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EGYPTIANS, NOT GREEKS WERE TRUE FATHERS OF MEDICINE

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Author Topic: EGYPTIANS, NOT GREEKS WERE TRUE FATHERS OF MEDICINE  (Read 14939 times)
Bianca
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« Reply #15 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





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: 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.
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.

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.
For more information check out this site:

Medicine in Ancient Egypt
« Last Edit: June 04, 2007, 01:16:50 pm by Bianca2001 » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #16 on: June 02, 2007, 05:51:50 pm »

 
 
                                                MEDICATION IN ANCIENT EGYPT

 
Some medicinal plants used by Egyptians:

 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.

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.
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
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.
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.
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
« Last Edit: June 03, 2007, 10:08:55 am by Bianca2001 » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #17 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.

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.

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...".
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.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2007, 10:39:43 pm by Bianca2001 » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #18 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

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.
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.
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.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2007, 08:26:51 am by Bianca2001 » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #19 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.





                                                    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".



   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

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.
   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.
   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.
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« Reply #20 on: June 03, 2007, 10:01:48 pm »

 
 











 
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.
                               

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.�
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« Reply #21 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.

                             


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!

                             

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 -
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« Reply #22 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.

                               


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.     
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« Reply #23 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.
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« Reply #24 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.
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« Reply #25 on: July 29, 2007, 05:46:20 pm »









                                  




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.
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« Reply #26 on: July 29, 2007, 05:50:01 pm »



                         




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
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« Reply #27 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.
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« Reply #28 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.
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« Reply #29 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"
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