


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: Bianca on July 29, 2007, 05:37:00 pm






                                                     B E A U T Y   S A L T S





by Judith Illes
 

Perhaps my greatest challenge, as someone who teaches ancient Egyptian mythology and lifeways to the younger grades, has been, in the face of various, wildly popular Mummy horror movies, explaining that true Egyptian mummies were not intended or perceived as scary, threatening, disgusting or ugly.  Instead the process of mummification corresponded to the intense need for beauty among the ancient Egyptians. Mummification ideally preserved and protected the beauty of the human form.  A crucial component of this process was a carbonate salt, known as natron.

                               (http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/salt1.jpg)


The use of natron, however, was not reserved for the dead. Based upon the records left to posterity, natron was a fairly ubiquitous product for the living as well. Natron was ancient Egypt's supreme cleansing product. It was used for household cleansing as well as to cleanse the body. Formulae featuring natron were used to rid the home of vermin.  It was also used to cleanse the body, teeth and prevent unattractive body odors.     


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: Bianca on July 29, 2007, 05:41:35 pm







In the holistic world-view so typical of ancient Egypt, natron cleansed many levels simultaneously. Alongside its ability to bestow physical cleanliness, natron also seems to have provided spiritual purification. It is as common an ingredient in the magical papyri as it is in formulae devoted to cosmetics and cleanliness.

This, in fact, corresponds to the way salt is used today: as a preservative, as a magical product, to provide beauty and cleanliness. However, today, the user of salt tends to have only one of those goals in mind at a time; it seems that the Egyptians had a conception of receiving multiple benefits simultaneously.

In fact, salt is a very adequate preservative, as demonstrated not only by mummies but by the quantity of salt contained in modern packaged foods. Applied to the body it also has antiseptic properties, a reasonably effective, if painful, method of cleansing minor cuts and wounds. For the purposes of beauty, salt combined with oils, both true and essential, are easily combined into exfoliating salt scrubs, a modern product whose components would all be recognizable and appreciated in ancient Egypt. Salt, while inexpensive in the supermarket, is still treasured as a protective material in modern magic.  The simplest protective spell is a circle of salt, within which one can sit for spiritual safety. Presumably, the natron salts applied to the bodies of the ancient deceased, promoted spiritual safety as well as physical desiccation.


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: Bianca on July 29, 2007, 05:44:35 pm
This spiritual component cannot be overestimated. Fragrance was intrinsically tied into the Egyptian conception of beauty and spirituality. Each deity had its own characteristic fragrance. Deities were summoned through fragrance: the scent of the beautiful indicated the presence of the benevolent divine. Foul odors both called and indicated the presence of malevolence. It was imperative that the human body reflect this holiness through the beauty of its aroma, or at least by not smelling absolutely foul. This was an extremely ambitious concept, in a place of heat and limited plumbing. The papyri that remain to us indicate the ancient dread of unattractive body odors.  The ancient Egyptians recognized that both health and beauty regimens needed to find their source in cleanliness. For them, cleanliness was literally next to godliness. Natron was the product that fulfilled this ambition for them.

Of all the beauty products that the Egyptians valued (kohl, perfumes, henna) it is purifying salt that is easiest for modern people to reproduce. The closest approximation of natron is not table salt but baking soda, an inexpensive and easily purchased item in the West.


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: Bianca on July 29, 2007, 05:46:20 pm








                                   (http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/salt2.jpg)




The similarities between the products are readily seen. What do you put in the refrigerator to absorb potential foul odors? An open box of baking soda. What can easily be turned into a homemade household cleanser? Baking soda. Baking soda even has its place in traditional American magic, although not for the same reasons as  natron or table salt. In America, the baking soda available for sale is almost invariably Arm and Hammer. The imagery of its label connects it to spells for enhancement of virility. This is also a common goal among the spells from ancient Alexandria's remaining magical papyri, although these spells usually feature far more exotic ingredients.  There is no indication whether natron would be recognized as enhancing that process in old Egypt, although there were concerns that the dead would be able to function in that manner in the next life.


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: Bianca on July 29, 2007, 05:50:01 pm


                         (http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/salt3.jpg)




Baking soda is also a common ingredient in modern commercial toothpastes.  A homemade toothpaste with medicinal properties even has an Egyptian flavor. Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha) a resin that seeps from thorny desert trees in Ethiopia, Somalia and Yemen, was intensely prized in ancient Egypt, for its therapeutic uses, as well as its value in perfumery and temple incense. Myrrh trees were imported with great care by Pharaoh Hatshepsut.


Today, myrrh can be purchased in health food stores, as a resin, a tincture or as an essential oil. Still used as a beautiful perfume, it is also valued for its affinity with the oral gums. It is featured in many toothpastes and suggested as an oral cleanser, a gum strengthener and an aid to gingivitis. To make an ancient styled toothpaste, moisten a tablespoonful of baking soda with a little water, to achieve a paste-like consistency. Add one or two drops of essential oil of myrrh, stir with your toothbrush and brush.  A drop or two of myrrh may also be added to a glass of warm water, with perhaps the addition of a drop of essential oil of patchouli (Pogostemom cablin) as an anciently flavored mouthwash or gargle. 


http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/salt.htm


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: Bianca on July 29, 2007, 05:56:22 pm







                                                           N A T R O N




Natron is a naturally occurring mixture of hydrated sodium carbonate (soda ash, Na2CO3·10 H2O) and about 17% sodium bicarbonate (baking soda, NaHCO3) along with small quantities of household salt (sodium chloride) and sodium sulfate. Natron is white to colorless when pure, varying to gray or yellow with impurities. Natron deposits occur naturally as a part of saline lake beds in arid environments. Historically natron had many practical applications which still resonate in the wide modern use of its constituent mineral components.

 

 Etymology

The English word natron is a French cognate derived from the Spanish natrón through the Arabic natrun from Greek nitron. The modern chemical symbol for sodium, Na, is an abbreviation of that element's new Latin name natrium, which was derived from natron.



 Chemical properties

Natron has a specific gravity of 1.42 to 1.47 and a Mohs hardness of 1. It crystallizes in the monoclinic crystal system, typically forming efflorescences and encrustations. Natron effloresces (loses water) in dry air and is partially transformed into the monohydrate thermonatrite, Na2(CO3)·(H2O). The mineral is often found in association with thermonatrite, trona, mirabilite, gaylussite, gypsum and calcite.


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: Bianca on July 29, 2007, 05:57:50 pm







 Importance in antiquity

Natron was harvested directly from dry lakebeds in ancient Egypt and has been used for thousands of years as a cleaning product for both the home and body. Blended with oil, it was an early form of soap. It softens water whilst removing oil, grease and alcohol stains. Undiluted, natron was a cleanser for the teeth and an early mouthwash. The mineral was mixed into early antiseptics for wounds and minor cuts. Natron can be used to dry and preserve fish and meat. It was also an ancient household insecticide.

The mineral was used in Egyptian mummification because it aborbs water and behaves as a drying agent. Moreover, when exposed to moisture the bicarbonate in natron increases pH, which creates a hostile environment for bacteria. Culturally, natron was generally thought to enhance spiritual safety for both the living and the dead. Natron was added to castor oil to make a smokeless fuel which allowed Egyptian artisans to paint elaborate artworks inside ancient tombs without staining them with soot.

Natron is an ingredient for the making of a distinct color called Egyptian blue. It was used along with sand in ceramic and glass making by the Romans and others at least until 640 CE. The mineral was also employed as a flux to solder precious metals together.



 Declining use

Most of natron's uses both in the home and by industry were gradually replaced with often closely related sodium compounds and minerals. Natron's detergent properties are now commercially supplied by soda ash (the compound's chief ingredient) and other chemicals. Soda ash also replaced natron in glassmaking. Many of its ancient household roles are now filled by ordinary baking soda, natron's secondary ingredient.


