The first dentist known by name in the world, in fact, is Hesyre (c. 2600 BCE), Chief of Dentists and Physician to the King under the reign of Djoser (c. 2700 BCE). Web. Here are 21 ancient Egyptian medicines mentioned in the Egyptian papyri that are used for treatment even in modern times. From herbs to trepanning, find out…, © 2004-2020 Healthline Media UK Ltd, Brighton, UK, a Red Ventures Company. "The pharaohs' pharmacists. Another remedy is to use poppy seeds or aloe. They believed that the gods created and controlled life. The Edwin Smith Papyrus is a textbook on surgery and details anatomical observations and the "examination, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis" of numerous ailments. Doctors also practiced dentistry but there were dentists as far back as the Early Dynastic Period. It was also used to dye skin and cloth. It possessed germicidal qualities and had substantial effectiveness. All eye diseases come from four vessels in the forehead, which supply blood to the eyes. The Edwin Smith Papyrus (c. 1600 BCE) is the oldest work on surgical techniques. Vegetables and fruits of many types were widely grown. Ancient Egyptian Medicine Facts & Worksheets Ancient Egyptian Medicine facts and information activity worksheet pack and fact file. The Greeks especially admired the Egyptian medical profession and adopted a number of their beliefs and techniques. Ancient Egyptians were well equipped and well advanced in all areas and the field of medicine was no exception. The ancient Egyptians believed that the body consisted of a system of channels, or “Metu.”. There were no sewage systems, systematic medical care, or public hygiene. It helped in curing diarrhea and closes open wounds. London Medical Papyrus written during the, Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt by Helen Strudwick, Daughters of Isis: Women of Ancient Egypt, Handbook to Life in Ancient Egypt Revised, Dancing for Hathor: Women in Ancient Egypt, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. The ancient Egyptians had sophisticated methods of practicing medicine that combined the supernatural with the natural, such as herbal remedies and surgery. Appearance and the use of make-up were important. Prosthetics existed, but they were probably not very practical. They used a combination of prayer and natural — or non-spiritual — remedies. [12]:472, Egyptian drug therapy is perceived ineffective by today's standards according to Michael D. Parkins, who says that 28% of 260 medical prescriptions in the Hearst Papyrus had ingredients which can be perceived "to have had activity towards the condition being treated" and another third supplied to any given disorder would produce a purgative effect on the gastrointestinal system.[18]. [24]) surgical tools[25] in the world were discovered in the tomb of Qar. To some extent, they had better chances of survival than any other contemporary civilization. It helped in relieving headache, insomnia and respiratory disorders. Whether this knowledge was passed down to the practitioners is unknown; yet it did not seem to have had any impact on their medical theories. Dissection of a human being was illegal at the time, and until the Anatomy Act of 1832 CE, the only corpses a doctor could work with were those who had been executed for capital crimes. WEINBERGER, B. It also helped in relieving headaches, chest pains and burns. Cite This Work People may have used them to make deceased people look more presentable during funerals or simply for decorative purposes. Although spells are mentioned, many prescriptions have to do with administering drugs or mixtures without supernatural assistance, as in the following: Examination of a woman bed-bound, not stretching when she shakes it, This document contains over 700 remedies and magical formulas and scores of incantations aimed at repelling demons that cause disease. Moisten seed-wool with the mixture and insert into the vagina" (Lewis, 112). Before either of them, the Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweis (1818-1865 CE) offered the then outlandish proposal to the medical community that they could cut mortality rates in their practices simply by washing their hands. Some of the earliest records of medical care come from ancient Egypt. Related Content The culture's reliance on supernatural assistance from the gods prevented them from exploring more immediate and practical solutions to the medical problems they encountered daily. Bunson writes: The pharmaceuticals of the ancient Egyptian priest-physicians included antacids, copper salts, turpentine, alum, astringents, alkaline laxatives, diuretics, sedatives, antispasmodics, calcium carbonates, and magnesia. Disease was thought to be caused by the will of the gods (to punish sin or teach one a lesson), through the agency of evil spirits, or brought on by the presence of a ghost. This idea that bodily function played a role in health was a breakthrough in the history of medicine. The Egyptians had a chief for all the doctors like a health minister in the third dynasty during the reign of king Zoser and his name was pesshet and he was a dentist. Known ancient Egyptian specialists are ophthalmologist, gastroenterologist, proctologist, dentist, "doctor who supervises butchers" and an unspecified "inspector of liquids". FURTHER EVIDENCE THAT DENTISTRY WAS PRACTICED IN ANCIENT EGYPT, PHOENICIA AND GREECE. Although they believed that an angry god or evil spirit caused disease, the ancient Egyptians formulated a number of valid treatments and remedies. Queen Hatshepsut (1479-1458 BCE) of the New Kingdom died from an abscessed tooth as did many others. Aloe vera was used for the treatment of catarrh that came from eastern Africa. For only $5 per month you can become a member and support our mission to engage people with cultural heritage and to improve history education worldwide. The ancient Egyptian word for doctor is "swnw". Because of their belief in the womb as connected to all parts of a woman's body, fumigation of the womb was a common prescription, accompanied by incantations, which would miss the actual cause of the problem. License. The Egyptians had a flint and a metal scalpel, dental pliers, a bone saw, probes, the catheter, clamps for stopping blood flow, specula, forceps, lancets for opening veins, sponges, scissors, phials, bandages of linen, and scales for weighing the proper amount of raw materials to mix for medicines. Caries and tooth decay appear to have been common. Qar (c. 2350 BCE), Royal Physician under the reign of king Unas of the 6th Dynasty, buried with his bronze surgical instruments which are thought to be the oldest in the world. They developed their theory of "channels" that carried air, water, and blood to the body by analogies with the River Nile; if it became blocked, crops became unhealthy. (1946). Invasive surgery was never widely practiced simply because the Egyptian surgeons would not have considered this effective. However, they mistakenly believed that the water from the Nile was purified. al. The Edwin Smith Papyrus (c. 1600 BCE) focuses on surgical treatment of injuries and, in fact, is the oldest known surgical treatise in the world. Malachite was used for the treatment of eye infections where the infection was endemic. The ancient Egyptians thought that gods, demons, and spirits played a key role in causing diseases. For example, in the classic mummification process, mummifiers knew how to insert a long hooked implement through a nostril, breaking the thin bone of the braincase and removing the brain. In the present day, one may look back on these beliefs and practices with skepticism, but they were regarded as quite effective and entirely practical in their day. The Kahun Gynaecological Papyrus (c. 1800 BCE) deals with conception and pregnancy issues as well as contraception. [12] The ancient Egyptians were known to use honey as medicine, and the juices of pomegranates served as both an astringent and a delicacy. Since the nature of the infection was unknown to them, it was considered the result of a supernatural influence and dealt with through magic spells; this most likely resulted in the deaths of many young men. Mark, published on 16 February 2017 under the following license: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. Contestable ailments were those where the victim could presumably survive without treatment, so patients assumed to be in this category were observed and if they survived then surgical attempts could be made to fix the problem with them. The famous Eye of Horus was often used on a phylactic amulet. Practical, hands-on, remedies were always applied first in cases of obvious physical injury but with toothaches or gum disease, as with any disease, a supernatural cause was assumed. The medicine of the ancient Egyptians is some of the oldest documented.