➊ The Role Of Medicine In Ancient Egypt

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The Role Of Medicine In Ancient Egypt



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How advanced was ancient Egyptian medicine?

Ancient Egyptian practitioners were also adept at performing eye-surgery, no surprise in the desert where foreign objects blown into the eye could cause irritation. Innovatively, the Egyptian doctors cured Night-Blindness by feeding the patient powdered liver, rich in Vitamin A. The physicians drew upon a great store of knowledge in the Peri-Ankh, the Houses of Life; here, students were taught and papyri documenting procedures were stored.

Physiotherapy and heat-therapy were used to treat aches and pains, and Ancient Egyptian medicine included repairing and splinting broken bones, as shown by successfully healed skeletons. Priest-doctors also practiced amputation, using linens and antiseptics to reduce the chance of infection and gangrene, and there is some evidence that they employed prosthetics where needed. Anecdotal evidence shows that the Ancient Egyptian physicians adopted an ethical code centuries before the Hippocratic Oath, with one such inscription stating that 'Never did I do evil towards any person' on the tomb of Nenkh-Sekhmet, chief of the Physicians during the 5th Dynasty. The information remaining about the medicines and herbs used by the Egyptian physicians is remarkable.

Whilst some of the most outlandish cures had little effect, many of the herbs they used have been shown to have positive effects upon ailments and are still used by modern herbalists, thousands of years later. The Ancient Egyptians also practiced dentistry and were fully aware of draining abscesses, extracting teeth, and even making false teeth. The Egyptian physicians knew how to suture wound, placing raw meat upon the wound to aid healing and stimulate blood production. They also used honey, known for its antiseptic qualities and ability to stimulate the secretion of infection-fighting white blood cells. Ancient Egyptian priest-doctors used moldy bread as an antibiotic, thousands of years before Fleming discovered penicillin. Much of the Egyptian knowledge of physiology undoubtedly derived from their practice of embalming the dead, which allowed them to study the structure of the body.

They made some accurate observations about which part of the body was responsible for certain tasks and, despite some inaccuracies due to the limitations of their equipment, they were fine physicians and were unrivalled until the Islamic Golden Age. Ancient Egyptian medicine outstripped both the Romans and Greeks in the level of knowledge and sophistication. The Ancient Greeks, some years before the birth of Christ, recognized the importance of physicians, as related in the works of Homer, injured warriors were treated by physicians. They continued to develop the art of medicine and made many advances, although they were not as skilled as the Ancient Egyptians, whom even Homer recognized as the greatest healers in the world.

Whilst they imported much of their medical knowledge from the Egyptians, they did develop some skills of their own and certainly influenced the course of the Western history of medicine. The Greeks tended to believe that most ailments could be healed by prayers to the God of Medicine, Asclepius, and the great temples, known as Aesclepions, were where many Greeks went to seek healing, making sacrifices and prayer to the god in return for having their ailments healed. However, this all changed with Hippocrates, one of the most famous of all physicians, and his famous oath is still used by doctors today, as they pledge to 'Do No Harm. Greek doctors, influenced by Hippocratic thought, would study the case history of patients, asking questions and attempting to find out as much as possible from the patient before arriving at a diagnosis.

This two-way interaction between patient and doctor became a foundation of the history of medicine, still used by modern practitioners. The Ancient Greeks believed that there were four humors making up the body, and an imbalance in these would lead to both mental and physical illnesses and ailments. The balance of these humors would be affected by diet, location, age, climate and a range of other factors, and Ancient Greek medicine was based upon restoring the balance. Many of the Greek herbal remedies and medicines were based around restoring the balance of humors, and this belief continued in European thought well into the Middle Ages.

The Greeks were also surgeons and some of the equipment they used is recognizable today. Some of the tools of the Greek physicians included forceps, scalpels, tooth-extraction forceps and catheters, and there were even syringes for drawing pus from wounds. One instrument, the spoon of Diocles, was used by the surgeon Kritoboulos, to remove the injured eye of Phillip of Macedon without undue scarring. Finally, the Greeks knew how to splint and treat bone fractures, as well as add compresses to prevent infection. The Egyptians and the Greeks lay at the root of the modern history of medicine, understanding the value of cleanliness, medicines and the finer arts of surgery.

Their knowledge passed down to the Romans, who preserved the medical skills and refined them. The Roman contribution to the history of medicine is often overlooked, with only Galen, of Greek origin, believed to be notable of mention. However, this does the Romans a great disservice and they put their excellent engineering skills to use in preventative medicine. The Romans understood the role of dirt and poor hygiene in spreading disease and created aqueducts to ensure that the inhabitants of a city received clean water. The Roman engineers also installed elaborate sewage systems to carry away waste.