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: Bianca on July 29, 2007, 06:02:01 pm







GEOLOGICAL OCCURRENCE


Quebec, Canada
Rouville County
Mont-Saint-Hilaire
Interior British Columbia, Canada
Wadi Natrum, Egypt
Showa Province, Ethiopia
Hungary
Bács-Kiskun County, (Great Hungarian Plain)
Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg County (Great Hungarian Plain)
Campania, Italy
Province of Naples
Somma-Vesuvius Complex
Russia (Northern Region)
Murmanskaja Oblast
Kola Peninsula
Khibiny Massif
Lovozero Massif
Alluaiv Mountain
Umbozero Mine
Kedykverpakhk Mountain
England, UK
Cornwall
St Just District
Botallack - Pendeen Area
Botallack, and Botallack Mine
California, USA
Inyo County
Nevada, USA
Churchill County (Soda Lake District)
Humboldt County
Mineral County
Oregon, USA
Lake County
Washington, USA
Okanogan County


 See also

Saltpeter

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natron"


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: rockessence on July 29, 2007, 06:59:32 pm
A side-note on Armand Hammer from Wiki:

Hammer claimed that his father had named him after a character, Armand Duval, in La Dame aux Camélias, a novel by Alexandre Dumas, fils. In fact, according to Carl Blumay, his biographer and former press agent, Hammer was named after the "Arm and Hammer" symbol of the Socialist Labor Party (SLP), in which his father, a committed socialist, had a leadership role at one time. (After the Russian Revolution, a part of the SLP under Julius' leadership split off to become a founding element of the Communist Party USA.)

Despite popular myth, the relation between Hammer's name and the household product Arm and Hammer baking soda is coincidental. The pun was not lost on Hammer, though: during the 1980s, he attempted to buy Church and Dwight, makers of the Arm and Hammer line of products. He did succeed in buying a sizable minority interest and eventually sat on its board of directors.



Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: Rebecca on December 22, 2007, 02:34:45 am
Ver. 1.3 “The Pharaoh’s Pharmacists”

December 12th, 2007 | Author: [Cerebral] | Category: Biology, Health and Medicine, History

Snipped from New Scientist
.

Some of the more recent articles on Blog4Brains have been about ancient remedies or alternative medicine, so I thought this fascinating article about how the Egyptians may have beaten the Greeks to discovering the first “medicine”, would help further the discussion.

Since this is a membership only article, I will give you the short of the long. Asru, an ancient mummy, has been intriguing scientists for quite some time. It has been discovered that she lived roughly about 60 years (pretty old for thousands of years ago), but she also suffered from many ailments. She had everything from parasites to periodontal disease, but this sparked the scientists wonder what the Egyptians did to help with infection, pain and other conditions.

Unfortunately, the hard part is deciphering the age-old, nearly completely forgotten language. Going through all the old texts is a near impossibility, so a researcher named Jackie Campbell, found another way to dig for the truth …

“I’m not a linguistics expert so I used science to authenticate the prescriptions,” she says. With most drugs extracted from plants, her first check was whether a plant named in a prescription grew or was traded in Egypt at the time the papyri were written. If it wasn’t, she could rule it out. Fortunately, the flora of ancient Egypt is well known. Thousands of botanical specimens collected from archaeological sites are held in museums, many of them accurately dated, and some plants are illustrated in wall paintings and sculptures. Better still is the evidence from pollen grains incorporated in mud bricks or buried deep in the soil. Geological core samples have enabled archaeobotanists to reconstruct Egypt’s past flora in enough detail to say what was indigenous or traded.

Campbell’s second approach was pharmacological: could the named ingredient have worked the way a prescription indicated? Normally, this would be the province of a forensic chemist, who would take a sample, analyse its constituents and check for biological activity. Sadly, archaeologists have yet to find any pots of ointment or neatly moulded suppositories. “But we had something better,” she says. “Recipes.” …

Here is what she discovered:

So what did Egyptian doctors prescribe? They were especially keen on laxatives, and dispensed irritants such as castor oil or colocynth, lubricants including balanites (extracted from the kernel of the desert date), or simply recommended bulk fibre, such as figs or bran. For indigestion, they prescribed an antacid of powdered limestone (calcium carbonate) where we take magnesium carbonate. For diarrhoea, doctors dispensed something to absorb water and toxins from the gut, such as kaolin or powdered carob, or a plant containing hyoscine, an alkaloid that relaxes smooth muscle and reduces gut movement. For flatulence and intestinal cramps, patients could rely on cumin and coriander - both effective antispasmodics. The discomfort of piles was eased with a suppository laced with hemp.

The ancient Egyptians had effective remedies for waterborne parasites too. The most common was extract of pomegranate, which contains pelletierine, a powerful antihelminthic used until 50 years ago to get rid of tapeworms. Antimony was effective against flukes, and balanites oil, although given to soothe burning in the bladder symptomatic of schistosomiasis, would also have killed the worms that caused it.

Like Asru the chantress, many people suffered from musculoskeletal disorders. The treatments were also many and varied. A patient might be instructed to rub liniment into aching joints, or bandage a warming poultice over the painful area. Extracts of mustard, juniper and frankincense or turpentine stimulated blood flow, providing warmth and enhancing the immune response.

Treatments for wounds were clearly effective. Mummy studies have revealed evidence of potentially fatal injuries that had healed. Egyptian physicians treated wounds with resins and metals, both of which have antimicrobial properties, and with honey - which does not comply with modern pharmaceutical standards but nevertheless works and is increasingly used to treat ulcers and burns when antibiotics fail. By extracting water from the wound by osmosis, it makes conditions too dry for the growth of bacteria.

http://www.blog4brains.com/2007/12/12/the-pharaohs-pharmacists/


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: Rebecca on December 22, 2007, 02:35:47 am
The Pharaoh's pharmacists

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

http://www.newscientist.com/channel/...armacists.html

AS EGYPTIAN mummies go, Asru is a major celebrity. During her life in the 8th century BC, she was known for her singing at the temple of Amun in Karnak; now she is famous for her medical problems. Forensic studies have revealed that although Asru lived into her sixties, she was not a well woman. She had furred-up arteries, desert lung (pneumoconiosis) caused by breathing in sand, osteoarthritis, a slipped disc, periodontal disease and possibly diabetes, as well as parasitic worms in her intestine and bladder. Her last years must have been full of pain and suffering. After all, what could her doctor do to help? Say a few prayers and recite a spell or two?

If you read the history books, that's about as much as Asru could expect. But not according to Jackie Campbell at the KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology at the University of Manchester in the UK. Her research suggests that Asru's doctor probably consulted a handbook of remedies and prescribed something to soothe her cough, deaden the pain in her joints and perhaps even expel some of those worms (see "Cure of the mummy"). What's more, Campbell's findings indicate that Asru's doctor had more than a thousand years of pharmaceutical expertise to draw on. If she is right, the history of medicine needs rewriting.

According to the textbooks, science-based medicine and effective pharmacy both began with the Greeks. In the 5th century BC, Hippocrates introduced rational medicine based on diagnosis and a reasoned approach to treatment. The first pharmacopoeia, De Materia Medica - a list of 600 drugs and how to acquire and prepare the ingredients - is attributed to Dioscorides in AD 50. And the "father of pharmacy" was another Greek, Claudius Galenus, who became surgeon to the gladiators in 2nd-century Rome. "The Egyptians clearly practised some medicine long before the Greeks, but much of it was thought of as fanciful and dominated by magic," says Campbell. Could such a sophisticated people really lag so far behind in such vital skills? Campbell didn't think so.

The key obstacle to establishing just what the Egyptians knew about pharmacy has been translation. While the Greeks left a vast legacy of medical texts in a familiar language, we know of only 12 from the time of the pharaohs - written on papyrus in a vanished language that scholars are still grappling with. From their descriptions of diseases and treatments, the texts have left little doubt that the ancient Egyptians had considerable medical skills, but weighing up their pharmaceutical knowledge has proved trickier: although the papyri include some 2000 prescriptions, doubts surround the identity of many of the ingredients listed.

Translators rely heavily on context to infer the meanings of ancient Egyptian words. "When words appear in writings on different subjects they can confirm whether the meaning they've assigned a word makes sense," says Rosalie David, director of the KNH Centre. With the prescriptions, translators rarely have that option because medicinal plants or minerals seldom crop up elsewhere. "Worse, some of the words appear only in lists and never in sentences," says David.

