I’ve decided I’m going to start a new segment of these blogs where I talk about what medicine was like at a particular point in time. Today, I’m going to start by talking about what medicine was like in the Ancient Egyptian Times.
The Egyptians believed that diseases was mainly used by the gods, demons and spirits – they affected the normal functioning of the body by blocking channels in the body. This is what caused priests, or healers, to be given the name “doctor of medicine”. Because of this, a typical treatment of illness was using a combination of prayer and natural remedies. Archaeologists found a number of written records left by the Egyptians, containing over 700 remedies and spells in order to ‘repel the demons that causes disease’. These ‘documents’ are among some of the oldest preserved medical documents in existence. The documents also included some awareness of the workings of the brain, liver, heart, mental illness, family planning, skin problems, dental problems, eye disease, intestinal disease, parasites, and even tumor treatment. Finally, there is evidence that the doctors of the time knew how to treat burns, fix dislocated joints, and set broken bones.
Interestingly, the Egyptians provided a foundation for the recording of medical research, but having an organised economy and system of government that came up with a system of letters and numbers – this allowed for the development of ideas and calculations.
Because the Egyptians were traders, they were also able to travel long distances and bring back a variety of herbs and spices to use in their remedies.
As said earlier, treatment tended to reply more on natural herbs. For example, common remedies for dentistry problems included cumin, incense, onion and even opium to treat excessive pain.
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