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EGYPTIANS, NOT GREEKS WERE TRUE FATHERS OF MEDICINE

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rockessence
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« Reply #30 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.

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Thus ye may find in thy mental and spiritual self, ye can make thyself just as happy or just as miserable as ye like. How miserable do ye want to be?......For you GROW to heaven, you don't GO to heaven. It is within thine own conscience that ye grow there.

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Rebecca
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« Reply #31 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/
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Rebecca
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« Reply #32 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."
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« Reply #33 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.
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« Reply #34 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."
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« Reply #35 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
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« Reply #36 on: April 19, 2008, 01:55:02 pm »




EGYPTIAN PHYSICIAN/PRIEST

The Hermitage,
St. Petersburgh,

RUSSIA
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Bianca
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« Reply #37 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
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« Reply #38 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"...?
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Thus ye may find in thy mental and spiritual self, ye can make thyself just as happy or just as miserable as ye like. How miserable do ye want to be?......For you GROW to heaven, you don't GO to heaven. It is within thine own conscience that ye grow there.

Edgar Cayce
Bianca
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« Reply #39 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.
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« Reply #40 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.
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« Reply #41 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!
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« Reply #42 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?
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« Reply #43 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
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« Reply #44 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.
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