Stuck for the right word, translators have made educated guesses, narrowing down the options linguistically before consulting a pharmacopoeia to see which ingredient had the same medicinal use and best fit the description. "If the translator was working in the 1890s, they looked up the drugs available then," Campbell says. "Later translators picked from the drugs available in their day." As a result, some 30 per cent of ingredients in the papyri were disputed. Campbell realised she would need firmer identifications before she could say how fanciful - or helpful - ancient Egyptian remedies might have been.

"I'm not a linguistics expert so I used science to authenticate the prescriptions," she says. With most drugs extracted from plants, her first check was whether a plant named in a prescription grew or was traded in Egypt at the time the papyri were written. If it wasn't, she could rule it out. Fortunately, the flora of ancient Egypt is well known. Thousands of botanical specimens collected from archaeological sites are held in museums, many of them accurately dated, and some plants are illustrated in wall paintings and sculptures. Better still is the evidence from pollen grains incorporated in mud bricks or buried deep in the soil. Geological core samples have enabled archaeobotanists to reconstruct Egypt's past flora in enough detail to say what was indigenous or traded.

Campbell's second approach was pharmacological: could the named ingredient have worked the way a prescription indicated? Normally, this would be the province of a forensic chemist, who would take a sample, analyse its constituents and check for biological activity. Sadly, archaeologists have yet to find any pots of ointment or neatly moulded suppositories. "But we had something better," she says. "Recipes."


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: Rebecca on December 22, 2007, 02:36:33 am
What the doctor ordered

Although often prefaced by a prayer or spell, each prescription provides all the information needed to reproduce the remedy, from its ingredients and method of preparation right down to the dose. They follow a standard format, listing the active ingredient first, followed by stabilisers, flavourings to mask unpleasant tastes, perhaps a soothing agent to help it down and sometimes secondary drugs to alleviate the side effects of the principal drug. Last of all comes the medium, or "vehicle", in which everything is mixed.

Focusing on four key papyri, which contain 1000 prescriptions and date from 1850 BC to around 1200 BC, Campbell analysed each prescription and compared it with contemporary standards and protocols. "I looked at the source of the drug and the formulation: was it a cream or an enema or a draught and so on. Then I looked at the preparation: would the active drug have been extracted appropriately? And then, could it have worked? Was the drug given the right way and in a suitable dose?" Several plants named in previous translations, such as cinnamon and aniseed, would not have worked in the ancient remedies and there is no evidence that they existed in Egypt at the time. Other plants existed but had been wrongly translated. "Some were obviously so right while others seemed improbable," says Campbell.

After five years of painstaking analyses, she had compiled an ancient Egyptian pharmacopoeia listing all of the drugs in the papyri, their sources and how they were used. She had confirmed or come up with more plausible identifications for 284 ingredients - various parts of 134 species of plants, 24 animals and 28 minerals. Of the original 1000 prescriptions, she could now say exactly how 550 were made and whether they would work. For another 156, she knew all but a minor ingredient - enough to say if the remedy worked. That left 234 with unknown ingredients and 27 for which the prescription failed to identify what the drug was intended for. "We've got some of the mystery ingredients down to half a dozen possibilities. Others we'll never identify," says Campbell.

The Egyptians' choice of ingredients has certainly stood the test of time. When Campbell consulted Martindale's Extra Pharmacopoeia - the 1977 edition, when drugs were still prepared in a dispensary - she found that 62 per cent of ingredients named in the papyri were still in use in the 1970s. Many still are - or at least synthetic versions of them.

When preparing their remedies, the Egyptians used techniques familiar to modern pharmacists. They knew when to concentrate a drug by boiling, when to dilute it and when grinding released more of the active ingredient. They were expert in extracting drugs from plants, steeping them in either water or alcohol depending on the solubility of the active compound. "Colocynth (bitter apple), for instance, can only be extracted in mild alcohol and it always was - in either beer or wine," says Campbell. Some preparations required a two-stage extraction - first in water or alcohol and then in acid - achieved by steeping in vinegary wine or soured milk, which produces butyric acid. Most remedies were made up as required, but if they had to last longer they were preserved in sugar or alcohol. "I didn't find one drug that wasn't prepared properly," Campbell says. "I have no evidence that they were aware of the chemistry of their actions, but fortuitously or otherwise, they adopted the right techniques."

The formulations stood comparison too. Checking against the 1973 British Pharmaceutical Codex, which lays down standards and protocols for making up medicines, Campbell found 67 per cent of the ancient Egyptian remedies complied, with one proviso - the Egyptians knew nothing of the need for sterility. Apart from drugs given by injection, they dispensed all the same types of medicines as we do. They had enemas, draughts and linctuses, lotions and liniments, creams, ointments and mouthwashes. They had eye drops (to be dripped through a bird's quill), pills, powders and poultices and, for gynaecological conditions, pessaries. For nasal congestion, doctors prescribed remedies to be inhaled (pour onto hot stones and breathe through a hollow reed). They were particularly adept at preparing suppositories, mixing the drug into a heavy grease and then rolling this into a pellet firm enough for insertion but which would melt at body temperature.


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: Rebecca on December 22, 2007, 02:37:17 am
Effective remedies

So the ancient Egyptians had expert knowledge of drugs and knew the most effective ways to prepare and deliver them, but was that enough to call them pharmacists? For that, their remedies had to be effective.

Ignorant of the causes of most diseases, ancient Egyptian doctors inevitably focused on symptoms. Then, as now, a soothing linctus quietened a cough whatever the cause, and a warming poultice that stimulated blood flow would relieve joint pain, whether from rheumatism or osteoarthritis. In some instances, where the cause was obvious, as with a wound or intestinal worms, the chosen drug tackled both symptoms and cause.

Knowing the drug, the dose, how it was to be administered and what it was prescribed for meant it was possible to compare its effectiveness with modern remedies. Campbell was impressed. "Sixty-four per cent of the prescriptions had therapeutic value on a par with drugs used in the past 50 years. In many cases even the dosing was right."

So what did Egyptian doctors prescribe? They were especially keen on laxatives, and dispensed irritants such as castor oil or colocynth, lubricants including balanites (extracted from the kernel of the desert date), or simply recommended bulk fibre, such as figs or bran. For indigestion, they prescribed an antacid of powdered limestone (calcium carbonate) where we take magnesium carbonate. For diarrhoea, doctors dispensed something to absorb water and toxins from the gut, such as kaolin or powdered carob, or a plant containing hyoscine, an alkaloid that relaxes smooth muscle and reduces gut movement. For flatulence and intestinal cramps, patients could rely on cumin and coriander - both effective antispasmodics. The discomfort of piles was eased with a suppository laced with hemp.

The ancient Egyptians had effective remedies for waterborne parasites too. The most common was extract of pomegranate, which contains pelletierine, a powerful antihelminthic used until 50 years ago to get rid of tapeworms. Antimony was effective against flukes, and balanites oil, although given to soothe burning in the bladder symptomatic of schistosomiasis, would also have killed the worms that caused it.

Like Asru the chantress, many people suffered from musculoskeletal disorders. The treatments were also many and varied. A patient might be instructed to rub liniment into aching joints, or bandage a warming poultice over the painful area. Extracts of mustard, juniper and frankincense or turpentine stimulated blood flow, providing warmth and enhancing the immune response.

Treatments for wounds were clearly effective. Mummy studies have revealed evidence of potentially fatal injuries that had healed. Egyptian physicians treated wounds with resins and metals, both of which have antimicrobial properties, and with honey - which does not comply with modern pharmaceutical standards but nevertheless works and is increasingly used to treat ulcers and burns when antibiotics fail. By extracting water from the wound by osmosis, it makes conditions too dry for the growth of bacteria.

If two-thirds of remedies were sound, what of the remainder? Some were obviously symbolic: hedgehog quills will not cure baldness, and a tap on the head with a dead fish won't do much for a migraine. Others were more a case of hope triumphing over experience: when it came to impotence, for instance, the Egyptians prescribed a remedy with 39 active ingredients - none of which would have had the slightest effect.

