History of Egyptian Medicine

Author's Name:

Mahmood Hasen Shuhata

Al-Hadi University College, Baghdad,10011, Iraq.

Ahmed Alhili

Medical technical college, Al-Farahidi University /Baghdad/ Iraq

Muataz Mohammed Al-Taee

Department of Medical Laboratories Technology, AL-Nisour University College/ Baghdad/ Iraq

Doaa A. Mohameed

Anesthesia Techniques Department, Al-Mustaqbal University College, Babylon, Iraq

Nahida Hussin Ali

Islamic science/ Ashur University College/Baghdad/ Iraq

The origin of medicine in ancient Egypt dates back to 3500 B.C., as time progressed the Egyptians mastered the art of medicine and practiced it as highly skilled professionals. They had gained advanced knowledge of surgery, dentistry, gynecology, gastrointestinal, and urinary disorders. They used therapeutics extending from plants, herbs, animal products as well as minerals. Egyptian physicians were co-equal of priests, trained in schools within the temples. Egyptian medicine reached its peak in the days of Imhotep (2800 B.C.) who was famous not only as one of the most renowned physicians of his era he was also an architect who built the step pyramid at Saqqarah. Specializations prevailed in ancient Egypt as there were ophthalmologists, neurologists, and dentists. Edwin Smith Papyrus (3000-2500 B.C.), and the Ebers Papyrus (1150 B.C.) are two of the best medical text. The Edwin Smith Papyrus is considered one of the oldest medical manuscripts on surgery which accurately mentions partial paralysis due to cerebral lesions in skull fractures. The Ebers Papyrus medical text contains 700 magical prescriptions and folk remedies to cure ailments including dog and crocodile bite, toenail pain and injuries and to get rid of pests such as flies and rats. They were familiar with plants and herbs-based drugs which they generally employed to cure the illnesses and injuries. They used cumin, Aloe Vera, safflower, castor oil, linseed oil, mustard oil, opium, drugs made of minerals such as copper salts, plain salts etc. They also used animals or animal-based products for drug preparation such as milk, eggs, honey, liver, meat, fat, horns etc. The ancient Egyptians had some basic knowledge of inoculation which they used against smallpox. They knew that plague spreads from rodents. For over 2500 years, Egyptian medicine dominated the ancient world. This article is an attempt to understand some information about the history of Egyptian medicine. We will discuss some basic sources of information of Egyptian medicine in addition to common treated diseases and therapeutics in ancient Egypt.

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