Ancient Egyptian Medicine: Secrets & Practices
Ancient Egyptians have helped a lot in providing a great deal of knowledge and evidence about ancient medicine to modern historians. This knowledge has been discovered in the many papyrus scrolls found in archeological excavations in Egypt. In ancient Egypt, illnesses were not just cured by magicians and the medicine man but also by doctors and physicians. Excavations have revealed plates showing physicians, and an illustration about Imenhotep, who was the physician to King Zozer, shows how he was worshipped as the god of healing after his death due to his medicinal knowledge.
People in ancient Egypt were aware of pharmaceuticals as well, even though they still firmly believed that wellness and sickness were unceasing battles between good and evil. People in ancient Egypt knew how to prepare drugs from plants and herbs like fennel, cumin, caraway, aloe, safflower, glue, pomegranates, botanical, mineral substances, and linseed oil. Also, other substances that were used for making drugs included copper salts, plain salt, lead, eggs, liver, hairs, milk, animal horns, fat, honey, and wax.
Ancient Egyptian Prescriptions
In the period of the new kingdom, medical prescriptions were very varied, and dozens of them were available for some diseases. The physician chose the most effective medicines based on the prescribed criteria. Some treatments then were fast-acting, while others showed their effect slowly. Also, some drugs were particular to specific seasons. An example is an eye medication that could be used only at the onset of winter for the first two months, and there was another one that was used two months after this, while a third was applicable all year round.
Different Medicines For Different People
The age of the patients was strongly considered when deciding on a medicine. For example, when treating patients suffering from urine retention, an adult was given water, ale sediments, green dates, and other vegetables. Still, on the other hand, a child with the same ailment was given an old piece of papyrus soaked in oil and applied as a hot band around his stomach. Chemists had to consider the patients' age while preparing the drugs carefully. If the young patient was mature enough, he could take tablets, but if he were still an infant, tablets would be dissolved into a wet nurse's milk. Some drugs derived their popularity from the fact that they were used for curing a reputed figure of the time. For example, a specific eye ointment was highly popular with ancient Egyptians because it fixed one of the pharaohs. Interestingly, during the archaic Egyptian period, chemists invented other drugs, commonly known as household drugs, meant to eliminate domestic pests.