Yet some of the odder prescriptions may turn out to be more sensible than anyone imagined. Crocodile dung as a contraceptive? There is some suggestion that, applied as a pessary, its acidity would be spermicidal. For pain relief, the papyri recommend celery seed, chewed and swallowed in alcohol. "When I began this study I thought that was one of the fanciful remedies but today celery is being investigated for its anti-rheumatic properties," says Campbell. Ancient Egyptian physicians also recommended saffron for back pain and both Crocus sativa, the source of saffron, and safflower (false saffron) are used this way in traditional medicine.

Although Campbell's findings show that the ancient Egyptians were practising a genuine form of pharmacy long before the Greeks, many questions remain about how advanced it was. Campbell hopes to answer some of these in collaboration with Mohamed El-Demerdash and his team, which is working on Egypt's Conservation of Medicinal Plants Project. The project aims to re-establish and protect wild medicinal plants and to preserve the age-old knowledge of Bedouin healers.

One puzzle is why both ancient prescriptions and Bedouin healers specify doses for some drugs that appear to fall below the threshold for activity. Campbell and El-Demerdash suspect that Egypt's wild-grown plants are more potent than those cultivated for conventional medicine. "Plants that grow in harsh environments synthesise more of certain active compounds to enable them to withstand the stress of drought or extreme temperature," says El-Demerdash. Analyses of plants grown by the team should resolve this.

The project could also help Campbell identify some of the ingredients that still defy translation. Bedouin healers harvest the same species and make remarkably similar remedies as in pharaonic times. If Campbell is lucky, she may find they still make remedies containing some of the mystery ingredients - and for once there will be samples to analyse.

On a visit to Sinai in October, Campbell ran through her pharmacopoeia with Ahmed Mansoor, a prominent local healer. "For days all I could find was similarity - nothing that I didn't know of already," she says. Before she returned to Manchester, however, Mansoor surprised her with a gift - a bag containing dung from feral donkeys that roam the mountainsides where many medicinal plants grow. "This is nature's pharmacy," he said, explaining that the Bedouin boil the dung to make a tea, which they drink as a tonic or for upset stomachs, or apply to wounds.

The Egyptian papyri include half a dozen apparently irrational prescriptions based on animal dung - so did Campbell try it? "No. But I brought a sample back for analysis."
__________________
http://www.thephora.net/forum/showthread.php?p=486793


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: Rebecca on December 22, 2007, 02:38:06 am
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

http://www.physorg.com/news97923029.html


Published: 09:50 EST, May 09, 2007

Egyptians, not Greeks were true fathers of medicine

Scientists examining documents dating back 3,500 years say they have found proof that the origins of modern medicine lie in ancient Egypt and not with Hippocrates and the Greeks.


The research team from the KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology at The University of Manchester discovered the evidence in medical papyri written in 1,500BC – 1,000 years before Hippocrates was born.

"Classical scholars have always considered the ancient Greeks, particularly Hippocrates, as being the fathers of medicine but our findings suggest that the ancient Egyptians were practising a credible form of pharmacy and medicine much earlier," said Dr Jackie Campbell.

"When we compared the ancient remedies against modern pharmaceutical protocols and standards, we found the prescriptions in the ancient documents not only compared with pharmaceutical preparations of today but that many of the remedies had therapeutic merit."

The medical documents, which were first discovered in the mid-19th century, showed that ancient Egyptian physicians treated wounds with honey, resins and metals known to be antimicrobial.

The team also discovered prescriptions for laxatives of castor oil and colocynth and bulk laxatives of figs and bran. Other references show that colic was treated with hyoscyamus, which is still used today, and that cumin and coriander were used as intestinal carminatives.

Further evidence showed that musculo-skeletal disorders were treated with rubefacients to stimulate blood flow and poultices to warm and soothe. They used celery and saffron for rheumatism, which are currently topics of pharmaceutical research, and pomegranate was used to eradicate tapeworms, a remedy that remained in clinical use until 50 years ago.

"Many of the ancient remedies we discovered survived into the 20th century and, indeed, some remain in use today, albeit that the active component is now produced synthetically," said Dr Campbell.

"Other ingredients endure and acacia is still used in cough remedies while aloes forms a basis to soothe and heal skin conditions."

Fellow researcher Dr Ryan Metcalfe is now developing genetic techniques to investigate the medicinal plants of ancient Egypt. He has designed his research to determine which modern species the ancient botanical samples are most related to.

"This may allow us to determine a likely point of origin for the plant while providing additional evidence for the trade routes, purposeful cultivation, trade centres or places of treatment," said Dr Metcalfe.

"The work is inextricably linked to state-of-the-art chemical analyses used by my colleague Judith Seath, who specialises in the essential oils and resins used by the ancient Egyptians."

Professor Rosalie David, Director of the KNH Centre, said: "These results are very significant and show that the ancient Egyptians were practising a credible form of pharmacy long before the Greeks.

"Our research is continuing on a genetic, chemical and comparative basis to compare the medicinal plants of ancient Egypt with modern species and to investigate similarities between the traditional remedies of North Africa with the remedies used by their ancestors of 1,500 BC."

Source: University of Manchester


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: Bianca on April 19, 2008, 01:55:02 pm
(http://www.neilos.org/wandsgallery/050_Priest_Hermitage.jpg)


EGYPTIAN PHYSICIAN/PRIEST

The Hermitage,
St. Petersburgh,

RUSSIA


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: Bianca on April 20, 2008, 10:12:12 am








                            Rare medical, astronomical manuscripts found at Dar al-Kotob





A number of rare and invaluable medical and astronomical manuscripts have been found at the National Library of Egypt (also known as Dar al-Kotob).

A senior official at Alexandria Library said Saturday that the ancient documents were just laying there in the forgotten Dar al-Kotob archieves for many years but thanks to his Centre for Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage (CULTNAT) they were "technically rediscovered".

"They are really priceless," he reiterated. The medical papers give prescription of the treatment of some chronic diseases, bone fractures and bruises and lessons in body and eye anatomy, CULTNAT chief Fathi Saleh said.

The other manuscripts that are of the possessions of the al-Azhar Library are about astronomy and time measurement and they date back to the golden years of the ancient Arab and Islamic civilizations, he said.

Saleh said CULTNAT has already started implementing an integrated project to establish the first expanded and encyclopedic e-library to register the rare collection of manuscripts at the Dar
al-Kotob - dating back to the Mameluke era.



http://www.sis.gov.eg/En/EgyptOnline/Culture/000001/0203000000000000000832.htm


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: rockessence on April 20, 2008, 10:09:28 pm
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

http://www.physorg.com/news97923029.html


Published: 09:50 EST, May 09, 2007

Egyptians, not Greeks were true fathers of medicine

Scientists examining documents dating back 3,500 years say they have found proof that the origins of modern medicine lie in ancient Egypt and not with Hippocrates and the Greeks.


The research team from the KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology at The University of Manchester discovered the evidence in medical papyri written in 1,500BC – 1,000 years before Hippocrates was born.

"Classical scholars have always considered the ancient Greeks, particularly Hippocrates, as being the fathers of medicine but our findings suggest that the ancient Egyptians were practising a credible form of pharmacy and medicine much earlier," said Dr Jackie Campbell.

"When we compared the ancient remedies against modern pharmaceutical protocols and standards, we found the prescriptions in the ancient documents not only compared with pharmaceutical preparations of today but that many of the remedies had therapeutic merit."

The medical documents, which were first discovered in the mid-19th century, showed that ancient Egyptian physicians treated wounds with honey, resins and metals known to be antimicrobial.

The team also discovered prescriptions for laxatives of castor oil and colocynth and bulk laxatives of figs and bran. Other references show that colic was treated with hyoscyamus, which is still used today, and that cumin and coriander were used as intestinal carminatives.

