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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Sobhy

Medicine in Ancient Egyptian

Illness is in no way a new thing, and if you happened to be alive and sick during the time of the pharaohs, there was most likely a medicine treatment of some sort to help you through. However, in ancient Egypt, medicine the way we think of it now was not always the preferred method of curing diseases.

Ancient Egypt Medical Papyrus

"The Edwin Smith Papyrus"

This papyrus carries the name of the man who purchased it from an Egyptian dealer in 1862. It is a medical text on surgical trauma, dating back to 1600 B.C., and it is the only medical papyrus of its time to reflect a scientific approach to medicine. Many Egyptologists credit the text to Imhotep, even though he lived one millennium earlier, as the Papyrus is believed to be based on texts written earlier than 1600 B.C.

The papyrus documents 48 cases including injuries to the head, neck, arms and torso, along with the treatments used. It also details a diagnosis and prognosis, as well as the cause of the trauma.

The treatments included using sutures to close wounds, using honey to prevent and cure infection and using raw meat to stop bleeding. The papyrus details recommendations on immobilizing the head and neck in the case of injuries to these areas and detailed anatomical observations.

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