This is something that Europeans did not fully understand until the 19th Century; before this period, sewage was still discharged close to drinking water. The Romans may not have understood the exact mechanisms behind disease but their superb level of personal hygiene and obsession with cleanliness certainly acted to reduce the number of epidemics in the major cities. Otherwise, they continued the tradition of the Greeks although, due to the fact that a Roman soldier was seen as a highly trained and expensive commodity, the military surgeons developed into fine practitioners of their art.

Their refined procedures ensured that Roman soldiers had a much lower chance of dying from infection than those in other armies. When mentioning the Roman influence on the history of medicine, the physician Galen is the most illustrious name. This Greek, granted an expensive education by his merchant father, studied in the medical school at Pergamum and frequented the Aesclepions. In AD, Galen moved to Rome, where he acted as physician to the gladiators, which allowed him to study physiology and the human body.

Later he committed his findings into writing and produced many works about human physiology and the treatment of ailments. As his fame grew, as a physician and lecturer, he became the personal physician of three emperors, Marcus Aurelius, Commodus and Septimus Severus. When the Roman Empire split into the Western and Eastern Empires, the Western Empire, centered on Rome, went into a deep decline and the art of medicine slowly slipped away, with the physicians becoming pale shadows of their illustrious predecessors and generally causing more harm than good.

Western Europe would not appear again in the history of medicine until long after the decline of Islam. In the Eastern Empire, based on Byzantium, physicians kept the knowledge and the skills passed from the Romans and the Greeks. This knowledge would form the basis of the Islamic medicine that would refine and improve medial techniques during the Islamic domination of the Mediterranean and Middle East. The history of Medicine would center on the Middle East and Asia for the next few centuries. Aboelsoud, N. Ede, A. Jouanna, J. Garlic has been used as a healing agent since the ancient Egyptian period. The fresh cloves of garlic are peeled, mashed, and macerated with vinegar and water. It is used to freshen the mouth by gargling the mixture and cures sore throats and toothache.

It can also be used to treat and prevent problems by macerating several cloves of mashed garlic in olive oil. Asthma, bronchial, and lung disorders including cold are also cured by applying as an external or internal liniment. It is also said that during the construction of pyramids, the workers were given garlic every day to keep them active and boost their performance. Henna was used as an astringent. It helped in curing diarrhea and closes open wounds. It is also used as a dye. Honey was widely used as a natural antibiotic. It was used in dressing wounds and as a base for a healing ointment. Malachite was used for the treatment of eye infections where the infection was endemic.

It possessed germicidal qualities and had substantial effectiveness. It is also used in eyeliner. Mandrake was made from plant materials imported from foreign places. Introduced from Canaan, mandrakes were grown locally since the time of the New Kingdom. It was considered to be an aphrodisiac. By mixing it with alcohol, it caused unconsciousness in a way that modern anesthesia does. Mint helped with problems of flatulence and improved digestion. It is also used to stop vomiting and as a breath freshener. Myrrh helped in curing diarrhea. It also helps in soothing gums and in relieving headaches, toothaches, and backaches. Ancient Egyptians believed that onion could be used to improve endurance and so they ate it in large amounts. It helped them in fighting against digestive disorders.

Onion induces perspiration, relieves several pains, including sciatica, and is diuretic in nature. It also prevents other problems like cold and those related to heart and blood vessels. Poppy is a herbaceous flowering plant that was used as ancient Egyptian medicine. It helped in relieving headaches, insomnia, and respiratory disorders. Also used as an anesthetic, it alleviates pains. Turmeric was used as a natural healer to close open wounds. It was also used to dye skin and cloth. In ancient Egypt, Sandalwood helped with digestion and gout problems.

It also stops diarrhea and eases headaches. Yeast was an ancient Egyptian medicine used for the treatment of ulcers and other stomach ailments. Water deities are the gods and goddesses who had the powers to control the elements of water and ruled over all the fresh and saltwater of the earth. A mythological creature, a winged lion dates back to ancient times. This flying lion-like creature has origins in Heraldry, Christianity, Mesopotamian, and Greek mythologies. Rishika Gupta.

Jona Lendering. The extensive use of surgery, mummification practices, and autopsy as a religious exercise The Role Of Medicine In Ancient Egypt Egyptians a vast knowledge of the body's morphology, and even The Role Of Medicine In Ancient Egypt considerable understanding The Role Of Medicine In Ancient Egypt organ functions. They Early Sports Specialization this principle to the body: If a person was unwell, they would use laxatives to unblock the "channels". The Role Of Medicine In Ancient Egypt of Science in the Persianate The Role Of Medicine In Ancient Egypt. Most likely worked or trained in Memphis inscriptions on statue indicate sacrificial relations to Memphite city god [36].