Further evidence showed that musculo-skeletal disorders were treated with rubefacients to stimulate blood flow and poultices to warm and soothe. They used celery and saffron for rheumatism, which are currently topics of pharmaceutical research, and pomegranate was used to eradicate tapeworms, a remedy that remained in clinical use until 50 years ago.

"Many of the ancient remedies we discovered survived into the 20th century and, indeed, some remain in use today, albeit that the active component is now produced synthetically," said Dr Campbell.

"Other ingredients endure and acacia is still used in cough remedies while aloes forms a basis to soothe and heal skin conditions."

Fellow researcher Dr Ryan Metcalfe is now developing genetic techniques to investigate the medicinal plants of ancient Egypt. He has designed his research to determine which modern species the ancient botanical samples are most related to.

"This may allow us to determine a likely point of origin for the plant while providing additional evidence for the trade routes, purposeful cultivation, trade centres or places of treatment," said Dr Metcalfe.

"The work is inextricably linked to state-of-the-art chemical analyses used by my colleague Judith Seath, who specialises in the essential oils and resins used by the ancient Egyptians."

Professor Rosalie David, Director of the KNH Centre, said: "These results are very significant and show that the ancient Egyptians were practising a credible form of pharmacy long before the Greeks.

"Our research is continuing on a genetic, chemical and comparative basis to compare the medicinal plants of ancient Egypt with modern species and to investigate similarities between the traditional remedies of North Africa with the remedies used by their ancestors of 1,500 BC."

Source: University of Manchester


Don't we need to then look at where the Egyptians came from to find the actual "father"...?


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: Bianca on November 23, 2008, 03:09:35 pm








                                                     Ancient Egyptian Medicine







Surviving medical texts, such as the Edwin Smith and Ebers Papyri, show the high level of medi-
cal practice that the ancient Egyptian physicians attained. George M. Burden M.D. looks at some
unexpectedly modern-sounding case histories and finds that treatments surprisingly similar to mo-
dern ones are documented.

In ancient Egypt, a clever pharaoh could earn kudos by dispatching one of his top medical specia-
lists to help a neighbouring monarch, often having been requested to do so specifically, such was
the reputation of the ancient medics. Of course this sometimes backfired. Herodotus reports in his
Histories that an eye specialist sent to the court of the Persian king Cambyses became so annoyed
with his pharaoh for separating him from his family, that he incited the Persian monarch to invade
Egypt successfully. In another case, Herodotus tells how the Persian king Darius was about to ex-
ecute all his Egyptian doctors for mishandling his injured ankle. The Greek doctor who successfully
treated Darius implored the king to spare his colleagues, to which he agreed. Perhaps we can
attribute the recorded ninety-four year long reign of Pharaoh Pepy II at least partly to the mini-
strations of his doctors. He is still on record as the longest ruling monarch in history beating others
such as Queen Victoria, Louis XIV of France and Franz Josef of Austria by many years.

On a recent trip to Egypt I had the opportunity to see and photograph various medically-related
subjects, ranging from artistic depictions of surgery and surgical instruments to sculptures and
paintings showing actual pathology. Perhaps the most ancient existing depictions of surgery are
found in the Old Kingdom tomb of Ankh-Ma-Hor at Saqqara. Over four thousand years old, these
reliefs depict surgical procedures on the toes and circumcision. At the temple of Kom Ombo, in
Lower Egypt, I came across a carved wall depicting an array of surgical instruments that would
not look out of place in a surgical theatre today. This included a variety of scalpels, curettes,
forceps and dilators, as well as scissors and medicine bottles. The Coptic Museum in Cairo has
an actual display of bronze medical instruments of all types dating from the days of Ptolemaic
and Roman Egypt.

There is no shortage of depictions of pathology in pharaonic Egyptian art. I discovered several
representations of achondroplastic dwarfism, including the famous sculpture of the dwarf Seneb
and his family in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Seneb became an affluent and respected member
of his society, indicating that his condition did not present an insurmountable barrier to advance-
ment, even in ancient Egypt. I also found dwarves depicted making jewellery on the walls of the
Old Kingdom tomb of Mereruka at Saqqara. They were reputed to be quite skilled at this craft,
due to their tiny hands.


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: Bianca on November 23, 2008, 03:13:16 pm









Visiting the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, in the Amarna room one could be forgiven for thinking that theories of extra-terrestrial influences on ancient Egypt might actually be based on fact. The Eighteenth Dynasty pharaoh Akhenaten is depicted as having a bizarre elongated feminine body shape with a narrow face and long tapering digits. His six daughters were sculpted with oddly elongated heads. Today it is generally believed this was simply a new artistic/religious convention. In the past others have speculated that Akhenaten may have suffered from Marfan’s Syndrome, a hereditary condition associated with a body shape remarkably similar to Akhenaten’s, as depicted in his statuary.

Additionally, I found examples of art works that may represent microfilariasis, a parasitic infestation that can block the lymphatic system. The result is huge distention of parts of the body, usually the legs, known as elephantiasis. A possible example of this disease is shown in a painted relief from a chapel of Queen Hatshepsut’s temple, which documents her trade expedition to Punt (probably present-day Somalia). The Queen of Punt is shown as having a massive lower body, which some speculate could be due to microfilariasis.

Another example of disease found in the Egyptian Museum is a small figurine depicting an individual with a marked kyphosis, or forward curvature of the spine. The male figure appears too young to be suffering from osteoporosis, the softening of the bones that usually occurs in old age. Perhaps this is a congenital kyphosis, or perhaps it is due to pathological bone fracture from untreated infection, such as tuberculosis. He does not seem to have enough of a twist to his spine to warrant the diagnosis of adolescent kypho-scoliosis, a developmental disorder where the spine gradually grows in the form of an S-shaped curve in adolescence.

Probable cases of polio are also depicted on reliefs from many eras, where we see men leaning on sticks with what appear to be shrunken, atrophic limbs. Examination of the royal mummy Siptah also reveals characteristics of this wasting viral disease.

Crusted lesions on the faces and upper bodies of the mummies of Rameses V and Amenhotep II are felt to represent smallpox, a viral infection that has plagued mankind for millennia.

The ancient Egyptians had a lively interest and acquaintance with medicine and pathology. Many believe they laid the foundations for modern medical practice. Even today physicians and pharmacists still use the R/ symbol. This figure, which looks like a capital "R" with a line through the oblique portion of the letter forming an "x", has prefaced most prescriptions for centuries. Few of today’s medical personnel realize that they are in fact asking the blessing of the god Horus, whose eye it represents.


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: Bianca on November 23, 2008, 03:14:28 pm








One physician who would have recognized the significance of the Eye of Horus was the author of the Edwin Smith Papyrus. It is the oldest surgical text in the world, most likely written during the third millennium BC, and it is composed of forty-eight concise orthopedic and neurosurgical cases. The injuries described may have been taken from casualties ensuing during the construction of the pyramids. Egyptologist Edwin Smith purchased the papyrus in 1862 after it was discovered between the legs of a mummy from the Upper Egyptian necropolis of Thebes. No doubt a prized possession of the deceased owner, this version was transcribed during the seventeenth century BC with a "modern" commentary after each case.

The papyrus was translated by Professor J. Breasted in 1930 with the help of a physician colleague and the now famous text finally ended up in the collection of the New York Academy of Sciences. Any modern physician will find the unknown author’s format quite familiar, with sections devoted to history and physical examination, followed by a diagnosis, prognosis and treatment plan. Though ancient Egypt’s priests often had medical training, there is no evidence in this text of the prayers and amulets that often were used by this class. Instead our anonymous surgeon laid out elegant and simple diagnostic and treatment programs some paralleling those of modern medicine almost exactly.

For example in case 12, "A Break in the Nasal Bones", treatment is described as follows: "Thou shouldst force it to fall in, so it is lying in place, and clean out for him the interior of both his nostrils with two swabs of linen until every worm [clot] of blood which coagulates in the inside of his two nostrils comes forth. Now afterward thou shouldst place two plugs of linen saturated with greases and put into his nostrils. Thou shouldst place for him two stiff rolls of linen, bound on. Thou shouldst treat him afterward with grease, honey and lint every day until he recovers." In other words the nose is set, clot evacuated and splints of stiffened linen are applied. Non-stick grease soaked dressings are used to pack the nose. This is much the same approach a modern otolaryngologist would use.

In case 35, "A Fracture of the Clavicle", treatment of a patient is described in this way: "Thou shouldst place him prostrate on his back, with something folded between his two shoulder blades; thou shouldst spread out his two shoulders in order to stretch apart his collar bone until the break falls into place. Thou shouldst make for him two splints of linen, and thou shouldst apply one of them both on the inside of his upper arm. Thou shouldst bind it …" In other words draw the shoulder blades back and fit the patient with a "figure of eight" splint, exactly what a modern orthopedics text would advise.

The twenty-first century (AD) intern confronted with a dislocated jaw need look no further than case 25 of the Edwin Smith Papyrus. "If thou examinest a man having a dislocation in his mandible, shouldst thou find this mouth open and his mouth cannot close for him, thou shouldst put thy thumbs upon the ends of the two rami of the mandible in the inside of his mouth and thy two claws [meaning two groups of fingers] under his chin, and thou shouldst cause them to fall back so they rest in their places." This is exactly the technique I learned in the Emergency Room!


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: Bianca on November 23, 2008, 03:15:50 pm









In many cases the treatment was beyond the capability of the time and the surgeon simply states that this is "… an ailment not to be treated", i.e. with a very poor prognosis. Nevertheless he meticulously describes the physical findings of such injuries as in case 31, "Dislocation of a Cervical Vertebra", where he writes if "… thou find him unconscious of his two arms and his two legs on account of it, while his phallus is erected … and urine dribbles from his member without him knowing it … ; it is a dislocation of a vertebra of the neck extending to his back-bone …" This is the world’s first known description of quadriplegia.

In case 6, "A Gaping Wound in the Head With Compound Comminuted Fracture of the Skull and Rupture of the Meningeal Membranes", we get the first description the brain and its gyri, and the meninges. "If thou examinest a man having a gaping wound in his head, penetrating to the bone, smashing his skull, and rending open the brain … , thou shouldst palpate that smash which is in his skull like those corrugations [i.e. gyri] which form in molten copper, and something therein throbbing a fluttering under the fingers …" The pulsation of the brain is described and later the author observes that its absence is a very serious sign (which indeed it is, representing serious brain compression).

In case 8, "Compound Comminuted Fracture of the Skull Displaying No Visible External Injury", the ancient surgeon articulately describes hemiplegia (paralysis on one side of the body) secondary to a head injury: "Shouldst thou find that there is a swelling protruding … while his eye is askew because of it [conjugate deviation of the eyes], on the side of him having that injury which is in his skull; and he walks shuffling with his sole on the side of him having that injury which is in his skull ...", the author further states, "thou shouldst account him one whom something entering from outside has smitten …" It appears here that he may be trying to differentiate hemiplegia caused by an "outside" injury as opposed to similar findings that may occur from an "inside" cause such as a stroke.

In other parts of the text the ancient surgeon describes suturing lacerations, and treatment of infection and wounds with nonstick dressings and hyperosmotic agents (animal grease and honey respectively). In case 39 it is suggested that an abscess that "… arises in his breast dries up as soon as it opens of itself." In other words, as my old surgery professor said, "Pus under pressure should be punctured." The text appears to differentiate between breast tumors and infections, describing the former in case 45, "Bulging Tumors on the Breast", as "… very cool, there being no fever at all therein when thy hand touches them; they have no granulation, they form no fluid, they do not generate secretions of fluid, and they are bulging to thy hand." Is this the first description of a breast cancer?


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: Bianca on November 23, 2008, 03:18:51 pm








The Edwin Smith Papyrus is only one of a number of remarkable Egyptian medical texts discovered.
Almost as famous is the the Ebers Papyrus, also first purchased by Edwin Smith and subsequently
sold to Egyptologist George Ebers, after whom it is named. It is one hundred and ten pages in length,
the longest discovered. It is to family doctors what the Smith Papyrus is to surgeons. In addition to
a surgical section, it contains descriptions of the heart and its vessels, and discussions of various dis-
eases such as those of the stomach, anus, teeth, ear nose and throat, and skin.

Skin diseases are divided into ulcerative, irritative and exfoliative.

A section on pharmacy includes various treatments including the use of castor oil as a laxative.
There’s even a section on medical philosophy.

Another text, the Kahun Gynecological Papyrus, deals with diseases of women and dates from the
nineteenth century BC. It contains sections on topics such as contraception and the diagnosis of
pregnancy.

It’s easy to see why the Egyptians were revered in the ancient world for their medical knowledge.
It boggles the mind to think that these texts pre-date the Roman Empire by as many millennia as
Rome pre-dates us. To Egyptians, even Hippocrates was a mere upstart.

The ancient Egyptian physicians at their best show a logical and suprisingly up-to-date approach
to the diagnosis, classification and treatment of disease. Perhaps "modern" medical thought is not
as modern as we once thought.






George Burden



Dr Burden is a family physician who has practised in the Atlantic Canadian town of Elmsdale
for over twenty-five years.

He is also Chairman of the Quebec/Atlantic Canada branch of the Explorers’ Club,
an avid freelance travel and adventure journalist and co-author of the book

'Amazing Medical Stories.'



Ancient Egypt Magazine - Volume Six Issue Three


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, Not Greeks Were True Fathers of Medicine
Post by: Bianca on November 26, 2008, 08:21:49 pm









                           WORLD'S FIRST PROSTHETIC: EGYPTIAN MUMMY'S FAKE TOE






 
Charles Q. Choi
 Fri Jul 27, 2:30 PM ET
 
An artificial big toe found on the foot of an Egyptian mummy could prove to be the world's earliest functioning prosthetic body part, it was announced today.

Volunteers who have lost their right big toe are now being recruited to see how effective replicas of the prosthesis are.

The fake toe from the Cairo museum in Egypt was found in 2000 in a tomb near the ancient city of Thebes. Archaeologists speculated the 50- to 60-year-old woman the prosthesis came from might have lost her toe due to complications from diabetes.

The wood and leather prosthesis dates from 1069 to 664 B.C., based on artifacts it was found with in the mummy's burial chamber. This means it predates what was previously thought of as the earliest known functioning prosthesis, the Roman Capua Leg, a bronze artifact dating from about 300 B.C. The leg was once at the Royal College of Surgeons in London but was destroyed by bombing during World War II.

Replicas of a second false Egyptian right big toe on display at the British Museum in London, albeit without its mummy, will also be tested. This artifact, named the Greville Chester Great Toe after the collector who acquired it for the museum in 1881, is made from cartonnage, a sort of papier maché made using linen, glue and plaster. Based on the way the linen threads were spun, it dates from 1295 to 664 B.C.

"If either prosthesis aids walking or balance then the history of prosthetic medicine will be pushed back some 600 to 700 years and credited to the ancient Egyptians," said researcher Jacky Finch at the University of Manchester's KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology in England. "If either one is functional it may be interesting to manufacture it with modern materials and trial it for use on people with missing toes."

The Cairo toe is the most likely of the two to be functional, as it is jointed in three places "and shows signs of wear," Finch said. "It is still attached to the foot of the mummy of a female between 50 and 60 years of age. The amputation site is also well healed."

The Greville Chester Great Toe also shows signs of wear, suggesting that it may have been worn by its owner in life and not simply attached to the foot during mummification for religious or ceremonial reasons. However, unlike the Cairo specimen, the Greville Chester Great Toe does not bend and so is likely to have been more cosmetic.

The ancient Egyptians often restored artificial body parts to corpses, which means what might appear to be useful prosthetics actually were not. "The theology of Osiris, the god of the dead, stated that the body, in order to be effective during the afterlife, should be complete," Finch explained. "Osiris himself, according to myth, was cut up and his body parts scattered and later reunited."

Scientists have found a variety of artificial body parts restored on mummies, including feet, legs, noses, ears—and even penises. "You were still able to procreate in the afterlife," Finch told LiveScience.

To see if the toes were functional and not simply cosmetic, the researchers hope to build replicas of the toes and test them by the end of this year. Finding suitable volunteers missing their right big toes "is proving quite difficult, but we are compiling a list," Finch said.


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, NOT GREEKS WERE TRUE FATHERS OF MEDICINE
Post by: Bianca on April 13, 2009, 01:35:44 pm
(http://www.egypt-tehuti.org/graphics/prescription.gif)

http://www.egypt-tehuti.org/faq-ancient-egypt.html










                                    Take This Medicine: The Story of the Sign 'Rx' 



                               How a special sign came to mean a doctor’s prescription.






Transcript of radio broadcast:
Voice Of America
21 March 2009
 

Editor's Note attached


Now, the VOA Special English program, WORDS AND THEIR STORIES.

Every week at this time, the Voice of America tells about popular words and expressions used in the United States.  Some of these words and expressions are old. Some are new.  Together, they form the living speech of the American people.

Our story today is very old. It goes back about five-thousand years. It is about a sign that is used to represent some words. 

We see this sign on drug stores and whenever we visit a doctor to get an order for medicine. It also appears on bottles of pills and other medicines.

The sign is formed by a line across the right foot of the letter "R." It represents the word "prescription." It has come to mean "take this medicine."

The sign has its beginnings five thousand years ago in Egypt. At that time, people prayed to Horus, the god of the Sun. It was said that when Horus was a child, he was attacked by Seth, the demon of evil.

The evil Seth put out the eye of the young Horus. The mother of Horus called for help. Her cry was answered by Thoth, the god of learning and magic. Thoth, with his wisdom and special powers, healed the eye of Horus. And the child was able to see again.

The ancient Egyptians used a drawing of the eye of Horus as a magic sign to protect themselves from disease, suffering and evil.  They cut this sign in the stones they used for buildings. And it was painted on the papyrus rolls used for writing about medicine and doctors.

For thousands of years, the eye of Horus remained as a sign of the god's help to the suffering and sick.

Long after the fall of the ancient Egyptian civilization, doctors and alchemists in Europe continued the custom of showing a sign of the gods' help and protection. But over the years, the sign changed from the eye of Horus to the sign for Jupiter, the chief god of the Romans. Jupiter's sign looked much like the printed number "four."

That sign changed, also. Today, it is the easily-recognized capital "R" with a line across its foot.

The sign no longer offers heavenly assistance to the sick. It now means "take this medicine."



This VOA Special English program
WORDS AND THEIR STORIES
was written by
Frank Beardsley.

The narrator was
Maurice Joyce.                                   

___





Editor's Note: This program was first broadcast many years ago. A comment posted below points out that there are two stories of where the term Rx may have come from. MedicineNet.com explains it this way:


The symbol "Rx" is usually said to stand for the Latin word "recipe" meaning "to take." It is customarily part of the superscription (heading) of a prescription.

Another explanation for the origin of Rx is that it was derived from the astrological sign for Jupiter which was once placed on prescriptions to invoke that god's blessing on the drug to help the patient recover.



http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=7934


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, NOT GREEKS WERE TRUE FATHERS OF MEDICINE
Post by: Bianca on April 22, 2009, 10:35:14 pm
(http://d.yimg.com/a/p/ap/20090413/capt.508ff4fd25fa4ddea886c450328496d7.ancient_wine_px103.jpg?x=254&y=345&q=85&sig=e.oXov4I02JzAYir2l2x2Q--)






This undated photo provided by University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology courtesy of the German Archaeological Institute in Cairo shows the inside of a wine vessel sherd that was buried with one of ancient Egypt's first rulers, Scorpion I, is shown.

Herbs have been detected in wine from the tomb many centuries before the civilization's known use of herbal remedies in alcoholic beverages, according to a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


(AP Photo/Courtesy of
German Archaeological Institute in Cairo)


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, NOT GREEKS WERE TRUE FATHERS OF MEDICINE
Post by: Bianca on April 22, 2009, 10:36:46 pm
















                                        Herbal wine, just the thing for ailing pharoahs






YAHOO NEWS
Mon Apr 13, 2009
WASHINGTON

– When great-grandma took a nip of the elderberry wine "for medicinal purposes," she was following a tradition that goes back thousands of years.

Indeed, researchers say they have found evidence that the Egyptians spiked their wine with medicinal herbs as long as 5,000 years ago.

A chemical analysis of pottery dating to 3150 B.C. shows that herbs and resins were added to grape wine, researchers led by Patrick E. McGovern of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology report in Tuesday's edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Adding tree resin to wine to prevent disease was widely known in ancient times, also being reported in ancient China, and continuing into the Middle Ages, the researchers say.

And they note that Egyptian records report that a variety of herbs were mixed in wine, beer and other liquids for medical uses.

Chemicals recovered from the pottery indicate that in addition to wine there were savory, blue tansy and artemisia — a member of the wormwood family — present. Other chemicals indicate the possible presence of balm, senna, coriander, germander, mint, sage and thyme.

___

On the Net:



PNAS: http://www.pnas.org


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, NOT GREEKS WERE TRUE FATHERS OF MEDICINE
Post by: Bianca on April 22, 2009, 10:39:35 pm
















                                              Pharoah's Wine Jar Yields Medicinal Secrets

 
                        Egyptians may have been using herb-spiked drink for healing 5,000 years ago






MONDAY, April 13, 2009
(HealthDay News)

-- The old adage, "take a glass of wine for thy stomach's sake,"

may have been heeded more than 5,000 years ago in ancient Egypt, archaeologists report.

Sophisticated analysis of residues found in wine jars left in the tomb of Scorpion 1, perhaps the first pharaoh, shows that the wine had been steeped in herbs including balm, coriander, mint and sage, according to a report published in this week's issue April 13 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

That tomb dates back to 3150 B.C., explained lead researcher Patrick E. McGovern, a senior research scientist at the University of Pennsylvania Museum Applied Science Center for Archaeology.

"This is the earliest evidence we have of herbs being added to wine," McGovern said. "The earliest previous evidence we had was an alcoholic beverage from China from around 1200 B.C. That one had possibly wormwood or chrysanthemum in it, or a tree resin."

There is no solid proof that the herbs were added for medicinal purposes, but the evidence points in that direction, McGovern said. "It could have been for flavoring, but we have a later literary tradition in Egypt of herbs added for medicinal purposes," he said. "It gets recorded in a medical papyrus in 1800 B.C., and now this goes back more than a thousand years earlier."

McGovern has been working on material from the tomb for many years. Scorpion 1 was entombed in Abydos, then the religious capitol of Egypt, about 150 miles south of Cairo.

"His tomb is one of the most spectacular from the earliest period," McGovern said. "It contained about 700 wines jars as well as food and clothing."

McGovern had done previous analyses of the same wine jar. The new report was based on highly sophisticated studies of residues in the jar, using techniques such as liquid chromatography mass spectrometry and solid phase microextraction. The initial analysis showed the presence of tartaric acid, and the latest analysis found residues of herbs.

The tradition of adding herbs to wine seems to have continued throughout early Egyptian history. A more recent wine jar, found in southern Egypt and traced to the 4th to 6th centuries A.D., was also laced with pine resin and rosemary, the researchers noted.

Medicinal use of wine could be expected because of the well-established practice of medicine in ancient Egypt. A 2005 exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City was devoted entirely to medical practice in Egypt's Middle Kingdom, which flourished about 1900 B.C. The exhibit centered on ancient papyrus documents with instructions to physicians on wound healing, pain relief, and even the treatment of gynecologic or dental problems.

One expert was impressed with the new wine jar analysis.

"McGovern and co-workers have an amazing analytical accomplishment here," said Andrew L. Waterhouse, chair of the department of viticulture and enology (the study of wines) at the University of California, Davis. "These results further show that simple wine, as we know it, may not have been the most common beverage, but it was more often amended in many ways," he said.

Still, "it is difficult to know why the herbs were added," said Waterhouse, one of the world's leading authorities on ancient wines. "For medicinal purposes? To enhance the flavor? To cover up defects? All are possible."





More information

For more on wine and health, head to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, NOT GREEKS WERE TRUE FATHERS OF MEDICINE
Post by: Bianca on April 22, 2009, 10:41:32 pm











                                           Study: Herbs added to 5,100-year-old Egyptian wine






RON TODT
The Associated Press
April 13, 2009
PHILADELPHIA

- Herbs have been detected in wine from the tomb of one of ancient Egypt's first rulers, many centuries before the civilization's known use of herbal remedies in alcoholic beverages, according to a study published Monday.

The findings from a wine jar dated to 5100 B.C. provide concrete evidence of ancient Egyptian organic medicine, which had only been ambiguously referred to in later papyrus documents, said Patrick McGovern of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, one of the researchers.

Tests on one of 700 jars buried with Scorpion I in his tomb at Abydos about 3100 B.C. confirmed that the vessel contained wine, according to the paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The tests also detected tree resin, which was used as a preservative and for medical purposes, and other chemicals that make up various herbs.

"There were a lot of additives in this wine, and it fits very well with the later Egyptian pharmacology texts, the medical papyri that describe similar kinds of alcoholic beverages with herbs in them," McGovern said.

"So the assumption is that, although we're 1500 years before the earliest medical papyrus, in fact we're looking at medicinal wine," he said.

Medical papyri, texts which describe ancient Egyptian medical procedures and practices, show that resins and herbs were added to wine, beer and water for use as pain relievers, laxatives, diuretics, or aphrodisiacs. Many of the ingredients are still part of the herbal medical tradition of the country, researchers said.

Herbs from the eastern Mediterranean that fit the chemicals found in the wine are coriander, balm, mint, sage, senna, germander, savory and thyme, McGovern said.

The researchers cannot positively identify herb or herb combinations found because unique biomarkers for them have not been identified. And although prescriptions recorded on papyrus give a detailed picture of the ancient Egyptian drug cabinet, more than 80 percent of the 160 plant names listed have yet to be translated.

"Our contention is that plant additives, including various herbs and tree resins, were already being dispensed via alcoholic beverages millennia earlier" than temple inscriptions had indicated, the paper concludes.

Robert K. Ritner, Professor of Egyptology at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, said Friday herbs and spices were also added for taste as well as health.

"I would not limit it specifically to medicinal uses; it certainly could have that, but there's no reason these wouldn't be spiced for flavor, like modern mulled wine," Ritner said.

McGovern said medical benefits of herbal wines seemed the most likely explanation. "You can't exclude the taste side of it, but we're at a time when people need to have some way to protect themselves from disease, cure themselves, and this was the primary way it was done," he said


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, NOT GREEKS WERE TRUE FATHERS OF MEDICINE
Post by: Bianca on April 22, 2009, 10:43:49 pm


              (http://i86.photobucket.com/albums/k104/thepromptwriter/scorpionking.jpg)






The Real Scorpion King
 

During an archaeological expedition in the late 1890’s, a ceremonial macehead was found depicting a king known as “Scorpion”. It comes from a time before the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt, and shows the king wearing the white crown of Upper Egypt. The macehead had been decorated on all sides, but most has been badly damaged and is hard to read.

King Scorpion is shown holding a hoe, which may depict him preparing the fields or breaking away the dams in order to flood the fields. Not much is known about this king, and much speculation surrounds it.

One thing is certain, the real Scorpion King wasn’t half man and half arachnid, and he wasn’t a muscle bound professional wrestler.

He was a real king of Egypt.



http://www.ancienthistoryfacts.com/the-real-scorpion-king.php


Title: Re: EGYPTIANS, NOT GREEKS WERE TRUE FATHERS OF MEDICINE
Post by: Bianca on April 22, 2009, 10:46:32 pm








                                                         Age-old remedies



                           Penn scientists are using chemistry to learn the identity of herbs


                       the ancient Egyptians mixed with wine to make sought-after medicines.






By Tom Avril
Philadelphia Inquirer
Staff Writer
April 20, 2009

Ancient Egypt was renowned for its prowess in the field of medicine, so much so that sick people
went there from abroad in search of herbal remedies.

Archaeologists know that the herbs were administered in a potent blend with wine. But the identity
of many of those medicinal additives is a mystery - their names recorded in hieroglyphics that have resisted modern efforts at translation.

Now, two University of Pennsylvania scientists have begun to crack the puzzle with chemistry.

In research published last week, the pair reported some of the earliest evidence of just what those
long-ago physicians were prescribing.

One Egyptian clay jar, estimated to be more than 5,000 years old, yielded flaky residue that suggests
a veritable apothecary of possible ingredients: coriander, senna, germander, balm, and savory, among others. Samples scraped from the inside of a newer jar, just 1,500 years old, yielded compounds that likely came from rosemary.

The research, done in collaboration with a chemist from the U.S. Treasury Department, is more than
a quest for history. Senior author Patrick McGovern, an "archaeochemist" at Penn's Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, wants to know if the ancient herbalists came up with anything that really works.

Researchers at Penn's Abramson Cancer Center are similarly intrigued, and already are studying herbs identified in some of McGovern's previous experiments. A derivative of the wormwood plant, found in
a 3,200-year-old fermented beverage from China, has shown some promise against tumor cells in preliminary lab studies.

"I think people should be open-minded" about ancient remedies, said Wafik S. El-Deiry, a Penn professor of medicine, genetics, and pharmacology, "because there may be hidden treasures."

The Egyptians and Chinese of old weren't trying to use their herbs against cancer, as far as McGovern knows. But some of their medicines are used today for the same purposes as long ago.

One such example is fennel, to combat indigestion, said Lise Manniche, an assistant professor of Egyptology at the University of Copenhagen. The Penn study found no evidence of fennel, but it is among those plants whose names have been translated from the ancient texts.

Manniche said the new evidence, published in the online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, represented an ideal marriage of chemistry and archaeology.

"It's absolutely fascinating that such a small amount [of residue] can give us so much information,"
said Manniche, who was not involved with the study.

Both clay jars came from Egyptian tombs. The 1,500-year-old vessel is owned by the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto; the one that dated back five millennia was excavated by German archaeologists from the tomb of ruler Scorpion I.

In both cases, the wine residue was scraped from the jars and simply sent to McGovern by mail.

The chemist can't say exactly which herbs were used in the wine. The analysis of the older jar
revealed only that the residue contained certain "terpenoid compounds" - the presence of which
could be explained by one or more herbs.

It is also unclear which diseases they might have been used for.

Egyptian physicians recorded diseases and their treatments in hieroglyphics on papyrus documents
that have survived to this day. But with many of the remedies, modern scholars know only that they consisted of some sort of plant - signified by a picture of a leaf at the end of the name, Manniche said.

McGovern's coauthors were Penn research associate Gretchen Hall and Armen Mirzoian, a senior chemist at the Treasury Department's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

Mirzoian's usual work involves testing modern alcoholic beverages for contaminants or labeling problems. The analysis of the ancient wine residue was performed with mass spectrometers and other equipment at the bureau's facility in Maryland.

Hall, formerly a chemist at Mobil Oil, jokes that her part-time work at Penn's museum beats retirement.

"It's better than going to the gym, or knitting," she said.

McGovern, by the way, is hoping his own retirement does not come soon. Late last year, the museum said it planned to cut up to 18 jobs, including his, citing financial woes. Last week, his situation was
still up in the air.

In addition to looking at ancient herbs for their medicinal value, McGovern has studied them for their taste.

He has shared his findings with Dogfish Head brewery in Delaware, working with it to reproduce certain beverages of old. One of the biggest hits with customers has been Midas Touch, a mixture of grape wine, barley beer, and honey mead. The recipe is based on analysis of vessels from the reputed tomb
of King Midas, ruler of the Phrygians.

Though the evidence from Midas and from the Egyptians comes from tombs, Manniche and McGovern said it's pretty clear that these beverages were consumed by the living.

"What was good in life was definitely good in death," McGovern said.

And, he hopes, good for life thousands of years later.

 


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------




Contact staff writer

Tom Avril

at 215-854-2430 or tavril@phillynews.com.